Thursday, June 27, 2013

Just Pretty

Vanity, thy name is Roberta. I couldn't stop myself from looking in the mirror this morning and saying, "Oooh, pretty!"

It's the gold shoes. They're so princessy.


Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Olive and Red

Yesterday I wore linen again, a black and white melange linen top and a black knit skirt, with silver shoes and jewelry. Imagine it if you will, as I forgot to take pictures. 

Last night we had a torrential rainstorm - Des Plaines and the surrounding are very wet and flooded - so it was cool enough this morning to wear a light cardigan. Underneath it I have a sleeveless Ann Taylor Loft dress, which has an elastic belt sort of thing that you can't see in this picture. I actually would have preferred a black or brown cardigan, but in a fit of broad-minded frugality, I decided that "dark" had the same effect as black or brown, and wore my olive pointelle Talbot's cardigan.

Miz Mooz sling-backs.
The dress looks pinker in the picture, but has a lot of red in it in "real life".  Whatever real life means, the camera is just as real as the fluorescent lighting in my kitchen. You can barely see my dark red felt flower pin, but that helped tie it all together. I think.

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

A Week of Linen

It's going to be hot, sticky and stormy all week, so I am embracing the wrinkles and thinking airy thoughts.  I've been using my new Aveda stuff that promises to keep my hair smooth for 12 hours, and so far so good. I have to re-apply a bit the second day, but it really works.

White linen top from Talbot's, red Spring Step sandal/bootie things, and believe it or not, a denim skirt. I've sworn off jean skirts for years; they're either too stiff or A-line or terribly unflattering with that center seam or both. but I picked this one up at Talbot's (from a neatly folded stack) thinking it was shorts, and the denim was so soft and the skirt fit so well that I bought it.  Plus it was 30% off. I wish they made denim shorts out of this fabric.

Also fun, my new white Timex with a ridiculously large face:

$60 from Lord and Taylor!
On Friday, Heidi gallantly drove us to Milwaukee for the Lakefront Festival of Art (in her shiny new car!). I didn't buy anything this year, though I was tempted by a hand-woven golden orange three button jacket for $275. Maybe next year. It's always satisfying to look at the art and jewelry and crafts and imagine a life where you regularly bought such pretty things. I think art should be on my pony list; maybe a piece every few years. I don't have all that much wall space.

We also went to the mouth-watering Shoo, but there was nothing I wanted in my size. In short, I admired many things in Milwaukee, but only bought lunch and dinner. My eyes and appetite were enriched, but my wallet was not drained. A lovely day.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

It's 80, No, Wait, It's 55!

On Monday I wore my yellow voile skirt and a green cardigan and because it was 80 degrees, I was hot. I love grass green and yellow together, but I think I look a little rumpled and pillow-y.

Perhaps I should have worn the sweater open? There was a tank underneath. Even though I was warm, I was grinning like a fool because I was just back from the salon - with PURPLE HAIR.

I really love it. I know it will fade into more sedate golden brown highlights, but I love the purple sheen this morning. It also looks perfectly sleek because of the awesome blowout. We'll see what happens when I style it my own self. Naturally, I planned my clothes around my hair. On Tuesday (board meeting day!) it was 55 when I left the house, so the cardigan was FINE. I almost wore black boots.

The purple skirt is just the right shade. The cardigan is new and is a very light jersey, on deep discount from L & T.

Thursday, June 6, 2013


We were talking about diets at work yesterday, and why women go on them. I've always had two reasons to lose weight: because I don't like how I look/feel in my clothes, and a distant second, my health - I'm worried about that 20 pounds' effect on my back or my feet or my knees. Usually I tell myself that I walk everywhere and that is weight-bearing exercise and I am doing something wonderful for my bones.

As I've gotten older, I've also tried to love my body more, as well as blame the clothes and not myself. I reserve my "big fatty" comments for my cat. If X does not flatter me, I will buy Y, and enjoy the fact that my ankles are slim. Really, I'm very vain about my ankles.

But I have a good friend who diets on and off, and those aren't her reasons at all. She likes clothes, but she thinks about color and comfort, and doesn't fret particularly about how she looks. She's never liked heels and skirts, and has never minded that she can't wear a halter top. She exercises, loves to get outside, and takes lots of vitamins.

Food and weight mean something different to her. Maybe it's about control, or feeling undisciplined. Maybe there's a number that is the trigger - under this number is good, over this number is bad. Maybe there is a thin memory involved. I've never thought I was thin, ever, and I always thought it must be hard to have been the skinny girl and then suddenly gain 30 pounds in your forties. What a betrayal! I've always been "sturdy".

Anyhoo, please join me on this morning's style journey, which did not wind up in a great place, but at least got me out the door. 

The scene: a cool and rainy June day.    

The first attempt involved the ivory jacket, a pink skirt and green sandals. My feet were chilly and obviously the flower was a bit de trop.

So I changed to green boots, and ditched the flower and the jacket.

Ohmyno. The boots are too heavy for the skirt, and that jacket should just be given away. Third try, with a different skirt and jacket.

Oh, it'll do. Someday I will analyze why the denim jacket is so great and the green military jacket is so not. Here, the denim balances the boots, the crochet skirt is heavier in texture, and I was going to be late. As Lyds would say, "You look just fine," and at no point did I think, "This would look great if you lost 15 pounds." Small victories.

Wednesday, June 5, 2013


A friend has embarked on a diet nutritional lifestyle plan in which you cut out most of the foods you normally eat that might contain system irritants (dairy, gluten, sugar, preservatives), and then slowly add them back in to see how they make you feel. During the initial deprivation, and believe me, giving up gluten would make me feel deprived, the author suggests that the thing you crave is likely to be the thing that disrupts your system. Or that makes you fat, to call a spade a spade.   Oh look, bagels.

Where was I?

I often feel closet cravings. And sometimes that craving seems to be the solution to a lot of wardrobe dissatisfaction. For example, last year, an ivory jacket seemed like a wonderful, albeit elusive, chimera.  Not stark white (I already have sweaters and jackets in pure white), but ivory, and dressy enough for work. Note that the many similar things in my closet couldn't possibly work.

A craving for color led to the Box O' Pink episode last year, in which I ordered multiple pink things. I love pale pink, and the Talbot's soft rose seemed like the perfect shade. So I bought everything they sold in that color. I still have two tops and one of the pants, though I returned one pair of pants and a linen sweater. I loved the sweater - so silky! - but it snagged AS I WAS TRYING IT ON. These color cravings are stimulated frequently, as a new color suddenly seems to be everywhere, or I see a great color combo in a catalog. This is when I troll the Talbot's and Ann Taylor sites, because they pick up new colors every season in the well-made basics I love, like pima tees and linen skirts.

Sometimes the craving is pure wish fulfillment. If I find the perfect ivory jacket, I will have dozens of new outfits and life will be great. It's true, I've stood in front of my closet thinking, "A pale jacket would be FANTASTIC with this." However, now I've had a perfectly lovely ivory Boden jacket hanging in plain view for a month, and I haven't worn it yet. I'm thinking about trading it in for a different craving - the sailor stripe hoody. Perfect for crisp Rhode Island walks! Yes, that is the thing I REALLY need!

Or the craving is for the Platonic Ideal of an item you already own. "Boy, that fuchsia cardigan is a great color and fits you well. If only it were a little nicer fabric, like cashmere for winter." Oh, if only. Garnet Hill was created for cravings like these.

Perhaps an item works so well that you want to get a spare, because that black velvet jacket isn't going to last forever, you know. This always reminds me of eating that brownie today, since there may not be brownies tomorrow. Unfortunately, closet cravings have led to many duplicate skirts and jackets, several scarves that seemed like perfect solutions and yet never get worn, and enough boots to wear a different pair for the entire Great Flood.

When the cravings strike, I have my own little dieter's checklist.
  • Craving color? Wait, don't you already own yellow shoes? Heels, flats, check. And don't you have a yellow scarf, a fantastic yellow bracelet, and THREE yellow tees? Work with what you got, sister. And if you truly don't own any turquoise shoes, maybe there's a reason for that.
  • Craving the imaginary perfect solution? Try that incomplete outfit with a similar piece. Maybe that white jacket would be just fine. At least you'll be able to figure out whether you need a long jacket, or a short, fitted jacket, fall or summer weight fabric, and won't buy the first thing you see online.
  • If you're shopping out of fear of loss of a favorite item, think instead of finding something wonderful and different, because if you try to replace the perfect brown skirt, you'll just end up with five slightly different brown skirts. Plus, you run the risk of getting stuck in a particular style.
  • If you just want to upgrade, well, that might be OK, if you actually purge the "inferior" sweater. If you can't bring yourself to throw it away, maybe you don't really need to upgrade.
These are all things I tell myself when I just WANT something, and many times, it works. Often I pick something out of my closet that I haven't worn in a while, and am reminded of why I bought it in the first place. This is when my closet has the power to make me foolishly happy. But sometimes, I just order the turquoise sandals. :-)
"Evanston" sandal at Lord and Taylor, $60