Thursday, October 25, 2012

Quick Like a Bunny

It was very warm today, and this is what I wore. It had great significance to me this morning, it spoke to my personal style journey, but now I'm in a hurry because I have to go home and pack for my long weekend in Rhode Island with Ben!


Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Ah, Indian Summer

Today it got up to 79 degrees. Everybody went out to lunch to celebrate the lovely weather, with the trees burning brightly all around us, mums glowing in every garden bed, a softly angled sun beaming down at us.

And of course, this morning we stared at our closets looking for warm-weather but still Fall-ish clothes. I wore black stretchy pants, a champagne silk tunic, my plastic "tortoise-shell" necklace, and leopard calf-hair flats.

No coat, no socks!
Tomorrow it will be warm, but rainy. And then it is supposed to drop to the 30s. These balmy moments are even finer because of their brevity.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Raspberry and Black

I have great affection for this rayon blouse. It's at least twenty years old, chock full of pretty embroidered details and ruffles, purchased from J. Jill when the brand was much better quality, and for years it was my go-to outfit for parties. This and a pair of jeans and boots and I was all set:
Darren, Ben and me at D's 50th birthday.
It seems immortal, perhaps because I only wear it a few times a year. The skirt is a super-flattering Talbot's double-knit pencil skirt.

Here's an over-exposed detail of the sleeve. Pretty.

And I'm wearing my Lia Sophia cross.

Third Strike for the Military Jacket

Sigh. I'm just not feeling it, as the kids say. I like the concept, the color, just not the execution. I'm going to put this jacket in the coat closet, and wear it as a light jacket on weekends. Maybe a sage green fitted cardigan would work better?

What I was aiming for is the tough/girly combination look, which I like so well on others. Here's Sally in the best example ever, but I can't love it on me, despite having tried virtually every arrangement seen on Sally. Which I hope is the sincerest form of flattery, and not stalking.  

Monday, October 22, 2012

And Another Thing I Want . . .

I have a short-sleeved leopard print chiffon tee that I made a couple of years ago and wear fairly often. It fits under jackets, even sweaters, and is light enough to wear in summer. It is machine-washable and has a flattering draped neckline that elevates it slightly. It has to be tucked in because the hem is kind of ragged, and that is why I have been looking for something to fill the same role in my closet.

But NO DICE. Everything either is cotton (too stiff or bulky), or has long sleeves, or has a weird collar, or is too expensive, or has a mystery animal print. There's a lot of snakeskin out there this year, people. So I'm adding that to my list of wardrobe goals for 2012, now amended to: 
1.  Casual, hooded, short-ish, warm coat   $100

2.  Brown-ish handbag  $45 and real leather!

3.  Beige ankle boots   $105

4.  Red short boots

5.  White lace tee

6.  Leopard-print top 

7.  Leather gloves with Thinsulate lining

If you see the leopard-print top somewhere on your shopping adventures, let me know! 

Is this list closed for 2012? I'm not sure. I've been looking at lots of tall brown boots. I had a pair of Markon riding boots that laced up the back, and I finally weeded them this year. They were at least 15 years old. They're definitely not a need, but, well, they'd be COOL. I actually tried a fabulous pair on at Lord and Taylor, but they ran a little narrow for comfort. BCBGeneration Janiss, seen from the back:

$200 at Amazon and various retail stores
Seriously, those were fantastic-looking boots. But for that price, they should also be fantastically comfortable.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Olive and Gold

I didn't actually wear these BCBGeneration booties with this outfit (I wore the Kenneth Cole moto boots), but they had arrived when I got home and I thought they'd look cute with the bronze-y Athleta corduroy skirt.
I think they work. I have on olive tights, my tweed jacket, and an olive Talbot's tee underneath. Man, I wish I had bought that tee in every color they offered. I did at least buy it in green and brown.  Here's a closeup of the bootie.

See, they're suede in front and a distressed crackly gold leather in the back. Business up front, party in the back, baby! I have a terrible weakness for gold shoes, but they're hard to find in a style that looks modern. I'm very pleased with these.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Love Your Body Day 2012

Today, I will leave it to others to speak to how powerful and important it is to love your body. I support that for others, but I'm self-involved enough as it is. I appreciate that I'm well-proportioned, that I am very healthy, that I have "good" hair. That works for me.

What I am very grateful for is getting comfortable with my body. I can look at it or think about it without much emotional baggage. (That is my latest favorite book title, Meet Me at Emotional Baggage Claim by Lisa Scottoline.) Getting older has been a large part of that; not only learning to dress my body but also learning to see the big picture of health and happiness. Nearly a year of photographing myself has also broken down a lot of layers of, well, shame isn't too strong a word. I hope I can explain this feeling.

I walk out the door having put a lot of thought into how I look in the aggregate sense; shopping carefully, weeding my closet, evaluating on a daily basis how everything looks through the camera lens. I get a regular haircut, I wear makeup, I exercise a bit, I try to smile more, I stand up straight (Mom would be proud). Not dissimilar to doing all the digging and raking and weeding and planting in your garden, and then sitting on your deck with a cold beer and enjoying the fragrant breeze.

But in the daily sense, I try not think too much about how I look. I trust that months of thoughtful clothing choices will do the heavy lifting, and good habits will also help out (see; posture and smiling), and then I stop wondering if anyone else is evaluating me.

That was impossible for me as a teenager. I thought everyone was watching and judging me. I doubt I would have believed anyone who told me differently. Maybe my peers were, but they were doubtless judging themselves much more harshly.

So that's my tiny nugget of wisdom. Do the prep work and then relax and enjoy the moment. You look just fine*.

* Thanks, Lyds!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Black and Blue and White

Obvious, easy and sharp. I get a lot of mileage out of this Talbot's cardigan, don't I? I'm wearing drapey black crepe pants, a white button-front shirt and the workhorse sweater, all from Talbot's, and heeled ankle boots from Anne Klein.

i tried to get a shot of my fluffy chiffon pin, but did so while I was wearing it (badly) and then didn't want to take the time taking it off, shooting it, and then putting it back on. It has a fussy clasp.

Try not to be blinded by my collar.
 Next time I'll wear a black and white scarf that I bought a while ago - polka dots!

Purple and Red

The day after the board meeting is an opportunity to wear vibrant colors, tight pants, to fly a tiny little freak flag!

Beatle Boots!

Wow, that's just CRAZY!

Pink and Brown

One of my favorite color combinations. I wore my pearls, which usually elicits, "Ooh, pretty, are you going somewhere special?" "Yes, to the library!" 

I also wore the leather jacket I bought last year on eBay. I got it very cheaply because the ad said, "PLEASE NOTE, the sleeves have been shortened." As you can see, that means it is perfect for me!

I didn't wear this jacket much last year, because at the time I was carrying a yellow purse, and it it looked horrible against the cream leather. Now I'm carrying a red bag, which looks great.

Even though I feel guilty about the many pairs of boots that I own, I must admit it is fun picking out a pair every morning. Today I wore my brown Bussola ankle boots, which have lots of support and keep my feet and back happy at the end of the day. they're not a common brand. I found them at William's in Evanston, and you can find them online at Peltz Shoes, where everything is on sale. Funny name, great selection.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Red and Olive, Now with Extra Red!

This outfit actually began life with a blue skirt and an olive green top, modeled from a Sundance Catalog image. I wanted to wear my lace-up boots with a short skirt, before the snow flies and I can no longer deny winter. The blue skirt, seen here, was too long with the boots, so I reversed the colors and went with a green skirt and blue top (the denim jacket). I added the red tee to highlight the boot laces.

My glasses are on the bathroom counter.
I also tried on three pairs of socks before I was satisfied. I need the right pair of Smartwool socks for these boots. (This is one of those "I need" statements that may or may not be true.)

I liked this outfit well enough in the morning, but by the end of the day I was wondering if I looked like Clem Kaddidlehopper. I love the boots, want to wear them, and will keep trying them out in different ways.

Friday, October 12, 2012

The Long and the Short of It

My trousers are a bit high-waisted and long-legged, my sweater set is a bit abbreviated. The cardigan is fine, but I think it is time to retire that tank. The pants are lined, but the tweedy waistband is a little itchy - and a little snug this year. Not a very comfortable outfit despite looking nice. Never mind that it was also apparently photographed in a carnival fun house.

The earth is tilted on its axis!
When I left the house, I put on my brown denim jacket and my (hurriedly tied) skull scarf.

Remember when we were small and were given pictures of fall scenes and told to "find the Indians" hiding in the picture? It was the "Where's Waldo" of its day. Can you find both cats in the scene above?

The jacket sleeves are three quarter length, so I decorated my wrists:

In other news, I have met one of my wardrobe goals, yay! At Macy's, I found a Buffalo by David Bitton olive green, zip front, hooded (removable!) jacket. I wore it on a walk to the grocery store, the tags tucked up into my sleeve, and loved it.  Here it is without the faux fur trimmed hood. My hands slide sideways into the pockets and they are roomy enough for gloves. Its a keeper.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Equestrienne, Maybe?

This outfit evolved radically from a yellow pencil skirt (Halogen), the Sundance jacket, and my cognac boots. Cute, yes, but I didn't want to wear tights, so the skirt was out (too short). Then I tried yellow pants:

It's not as horrifying as I first thought when I saw it on the tiny screen, but still . . . no. I got out the long gray sweater I got specifically to wear with these cheerful pants:

Arrggh. Both pants and sweater get flung on the bed. Then I remembered my original idea was to wear a blue skirt with the jacket, and voila!

Pterodactyl arms. *sigh*

Whew, that is MUCH better. I also cuffed the jacket sleeves to show the rad teal lining. I think it needs something ivory at the throat - a scarf? A blouse with a tie? Something like this?
This outfit captures all my childhood pony dreams.

A faux Hermes scarf with horses and bits and things? I'll add that to my list of possible things that might work. Comments? Suggestions?

I've updated my list of wardrobe goals with #5, an ivory lace tee with a high neckline, so it can be seen under jackets like the Sundance one. That was how it was shown in the catalog. Again, it is the simplest things that are the hardest to find. 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Grey and Gold

This dress was on the chopping block last night. It has been hanging in my closet for six months and I've never worn it. I went on a small sweater dress binge this year and bought three very cheaply on Ebay with varying success. One served as a good tunic but developed a hole and was retired. The other two suffered from short sleeves. A short-sleeved sweater dress is a conundrum - too warm in the summer, too chilly in the fall - OR SO I THOUGHT.

I fiddled with shoes and jewelry, tried a few sweaters on (I'll spare you the dreadful outtakes) and arrived at this.
I am pushing Riley's dish out of frame with my toe.
It looked pretty good without the shawl too, but the color of the shawl is very close to all the gold necklaces I have on (three), and kept my arms cozy at work. I discovered it, still in its plastic wrap, at the bottom of a box of shawls under my bed. I went through a bit of a shawl phase and received several as gifts, all more or less in the same golden brown. After I saw a photo of myself looking full-on Grandma I stopped wearing them so often.

The dress is a bit of a closet orphan, as I could not come up with another way to wear it last night. I could try it with a long sleeved gray top under it, but I think the jewelry would be the same. It has a cowl neck, so jewelry choices are kind of limited. Pumps didn't look right, as the dress and the person in it are fairly voluminous, although tights might help with that, maybe dark green tights?  

It doesn't matter, because by the end of the day I was completely in love with this dress. So snuggly but not hot! The perfect length! Doesn't ride up! Matches the boots! And I do love gold with gray. I have no waist at all in this dress and somehow I don't care. Puzzling, but a good thing, since I put so much damn thought into it.


Monday, October 8, 2012

Goals Afterthought

I wouldn't buy these even if I had $400 for one pair of boots, because I find pull-on ankle boots difficult to, um, pull on. But . . . yowza.
Madewell Calfhair Chelsea Boots, $398

Purple, Camel, Red and Goals

Quite chilly this morning, so I'm in cashmere (I swear this sweater is purple, not blue), wool and boots, but no tights yet, I can't make myself put them on. I'm plenty shielded from the wind and the magical Skimmies give me a nice smooth line. Magical, I tell you. This outfit is a little bland, eh?

A patterned skirt would have been a better idea.
Delightful chunky Loft bracelet on sale! Love!
Over the weekend, I thought about wardrobe goals. I was reading an article about three women and their clothing budgets for fall (from $400 to $3,000), and what they planned to purchase. My own goals are decidedly blurry, if you don't count "stumbling on things I really like and deciding whether or not I can afford them". I want to thin out my closet, as it feels crowded, and I want to raise the ratio of delight in each piece. I had the unsettling experience of muttering to myself for a week, "Gee, I sure could use a purple scarf, that would jazz up my fall wardrobe no end," and then FINDING a purple scarf in my closet. I don't even know what I own.

So I spent some quality time sitting on the couch, thinking about what I have ardently wanted in the past year, what I stopped wanting, and what I still want in my closet. I decided that most of the things I currently want are ephemeral or too driven by trends - something burgundy for example, when that color has never been that flattering on me. I have lots of purple and dark red in my closet; that'll do, pig. Ditto with a pair of bright blue slim jeans - really? Will I still like those two weeks after I buy them?

Last year I really wanted a pair of beige suede ankle boots. I have beige flannel pants that I wear frequently, and dark shoes look a little jarring. They need to be a bit dressy; last year I wore my leopard boots in this situation and that was generally fine. Leopard is the new beige. Anyhoo, I saw these at the mall over the weekend:
Nine West Bleaker
I didn't try them on, so have no idea if they are comfortable.

I also have wanted a new military-style olive jacket for a long while, and since I couldn't find one (I did but waited for it to go on sale, and thus missed my chance) that sort of morphed into a parka of some kind, with a hood. I have several dressy fall coats (leather, suede), and a true winter coat with a hood, but nothing that would be good for the frequent walks I take in cool weather. I tried on a few at the mall, but they were all too voluminous in the hips. I looked like the Liberty Bell.

This summer, I started yearning for a cognac/tan shoulder bag. I really liked my Kenneth Cole bag (eBay), but as nice as it is, the handles don't stay on my shoulder. I am always fussing with it. A crossbody bag or a single strap hobo might be more stable. I've bought and returned two bags that weren't quite right, and this quest has become about the things I don't like: chain handles, dark interiors, glazed leather, heavy hardware.

The last item I've been thinking about for the last year is short red boots. Hard to find without a high heel, let alone in the "right" red. I showed you the Miz Mooz western option last week. How about these?
Nine West Paperlane
The dilemma is that I think I would also like to wear them with dresses, and the ankle boot might not be the right silhouette. Maybe I would MAINLY like to wear them with dresses, not pants. And if I do wear them with dresses, do I need a similar red belt? You see how difficult it is to set goals? And DEAR LORD, these are such white girl problems.

There you have four reasonable fall goals:
  1. Casual, hooded, short-ish, warm coat
  2. Brown-ish handbag
  3. Beige ankle boots
  4. Red short boots
None of these are really absent from my closet (perhaps #4), but rather are improving on what I already own. My faux shearling short jacket doesn't have a hood. It's a tragedy. 

Friday, October 5, 2012

Too Much is Not Quite Enough

I was overwhelmed this past weekend by the number of boot boxes in my storage unit. This pile did NOT include the four pairs of boots I kept in my closet year-round. Ankle, mid-calf, tall and winter boots abound in my collection.

As I mentioned before, I also discovered two MORE pairs of boots in my son's dresser when I was rummaging around finding him cool weather clothes (to ship to the Isle of Rhodes). There was also a purse there (Goodwill-bound). One pair of those boots really didn't fit; I wore them because they were Italian, dammit. The other boots are older and dated and so beautifully made that it saddened me to recognize their destination.

Hi, my name is Roberta, and I have five pairs of black boots, five pairs of brown boots, three pairs of taupe boots, one pair of red boots, one TWO pairs of gray boots and two pairs of serious winter boots.

But aren't these AWESOME?
Talbot's plaid and leather riding boots.

Spring Step embroidered cowboy boots.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

What to Wear When Reviewing Policy

Well, you'll be sitting all day, and you might eat one or two pieces of candy with the multiple cups of coffee you'll need, so you better wear stretchy pants. I wish these lovely Talbot's pants came in more colors. My waistline has been feeling pudgy lately, and these are more forgiving than denim or corduroy.

The rest of the ensemble was based on looking at my lone white shirt and thinking I should it wear it at least twice a year (last seen on April 27, 2012, with the same pants).

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Good & Plenty

I think this works. I think.
The skinny braided leather belt disappears into the sweater, leaving the chrome buckle visible. This particular dress is a bit longer than my other Kohl's dresses, so there isn't so much skin between hemline and boot top. It's also a really strong pink in real life! I took this picture in a tearing hurry and added a bracelet and a watch after, so I'm not so accessory-deprived.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Red and Tan

Here's an appealing outfit that nevertheless contains two items headed for Goodwill. The Talbots button-front shirt was thrifted, and though I love it, it is a little faded and fuzzy in spots (from machine washing, which was one of its virtues). Too bad, a stretchy, patterned shirt in red tones would come in handy once a week. I'll keep an eye out.

Next on the chopping block are the boots, also thrifted from eBay. You can just assume that when I say "thrifted", I mean eBay, as I find thrift stores overwhelming and even a little creepy. These boots are an unknown brand, but a really lovely golden suede with a sturdy rubber sole, but they FALL DOWN and I can't forgive them for that. If I wanted to wear short boots, they would only be 11 inches tall (and I own several pairs). These are 16 inches tall, and should hover right around my bee tattoo.

In this picture they are only crumpled a little, which is fine, but by the time I got to work they were below my calves. I've thought several times about taking them to the shoe guy to put whalebone in them or something, but that would probably cost more than I paid for them.

The real secret to my smile in this picture? I am wearing fantastic underwear. Say no more, Squire!

Monday, October 1, 2012

The Return of Corduroy!

My favorite thing about Fall other than Honeycrisp apples, of which I bought half a peck this weekend, is soft, snuggly corduroy pants. Oddly, corduroy jackets tend to be stiffer, at least the tailored kind of jacket that I prefer. I've never been one for "big shirts". Here I am trying to show off my Spring Step gray suede ankle boots without stepping on Riley, who is agitating for dinner.

And here is the shot that makes a little more sense: J. Jill denim jacket (again), Loft scarf, and gray Talbot's cords.
 And here I am admiring my own behind.

Here is a better shot of the boots. The buttons are only decorative; there is an inside zipper. Still available on Amazon if you have smaller feet than I do!