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

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

Gleemonex is 36 and a full time working mother who asked us to help her dress more like a grownup. She assesses it here:

"The look I'm going for: Confident, current (trend-aware but not trendy), age-appropriate, but with a youthful air. Somebody you'd take seriously as your manager, but whom you also might run into at a Radiohead or Pixies show.
I’m just shy of 5’5” and a very fit 140 pounds... I seem to wear a size 6-8 most of the time. I love my legs and collarbone, and my arms & back look pretty good right now, but my 36D bosoms are more trouble than you might think … so hard to dress “cute,” since with a rack like this, what looks cute on a B girl can look bovine or whorey on me (and I can never, ever not wear a proper bra, which means nothing one-shouldered, unfortunately). 
I CANNOT ABIDE a high-waisted pant or jean of any kind. It needs to sit on my hipbones or I flat will not wear it. Mostly this is because I have longer legs & shorter torso, but also a high waist makes me feel like I could tuck my boobs into my pants, and that’s not a good feeling. I like a fitted midriff in a shirt, since blousy ones make me look like Annette Funicello or a pregnant lady (which I am not at present). (Either one.)"
I'm letting Marianne handle the casual outfits (tomorrow) because she has more freedom in her workplace dress code and I am tackling some work looks that will gain respect but still look current and a little edgy. You don't have to be boring to be work-appropriate, but it helps to wear more structured items in order to look pulled together. With that in mind, I decided to do three looks - separates, dress, and pants.

What I think she needs: Simple well-cut basics that she can make more interesting with a statement necklace, a fun top, or some unexpected color. Also, bags and shoes can make or break a look. Nothing ties together an outfit more than the right accessories.

So, here's what I came up with:

A pencil skirt is the perfect classic piece to own, but the animal print keeps it from being too boring. The bronze detail in the top picks up the bronze in the skirt and the grey and black accessories keep it all tied together. The blazer keeps it all professional and nipped in. All neutrals, but it doesn't feel neutral.

Next, pants:

How to make grey trousers less meh? Pair with a bright top, a lush velvet blazer and an unexpected dark purple bag instead of the usual black. The earrings give it an extra pop of color just because I say so.

And finally, my favorite, the day dress:

Everyone needs a day dress that makes them feel amazing. Pair it with tall boots, a statement necklace and an enviable bag and watch the hell out. If you must tone it down, that's what the cardigan is for.

And finally, a wildcard just because:

So, what do you all think? Would you wear these looks to work or did I miss the mark?

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