Nov 132014

Throwback Thursday. The pictures in this old fashion lab illustrate a good way for a woman with my body type and proportions (hourglass with short, curvy thighs) to combine color values when wearing jeans tucked into knee-high boots. The picture in the middle is, in my current opinion, the best: the sweater (too bad I don’t still have it) maintains the arc through the waist perfectly, among other things that are working.

In comments, my late friend Wendy mentions mid-calf scrunch boots for shorter women; since boot heights are currently in transition, I would like to mention something else I have been thinking about:

Boots which stop short of reaching the knee can be used to fool the eye into adding some of the lower leg to the upper leg, thereby optically lengthening the thigh.

When I first noticed the practice of tucking jeans into knee-high boots being revived, I thought to myself, “I’ll just sit this one out”. Until one day last week November 2006. Walking at noon with my husband, I happened to notice a lady on the other side of the street. Her boots were very like mine, and she looked quite normal wearing them with jeans tucked in. With the color value similarity of the dark jeans and brown boots, her legs looked like legs (not hams on pedestals, which was my fear).

The other thing I noticed was that her top was a light color, in contrast to the pant/boot combination.

“Ah ha!” Maybe that’s the trick.

So here you have it:

  • What I actually wore today. Since I was the greeting mentor at our MOPS group, I wore my Eddie Bauer Seattle Suede jean jacket over my sweater.
  • The look I am testing: dark jeans, tucked into knee-high boots, topped by a light colored top. I think it works!
  • For the sake of comparison, the same look only with a dark brown top.

What do you think of jeans tucked into boots? What techniques have you successfully used?

Nov 112014

IMG_3029.JPGThis first picture was taken in the event (thank you so much, Stacy, for sending this to me!), but after I got home I realized, to my dismay, that the outfit wasn’t great. It was fine, but could be improved. Too lazy to actually change clothes, I pulled out my stylus and played with it (see below).

Buy: I definitely need a different top, one that blends in with the suit, doesn’t show at the neck, and is just kind of like underwear.

Alter: I think I should taper the skirt a little bit, and maybe shorten it. I’m on the fence about the sleeves; at the very least, the gathering and cuffs at the bottom have to go. I’m still trying to decide between a three-quarter sleeve and a half sleeve. Oh, and the brighter, lighter buttons are a definite improvement!

Styling: I had expected to have a jewelry professional give input, but, course, when I was getting dressed so was she. 😉

  1. When I first got dressed, I tried the “haircolor” scrunch boots and decided they might be too heavy or textured or something for the outfit. Now, I think they would have been better.
  2. I think I should just forget about those bracelets.
  3. One problem with the trio of pins is that I don’t like one of them. Otherwise, what do you think about that look? I may prefer a chunky-ish necklace that sort of balances the boots (as illustrated on the right).
  4. One last technical comment: in the center photo, with the headband, the entire look is eight headlengths, because I have shortened the head length with the headband. without the headband, it is more like seven headlengths. To be honest, I still think a look on the far right is relatively balanced.

I suppose experimenting is how people with time, money, and interest organically come to the point of expressing themselves artistically with their look. Having always had the interest, I am now investing the time to practice (and, of course, I have invested in professional stylist training, which magnifies the efficiency of the practicing process).

Enjoy the journey!


Oct 252014

Ok, so I have had alot of life happening, keeping me from blogging and other important stuff (like joining Instagram, which is probably a better home for stuff like this – just outfit photos). Anyway, last night we went to a fundraiser/auction with “glitzy carnival chic” as the theme/dress code. This is what I wore.

(You can’t really see the pants and shoes: the pants are a really cool dark green corduroy, almost velvety; I am wearing vintage, kitten-heel booties.)

I would make one technical comment about it: because the neckline of the black argyle sequin pullover is exactly at my first balance point and the collar is at my second, a necklace would have been just too much for me. You should be proud, though, I still used a good number of accessories 😉

Aug 282014

This post, from way back in the early days of the blogosphere, tells an amusing story. On me. It was originally part of a “blog carnival”.

The invitation:

I want to invite everyone to write about their most significant fashion purchase. Not the most expensive or most exciting, but the one that was somehow pivotal, or meaningful to you personally.

I’ve always been kind of a contemporary dresser, with a strong practical streak. But for a time, I let my practical (functional, sporty) side get out of control. Which led to one embarrassing evening.

It was in 1998. My husband worked for an engineering company, and the annual company Christmas party was held at the country club (that’s about as upscale as it gets here in the Great Northwest). I had this great dress from Goodwill (do you hear the rising sounds of impending disaster?): velvet top, full polka-dot skirt, puff sleeves. Positively Deb! I realized my mistake, but too late. Thankfully, I’m pretty sure my husband still doesn’t realize it.

The pivot point: I did not want to repeat that scene the following year!

Not sure how my friend knew I badly needed help, since she hadn’t seen me in that get-up, but she offered to take me shopping. After questioning me over coffee, I agreed with her that I wanted something more elegant. We prayed and then we hit the stores.

My friend is one fast shopper. (It helps that there aren’t that many stores here.) We found the ubiquitous bell-shaped long skirt at JCPenney, at a price I could afford, but we had to go to the other mall to get my size. Still, no top. Then, at one of those prom-dress stores, I spotted a possibility on the mannequin in the window. Sparkly, sleeveless and boatneck, believe it or not, it matched the skirt. Together they look like a two-piece dress.

The pivotal purchase: It was just a simple skirt and top. I didn’t spend even $100 or more than half a day shopping. But I promise you, there was not a woman at that 1999 company Christmas dinner who was dressed more appropriately.

The following summer I wore the dress again as hostess at my sister’s wedding. By then I had regained my fashion footing. Throughout the several days of festivities, varying levels of formality, I was never under-dressed.

Now, later this week I will be attending an event that challenges my idiom: dessert and coffee at a new restaurant, with sort of a dramatic interior, in a group with a bunch of young moms. What do I wear?

Aug 062014

20140805-144534-53134893.jpgWhat I wore: what I would wear to any daytime wedding held in a church.

(Btw, I am not wearing glasses here just because, but the hair – that is something new and different and related to the Personal Stylist training.)

As mentioned yesterday, I don’t actually have alot of options. I have this dress and these shoes; therefore, I needed to wear them together. Lol. Thankfully, my daughter, the jeweler, has her office, complete with her entire collection, in the room next to mine; although, in this case, I didn’t help myself to anything except a pair of earrings, which you can’t really see, that sort of help tie the shoes and the dress together.

That said, there were some differences between what I usually see worn at weddings around The Great Northwest and what we observed at this celebration (the groom was from Mexico, the bride from Colombia). For example, what the musicians wore:

Some tips, should you find yourself invited to such an event:

  • Wear color. The more colorful, the better!
  • Don’t be afraid to wear the same color as the wedding party.
    Typically, I think it is considered unusual to dress in the specific wedding colors, but I have never seen so much coral scattered throughout the congregation as I did at this wedding! The photographer’s dress appeared to be a simpler, street-length dress from the exact fabric of the bridesmaid dresses (which is actually very practical in making her not stand out).
  • Wear as high heels as you wish, but then bring shoes you can dance in. 🙂
  • 20140805-150020-54020636.jpg

Mar 202014

Throwback Thursday post. Back in April 2006, apparently, a few people happened by the “space” wondering what we were wearing for Easter. These days, church is more casual, but also more “come as you are”, as in, “dress up, if you think that is fun”. Actually, I think fashion expectations are alot more relaxed in general these days. But this post has some fun (and current) ideas in it. And it also has me wondering:

Are there “Easter” equivalents, in terms of getting dressed up, in other faith traditions?

And, btw, we are welcoming a new grandbaby for Easter this year. 🙂

My apologies to those who have dropped by already, asking the question “what to wear on Easter”, but I honestly wasn’t certain what approach to take. I’m not all that traditional, I don’t wear many dresses, not to mention that I usually work in the nursery on holidays. All that said, I’d like to give just a few examples of how to translate traditional Easter expectations into your own personal style idiom.

Traditional for Easter: a street-length dress in an “easter egg” color, often a spring floral.

  • High Fashion: Perhaps you would choose an all white dress or ensemble.
  • Deep or Intense Personal Coloring: How about a bold dark + white print?
  • Not big on accessories: If you want to step it up a notch, try putting pearls with any outfit you choose.
  • Always Wear Pants: Although I don’t always wear pants, because I will be sitting on the floor, my plan is to wear linen pants with a silk floral blouse.
  • Triangle Silhouette: A two-piece dress or coordinate equals a dress. An ordinary skirt & blouse does not.
  • Since Rules Are Made to Be Broken: How about going for the secretary look? Prim blouse + high-waisted skirt with big belt = a look palatable to almost anyone.

One other thing: many of us have an underlying expectation of a new outfit for Easter. That’s great, but not strictly necessary. I have seen trend-setters in my circle wear just an ordinary dress to church on Easter. They probably realize it isn’t a fashion show, and don’t want to shift the focus to themselves by making it one.

Mar 132014

I pulled this post out of my first month of blogging, because of its illustration of the Gestalt principle of Figure and Ground; that is, how the eye differentiates between a figure and it’s background. It is reflecting on an event from December 1, 2005; but the principle is no different now, eight years on.
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Flashback to last Thursday, that is. I just can’t get over how slim and elegant some of the ladies looked at the event I attended. How they did it:

  • Each one created an outfit within her natural silhouette.
  • The ubiquitous notion that black makes everyone look slimmer really works for dimly lit evening affairs- but NOT for swimsuits!
  • Obvious reflective elements, like glued on little mirrors or glitter, caused their outlines to be less distinct.

Something else about this event that was fun: it was ladies only! No flashbacks to the high school dance, when you were all decked out and your date arrived in a sweater.

Jan 302014

We are heading into wedding and prom season, so I thought I would re-post this about the cost of special occasion clothing. Another alternative I have encountered recently for extending cost per wear: buy a long dress to wear for the event and then cut it to cocktail for future use.

Here’s a reader question regarding calculating cost per wear:

Hi! I was wondering what your opinion was about cost per wearing when it came to things for special occasions, like prom dresses? I spent $199 on my prom dress this year (as a sophmore going to another school’s prom) but I’m also wearing it twice for 4-H clothing selection, I promised my best friend (who goes to a different school) she could wear it next year for her junior prom, and if our proms are on seperate days I will also be wearing it to my junior prom, since only one of my friends has gotten to see me in it. How do you reccomend I go about figuring my cost per wearing for this dress? Thank you so much! Dani

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First, I want to congratulate Dani for both her willingness to practice restraint and her generosity. I highly recommend sharing when it comes to event dressing. Calculating cost per wear? I guess I’d just take the $199 and divide by the 4 times you are going to wear it, because that’s all that really affects your budget. Having a friend wear it is “frosting on the cake”, so to speak. In addition, I suspect Dani, obviously a sensible and creative thinker, will find additional opportunities to wear this dress and lower the cost per wear accordingly. Later, if she sells the dress on consignment, the amount received for it would be subtracted from the initial cost before dividing by the number of wears. My target cost per wear for these types of special occasion dresses is $10-$20.

Realistically, I might allow myself more now; OTOH, I might not need it. My “MOB” dress from last summer I wore a couple more times that summer and it will be my go-to dress for weddings this summer too. Look Mom, no wardrobe trauma! 😉

Jan 152014

January is a great time to clean out the closets. Why not invite your friends to do the same and get together for a clothing swap? We are doing that in our house this weekend. In the past, we have done weekday evenings; this time, because of possible winter weather, we have doing Saturday midday.

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Put out some simple snacks, throw all the clothes in a pile on the dining room table, and have a place for guests to try on. That is all you need for some girly fun!  Including accessories is a great way to gently bridge concerns about varying sizes. 🙂

Have you ever been to a clothing exchange? What tips do you have for throwing one?

Sep 242013

At the recent Portland Fashion Week RTW show I attended, my companions and I stumbled onto a hat retailer among the pop-up shops. Of course, we all started grabbing hats and putting them on; I expected the usual response: hoots of laughter. Instead, the fabulous Katy of Bonnet informed me that I was putting it on wrong and would always look bad in hats (which I knew) unless I put them on correctly (which I did not know).

The trick: pull the hat on from the back of your head, rather than pushing it down from the top, and then pull it forward to frame the eyebrows.laurenleighton meester gossip girl in aubergine cloche

So, this actually works.  And they had a darling wool cloche in aubergine, with self-fabric flowers, which reminds me of this photo of Leighton Meester from Gossip Girl (which I have never watched, I confess), although the brim on the Lauren is shaped differently – it sorta swoops down on one side, like a wink ;).   I looked decent in it.  Imagine my sister’s surprise when, after she had been trying on hats from US $80 to $130, I said, “I’ll take it!”

lol.  The Lauren is only $46.  And still available at Bonnet.