Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fashion Friday: My New Furry Friend

Here's the thing. I'd been saving up money in a special account to reset my engagement ring for our 10th anniversary next year. When it became clear that there were more pressing issues, such as paying the bills, I emptied the account but kept a little and vowed to do something fun with it.

The fun thing turned out to be a little furry vest that feels like the fashion equivalent of comfort food. Who knew faux fur went with everything?

With black Karen Kane cowlneck dress and turquoise pendant from Lucky Jeans. (As it turns out, my Frye Jane boots are the perfect color for bookending the vest):

With red plaid Max Studio tunic and GAP jeggings:

And the bottom photo shows the vest with my Joie floral silk tunic and GAP Long & Leans. You can also catch a glimpse of just how crazy blonde I am right now!

Happy weekend to you all!

Keeping Up Appearances

Yesterday I had a nice long chat with Lesley, a friend from YLF who I have never met in real life, but who is a kindred spirit. During yoga that morning, I had asked for help -- in my head, that is, not out loud (although heaven knows I need actual help in yoga too). The plea for help went up without any conscious interference from my mind. Just: "Please help me." As usual, help comes from places you least expect. Yesterday, help came in the form of a phone call from Lesley, a strong, smart woman who's currently in LA getting jobs in acting and modeling, seeking to help support her family. Meanwhile, her husband is holding down the fort in AZ with their two young children. In the past few years, Lesley and her husband have been through pretty much what Andy & I are going through with our house. So we talked everything from 70s style to crazy landlords, but the heart of the matter was housing -- sales, short sales, foreclosures.

Lesley filled me in on California and just how ugly it is -- couples foreclosing on homes and simultaneously getting divorced. People seeing their whole lives disintegrating around them, investments intended to pay for their kids' college tuition gone, retirements decimated. Loss and limits and downgrading and downsizing are all around us. Where we live, people have more or less managed to keep up the facade. There are whispers, though. "Did you hear there was a short sale on Highland?" "Did you hear there might be one on Washington?" Gossipy whispers. And I feel for the poor souls as the vultures salivate. But the truth is, many around here are one job loss away from disaster. We are hanging on by our fingernails, hoping to ride it out, whatever it is, this whole complicated mess we're in, and praying that it can't possibly last much longer.

There are people who are being spared the pain, like my friend whose husband landed a job after six months out of work, just when they were facing the reality of selling their house. The job means that he is working out of state most of the time, but they managed to hang on. It made me bitter (thank you, ego). Why did they catch a break when we never could? Why couldn't we get one freakin' break?

But after talking to Lesley, I started to think, maybe I'm wrong. Maybe Andy & I are blessed to be in the position of having to sell the home we renovated and meant to raise our kids in. Because we will be free from the burden of keeping up the facade.

When you are passing through the crucible, you can decide to emerge different -- wiser, somehow, with your eyes wide open - or you can pretend nothing happened and go on with your life, until one day you are forced to stare down the same lessons all over again.

As Lesley put it, "I went to the mall to buy a pair of flip flops, and it was packed with people shopping. Shopping and shopping. What are they doing?? Are they all trust fund babies? You're not going to find your kids' college education or your retirement at the bottom of a Nordstrom bag." Amen!

There are lessons to be learned right now. It's in the zeitgeist. We can't control whether Wall Street or the banks learn them. But we can.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Messing Up ... In Public

I messed up. It provoked interesting discussion on the forum yesterday. People overwhelmingly told me to return the dresses, and to stick by the rules. I get that. So I scuttled around to shops, returning dresses. (I had bought two more to try, in addition to those I posted, with the intention of finding one that would be right). I knew those were going back, so didn't bother to post them.

Dress #3: bubble skirt dress by MK, from Bloomingdale's: gorgeous but too tweedy for the party:

Dress #4: tweedy sequined sheath by MK, from Nordstrom. Fab but too holiday-ish for the party:

The zippered MK dress, above, is different. It seems silly to send it back and then re-purchase it in January, if I can. It fills a huge wardrobe hole and is perfect for my hairstyle and figure. I realize that this is justification and sounds lame. The honest truth is that the dress came from Zappos and is sitting in its box. It may or may not ever make it to the post office.

I consider spending $150 on clothes since July 17 to be pretty darned good. But I am not holding to the rules I set for myself, and I get that. People want to see me actually do it. They want to live vicariously through me, even if they are not managing to do it themselves. It feels like I'm on display, and that's not comfortable this week.

SYC hasn't bothered me too much until this week. I had fun decorating my house (more to do, waiting for further budget!), borrowing from friends, shopping my own closet. It was a relief to stop shopping for a while. But this week, it is driving me stark raving mad!!

Today, I'll go and shop my girlfriend's closet for a dress for Friday. It will be fun, and doing this makes me feel I'm fulfilling one of the goals of SYC. More tomorrow!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Resisting Temptation. Or Not.

I am going to a party on Friday night and the theme is orange and black. My friend and I decided to wear little black dresses, tall black heeled boots and orange wigs. Lovely, right?? (The wigs arrived yesterday and I've never seen anything quite this shade of orange in my life! Totally unnatural and wrong!).

Given my world-renowned dress collection, it's hard to believe that I don't own a little black dress. I don't. But I do have a black pencil skirt and could rustle up some sort of top - so it's not like I'd have to show up naked. But I caved and ordered two little black dresses.

* Full disclosure: To my credit, I am borrowing the tall black boots from my girlfriend. Yay, Laura.

This week has been full of temptations. Thankfully Kristen (hi Kristen!) helped me resist a pair of over the knee Stuart Weitzman boots on sale at Nordstrom Rack's new website. What was I doing looking at Nordstrom Rack's new website? Good question!

Now the debate for myself is whether I buy a dress and break SYC, or not. Although I'd love to wear one of the dresses and not tell anyone (bad Laura!), I decided to 'fess up and put the question to all of you. I am 100% convinced you will tell me to return the dresses, which is not what I want to hear but I will accept it. What would it mean to buy a dress right now? You decide.

This weekend, I will post my party outfit ...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Bringing back the 90s, one loafer at a time

We had a blast over at YLF last week, gabbing about the 90s, and the resurgence of 90s trends. My most beloved 90s items were low, chunky-heeled loafers with square toes. And although I've ditched most of my black-rutting clothing items from that era, I never parted with the loafers. So, with Angie's blessing, I challenged myself to try them in an outfit, before the weather gets too cold -- an extension of the Shop Your Closet, closet orphan challenge.

These chestnut-colored loafers are from a former fab label, Patrick Cox Wannabe.

And these black, pilgrim-esque loafers from Gucci are the ones I chose to wear today:

A girlfriend and I were obsessed with Gucci loafers at the time. I saved for months and months to buy these. And I still have them, 15 years later. Another testament to quality over quantity (note to self!).

On another note, thought I'd do a "what I wore" for a wedding we went to yesterday. This Marc Jacobs dress was a sale purchase last winter, and I paired it with opaque tights, and in the spirit of the 90s, platform pumps with square toes (yes they are vintage 90s). Not sure if I love how opaque I am from the knees down, and would love to hear what you think. These shoes are from the heyday of Joan and David, when they had a very luxe line. Again, pricey at the time, and again - worth saving.

Detail of neckline:

It's an interesting experience to go vintage shopping in your own closet! Another benefit of age, LOL. Hope you all had a good weekend!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Closet Orphan Challenge

Kristen over at issued a challenge this week to SYCers. The challenge? Pull one orphaned item of clothing from the back of your closet each day, and wear it in a new way.

My first instinct was to duck my head or look distractedly out the window. No, no, tempting as that was, I instead raised my hand and volunteered.

Here's my first attempt. The closet orphan du jour is the wine-colored blouse. It's got puffy sleeves and a ruffled placket and banded waist. I bought it two years ago, wore it quite a bit, and then ... well, let's just say I'm not sure if I wore it at all last fall. Usually I wore it with bootcut jeans and a black moto jacket. Today, I tried to breathe new life into the blouse by pairing it with olive green skinny cargoes, bronze Me Too wedges, and a black moto vest. Not sure what I thought. It is a pretty dark outfit ... a denim vest would have been fab too. I tried it with my Hinge denim vest, but that vest was too light and summery looking.

And now, a bonus What I Wore, to teach Sunday School to 15 little kids who looked up at me expectantly and called me "Mrs. T."! Dress by Max Studio, Mary Jane pumps from Clarks. I LOVE this dress with capital

Sunday, September 19, 2010

What I Wore: Weekend Edition

Confession: without new items to perk me up, I've gotten really lazy in the style department. So I did another "what I wore" this weekend to keep me on the straight and narrow. I am really loving the combination of grey and yellow, which has been around for a couple of years now.

JCrew cashmere shawl collar cardi, JCrew ruffled tank, JCrew grey and gold and pearl necklace, David Kahn skinnies (well, two seasons ago they were skinnies ... now they are merely straight legs in comparison with how skinny skinnies have become!), Clarks grey Mary Jane pumps with brown trim, mustard handbag, Club Monaco.

Then, I added a scarf - because it was only 65 degrees!

Yesterday, my husband I and were working on the budget (we got some software especially for this torturous purpose), and while the good news was that I spent nothing on clothes this month, the bad news is that I more than made up for it in home furnishings. Ugh! And I still need a rug for the master bedroom ... and for the living room ... and there's that sofa we don't have ... it never ends!