Sep 162010
 

The main reason I write about all this stuff is to help myself.  While sometimes I wish I was one of those people who could just buy and wear what they like, I never have been.  So I invent rules for myself.  And share them.

One of the”rules”, or perhaps I should say “guidelines” or “proverbs”, I have adopted is this:

If a coordinating piece is available, buy it.

Yesterday I had an opportunity to employ it.  With my mind sorta set on bts and another sweatshirt, I stopped at Target and scanned the clearance.  I by-passed a pair of workout/weekend shorts at $7, until I found the coordinating jacket at $9.  Even if I never wear the set together, I have that option and the same other pieces will coordinate with both.  Coincidentally, the one tee-shirt I chose from the rack of $2 tees and tanks turned out to be the exact same color:  a tint of tomato red that is almost coral.

The moment I got home, the hoodie pictured back here went in the biffer bag.  I just really dislike hoods.  For me.

Check Out Target’s Weekly Ad

Dec 222009
 

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Dec 012009
 

Lately I’ve been reading, researching, and meditating on alot of detail concerning appearance and perception.  I admit it, alot of these thoughts initiate from comments to me; comments that show that they are unable to see my interior reality.  (Perhaps this feeling that nobody gets me is indicative of a mid-life crisis? lol)

At any rate, while there is alot of information here on the blog already, there is still TONS I haven’t figured out.  But I’m feeling ambitious, so I’m delving into researching the connection between certain visual elements and specific perceptions.  Leave a comment if you have a clue.  And I thought I’d begin with something relevant to career women, because I love them too!

Credibility: attitude toward a source of communication held at a particular time by a message receiver. It consists primarily of expertise, trustworthiness, and good will.  (Dynamics of Persuasion)

Another source put it slightly differently:   Expertise, Trustworthiness, Similarity, and Physical Attractiveness (I suppose the author of a textbook may find physical attractiveness to be too loaded a topic to address it).

Bernie Burson, Image Consultant, in her sidebar on Psychological Dressing, says:

When you receive your personal color palette, you learn that wearing your eye-related color makes you appear sincere and honest and wearing skin tones makes you seem friendly and approachable.

So, if credibility is a three-legged stool consisting of expertise, trustworthiness, and good will; wearing my recommended simple color palette (based on your own coloring) will get you two legs (and physical attractiveness as a bonus).  Not enough.  Establishing expertise, I suspect, is done through visual cues specific to the industry.  Even if the industry is raising children. 

What are the visual cues to expertise in your field?

Oct 292009
 

When cleaning out your closet, would you do better with the help of an objective second opinion?  Your Myers Briggs code could provide a clue.

If:

  1. you are by nature or necessity frugal AND
  2. maybe you are interested more in things other than visual aesthetics  AND 
  3. you really don’t want your closet to resemble a thrift store AND
  4. the last letter of your Myers Briggs code (I took a free online version, but I can’t remember where) is P

The reason this makes sense:  Judging or Perceiving (the fourth trait called out in this personality profiling system) describes one’s preferred “structure” of dealing with the outside world.  In dealing with the outside world, do you prefer to get things decided (J) or do you prefer to stay open to new information and options (P)?

In other words, the perceiving person likes options and likes to keep their options open.  (Probably this describes everyone to a degree.  In our household, it sometimes looks like not getting rid of something that is worn out because it’s still good enough to wear for painting or gardening.  And then forgetting and wearing it to church!)

In my wardrobe, problems are nearly always related to not having something I should have, rather than having too much or holding on to stuff I need to let go.  I’m a J.  How about you, is your challenge not having what you need or having what you don’t need?  And could an image consultant or trusted friend help?

Sep 212009
 

These days, there’s alot of talk about being “intentional”.  Well, when we went TV-free, it was almost completely unintentional, as many of the most profitable things we’ve done have been.   

Adapted from Pick Your Brain, Feb 15th, 2007 (courtesy of Mercola.com)

Your brain needs exercise just like a muscle. If you use it often and in the right ways, you will become a more skilled thinker and increase your ability to focus. But if you never use your brain, or abuse it with harmful chemicals, your ability to think and learn will deteriorate.

Here are 5 simple ways anyone can squeeze a bit more productivity out of the old gray matter.

1. Minimize Television Watching – This is a hard sell. People love vegetating in front of the television, myself included more often than I’d like. The problem is watching television doesn’t use your mental capacity OR allow it to recharge. It’s like having the energy sapped out of a muscle without the health benefits of exercise.

Don’t you feel drained after a couple hours of TV? Your eyes are sore and tired from being focused on the light box for so long. You don’t even have the energy to read a book.

When you feel like relaxing, try reading a book instead. If you’re too tired, listen to some music. When you’re with your friends or family, leave the tube off and have a conversation. All of these things use your mind more than television and allow you to relax.

2. Exercise – I used to think that I’d learn more by not exercising and using the time to read a book instead. But I realized that time spent exercising always leads to greater learning because it improves productivity during the time afterwards. Using your body clears your head and creates a wave of energy. Afterwards, you feel invigorated and can concentrate more easily.

3. Read Challenging Books – Many people like to read popular suspense fiction, but generally these books aren’t mentally stimulating. If you want to improve your thinking and writing ability you should read books that make you focus. Reading a classic novel can change your view of the world and will make you think in more precise, elegant English. Don’t be afraid to look up a word if you don’t know it, and don’t be afraid of dense passages. Take your time, re-read when necessary, and you’ll soon grow accustomed to the author’s style.

Once you get used to reading challenging books, I think you’ll find that you aren’t tempted to go back to page-turners. The challenge of learning new ideas is far more exciting than any tacky suspense-thriller.

4. Early to Bed, Early to Rise – Nothing makes it harder to concentrate than sleep deprivation. You’ll be most rejuvenated if you go to bed early and don’t sleep more than 8 hours. If you stay up late and compensate by sleeping late, you’ll wake up lethargic and have trouble focusing. In my experience the early morning hours are the most tranquil and productive. Waking up early gives you more productive hours and maximizes your mental acuity all day.

If you have the opportunity, take 10-20 minute naps when you are hit with a wave of drowsiness. Anything longer will make you lethargic, but a short nap will refresh you.

5. Take Time to Reflect – Often our lives get so hectic that we become overwhelmed without even realizing it. It becomes difficult to concentrate because nagging thoughts keep interrupting. Spending some time alone in reflection gives you a chance organize your thoughts and prioritize your responsibilities. Afterwards, you’ll have a better understanding of what’s important and what isn’t. The unimportant stuff won’t bother you anymore and your mind will feel less encumbered.

Recently, I’ve been hearing that spending alot of time on the internet is bad for children’s intelligence. Any thoughts on taming the Facebook Monster?

Sep 102009
 

Next week I’m going to be talking about how to develop a personal color palette.  In the meantime, I’ve been thinking about what I consider the Great Northwest casual uniform:  black top, army green pants, slip-on shoes.  Or some variant thereof.  And how, while I’m not so crazy about the ubiquitous black top, it is a good formula for some.  Especially those who are curvier on top.

Which leads me to the general principle of wearing lighter colors where you are smaller and darker colors where you are larger.  Let’s play with that using Gap cords, currently $15 off.

Women: Boot cut cords - chipmunkWomen: Boot cut cords - bordeaux

Women: Real straight cords - carbon blueWomen: Real straight cords - fawn

Women: Real straight cords - anthraciteWomen: Real straight cords - bright peony pink

(I threw that last set in just for fun, but I’d love to know if you have any thoughts on neutral vs bright also.)

Speaking of cords (or perhaps I should say “speaking of body image“), I normally avoid them simply because they always made me feel fat, but when Spokane Discount had a deal where any pair of brown pants in size 6, 8, or 10 was so cheap it was almost free, I bought a pair of dark brown, trouser style, corduroy Dockers.  For $3.

Application principle:  aside from monochromatic outfits, I am focusing on darker bottoms with lighter tops.  How do you employ color value placement?

Aug 172009
 

Update on my jean hunt: while I’m still hunting for the perfect pair, I picked up a simple pair of j crew button-fly, straight-leg, five-pocket, you know, just-plain-jeans. For $1 at the thrift store. Then I went back to the thrift store I mentioned previously and found that the jeans I had liked on me, but declined to pay $6.98 for, were now 75% off of the $6.98. These are gap long and lean, with flap pockets and the crease thing down the front. Not everyday jeans for me, because I don’t wear heels every day.
Women: Long and lean jeans - medium tint

But back to the question at hand: rigid or stretch jeans?

Conventional wisdom says stretch. And I know all the reasons: you get a personally fit pair of pants, you can wear a smaller size without worrying about shrinkage (my husband wonders how many women prefer stretch for the primary reason that they can wear a smaller size), and so on, yada yada, ad nauseam.

But. Consider the wisdom of Clinton and Stacy regarding jackets. They say a structured jacket fixes most problems. So if the structured jacket is the solution for belly rolls – and I think we can all agree that it is! – why isn’t a structured jean the solution for saddlebags?

Jul 022009
 

July is jeans month if, like me, you want to get the most for your budget by shopping thrift.  After all, shoppers are working on their summer wardrobes and won’t start really thinking about jeans until August.  (Hey, moms, is this a good time for general back-to-school thrifting too?)  Take the time now to inventory your wardrobe of jeans and begin looking for what you need.  If you don’t find it thrift, you can take advantage of the fall sales around the corner.

So, how many pairs of jeans do you need?  Some of my most glamorous friends have only one, and maybe a back-up pair for laundry day.  On the other hand, if your children are still in the spit-up stage, you may need a drawer full (like my friend from the post How Many Jeans Does One Mom Need). 

My needs:

  • straight-leg jeans for with flats (everyday jeans)
  • trouser jeans for with heels  (I got both of these first two thrift this week for a total of $13.25)
  • a pair to tuck into knee boots (I don’t always need these, but I did this past winter!)
  • a back-up pair

In my idiom, all jeans are dark.

Statistically, I’ve heard, most women own 8 – 13 pairs of jeans (and the numbers of pairs owned decreases as the one’s size increases).  True confessions:  How many jeans do you have?  How many do you need?

Jun 162009
 

Spring has sprung and that means dress season. There’s just something about a sunshiny day that brings out the girly in many of us, and for me, it also makes me a little more daring. All that to say, I am shopping for dresses.

Which, if online or even department store shopping were my usual practice, would seem easy; after all, currently LOTS of great dress styles are available: baby-dolls, sheaths, sundresses, shirtdresses. For me, though, it’s not so simple. Unable to bring myself to part with any real money most of the time, I generally shop thrift. Thrifting can be overwhelming, so I’ve identified some practices that make it easier.

How to quickly scan for dresses to try:

  1. Color is the easiest thing to scan for, so narrow down the colors you are looking for. This is how I was able to shop the entire Old Navy store while my hero was waiting in traffic to get out of the parking lot. And know that a dress is the easiest thing to wear in a flattering color that doesn’t work with anything else in your wardrobe. No mixing and matching necessary!
  2. Next, look at silhouette. If it makes you feel fat just by looking at it hanging on the rack, it’s probably not for you. Of course, if you are feeling adventurous, by all means use the opportunity to try on a new shape.
  3. Patterns should harmonize with the scale of your facial features AND appeal to your personal sense of style.
  4. With the current practice of layering dresses over leggings or other pieces, length may not be as big an issue, but it is something that’s easy to identify before getting to the fitting room.
  5. Finally, if it feels icky to the touch, don’t bother trying it on. This has to do with learning to recognize the feel of the fabrics you like to wear. Knowing I will never wear a polyester blouse, no matter how beautiful the color or pattern, has saved me literally hours in fitting rooms.

Of course, just because I shop thrift, doesn’t mean these techniques won’t help in traditional stores.

Look what I got yesterday for $15 (plus a pair of swim shorts and a pair of linen shorts thrifted last week for $10).  Apologies again for the fuzzy picture.imgp6203.JPG