Monday, June 25, 2012

Visible Monday: How I want you to see me.

If, after a year and a half of blogging outfits, I have a style formula, this is it:

An easy but sophisticated dress, striking shoes, and vintage costume jewelry. This looks and feels like me. Because I'm in the process of planning and packing a wardrobe that will get me through four to six months of traveling for work I've been giving the idea of creating a 'formula' more thought than I usually would. Outfit blogging (at least the way I've been doing it) seems to be about experimentation, about stretching your style wings and seeing if a particular look soars or flops. I've tried a lot of different things here on the blog, with varying degrees of success, but this type of look epitomizes how I want to be seen. Comfortable, stylish, not too fussy, but with some personal touches that reflect my (hopefully sparkling) personality. Add a few hats and a couple of cardigans to this formula and that's me in a nutshell. Or rather, in a small suitcase.

The feather print dress is new, from the Canadian company Smoking Lily, a souvenir of the Victoria BC stop of our recent Alaskan cruise. The multiple strand bead necklace is one which used to belong to my 'step' grandmother, part of a collection of her things I received recently which I jokingly call 'my inheritance'. The shoes are strappy platform sandals in a color enticingly called raisin, which it turns out is indistinguishable from plain old brown.

I'm wearing the dress sleeveless, with my tattoo showing, today but when I'm working I'm planning to layer a 3/4 length sleeve boat-neck shirt underneath. Also, these awesome but impractical shoes are not coming with me. This time.

I'm linking up to Visible Monday over at Not Dead Yet Style. Click on over and say 'Hi' to Patti and all the other stylish folks who hang out over there.

Friday, June 22, 2012

10 pairs of essential shoes?

I feel in my gut that 10 pairs might be a bit much for a traveling wardrobe but this is my first attempt at deciding what to take and what to leave behind:

1. Metallic peep-toe wedges. These are the closest thing to a nude shoe I currently own. The color description on these was 'pewter' but to my eye they look like soft rose gold. I'm pretty confident that most of the places I will be traveling to will be pretty warm, if not actually tropical.

2. Strappy woven wedge sandals. These are surprisingly comfortable for being as high as they are. Not that I would want to walk for miles in them. But if I anticipated needing to walk for miles I'd change shoes.

3. Pointy-toed business pumps. The closest thing to a classic shoe that I own. They'd work with skirt suits and A-line skirts. They would also probably look great with a great pair of wide-legged or flared trousers- neither of which I own now, but which I would like to. This particular pair was thrifted for $5.00. I am not familiar with the brand but they look a bit cheap to me (plastic heels, boring buckle decoration) so this is a pair I'd like to upgrade eventually. I'm including them here because a) I can not afford the upgrade right now and b) they are otherwise the most professional looking shoes I own.

4. Peep-toe d'orsay pumps. I love these. They have a distinctly 1950's feel to them. They work for day or evening. They look great with full skirts, which I prefer to wear in hot climates. The peep-toe is more like a peep-hole in the top of the shoe than a cut out so not a lot of toe shows. These shoes are way more me, and also much better quality shoes than the #3 pumps.

5. Chunky stacked heel pumps. These are Dr. Scholls and thus, quite comfortable. They have a kind of funky 1970's vibe and they look very nice with opaque tights. I have a couple of dresses that I prefer to wear with these shoes because the combination seems to take the feminine edge off of the dresses.

6. Black kitten heels. These are comfortable, practical, and professional. I can walk it them. They have a good heel height for wearing with pants. If it came to a choice between these and the #3 'business pumps' I'd choose these.

7. Sneakers for walking around, sight seeing, hanging out. These look kind of okay with skirts too.

8. Sliver flower flats. I've got to have a pair of ballet flats and these are incredibly comfortable and the silver metallic color goes with everything. No brainer.

9. Black hippie sandals. Chris and I each bought a pair of these hand made sandals (his are flip flops) at a Davis event we affectionately call "hippie fest." It's actually called the Whole Earth Festival  but hippie fest pretty well sums it up. Any-who, these sandals are made by hand, in California, of incredible quality and so comfortable I have worn them to walk 5 plus miles without an issue (other than being exhausted but that's another story.) I also think that they make my feet look enormously wide and ungainly but I am able to get over this because they are otherwise superb. Plus they also look very much like the 'Roman sandals' I wore as a kid with my school uniform so they have nostalgia value as well.

10. Woven top-stitched pumps with teeny tiny heels. Comfortable, sweet, almost flats. But here again in a contest between the #6 kitten heels and these I've got to go with the kitties.

Even if I eliminate #3 and #10 is that still to many? I get heart palpitations thinking about having to make due with less but I may have to. What would you cut?

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Who's got two thumbs and a job?


I start on July 10th. Which means I have less than 20 days to get my proverbial you know what together. And six of those days are going to be spent visiting friends for the Fourth of July. I'm excited but ever so slightly freaked. It's going to be a huge change after my 'sabbatical year' as a stay at home student. (That sounds better than 'the extra year I took, in which I did not get much done' right?)

This was the suit I wore for my Skype interviews. I wore it first without the shirt and then with the shirt for the second interview. It's not the best fitting suit ever but I needed something right away and it fit well enough for appearing on someone's computer screen. Everything suit-like I already owned really didn't fit or seemed too dark and somber for Skype. (I wanted to really POP! on screen.) The fabric is a silvery sharkskin with a lavender pinstripe. I wouldn't have thought I'd like it as much as I do. When I've bought suits in the past I've tended towards more feminine cuts, usually with a bit of a vintagey feel, and never, ever a pant suit. But I dig the menswear chic effect with my pixie cut. There's nothing like having to take what you can get for expanding your horizons.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

The Packable Professional

I'm interviewing for a job that, should I get it, will require a lot of travel. A LOT. Kind of nerve wracking for someone who has sometimes been close to tears when attempting to pack for a vacation. And then, again, when she's trying to make wearable outfits from the stuff she brought with her.

I briefly imagined having a small rolling suitcase filled with several stellar, sophisticated, uncrushable St. John suits. Kind of a Mad Men-on-the-Move aesthetic. I stalked a couple of possibilities on eBay but decided I'd better determine my size before bidding.  I hit the fitting room at Nordstrom and discovered that the answer is "twelve" and that I will never be someone who can spend $1400 on a jacket (a jacket, mind you, not a suit) that I could make myself over a weekend. Heck, I'm not even willing to plop down the- much more reasonable but still not IMO worth it- sixhundredish dollars for last years model on eBay. I was really convinced that once I had a St. John suit in my hand, or on my body, I'd be blown away by the awesomeness. Or that I'd at least be able to see what made a $1400 jacket worth $1400. It did not happen. The jackets were nice. Very nice. But nowhere near $1400 nice. Not. Even. Close.

For $1400 I want drop dead gorgeous.  And, not to be too demanding, but is it too much to ask that I should be able to wear the jacket without a cleavage concealing camisole? So, the dream has died. Except that I now have a new dream of knocking off perfectly fitting knit suits in much nicer fabrics in my work room during my downtime from traveling. You probably don't need to know me very well to imagine how likely that dream is to be realized. Yep. Not very.

I imagine jersey dresses, like this one, are going to be my fall back plan until I get my perfectly fitted knock off scheme off the ground. So, probably forever. Since this one cost less than ten dollars I'm not going to get bent out of shape about needing a tank underneath it- although I will upgrade to a nicer cami for professional situations.

I'll be trying out a few more installments of "The Packable Professional" here. Even if I don't land this job (but, man, I hope I do!) being better at packing is something I've always aspired to.  I'm completely open to suggestions for building a creative work travel wardrobe.  What would you include?

Monday, June 18, 2012

True Blue and thrifted too.

I'm finding it difficult to get back into the habit of blogging after taking a break. I've just lost my momentum, somehow. Not to mention the fact that the sweltering heat is making me feel somewhat less than inspired to wear any clothes at all. I wore this lightweight sweater to go see a movie this evening because I usually freeze in an air conditioned theater, but arrived on the scene to find that the theater's air conditioning was out. I could have removed the sweater at that point but I was feeling self conscious about my lumpy midsection which I believed the sweater was camouflaging. As you can see in the side view the sweater was only doing a moderately good job at this. I might as well have opted to be cool.

The sweater, skirt, shoes and earrings are all from local thrift stores. The skirt is too tight but I keep wearing it in the hopes that it will loosen up. It eventually does. But not until after two or three wears and by that time I've usually spilled something on it and need to launder it again. If I were sensible I'd just get myself a denim skirt that fits comfortably when it's clean. I haven't because I like everything about this skirt except the fact that it doesn't fit me. I'm not sure why I am so silly sometimes. I find my own behavior a bit bewildering when I try to analyze it. So I will stop.

Thursday, June 7, 2012

I'm back but I'm not sure I'm 'blog-worthy.'

It's like I almost forgot how to do this...

And apparently Blogger has changed so much since I've been gone that it took me forever to figure out how to create a new post. But, I am back and I was determined to post today- in spite of a rather uninspired outfit and (conveniently?) forgetting to take some of my dreaded side view shots AND then forgetting that I had outfit photos to post until after 11 o'clock at night. I made it! Just.

I'm showing off my new hair color. It's faded a lot since the initial coloring which I expected. Red colors fade like crazy anyway and the ends of my hair are much, much lighter than the roots. The unbleached hair at the roots has held much richer color than the tips so after my next cut and color I'm expecting longer lasting color. Not that I mind this strawberry blonde tone at all.  The spooky tree necklace is new, from our Alaskan Cruise vacation. It's glass. From an artists' co-op gallery in Juneau.  I'll try to get a better picture next time I wear it.