Wednesday, May 2, 2012

The Urchin.

I wore this urchin look for most of my twenties. Not these same clothes, but this same feeling. A dress or tunic over intentionally ill fitting cropped pants with maryjane type shoes. I'm wearing it today for a couple of reasons: a) I'm trying to ascertain if I think 'the urchin' is a still a serviceable look for the much sturdier forty-sumthin'-year-old me, and b) I'm going to walk down to the service station to put air in my bike tires and then ride back and this is a pretty good walking-slash-bike riding ensemble (although I'll wear a sun hat on the walk and a helmet on the ride.)

I'm thinking that the urchin is a look that could be glammed up a bit and translated into chic summer wear. Perhaps a light colored dress or tunic and cropped linen pants? Kind of like this:

'The Urchin' done by The Clothes Whisperer.
She's quite young and quite thin, of course. And I'm less young and way less thin, but I think it could work. One of my concerns is that it's not a particularly figure enhancing look, which on my frame can result in my looking all over huge, instead of just huge in places. But when it's hotter than a hundred degrees sometimes figure flattery has to fall by the wayside, no? And if the tops are carefully selected to be just loose enough to be cool without falling into over-sized territory, I think it could work. (Apparently, I also think that repeating, "I think it could work, I think it could work," like a mantra will help too.) I guess I'm going to have to try it and see. In any case, I don't hate this look on me- but I do think it needs to be, shall we say 'elevated', a bit to be really appropriate for me. As it is, it's suitable for bike rides and, perhaps, trips to the Farmer's Market. As I do ride a bike and visit the market (and sometimes even do both together) I'm calling it a practical, if not soooooper stylish, ensemble.

I'm a sucker for sneakers with toe caps. Currently, I'm obsessing over these.


  1. Okay I am going to be brave and comment on this outfit. First off how do you bike in wide cuffs like this don't they get caught in the chain?

    I like those sneakers too! I think the dress is too long to wear over wide legged jeans. If you had pencil leg jeans I think it would work. What kind of handle bars do you have on your bike? Will you be bent over? If so I think you need a cami under the dress to prevent spillage. You are usually a classy dresser and I don't think you want comments for the wrong reason. I'm ho hum about the head scarf.

    You can be brutally honest with my blog post since I have stuck my neck out here and hopefully given you constructive criticism... Love Ya!

    1. Hi Adrienne,

      Thanks for the comments, REALLY. Never be worried about giving me constructive criticism. You could probably guess from the tone of the post I wasn't convinced that it was working either.
      I have an Electra Townie with a chain guard. I haven't ever had a problem with my pants getting caught but I could roll them a bit higher if I was concerned. Also the bike is designed so that the rider has a very erect carriage so I won't be bent over. I do usually wear a sports bra on bike rides but the industrial model of bra I wear comes up very high in the front and is even less pretty than standard sports bras. I've been thinking that I need to try and incorporate exercise into my life more- as opposed to thinking of it as a separate activity that requires changing clothes and underwear. I didn't learn to drive until I was thirty three because I walked and rode my bike everywhere. And I was in great shape. Now, when I think about exercising having to change clothes makes it seem like an ordeal and adds one more reason not to do it to my already pretty long list of excuses. I've been kind of inspired by the Indian women in my neighborhood who race walk in their saris. (So awesome and beautiful) I'm assuming that they don't change their clothes before they exercise but I guess they could have workout saris.

      I have a very hard time finding camis and tanks that work like they're supposed to. My back and shoulders are rather small for someone of my weight (175lbs) and stature (5'7") On a recent trip to the Gap I ended up having to buy extra small tank tops (!!!) in order for the necklines not to be so low as to expose the top of my underwear- and this was my regular underwear, not the really high fronted sports bra. These tanks end up bunched uncomfortably at my waist when I wear them under something. When I've tried to alter the straps on a camisole in order to bring it up to cover my chest properly I end up with a bunch of fabric collected in my armpits. I've been wondering about a cami that is more like a bandeau but I'm worried about the mono-boob effect.

      My only truly 'skinny' jeans have stirrups at the bottom so they can only be worn with boots. I do have a slimmer fitting pair of white jeans that might work. I'll try those soon for comparison.

      The head scarf is a kind of a stop gap measure. I'm growing out my current hair color and skipped a color appointment. Also the headscarf (or a hat) is necessary because my head sweats inside my bike helmet and sometimes I can't find a place to fix my hair right away.

      I too thought the dress would look better with the wide short pants if it were tunic length and I considered the possibility of hemming the dress, but I do like to wear it as a dress so I decided against shortening it.

      I'm going to assume form the lack of other comments that everyone else is following the unspoken if you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all rule that operates in our community and take that as a big thumbs down from the blogosphere. I'll keep trying. That's why I'm here.

      Thanks for your help!

  2. Having beautiful yet comfortable exercise wear is a problem I also have. Like you I would rather not have to change clothes twice a day in order to fit in exercise. Your bike sounds so cool post a photograph sometime. Having fit issues is something I can identify with. I have the opposite problem you have. I'm built like an NFL football player without the height and paycheck. Too bad the clothing industry doesn't have more options for us non conformers!I know about in between hairdo issues. I like to wear a cotton headscarf with a small brimmed fedora. I'll post a picture of that sometimes. My daughters call it my pirate look.. Keep blogging I love your posts.

  3. I think the area we live in may also contribute to one's perspective as to what is appropriate or "working" stylewise, etc.
    You'd fit right in around here. A more boho/arsty area would see this look as normal. I'd probably pass you at the farmer's market and remark to my husband (as I so often do since I started my blog) "Oh, I like her style...she could be a fashion blogger." :)
    I love those shoes. Kudos for walking and getting out on that bike. Whatever outfit gives inspiration to do so has to be a winner! I need to find myself a motivational outfit. Maybe that'll be the magic trick to get me moving. haha

  4. I think it is just a proportion issue with this outfit. I like the dress and I *love* the shoes. The jeans are just too wide, though, because of the length of the dress.

    This type of dress is often styled with capri-length black leggings. I'm not big on those, myself, but I think it demonstrates the "tight leg under loose top" proportion that works. The good news is that if you do want to try capri leggings, they are easy to find and inexpensive.

    I think the headband is cute! What color is your hair if you don't treat it? I'm growing into my grey and am always curious about other people's hair color...

  5. What a great outfit! Casual, funky, artsy! Looks comfortable too.