What is the best place to get a custom / semi-custom men’s suit in Chicago? My boyfriend needs one nice suit for weddings/events but can’t buy off the rack!
We have a few favorites actually and love them for different reasons!
He’s gotten his last couple of suits (including his wedding suit!) from ESQ in the South Loop.
They are definitely the most high-end. Ge, the owner, is the coolest guy.He’s well-known for outfitting all of Chicago’s professional athletes. Neal would say he gets his “flashiest” suits from Ge. They also have a lot of awesome items you can get off the rack and custom tailored–Neal just got a trench coat there that I’m in love with, and another super lightweight blazer for Italy. Don’t get me wrong, it’s expensive, but once you get over the sticker shock and realize that these are quality items that he’ll have the rest of his life, you won’t feel so bad splurging!
Another favorite custom shop of ours is BLVDier.
Which is a great go-to for super classic, timeless items. The husband and wife team, Zach and Kristin, who run BLVDier are some of the most genuine people you’ll ever meet–they work really hard to make their prices on the more affordable side (for custom clothing that is) but by no means is there any sacrifice in quality. Their West Loop shop is super welcoming and low-key, and those who truly appreciate attention to detail will appreciate Zach’s incredibly sharp eye.
Neal also loves Franc Lloyd.
He got his favorite overcoat from here! I think they were kind of the gateway into Neal’s love for custom clothing ? Neal was first introduced to Os, the owner, through a friend when he made Neal’s best friend’s groomsmen tuxes (how nice is that–all his groomsmen got custom tuxes!) He’s a really cool guy, and his philosophy is best described as “English structuralism with Italian flair.”
You can’t really go wrong with any of these choices! Please tell them Neal and Jess say hi!
How did you survive wedding planning? It feels so overwhelming to me ?
I think maybe we’ll do a full post on this subject from both my perspective and Neal’s–but in short, I’m not going to lie…
I really, really struggled with wedding planning.
I’m not a big planner in general. I don’t even like making dinner reservations more than a day in advance or planning even the coolest European vacation. I am the poster child of flying by the seat of my pants–so you can imagine how much the minutiae of wedding planning got to me. So many details. So many opinions. It’s awful.
I tell you this not to scare people who are wedding planning, but to be honest for those out there who really really hate it and are wondering why they are the only ones who feel this way. Some people just didn’t get the bride gene, and that’s okay!
Here is my advice to you in this situation!
Sit down with your husband to be and rank the things that are the MOST important to you, and figure out what things you ARE excited about in terms of planning. For us, it was our music, our ceremony, and the little details like how we were going to make the experience feel very “us”–such as having a glass of local Willamette Valley wine that guests could grab as they made their way into the ceremony, the fact that we were serving Mexican street tacos in lieu of the traditional chicken and steak, or how we had both of our mothers read passages about love from our favorite childhood stories as part of our ceremony.
Focus on the things that make you tear up in the best way when you think about them.
Don’t focus on the stupid things like what kind of china to pick or whether you’ll cut the cake before or after your first dance. Leave that to your wedding planner (and I HIGHLY suggest hiring one. Best money we spent on our ENTIRE wedding.)
For the details you don’t agree on–figure out a compromise that works for you.
Remember, this isn’t about the party–it’s about you two and your future as a team.
For many people, planning a wedding together is their first true test of marriage. Will you tackle it from opposite sides or from the same one? One thing that helped us (after a few heated arguments) is when discussing wedding plans, to never single the other one out when discussing your wedding plans with others. For example, instead of “Neal hates that idea” or “Jess doesn’t like that”–it’s, “Jess and I feel like going X route feels like a better fit for us”. Or “We’ve discussed this and our decision is X.”
Also, never get into a decision-making discussion with family without having discussed the matter in private first. Decide how you’re going to approach it as a united front.
Wedding planning tends to bring out differences in the two of you. It could be things that you’ve never thought about or discussed before. Working/talking through those differences in front of others is never going to end well.
At the end of the day, just keep in mind–nobody cares about anything other than the open bar and the fact that there is music to dance to. Plus most importantly, that the bride and the groom are in love and having a good time. Nobody will remember what your tablecloths, flowers, china, chalkboard signs, programs, or anything else looked like. Know what they WILL remember? The look on your faces when you exchanged vows. How you were glowing on the dance floor. The emotion in the air that day.
Your wedding is about the two of you–nobody else. Find the balance between sticking to your guns and giving enough to where the people who love are happy. Just not so much that it becomes someone else’s day entirely.
What are the basics you make sure you always have in your closet and where are your favorite places to stock up on those basics?
Oooh such a good question! I think this deserves it’s own blog post, haha! But off the top of my head, a couple things come to mind:
The perfect white tee:
I’ve been doing lot’s of research and have tried out quite a few of the most popular white tees for an upcoming post, but my Everlane V-Neck is my favorite! It’s an insanely soft year-round staple and isn’t remotely see through. Size up if you want to knot it!
My favorite jeans:
This obviously changes based on my mood and the time of year, but my go-to’s right now are usually my classic Levi’s Wedgie Jeans. (Sizing: FYI, they run a bit small). I think they make every outfit look so much more interesting and cool! Shopbop has a ton of Levi’s jeans and they’re one of my go-to’s because of their fast, free shipping! If you’re going for more of a classic, you can’t go wrong with Abercrombie’s high-waisted skinny jeans in dark wash. (Just trust me). They’re only $39 and TTS. Another pair of skinnies I love are J.Brand–their Maria high-waisted jeans are so incredibly flattering!
I love a good white sneaker–I wear these Jack Purcells year round and they never fail me especially when traveling. They DO require some break-in though, so don’t wear brand new ones on your European vacation! Superga also makes really cute white sneakers that I’ve heard a lot of good things about, and Keds will always be classic and in-style! I’ve also been eyeing SeaVee’s lately and I think they’re so adorable and the perfect summer sneaker! Have you heard of them before?
I wear loafers a lot in spring, fall and winter (and also when I travel in the summer!) Neal got me the Gucci Brixton Loafers for Christmas and I can confidently say they are 100% true to the hype. They really are so comfortable, so sleek, chic, and they are everything you’ll ever want in a loafer. Obviously those are a huge investment, so I also like the Sam Edelman’s Lior loafers as a close second! I own them as well (in leopard) and they are crazy comfortable! Speaking of Sam Edelman, they make the best shoes in general–Shopbop has a huggeee selection of them too!
I live in dresses. Especially in the spring and summer. I think every woman needs to own a wrap dress (I just got this one and I’m in love! I chose the poppy red color. Although a darker color would be perfect for pretty much any occasion year round! I also love this version that comes in tons of colors! ), a shift dress (I own this one in pink and black), and a t-shirt dress (just got this one to replace my ratty old one I’ve had for years and I’ve worn it twice already! Such a great price too!).
Another wardrobe staple I wear year-round. I’ve got my eye on this one from Sezane, but I also love Abercrombie’s and Topshop has the cutest dainty scalloped version out right now. Slinky camis are great all by themselves or layered underneath a sweater, jacket, or blazer–which makes them perfect for everything from date night to the office.
Can you recommend a good non-toxic foundation? Not in love with Beautycounter’s.
I’m gunna be honest here, every super ‘safe/non-toxic’ brand of foundation I’ve tried hasn’t worked for me. I am a very tough foundation critic and my skin is pretty difficult–it’s oily in some parts and dry in others and I need full coverage to disguise breakouts on the sides of my face.
I actually went into Credo Beauty (which is an amazing store, basically a Bluemercury for super clean products) a few weeks ago and had them put every single foundation on me and I left almost in tears. Honestly I hated all of them. They were awful–they looked like they were sitting on top of my face, provided absolutely no coverage, and seemed to just highlight my problem areas instead of disguising them. I was SO frustrated. Definitely not the store’s fault–I honestly think a lot of the natural foundations work great for people who already have good skin, just not me.
The girl who was helping me finally looked at me and she was like…
“Honestly, if you’re trying to find a natural version to replace the current foundation you’re in love with, you probably aren’t going to find one here. Foundation is one thing that just isn’t as good when it comes to finding “safe” alternatives. Keep the 80/20 rule in mind and just do what works best for you.”
I SO appreciated her candid advice. Honestly I couldn’t agree with her more. I live by the 80/20 (that is, try to do something 80 percent of the time and don’t worry about the other 20 percent) rule in pretty much every aspect of my life. In this instance, my skincare products are ALL very safe and non-toxic. That’s what goes on your skin first and is absorbed by your skin. If the foundation (which sits on top of your face, and doesn’t truly sink in) you use is free of MOST of the bad stuff, I think it’s good enough. Of course, this is a personal decision, and if you don’t agree–that’s okay too. Do what feels best for you.
So many mainstream brands now are making sure to take parabens, sulfates and phthalates out of their products (I like to call these “clean-ish” brands, haha!)
Know what? Using these “cleanish” brands are good enough for me right now. Feeling confident and beautiful when I have makeup on is MORE important to me than using something that has EVERY. SINGLE. THING in it removed that *might* be harmful.
That being said, Bareminerals is a “cleanish” brand that I always, always go back to. I just bought their new foundation and really love it if you’re looking for a full coverage, matte foundation that won’t cake or dry your face out. I also love their classic mineral powder foundation and their Complexion Rescue tinted moisturizer if you want something that is less coverage. Their products are free of parabens, sulfates and phthalates. It’s dermatologist tested, oil-free, non-acnegenic, and noncomedogenic.
Another “clean-ish” brand I love is IT Cosmetics–if you don’t want something heavy but want to disguise unevenness, you can just spot apply the Bye Bye Redness cream instead of foundation–it’s an amazing product. I apply it with a wet beauty blender and it gives me the texture I love.
How do you make money from Instagram being a brand ambassador? Are you paid based on followers or likes or if people order the things you feature? Clueless and curious ?
Haha I should do a whole post on this probably because people are so curious! I make money from Instagram and my blog two different ways:
A brand will approach me to collaborate on a sponsored post, where they pay me a flat fee that is negotiated beforehand. Things like how many followers I have and the average amount of likes I get on a photo are the main way this fee is determined. This is why you see bloggers freaking out so much about the algorithm. It’s because how many people like their photo is a direct correlation to how much they can charge. If nobody is seeing their content, a lot less people are liking it. Which therefore, effects how much money they make!
Crazy, right? (FYI, we can see how many people each individual post reaches–a lot of times instagram limits views for reasons nobody knows–so if you see bloggers asking if you’ve seen their posts lately–this is why!) Whenever I get frustrated and wonder why a photo doesn’t perform as well as my photos usually do, it’s always because less people have seen it!
There is no set industry standard for how much bloggers charge. This is all negotiated by the brand and the blogger. I feel like if you’ve been following me for any length of time, you know this. I turn down probably 98% of the collaboration proposals I get approached with. I’m pretty ruthless with my criteria. So I won’t take on a sponsored post unless it’s something I really TRULY love, use in my own life, have purchased (or plan to continue to purchase in the future) with my own money. Of course, it has to be something I know you guys are going to love too! So if you ever see me do a sponsored post, just because it’s sponsored doesn’t mean that I don’t use and love the brand!
This means that I get a certain percentage of commission on any purchase that my readers make through instagram or my blog. You may be familiar with Liketoknow.it–this is an app that I use to link everything that I’m wearing in my instagram posts for my readers to shop. (If you don’t have it already, you should download it! It makes shopping all your favorite bloggers outfits SO easy!)
Pretty much anything you purchase through LTK or a link on my blog, I get commission on. Typically it’s about 10-15% of your total purchase. So, if you click through one of my links on a pair of shoes and spend say, $100 on various items–I would get about 10% (or $10) of that purchase. The same goes if you click through a swipe up link (most of the time, it’s not always an affiliate link, but it usually is!) on Instagram stories. If you swipe up and buy something, I get that same percentage based on your purchase.
What questions would you like me to cover in the next Ask Jess post? Make sure to pop over here to submit your question on the Ask Jess form! Hope you guys have a great Monday!