Friday, October 29, 2010

Happy Halloween!

A very Happy Halloween to all of you out there! I hope you have wonderful plans. We have soccer games tomorrow morning and then Hubby and I are going to a grown ups only party. I am so looking forward to it. We have these good friends who always through this huge halloween party with a band. A couple of years agao they moved to Colorado and we totally missed their party. Lucky for us they moved back this year and so the party can resume. Totally looking forward to it. We are still working out our costumes but I think Hubby and I are going to be Hansel and Gretel. Have a safe and fun Halloween!

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The rule I fail to follow

In reviewing my list below about shopping I can see that there is one rule, well ok 2, that I consisitently have trouble with. That is dressing for the life i have, not the one I wish I had. Here's why, I used to be a stay at home mom. I was pretty hip. I loved my skinny jeans tucked into boot in the fall and my capris in the warmer weather. Then circumstances intervened and I went back to work full time.

A note of thanks, its a good job, in this economy I am lucky to have it and getting it has kept my family afloat. I always throw that in. It reminds me of what I heard Jeff Foxworthy say once about guys and their hair. They don't want to insult it in case it goes away.

Anyway so back why I keep breaking this rule. I don't live in my jeans, cords, j crew tee and down town field jacket anymore. No, I live in Banana Republic Martin pants and their no iron dress shirts. And don't get me started on the weekends. Some moms run around looking so cute at the soccer field and the baseball diamond. Not me. I'm that mom in the black ATSO ref tee shirt. I'm also that mom under the catchers gear warming up the little league pitcher. (I know that sounds silly but trust me, those 10 year olds really through hard and it hurts when they hit you!) So it seems like I rarely dress cute but casual on the weekends anymore either.

The issue is I have trouble with the line. Occasionally I cross the line and wear, say my imperial tee under a black suit or my stamp tee with pants and a cardi. Trouble is, I wish I was still that other person, living that other life. I know you can't go back again and I should be thankful (I am!) but still sometime I forget.

Oh, the other rule is that I often buy stuff on ebay without trying it on if I know it will fit. Not a huge sin I suppose.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

More Rules for Basics

I've said it before and I am saying it again, I LOVE LISTS! So, in an effort to help me stay focused on my plan for simpler (read faster) dressing, I am creating yet another list or two to help keep me in line.

First, my basic goal:
1: Quick morning dressing (I have 3 kids to get to school and a train to catch, I don’t have the time to stand staring at my closet)
2: An outfit that will be office appropriate and maybe make it to a PTA or Little League (I am on both boards) meeting on the way home without making my feet hurt.
3: Warmth (I will not spend the winter wet or shivering)
4: Comfort (physically comfortable and mentally feeling confident and stylish)
5: Style (I will not fall prey to a look that is currently hip but I totally can't carry off but remain me)

Second, my rules for wearing layered basics without looking completely boring or feeling like a slob:
1: Think about poportion, at least half must be somewhat fitted. This applies more for weekend dressing as all my work pants are a straight leg, wool trouser. Some have a slightly wide leg but all are the standard trouser. Well frankly they are almost all the BR Martin pant.
2: A clear color palette for easy mixing and matching (I will be shopping for grey, black, plum, cranberry, and pale pink.
3: A little pop of color (This can include makeup. Lipstick helps tremendously. I am thinking the collar of a pink tee just poking out, burgundy tights, etc.)
4: Add depth (to add interest to the neutrals with texture and subdued print.)
5: Accessorize ( Scarves, gloves, chunky bracelets, interesting shoes, a great bag.)
6: A carefully edited closet and more selective shopping equals easier dressing. I've already cleaned out alot of my closet (which brings me to my next list…)

Building a better basic wardrobe shopping rules:
1: Get in the store (only buy online if I have already tried it on. This is important as I often impluse buy on ebay and the result has been a closet full of stuff that isn't quite right)
2: Thoughtful shopping (not trying to rush by buying a bunch of stuff online. Also applies when in store. Must take time in dressing room. The corollary to this rule is not to bring the kids. 3 kids whining and fighting or running around does not makes for a frazeling shopping expereince)
3: Don't be afraid to take it to the tailor and if it needs tailoring, get it done! This is another important rule for me as I have wider hips and a narrow waist.
4: No impluse or boredom buying (I sometimes use retail therapy when I should just take a walk instead.)
5: If it doesn't work in at least 3 outfits, pass.
6: Wait for sale
7: But remember it’s okay to pay full price occasionally. (only if it is to die for)
8: Just because it is on sale does not make it worth my dollar (even at 50% off, if it's not great then walk away) Again, this is a trap I fall into often.
9: Buy for the life I have, not the one I wish I had. I am me. As fabulous as that sequined mini skirt is, where am I going to wear it?

Do you have any rules or tips for wearing and shopping for wardrobe basics? Or favorite places to shop? If so please share!

When is a mini to much?

Here's my thought for today. When is a mini to much? I'm not really talking about when might a mini be inappropriate. I can pretty much figure that out. And I am not talking about micro minis such as the 15 inch minis J crew has been churning out. I'm talking about the cute reasonable minis, think 17 to 20 inches, from the past years like the one above. I see lots of cute fall looks with these minis and tights for fall. I don't think I would do bare legs and yellow wellies but I might do tights with those wellies. But I just turned 40. Is that to old? I'm not heavy and my legs look pretty good but is it just to young? What do you think? Maybe only in certain situtations? All thoughts and guideance appreciated

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Riding Boot Fashion Question

Riding boots, always a classic and one that I love. I saw these brown ones on the J Crew web site today. Love, totally love but way out of my price range at $325.
However, I have these exact ariat black field boots at home in my closet. There's only one catch, I actually have ridden in them. Not a ton and not recently. I actually have a customer pair of Dehner riding boots that I normally wear. They are called dress boots which means they don't have the lacing. Any way, the point of the rambling is that I'm wondering if it is ok to wear real, actual riding boots? They've been cleans and polished to a shine, no horse poops. The only place you can see evidence of actual use is that the inside calf shows wear. As in it rubbed against the saddle. What do you think?

I Just don't get booties

Ok, I am sorry but I just don't get the "bootie" craze. I guess I could see wearing these short little boots under long pants. They would keep your feet dry for sure. But I totally don't udnerstand wearing them with skinny jeans or pants and certainly not with dresses or skirts. And don't get me started on the peep toe bootie look. If it is cold and/or wet enough for boots it is to cold for open toes. I tend to be very classic though and maybe this is just to trendy for me.

This is the look I like. Flat (or heeled) boots with skinny jeans or pants. It just looks more finished to me. I am sure I am in the minority here. Doy ou wear booties? Am I totally missing out?

Friday, October 15, 2010

To belt or not to belt? That is the question

Today it seems like belts are the cool accessory. Yet no one actually belts their pants. As in, yes I am wearing a belt but not through the belt loops of my pants with a shirt tucked in. Look at these two shots from Banana Republic. I think both looks are pretty cool. I just am not sure they ould be worn in real life. I mean, what happens when you go inside some place, like say your office. You take off the hat, scarf and jacket right? Where does the belt go then? Don't get me started on scarves either. I love them, I just can never figure out what to do with them inside. It seems silly to sit at my desk wearing a scarf. Maybe I am missing something?

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Wardrobe Revamp -Basic Layers

I feel the need to reevaluate my wardrobe again. I look in my closet each morning and I don’t see a lot that is easy to throw on and still look chic. For this fall and winter I really want to move more towards a classic style of simple pieces and easy layers made interesting with great accessories.

During the week I take my 3 kids to school and then public transportation to the office each morning and it is usually rainy, muddy, and increasingly cold. I also work for a financial services firm but am not required to wear a suit. This environment hardly calls for a silk dress or bare legs and heels much less open toes. I also really hate the open toe bootie look. For one thing I just don't get open toed shoes with tights because if it is cold enough for tights, it is to cold for open toes shoes! I need to focus on adding more comfortable basics to my wardrobe.

The thing with basics though, is they need to fit great. I have alot of tops that are either too long, too tight, too loose, or too something else. It’s so difficult to find tops that are simple and drape well. It takes a surprising amount of time and pickiness to find basic layering pieces. It realy is an overlooked area. A perfect basic will last a long time and actually give you a better cost per wearing ratio than some wildly expensive perfect statement piece.

I’m making up some lists to help me stay focused( I love lists, don't you?)

What I don’t need:
Bright colors
bright prints
clingy material
thin cotton tops (as in no more Jcrew embellished tees)
button ups that gape
High heels or any hurty shoes
Ruffled tops (I feel like a clown)

What I do need:
deep colors: black, grey, navy, plum, cranberrys
longer (below the waist) tops
tees in non revealing scoop, boat, cowl, or vneck
long layers cardigans that can be belted
A new crips white button down (maybe with french cuffs)
Scarves (althought I struggle with exactly how to wear them)
A cool statement necklace and maybe a little more bling

I would love to find tops that are somewhat fitted and flattering around the chest and upper waist and then drape over the lower waist and hips. Not an empire waist though, I hate those because I always feel I look prego in them. It can be a fine line between the perfect top and that "is she or isn't she" prego period. I recall it cleary. Not going back there!

What I already have:
Black and brown flat boots
Trench coat and a great bright red winter wool coat
A variety of belts (although I’m not opposed to pick up another on sale)
denim pencil
Skinny jeans to tuck into boots
Cord for a fall/winter alternative to jeans
Plenty of cardigans, mostly clean lined basics (think Jackie)

Do you have a fall and winter wardrobe strategy? What look are you going for this year?
Also, where do you buy your basic layering pieces?

Monday, October 11, 2010

How do you dress up pants?

I have a question, how do you make pants dressier? I have been slowly shifting most of my wardrobe from skirts to pants due to foot and ankle issues that make it necessary for me to wear flat shoes. I've pretty much got it down for work. Really that part isn't hard. But how do you take the same black and gray wool slacks to dressier events? We are invited to a house warming party this coming weekend. It's a a cocktail party and these friends are quite smart. I am sure it will be a fabulouse event. I have a great pair of black slacks but I am not sure how to take them beyond the office. I do also have minnie pants in black and coal. Any suggestions?

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Swoon Worthy? I think so!

I love fall. I know we don't really have it here in the Bay Area but I used to live in Connecticut so I know what fall is. October is my favorite month of fall. Bright days and cool crips nights. Pumpkins and apple pie. And leopard print? I love the rich look of leopard print accessories, especially on a bag. Just the right touch of sophistication and style. I spotted this baby on line at Talbots of all places and fell in love. Rich black leather, cool hardware, a very lady like shape made a little naughty with the calf hair print. I'm hearing the siren song, are you?

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Being a big girl

You know how they say "be a big girl"? I'm sure I say that to my daughter. Well I am sucking it up and being a big girl about the holidays this year. A few years ago I managed to work out a reasonable Thanksgiving/Christmas trade off which made both my husband and my mother happy. Not an easy task. But it worked. Anyway, a monkey wrench was thrown in this year. It is a Thanksgiving with my parents and Christmas at home year. However, my parents just sold their house and the one they are moving into won't be done in time so they are essentially living in the flat over their barn. Not enough room for everyone. I say to my mom, "don't worry, that's why you have grown up daughters. We can all come to my house or go to my sisters." She responds, "no we are going to go to Acapolco to visit friends. Aren't you coming? " My sister and her family are going. Start of big girl time. My husband owns his own small business. As in it's him and 2 other employees. He just can't be gone from Wednesday to Tuesday which are the travel plans they made. I felt oddly grown up whe I told my husband I totally understood and if that's how it had to be then I was fine. I guess I'm a big girl now.