Showing posts with label Fashion. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Fashion. Show all posts

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Dish: "Hopelessly Devoted to You..."

Today's Dish is inspired by a collection of random items strewn about the middle console of my van. A woman's van {or her SUV, crossover, sedan-type vehicle that is obviously cooler than my minivan} is a lot like her purse. And you can certainly learn a lot about a gal from the contents of her handbag. Or in this case, her minivan. 

So here's a rundown of that which I am hopelessly devoted to {that was also sitting in my minivan when I decided to write this post.}

Via: I've written plenty about my abiding love of all things Starbucks. These little Via packs have changed my life. 

I'm the only coffee drinker in my home so there is rarely a need to brew an entire pot. Though instant coffee has heretofore been a loathsome brew {Sanka anyone?}, leave it to Starbucks to redeem dissolving coffee granules. My favorite is Italian Roast. 

The Gold Card: My running partner and I stop at our local Starbucks after every run for our post-workout reward. {I get the bold blend, tall in a grande cup....plenty of room for the add-in's.} As I've said before, it's cheaper than a gym membership and it feels like being rewarded for waking up and hitting the pavement before the sun comes up. Several years ago I registered my Starbucks card and once you hit 30 drinks, they send you one of these.

{Cue the angelic voices singing down from Heaven.}

It's a Starbucks card. That is gold. And has my name on it. They send me free drink coupons on my birthday and after I've had 15 coffees. And sometimes they send me other delightful free coupons and I do so love getting mail from Starbucks. {You're welcome, Starbucks, for 3 paragraphs of free advertising even though you are already rich enough to take over the world.}

Books on CD: Several years ago I started checking out books on CD from the library. Frequently I wouldn't finish them because honestly, how often was I alone in my van or in my house? Not often enough. But since I sent my kids to school I have loads of time alone in my van and it is a beautiful thing. When I'm not sitting in the complete silence and enjoying the tranquility of the moment, I listen to books. You've heard the phrase, So many books, so little time. Well, books on CD help with that. Right now I'm "reading" Life of Pi.

The Running Skirt: I bought a super fun souvenir on our trip to Tennessee over Spring Break. 

It's a skirt.

That you can run in!

Yes, it's a running skirt. And while I do realize I am not on the cutting edge of athletic fashion here {running skirts have been around for a while}, it's my first one and I am in love. It's hot pink, it's stretchy, it has shorts underneath {also stretchy}, and when I put it on I don't want to take it off. Ever. Last week I'd been in it all day and we had the middle school open house that evening. My daughter said to me, Mom, please tell me you're not wearing the running skirt to the open house. You'll be glad to know that I did not. 

But truly, I am in love with the running skirt. I'm convinced that I run faster and I will probably buy one or six more. After all, why should the tennis players get all the cute athletic wear?

{Technically I do not keep the skirt in my van. But I am hopelessly devoted to it and that's why it's thrown in the mix.}

And last but not least, Adele

Her CD is in my van at. all. times. I've been a fan of hers for a couple of years now and my love for her has only grown. She's just amazing, a true talent in a sea of manufactured, ridiculous, lesser songstresses. 


And on a more sentimental note, thank you, all of you, for your unbelievably thoughtful words on my last post

I'm reminded of a quote by Thomas Paine: These are the times that try men's souls. In my own words: These are the decisions that try a mama's soul. 

I guess quite a few of you totally get that. Thanks for making this place feel like a sweet and kindred community.


Okay, now it's your turn. What are you hopelessly devoted to?

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

{Day 12} Keep it Real. Wear it Well.

Yesterday was so much fun I decided we needed another day to dish about what we real moms and women actually wear. 

Apparently I'm not alone in my indecision and frustration over clothes that are both appropriate and stylish.

Judging from the comments, there also seems to a universal tension between the sort of wardrobe we think we like and the wardrobe that is actually realistic and authentic for each of us. 

Let's face it. There are a lot of identity issues wrapped up in the things we pull off the hanger each morning. Like it or not, clothing is like a walking advertisement for yourself. I think that becomes less important as we get older {thank goodness}, but I'm still years away from style apathy.

I don't think there's a hard and fast formula for figuring out what works for each of us. Trial and error is part of the package. And I think that's just fine.

But I have begun to think of my closet as valuable real estate. I don't want some freeloading blouse taking up one of my hangers when she's not paying rent. And though I'm in the process of a major closet purge, I don't plan to replace what I'm getting rid of. 

As I mentioned yesterday, I just want to have fewer, truer pieces. 

Recently I read an article in an old issue of Domino magazine. The article is entitled, "Our Closets, Ourselves" by reporter, Cynthia King. King turns herself over to two stylists in order to define and refine her style. It's brilliant and witty and I've read it numerous times. I'm sort of weird like that.

King says that, "....growing up, I was taught that you shouldn't worry about what to wear--but you should always look great." 

Isn't that the truth? What's a girl to do?

She says we can learn something from French women, who seem effortlessly well-dressed. I've been to France and it's true. Ironically, they have small wardrobes. Says King,  "They've honed their looks, scout accordingly and purge ruthlessly."

Hone. Scout. Purge. 

Got it.

I'd like to add one more thing though. I think that a key ingredient in looking good is feeling good about whatever you're in. And that's an important question to ask yourself: Do I feel good in this? Do I feel like me? 

Yesterday I was in Goodwill and a woman nearly mowed me down with her shopping cart. She was brimming with confidence and was clearly on a mission as she sashayed through the aisles in her knee-length denim skirt, fitted red sweater, perfectly coifed blonde hair and red, anklet cowboy boots. With fringe.

She was in her 70s. 

I got a kick out of this lady. She was adorable and looked cute as could be because she knew who she was and that outfit was working for her, fringed boots and all. 

It beats SAS shoes and a rain bonnet, no? 

Though honing and owning one's style can take time, introspection, and observation, I think it's well worth it in the long run. Especially if we are sashaying through the aisles in our flirty boots when we're 70.

I'm beginning to feel more inspired than tired as I survey my closet, bare though it's becoming. 

Maybe I'll even do a closet update post. I forgot how fun it is to chat about clothes!

Repeat after me: Hone. Scout. Purge. Own {It}.

So what about you? Do you have some honing and owning to do?


If you haven't checked out Tiny Twig's 31 Days to a No-Brainer Wardrobe, you should. She's got some great advice and inspiration for all of us who feel a bit stuck.

{Click on the button for the list of all the days 
& topics thus far.}

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

{Day 11} Mom-Jeans and Miniskirts: What's a Real Mom to Wear?

{A rare photo of me, the mom photographer in rumpled jeans and non-fashionable sneakers,  on a recent family trip to the apple orchard. }

When I was a teenager I said that I would always dress like one. I swore that when I was a grown-up and a mom, I'd still wear mini-skirts and shop at Benetton and the Esprit store. 

Well, I am now both a grown-up and a mom. I do not wear mini-skirts. And I'm pretty sure I have not sported an Esprit or Benetton label since 1992. 

My youthful self could not have known that women my age who dress like teenagers would be called Cougars {and not in a school-mascot kind of way.}. 

Realistically, there may not be a teenager on the planet who possesses the sensibilities that come with age. I was no exception. 

I'm pretty sure that I wasn't so much obsessed with the eternal mini-skirt; I just didn't want to look matronly. I also didn't want to drive a mini-van, wear mom-jeans, or look the part of a grown-up. 

Looking young and hip seemed cool. Looking old and mom-ish was unthinkable.

I'll be 40 in a year and a half. As I write this I'm wearing khakis, gray and purple sneakers, and a sweatshirt. If my 16-year-old self could see me now, she'd die of shame and tell me to at least tight-roll my pants. 

She also wouldn't be caught dead driving the Toyota Sienna that's parked in my garage.

But as much as I'm tempted to roll my eyes and shush that naive 16-year-old, she speaks loud and clear every time I stare blank-faced at my closet. Because here's the thing: I still don't want to look too much like a stereotypical mom I picture in my head...even though I am one.

I know that sounds terrible. Truly, I consider stretch-marks to be a badge of honor and I actually like those parentheses around my mouth that a dermatologist would want to fill with Botox. Evidence of nearly 40 years of smiling? I think that's a good thing.

But I often struggle to look stylish and appropriate without fearing that I look either too youthful or too old. I no longer shop in the Juniors department but I'm not sure what "Misses" means either.

Also? The idea of synthetic fabrics now makes me feel itchy. And I've developed an aversion to most patterns. 

But here's the real clincher. I now look at outfits and say, Oh, that looks comfortable instead of saying, Oh, that looks cute!

Before you know it I'll be sporting SAS shoes and a rain bonnet. 

New seasons always make me crave a few new pieces. But as I surveyed my wardrobe this fall, I had an identity crisis. I desperately wanted to get some things but I wanted to be smart about it.

Thank goodness Pinterest came into my life. So did Tiny Twig's 31 Days to a No-Brainer Wardrobe. {If you're feeling at all like me, you should check out her fun and doable series.}

As I pinned outfits I liked and assessed the types of things I always reach for in my schizophrenic closet, I noticed common themes: solid neutrals, stripes or vintage patterns, and pops of color in accessories. 

As much as I'd love to be the poster child for Anthropologie, I'm really a Gap kind of girl through and through. It explains why I've worn a jean jacket every year of my life since the 8th grade. 

I've wasted a decent amount of time and money on things that don't fit my lifestyle or my true style. I'd like to reverse that trend.

Being realistic with my wardrobe doesn't mean I've given up. Unlike George Costanza, I am not committing to sweat pants ever after. In many ways, it means I've finally accepted who I really am instead of trying to dress like someone who doesn't live my life {complete with PB & J smears} or trying to reinvent myself into someone who doesn't shop in my closet {a NYC celebrity}.

Today I enjoyed a couple of precious hours to go shopping. Don't be too jealous. I went to two Goodwills and a discount clothing store. 

Sometimes I'm a bit overwhelmed by the sheer volume of crazy cast-offs. And sometimes I relapse into rayon and then never wear it. But today I was able to zero in on things that I think I'll reach for time and again. They are easy, comfy, and very mix and match. And I didn't even try on anything that duplicated something I already had.  

It was freeing to put my new-found methods into practice. 

Gasp, I sound as if I'm shopping like a sensible grown-up.

I've begun a major closet purge and I'm excited to have fewer but truer pieces. 

It's not what my inner 16-year-old's closet would look like. Thank goodness. But I don't think she's totally rolling her eyes either.

What are your tried and true, go-to pieces? 

{Click on the button for the list of all the days 
& topics thus far.}


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