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Archive for November, 2009

Too Much

Wednesday Survey: 1) What do you own that you have  too many of? 2) How much is too much?

 

My latest acquisition sits on top. My first Sevens.

Me, I have 10 pairs of jeans. Designer jeans. No one needs that many. I feel like 5 is enough, maybe even too many by some people’s standards. No one wears their jeans only once but if they did, 5 would give you enough for the week and then laundry. I actually (TMI?) wear one pair for the week so I really only need 1 or 2. Whatever. I have 10, ok?

 

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1 Pant, 3 Ways

 

Free and cheap stuff!

One day in August, I stopped by the consignment store on Phinney called Labels (recommended by several friends) and found the perfect size 28 Citizens jeans for $48. Before you get all worked up about the price, please keep in mind that they usually go for thrice the amount. It was in good condition, and sold “as is” due to the fact that the pants were shortened but still keeping the original hem. I don’t care. I have to hem off another 2 inches anyway. Please note in the picture that the hems were somewhat worn but that was on purpose. It came like that, it’s the style. It wasn’t worn down by the wearer. Don’t ask, man. I found out a few years ago myself that there was a term called “original hem” when getting your pants hemmed. Please also note that my son has the profile of Alfred Hitchcock. It’s adorable.

I took it home, washed it a few thousand times, then hemmed it to a length where I can wear them with my Danskos, as I have several. What I didn’t realize at the time was that my left leg is slightly shorter than my right. I gradually found this out as I observed the wearing patterns of the cuffs of my pants. After only 2 months my beautiful wonderful pants started to look ratty and frayed.

 

Gross, right? Ugh, I was so mad. Everything else was perfect.

I was heartbroken for a few days but brainstormed and decided that I could make these my “boot pants” as my new Merrell boots are flat and a couple inches lower than my Danskos. So voila! I hemmed it up another couple inches and tucked the worn edges in and now I have a brand new boot jean!

 

The pants will live again.

Don’t worry. Once those hems get grodied out I won’t wear them as cut-offs. I don’t like hems riding up on my heels but I don’t like dragging them either. It really is a fine science. I’m still working out the kinks. I love having a sewing machine, it’s your friend.

 

 

 

 

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My Own Private Oregon

I really love the one on the right. I wish the left one didn't end with pink/white but I like it enough.

Hi everyone, I’m back. As Robin mentioned, we have all been busy. Last weekend, I drove down to Oregon to visit my parents thinking that I would be there for only a couple of nights. As it turned out my dad needed a triple bypass instead of the originally scheduled angioplasty so I ended up staying for a whole week to keep my mom company and lend moral support.

My big dilemma: I had only brought 3 Tshirts!! What to do (Yes, I know open-heart surgery is serious business and we were all very worried and everything turned out just fine and everyone is feeling better but I’m trying to make this about fashion, work with me here)? I thought that it would be a perfect opportunity for me to dash out to the Old Navy and purchase a few “fire clothes” to tide me over. See? That’s how you do fire clothes. Sadly however, during my week long stay even though I went to Old Navy 3 times all I found was a cute little Beatles shirt on sale for the little one. There were a few shirts I may have bought had I only brought one T-shirt. But since my mom does laundry I didn’t feel the pressing need. Bummer, I wanted to see what I would buy. The shirts I considered buying were $8 each and were long sleeved scoopneck Ts in various colors. I think the tipping point for me would have been if they were 3/4 length. Most long sleeve Ts are too long for me and go flapping around and I don’t like to fold my sleeves. You lost a sale, Old Navy.

 

We have the exact same one in white I purchased at the Gap but in a smaller size.

I did however purchase 3 pairs of over the knee socks at Target, all Xhilaration brand. It also just happened that my sister bought my niece 2 pairs of striped knee socks on the same day. So it was all about striped socks this weekend. It’s ok though because I was looking for socks to wear with my new boots, remember? Besides, I have to regroup and strategize about my next clothing purchases (I’ll talk about this in another post later) so I don’t want to do any impulse clo buying at this point. Even if it’s tax-free.

 

I went with over the knee because I was afraid plain knee highs would ride down as I walked. I'll let you know how it goes.

This person is all about stripes. And she usually wears pants, i think.

P.S. I’ve always hated the word “hosiery.”

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Brown knit Maggie London dress, orange textured tights, brown shoes, gold chain necklace

. . . .in the cold November rain

~Axl Rose

pjd writes:

Hey, Robin. We need some winter posts. Casual cute weekend coats to wear in winter, for one thing. Shoes. Are you still wearing all those high heels or have you switched to boots and tights for winter? Boots. If one doesn’t like all those buckles and things on their boots, what are the options? What about colors for your wardrobe? Have you changed in the winter? Summer’s formula was a pretty top and a nice pair of shoes with dress pants. What is winter’s formula? Thank you.

Thanks for asking, pjd!  I agree with Axl Rose, who I know you hate, but it is so true: It’s hard to hold a candle in the cold November Rain.  This means it is freezing and wet out there, so who really wants to wear anything but their jammies? Much less care about whether we look GOOD?

Well, I care.  I’m on “max conserve” these days, which means spending no money.  So I need to get creative with winterizing the wardrobe I already have.   Lots of mixed dark neutrals, vivid color where I can fit them in.  Not so many light colors, although I like the look of “blush” or nude/pink with charcoal gray.  I’ll start with shoes today:

Long skirt, boots, jacket

Long skirts with boots.  I’m wearing some of the same long dresses I wore in summer, now with knee-high boots.  Underneath, comfy warm tights or even black silk long underwear.  I think I’m going to experiment with silk long underwear tops under short-sleeved dresses. Has anyone done this successfully?

Cute tights.  I’m wearing my knee-length skirts with cute tights and boots (in the rain) or other heels (if it’s dry).  I used to boycott all nylons and tights (what Malcolm calls “Tatching Socks,” because they attach at the top), I hated them so much I never wore skirts in the winter.  Finally one day, I had to find something to wear for a funeral right after I had a baby, and a black skirt was my only somber/postpartum option.  And maternity tights were pretty comfortable!  So hey, maybe I just need tights that FIT BETTER.   Good quality tights are stretchy and come in all sizes.  They should not give you a stomachache.  Or an anywhere-elseache.  They should be snug but not dig in. They should be nice and warm.

Don’t restrict yourself to “black goes with black, brown goes with brown” rules for tights.  There are lots of ways to color-coordinate your tights: Monochrome, color-contrast, or texture.  Mix dark neutrals! Brown tights with a black skirt can work if you also do brown/black mixed on top.  I like to wear dramatic tights for work, but I don’t like to show off a lot of leg when I do that. 

Sofft glossy croc-print, $108

Slacks and sturdy heels.

I park my car a five minute walk in the rain from the front door of my office.  I’ve got a few pairs of sturdy, walkable heels that aren’t too delicate.  Resilient patent leather or vinyl, nothing strappy or suede, solid heels.  Sofft and Circa Joan & David are both good for this. I wear thick taupe or black knee-high nylons, a bit thinner than a full trouser sock.

Open-toe tortoiseshell pump over black socks. I think it is a confident "I love my shoes" look. I also like how it echos the print-over-black of the top. These are Semantiks tweed trousers and an Eddie Bauer jean jacket.

Open-toed shoes with socks.  Yes, I went there.  I love my Cole Haan Air Carmas too much to put them away until spring.  I will admit it looks goofy at first, but it is a Style with its own class and tradition; you can see it in old 1940’s photos of open-toed shoes with seamed stockings.   They key is to look like you’re doing it on purpose: “Yep, see my socks?” not “eek, don’t look at my socks.” No nude hose, and contrast is good. 

Boots and Pants. I haven’t mastered this yet.  I probably need mid-heel ankle boots. I just can’t get over them though, they look so lame in the store, all stumpy like that.  I don’t like the way tall boots bump against the pant leg.  I fear pants with boots will make me look like a bad real estate agent.  But I need to work on this, because the top of my socks are starting to get wet. 

Also, I really don’t like tucked boots into pants (Meg asked about this).  If you’ve got any kind of hips, the bottom of the pant leg needs to somewhat balance out the top to avoid an “ice cream cone” effect.   Like skinny jeans, this look works best on very young or very narrow women. Which is good, because it’s the skinny jeans that tuck in, anyway. So how about “if you already rock skinny jeans, go ahead and tuck them into the boots” for a rule?

As far as boot embellishment.  Try stuff on and post examples, and see what works.  Post ideas if you can and we’ll talk about it.  Some buckles look silly until you walk around in them and get used to the idea.  I used to hate ALL embellishment on shoes, but “plain” isn’t necessary better.  But there are lots of great “plain” options — both boots in my pictures (Brown Cole Haan and Black Aerosole) just have hidden zippers.

Circa Joan & David, wine patent buckle pump, $48 at 6pm.com

Sweater dress, print tights, black boots

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Today was a good day

Tahari suit skirt, 2005; Aerosole Boots, 2008; Classiques Entier print top, 2008; hammered-metal necklace, 2009; Cardigan, 2009

Good morning, no we have not dropped off the face of the planet, we are just busy with life’s important matters.  I’m grounded from shopping.  In the sense of “grounding my Glorious 747 of Fabulousness” not “grounding my child by making him stay home while the rest of us go see Ghostbusters.”  I just really don’t need any new clothes as much as I need new brakes on my car.  But even though life is crazy (CRA.ZY.) we are still dressed well and feel great about the way we look.  Believe me. 

Even with little time and no money, I wonder how we can like our style.  Instead of thinking “I can’t afford that right now,” what do we learn from wanting it?

Wednesday Survey:

  • What fabulous wardrobe purchase would you buy right now if you only had the money and the perfect place to wear it?
  • How would you describe it in three words?

Post links and I will import them into the post and we can see what everyone is thinking about these days.

Burberry All-weather poplin coat, double-breasted with epaulet shoulders and belted cuffs, $975.

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macys1

1. Blue striped cardigan with faux buttons, wool

. . . . but no one thinks of changing himself.”

~ Leo Tolstoy

So we went Macy’s to “Shop for a Cause” with our AHOPE coupons.  AHOPE is an organization that supports African HIV+ Orphans and international adoption.  I like to daydream about adoption (My dayream goes like this: I want another child! Hmm first I need to be a foster parent.  Wait that would take a lot of work.  I don’t even have time to feed the cat. Maybe I don’t need another child?) 

It’s a personal thing.  Kids are good and adoption is great, so no one should rule it out completely.  In the meantime, we can change the world in little ways.  Shop for a Cause is a promo/fundraiser for charities all over the U.S.  The charity sells coupons for $5, you get 25% off. Macy’s gets more customers, you get a good deal on anything priced over $20.  Why Get Dressed met at Southcenter, where we got to see other charities participating by selling their coupons in person at Macy’s.  This included a Seeing Eye Dog group. And WOW if there is anything cuter than Seeing Eye Puppies, don’t tell me!  I will definitely adopt it.

Ridiculous plaid shirt

2. Long cotton plaid shirt with shirred back elastic

Our contingent consistent of dmama, our special guest, and myself.  I’ll admit we had to push ourselves a bit to get out of the toddler department (two daughters and two sons between us).  Southcenter Macy’s has a premium denim department with accompanying premiumdenim-worthy designer tops, so that’s where we started.

We have three contrasting body types, self-identified as Apple, Citron and Pear(Tall).  Wouldn’t it be fun to all try on the same thing and see what we could learn?   Even if it’s buugly and way out of our comfort zones? So we did! My observations:

1. Striped Cardigan. Stripes are WAY out of my comfort zone, for reasons I can trace to childhood.  I was the “flowered” one and my sister was the “sailor striped” one. So, no stripes for me. Aki on the other hand loves them.  This sweater was a bit itchy and she didn’t like the shoulders on her so much.  I wasn’t crazy about the nautical stripe/ military collar, but the structured shoulders work on me. The trick with this sweater is it doesn’t REALLY button. It just hangs like that. It hangs well on me, so I bought it. But I will confess I later returned it because 1. I hadn’t worn it for weeks and 2. It cost more than I thought it would — only one of my discounts applied so I paid $68 instead of the $38 I had hoped for. Cute though.

2. Plaid shirt. These colors were bad.  If we’re going to do plaid, shouldn’t we do an all out Tartan palette?   Go for high-contrast, go for forest green and navy blue. This was like Clan Miami Vice with the pastel 80’s thing. It was also that thin, thin cotton that you just know is going to wrinkle like crazy and shrink when you put it in the dryer, which you’re surely not supposed to, but who wants to be more fussy with a cotton plaid shirt?  It also is really long. I used to always want my shirts really long to cover me up.  Now I realize it truncates my leg line and makes me look top heavy with a big butt.  The length and shoulders were good on the Very Tall person.  The butt coverage worked on the small-hipped Apple person.  The structured shoulders and collar worked on Citron (stabilizes weak shoulders and draws attention away from bust/tummy). Other than that: fail.

3. Ruffly Purple Mess.  I grabbed this pretending it was a joke.  Really I loved that color — that gorgeous true purple that isn’t marred by any 90’s-looking burgundy tones.  I loved the floral. I loved the ruffles.  Can I please have a dance recital now? No, I cannot.  This is too short for a dress and too long for a top, so apparently we’re supposed to wear it with leggings.  The empire waistline CAN WORK, because it emphasizes the ribcage which is my smallest measurement.  But then the ruffles made me look pregnant all over. Like even my butt looked pregnant.  Also, I hate to buy things that don’t fit in my life (practice law, schlep kids to Target, pull weeds in the rain). But then sometimes I really want something silk and ruffly.  I think I just need to expand my life to find better places to wear them. Not this particular top, though.

4. Indigo lace top with ruffly cap sleeves. You can really see the different shoulder effects with this one. Cap sleeves are tricky — they can make small shoulders look slouchy and broad shoulders look flippy.  This is sheer lace (I’m wearing it over a brown camisole) so a person would need something under it.  It has an exposed zipper, which some of us like more than others.  It has a weird sleeves-attached-to-neckline thingy, I wouldn’t rule it out but it is almost a halter top which means it’s hard to find the right bra.  I don’t hate it, it’s just not quite right.  And if you DID love this, what would you wear it with? Skirt and boots? Gray pants? I really don’t like blue tops with jeans.

macys 4

3. Blue lace zipped top; 4. Purple ruffled tunic with empire waist

macys5

4, 3, 4.

We also shopped coats, which I summarized previously, without having much luck.  We proceeded to hit a series of children’s stores (Macy’s childrens department was a bit of a disappointment) to stock up on cute things for our cute kids, and then we burnt out.  Overall, a good day! I ended up making an AHOPE donation on behalf of all of you who wished you could come but didn’t make it.

Oh and someone got a bra fitting . . . ALWAYS worth it!  A new bra might be the surest way to focus on taking care of your own self, starting where you are right now (instead of waiting to lose weight, wean your baby, get a new job, or whatever might be holding you back).  It might sound like a grande rationalization for spending money — which I will be talking about more this week — but it’s easier change the world if you truly feel good about yourself.  And looking good is part of this.  And good clothes are part of that.

Probably not the purple ruffly thing, though.

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The end of Aki

Uh oh. I just discovered eBay. I mean, I knew about eBay and I have even purchased stuff there before. But, like I just had my first on a whim purchase that I won that gave me a little high. Uh oh. Yeah. That felt good. I have a bad feeling.

This is NOT the item I purchased. It just looks pretty on the page.

So my good friend E and I started a blog.

Don’t worry, it’s not going to conflict with this blog too much. It’s like Fantasy Baseball except it’s like Fantasy Aki. Why Get Dressed? talks about the Aki in reality and what she wears. Auction Fashion will be the imaginary Aki and what she would wear if she had unlimited funds and a fabulous life free of diapers and hairballs. Or if she was a complete nutball. Sometimes I might actually purchase the stuff I post over there. Then I’ll post them over here.

Got that?

http://auctionfashion.blogspot.com/

Oh gosh.

What have y’alls alls purchased on eBay that you have loved?

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