Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Totally worth it

Belt too big? Punch an extra hole. Bra straps show? Wear a strapless bra. Shoes too big? Try inserts. Pockets on pants pucker out? Have them shown shut. Skirt too tight? Wear Spanx. There is a fashion fix for almost every would-be fashion blunder. However, once you know how to fix a fashion problem, the question becomes, is it worth it?

Because I love the color of this shirt so much, I am able to overlook the fact that the expansive spacing of the buttonholes forces me to use no less than 3 pieces of strategically placed fashion tape to respectfully wear it. And, because the cotton fabric is thin, I have to wear a totally uncomfortable, aqua colored bra (a nude colored bra is too dark -- TMI?). But I think dealing with these quirks is a small price to pay for being swathed in such a fantastic aqua blue. But hey, that's just me.


shirt: Ann Taylor Loft
skirt: Ann Taylor Factory Outlet
shoes: Nine West
bracelets and necklace: Cookie Lee

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

A newfound favorite

I'm a big fan of "out with the old and in with the new". I habitually edit my closet each season, rotating out items that are unseasonal and deciding which items should go to consignment and what I should give away. The general rule is: if you haven't worn it in a year, get rid of it.

For example, the top in this outfit is one that I had not worn in quite awhile. I bought it with a pair of awkwardly cropped pants -- too long to be ankle pants, too wide to be capris and too fitted to be comfortable -- needless to say, I am getting rid of the pants. Anyway, I never wore this top with anything other than those pants. Which of course, goes against my entire business model and something that needed to be rectified.

I remembered this top being ill fitting and gaping at the top. But for some reason, I decided to try it with this skirt. I don't know if the top shrunk, or I grew, because it fit perfect. The beige of the top and the brown of the skirt worked well together. I added ethereal accents with this black belt with a wooden clasp buckle. I'm not quite an earth mother type, but it felt organic. Playing off the black in the belt I added black jewelry and peep-toe shoes. All things considered, this is now one of my favorite outfits.


top: Ann Taylor Loft
skirt: Banana Republic
belt: Simply Vera Wang
shoes: Steve Madden
necklace: vintage
bracelet: H&M

Monday, July 27, 2009

Sometimes I even bore myself

I have a friend who is convinced green is "the next big thing". I happen to know teal, magenta and papaya are all the rage for Fall 2009, but I like where my friend's head is at. Plus, I say wear whatever colors you like, whenever you want to wear them -- trends be damned.

So while it technically is not the next "big thing," I still love green and wore my kelly green jacket with my navy trousers. If you didn't know any better it may look like I wore jeans, but sadly no, they were trousers. I've worn these pants before, but this time had the clever idea to make the belt loop conundrum obsolete by covering them up. Such a simple idea, the cover up. From swimsuits to Watergate, covering up has been the solution to many problems (with mixed results, of course).

The trousers have a faint window pane pattern, but it is impossible to see in this photo and almost as unnoticeable in person. So to bring in a touch of pattern and texture to my otherwise solid colored outfit, I wore my snake skin heels.

If nothing else, this blog helps me reevaluate my fashion choices. For example, I didn't realize just how plain this outfit was until I saw the picture. I guess Cher (from the movie "Clueless") had the right idea when she said "I don't rely on mirrors, so I always take polaroids." Unfortunatly, I take my pictures at the end of the day. Maybe one day I'll invest in a camera with a tripod and remote. Because while I may make the mistake of occassionally wearing an outfit I consider boring, I will never make the mistake of thinking I can be awake and dressed before my photographer (a/k/a husband) leaves for work.


jacket: INC
pants: Ann Taylor Factory Outlet
shoes: Nine West

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

The skirdle makes a comeback

The high-waisted skirdle is back. I can't believe it has been more than 2 months since I wore it last (and I really can't believe it still fits). This time I paired it with a colorful, abstract print blouse, a wide, black belt and sky-high pewter color shoes. The shoes are kind of groovy because they are iridescent.


One woman asked me if it was a dress. I guess this means the pieces are symbiotic and look as if they belong together. Some guy said I was "lookin' good." Which is nice, but kind of creepy since he dropped the "g."

As pointed out by a friend at the office, this blouse looks similar to another one I own. I guess it is no secret that I bought the shirts around the same time -- when bold color and abstract brushstroke prints were all the rage...again (Fall 2008, not 1988).

And since I don't have too much to blog about today, here's a close up of the shoes -- bonus! I got to give it to Jessica -- she might not be so good at singing, acting or dating, but she does a good shoe.


blouse: INC
skirt: Worthington
belt: Fashion Focus
shoes: Jessica Simpson

Monday, July 20, 2009

Pull yourself up by your ankle straps

I have ophiophobia -- fear of snakes. Who doesn't? They are gross and creepy. There's a reason "coldblooded" is an insult. The only time I don't mind snakes is when their skin is on shoes, a belt or purse. Vestiphobia is the fear of clothing. I definitely don't have vestiphobia -- but there are some types of clothing that I avoid like a snake: skinny and/or acid washed jeans, heavy cable knit sweaters, accordion pleated skirts, and shoes with ankle straps.

I have short legs and wide calves (for example, most knee-high boots come with a 13-15" circumference -- I need 16"). I avoid ankle strap shoes, which tend to visually cut the legs, making them appear even shorter and wider. For this reason, I was wary about these snakeskin ankle strap shoes.

However, even with short legs and wide calves, I found I can wear shoes with ankle straps. First, I make sure the strap hits below the ankle. I avoid thick straps and dark colors. These particular shoes are a conglomeration of neutral colors. Generally, neutral colored shoes help create the illusion of a longer leg. In this case, I think the neutrality helps to avoid a shortening effect. Of course, the added height from the 3/4" platform and 3 1/2" heel does a good job to visually lengthen the leg as well. Also, wearing a skirt that falls above the knee will help keep your stems from appearing like stumps.



necklace: Cookie Lee
tank top: S.O.
wrap top: Worthington
skirt: Sunny Leigh
shoes: Guess (as in the brand name, not as in me being coy)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Use your animal instincts

Animal print clothing has been around since...well, since clothing.

If we have learned anything from movies, cartoons and Geico commercials (and who hasn't?), it is that cavemen and cavewomen wore animal pelts.

The story goes like this, cavemen hunted and cavewomen gathered. I know that even if it was 10,000 B.C., I wouldn't want some guy with an archaic belief system telling me I had to wear what he skinned. I wouldn't sit around the cave, waiting to see what pelt Ug brought back. I would have been one of the first feminists -- Gloria Steinstone. If I wanted to wear leopard instead of lion, I would go out and get it myself -- hunt it and gather it.

Oh sure, I might need a burly man to help with the heavy lifting and the gross skinning part, but all-in-all I would do the work. Just as I hunted down this leopard print belt and gathered it up myself. Then, I wore it to work over a blue cardigan and black skirt. A fully modernized version of the cavewoman I would have been.



sweater: Ann Taylor Loft
necklace: Cookie Lee
bracelet: H&M
belt: New York & Co.
skirt: Larry Levine
shoes: Nine West

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Shopping XXI when you're not 21

I recently bought this blouse using store credit. Store credit being a self-declared loophole in my 90-day (XC-day) shopping moratorium. It has passed legal muster -- I work in a law firm, it was vetted.

Now, why I had store credit at XXI (a/k/a Forever 21) is an interesting story of its own, but one I will spare you (especially if you read yesterday's post). But I hope you realize that calling the store XXI is not some cute idea I had (like saying something from Old Navy is "Vintage Nautical Defense"). Forever 21 has actually changed the signage on some of their storefronts to read XXI. I think they are trying to trick people who are old enough to know how to read Roman numerals into thinking they should shop there. The name "Forever 21" just kills me. Who would want to be 21 forever? Forever 28 is more like it.

I have mixed feelings about XXI -- much like my feelings about 5-7-9 (IV-VII-IX), a store that has been around since I was in high school. 5-7-9 is a store that carries only sizes 00-9. My disgust for 5-7-9 is rooted in my youth (as is all of my disgust for exclusively sized stores). I was never able to shop at 5-7-9 and so I abhor it.

When I peruse XXI, I can't help but feel like I'm doing something improper. "But they have such great accessories," one of my friends always says. Conceivable, if you consider neon pink plastic bracelets and tin earrings "great accessories." Now I admit, I have on occasion bought (and worn) clothing from XXI. It's not as though I'm purchasing my entire wardrobe at this place. And they really do have some cute blouses, some of which I think can be worn to the office. However, the looks I get from the 16-year-old (XVI-year-old) salesgirls make me question my presence in the store.

Should a woman who is twice the age of the average shopper be here? If I can't distinguish a shirt from a very short dress should I leave? If I find myself shaking my head in disapproval at the youth of today, should I walk out? Perhaps, but not before getting this blouse, which I actually think is a very mature thing to have found it the store -- which may explain why there were so many still on the rack.

blouse: XXI
tank: Ann Taylor Loft
skirt: Ann Taylor Factory Outlet
shoes: Carlos Santana
necklace and earrings: White House Black Market (which is funny, because they are bronze)
bracelet: JCPenney

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This post is brought to you by the letter "D"

I once won a middle school class debate by using the dictionary. I don't remember the exact topic, but it was something like: "What is justice?" My opponent stuttered around, trying to logically piece his thoughts together. I stood there, queasy, but grateful I wasn't the one to go first. When it was my turn, I walked straight to the back of the room, grabbed a dictionary and read the definition of "justice," or whatever the topic was. I won. I think my resourcefulness impressed the gym coach forced to pull double duty as a debate teacher -- yet another fond memory of my formidable years.

(The preceding paragraph was just a turn in the winding trail on the way to my point.)

Remember watching Sesame Street (be it 25 years ago or recently)? Remember how every day was "brought to you" by a letter and a color? (And we're walking, we're walking...) So today, I'm thinking about this and how what I was wearing technically could never sponsor Sesame Street. I mean, I'm sure some episodes have been brought to you by "the color white" or "the color black." They may have even co-sponsored some episodes -- Sesame Street is big into diversity. But should they have technically been allowed to sponsor a day? I mean, black, white, beige, gray -- neutrals are opposite of color, so "the color black" is an oxymoronic term right?

(and this people, is how I fill my time during my commute)

I decided to turn to my old pals Merriam and Webster to see if I could figure out this internalized debate.

neu⋅tral  adj
(of a color or shade) achromatic

ach⋅ro⋅mat⋅ic adj
free from color

col⋅or n
a specific combination of hue

hue n
the attribute of colors that permits them to be classed as red, yellow, green, blue, or an intermediate between an contiguous pair of these colors

Okay then, so basically what I can take away from this little research project is this: today's outfit consisted entirely of neutrals and therefore could not sponsor a day on Sesame Street. Which is a real shame. I was looking forward to shopping at Mr. Hooper's store in August.


blouse: i.e.
sweater: Ann Taylor Loft
jeans: Ann Taylor Loft
shoes: Bakers

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

No Jacket Required (but really it's policy)

As you may have noticed, I do not post to this blog every single day. Absent posts could be symptomatic of a hectic day in which I didn't have time to compose a post. Or it could mean I had a hectic morning, threw on a nothing special outfit and was not inspired to write. Let's face it, everyone hits a wall now and then. If not, wardrobe consultants would be out of business, there would be no such thing as a "Worst Dressed List", and Drew Barrymore would currently be dressing a bit more glamorous (or at least a bit more sensical).

Yesterday, running late for work "'cause it takes me so long just to figure out what I'm gonna wear," (you know, a typical "Manic Monday") I dressed simply -- black trousers and a pink button-up blouse. Nothing too inspiring, but I vowed today would be better.

When deciding what to wear today, I thought about what makes me feel my best. Of course, this would be something we all should keep in mind when dressing, but like everyone else, I fall victim to oversleeping (and/or getting sucked into an early morning episode of "Charmed") and need to dress quickly to make it to work on time (well, maybe not on time...).

For me, what makes me feel pretty and confident is a skirt, feminine blouse, killer heels and fabulous accessories. When originally formulated, this outfit did not have the cropped jacket. I bought this sleeveless tank on clearance about a year ago. It is cotton, but the satin (re: polyester) ruffle adds a bit of fancy. I paired the tank with my gray skirt. The black belt was necessary to provide some semblance of a waist and I added my purple heels (a recent gift from a very dear friend) for a pop of color.

However, knowing the company policy about sleeveless (not allowed), I grabbed the crop jacket before heading out the door. I fully intended to remove the jacket at work (keeping it nearby in case of client meeting, etc.). I even did extra bicep and hammer curls this morning in anticipation of wearing sleeveless (I only wish I was joking). However, as anyone who works in an office can attest to, it may be 100 degrees outside, but an office building will have the air temp of a meat locker. Accordingly, the jacket remained on my person all day. It's a shame too, because I don't think this outfit requires the jacket (but of course, HR does).
post- no jacket
Jacket: Ann Taylor Loft
Tank: New York & Company
Skirt: Ann Taylor Factory Store
Belt: Fashion Focus
Shoes: Charles David

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Ear Candy

A huge trend for Spring/Summer 2009 is statement jewelry -- big, bold scene-stealing jewelry. But I'm sure there are many of you who, like me, don't need a fashion magazine to tell you when your favorite jewelry is in style.

I've always loved wearing jewelry, especially earrings. In 6th grade I wore earrings that would make Salt-n-Pepa jealous (and maybe Spinderella, but who knows...). Hoops so big, I could (and did) fit my arm through them.

I got my ears pierced when I was 6 months old. Mom promises a doctor did it, but I was born in a third-world country (Panama City, Panama) so who knows...

This morning, I tried 4 different necklaces before opting on these shoulder-grazing earrings -- some would say it is "statement jewelry," but I've had them since before anyone coined that phrase. These earrings were a gift from my mother. She bought them for me in Paris, which automatically raises the chic factor. And if you think they look heavy, you are right.

I think what makes fashion fun is pushing limits. And I like to push it, push it real good.

skirt: New York & Co.
blouse: The Limited
bracelets: Cookie Lee
necklace: probably the French version of Claire's
shoes: BCBG Angels

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Walking tall

Given my on-going love affair with sky-high heeled shoes, I am accustomed to hearing unsolicited commentary about my footwear. Of course today was no different. These Jessica Simpson Genaviv shoes boast an attention-getting heel height of 4 3/4" with 1 1/2" platform. I suck at math, but I do know that this calculates to being comparable to a 3 1/4" heel (I'm sure my 6th grade math teacher just rolled over in her grave).

But for some reason no one believes me when I tell them that these are the most comfortable pair of heels I own. Seriously, when I bought these shoes (last winter) I took them for a test strut around the shoe department. They were so comfortable, I completely forgot I had them on! I looked in the mirror and literally said out loud: "Oh, I completely forgot I had these on."

People see me in these shoes and they turn into my mother:

"How can you walk in those things?"
"You'll break your neck!"
"Those can't be comfortable."
"You'll ruin your feet!"
"Those look like stripper shoes." (this from one of my more conservative friends)

The funny thing is that my own mother doesn't say things like that to me.

My own Italian, New York born and raised mother replies to my fashion-related questions like a surly Denny's waitress takes your order at 2 a.m. -- there's no discussion, no banter -- it's cut to the chase.

I once asked my mom, "Do these look like stripper shoes?" Without missing a beat, she replied: "You're not a stripper, so how can they look like stripper shoes." Growing up with logic like that, it's no wonder I walk tall, no matter what my heel height is (though it's usually 3 or more inches).

Blouse: Banana Republic
Skirt: Apt. 9
Belt: Old Navy (vintage)
Shoes: Jessica Simpson (but, I think I covered that already)
Bangles: Urban Outfitters

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

You say goodbye and I say yellow

The Michael Jackson memorial service brought out a lot of star power with their sweet sentiments and heartfelt memories. For 90 minutes I sat glued to my desk, watching the streaming video. At times it felt voyeuristic -- looking in on friends and family say farewell to their loved one. But mostly it seemed like a concert -- with the who's who of Grammy winners performing in tribute.

And not to be insensitive to the fact that this was a person's memorial service, but this blog is about fashion and it needs to be said: Mariah Carey exceeded the limits of acceptable daytime cleavage (for a funeral service). Here's an easy way to check appropriateness. Ask yourself: Can the gown I chose to wear for today's memorial service be likened to one I wore to a carpet event? If the answer is "yes," you best keep looking through your closet.

Mariah Carey, today at MJ's memorial.

Mariah Cary, at the Apollo's 75th Anniversary Event. The look on the guy's face next to her is priceless!

Speaking of funeral fashion, the Internet is full of postings from people speculating why all the Jackson brothers wore matching yellow ties (and male performers wore yellow boutonnieres). Some speculate that yellow was MJ's favorite color (other sites list orange, pink, black, red and silver as his favorite). Someone wrote that they wore yellow because in the United States, a yellow ribbon is used as a symbol of solidarity with someone who is far from home, and an expression of hope that he or she will return safely and soon.

One site opined that the private memorial theme was "Wizard of Oz" and the yellow was for the yellow brick road. MJ played the Scarecrow in "The Wiz."

I must admit, I am curious about the real reason. It was mere coincidence that today I put on my exceedingly bright yellow blouse.

With today's glitzy, glamorous memorial, I can't help but think of my own big farewell party. And since we already know what shoes I want to be memorialized in, we can move on to other important issues -- like the soundtrack. Today, I realized I need Jennifer Hudson to perform "Will You Be There," a song I am uploading to my iPod right now. And if John Mayer wants to come and do a little guitar action, I'm cool with that too. Everyone can wear what they want -- no matching required. Just please keep the cleavage in check.

Blouse: Worthington
Skirt: Banana Republic
Shoes: Carlos Santana
Jewelry: Cookie Lee

Thursday, July 2, 2009

The long and short of it

In an earlier posting, I explained / lamented how the only time we were allowed to wear jeans to the office was the day before a holiday. Since that posting, two holidays have occurred and we have had zero "denim days." First, there was Memorial Day and then today, the day before our 4th of July weekend, no denim -- how unpatriotic! They might as well burn the flag.

I think I finally have accepted the fact that "denim day" at our office no longer exists. No one is sure why we don't have them anymore. It could be that -- despite being an office entirely comprised of adults over the age of 25 -- some people take "denim day" to mean "derelict day" and show up to work looking all kinds of messed up. What is so difficult about it? You just put on an office-appropriate top and a nice pair of jeans. You wouldn't wear a tube top with khakis on Monday, so don't wear one with jeans on denim day.

Of course, office sanctioned "denim day" or not, there are still people in the office who take advantage of their job title and taunt the rest of us by wearing jeans whenever they want. Today, upon seeing several attorneys wearing jeans (one with flip flops!) I threatened to show up to work on Monday in a pair of city shorts (I'm no suffragette, but I do what I can).

City shorts are also known as "Bermuda shorts" and "walking shorts." I opt to call them city shorts since (clearly) I'm not in Bermuda and the term "walking shorts" implies some level of tourism. No, "city shorts" are the appropriate term since I work in the city. Though, ironically, I cannot wear city shorts to work.

The above photo is for demonstrative purposes only. Please disregard that fact the model has a boring t-shirt on and flatter than flat thongs. Obviously, I would wear a blouse and a pair of high heels.

What gets me most about the office ban on city shorts is that a moderate length city short is the same length as the average hem length of a dress or skirt. What is it about the seam running up the inner leg that creates such a scandal? I am amazed that knee-length shorts are still forbade or considered inappropriate for most offices. A good friend of mine was actually sent home from work last week for wearing city shorts on a Friday. And she works at an office where jeans are allowed everyday! The whole thing is reminiscent of the culotte controversy of my youth.

I think I understand how frustrated Katherine Hepburn must have been when she thwarted fashion rules of the 1930's, becoming one of the first woman to wear trousers in public. Maybe that is why today I felt as thought I was channeling her with my wide leg trousers and retro polka dot blouse.

But why does she look so pissed off? It's not like someone told her she couldn't wear jeans.

Top: Gap
Pants: Ann Taylor Loft
Shoes: Jessica Simpson (I know, right)
Jewelry: Cookie Lee