Friday, September 25, 2009

Get a leg up

I have to admit, when I decided to wear my lace-patterned fishnet stockings to the office, I was ready for comments. I had psyched myself up for it. I practiced a line from "Erin Brockovich": "Well as long as I have one ass instead of two I'll wear what I like if that's all right with you." I practiced steely silence as a response to any off-handed comments I might encounter.

But when I arrived at the office, the strangest thing happened. People liked them. And not just people, but the older women -- who I thought for sure would look at me like a streetwalker -- actually liked them. The stockings did not go unnoticed by men either. That afternoon, a gentleman told me I looked "very nice". I commented that he had seen me that very same morning. His response, "Well, I didn't see you standing up." Oh, I get it....nice (and a little creepy). I love how people continually surprise me.

And speaking of surprises, these fishnets are actually footless capris. I bought them on clearance for about $2.00. So, while I will never wear them without boots to cover my legs, I think they were one hell of a bargain.


sweater: Ann Taylor Factory Store
necklace: B & B (but Cookie Lee has one just like it)
skirt: Banana Republic
belt: Fashion Focus
tights: Simply Vera (Vera Wang for Kohls)
boots: Calvin Klein

Friday, September 18, 2009

Button up

You know that expression, "If you don't like something,change it"? Actually, I'm not quite sure if that is technically an "expression" or just something parents say to you during adolescence when you complain. Either way, it is something that gets said and something I take to heart -- especially when it comes to my clothing.

I wish I had the ability to design and sew my own clothing. Well, not so much the ability -- I'm perfectly able -- I could take classes and practice and fail and try again -- so what I really mean is, I wish I had the inate talent/gift of sewing. I always have ideas about the perfect dress/skirt/blouse/etc., but can never find it in the stores. Since I cannot make my own clothes, I must resign to work with what is available. Our market economy depends on people like me. And while this is good for our economy, it can reak havoc on individuality. No one is immune:

Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Though I cannot make my own clothes, I can certainly make clothes my own -- give it some individuality, put my spin on it. For example, the jacket I wore today did not always look like this.


I wish I could tell you I cropped it, nipped it, tucked it, and "oh by the way, it use to be a drape", but that did not happen. This jacket was another Nordstrom's Rack find. I bought it last year because (I'm sure that) I read somewhere trench style-jackets: a) will never go out of style; b) are appropriate for all occasions; and c) flatter every figure. I'm a sucker for a three-prong factoid.

I bought this jacket at a very reasonable price. However, the cheap, plastic buttons that originally came on the jacket were, and plastic. I'm sure the original buttons lended themselves to the reasonable retail cost, but they compromised the whole look of the jacket. They were perfectly acceptable buttons for "disposable clothing," but not for a piece that was suppose to a-c.

After buying the jacket, I immediately set out to the fabric stores. I searched high and low for luxe buttons that were the right size in a complimentary color. Not as easy as it sounds. I finally located the chocolate-covered-butterscotch-esque buttons you see here. The store had only 2 left in stock, so I had to order more. Yes, I had to special order buttons for this jacket. Then, I had to pay my tailor (what I believe to be) an exorbitant amount of money to remove and replace the old buttons. Though, I really shouldn't complain about the cost. I could have tackled buttons on my own, but some things are best out-sourced to the professionals.

In the end, it breaks down to this:
cropped trench jacket: $20
new luxe buttons: $32
tailor fees: $35
having a jacket a-c: $87 (not exactly priceless, but close)

t-shirt: Apt. 9
jacket: hinge
jeans: Gap
shoes: Guess
jewelry: Cookie Lee

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Spring into fall

Getting dressed in the morning is a lot like taking my dogs out to do their business. Sometimes it is very frustrating, takes a long time, and makes me late for work. Other times it is easy and over before you realized what happened. Today was the former.

The weather in Dallas has been rainy and dreary for days and days. The office where I work is air conditioned to a nippy 68 degrees and I'm about one sneeze away from wearing tights and boots to work. We are still 7 days away from the start of Autumn --which begins September 22nd -- but since it is so very close (and my office is so very cold) I got a jump start on dressing for Fall today.


I found this cute cropped, sateen cotton jacket at Nordstrom's Rack. Having originally tried it on with jeans, I was perplexed by what to wear it with to the office. I own several cute jackets, but have recently decided they all look best with jeans and not my work-appropriate pants or skirts.

Pacing from closet to closet, I tried to decide what to wear. I finally grabbed these pants and worked my way up. The multi-colored scarf was hanging with my belts. The burnt orange color in the scarf lead me to the selection of the burnt orange t-shirt (and not, as one co-worker suggested, because I'm from Austin and support the Longhorns).

I vacillated between wearing the platform, snakeskin heels or wearing a pair of burgundy patent leather peep toes. I ended up keeping on the snakeskin heels and hoping too much pattern in one outfit wouldn't put people off. I added the gold jewelry to compliment the gold threads in the scarf. And, as a last minute decision, I decided to wear my butterfly ring -- once again compelling a co-worker to state "That is a big ring." Nothing escapes this brain trust.

jacket: Kenneth Cole
t-shirt: Banana Republic
pants: Banana Republic
scarf: Apt. 9
shoes: Guess
gold bracelet: Apt. 9
ring: B&B Resale shop

Friday, September 4, 2009

All aboard for Labor Day!

Today as I say "Hello" to a 3-day-weekend, I bid adieu to my white jeans. Labor Day is upon us and as mainstream, popular culture knows, white after Labor Day is a "don't". Or is it?


In very recent years, I have noticed several (reputable) fashion sources speaking out in favor of keeping white in your wardrobe all year round. Does this mean I can wear these white jeans in December? According to Suze Yalof Schwartz, executive fashion editor at large at Glamour, "Nothing is more chic than white jeans in the wintertime with a chunky cozy sweater or a blazer and leather boots." A look she dubs as "very Michael Kors."

Okay, so it is one thing to know (in your heart of hearts) that you can wear white after Labor Day and be considered fashionable by those in the fashion industry. But what about those of us in the real world? For example, I work with several older ladies who have been talking about "no white after Labor Day" since September 1. I guess they are really excited about packing away their elastic-waisted Briggs pants and Coldwater Creek blouses.

I admit, I would like to be confident enough to stroll into work wearing stark white in November, but I know I never would. What I will do is find me a nice pair of eggshell/off white/"winter white" pants. And I hate the term "winter white" because again, this is a color that truly can be worn year round as well.

When did colors get so pigeon-holed? I mean, if it wasn't for Christmas I might very well wear red and green in April -- who knows! In that vein, what is it about patterns and colors that conjure up certain images and ideas? For example, I was racking my brain trying to figure out what this blue and white striped, cotton denim jacket "reminded me" of. Then it dawned on me -- do I look like an old-fashioned train conductor?


t-shirt: Mossimo
jacket: Ann Taylor Loft
jeans: Ann Taylor Loft
shoes: Jessica Simpson
jewelry: Cookie Lee
purse: Liz Claiborne (It's shiny AND it's leather! Can you believe it?)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Define "too much"

I hear a lot of women say, "Well, I was going to wear a _____________(belt / necklace / heels / tiara) with this, but it was just too much."

We all have our own ideas of what "too much" is. For some, a necklace AND earrings is "too much". For others, "too much" means they wouldn't wear metallic shoes outside a dance club. I am very aware that my idea of "too much" is no where near the limits of some people's concept of "too much". Hence, I don't think I have ever uttered the words, "I was going to wear a red belt, but it was just too much." No, I would wear the belt.

Every morning I look in the mirror, ponder my outfit and ask myself: "Is this too much?" Very rarely do I tell myself it is.

For example, today's outfit:


Taking a few elements from an outfit I wore in May, I modified and built on it to create today's ensemble.

Keeping the multi-colored blouson top and sweater, I swapped out my gray skirt for this lilac one (Why I thought I would never wear a lilac skirt is beyond me**) and my purple, croc, hidden platform pumps. When I decided it wasn't enough, I added a black belt to provide some definition. I'm sure some people think this is "too much" -- and that is fine by me.

**As an aside about this lilac skirt, I purchased it at a consignment store earlier this year. It is what I wore it in my first blog entry of May 4th. Since then I have worn it about 4 times. As with most of my consignment purchases, I often wonder about the original owner. When and where did she buy it? What did she wear it with? Did she only wear it at Easter? Why did she decide to get rid of it? Based on deductive reasoning, I have concluded this skirt is circa 2002 - 2004. I figured this out while watching reruns of "Less Than Perfect" on Lifetime. One of the characters was wearing a very similar skirt with a cream colored blouse. And this was an episode when Sara Rue was heavier, so it was early in the series. Is this too much information? I don't think so.

blouse: I.N. San Francisco
cardigan: J.J. Basics
skirt: Etcetera
belt: Fashion Focus
shoes: Charles David