Monthly Archives: March 2011

Avoiding the Frumpy Dumpty

A few years ago I bought this denim pencil skirt.  I thought it was just about the best thing ever and added it to my frequently used basics.

Then my mom came to visit me and she put the kibosh on that.  Perhaps it was that I was wearing it with a crew neck shirt and flats?  (seen here) Whatever it was, she assured me I looked like a frumpy soccer mom and made me swear to leave this item alone.  She took me out to buy some”sexy” clothes.  “You’re young, you shouldn’t dress frumpy yet!”  she said.  I’ll admit that this outfit is far from “sexy” but realistically most of the time sexy isn’t my goal.  Perhaps this skirt does look to “soccer mom” unless it’s paired with heels and a breezy ultra feminine top.

What do you think?  Do you have clothes you wear even though they may not be “mom” approved?  It’s sort of ridiculous how their opinion continues to matter even though I’m almost 30 years old.  But then, I’m sure I’ll terrorize my own daughters with my opinions someday, since they’re not in short supply!

Sweater: Banana Republic, ’09 (The drawing is the same sweater just in a different color than pictured.  It’s the same one I used for my February 30-30 challenge.)

Jean Skirt: Gap, ’08

Boots: Miz Mooz via Nordstroms, ’10

Necklace: Forever 21, ’10

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Classics in Sunny Southern California

After wearing the same 30 pieces (and really it was more like 15) during my 30-30 challenge I feel like those pieces are old friends after such an intimate acquaintance.  These are the pieces I turn to when I’m in a hurry and fresh out of ideas, and in a huge rush.

Work has been really busy lately and my usual ETA at 7:30 has been pushed back to 7am just to keep up.  This means that when I roll out of bed I’m still half asleep and putting together a creative outfit has to be quick.  I wish I’d added a pop of color to this outfit but it was simple and I felt classy and that’s sometimes the best you can ask for on a harried morning.

As you can see the weather today was beautiful, still cool at about 65F, but I love that.

Thanks MN for taking the pic!

Shirt: Express, ’09

Blazer: Express, ’02?

Jeans: Guess Marciano, ’10

Boots: Rockport, ’10

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Rain Rain Go Away

I woke up this morning and it was incredibly dreary out.  Cold and gray and having rained the night before, wet.  What is this weather?  The end of March and it’s still cool and gross.  Okay, I’ll stop complaining as I know most of you reading this are just beginning to see the first signs of spring and here I am wanting full-blown summer.

I decided boots and jeans were in order and threw on a coat as I walked out the door.  Of course the day I wear a coat it turns sunny and warm by mid afternoon.

Grey Military Coat (no drawing): H&M, ’09

Periwinkle Shirt: Limited, ’10

Cropped Jeans: J Brand, ’09

Boots: Rockport, ’10

Scarf: Pier 1 Imports (Yes, I know, it’s a strange place to buy clothes but I had a gift certificate I needed to use up.)

 

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Back to Basics

Where did spring go?  Back to something warm.  Now that my closet edit is done for Spring Summer I feel safe enough to try out some of those 30-30 pieces again.

I found this scarf that I permanently borrowed from my Mom but never have gotten around to wearing.  Another item that will feel too wintery in a few weeks.  I loved how the color palette matched the red boots.  This outfit is so basic, just the jean skirt, the plain black sweater and tights but the accessories really kept it from feeling boring (like that one did).

Pulling off the whole scarf look again, and after my sisters comments (see comments after linked post) that a scarf need not feel “stewardessy” I tried to wear it with confidence.  Somewhere I read this inspiring quote, “You can change your clothes as many times as it takes to feel right, but once you walk out the door you need to rock it, because it’s confidence that really make the whole thing work.”

Sweater: Banana Republic, ’10

Jean Skirt: H&M, ’03

Boots: Miz Mooz via Nordstroms, ’10

Scarf: ??

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I’ve Been Workin’ on the Railroad

It’s gotten cool again here, and as I was sorting through my dresser I realized I’ve worn these pants very few times this winter.  They’re fine wale cotton corduroy which makes them feel too heavy for summer.  Being this bright shade of red they’re not really everyday type pants but they’re fun to break out now and then and the cut is very comfortable.

I wore my favorite boots in a new way in this outfit too, underneath the pants, instead of the pants tucked in.  These pants are cut straight and when tucked in tend to blouson from the boot top – which is a funny look.  It makes the boots like a completely different pair of shoes to wear them this way.

This outfit strikes me as very all-American.  The classic work clothes of the working man.  The classics never go out of style even though the cuts and colors change a bit as time goes by.

Chambray Shirt: H&M, ’10

Red Corduroy Pants: J. Crew, ’07

Boots: Rockport, ’10

Watch: Fossil, ’10

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Keeping the Closet Happy

Recently I received a note from a reader (okay, it was my mom but this note almost makes that better!) which I found really sweet:

“I think you should include something in your blog about “letting go” of the old stuff.  You are really good at that and lots of people have a difficult time doing this.  I have come to really regret keeping stuff until it is to out dated to be useful to someone else.  I have learned a lot from you about that.”

So here’s your post mom, I hope everyone finds it helpful as we begin to think about Spring/Summer 2011!  It may not actually be time to bring out the sundresses, but it’s just the right time to start organizing the closet.

I love switching my wardrobe because it is a time of to reevaluate my style, and a time to prune what may no longer be reflecting the person I’m becoming.

I start with my dresser drawers.  Time to sort through tights I hate, underwear that has lived its life and t-shirts that have seen better days.  These things I just throw out, does somebody really want used tights?

Then on to the closet.  I usually begin by carefully going through my clothes to see what needs ironing/mending/tailoring/dry cleaning and what should really be given away or tossed.  I like to put things in storage clean for next season.  Plus it’s a good idea to put things away clean because bugs love the smell of BO and the taste of wool with some body oil in it.  Yummy!

Next it’s time to look objectively and see what I haven’t worn all season.  Usually I haven’t worn it in several seasons but this year I was being hopeful.  If this is the case then it’s time to pass the item on before, as my mom pointed out, “it’s too dated to be useful to someone else.”  I always have an easier time parting with something when I keep in mind how much somebody else might enjoy it.

Realistically there may be nothing wrong with the item, its just not among the first things I reach for when I need to build an outfit, doesn’t fit me perfectly, or doesn’t reflect my style anymore.

I always feel such a relief when I am able to cull through everything and really trim off the things that aren’t me anymore.  The clothes don’t make the man, and while they may remind me of a time in my life, a happy day or some aspect of who I am or once was, they’re just things.  I carry the memories with me and those will last longer than the shirt that somebody else could be making happy memories in.

Here’s some of the clothes I decided to send on their merry way.

Plum tweed capri pants with a ribbon sash – fit me a bit to snug around the thigh.

Black bandage mini, was the only size left a small, and while it fits me, it rides up when I walk.

Camel kimono shirt, silk.  I love this, but the color isn’t really “me” and I usually just never get around to wearing it.

A really cute black pencil skirt that flares at the hem – which is hard to see on a hanger.  It’s wool, and perfect for an office job.  But I don’t need 57 black skirts.

This “poet” shirt is wonderfully silky with black stitching and tiny pleats.  It is a bit tight around my bust and too uncomfortable to wear.

This teeny tiny mini skirt is tiered with ruffles and sequins.  It’s really cute but too short to wear during the day and therefore in my real life – not the life I imagine living.

A lightweight sweater that I think of as “tennis-ey.”  It’s just a little too short for my torso length, which makes it continually ride up.

Already have another denim pencil skirt and this one with the zipper and the rips looks a bit too collegiate.

If you happen to live in LA and are interested in these items (ranging in size S/M – 6-10ish) let me know – they’re up for grabs!

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Tut Tut – Looks Like Rain

We’ve been having the weirdest weather here in LA.  Usually (I say usually like I’ve lived here my whole life and not just three years) by March the rain has stopped, but it just keeps on coming on!  Sunday was a torrential downpour, it rained harder than I’ve ever seen.  All. Day. Long.

But I forget that rain is a spring occurrence in the rest of North America, and not something relegated solely to winter.  And it will keep things green here a little bit longer, before the summer turns the hills to a crisp.

This jacket is perfect for spring, and since we don’t have a long spring, I usually forget about it.  I usually don’t get a chance to wear many of my jackets, which is sad because I love coats.  I unpack them every year and usually wear a few of them once and pack them right back up a few months later.

Jacket – Express, ’07 (Every so often I find these things at Express that look nothing like the Express most of us know – college girl club clothes.)

Jeans – J Brand, via Anthropologie, ’09

Tank – H&M (no drawing, since you know what a wife beater looks like)

Shoes – Miz Mooz via Nordstroms, ’10 (so comfortable!)

Necklace with amethyst and gold beads – castoff from friend (who says every time she sees me wearing it she wonders how she could never pull it off.)

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The Capriciousness of Spring

I wore my jean skirt without tights for the first time since October.  It’s always such a strange thing to go bare-legged.  It was still a little chilly so I ended up wearing my scarf and sweater (not pictured) almost all day.

I feel like dressing in the dark mornings is getting a bit difficult, as I’m in my winter rut of easy clothes – the same few pairs of bottoms and different shirts.  Since finishing my 30-30 I’ve just replaced the featured skirt and pair of jeans for another – mostly because I need to take a bunch of things to the tailor.

Next week perhaps I’m going to try to wear the things I didn’t get around to wearing in my winter wardrobe one last time before I pack them up at the end of the month.  My closet is small enough (or perhaps my wardrobe large enough) that the closet can’t hold both seasons at once.

My goal at the end of the month is to get everything clean and pack it away for next fall.  The new season always brings a fresh outlook on what I have – things I’ve forgotten about and new ways to wear everything, so I’m excited for that – but to break it out too soon is a little headstrong.  Who me? Headstrong?

White shirt with shirring: Hand-me down from the Sister, Express – Year unknown

Denim Mini-skirt: H&M (purchased in Nice, France, ’03 when there were no H&M’s in the states)

Scarf: Street Vendor Florence, Italy, ’03

Shoes: Nine West via TJ Maxx, ’10

 

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Running in Driving Shoes

This outfit is very casual, but sometimes you need something easy.

One of the nice things about my job is that it’s as casual or dressy as I choose.  Generally I try to strike a nice balance and not wear clothes that would be ruined by a coffee pot dumping on me, or a crate from Costco getting me dirty (think white pants – though I love all the white jeans popping up all over). Depending on my ever changing schedule I can adjust my outfits.  If it’s a really busy day with lots of deliveries and organizing then I wear something easy like this.  If I have meetings and know I’ll be meeting with clients I can dress it up.

Occasionally I walk into stores selling pretty office clothes and wish I could wear fancy heels on a daily basis.  But what I don’t gain from the extra height (like I really need it anyway!) I get by not having to constantly sit.  I’m up and about and running around all day long – and that’s a nice perk.

And for running around nothing beats these little leather driving moccasins.  The raw leather stretched out just perfectly and are now soft and supple.  I think they’re such a classic preppy look.  While I’m not that preppy, I do enjoy the occasional piece that reminds me of my life on the east coast a long long time ago.

Boat Neck shirt: H&M, ’09

Cropped Jeans: J Brand via Antrhopologie Sale, ’09

Driving Moccasins: Bass Outlets, ’09

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Spring is a Party

As much as we all hate daylight saving time, I have to say, the change of more light in the evenings really has spring pulsing through my veins!

I once saw a woman working in a train station in Toulouse, France, she was wearing skinny black jeans, and a uniform shirt similar to this, with short puffy sleeves.  She had the collar popped and was wearing a classy scarf (those French women and their scarves!).  I wish I’d taken a picture of her, but the image of her dressing up her otherwise boring train uniform has stayed with me.

I’ve switched her scarf for a colorful wooden beaded belt.  It was a steal at $12 from Wet Seal.  Although I’m afraid one day the elastic will die and the wooden beads will go skittering around the floor, to great embarrassment.  Well, until then, I’m enjoying this find that looks very well-traveled – as if I found it languishing in a market stall in Bali.

Chevron Black and White shirt: Express, ’07

Cropped Jeans: J Brand, ’09

Belt: Wet Seal, ’10

Shoes: BCBG via N Rack, ’11

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