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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Flesh Tone Pollock

I found this dress last fall at BCBG hidden in the sale rack.   My mama always told me to always try something on before I wrote it off, and this dress is a perfect example.

Normally I’m not drawn to things with beige, tan or peachy colors.  I also had a hard time seeing what this looked like on the hanger.  As you can see from the sketch, which even in the flat version looks confusing.  What are those bubbles of fabric along the side?

But when I put it on I realized how wonderfully it fits.  It’s tight in all the right places, and loose in all the others, and the way the color panel angles together in the front is wonderfully slimming and I love the pop of the subdued colors against the black.

Dress: BCBG

Shoes: NYLA via Piperlime (see them here, still on final sale in lots of sizes)

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Long (Black) Dress and a Shoooooort (Denim) Jacket

Yes, the original song lyric is “short skirt and a looooong jacket,” but you get it.

I normally don’t really pay much attention to which celebrities wear what, but I have to say I was amused when I saw both Emma Stone and January Jones wearing almost exactly the same thing I wore the other day.  (True I wore it later in the week than they, and much less formally, but I also didn’t have a stylist dressing me.)  Click on the image for source and article.

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Filed under Inspiration Board

An American in Paris

After seeing this skirt from Talbots (which was so much like the skirt I already owned) I decided to build an outfit around the styling in their ad.

I love the look of the classic military shirt.  The shirt I had included in my 30-30 (see it featured here) was worn in heavy rotation.  I realized it wouldn’t be a terrible idea to invest in another version of the same shirt.  While shopping with my mom at Chico’s I discovered this lovely classic, loose version in ivory.  It has that timeless American look.  The first runway picture from the Ruffian S/S 2011 show and the second and third pictures from classic American designer, Ralph Lauren’s S/S 2011.

Normally I don’t shop at Chico’s, but I think it’s also good practice to find things wherever they might be hiding.  A good wardrobe does not have to all come from Gucci to be stylish, Anthropologie to be creative, or Good Will to be cheap.  Do you ever find wonderful things in unexpected places?  If so where?

Military Shirt: Chicos, ’11 See it here
(The drawing is more creamy than the actual shirt, the picture is more reflective of the true color.)

Pleated Denim Skirt: Zara in Greece, ’02

Belt: Express, ’10

Sandals: BCBG Generations via N Rack, ’10

 

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Black & Tan

 

It’s been a crazy week, and I’m exhausted, it’s only Thursday?  I think you can tell from this picture how tired I am.  Oh well, not every picture or day can be our very best.  At least I felt good in this outfit – which is a sure way to brighten an otherwise dragging week!

I’m loving these pants I just got from Anne Taylor Loft.  They’re so retro and comfortable.  Dressy but don’t need dry cleaning.

The shirt I found at Marshalls a few years ago, I love the print and the unique color scheme – marigold, tan, and black with spots of peacock blue-green.  Sadly, the cut of it is so blousey that it makes me look like I’m slouching with no shoulders.  For this reason, even though it’s silk I’ve kicked it out of the VIP section of my closet and have relegated it to my work wardrobe.  This isn’t anything to be ashamed of, but it’s probably the shirts last stop before it hits Good Will in a few more years for someone else to slouch around in.

Cropped Black Pants, Ann Taylor Loft, ’11 See them here (I bought my a lot tighter than the model shows them because I hate baggy pants!)

Silk Blouse, Marshalls, ’07

Shoes, Nordstroms, ’06

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