Monday, January 31, 2011

More B7tch1ng About The Weather

Note to readers: Mr. E has posted his reflections on being featured as a style icon, the fickle affections of the lens, and modern funerary practices in an edit to our last post (as well as in the comments).

This ensemble appears just about right, as it shows in the top three photos. Clean lines with enough textural interest to keep things from being boring. Nice proportions, flat shoes that make walking easy but which also add a nice vintage element to the whole look. And the chunky sweater easily comes off or on to deal with any temperature fluctuations. Looks like a slam dunk!

Except when you leave the house for your daily constitutional. Chunky sweater is knitted of chunky yarn, leaving chunky holes through which clammy air can wind  it's fingers around your delicate ribs. And this jacket is a bit much on top of those small, flat shoes. Nice and big up top, medium past the hips, then ...... where's the feets?

But the worst of it came in the late afternoon. The sun burned through the fog for an hour or so, hitting the roof at just the right angle to heat up the house by around 20F degrees in minutes. This was just the time i'd penciled in for some quality time with the vacuum (which always gets my blood going).

Well, it's been a while since we've had a good vacuuming photo around here. I'm not at all sure how those texture-y socks look with the lace-trimmed tank and bare arms......maybe i should've left the belt on?

It's all because of this blasted weather! It's been gloomier than glum the last couple of weeks, as we've been in the grip of tule fog. Tule fog, also known as valley fog, is technically a type of 'radiation fog'. It manifests (very spookily!) when the temperature drops to the dew point in a low-lying area where the ground has become saturated with water. This type of fog literally forms from the ground up. Here's a great description of the evil that is tule fog, "The visibility in Tule fog is often less than 1/8th of a mile, about 600 feet, but can be less than 10 feet. Visibility can vary rapidly in any area, with sudden decreases to near zero in only a few feet. It is situations like these that often lead to multi-car accidents where one car follows another into a fog bank." (from the NOAA website). This photo on Flickr gives you a feel for typical driving conditions in this type of fog.  (Scare yourself silly by imagining driving in tule fog courtesy Google images.)

But the facts above don't begin to address the psychological aspect of living inside of a dingy ball of cotton candy fuzz for days, weeks, or months on end. Sunday morning i woke up and was thrilled to see how sunny it was! It was also nice to hear the steady downpour hitting the roof. Yes, your classic rainy day is brighter than living in tule fog.

So, the moral of today's post is the same as always - take it all with a grain of salt (or more).It's easy to look pulled-together for 1/64th of a second, and it's possible to edit any mundane life into an exciting, attractive post. I don't know about anybody else, but i have plenty of loose ends, stumbles, and bad hair days. I leave that out because no one's interested in that (if you were, this'd be a comedy blog). But i assure you it's here in my life, as much as in anybody else's.

And there is hope after all - 'mostly clear skies' predicted for the end of the week!

Sweater: Tweeds
Black Sweater: Royal Robbins
Belt: vintage Coach
Skirt: own design, inspired by some girls wander
Socks: O Chevrons from Sock Dreams
Shoes: Born

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thises and Thats

 I grabbed Mr. E a couple of nights ago when he got home from work to take these pictures. It's a great outfit, but he sure doesn't like to get his picture taken!  However, i think you can see why i wanted to get his looks on this site - he's not headed anywhere special, just off to work, and boy he looks sharp.

(Sharp? I look like I've just been embalmed for god's sake....A face lift, a face kingdom for a face lift! Oh, and by the way I don't have a beer belly, that's just the un-tucked shirt, hanging a tad too jauntily. No seriously, it's true. And just for the record, I loved the shirt pattern when it was merely a piece of fabric, but as an actual item of clothing I think it may be a little "busy". In all honesty, I don't think I'm very good with fashion. Johnny Depp on the other hand....)--Mr E.

The shirt is his own design, which i sewed up. It's a Japanese cotton print he spotted at Stone Mountain and Daughter. I drafted a pattern based on a couple of his ready to wear shirts which fitted well, and then modified the muslin based on fittings. His hat showcases one of my ideas about trends. The 'slim-brimmed-fedora' is a big trend in hats right now, and as a rule i'm not big at all on snapping up much in the way of trends.  But occasionally, a trend shows up which fits quite neatly into your own personal style, and if it's hard to find it makes sense to stock up while you can. Mr. E isn't tall and he has a slight build, so a lot of hats made for 'regular people' look oversized on him. These sleeker hats work well with his build, and he's wisely acquired some really nice ones.

The main highlight of this outfit is that i'm wearing the dupes i made of these pants, which were plumb worn out.  I'm making decent progress on my 'resolution', and it's fun to have a public venue in which to engage in a wee bit of auto-horn-tootage. The light was not cooperating, so you have these weird photos which look really strange but actually show off the salient outfit details. I'm wearing my Justina Leigh bracelet as a necklace (by clipping it into a 16" snake chain). I liked it as a necklace just as much as a bracelet. I generally like to wear super-drapey looks with a higher, chunky heel. But i was walking around a lot, and staying around the house, and my feet preferred these lower heels. So.

I've written before about my preference for air-drying most of my clothes - i think they last longer, and look better, than when they're tumble dried. Most of the drying takes place on this collapsible, portable air-dryer. It folds up accordion-style to 29" x 5", where it lives in my closet.

I ended up discussing this in the comments on one of Terri's posts, and she'd not heard of these type of dryers before. Behold, photographic proof! I like to dry most of my blouses, shirts, and structured knit tops on appropriate hangers, in order to keep them 'on grain'. Kind of a mini-blocking. on edit: these dryers more commonly are made of wood, which works very well and holds slippery items well.

Here's a paradox - the cat loves to sleep underneath this dryer when it's full of clothes outside. But if he sees it changing shape (un- or folding), it terrifies him and he runs away to hide. It's possible to really load up these dryers - my mom is amazing at it, loading up queen-sized sheet sets, bath sheets, socks, tees, and on and on. I leave mine out on the deck when it's warm and or sunny, and when it's cold i put it in the computer room next to a heater vent. Make sure to angle the dryer so that no large articles are blocking the flow of air, and your house-heater will do double duty and dry your clothes. Don't put the dryer ON TOP of a heater vent, no one wants fried clothes or a burned-up house!

 Hat: Goorin Bros.
Shirt: Mr. E's design, made by me
Trousers: ?
Jacket: Alfani
Shoes: Sandro Moscoloni

Tunic: Converse One for Target
Wrap Cardi: Nine West
Tee: Merona Target
Belt: vintage Coach
Pants: dupe of Carushka Posh Pants, made by me
Shoes: Bass Lacey oxfords
Bracelet Worn as Necklace: Justina Leigh on etsy
Earrings: Benitez Jewelers

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Genius of Issey Miyake

A while back Sal of Already Pretty posted an article on favorite clothing pieces - items you just love, that you'd be very very sad if you lost them. (I forgot to bookmark it, and can't find it - if you have the link, let me know so i can put it in!) The comments were full of wonderful stories, and i left my own flowery comment about all of my clothes that have a place in my heart. For years, my favorite of favorites has been this jacket, which i made from an Issey Miyake for Vogue Patterns publication over ten years ago.

I bought this warm, rich navy coat-weight wool about fifteen years ago, cut out the pieces, and started the project. Then life got especially crazy and i didn't have a lot of room to sew and the fabric and pattern sat in a bag until i got married and moved into Mr. E's place. I got the bag out and finished the jacket, and it's been true love ever since.

The reason i haven't shown you this jacket until now is that it's very hard to photograph (i've tried several times).  On January 13th i wore it to a book reading, and coincidentally the next afternoon perfect lighting conditions appeared. So i took a whole bunch of pictures, and now you can see this Issey Miyake jacket!

The construction of this jacket is unique. Miyake creates fullness in the silhouette by slashing the main pattern pieces and inserting curved pieces of fabric using topstitching to emphasize this construction technique.  He also divides up the bodice and peplum in an unusual way - i'll try to photograph this part in the future for you. Of course i love the bustle at the back, the star on the sleeves, the peplum and pockets. My dream is to make up the coat which is the alternate view on the same pattern.

Miyake designed this jacket to be single-breasted, but i didn't make a muslin and it's a little big around the middle. The construction is so complex that the easiest 'fix' was to move the buttons over to the side......which looks fine to me.

What i wore underneath is basically the same outfit i  wore to tour The Museum of Colonial Bedposts in Carmel. a couple of days after the book signing. This outfit is so simple and comfy and appropriate for anywhere that i said 'screw it' when i had  very little time to pack for our trip to Monterey. I just packed around these two pieces and it worked out fine.

The skirt is a linen blend, part of my 'resolution' plan. I love it! The fabric was on a great sale at Joann's, which ends Wednesday. I'm going to do my best to stop by Joann's tonight or tomorrow to see if i can get any more (after all the fabric has been picked over).

The blouse was inspired by a look put together by Bev of Style Underdog. I loved the look of this blouse from Old Navy - it's lines are nice and clean, the fabric texture adds interest, but the overall shape reminded me of the old-timey Gibson Girl blouses. I e-mailed Bev to ask if she had any 'out takes' she could send me, as i was working on a pattern inspired by the blouse and it would be helpful.

Bev sent me a note with pictures of the blouse spread out flat on a sheet with a tape measure strategically positioned. Somehow i don't think THAT was an outtake from her outfit photo session!! How i wish i could attend the meet-up in Las Vegas and thank this considerate and generous woman in person - and how lucky is the Style Nation that she's working so hard to coordinate that shindig?  Very Lucky, that's how lucky!!

Here's a shot of my holey crochet socks layered over my brown wooly tights. It worked out great - i was warm and crochet-y all at once.

Interestingly, Sal said in her post on favorite things that she doesn't have any items that she's all that crazy about - she likes all her clothes, but she could lose any of them without worrying about it or losing any sleep (as it were). There's a lot to be said for non-attachment to materials things, but Sal's position is contrary to my own philosophy. I believe everyone who loves clothes should have at least one piece that they're just gaga over, the kind of thing that just feels decadent and wonderful - something you never thought you'd have the good fortune to own.  I actually have a handful of these type of items, and i still can't really believe my good luck!

So where do you stand on this burning philosophical conundrum? Is it enough to have a bunch of clothes (and accessories) that are 'good enough', or do you believe in striving for your dream pieces? No need for Cynthia to comment - these blueberry boots are exhibit A outing you as a dreamer!!!

Jacket: made by me from an Issey Miyake for Vogue Pattern (upper right)
Blouse: own design, inspired by Style Underdog
Skirt: own design
Boots: Bass Lamont
Bracelet: gift from mom, from Justina Leigh etsy shop

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Style Insurance

This outfit really reminds me of Erin from Work With What You Got - not because of the way it looks, but in how it came together. The two main pieces (blouse and jeggings) are both off-the-rack items from Target's house brand. Now, when i think of places to shop where i'm likely to find pieces along my aesthetic, Target ain't the first retail establishment that comes to mind. Yet, i felt at ease in this look and it fit nicely inside my style spectrum.

Now, even nine months ago if you'd told me i'd be dressed head-to-toe in mass market off the rack pieces and like how i looked, "skeptical" would've covered my reaction. But here it had come to pass. Pondering how this could be, i boiled it down to two factors. One, i know my own style well enough to be able to pick items which either express my style or will work harmoniously with it (the neutral colors, the feminine-detailed voile blouse) without those items having been presented to me in the context of my own style. In other words, i have enough experience to see an item in, say, the Land's End catalog and recognize that it would really work for me - even though i personally find the Land's End aesthetic deadly boring and unattractive.  Two, accessories carry a lot of weight in any look. In this one especially the boots and belt really bring my 'Amelia Earhart' factor into the equation. Seriously, a pair of grey flats with bows on the toes and a little silver rhinestone belt would blend perfectly well with the blouse and jeggings. But that look wouldn't really come across as 'me'. Adding accessories that encapsulate and/or reflect your personal style to any run-of-the-mill look can turn a ho-hum base into an authentic expression of your style.

Erin seems to have a real talent for picking out just the right pieces that she can use to project her style, from even the most mundane of retailers (Target, Walmart, and so on). However, i have noticed that she seems to dig deeper in order to find those special pieces that finesse her looks (a wolf claw or hummingbird skull necklace from an etsy vendor, for example). Seeing as you can wear a good pair of boots for ten years or more, and jewelry lasts decades, it's a prudent strategy. Not to mention you can wear a trademark pendant, say, every day without causing comment - it's a different story with jeans or a sweater.

The older i've become (always a scary way to hear a sentence begin, no?) the more important i've found these two factors to be in building a reliable wardrobe.  It's FANTASTIC when you waltz into some new store and everything fits and flatters and goes together in just your own personal dream fantasy style, and it's all on sale and never needs dry cleaning or ironing.  (Well, i'm guessing it would be fantastic, it's never happened to me so i can't truly say.)  But over here in the real world you gotta deal with the hand you're dealt. Weird colors are the only thing in stock, clothes don't fit, money gets tight, your feet can't take heels......even if you make your own clothes, you have to make them out of the limited fabrics which are available.

Building a stock of accessories that you can rely on to bring your own personality to your outfits and being able to spot clothes that will work for you in even the most unlikely of places - both of these strategies help immeasurably in getting through style tight spots.

Grey Sweater: Tweeds
Blouse: Target Merona
Jeggings: Target
Belt: ??
Necklace: gift
Boots: Bass Lamont

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Wardrobe Infusion via "The House of Mom"

 Just a nice, warm, easy to wear look.  I've been on the hunt for another small hat recently, but no luck yet. With a lot of looks, especially the 'vintage-y feeling' ones, i really like the look of a small, neat head. To my eye it gives a '30's or '20's vibe.  This hat tarts up really easily with scarves and pins, which varies the look, but i wear it enough that i think another small one would be in order.

Actually, this hat came into my wardrobe via my mom. She'd had it awhile but never wore it, so when i spotted it over at her house she said, 'Take it!'. Ah, now that's the kind of shopping i really like
; )   No crowds, and the price is right. Besides, clothing with a little history to it is just more fun to wear.

Speaking of 'fabulous accessories via The House of Mom', here's a close-up of my holiday gift from my mother. I'd had my eye on Justina Leigh's CHARLIE bracelet since i saw her work on Style Underdog last summer.  I kept an eye out for likely chains to try and cobble one together on my own, with zero luck. At least the one bracelet i really liked wasn't moving - until right after Christmas, when mom asked me what she could get me for the holiday. It had just sold!!!  Fortunately i had the presence of mind to write to Monique Lopez regarding the possibility of a dupe - 'No Problem', came the reply. Whew!

A couple of weeks later, my bracelet came in the mail.  I've taken it off two or three times since then. Thanks, mom!  Now, what type of wardrobe support do you all get from your families, specifically 'The House of Mom'?

Dark Grey Sweater: Tweeds
Khaki Jean Jacket: Royal Robbins
Henley: Aeropostale
Skirt: own design, inspired by some girls wander
Over The Knee socks: O Lovelies from Sock Dreams
Scarf: own design
CHARLIE Bracelet: Justina Leigh on etsy
Shoes: Born

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Siren Song of Priceline......

basking in the rising sunlight by the gazebo firepit
 or, William Shatner would never steer you wrong, would he?

My better half is, indeed, weather obsessed. He moved to Northern California as a young man expressly to avoid the weather conditions of his youth in Long Island. This trait explains his urgent need to experience our recent bout of beautiful weather in the most lovely landscape our case, the Monterey peninsula. However, after discussions last Friday, we'd decided to skip a trip on this weekend. Contact with some skeevy chairs at a book signing on Thursday night left my leg extra-gimpy, so any hiking (for us, the point) would be out of the question.

Casanova restaurant in Carmel - go for the atmosphere, not the food

However, late Friday night someone started thinking about Priceline, and how it couldn't hurt to submit a ridiculous set of parameters.  Just to have a laugh.

Touring the Museum of Colonial Bedposts in Carmel
Well, the laugh was on us when someone's parameters were * accepted *. I found out late Friday evening that we were booked for Saturday and Sunday night at the Hyatt Monterey (on the Del Monte golf course). (No, neither of us plays golf.) I don't travel well or pack quickly, so i went into 'full frazzle mode' for a bit. But when we got to our destination, Carmel, Pacific Grove, and Point Lobos all shown with limpid light, and the air had little silver and golden sparkles floating around in it....

Point Lobos surf
But we did learn a valuable travel lesson. Our basic room rate beat the price we normally pay for bed and breakfast lodging. However.....Hyatt Monterey is a 'resort', so add $15.00 per night "resort fee".  The amenities include two bottles of Aquafina bottled water, refreshed nightly, and an in-room coffee pot which makes the world's most execrable brew.  Additional bottled water? Buy it in the souvenir shop! Cup of joe? The Starbucks coffee bar opens at 7:00am (caffeine starting at $2.50). All that food and drink adds up quickly.

Snapdragon and Salvia flowers brighten a Pacific Grove parking lot

Casanova's cheese platter tasted as good as it looks
 And it's at least half a mile to anywhere a tourist would want to go - downtown, the Aquarium, Cannery Row, the municipal beach (such a romantic name!) - but no jitney. B & B's have a full breakfast, unlimited coffee, tea, and cocoa. Many have very robust snacks in the afternoons (high tea or hors d'ouevres), free bottled water and sodas, obviating the need to go out to dinner. And most are located within easy walking distance of shopping, beaches, and other 'destination spots'. They also have great staff who are readily accessible to help with any arrangements you can imagine (even helping you call your mom about test results when you've forgotten your cell phone!).

Yarrow and Seathrift overlooking Point Lobos
So in the end we didn't save any money, and for the same amount of money we got less desirable lodgings. I hope we learned our lesson!

Friday, January 14, 2011

In Search Of......

 By the shore of a misty pond, our heroine searches. For what, she knows not.........

Uh, maybe -  a better look at the clothes? This IS supposed to be a style blog, isn't it?!?!?

Okay, here you go.  For some reason i felt like i was in my jammies all day wearing this outfit.  This seems to be some species of recurring neuroses on my part, and at this point i have no idea what the heck it's all about. Even i have to admit there's no realistic way that this get-up emits any type of 'jammy' vibe. I wore this dress because i was dying for some color and floweriness with all this cold, grey weather. I have the world's most boring merino wool v-neck sweater in grass green that i wore over the dress but under the jacket, so it didn't really show all day. It did provide a welcome layer of warmth. Brrr!

I've finished my first 'resolution' piece - the black linen blend full knee-length skirt. It has an elastic waistband and a couple of 3/4" deep tucks by the 60" hem. Comfy, easy, with a really nice drape. Plenty of room for wool tights and petticoats during the winter, and bare legs in summer.  I plan to spruce it up a wee bit with two or three groups of self-fabric yo-yo's. I was inspired by this look of Elsita's. (ah, the glorious day when Elsita begins her outfit posts again......) But my new skirt is a nice, basic piece of cake without extra ornamentation, so i'll focus making on my black interlock pants and my tobacco linen skirt before i start tartin' it up.

In Style Nation news, Reva is sponsoring an 'in the raw' group post. Seeing as i egged her on about it, i'm in. (Don't worry, mom, i'll keep it clean.) I encourage you all to go check it out and think about participating - Reva explicitly discourages 'severe nudes', so no need to show anything you feel uncomfortable with. But it's a nice opportunity to show a different side of yourself - we're not all perfect all the time, after all. 

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Wardrobe Resolution

 (cue sound of angels singing) Yesterday we broke 50 degrees F! I was able to take a walk and remove my gloves by the end of it!It's been about a week and a half since we climbed out of the 40's, so you can imagine my excitement. Mr. E took my picture in Carmel, CA last Saturday - we drove down a couple of hours the coast to see if we could escape the cold, wind, and rain. Many weather systems that come down from the north blow out by the time you get to Monterey Bay, so it's a strategy that's paid off for us in the past. But not this time. We wimped out and came back Saturday nite, instead of finding a cheap room and staying over. But i did get a nice remark from a lady winding up her day on Cannery Row who deemed my outfit 'the best i've seen all day!' (I'm wearing my grey ruffle skirt and Bass Lamont Boots).

Sunday had important wardrobe ramifications. I put my resolutions from this post into action, and bought material for three new bottoms at Joann's. They're having a great sale until January 26, if at all possible i plan to stock up on some more linen and linen blends before it ends (60% off). I'm halfway through a black linen/rayon blend full knee-length skirt, and have material for a slim silhouette tobacco linen skirt, and some cotton/poly interlock to copy these pants.

In the comments to my 'resolution' post Terri shared with us that she has dupes for four of her wardrobe basics: "You are absolutely right about the mainstays--which is why I have two black pencil skirts, two pair of black slacks, two pair of greys, two denim skirts." I appreciated her being so specific. It helps me to see a general idea along with a concrete plan someone uses to put that plan into action. I could juggle her selections around in my mind to see how they would work in my wardrobe and typical week, what would be involved in acquiring these items (or my equivalents), and how much of a 'buffer' they would offer me in terms of flexibility - for different types of occasions, in case of accidents, those busy times where it's hard to keep up with laundry, etc. I'm working on coming up with a similar list for my own use. Thank you Terri!

Just a knock-around-the-house, layer 'em up so you can stay warm, throw some stuff on kind of outfit. The beauty of this outfit for me is how easy it was to put together, because of the thought i've put into what gets into my wardrobe to begin with. It's comfy, warm, me, and has a certain amount of funk and style. It's days like this one, where i've made it so much easier for myself to dress how i want and like to, that give me the inspiration to make my mainstay's list and create the clothes on the list.

And you know where i get so many of the ideas for how to make my clothes work better for me - the finger's pointing right back at you! I hope i return the favor at least every now and then. Thank you!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

How We Treat Each Other

In a bit of a mid-winter, post-assassination-attempt funk.  It took all of twelve hours before i heard the first 'pundit' spinning events and bits of facts to support his own political viewpoint ('the shooter listed The Communist Manifesto as his favorite book therefore he must be a left-wing radical'). I'd harbored hopes that this horrible event would bring people to their senses and encourage us all to consider the responsibilities that come along with our free speech rights. Sadly, this doesn't seem to be the case.

On the hopeful side, many people in and out of the public eye are using this opportunity to speak out against inflammatory, violent rhetoric for any purpose and against any category of people. After all, once you decided it's fine to de-humanize anyone it only takes time and fear for people to decide that we need to torture, incarcerate without due process, search without warrant more and more people.Once certain lines are crossed, it's very hard to argue against crossing them again on principle.

So much media and so much of our 'political discourse' these days relies on emotional appeals to get people on their side, to get ratings and contributions.  Let's face it, it's just the easiest, cheapest, fastest way to goad people into action. Reduce any issue to the good guys vs. the bad guys, get people all whipped up by creating some boogeyman to terrify them, and watch the dollars roll on in. It works - to get ratings, money, &, in some cases, votes.

But does it address the concerns which our political process is specifically set up to address? Does it help us to overcome any of the significant, real problems that we face as a society today? Has any of this hate-filled speech stimulated the economy, provided health care services for poor children, made our streets safe, our communities more tight-knit, our lives longer or happier or healthier?  No.

Violent, cartoon-like rhetoric based on 'us vs. them' arguments don't help solve any of the very real problems we face as communities, as a nation and as a world. Reasoned, thoughtful, open-minded and respectful communication has a chance of doing so.  I know this is a 'clothes blog', but it's the most public forum i have to let my thoughts be known. And every interaction i've had in the style blogging community has reinforced for me the idea that actual problem solving ONLY takes place in a respectful, thoughtful environment. I feel it is time for people who disagree with violent rhetoric, who believe in the importance of respect in exercising our first amendment rights, to let their principles be known.  Thankfully, many people are doing so. I'm publishing this post in support of them.

Friday, January 7, 2011

No Repeats W & W: Day Nineteen

pretty cute, if i do say so myself.

Well, i wanted to end this 'workaday capsule' series with a bang - nice outfits, somewhat creative pictures in fun settings....and Day Nineteen went pretty much to plan. See above.

However, Day Twenty (the grand finale) was a bust.  I planned to wear the beige dirndl with my palm tree jacket and red clogs. I had to wake up early early to drive with Mr. E to work so i could use the car to get the oil changed, do a blood draw, etc. I'd struggled into my bra, cami, sweater, tights, slip, skirt and clogs when Mr. E commented (from his rightful place on his throne) that i had a big stain right on the middle of my skirt back.  Even i had to admit it was too gross to wear in public, once i inspected it. (I've been known to play fast and loose with bitsy stains, little tears, and so on. I mean, who can tell that it didn't happen since you left the house?)

Overnight, the weather got vewy vewy foggy as well as a good ten degrees colder than it's been. Even with expert layering my chances of pulling off my cotton canvas palm tree jacket without risking hypothermia were nil. At that point, i put my whole closet up fro grabs in order to pull together whatever clothes would keep me warm, be comfy, and preserve public decency.  My choices, as it turned out, were pretty darn slim. See result below.

Frankly, I was skeptical about learning much from taking on this challenge. But i was wrong wrong wrong. Limiting myself in this way has showed me just how low i can go in terms of the number of basic, everyday workhorse pieces i need in my wardrobe. I can get away with a pretty small number.......for a while.

But, trouble ensues when you're relying on one piece to fill a central wardrobe role and that piece gets a naughty stain. Or that piece is realistically too uncomfortable for your leg to tolerate thirteen days out of fourteen. Or that one item is your go-to piece for cold weather, but the cold weather drags out for twice or three times as long as usual. Or that skirt just plumb wears out before you can make or find a replacement.

In other words, i could stand to be more honest with myself about a) what i truly feel comfortable wearing comfort-wise and b) building some buffer pieces in my wardrobe, especially with my workhorses. I'm certain i wouldn't have found that out (or believed it enough to act on it) without participating in this challenge.

Thank You Cynthia and Anne!

Thursday, January 6, 2011

No Repeats W & W: Days Seventeen & Eighteen

Not much to say about this outfit other than sometimes the pictures look a lot cuter than you felt when you were wearing the clothes.  I'm pretty sure i'm still stuck on 'too comfy = sloppy looking'. But that equation is false.

Here you can get a glimpse of some aquamarine beads i bought on Telegraph for six bucks. Everytime i string beads, the string stretches out after i wear them a few times and it looks bad. So i'm trying wearing these ones before i finish the necklace with findings, clasp, etc. to see if i can avoid the problem. Any input/feedback on this issue is avidly anticipated!

I wouldn't consider this outfit completely successful as an outfit - but it has some elements i'm very glad i stumbled upon. Angie at fashion me blog, Serene at The Elegant Bohemian, Katie of Interrobangs Anonymous, and others i can't recall at the moment have all been really rockin' the 'scarf as blouse' trick.  I've been attempting it myself a few times recently, and this time i finally got the hang of it!

I also really like lacey anklets with these boots.  With skirts, with skinny cargoes, or with fishnets in nude or really expands the range of these booties.  And using just a couple of lacey touches (scarf and socks) on a neutral base to lend a romantic air to the whole outfit is a nice strategy. But those black leggings under the skirt got under my skin as well.  It's too blunt. But i was too busy, too cold  and too tender to change them out for, say, nude fishnets or my gray lace Betsey Johnson tights. 

That's the beauty of a daily outfit blog - you can stash these elements away for future use.  In real life, i'd remember how much i liked these details but most likely forget precisely how i pulled them off....

I've had this rutilated quartz bead for three or four years now. I tried wearing it a number of ways, but none really felt right. Terri has featured acorns in a number of her DIY projects, and it finally occurred to me to go see if i could find one for this bead. I found one and burnt a hole in it for the wire. I also bought a couple of strings of iolite beads on Telegraph from the same vendor as the aquamarine ones. That's an iolite bead at the base of the 'acorn', and i've strung iolite beads to make a necklace for this 'acorn' pendant. Here i used a black ribbon, as the iolite string is in 'the stretching process'.

I can see the end of the workaday capsule challenge!  I'm doing my best to 'go out with a bang', but the weather and random evil stains conspire against me.  Wish me luck!