Thursday, September 30, 2010

Adrien: Shake it to the left.

It's getting harder and harder for me to come up with something new to wear. But. luckily the weather is starting to feel a bit more like fall, so soon my boots and long-sleeved options will be appropriate. Until then, more of the same! Woo! today we have a t-shirt, a pencil skirt, my red bag, my grey heels and that black jacket I wore two days ago. Fresh! But I know you guys don't mind, and I think it mixed it up enough that it's not an exact repeat.

And just to keep things fun, here are a few more twee blogger poses just for you:

Alas, my bosom!

My hair just torments.

Sassy arm!

Old Navy (similar)
skirt: Semantiks (similar)
shoes: Chie Mihara (similar)
jacket: Banana Republic (similar)
bag: Marc Jacobs (similar)

Marianne: Shopping-Free September, farewell.

Here we are, folks, the last day of our Month Long Shopping Ban. I thought it would be appropriate to check in with an update.

Well, I made it! I purchased exactly zero clothing or accessories for myself this month. Not only did I not shop, I've made a tidy sum by selling things I no longer wear. Was it hard? To be honest, not really. The only real pang I had was when I cam across a great dress at a consignment shop. It would be a great addition to my wardrobe and I really liked it, and it was a fantastic deal. But you know what? If it's not there when I go back this weekend? It just wasn't meant to be.

This has been a great experience for me. I've always been an all-or-nothing kind of girl, in fact I also took on a personal ban on sweets in September. You know, just to add some extra torture. But really, this month broke me of constantly browsing and finding fault with my wardrobe. It broke me of buying something because it was a great deal, not because I really needed it. And it broke me of after-dinner cookies. All good things.

So, what am I going to do now? As we move into October, I'm not swearing off shopping any more. There are a few genuine gaps in my wardrobe thanks to weight loss, etc. But I'm inspired to shop "outside of the box". I found a great consignment store that carries beautiful clothing at great prices. I might even venture into thrifting, though just the thought makes me a little anxious. We shall see. Baby steps.

What about you? How do you "shop outside the box"? Or do you only thrift and buy second hand? I want to know!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Reader Question: I Need Help Dressing like a Grownup. (Part 2)

See part 1, and the original question from Gleemonex, here.

As a working mom myself, I know how easy it is to dress down on the weekends. I mean, really, really down (note that I almost never post my weekend outfits). So I've been thinking about some "mom uniforms" that are comfortable without sacrificing style. I start with a soft t-shirt that feels like it's my jammies and doesn't cling uncomfortably. Then I throw on skinny jeans. I am in love with the Always Skinny jeans from The Gap, they are so flattering and make it look like you are making an extra effort. Top it off with an army jacket. This trend is just that, a trend, so I wouldn't spend much money on it. Throw on a bright scarf--I love orange with olive green--and the ubiquitous flat boots and you've got a more modern take on the mom uniform of jeans and a t-shirt. A fun studded wrap bracelet gives you just a little edge.

Speaking of uniform, Gwyneth Paltrow swears by the sweaterdress/leggings/flat boots combo. Love her or hate her, she's on to something. Depending on your work environment you could wear this any day of the week. Since you are very fit and have nice legs, I'd go with a shorter sweaterdress that skims the body. Just make sure it covers your rear end. You can go with a fun bright color, or a more neutral grey. Flat black boots (again!) will make you look more polished, but if you choose wisely they are every bit as comfortable as sneakers. I have a 10(!) year old pair of flat black riding boots that I could walk 5 miles in, I swear. And I know some might scoff at the floppy knit beret, but they are so cozy and more chic than a ponytail when you have dirty hair to hide. Lastly, a quirky pendant necklace edges you out of "stir crazy mother of small children" territory.

This was fun! Hopefully Gleemonex was able to walk away with some new inspiration and grown-up looks, both for work and play.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Marianne: Baby Style, Pony Edition

Let's face it, my kid is better dressed than I am, most of the time. Her clothes are a lot more fun and I never have to worry about things not being flattering or fitting well.
For a recent "Princesses and Ponies" party, I went with a fluffy, full skirt in a wild print and contrasted with striped legwarmers. She's the princess of funky town, mixing patterns in a way that would make anthropologie jealous.
Me? I was dressed for the (rainy, soggy) elements. But this day was not about me.

On Lulu--
top: Tea Collection
skirt: Right Bank Babies
legwarmers: Babylegs
shoes: StrideRite

On Marianne--
tank: Banana Republic
cardigan: Old Navy
skirt: Banana Republic
over-knee socks: Naot
wellingtons: Hunter

Friday, September 24, 2010

Adrien: Simple Black Dress

I always kind of forget about this dress and then when I wear it I'm all, "Oh, right!" because it fits really nicely and pairs well with nearly everything. I don't know why I'm always surprised that it doesn't look awful on me. Anyway, here it is paired with some blue/purple/eggplant thingies:

dress: Target - Merona (similar)
cardigan: J Crew (similar)
shoes: Frye (similar)
necklace: Charming Charlie (similar)  (also this!)
bag: Marc Jacobs (similar)
watch: La Mer

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Adrien: It's hot! It's cold! It's stupid!

This in-between weather that everyone seems to love? I can't stand it. It's cold enough in the morning to need a jacket but by noon it's 90 degrees. How do you even begin to dress for that? Boots and a tank top?  Winter coat and flip flops? I don't even know where to begin. But, I do have a few little jackets that I like and they've been great for bridging the stupid weather gap:

jacket: Banana Republic (similar)
dress: Ann Taylor Animal Print Sheath
shoes: Frye Lisa (similar)
bag: Marc Jacobs (similar)
watch: La Mer (similar)
vintage key necklace: Twist Style

Marianne: Color Blocked.

It's the fashion bloggers lament right now, this weather. 60's in the morning, 90's by the afternoon. And in my office, meat locker year round.
I just feel like wearing my boots, so why not? The calendar says it's the first day of fall after all. And I tell myself that wearing them with bare legs keeps it from looking stupid.
Probably time to retire this dress for a little while. I've been wearing the heck out of it, it's just so dang comfortable. Like wearing my jammies.
I'm not feeling the anthropologie love right now, but I do really love this clever double skinny belt.

dress: Lands End Canvas
cardigan: Express
belt: anthropologie
necklace: Diana Warner
boots: Frye

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Adrien: Shopping-Free September (more than) Halfway Point.

Only nine more days left of Shop-Free September! I'm still in a pretty good place, though I'm very quick to delete all the sale emails in my inbox first thing every morning. I don't even read them because it's far too tempting.

To further my purge-not-pursue mentality, I also took a load of clothes and shoes to my favorite consignment store, the proceeds of which will go towards one of the WANTY items I posted about here. The bag is probably still beyond my means, but those Frye boots are calling my name pretty loudly.

Consigning clothes takes planning and patience, but it's a great way to free your closet of items that aren't working for you, that you aren't wearing or that you're just sick of looking at. I usually start by pulling out everything I'm considering getting rid of and then I try it all on. This sounds terrible but sometimes I need a visual reminder of why a certain item must go. For example, I have a Banana Republic sheath dress that's practically new, but the very first time I wore it someone asked if I was pregnant. (WHY DO PEOPLE DO THIS.) Needless to say I never wore that dress again but I felt guilty about getting rid of it. So, I tried it on for my husband and he described it as, "kinda dowdy." That was easy!  In the pile it went without a look back.

Also in the pile, a pair of jeans that were a size too small. I don't keep clothes that might fit me one day. It's just not worth the angst. The only part I don't love about consigning is trying to figure out what to do with the clothes they didn't want. Usually it's eBay or the thrift store but sometimes I'll stash things back in my closet, especially if I was on the fence about getting rid of it.

The other part I don't love:  having to wait for my items to sell before I get the money. But, as Shopping-Free September has taught me, waiting is good for my wallet. If I wait and really ponder my purchases, I'll end up buying the things I really want instead of the things that I think I want right this second.

Marianne: My Secret Shame UPDATE!

Let's start by revisiting my secret shame, shall we? I'll wait.

What a mess, right? Well, thanks to your suggestions I set out in search of some industrial bookends and a mess of 3M hooks. But then my Enterprising Husband got involved, and I have to admit, his solutions were far cheaper and more attractive. I don't want to keep you waiting any longer, so behold, the after:

What we have here are a series of double hooks screwed in at various heights. The hooks in the back are hardest to reach, so they hold out of season or rarely carried bags. On the sides are bags I carry more often. Then, Enterprising Husband built removable shelf dividers to keep my clutches upright and organized.
Remember the sad, sad pile of cardigans? EH strikes again with another removable shelf liner. And yes, years of working retail means I can still fold a mean sweater.
Belts were an issue in the past so I just moved them to the closet proper, on their own belt hanger. A $5 solution that has made my life infinitely easier.
Chris' handy shelf dividers and hooks left me with MORE shelf space. For now they are holding a canvas box filled with silk scarves, and workout clothes/gym bag on the bottom. But I'm toying with the idea of finding a wire basket that can hold flip flops and the like, since those clutter up the bottom of my closet.
But that, my friends, is another story for another day. What do you think about my (okay, my husband's) solution to my storage issue? Pretty neat, eh?

Friday, September 17, 2010

Marianne: I'm just a shill.

Okay, I KNOW. You are sick of hearing about the blog sale. But, Adrien put up some sweet jeans and a very sought after anthropologie skirt, and I just posted a few things from little known designers like Chie Mihara, J. Crew, Banana Republic, and BCBG. Yeah. You might want to hit that.

Also, I've lowered prices on some older items. If you love a good deal, and aren't dealing with a shopping ban, check it out!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Marianne: Shopping-Free September Halfway Point

Well, here we are on the other side of September 16th, meaning we are well into the second half of the month. Which, to be honest, has sped by me in the blink of an eye.

So, are any of our readers joining Adrien and me in our shopping ban. Adrien is making a truly heroic effort in the face of things that are tempting her in all price ranges. And we're both making serious space in our closets. I am surprisingly okay. More than okay. In fact, other than doing some possible shopping in New York next month (with my Looks Better On You proceedings, of course), I'm thinking about continuing this ban. Maybe allowing thrift, consignment, or eBay purchases.
That's not to say that I'm not obsessively looking at Issa dresses and wondering what body part I could sell to get one.
Issa at ShopStyle
Issa at ShopStyle

I'm not ready to make it official; after all, fall is barely here and I haven't had to really pull out my old fall clothes to see how they will work. But I'm kind of an all or nothing kind of girl, and telling myself that I am not shopping any more has been good for me. So far.

We'll see.

Adrien: School Uniform.

So, you know those mornings when the idea of picking out something to wear just seems way too complicated? This is usually start thinking with nostalgia about the private school uniform I wore in high school, because, man, that was easy. White shirt, ugly kilt, white socks, brown tie shoes. Good to go. There are days I still wish I could just wear a uniform to work and save myself the 20 minutes of what-to-wear agony.  This particular morning I was feeling like that and I reached for one of the easiest dresses I own:

It's from Ross and I think I paid $15 for it. I wish I had twenty of them because it's so comfortable, so easy to wear, so unfussy. Just throw it on and go. I've posted photos of this dress several times and I wasn't going to bother again but my husband insisted so, eh. Here it is again:

I was pleased to see that the other, uh, three times I've worn this dress on the blog I managed to do something slightly different with each outfit, so that's something anyway.

So tell me, Internet people. What's your easy "uniform" item?

dress: Enfocus Studio (similar)
cardigan: Talbots charming cardigan
sandals: Ann Taylor (similar)
bag: Marc Jacobs (similar)

Marianne: Olé.

Part of cleaning out my closet and reevaluating my current wardrobe has meant wearing things I haven't worn in a long, long time. I figure, if clothes don't fit, or I don't want to wear them, then I need to really figure out why I'm holding on to them. One-of-a-kind skirt I bought in Paris? Okay, that one's getting handed down to Lulu. But what about the alarming number of items that I apparently bought when I was going through my Cantina Period?
Exhibit A. I look like I should be slinging chips and queso at Señor Taco. To try and downplay the Tijuana-ness of it all I threw on an old sweater that doesn't go at all. Because WHY NOT.
And what a sweater can't fix, maybe a belt can? Boots? HOW DO I MAKE THIS NOT LOOK LIKE A HALLOWEEN COSTUME?
The effect is not nearly as dramatic in pictures, I promise you. At least Lulu liked the boots.

dress: tag ripped out in a fit of pique, no-name from T.J. Maxx (not even trying to find similar)
sweater: ancient Tommy Hilfiger that I replaced the buttons on (similar here)
belt: LOFT (similar here)
boots: vintage Justins (similar here)

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Adrien: Best dress ever.

Really, I have nothing to say except I love this dress so much. I paid full price for it and every time I wear it I think it was worth every penny.

dress: BCBG (similar)
sandals: Franco Sarto Buster
bag: Rebecca Minkoff MAM
necklace: Banana Republic (similar)

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Adrien: Rome wasn't built in a day

Well, that was a good run. I had two solid weeks of "Whee, I want nothing! There is nothing I need or want!" and, yeah. That's over. Even though I'm trying not to look, things keep finding me. Awesome things. Things like this, which I saw in Lucky Magazine:

Satchels by Michael Kors at ShopStyle
 MICHAEL Michael Kors Large Satchel

And THESE which kill me dead:

Shoes & Boots by Frye at ShopStyle

Frye Miranda Chelsea boot

(They found me via Wardrobe Review's latest entry in which she also wants these boots. I actually made a sad little squeaky bird noise when I saw them. I blame her entirely.)

Oh, and these, which I've wanted for a while now:

Sunglasses by Marc by Marc Jacobs at ShopStyle

Marc by Marc Jacobs Aviator Sunglasses

And THIS, which showed up in the form of browser advertisement:

Day Dresses by LOFT at ShopStyle

LOFT Striped Sweater Dress

but I was actually relieved to discover it's made of wool, so it's off the list.  I did check Banana Republic's site (JUST FOR THE SAKE OF THE BLOG) and they're still boring me senseless, so nothing there. A relief.