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Archive for July, 2009

Comfort Zone to Danger Zone

by deathmama

This was a very pleasant day. For one, the temperature was much cooler today and I enjoyed a nice walk around the lake with my friend in the morning. Then I had a nice Taco Del Mar lunch with my husband who was working from home. After putting in a few hours of yardwork and splashing around in the wading pool with my son, we went to dinner at Blue C Sushi and finished with ice cream.

But what really made tonight excellent is that I wandered into Mercer at the University Village, the super expensive fancy store where I bought my first designer jeans and where I have never bought anything since because it is so darn $$$. They were at the tail end of their twice a year sale where everything was marked down 70%. I couldn’t believe my eyes!

um, hello there cutie! you totally can't see my stomachs. score!

um, hello there cutie! you totally can't see my stomachs. score!

So I bought this totally cute Ella Moss tank top with interesting neck/strap detail.

see, it's like a regular tanktop but there's also a halter neck thing thrown in there. cute.

see, it's like a regular tanktop but there's also a halter neck thing thrown in there. cute.

Ella Moss is one of my favorite brands. I own just a couple of EM shirts because they are usually so expensive. Oh, I love this shirt.

best thing about this purchase. can you see? it says $100!! HAHAHA I got it for $9.90

best thing about this purchase. can you see? it says $100!! HAHAHA I got it for $9.90

Then I bought this Michael Stars…. tube top. Yes, you heard me right. Sorry everyone. But hear me out. I’ve had a love/hate relationship with Michael Stars, particularly the shine fabric. Right now I would say I’m in the indifferent/resentment stage. But this, this is a good compromise, I think. Usually I hate them because they are so small and tight. This shirt flows away from me and hides my double stomach. Listen. I promise not to wear it as just a tube top. I’ll wear it under stuff. Or I’ll wear it as a skirt. You have my promise. Teehee!

when I wear this I won't be wearing this particular bra. but it doesn't matter because I'll be covered up, remember?

when I wear this I won't be wearing this particular bra. but it doesn't matter because I'll be covered up, remember?

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by deathmama

What about no pants? My friend Amigo just posted on her facebook status that her workplace dress code specifies no T-shirts. She is some kind of computer geek, so wow. My husband is also a computer geek and T-shirts are allowed but no shorts. My friend C who works in retail says jeans and chinos are a no-no.

this guy was wheeling and dealing at starbucks. and i have to say, snore.

this guy was wheeling and dealing at starbucks. and i have to say, snore.

I worked at the U and there was absolutely no code of any sort. In fact there was a secretary upstairs that walked around the building barefoot during the summer. I pointed out once that it was against the dress code and he sent me a copy of a page from the University manual which did not specifically prohibit bare feet. I countered with how unsanitary it was and of course he found something online that touted the benefits of going barefoot (I just found out he has terminal cancer and has only a year to live. Should have just left him alone to enjoy whatever he wanted to do).

he doesn't have to worry about whether he's too sexy for work. he already is!

he doesn't have to worry about whether he's too sexy for work. he already is!

What’s appropriate and what isn’t? What is written and what is implied? Which rules can and should you ignore? Can you be too “sexy” at work? Everyone around the office wore shorts in the summer but I once shocked an older lady professor by wearing “cut-offs.” My sister’s work place ignored her wearing tank tops but then told a somewhat larger co-worker of hers that tank tops were not allowed (more skin/meat = inappropriate?). How random! Once again, demonstrating how unfair fashion is. I recently saw my friend B who was wearing a plain white T-shirt and jeans but she looked so fresh and summery (The T-shirt probably cost $68). But if anyone else older or larger was wearing a white T-shirt and jeans they may look like a frumpy slob. So is it not so much the clothes but the person? If you look fine, who cares?

their dress code is "tacky" and they are succeeding

their dress code is "tacky" and they are succeeding

Though… I have to admit I am in agreement with Robin on what she wears to work. I think that if you work with the public and the outcome and direction of someone else’s life depends on the impression you give then you really have to be careful. I was unknowingly wearing too low necklined shirts at a previous job but the only person I might have offended/entertained were my coworkers who weren’t buying or selling anything from or to me.

an example of how you can be both conservative and fun (or weird/creepy)

an example of how you can be both conservative and fun (or weird/creepy)

I’d like to add though, that if you work in an image heavy industry, then please follow through. I hate going to a hip looking person for a haircut and coming out with something boring and dowdy.

your author in rolled up AG jeans, pink leopard print tank. and burrito. tip of the day: when you roll up your pants you can store napkins and garbage in them.

your author in rolled up AG jeans, pink leopard print tank. and burrito. tip of the day: when you roll up your pants you can store napkins and garbage in them.

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by deathmama

I can’t post what I’m wearing right now because I’m basically naked, just having gotten out of the shower and there being a fan propped in the window by my computer.

dudes can be naked in public, why can't we?

dudes can be naked in public, why can't we?

Once a year, I say to myself “I am getting myself some snow boots!!” and that is the ONE day out of the year that it’s freezing cold and there’s 3 feet of snow and I have to go outside. Every year I say this and never do because the next day the snow has melted and I have better things to do. So consequently every year on that ONE day I end up wearing my rain boots over three pairs of wool socks. The rain boots may keep me dry but my feet are still frozen.

tube top showdown at the safeco

tube top showdown at the safeco

Today was the hottest day in Seattle, ever. And as a dutiful wife I set out to Safeco Field with my family. I noticed the dilemma to be similar for most in extreme (for us) hot weather. “It’s hot, crap! Do I own a dress?” “Yes, I own that one tank top!” “The last time I wore this was clubbing in the 90s but what the heck.” “I can wear this bra as a shirt today, right?”

you expect the bikini top as shirt thing in parks and beaches but this was kinda weird.

you expect the bikini top as shirt thing in parks and beaches but this was kinda weird.

Sadly, I do the same thing in hot weather as I do in cold weather. I own one pair of shorts, and I wore that today despite the fact that I got mayonnaise on it last night and it was sitting in the laundry hamper. Today I wore “WTF clothes” in public. Shame.

my emergency hot weather wear consists of nursing bra, white old navy tank, purple gap tank, olive green j.crew shorts that are too big (plus mayo). oh, and crocs. lol

my emergency hot weather wear consists of nursing bra, white old navy tank, purple gap tank, olive green j.crew shorts that are too big (plus mayo). oh, and crocs. lol

I was even going to do some fashion reporting today but it was so hot I decided to sit in the shade and drink a vat of Sierra Mist instead of chasing after weirdos. I did notice a bra strap/cami/tank layering conspiracy today. It should probably be a separate post later but I’m dumping them all here because I’m hot and tired.

saw a lot of these. psst, hey, I CAN SEE IT!

saw a lot of these. psst, hey, I CAN SEE IT!

saw a lot of these too. bra, tank/cami, then a completely different kind of strapped shirt/dress on top.

saw a lot of these too. bra, tank/cami, then a completely different kind of strapped shirt/dress on top.

see? bra, then cami, then a halter dress over it.

see? bra, then cami, then a halter dress over it.

what do you do? strapless bra? no bra?

what do you do? strapless bra? no bra?

short shorts. the girl on the right. interesting straps on the tank, but bra and cami underneath. on such a hot day layering is the last thing i... wait, i did that today. nevermind.

short shorts. the girl on the right. interesting straps on the tank, but bra and cami underneath. on such a hot day layering is the last thing i... wait, i did that today. nevermind.

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Sweet Pea Nylon top, short-sleeved, linen pants, ballet flats

Sweet Pea Nylon top, short-sleeved, linen pants, ballet flats

I work in an office with central air conditioning; if I didn’t, I wouldn’t be sane enough to write this post.  It is a record-breaking 104 degrees here today.  I just read that only 14% of the homes in the Seattle area have central air. My home does not.  It is 90 degrees down in the living room where the thermostat is.  Hotter upstairs where the computer is.

I don’t like to say “Thank Goodness I don’t have to wear a suit to work every day,” because really? If I was in a place in my career that required suits, I’d bring the suits.  Day after day, I would make the suit look great. I would wear the best damn suits and shoes in the place and I’d be grateful for the opportunity to looking Suit-tastically Awesome.

But Business Casual is feeling pretty good in the heat. I broke a sweat before leaving the house, again while dropping my daughter off at daycare, and even more in the parking lot of my building.  I don’t know that anyone else has this exact wardrobe problem this week.  But I’m kind of proud of myself for not melting, crying and/or caving and waering my Alfani Petunia flip-flops to a deposition, so I decided to tell the world about what I’ve worn so far.

Cotton ruffle-front tank from The Gap, Tahari suit skirt, pink croc-embossed slingbacks

Cotton ruffle-front tank from The Gap, Tahari suit skirt, pink croc-embossed slingbacks

Classiques Entier ruched top, cotton plaid skirt from Target Juniors, pink slingbacks

Classiques Entier ruched top, cotton plaid skirt from Target Juniors, pink slingbacks

 

Panic purchase: Sleeveless rayon dress from Fred Meyer. No I do not like it. No it doesn't feel cool. I panicked because it was 40% off and I felt like I could solve my problems by shopping.

Panic purchase: Sleeveless rayon dress from Fred Meyer. No I do not like it. No it doesn't feel cool. I panicked because it was 40% off and I felt like I could solve my problems by shopping.

 Yes, I had a bit of a Bargain Binge at Target and Fred Meyere. It felt like they just HAD to have that perfect $20 cotton sundress.  I got a blouse, skirt and dress (without trying it on). The skirt works — above — but is a long story that I don’t want to tell just yet.  The other stuff, I have to return, and how no fun is that?

. . . to be continued with my Thursday and Friday outfits.  I think tomorrow I’ll revisit the linen pants with a sleeveless silk top. Friday it is supposed to be a tad cooler. I might wear a short-sleeved dress.

Hot.

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For most of my life,  Vogue magazine was completely unaccessable and irrelevant to me. The fashions were ridiculous and the prices obscene. It seems to have no applicability to real life (like deathmama recently explored in Reality vs Not Reality.

But I started to challenge myself with it, and I became pleasantly surprised.  The writing is legit.  The ads are gorgeous.  And the styles — while I may not see much to wear to the Tacoma Mall or on a trip to the pediatrician’s office — the styles are absolute.  If there’s a Platonic Form of contemporary Western Women’s Fashion, it is in Vogue.  Or, since I am an Existentialist, Vogue both creates and reflects the essence of Style. Vogue has all the designers and new trends, together in looks and layouts that can be as informative as they are cryptic.  To me, anyway.

But still – Vogue is weird. I took some pages from the July issue (by the time I got around to this, August was already on the stands).  It was fun so maybe I’ll do more of it.  The red writing on the left is my immediate, cynical reaction to a Vogue fashion spread.  The green on the right are my more thoughtful and open-minded imaginings as to what I can learn from this.

It’s ridiculous, but I’m not giving up.  There are moments I look at Vogue and can almost taste the greatness. Someday I might have it for breakfast.

vogue

 

vogue2

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Contributed by Jennie S.

Well, maybe not EVERYTHING, but he was definitely the guiding force in the development of my style as I moved from gormless child in Sears dungarees, to punky thrift-store teen diva, to drama and art style-influenced adult. There wasn’t the money to wear what the popular kids at school did, but the lessons I learned from him gave me the skills and inspiration to create my own look, and I’ll always be grateful (I miss you, Uncle Ray). While many of his ideas may really only be news to someone age 12, not experienced dressers, they still guide me today, and I’d like to to share some of them.

Number One: “Wow, your clothes all look so great together, they always match each other! I only seem to be able to wear the same things together all the time.”

We were standing at his closet as he packed a few items for a day out on a friend’s boat followed by an evening out (fabulous, of course) – I still have a vivid memory of this conversation. Ray, an interior designer by profession, laid out 7 or 8 pieces and demonstrated the concept that’s ruled my world ever since. This was the early 80’s, and all of his clothes were white, gray, turquoise or a clear blue red. The mix and match possibilities were endless. He even had incredible pieces like a white straw fedora with a turquoise band, and deep red boat shoes.

Evoking Uncle Ray

Evoking Uncle Ray

Ray purchased all his clothes using the metric of “2 neutrals, 2 colors”. His neutrals were white and gray, which suited the Southern Cali style he sported, even while he lived here, and his colors were turquoise and red, which were both fashionable at the time, and flattering to his complexion. By filtering all potential clothing purchases through that rule, he could quickly and easily decide whether to buy something and whether it would go with anything else in his wardrobe. He encouraged me to apply this rule myself, adding a 3rd color once I amassed a large enough wardrobe.

While I color matched through high school and college, it really became crucial to extending a small wardrobe as I started my first professional jobs. In the early 90’s the neutrals were black and navy, and the colors purple and dark green (I wore my hair red then). Over time, I phased out the navy (which, to be honest, I never had that much of), added in gray, went from green to the color red as I changed my hair to blonde, and eventually added the third color range of turquoise, probably the most flattering color I can wear.

Lamb Ruffled Blazer

L.A.M.B. jacket

This makes my shopping incredibly fast. For instance, the L.A.M.B. jacket from the Nordstrom’s Anniversary Sale — not only did the shape attract my eye, but the gray/red color scheme announced it as securely within my schema. If the jacket had been khakis and browns I would have admired the design, but left it alone. And a few years ago when I saw purple Victorian boots in Vancouver, I knew to just buy them because I’d have plenty to match them to.

So – currently I have neutrals of black and charcoal/gray, and colors of turquoise, red and purple.  Note that ‘color’ actually refers to a whole range of tones from lighter to darker, and a even maybe couple of adjacent slices in the appropriate range, so it really covers a LOT room within the color.

Color Wheel

Color Wheel

But wait — if you are using all sorts of different tones – how does it work if your reds don’t all match, or your purples? Or even your neutrals! (like my issue with grays).


Number Two:
Two similar but non-exact colors paired together look like a mistake. But three or more look wealthy and slimming.  Especially if they are similar in hue but different in tone (light/dark).  Looking at the color wheel above, take a slice (or two) adjacent to each other and follow them as they get darker and lighter. All sitting next to each other, they look great, don’t they?

Check out the Style Bubble blog post where the author demonstrates some really terrific monochromatic dressing.

Monochromatic Dressing

Turquoise Monochrome

And of course, mixing accessories of the colors in really solidifies the look, which makes it fun when you find great boots or a hat or handbag in your color scheme. Obviously you can do the monochromatic thing with your neutrals too, and probably will more often — here’s some incredible grays (I adore everything here, by the way):

Monochromatic Neutrals

Bottega Venetta Fall 2008

Finally, it’s terrific for travel, for obvious reasons – I love setting out mix and match outfits on my bed before packing them for a conference or a vacation and then adding something silly like a matching hat or a shawl I picked up or knitted for the trip And it’s like Uncle Ray is looking over my shoulder as I do.

Number Three: Whatever you are wearing, WEAR IT.

Carson Kressley

Carson Kressley Struts

Before the world had Queer Eye for the Straight Guy and Carson Kressley on Bravo to exort the strut and pose, I had my Uncle Ray. Once committed to an outfit, he’d dip the hat, tie the ascot, shoot the cuffs and he’d WORK IT. This was probably his most valuable tip. He taught me to look secure and act fabulous, even at 12 when I most certainly didn’t look it or feel it. I carried that punk attitude through some of the craziest outfits from high school on, and dammed if I didn’t always get away with it!   So, once you’ve picked your look – shoulders back, chest up, stride it out, baby – strut your stuff.

Thanks again, Ray — we still miss you!

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I have decided to do these mini-posts from time to time because sometimes writing up an entire post is too much work, especially when it’s in the 90s outside. So I went shopping today with my friend C, and here are just some of the things I found out.

Sling dresses are IN.

you never know when you might break your arm

you never know when you might break your arm

you never know when you need to carry your toddler around

you also never know when you need to carry your toddler around

Also, chunky clunky zippers on fancy dresses: IN.

In all seriousness, I did find a shirt I love. Boatneck Splendid striped T. It was very very cute and if it wasn’t $68 I would have bought it on the spot:

Perfect contrast of the stripes for me.

Perfect contrast of the stripes for me.

And also along the same lines of the thrift store adventure, I made my friend C try on a romper dress but she actually ended up totally rocking it.

good job, C!

good job, C!

Lastly, if you were looking for a summer bird themed embroidered sweater, you can find it at Anthropologie.

here's the sweater you were looking for

here's the sweater you were looking for

Bonus style tips:

H&M always has fresh young styles

H&M always has fresh young styles

most stylish baby in town

most stylish baby in town

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