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Archive for September, 2009

We might be in a tiny bit of a rut. Or maybe we are busy. Or maybe innately lazy and distractable people shouldn’t start a blog in the first place? I’m talking about me, not you, Aki.

Aside from reviewing our Blog Dashbord for inspiration (Lots of people find us by searching for Hugh Jackman. Also, “why do my pants fall off my butt,”) I have decided to ask our Dear Readers what they would be interested in us exploring over the next week.

Work outfits or casual? Plus sizes? Budget?

Ideas welcome. If I burn out, I’m just going to start posting pictures of my kids.

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Vested Interest

This piece of clothing seems completely pointless to me.

This piece of clothing seems completely pointless to me.

Alright. Vests. Yay or Nay? Nay, right? What is the point? Talk about useless and non-functional. I’m not talking about outerwear like my down vest, or the fleece vest that my son is sporting. They actually add just the right amount of warmth when a full on jacket is too much or provide an extra layer of cozy underneath a coat. Other vests that are ok include fishing vests, running/biking vests, construction worker vests and life vests. Vests that are part of a regalia getup are ok too. Otherwise, what is the deal? Do you really need something to dress up your shirt? It’s basically your shirt’s accessory. Your shirt does not need its own entourage. Just get a fancier shirt!

Please weigh in. I promise I won’t defriend you if you like them.

Obviously not for warmth. What does it add to the outfit?

Obviously not for warmth. What does it add to the outfit?

A complete waste of fabric and buttons, in my opinion.

A complete waste of fabric and buttons, in my opinion.

An example of a functional: My purple Eddie Bauer down vest

An example of a functional: My purple Eddie Bauer down vest

Warmth is a good reason to wear a vest.

Warmth is an acceptible reason to wear a vest.

This is totally ok.

This obviously is ok.

This is perfectly fine too.

This is perfectly fine too.

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Transformation

illustrations by hiroe nakata

illustrations by hiroe nakata

Not only caterpillars. Buds become flowers, 

flowers, fruit.

-Miriam Chaikin,

from Don’t Step on the Sky, a handful of haiku.

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Bodies, Breasts in Motion

The Mariners Moose, modeling a Betsey Johnson 32D

The common theme I kept hearing about the past few weeks have all been about body image. We all have unfounded complexes about our bodies, men or women, young or old. We shouldn’t, but we do. We can’t help it. Sure, I’d love to lose 5 more extra pounds. But if I don’t, I’m ok with it. I am awesome as I am. My issue has never been about weight. I’ve never asked anyone “Does this make my butt look big?” because I actually like my butt, thank you. It’s fantastic. What I have wished for was to attract less attention to my body.

My breasts started sprouting out when I was in the 5th grade. I was too shy to approach my mom about a bra until the end of 6th grade. Consequently girls envied me and guys stared at me and I didn’t understand why that had to be. Very uncomfortable. I think I carried this into adulthood. I talk about my shoulders being too wide but really, it’s about my upper body being bigger than my lower body and yes, I do have shoulders slightly wider than the rest of my body but it’s because of my breasts that my upper looks so much bigger than it actually is. That’s why I don’t wear v-necks, crewnecks, sweaters, button down shirts. I know, I know. Insert here all your boobie jokes, how I should be thankful and how you always wanted bigger ones, you’re jealous, I look fantastic, etc. etc. Don’t get me wrong. I love them. They are great. We’re besties. I know I look good. I’m just not terribly comfortable attracting attention with or to them.

See how tiny my waist is? You're not looking at my waist though, are you.

See how tiny my waist is? You're not looking at my waist though, are you.

And it’s not just about the breasts. I’ve always been short and cute. I also have had long thick shiny healthy hair and was “the girl with the hair” and “that cute chick.” I wanted to rebel against the cute and exploited my body a bit during college and wore clothes in a way that people would find me sexy instead. In the end, it was the same. As much as I think I am cute and foxy I just want people to think I’m smart and funny. An older coworker once told me during college that he liked the way I walked. Around the same time a dorm mate mentioned how he liked seeing me in leggings. A stranger once approached me just to tell me I was pretty. Another stranger asked for my number because he thought I was a “classic beauty.” These incidents did not make me feel good about myself but rather made me want to run away and change into baggy pants. Which is just what I did. I bought a pair of men’s Union Bay cords at the Bon and wore them for all of 1995. I bought sweaters at Banana Republic in the men’s section. I wanted guys I liked to find me attractive (and they never did, strangely enough!), not a random stranger. I went back and forth hiding and flaunting. And now? I have a husband so I don’t really feel the need to dress in a way that attract special attention or to dress provocatively or show off or whatever. At all. I think I should look nice, though.

Look at me, in 1995. Baggy sweater I found at Banana Republic in the men's section.

Look at me, in 1995. Baggy sweater I found at Banana Republic in the men's section.

So when I see people being “fixed” by What Not To Wear and hear Stacy yelling at them “You’re tiny! You’re a tiny person!” I think that they usually already know. Just because you’re tiny doesn’t mean you want to prance around attracting attention or emphasize your curves. But I can also see WNtW’s point of view too. Sure, celebrate yourself and your beauty. Accentuate the positive. Look good, feel good. But maybe your body’s “beauty” isn’t for everyone to gawk at? There’s got to be a balance, right? I don’t want to fall into the Janeane Garofalo or Sarah Silverman mold where perfectly cute girls dress weird on purpose because they want you to focus on the funny/intelligent and not so much on looks.

Tricky. I’m a charming little person. And if I have all these weirdo complex thoughts about how I look and how I present my body out there, I can’t even imagine what people who don’t think they are a cute little person go through. I think there are probably several different ideas I’ve mentioned here that I can expand on which should be separate spin-off posts. But that is it for now.

P.S. I said I never cared if I was heavier or not. I lied. A few years ago I gained about 20 pounds. That was not pleasant. So I joined Weight Watchers and lost it all in 3 months. I don’t want to be like Tyra Banks and say “I was in a fat suit for a day so now I know how you all feel!” because I don’t. I’ve never been a large person. But I have experienced rapid noticeable weight change unrelated to pregnancy (and unlike most, I liked being gigantic during pregnancy, it was fun). I noticed then that people always said “Looking good!” “Wow, you lost a ton of weight!” “You look fantastic!” And again, this bothered me because hey, what was I before? I’m the same damn person, stop talking about my body! You would never say to someone “Hey, gained a bit there!” so why is it ok to say “Say, lost a little?”

Me, two weeks before giving birth. Being large was fun because when else do you get to pack it on?

Me, two weeks before giving birth. Being large was fun because when else do you get to really pack it on?

P.P.S. Does this post make me sound like a totally conceited jerk?

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Some Pants

Will the pants watch my child, do the laundry and wash the dishes?

Will the pants watch my child, do the laundry and wash the dishes?

Wednesday Survey time! Tell us about your pants. Do you have a favorite pair? Favorite style? Favorite fabric? Aren’t pants wonderful?

You know my story. As I mentioned in a previous post, my friend B started me on the path of designer jeans about 6 years ago and I haven’t gone back. My favorites include Joe’s Provocateur and Honey, Citizens Faye. I’m trying to collect James Jeans now just because it’s my son’s name. I know, totally shallow. I used to wear jeans because it was the default thing to wear. But now I LOVE wearing jeans. I have not owned (or if I have, never worn) a pair of trousers or chinos or khakis or what have yous in over 20 years. Time to branch out? Or just stick with what works? Not in a hurry to find out.

These are my best friends. They're each other's best friends too.

These are my best friends. They're each other's best friends too.

Did this pant change your life? Tell us about it!

Did this pant change your life? Tell us about it!

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Purple and black watercolor top, jean jacket, pencil skirt, red Cole haan heels

Purple and black watercolor top, jean jacket, pencil skirt, red Cole haan heels

Since I posted my Argument in Favor of Prints, I’ve been thinking how hard to judge a print on its own.  It’s all about the outfit.  Since I’m now worried about being all typecast as the Woman Who Wears Florals, I gathered some print-inclusive outfit combinations in an attempt to demonstrate that I do not look dowdy and lame. I hope (there are more floral prints here, with color and camisoles  ). 

These pictures don’t zoom in on the print, but that’s kind of my point.  I’m going for the Overall Effect that you’d get seeing me walk down the street.  Opinions? I know this isn’t everyone’s style (this is all my business casual work stuff).   Would these outfits work better or worse without prints? how would you adapt them to your own tastes if you were to dress Robin-Business-Casual for the day?

Ann Taylor Loft cardigan, gray skirt, Circa Joan & David heels.

Ann Taylor Loft cardigan, gray skirt, Circa Joan & David heels.

 

Bellatrix floral top (probably about $6 at The Rack by now) with gray suit

Bellatrix floral top (probably about $6 at The Rack by now) with gray suit

 

My husband is 8 inches taller than me, which apparently adds 10 pounds when he's the one taking my picture. I do think this is cute, though.

No matter how much you love someone, it is hard to be photographed by them when they are 8 inches taller because it adds like 10 pounds. I do think this is cute, though.

 

Target skirt that got ruiined in the dryer, brown top, gray Talbots jacket

Target skirt that got ruined in the dryer, brown top, gray Talbots jacket. No I do not know where the baby went in this shot, weird.

 

Kind of animal-ish print, gray skirt, tortoiseshell pumps

Kind of animal-ish print, gray skirt, tortoiseshell pumps. Baby is just about to run into the frame, I cropped her out.

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Afternoon birthday party: Purple floral ruffle tank from The Gap, navy capri pants from Dockers, brown embroidered flats

Afternoon birthday party: Purple floral ruffle tank from The Gap, navy capri pants from Dockers, brown embroidered flats

Aki once asked how my weekend style is different than my workweek style.  I don’t know.  If I have a genuine personal style, shouldn’t I be able to adapt it to different settings but still be “me?”

I used to think of Work Clothes as “dress up” and Weekend Clothes as “normal.” Whatever I did for work (nylons, blouses, heels) was a costume (imposed on me by Work). Out of costume, I reverted to jeans, sweats, t-shirts, men’s plaid flannel shirts.  This was “regular me,”  but not because I liked the way I felt or looked in these clothes.  It was just my Default Wardrobe, inherited from college, updated to include cuter t-shirts or jeans when I bothered thinking about it.

Sometimes, I’d want to look cute on a weekend.  But I wouldn’t want to wear my “work clothes.” Then I was stuck.   This is why:

To Church: Navy cap-sleeve cotton top, linen pants, brown embroidered flats

To Church: Navy cap-sleeve cotton top, linen pants, brown embroidered flats

1. My work clothes weren’t “me” and I didn’t like them.

2. I had no sense of style or identity apart from my job.

3. I tended to panic, buy cheap weekend clothes that were too trendy or lame, and then get frustrated when they wouldn’t work (or at least not for long).

Work wear is where my “dress up or give up” moment happened, but I’m trying to expand it to the weekend.  Here’s what works: For times I want to look pretty but casual, cute cotton tops are working  (I also can wear these to work on a casual day).  Knits are good if I’m going to sweat and need some mobility (long walk) but I like how structured cotton is more deliberate and pretty.  If I’m going to be indoors and it’s okay to be dressy (church, bridal shower), linen pants with flats are good. For more active times (kids’ birthday party, Farm sightseeing), sturdy washable capri pants are good.  Shoes I choose by ground type: Cute flats for indoors or easy paved walking, cute walking sandals for parks or beach, and serious terrain shoes for serious terrain (Tevas for low mucky tide, hiking shoes for hikes).

Golf Course patio dinner: White Costco tee, brown J Crew Skirt, Alfani Petunia Sandals, turquoise medallion necklace. Inset is the cardigan I wore over it.

Golf Course patio dinner: White Costco tee, brown J Crew Skirt, Alfani Petunia Sandals, turquoise medallion necklace. Inset is the cardigan I wore over it.

Also, I’m trying to wear necklaces all the time.  I like to take that extra moment to look in the mirror and say, “hey lady, you deserve an ornament where you’re going.”  It also turns a t-shirt into a look.

So here’s what I wore one sunny weekend in September.  I didn’t photograph what I wore to get bagels and clean out the garage, so you can imagine that same white t-shirt and brown capri pants.  Everything was comfortable, I felt confident and for the most part pretty. Most importantly, it was fairly easy for me to go where I wanted to go, because “what will I wear” wasn’t a big obstacle for me.

Also, isn’t the baby cute?

Beach picnic: Lands End Modern Fit tank, fleece jacket, Dockers Capri Pants, Clarks sandals

Beach picnic: Lands End Modern Fit tank, fleece jacket, Docker's Capri Pants, Clark's sandals

Full disclosure: White Costco t-shirt, pajama bottoms, slipper socks

Full disclosure: White Costco t-shirt, pajama bottoms, slipper socks

Nothing but cute

Nothing but cute

 

 

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