Monday, April 30, 2012

Fancy pants ambivalence.

'Fancy pants' ie. basically any trousers nicer than jeans.

Every time I wear an outfit like this one, I experience some conflict. It's no secret that trousers worn with heels make one's legs appear miles long. But, usually, on the occasions when I wear pants, I'm striving for a pretty casual look- in fact I don't wear 'dress' pants very often at all. The particular pants I'm wearing here are cotton and have sailor style buttons at the waist so they are, arguably, fairly casual. And, being as they are so casual, I bristle a little at having to wear less than perfectly comfortable shoes with them. Especially when no one can see the aforementioned uncomfortable (yet adorable) shoes.

These are actually extremely comfortable wedges but still not as comfortable as flats.

You see, I'd probably be willing to hobble for miles just to hear one person remark, "Cute shoes!"  And I would almost certainly hear this several times if I wore these shoes with a skirt. No one noticed my shoes with the pants and my feet felt somewhat less than awesome after walking just the five blocks I needed to cover between the first available parking space and the cafe where I was meeting my friend for tea.

On the walk back to my car I'd decided to hem these pants so they could be worn with flat sandals, and to save the shiny wedges to wear with skirts where they'll garner the attention they deserve. Except that now I'm posting the photos I have to admit that my legs look all kinds of long and lean with this combination. Hence the conflict. Do I hem the pants and embrace casual comfort and comparatively short, stumpy legs? Or do I retain their (and my own) long legginess and just resign myself to circling the block looking for a closer parking spot in the future.

I don't believe discomfort is very chic. And I sure don't want to feel limited or encumbered by my clothes, but I do love getting compliments on my wardrobe, and I'd be lying if I said I didn't want thinner looking thighs. To hem, or not to hem? I know this shouldn't be one of life's most troubling questions but I want a wardrobe that works, you know.  And by that I mean that I look my best and my feet don't hurt. I don't think this is asking too much and yet I don't seem to be able to make a decision on the length of my pants. I keep trying out this argument in my head: If I hem the pants to wear with flats I can park further away and comfortably walk the longer distance which will ultimately result in.... thinner thighs. Actually having thinner thighs trumps the appearance of thinner thighs, right?

I'm linking to Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style because, other than the sore tootsies in my might-as-well-have-been-invisible shoes I felt wonderfully visible in this.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

An ode to Debbi.

Layered necklaces, stripes, and a big, happy smile.

Debbi, if you were sitting at your computer, blogging away, thinking, "If I could just know that I have helped one person... enriched one life.. added style to one wardrobe, it would all be worth it," then let me be the one to say, "You have, and thank you."

It's my first attempt at pattern mixing.

I'm only kind of kidding. You see, a while back Debbi at She Accessorizes Well published a post on wearing multiple necklaces. (read it here)  I read the post and although I don't actually remember what I thought at the time it was probably something like, "Hmmm, interesting... I don't really wear that kind of necklace though... " and clicked on to something else. But, unbeknownst to me, the seed was planted and the idea took root. I'm practically at the point now where if I'm only wearing a single necklace it feels like a bit of a fashion failure.

A recent $2.00 thrift store acquisition- this purse holds nothing but it's pretty.

The first time I posted about how much I was loving layering necklaces Debbi commented that she hadn't gotten a big response to her original post so she was worried it had been a waste of time. Today as I was getting dressed I realized that Debbi probably has no idea how happy layering necklaces makes me. And she should know. Because it is not a small thing that her post has been the inspiration for something that has lifted my spirits, made me feel more stylish, brought a smile to my face, and given me an excuse to wear more jewelry.

Sure, I know that we're not solving third world hunger, curing cancer, or performing other, undeniably life enriching, good deeds here. We're blogging about clothing and accessories. But layering necklaces makes me feel pretty good. Debbi's advice subtly enriches my life on an almost daily basis. And that's frankly, quite awesome, in my opinion. So, Debbi, here's to you! Your blogging has made a difference in my life and I'm grateful. Thank you. You do accessorize well. And now, so do I.

Perhaps this could be called remedial pattern mixing? Pattern mixing for dummies?

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Oh, Gaucho.

I'm not sure what it is about this hat but whenever I wear it I feel like something. I mean something other than just a person wearing a hat. Today I feel that I look like a gaucho.

I'm beginning to fear the prospect of creating outfits for the summer heat. It's pretty cool and overcast around here today but when it heats up it will be too hot for jeans and sleeves and shoes. Even jewelry feels like too much when its 100 degrees. I've always defaulted to the not particularly exciting combo of full skirt, tank top and sandals when the mercury rises but that rarely results in outfits that seem worthy of blogging about. And then there's the problem of having minimal flab camouflage potential.

Hats and sunglasses will help spice things up a bit but I don't tend to wear them inside. I'm going to have to put some thought into ways to inject more style into my summer look without inducing pools of sweat and possible heat stroke. Stay tuned to see if I'm up to the challenge. And, of course, bring on the suggestions if you have them.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Was it better in real life?

Every so often there's an outfit of which it seems impossible to take a bad photo. I'll start going through the shots and I'll have fifteen, maybe even twenty, pictures that I'd be willing to share online. In those magical outfits even a good number of the dreaded side shots will look great. Other days I'll have a perfectly good day wearing an outfit and feel quite pleased with how I've put myself together until I have a spare moment to view the morning's photos and realize that, at least in pictures, the ensemble isn't the home run I thought it was.

This is one of those outfits that I thought looked terrific but didn't photograph as well as I was expecting.  I'm not saying it's awful. I just was anticipating being thrilled with the pictures and I could only find a couple that I liked well enough to post. And the dreaded side shots were the worst!

I thought I looked pretty shapely and curvy in real life but in the photos I seem thick and blocky. Which begs the question, "Where does the truth reside?" Are these disappointing photos more real than how I actually felt actually wearing the actual clothes? Is it possible that this outfit looked better in real life? Or am I kidding myself?

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

I do know what I like, it seems.

I almost purchased this knit top yesterday:

It's available at Lands' End if you like it too.

I talked myself out of it because (a) I have a number of striped items in my current wardrobe, (b) I don't really need it and I wouldn't really fill any wardrobe gaps for me and (c) I could easily sew a top like this in an hour or two and I could do a nicer job of aligning the stripes at the shoulder seams.

Turns out I'd feel pretty stupid now if I had ordered this because I already own something similar.

I've worn this several times on the blog before but as a shirt rather than a cardigan. (Here for example.) I did not realize until today that it could be unbuttoned. I was having trouble getting it to sit properly and I felt that it was pulling in an unflattering way at the buttons-- buttons which I previously assumed were merely decorative. They aren't. They easily open to transform this shirt into a flowing cardigan. Yeah!

I tend to gravitate to a cardigan that, like this one, hangs widely open. I prefer the fabric to fall away from my chest rather than drape over it. I think it allows me to affect a look that feels drapey and loose but doesn't end up just looking lumpy and enormous because it doesn't do anything to flatter my curves.

I am not sure how I feel about these jeans. I bought them to fill the gap left by the demise of this pair. (Those were Gap brand True Straight, I believe.) However, I don't like the way the replacements look cuffed. And I think they look too tight for what I wanted. And they definitely look too tight in this light wash for the way they fit now. I have tighter jeans than this in dark washes but, to my eye, light denim should look loose.

On the plus side these jeans are a little longer than most of my jeans so they look okay with heels and with clunky shoes like these. And they have a nice high rise so sitting in them isn't problematic. And, at some point in the future, if I stick to my weight loss plan (finally starting to lose again BTW,) they may fit more like the Gap jeans. So, I'm taking a wait-and-see approach. What I'd really like is a pair of medium wash loose straight jeans that have selvages at the side seams. Selvage edges look much more chic when turned up than over-locked edges. I believe the now defunct Gap pair had this feature but I can't remember exactly and I can't quite tell from the photos.

These men's shoes have become something like sneakers for me. My comfortably casual shoe of choice. Not pretty, but practical. Wonderful in unexpected rain showers. They are great for walking or standing and the reddish brown leather is gorgeous and seems to go with everything. Well, every pair of pants at least-- they look hysterically ridiculous with a skirt. I tried.