Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Surprise For Mom!

Guess who has always liked my hair SHORT.  No ifs, ands, buts, or etcs. That's just how ma rolls......

Frankly, for me, shorter hair always requires more maintenance - on a daily basis, yes, but also in terms of more frequent visits to 'the salon'. The cost of haircuts add up, but even worse is the truly hit and miss quality of haircuts. I've had two stylists in my life who consistently gave me great cuts. The performance of the rest varied from so-so to a recipe for certain despair. As a result, over the last year or so i've taken to trimming my locks myself. With lots of long, wavy-to-curly hair, any mistakes kind of got 'eaten up' by the overall volume of hair involved. And i've enjoyed wearing my hair long for a number of years now.

However, the last couple of months i've felt ready for a change. I've been enjoying the look of my hair more when i wear it up, but even more important i was feeling that my hair just wasn't adding much to my overall look. I believe you need to have all your areas working for you and working together in order to really be stylish, and the hair could be doing more. I wanted something edgier, and with this much and this type of hair that means going short.

I've worn my hair this short (and much much shorter) for many years, through my teens and twenties and thirties, so i wasn't worried about being traumatized by a 'big whack'. But how to find a stylist? I mean, this isn't just a wee bite here and there, we're talking Big Commitment.

Well, anyone who knows me can recite the rest of this story.......after all, if 'the worst' happens, how many hats do i have?

At first i thought 'well, i'll just try a little bob' - half an hour later i remembered the several times in the past i've tried a bob, with different stylists. It looks beautiful in theory (with my hair 'pinned' into a bob), but in practice it's 'instant dowdy'. So i snipped and snapped my way to this tried and true (for me) style. Don't look too close! I still need to neaten some up, and cut in some thinning to lighten up the top and sides. But i'm happy with the overall shape, and it's always so fun to have a new look!

As it happens, Angie wrote a piece recently about the centrality of hairstyle to overall style. She says, "...I’ve found that a person’s hairstyle has a very dramatic effect on how they view their current and future style. By addressing a client’s hairstyle right from the start, things naturally fall into place. Often the new hairstyle alone makes my client’s style feel completely different. And sometimes it is exactly the impetus they needed to get out of their comfort zone." Well observed, and i agree completely!

Cynthia at Be Fabulous Daily writes about how to find quality at any price point, (with an adorable shout out to me - i laughed out loud!). And the Sewing Pixie posts her first 'v-log' with some very interesting information about sewing knits and painting fabric. All my questions answered in an easy to understand (and hilarious ) manner! This look of The Style Crone shows my favorite colors to wear - warm, clear, a little quirky. These colors are just so hard for me to find - especially in cashmere - though she looks so yummy i know i'll be keeping an eye out, whether i mean to or not!

It's only been a few days since i performed 'the big whack', and i'm really enjoying the change. And it's great to feel like my hair is pulling it's weight, style-wise. So i'm happy.

But the most important part is - mom should be thrilled!!!!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Aww, Fiddle!

Condolences to Sarah of Misfits Vintage on the loss of  Dame Elizabeth Taylor. Stop by to read her excellent tribute to Ms. Taylor (with a wonderful picture of Liz driving her convertible and flippin' the bird), and give Sarah some love!

Well, we're in that 'winter is over, but it's not really spring yet' phase of the year. Around these parts, we're getting mucho precipitation - hail and rain. Over the weekend i was woken out of a sound sleep two nights in a row by dreadful wind, hail, and rain. Today Sacramento is under a flood watch - take care Bella! Nothing like living on a delta. Of course, this brings us to 'what to wear?'

I've been wearing variations on this look a lot recently, on 'around the house' days where we see the sun. It's too cool to wear just a tank, but layering a cami-top over a knit cotton tank while covering my legs hits just the right temp. I love the ease of having a 'uniform', but looking the same all the time drives me nuts. These looks may give you some ideas for adding variety to any 'uniforms' you wear and like.

The biggest difference between these two looks is in the silhouette. The top look is boxy and straight - i chose straight leg pants and buttoned only the top button on the cami-top, surrendering the waist as Angie puts it. I brought the knit top hem down over the pants' waistband to the hip, so there's no indication of the waist. The boots have a lower heel and a sturdy shape, and i wore no belt. The length of the pants contributes to the boxy effect - the straight hem cuts across the calf, shortening the leg a bit.

The second look emphasizes my curves. I buttoned the cami-top at the waist, and chose curvy boot-cut jeans.  The booties have a higher heel and sleeker lines. I wore a belt to 'pull in' the waist of the jeans, and as a bonus you can see the little bit of chain hanging down. The addition of small sleeves and changing the shape and size of the head - an 'updo' here versus wearing it down with a hat above - also contributes to a different feel, even though the earrings and necklaces remain the same. I've really appreciated having the 'brainless dressing' aspect of a uniform, while ending up with different looks. Angie at You Look Fab comes up with a lot of these formulas or templates - she calls them 'mom on the go' of 'flop proof outfits' - take a look to see which might work for you, and to get more ideas on how to come up with your own if you're drawn to the idea.

Another way to change up any 'uniform' is to vary the color scheme. You could just vary the color of one item (like the knit tank), go from a light to a dark color scheme in neutrals, or go from a low to a high contrast scheme. The first look here is light newt/low contrast, while the second is a higher-contrast look. If you wear an outfit with one dominant color, especially a bold or bright one, people tend to identify that outfit with the dominant color. So if you wear the same look again but replace the bold color with a neutral or a different bold color most people will 'read' it as a very different look.

I've actually started to get in the 'taking outfit pictures' habit again, but somehow i lost a bunch of photos! That was aggravating. And if i look a little 'tomato colored' in the top detail pic, it's not your imagination. I was having a reaction to a sulfa antibiotic, since resolved. Pardon my french, but what a pain in my @ss. Signs are decent that the infection is receding into the past, which would thrill me immensely. Mr. E has a couple of days off and i'd hoped to spend them tearing about town and behaving scandalously - which is harder to pull off if you're too pooped to pop! Here's hoping you are full of piss and vinegar!!

Cami-tops: own design
Tanks: Old Navy
Capris: Royal Robbons
Blue Heans: Levis
Boots: Bass Lamont
Booties: Maine Woods
Belt: Betsey Johnson

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Popping In Briefly

yes, i'm still alive. My timing for taking a break was excellent, as mr. e and i are both under seige from a particularly evil virus. Instead of choosing to attack either the gastrointestinal system or the upper respiratory tract, this bug hits BOTH. Two days of 'mice having a circus in your guts' (mr. e), followed by your basic sino-sorethroat blow-out. Which is gross enough, but mr. e has a techy tummy and i'm prone to sinus infections, causing the whole sordid affair to linger indefinitely.....

I had a lot more fun a couple of weeks ago at a 'Ladies' Movie Night' hosted by ielgirl.  Food, romantic movie, drinks, dessert, and some very smart and realllllly funny ladies. Our hostess requested that we all wear our most romantic hats, so i trimmed up my straw one in pink and black. I really fancy the way it turned out and plan to leave it trimmed like this possibly through summer. If this event sounds fun to you, be aware that ilegirl is hosting a Fancy Pants Reuse Outing in Danville for April 2nd - Bay Area eccentrics, consider yourselves notified!

As you can imagine, having your brain slowly replaced by mucous does little to increase one's intellectual functioning...however, i have managed to do a little of the writing on high strange experiences i wanted to focus on during this break. I also managed to miss the fabulous Sheila's Leopard Week extravaganza - click here to get the scoop at the Leopard Week Wrap Up! Those ladies aren't the only busy bloggers out there - Allie of Wardrobe Oxygen has been posting some really helpful information the past few weeks - how to dress for the weekends, her 'eat your vegetables' philosophy of wardrobe building (a little like cake and frosting). But to top it all, Allie goes where no blogger has gone before and posts a complete list of her entire wardrobe! I find these type of posts really helpful, and really hard to write, so kudos to Allie!

I saw some long, twisted scarves of cotton gauze at J. Crew a while back and finally knew what to do with that cotton gauze in my stash. I checked out the RIT website for ideas on olive drab, and a few hours later i had a new scarf. It's soft and warm and i've3 been reaching for it constantly.I think of it as a 'statement scarf'. Wearing a new color, texture, size of scarf can really change the feel of your outfits, with such a small commitment of money, time, or commitment (you can take it off much more easily than, say, shoes or your blouse, at least in the circles in which most of us move).

Last but not least at all - i can't believe that people have actually decided to follow me while i'm on this hiatus! I so much appreciate all the people who take the time to read this blog and comment and follow. It is so much more fun to put these posts together thinking about the various 'pairs of eyes' that will take in my efforts - not to mention it makes me take it a bit more seriously. So THANK YOU!!!! THANK YOU!!! THANK YOU!!! to all of my readers and commenters and followers, old and new!!!  In the past couple of weeks, i've started to feel that old compulsion to photograph my looks, so i expect you'll be seeing more of me sooner rather than later - in the meantime, take care and have fun!!!  steph