Friday, December 23, 2011

Back in a dress.

This was going to be my New Year's Eve dress with the addition of some fancier  tights and more exciting accessories. As it happens we are going to spend the last night of the year on a search for the perfect cheese steak. It's a long story. Luckily this dress can go either way, out for cocktails, or on the great cheese steak hunt.

While getting dressed today I was participating in a protracted interior dialogue session with my better self. After my two experiments with the 'dad jeans' (you can see the results here and here), my better self was wondering why I just couldn't let go of wanting to make these jeans work when the photographic evidence confirmed that they just did not look that great. My better self offered up the arguments that an outfit like today's is more flattering, more age appropriate, and even more comfortable (those jeans have an unfortunate tendency to crawl up my butt.)  My regular self grudgingly admitted that all those things are true, BUT, and she was adamant about this, she wasn't willing to stop experimenting with clothing, even if some of those experiments were destined to fail.

"And besides," Regular Self countered, "the dad jeans were not necessarily a failure. It was more like a C plus in a situation where you were hoping for an A. Trying new things is not always going to result awesome outfits, but if you don't try, how will you know?" My regular self is just as smart as my better self.

So here's where I'm at, as a result of all of the internal back and forth: Although I can see that oufits like the one I'm wearing today are perhaps better for a woman of my age, weight, and station, and even though I know that part of my reluctance to send the dad jeans back to the thrift store stems from the fact that they remind me of something my younger, thinner, funkier self would have ROCKED, I'm going to keep them (for now) because I'm not convinced that I need to let my funkier self go completely just yet. Maybe that's a mistake, but it's my mistake to make. I carry that brave, crazy, earnest, hopeful girl around inside me still and sometimes I need to let her wear the pants.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Fat pants.

I'm wearing the 'dad jeans' again:

I'm the first to admit they're not the most becoming pants in the world (or even in my closet for that matter), but I still like them. Clearly they aren't as flattering to my figure as say, this dress, but my argument is that they're not really supposed to be flattering. Does that sound crazy? I know it must. Even as I write this I think it sounds like I'm saying, "Oh, I know I don't look good in these jeans- but I don't really want to, so it's okay." That's not quite what I mean. I want look better, and I want to wear these jeans, and I can't seem to reconcile these two conflicting desires.

The problem is that these jeans aren't at all slimming. And I'm not at all slim. When skinny celebrities wear their baggy, distressed denim it's really not all that flattering for them either. Just like I do, Reese Witherspoon and Jennifer Aniston both look wider, and about fifteen pounds heavier, in these photos than they normally would, but they're both very skinny to begin with. In fact, the visual effect of fifteen extra pounds on me is not that big a deal- for them it's like a twenty percent weight gain.

image from here
image from here

Does looking at photos of skinny celebrities in unflattering pants make me feel better about how I look in my own? No, but it does make me feel that I need to do this. That I need to keep blogging about what it's like to dress all five foot seven, 180 pounds of me. That I need to go on record saying, as much as I want to look my best, as much as possible, maybe looking slimmer isn't always what I want. Maybe slimmer isn't always better.


Monday, December 19, 2011

Eating my words.

Why, you ask? Because these are on my (very happy) feet today:

For years I've been pretty vocal about my belief that Uggs and their brethren were the scourge of the footwear world. But when I tore open my Christmas present from my father today (I'm an adult so I am not required to delay gratification), I fell in love with these cozy beauties. So now I'm eating my words because although these are not Uggs- they're from a New Zealand company called Canterbury Sheepskin- the idea is pretty much the same.

These are acceptable, right?  As long as I never wear them with bare legs and mini skirt in the middle of winter? (Yes, UCD undergrads, bare legs in the freezing cold is ri-dic-u-lous, even if your boots are very warm.)

Today's outfit was inspired by this lovely blogger.  I'm a sucker for stripes. I found myself obsessed with the way her striped sleeves were sticking out of her coat. I love the look of layered sleeves. My rendition doesn't have the same sweet sophistication hers does but, for house cleaning, which is what I did today, I think it's pretty snazzy.

I'm linking up to Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. Click though to see what everyone else is wearing.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Wet window skirt


I think the print on this skirt looks like raindrops racing down a window. The skirt was a part of the interview outfit shopping spree I indulged in recently. Since no interview has yet been forthcoming I  wore it today for grocery shopping and a trip to Target.

At first I tired to pair this skirt with some tan suede flat boots but I didn't like the way they looked with the black tights. My legs looked color blocked and choppy. I keep wondering what this would look like with tan or cream colored tights and the suede boots. In my imagination it seems as if the boots, tights, and skirt might work together to create a nice, long, neutral colored leg line. But then again, it's hard for me to believe that tan tights could ever really be flattering in real life.

I did buy some colored tights tonight at Target (two pairs of green- for my holiday outfit, and because I wished I had green tights to wear with my green dress and boots yesterday, and a pair each in purple and navy because I am a laggard in adopting the colored tights trend), but I didn't see anything in cream.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Lunch date with the ladies.

I wore this green printed dress with green boots to meet my major professor and several grad student friends for a celebratory lunch. We were celebrating the completion and submission of L's dissertation. It was a lovely lunch. We enjoyed sparkling beverages and absorbing conversation. And I left feeling a little bit more inspired and hopeful about someday completing my own thesis.

I don't know what color this dress is on your monitor but on mine it looks like the background is teal with an army green print. It's actually forest green and the print is kind of yellow. I like the colors of the dress in real life but I simply adore the distorted colors as they appear on my computer screen. If this dress had been available in a teal and army colorway I would have chosen that over this forest and yellowy green combination. I like the dress plenty in real life, I just like it even better in the pictures.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Not enough love.

I've been feeling rather guilty lately about not giving this hat enough love. Even though it was, quite literally, made for me, I find it hard to wear. It's more masculine than any other hat I own. (That would be on account of it being a man's hat, Captain Obvious.) You might recognize it as being the hat I'm wearing in my profile picture, but that doesn't mean that I wear it often- that photo was taken outside the hat shop the day I picked it up and I think I've only worn it once or twice since then.  It was a pretty expensive hat, which really shouldn't make a difference, but does make me feel like a bit of an idiot for not wearing it, as my cost per wear is currently in the $100+ range. And it's a great hat so I really do want to wear it. My excuse for buying it was that it was going to be a 'go to' hat- a classic style, in season spanning brown straw- something I could toss on with minimal effort year round; decorative and protective, fun yet practical. I think it still could be that. I just need more menswear inspired pieces to make that idea work.

I conjured up an ideal outfit for this hat over the weekend. Picture rolled cuffed dad jeans (I resist the heteronormativity of the term 'boyfriend jeans'), argyle socks, rich brown men's wingtips, an oxford shirt with the tails out, layered under a blue V-neck cardigan sweater, and this hat. In my mind it's perfect. How many components of this perfect outfit do I currently own, besides the hat? Just the jeans that I thrifted this weekend. This is my best approximation of the outfit created with clothes that I do own.

I am wearing a bit more eyeliner than usual. It's probably not noticeable in the photos, but I think it helps in real life to balance the masculine feel of the hat. I'm really happy with the fit of the jeans. In the past when I've tried to pull off the borrowed-from-the-boys look I've gone with pants that fit low on my hips and as a result, along with the nice full leg I wanted, I also got a saggy butt and a droopy crotch, which I certainly did not want. These jeans have a 32 inch waist which means they fit me snug and high, kind of like what a 1950's teenage girl would wear, so I appear as narrow as possible through the waist and still have a fair amount of room in the thigh. Now I need to search out the other pieces to complete my perfect outfit. In the meantime if you've got suggestions for outfits featuring this love deprived hat bring 'em on!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Sequins and stripes.

Sequins + Sparkles | Everybody, Everywear

I'm linking to Everybody, Everywear today. The theme is Sequins and Sparkles- perfectly appropriate for the season but ever so slightly difficult for a Tuesday. I'm also linking to Visible Monday- even though, as previously stated, it is in fact, Tuesday. I've mentioned that I'm trying to be more of an active involved blogger by participating in more link ups, but this week I'm off to a bad start. Yesterday I completely forgot that Mondays are always Visible Mondays over at Not Dead Yet Style. And, come on, since Monday is part of the name, how hard is it to remember? Yesterday I was too focused on today being EveryBody EveryWear and I almost missed out on Visible Monday. Luckily it's not closed yet and I do feel very visible in this stripe and sequin combination so the spirit is correct even if I did get the day wrong.

To make things worse, I woke up today remembering that there was something I wanted to link up to but until I was in the process of getting dressed I was convinced that it was Thursdays are for Thrifters at Spunky Chateau. Half dressed, I figured out that couldn't be right, as we've all agreed now that this is actually Tuesday.

I've worn almost this exact outfit before on the blog (here). And even more often in undocumented real life. I've worn the sequin cardigan with different, plain colored shirts underneath but I love the sparkle and black and white stripe combo so much that I can't imagine wearing one without the other anymore. Unfortunately tried and true combinations like this one might make for a boring blog eventually. (Not much to worry about yet though, in a year I've only hit on maybe three of these perfect-for-me combinations.)

I picked these jeans up at the thrift store this weekend. I'm resigning myself to the fact that I simply am a jeans person. They just work for my life. I'm a student, I'm unemployed, and I live in an area where people wholeheartedly embrace a casual esthetic. I'd love to be the kind of sophisticated lady that only resorts to denim on the rarest of occasions, but I'm not. At least I'm not yet. This weekend I decided to just go with it and bought two new-to-me pairs. At some point (I hope) I will be working and my jeans wearing will once again be limited to the weekends, until then why not? It's not like I'm laying out major cash for premium denim. This pair set me back all of $4.99. Maybe someday my level of sartorial sophistication will increase and I'll ditch the denim, but for now I just can't live without jeans. They're warm, washable, durable, practical, and for me, indispensable.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

White Christmas

No snow... but I did put up my tree and go see White Christmas at the Woodland Opera House. The light in these photos is not the greatest but I wanted so badly to pose with my tree.

This is the outfit I'm planning on wearing for our family Christmas Eve party. I think I want to add green tights next time.

Here's the coat I wore to the theater. It's a beautiful coat but the swing style isn't the most flattering shape on me. I've owned it for twenty years and I won't give it up even though when it's buttoned up I look like a giant spottted triangle with a tiny head because, in my mind, I look like Kim Novak in Bell, Book and Candle. I adore that movie- you gotta love a movie where the furrier gets a screen credit along with the actors.

Friday, December 9, 2011

I often have days like this...

But I don't often post on those days. This is what I look like when I am running late, can't get out of bed, and need to be somewhere in twenty minutes:

No shower, no makeup, and yes, that is the same sweater I wore yesterday. The feather beret is kind of a lifesaver, in my opinion. It always makes a thrown together casual outfit look like I put much more thought into it than I really did. It also hides the bed head.

I'm still technically a student until I get my thesis written, so I'm still allowed to indulge in typical student behaviors- I sleep late, I don't wash, I arrive at appointments with just moments to spare. I'm going to miss this life when I have to rejoin the working world.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Thrifted houndstooth skirt and cashmere sweater.

Today I'm participating in Thursdays are for Thrifters at Spunky Chateau.

I'm making a big effort to participate in all kinds of things lately.  For the better part of a year I've been blogging quietly away here, lurking on other blogs, not really taking advantage of all the internet has to offer in the way of communication, interaction and community. When I began this blog I kind of had to force myself to do it. I wanted to do it. Or rather I wanted to want to do it. For me it was a bit like going to the gym- you do it because you feel you should do it, because you know that it's good for you, and you hope that one day you actually will enjoy it if you keep at it, and sometimes you feel good after you do it, but it's not like it's something you really look forward to doing. But I've gotten better at it (blogging that is, I still almost never work out.) I'm starting to love it and look forward to it. I'm starting to think of myself as a blogger. I'm starting to tell people about my blog and I'm starting to reach out to other bloggers I admire. (Hello, ladies!) Finally participating has increased my enjoyment tremendously. If you're reading this post because you followed my link from Spunky Chateau and you're a lonely, shy blogger like me, not sure whether you should link up, take it from me, YOU SHOULD.

This outfit is the result of me attempting to combine some thrifted pieces with some items that I haven't posted before. I mentioned that I was trying to feature every item in my current, wearable  wardrobe on the blog before the end of the year. It's not like I'm going to get rid of those things that don't make it in before the deadline but I guess I'm going to have to think pretty seriously about why I'm keeping any pieces that couldn't be included in a photographable, blogworthy outfit in a year.

This black cashmere pullover was thrifted a couple years ago. It's really rare that I find cashmere sweaters at the thrift store in colors that I can wear. Nine times out of ten any cashmere I find is in a tannish camel color that makes my hair and, more disturbing, my skin take on an unappealing yellow-green color. This sweater is a little big (the sleeves are too long for me) but otherwise it's wonderful. It's much better quality cashmere than any of the sweaters I've purchased new, in spite of being made in China, which most cashmere aficionados warn is usually a bad sign. It's super thick and cushy, hardly pills, and washes very well. I suppose that means it might not actually be cashmere at all, but the tags says it is and it sure feels wonderful.

Because the sweater is a little big, it's perfect for pairing with this thrifted houndstooth skirt, which is a little small. That's the beauty of thrifting, right? Making it all work?  Because it fits very snug and high the skirt is a little shorter than I'd normally wear but I think the big sweater and tights balance it all out. The hat is another of Wayne Wichern's, and it's one of the things I don't think I've shown on the blog yet.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

A red hat, and a red letter day!

Why is this a red letter day? Because today there is a side view photo that I like enough to make it the first outfit photo you see. That has never happened before. The color of this felt cloche from Fino Fino is actually 'berry' but I'm employing poetic license here.

I was hoping to achieve a casually slouchy look with these wide legged pants and long cardigan. Slouchy can be really difficult for me to pull off. It so easily slips over the line into sloppy territory. And for a woman with, let's call it 'extra padding,' it can often end up just looking lumpy and frumpy. Today I think I've nailed the slouchy effect I was after. I think I look a bit like a character from an Agatha Christie mystery, about to go tooling around the countryside in an open roadster.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

What I wore to evacuate.

Today's big excitement was the discovery of a gas leak at our home. (Fixed now, thankfully.) PG&E suggested we "evacuate the area" when we called, but we spent so much time discussing "How far should we go? And should we take the cat? And can we start the car without the place exploding?" that by the time we got out the door the truck was pulling up.

There seems to be something about shopping, for me at least, that becomes a self perpetuating cycle. Sure, I can wear this new dress with this purple cardigan that I already own, but now I want a fitted blazer to go over it. Something with a bit more shape, more waist definition, than this cardigan. Something I don't already own, of course. Does anyone ever get to the point where they can walk into their closet and say, "This is it; I have everything I want and need."?   Not forever, the beauty of fashion is change, but at least for a season.  Perhaps once I acquire this new fitted blazer I'll be there? (Yeah, right.)

Chris suggested I needed a photo of the dress without the sweater. The photo suggests I need to begin some sort of upper body weight training program. Thank goodness for sleeves!

Monday, December 5, 2011

An interview outfit.

No, I don't have an actual interview to go to.

Two weeks ago I applied for a job I really, really, really want. I keep checking online with pathological regularity and my application continues to be "in progress."  That's not bad, but it's not great either. I haven't been rejected out of hand. My application is still under consideration. I wait and I stew and I check the website again.

I went shopping over the weekend and purchased more clothing to outfit my job hunting process. Now I have plenty of things to wear to an interview, if I ever get one, and a credit card bill that makes finding a job imperative.

I'm hoping to work a little fashion magic here. Sort of an *if you wear the outfit, they will call* kind of thing. I know these are tough times. I know that my university, where I applied for the job I really want, is dealing with some major issues that have garnered national attention, and might take precedence over my need to have my resume reviewed RIGHT NOW. I know that the process of job hunting is slow and arduous. I know that these days very qualified people submit hundreds of resumes without ever getting called back. I know all this and I just wish they'd hurry up and call me.

So I'm participating in Visible Monday over at Not Dead Yet Style, even though the only place I'm going to be seen in the flesh today is Rite Aid. I'm hoping to be visible in another kind of way-  I hope my resume stands out. And that I can wear this dress again soon to meet with someone and discuss the position and my (awesome) qualifications. I hope on the outside I look professional, capable, hardworking, intelligent, and competent. On the inside I am screaming "Please notice me! Please like me! Please think I can do this! Please at least call me!"  I hope my exterior does not betray my inner quivering, incompetent, basket-case. Have I mentioned that I do not like looking for a job? I hate it.

The upside of this 'aspirational dressing' is that I have the opportunity to notice details, like the fact that my shoes need polishing, before I am racing out the door to an interview. This should mean that I'll be able to take care of things like this ahead of time. I say should because knowing that something needs to be done, and me actually doing it, are two totally different things. Even if I have the best intentions in the world, and probably should be doing something useful, like polishing all my shoes, instead of compulsively checking my application status and stressing.