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Posts Tagged ‘stripes’

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

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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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by raisa

Mandarin, liliac and peach silk blouse

Mandarin, liliac and peach silk blouse

Everyone has an opinion about prints, whether it’s “no floral” or “nothing too abstract,” or (often) “no prints!  Ever!”  I’ve always preferred my clothes to be “flowered” (in my childhood, this was the opposite of anything “plain”). This has often put me in the danger zone of wearing BAD prints — granny florals, weird stripes, old paisley.  This is a problem.

You probably don’t wear bad prints; You probably have the opposite problem of underutilizing prints*.  This is just as bad.  For one thing, solid blocks of color all the time doesn’t help you avoid a granny look.  It can be aging, in a Lands End Cruise Separates kind of way.  Good prints are a fantastic way to add artistry, vitality and shape to your outfits.  Don’t give up on prints: Take courage. Prints are possible.  What I’ve learned:

Macy's dress: abstract, high-contrast black, white, brown and blue with black waist for shape. LOVE this dress.

Macy's dress: abstract, high-contrast black, white, brown and blue with black waist for shape. LOVE this dress.

 1.  Prints must be current.

  This is a bummer if you like to think there is a Platonic Form of Classic Clothing that will never go out of style.  Each season, prints and patterns evolve in form, color, contrast and scale.  You might avoid “flowers” because you think they look like dowdy wallpaper, but once you acclimate you can see them as hip new look.  Think of how you know a “70’s psychadelic” or an “80’s polka-dot dress” when you see it.  More recent prints are more difficult to discern, but it still matters.  Those years creep up on you . . . have you watched the 1995 Mariners/ Yankees Playoff Game 5 lately? Every year, those clothes look worse.  Uniforms with weird socks and men wearing white jeans in the outfield. At the time, this looked normal.

To keep current: 1. Buy new clothes; 2. Look in more modern stores and departments (Think Savvy, not Narrative, see Nordstrom FAQ), 3. Refine your aesthetic with exposure to current fashion — a little Vogue in the grocery checkout, a little Prime Time tv.  Think of it like music. You need to hear it to get it.  Do not give up.  Start with scarves, if you are scared.

Current prints: Watercolor, stylized, impressionistic.

Current prints: Watercolor, stylized, impressionistic.

2. Prints must be flattering.  I had this idea of taking pictures of all my prints up really close.  You know what? It doesn’t work, because that’s not the point. A print is like a melody in the context of an entire song — it overlays the top, it gives it identifiable personality — but a print does not say anything meaninful on its own.

If you hate prints, start by ignoring them: shop for fit and flattery, regardless of what the fabric looks like.  But include some favorite colors, shades and forms. Wear your eye color.  If you have body parts you are trying to minimize or maximize, USE the prints to work it: Don’t wear big flowers on your big boobs, or a bunch of wide stripes across your wide shoulders.  A good print should take your waist in, create shape, and attract attention to your neck and face.

Current print: Florals with stems and geometric patterns, white-with-bright for high contrast

Current print: Florals with stems and geometric patterns, white-with-bright for high contrast

3. Prints must fit the outfit. It’s possible to combine a print with a textured fabric or a subtle stripe, but if you’re new, don’t push it.  Prints look best with neutrals that aren’t too match-matchy. Nonblack neutrals (chocolate, charcoal, khaki) are a good bet.  Avoid wearing a solid color, like a green skirt, with a same-green-and-flowered print top: That is very Chadwicks of Boston circa 1998, which means it is Over. 

Prints are emotional and cultural (Why NO flowers? They are just botanical forms, are they that weird?) But most importantly they are visual, and everyone’s wardrobe should have some.

Next up: Digging into my closet back to 2002 (and earlier) for some bad prints.

*Unless your name is Jim A.  In which case you might want to pull back on the plaid.

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by Meg Wood

Hello, readers of this fabulous blog!  This is my first post here, which is only fitting, as the development of this post also involved an afternoon of firsts.  For example: first time I’ve ever taken a camera shopping with me, first time I’ve ever taken a photo of my ass intentionally, first time I’ve ever tried on a shirt with horizontal stripes, first time I’ve ever overheard anybody in a dressing room say, “Do these pants make my feet look big?” (Note: If you have to ask, the answer is probably yes.)

I embarked this afternoon on a quest for two items specifically.  The first was a nice looking, fitted cardigan sweater in a neutral color that I could wear with a sleeveless dress in two weeks for a wedding.  The second was a pair of casual jeans.  Remarkably, I found both items immediately at Nordstrom — the sweater I picked was the first one I tried on, the jeans the second.

While I was at it, I tried on a few other things, some of which I would never, ever have picked up off the rack had it not been for reading this blog the last few months.  Surprisingly enough, I actually had FUN SHOPPING, which might also be a first for me.

But here we go — photo tour!

This is my “before” picture.  It’s what I wore to the store.  The top half is a very pretty white embroidered short-sleeved shirt from Eddie Bauer, and the cardigan is from J. Jill. I wear both those items to work.  The bottoms are my most raggedy jeans, but they are also the only jeans I have at the moment that fit me, so there you are.  I never wear those jeans to work.

1_ShoppingDuds

This off-white cardigan is the first one I tried on when looking for something to go with the dress I’m wearing to the wedding.  I think it’s perfect, so I didn’t even try on any others.  It fits well, I think, and I liked the detail on the edging.  The dress is quite plain in terms of cut (the fabric is sort of a bright blue-gray with an off-white pattern that is hard to describe), so I think the little bit of detail on the sweater will go okay with it.  The goal will be NOT to wear the sweater during the wedding/reception, but I get cold easily and wanted to have the back-up just in case.

2_Undonesweater

Up next was trying on some jeans.  I had the Nordstrom saleslady pick out a few pairs for me, and explained I was looking for casual jeans with a boot-cut and a dark-ish wash.  This was the first pair I tried on, and they were okay, but not quite what I was after.  This photo demonstrates my biggest problem with jeans — waist gap!

10_WaistGap2

This was the pair I ended up buying (below) — I really liked the wash on these, and the fit was great overall.  WAIST GAP strikes again, though, but when I mentioned that persistent problem, the saleslady called the alterations department and there was a woman at my dressing room in under two minutes.  Cost for taking the waist in on jeans at Nordstroms is $21, and they’ll be done within the week.  I’m sure I could get that done cheaper elsewhere, but the jeans were on sale, so I just went for it!

9_WaistGapFINAL 8_Goodjeans

Now that I’d taken care of the two things I actually needed to buy, I decided to try on a bunch of stuff I would probably never ordinarily try on.  This shirt is the first thing I’ve EVER WORN that has horizontal stripes on it, and the stripes were even a bit ruffly!  It was $80, so I put it back, but I sort of regret that decision every time I look at the picture.  I could get away with that shirt, right?  I’m not just imagining that it looks sort of okay?

4_5_Shirt

I grabbed this sweater (left) the moment I saw it because it immediately made me think of Clint Eastwood in spaghetti Westerns.  I was hoping it would make me LOOK like Clint Eastwood in spaghetti Westerns.  Maybe if I’d had the cheroot, it would have.  Instead, it sort of makes me look like a Floridian grandmother.  The saleslady talked me into buying the lacy purple tank on the right, but it wasn’t a hard sell.  It’s a little lingerie-looking to me by itself, but I think it would look pretty under something else.   I think this is the only purple shirt I own — it’s not a color I tend to try.  But I liked it!

12_Clint 4_LaceTank

THIS sweater, I picked up because it looked kind of dramatic and cool on the mannequin.  Once I got it on, though, what it reminded me of instantly was the shirt I made in home-ec in the 8th grade.  Which I got a D on.  See the photo of the front hemline?  That’s what my home-ec shirt’s hemline looked like too.  Only back then, that was considered bad measuring.

5_HomeEc 6_HomeEc2

I moved to Macy’s at this point, and tried on a few more things there.  This jacket was on sale, and I’ve been wanting to try a trench-style coat with a belt for a while now.  But it seemed too short for me, and the belt was on my ribs, not at my waist.  Is that how it’s supposed to be, though?  I can never tell with these things.  Long coats are not good for my body type, typically, but I usually pick out jackets that are a little bit longer than this one.

13_Jacket

Guess what, though — Macy’s was having a big sale on dress pants, so I tried on about six pairs of gray slacks.  None fit but this pair, and this pair DID NOT HAVE ANY WAIST GAP (note surprise on face!)!   I bought them just for that — who cares about the rest?  Brand: Dockers.  I’m officially my father.

11_THEYFIT

And finally, I tried on this boring, boring, boring gray cardigan sweater, which looks like every other cardigan sweater I have ever owned.  Loved it!  Bought it.  Wore it home.  Some things never change.

14_YAY

Purchased:  Two cardigans (boring gray, fancified off-white), lacy purple tank top, one pair of jeans currently being tailored, one pair of Dad pants, one cheroot.

And, to wrap this up, a shot of my infamously enormous ass, because I was double-dog-dared to include it by a friend when I told her I was doing this blog post today.  It might be a bit of a disappointment to some, after all the hype!, because it’s a bit smaller than usual at the moment.  Don’t worry, it will reexpand as soon as I am over this weird stomach thing I’ve got goin’ on lately.  My butt misses doughnuts.  So very, very much.

7_Giantass

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Horizontal Stripes

We all know horizontal stripes are dangerous.  So why do we play with them?  Because they’re so darn cute, that’s why!  I’ve always tended to stay away from them, though.  But every once in a blue moon a certain combination of colors, fit and style of a shirt will just grab me, as this one did.

perfect stripes for an 80s event

perfect stripes for an 80s event

This shirt was about $6 on sale at Old Navy.  I think I look pretty cute.  Doesn’t my friend L also look hot?  When are stripes bad, when are they good?

I think it’s really a matter of knowing yourself and your body. Some people might look great in certain stripes, and yet others could look totally wide and awkward in the same shirt. I know for me personally, crew necks do not work. It emphasizes my big breasts and I would look and feel stuffy and uncomfortable.  I own one other striped shirt that I bought about 5 years ago and it’s also a scoop neck T but with thinner and darker stripes (the other key for me is low contrast between the stripes).  I think that I also get overwhelmed if I wear them in long sleeves so I stick to shorter sleeves.

I’ll try to find examples of stripes that do and don’t seem to work on me and others and post them here.

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