Nov 252014

If you view your wardrobe as an investment (the value of which, in light of the 8 Challenge discussion, is now in question) it pays to be aware of trends. One trend to watch right now is that of fit. Looser, flowier fits are trending; all too soon, I predict, alot of what I have been wearing will look too tight. (For details on how to wear … slouch at youlookfab. in 1990 how everyone wore the same size T-shirts: XL? I remember laughing heartily when the cosmetic department manager stumbled upon a box of old promotional tees, probably left over from the 70s. They looked ridiculously dated, although I could wear one now without raising an eyebrow.)

This came into play today when I was in the sweater department at Ross. A couple of other ladies were looking at sweaters and one of them was debating back-and-forth between the small and the medium. She really didn’t want to try it on. Turning to me, she asked tentatively whether I thought the (acrylic) sweater would shrink. Nosy as I am, I had been itching to advise her to just buy the bigger one anyway 😉

I admit: this is not my favorite part of the fashion cycle. The trick to wearing a looser fit is to maintain the silhouette; in my case, that means maintaining some slimness through the midsection. It is, perhaps, a great time to embrace the perennial advice:

slouchy on top, structured on bottom; fitted on top, flowy on bottom

In other words, pick one or the other; loose all-over looks too much like PJs 😉

Mar 192014

Choosing a uniform template is a form of automating wardrobe decisions. In past years, I have really struggled to come up with a formula for spring; this year, it more or less fell in my lap (thanks, Vildy, for sending me the link!). From Cathy Horyn’s article Sign of the Times | Slave No More:

Lately I’ve noticed many more women, all of them in the zone of careers and complicated family routines, all of them with an eye for fashion, gravitating toward an almost boyish uniform of slim-cut trousers, pullovers and flat shoes.

I don’t know that I take that as much a rejection of fashion slavery as I do a particular moment in the fashion cycle; either the moment when stylish women turn to simplicity, rejecting the piled-on bells and whistles that appear late in the life of a look, OR simply a gamine moment. Either way, this is for me!

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My spring 2014 uniform template:

colored jeans + pullover + blazer + leather flats

Pictured is one example of what I will be sporting this spring: the sweater was new with tags for about $7 at thrift, purple skinnies are a few years old and I am not planning on buying new pants this spring (perhaps another post). The third piece (not pictured) in this template is a fitted blazer; in this outfit, a chocolate brown velvet. If the weather is 50 degrees and rainy, I will wear boots; if 60 and sunny, flats.

If I want to look like everyone else, I will roll the pants up. 😉

Jan 292014

In the wake of my recent wardrobe trauma, but barely related, I have been thinking (and talking) about the whole “dress clinging to tights” dilemma, which I ultimately circumvented for the event last Saturday by wearing a lined suit.

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One conclusion: the longer-length dresses we are beginning to see will be much easier to wear with a slip. Personally, I have not been able to make a slip (or half slip) actually work in about 15 years. So, if you have been thinking about ditching all your slips because they are always “slipping” (as some say when one’s slip is showing), you may want to hold off.

Jan 212014

Fashions cycle in a manner both mysterious and predictable. Recently I read a designer quoted as saying whatever has been out the longest is what will be in next, and IMO there’s truth in that statement.  Especially as it applies to recurrent traditional looks such as:

  • Nautical
  • Animal print
  • Boat shoes Wait a minute, that’s nautical, right?
  • Safari suits

There is also a strong case for the idea that fashion trends move so fast these days as to be all but irrelevant. Watching TV shows from 10 years ago on Amazon’s Instant Video is one way to see how things have subtly changed (and free with Amazon Prime).

Previously on this blog I have made a case for seven-year fashion cycles; in other research, I uncovered a theory of (approximately) 50-year silhouettes predominating in a predictable sequence – another cycle. Are these both valid? Are they relevant?

In 2007, we appeared to be changing from a sportswear emphasis to a more sophisticated silhouette. According to the (five- to) seven-year cycle, we should be seeing more “saucy” looks: prints, warm colors, fun dresses with fuller skirts, etc. Um. Yes, please!

According to the generational silhouette sequence, the pencil will once again be the height of elegance. That straight silhouette is hard for me to rock. Knowing what looks do not flatter and leaving them behind is foundational to developing personal style, and a bit of a challenge for me. I always seem to look for a way to wear what’s “in”, even if it’s not best.

On closer examination, the pencil can be done with high, low, or natural waist (thinking of looks popular a century ago). As long as I stick with the natural waist, I may be ok. I have been thinking about a flapper dress, though.

Jan 082014

A few years ago at a holiday event, I remember noticing that almost all the older teen girls were wearing one shoulder looks. I didn’t think too much of it, other than

  • junior clothes are cheaper
  • it is a good thing, since all these girls are obviously wearing a newly-minted dress
  • those dresses are gonna look really dated 

Recently, though, I have been thinking back to that observation and I would add a potentially-more-useful point:

the one-shoulder fad foreshadowed the high-neck trend

After years of little but v-necks and strapless, higher necklines have become cool again!

The same concept repeats in the hi-lo hem fashion; designers are now bringing back the mid-calf skirt length. Shop the Designer Clearance sale at NORDSTROM. Plus, get free shipping & returns on every order. Differing proportions change everything. What changes are you noticing?

Dec 052013

So, I joined the YMCA. My daughter and I have gone nearly every day since then; I am helping her get the kids settled into the child care AND enjoying her company.  And on a little streak of blogging about exercise clothes.

May I also take this opportunity to add that my newest athletic shoes are neon pink? For those who may not have noticed (which would have been me six months ago), <strong>bright is the new white, when it comes to athletic shoes.</strong>

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My shoes are Merrell, which I love; Puma, however, is my perennial favorite athletic shoe brand.

Dec 042013

Who looks good in neon?  Oddly enough, it’s me!

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While I was in Hawaii this summer, I picked up a cute, neon pink sports bra. But I wasn’t thinking about it being a sports bra; to tell the truth, I’m not sure what I was thinking. I was probably thinking about being more comfortable in the heat if the straps matched my outfit than if I had to wear an extra layer to cover them (something I wish I had given more thought to in packing).

I have worn it. Mostly I have worn it under workout clothes. And every time I catch a glimpse of myself in the mirror, I am surprised how good it looks. I always thought neons were hard to wear and, somehow, that meant I couldn’t wear them.  Now, I am rethinking that.  Who looks good in neon? The woman who wears warm (temperature), light (value), and clear (chroma).

Dec 032013

You know that moment when you realize that everyone is wearing, eating, drinking, carrying, listening to, or some-other-how sporting the same thing? And, worse, maybe something you haven’t even noticed before now?  This happened to me a few weeks ago.

Around the time the cold settled permanently in, I swung by the coffee stand in our neighborhood on my way home from thrifting.  Both baristas were wearing the following uniform template:

leggings & boots + tee & gauzy scarf  long, shaped cardigan

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Designer brand clothing, shoes & handbags on saleI doubt they called each other up the night before and planned to dress similarly. Their hair was similar too. Suddenly I felt very uncool; it had not yet occurred to me to put together such an outfit.

But it was exactly what I needed later in the day when I dressed for the exercise studio.  Worn with boots and a long sweater, workout pants (even capris) look just like casual clothes.  I could wear that template all day long!

image.jpgimage1.jpgExcept I cannot find sweaters.   Until now, I couldn’t even find a picture to post to show you. This was in today’s Shop It To Me mail.

All this time I have been shopping, thinking that the reason I couldn’t find a sweater to cover my b_++ pockets was the proportions of my figure. Apparently not 😉

I think I prefer hi-lo with the hi in the front and lo on the back, not the other way around! 

Nov 272013

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So, we’ve seen maxis. We’re supposed to be getting midis. And, after too many boring years of knee-length cocktail-as-formal dresses, I see this:

The floor-length dress – a “gown” in fashion parlance – was facing extinction in the real world until recently, and seemed destined to be preserved only in the red carpet zoo. But the gown is making a last-gasp comeback, as a new generation discovers the joys of not having to worry about correct hosiery opacity, or ladders, or cankles. At the British Fashion Awards this year, I was struck by the fact that the cool kids were in floor-length and the middle-aged contingent were in knee-length.

I admit this quote is old, The Guardian December 2012, but who cares? This is the bottom of the fashion food chain, is it not? And, please, tell me if you are seeing or wearing a gown this holiday season!

Nov 252013

Fashion forecasters are hailing the resuscitation of the midi, as well as longer (below-the-knee) skirt lengths in general. Personally, I think it overdue.

But let me guess:

  • Short-waisted? You would prefer hemlines never drop below the knee.
  • Long-waisted*? Along with me, you have wondered what has taken so long.

* Long-waisted is, admittedly, used in this instance as a euphemism for a body type with proportionately shorter legs 😉
silver short-sleeved sateen dress
I had an extraordinary bit of serendipity last week! My daughter has a business associate who thrifts in a neighboring community by the pound and brought a huge bag to a meeting to share.  The next day, this Mikarose dress, with tags still attached, showed up on my bed, along with a pair of multi-metallic, ankle-strap, mid-heel wedges. Both fit.

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On me, this dress hits that magically flattering spot just above the calf muscle and below the knee. IMO, only those with legs resembling pencils should allow their calves to be bisected by their hemline. What do you think of the reemergence of the longer length?