Archive for ‘Fashionable Notions’

July 29, 2012

She Who Hestitates….

It got away

Despite my reputation as something of an impulse-buying, immediate gratification kind of girl, I am actually fairly deliberate in my purchases.  Especially when it comes to more expensive items, I am far more likely stalk the coveted item online, visit in a store if possible, and assess the potential for long-term love by seeing if a little time makes me love it just as much as I did at first sight.  Through the years this has left me with some good near misses and a few pretty sizeable regrets.

For example while I love the Louis Vuitton Theda bag, after years of seeing dozens of knockoffs I am very glad I passed on the Multicolore craze.  Ditto at least one pair of shoes every season.  You know the ones – so achingly gorgeous and a dead cert to be just plain aching as well.  Or that one trendy piece that is so in style everyone has one and the specialness is gone before the stores do their first markdowns.  These I look back on and then smugly congratulate my own self-control. 

On the regret side, well most are relatively minor.  The pricey silk maxi dress in the wild print – as fab as it was it wouldn’t have gotten all that much wear so I think I will get over it.  And that gorgeous and dramatic black top I resisted, I have several black tops so the regret faded easily.  But others are a bit tougher – those fabulous Jimmy Choo mid-heel sandals this season, for example.  I am always on the hunt for really great mid-heels but they seemed a bit extravagant when I started my spring/summer shopping and I held off.  By the time I decided I really would get a lot of wear out of them, they were gone; snapped up by wiser shoppers than I, so much for self-righteous frugality.    

But there are the BIG regrets that rather annoyingly stick around.  For example, two timeless evening bags have slipped my grasp and I rue the day I let them pass by.  The first, a silver Chanel mini flap bag I stumbled upon in the downtown Portland, Oregon Nordstrom’s Chanel boutique of all places, featured in a case in the doorway.  I was  killing a few hours before a flight at the time and thought “I LOVE that, but this is a silly time to buy it, I can get it when I get home” – idiot!  And even more regrettable was passing up the Louboutin black mink ball bag from two years ago – that I regret even more because I happened upon one at Saks on sale and I had a momentary lapse of frugality and passed it up. Every time I start planning an evening outfit I think of those bags.  Foolish foolish girl. 

For the deliberate among us the post-crash retail world is treacherous.  Hesitation is going to lead to disappointment more times than not. Retailers are keeping their inventories low – so low that if you delay you run a really good risk of missing out!  Remember the good old days when you would find something you really loved in a store but thought “It’s a bit too expensive, I will just wait until it goes on sale”?  Well, those days are long gone!  And if something does go on sale you had better be there the first day.  I was at a recent end of season “event” and the disappointment factor on what was left was really high.  What a bunch of junk, in un-wearable sizes and unbearable colors.

Even on pre-season sales one needs to get in on the first days.  I got a pretty frustrating lesson in this recently.  I stole a few minutes to hit the Nordstrom Anniversary sale preview on their website opening day.  I found a few good items for myself, and more importantly a pair of shoes that would be perfect for my bridesmaids – a good color, right style and unbelievably reasonable price.  But I really wanted to check with the B-maids to see if they were going to work.  So I did, which since I have been so busy took a few days.  Sadly, when I returned to the site to buy them – they were down to size 5’s and size 11’s.  Worse yet, Nordys isn’t planning on doing a reorder.  Drat drat and double drat. Yes, I know, with their great return policy I really should have just ordered them on the spot and returned them later, but its such a nuisance.  What WAS I thinking?

So now I am scouring online for a good replacement and trying not to ponder not only how perfect those would have been, but those darned Jimmy Choo’s as well.  Lessons learned and next time I have an “ah ha” I make sure that coveted item doesn’t become yet another “one that got away”!

March 3, 2012

Getting The Mojo Back

I have been losing my fashion mojo of late.  A horrible thing to admit, I know.  While a bit of a slump pretty much happens every January/February and July/August, as the fun has worn off wearing that season’s clothes, this year it seems to be a more serious case.  I have struggled more in the mornings to get dressed and it’s not because I don’t have lots of great options in my closet.  It’s just that I haven’t been “feeling” them, if you know what I mean.  And until recently I didn’t even realize that was the issue, until a little incident got me thinking… 

As I headed out the door for work the other day Mr. Commando said “Wow! You look ready to kick butt” and I was genuinely surprised.   This was hardly an epic outfit.  Just black, wide-legged go-to trousers, black suede booties, black turtleneck tunic sweater, fun and funky wide black belt, my everyday silver jewelry, and a rather elderly Isabella Fiore East/West bag in black.  Now the belt *is* fab.  And the turtleneck (a turtleneck!) has some literal flare going in its bell sleeves but nothing groundbreaking, nothing even remotely au courant or truly trendy.  And yet my beloved was right – I looked good and more importantly I FELT it!!!  Whaaaa???? 

Why was this particular outfit so great?  Now asking him to articulate that was probably unfair.  He did his best but it was hardly illuminating and went something along the lines of “I dunno…its black….you look good…cool belt”.   But it did give me food for thought and as I pondered it further on my commute to work I had a bit of an epiphany. 

Last year I made a resolution to try new things in the fashion department.  And I did!  I tried new silhouettes – skinny jeans and leggings with longer tunics and asymmetric hems, I wore less black – adding a bit more color and more prints, and I even added a few more dresses and skirts to my repertoire.  But, while I like and even love some of the new things I don’t always feel as good in them as I would like.  Meanwhile other (older) pieces I know I look awesome in have been languishing in my closet – victims of my “new fashion” resolutions.  Good grief!  Is this a sign I have become old and I am firmly stuck in my own ruts unwilling to like new things, or is it because the new trends have left me feeling a bit fashion-victimy?

Perhaps not; perhaps it’s just that I haven’t really “owned” those new items, and some just aren’t really ME.  Meanwhile that black outfit is soooo me – those wide legged trousers have some swagger, the basics in black are a great canvas to highlight stellar accessories (a personal trademark) and the cuts highlight rather than hide my hourglass shape.  The other great thing about that particular ensemble is that there is a timelessness going for it.  It looks totally hip and cool without being any trend at all, which is the very best kind of fashion.  I realized that in taking on new fashions I had been a bit too literal, going for head-to-toe on-trend looks, and in the process had lost a bit of what makes my own personal style fabulous, and, more importantly, what makes it mine. 

I headed to my closet with this firmly in mind and looked at every outfit I had worn for the past few weeks and noted not just how I looked but how I felt.  What did I find?

1)      I am struggling between sizes and my shape has changed (again) so there are a few pieces that really need to be taken in, and a few that I need to let go; but overall what has always worked best for me, still does. 

2)      I am wearing more of the current silhouettes, but some of them look and feel schlumpy.  Clearly if I am going to wear leggings/skinny jeans I need to define my waist while keeping my posterior covered.  The tent thing is NOT working. 

3)      I do still like how I look in my wide-legged jeans and trousers best – in or out, this is MY LOOK – so some of those tunics are going to get belts or hemmed and paired up with them.

4)      I need to go back to wearing cropped/tailored jackets or cardigans – Even if they aren’t as “in” as they were, they are still much better on me than a boyfriend blazer – no matter how many times I try, the longer blazer makes me look like a barrel, one that is based on my widest parts no less, ugh.

5)      I still don’t love dresses and skirts so I can save my money and stop buying them for awhile, because clearly I am not wearing them!

This exercise gave me a much needed new perspective on my same old same old.  Fortunately this sort out didn’t result in a list of new stuff I needed, which is good ‘cause lately the stuff being offered has left me a bit flat and isn’t always terribly flattering either (muu-muu tops? – yeah, not so much).  But I did look at ways to mix what I have to freshen up what really works for me.  So expect to see less of my legs as I get back to wearing more of my favorite wide-legged jeans and trousers.  And I will be wearing more jackets – I feel just a tad more chic with an outstanding jacket, so its time to start wearing them more often.  And there will be more black – because I really love it.  

Lesson learned?  While it’s great to add new things and change it up from time to time, not all trends are created equally, and sometimes you have to stick to what is really your own look or you have to tweak a new trend to make it truly your own.  Hmmm…I feel my mojo coming on…

February 14, 2012

Love In The Rain

Love in the Rain

Not everyone loves the rain, but I do.  I think its romantic and perfect weather for Valentine’s Day.  It makes cozying up inside a must and if you add a little rumble of thunder, even better.

But I must admit I have never loved going out in the rain, especially if I am dressed up.  Getting properly covered up for stormy weather can mean donning a raincoat and boots, which can be an unfashionable sort of afterthought to a gorgeous outfit.  And if you don’t cover up, you run the risk of ruining something special – like a gorgeous pair of shoes, which is simply unthinkable. 

What is a girl to do?  That serviceable beige trench isn’t quite the right look, even if it IS Burberry and the height of day time chic.  And if you are here in California it’s a bit too warm for your long winter dress coat.  You need something medium to light weight, dressy feeling but not too fussy and ideally something you can wear more than just on special occasions.  And actually rain proof.  Don’t forget rain proof!

This season there are some terrific options in the rain coat department – tons of bold and brightly colored trench coats and/or rain coats with fun details or fabrics that add just enough special to take them into evening.  My favorite was this gorgeous satin trench in raspberry by Burberry (of course).  Yum!  I also really loved Kate Spade’s ivory number with spiffy black trim, so chic!   I can easily see either of these options over a little black dress without being too casual, and then being something you can wear for daytime as well. 

Not every bright color will do, though.  Some are just too sporty or casual – yellow for example.  Ideally you want something that feels a bit more formal and that coordinates with your going-out clothes.  For me that means my adorable lumo trench stays in the closet and I grab my satin trench in a deep raspberry color with a full, sweeping skirt-like bottom instead.   It is such a fun color that looks especially great with black or silver, and the satin makes it feels dressy.  Speaking of silver, one of my all-time favorite trenches is a silver satin one– mine has gotten so much wear it has gotten awfully ratty, but there are new versions out there, like this embellished one, and they are fab.

On your feet – well I think rain boots can be pretty cute, or at least chic as long as you bring a tote with your *real* shoes along.  I snagged these adorable options – sort of dressed up wellies, which would all look great.  If you just can’t bring yourself to do the whole rain boot thing, at least consider donning some weather-proof shoes.  They don’t have to be ugly or heavy – Aquatalia by Marvin K has some great basic pumps in a block or kitten heel which come in great colors and fabrications.  I also found these really fun read suede numbers, also weatherproof, which seemed too perfect for V-Day.  It may not be the height of fabulous to wear a more basic pump, but it will beat wearing spattered, rain-soaked evening shoes or having wet feet from wearing sandals in the rain. 

Last but not least, as I said in my article about raingear for the boys – make sure you or your beau bring along a nice big umbrella!  Now, you are ready to go out and snuggle up close – to stay dry of course 😉

Happy Valentine’s Day, everyone!

December 31, 2011

STW Turns One!!!

Happy BDay
This week marks the First Anniversary of the Something To Wear blog and I have to say, it has been a blast!
I had only the barest of visions for STW when I set off on this adventure.  I enjoy reading blogs – both the more personal, as well as some of the more professional ones.  There are so many folks out there with definite voices, styles, and audiences; some are simple journals, some are ongoing photo essays, and some have evolved way beyond sharing thoughts to become full-blown businesses.  As I started to develop my blog I looked at all of it – what I loved and didn’t love out in the fashion blog-o-sphere, and what I felt was missing. 

I love being able to get fashion news, inspiration and ideas from voices beyond the fashion and retail establishment.  I love the immediacy of online media for discovering and sharing talented people, interesting personalities and fresh perspectives.  When I discover particularly beautiful images or great writing I find myself at the end of posts wanting more.  Conversely, I don’t love reading things that feel like press releases or are rehashes or downright copies of someone else’s posts. And I am admittedly a little disappointed when I see blogs that clearly are intended to be a business with content that isn’t always well edited or well written. 

So with all of this in mind Something To Wear has emerged.  I am not a professional writer or editor, but I attempt to satisfy my fairly critical eye.  I try to share not only my own point of view and personal style; but also appreciate and comment on others.  I strive to keep a balance between daily realities and the glorious frivolity, beauty, and fantasy that fashion is suppose to be.  Above all, I endeavor to share my love and enthusiasm for fashion, to give a little experience-based advice, to possibly inspire others, and at the very least to entertain. 

While definitely wanting to expand readership and followers, making my blog a “money maker” by crowding it with irrelevant advertisements and links to other sites and products has never been an objective.  Having not rocketed to the stratosphere of blogging I have yet to receive a goody box of free merchandise from any business asking me to review their stuff.  Every opinion is truly my own, based on my own experience with my own purchases and those of my shopping companions.  If something is good I am excited to talk about it.  If I don’t like something I try to be fair yet honest.  

In the past year I have written 54 posts, a number that still completely stuns me.  It has been a very busy year for me in my real life so to think that I have managed an average of a post a week is astonishing.  It amazes me to find that I can find the topics or the words on those topics, but apparently I can since, as one friend put it, “I can’t believe it, you can write an entire article on one brand of make-up for Pete’s sake!”, who knew?!

All in all it has been a terrific first year.  I haven’t yet mastered the magic of blog marketing and publicity but the blog stats have started to grow.  STW has gained a few followers, and gotten a fair bit of feedback.  I have surveyed friends and family, interviewed folks, and shared the fashion experiences of those near and dear to me.  I got brave and featured photos of myself, but found I much prefer the ability to capture things the way I envision them by playing editor via Polyvore.  I was thrilled to have been featured on the blog of one of my favorite brands simply due to mutual appreciation rather than commercial partnership, and was even more thrilled to see the resulting bump in readership.  And I have already had part of a post plagiarized by another blogger, which, once I got over the surprise, I took as a compliment.

I absolutely love the creative fun of this blog and truly get excited by each new reader, positive comment, new connection or terrific discovery.  I love seeing and sharing the ridiculous and funny side of fashion.  I try to curb my naturally acerbic tone but must confess that there are some things that I can’t resisting sharing so forgive me if they end up sounding too snarky or critical – it is never meant to be mean spirited.   Yes, I am rather verbose.  Yes, I tend to focus on the posh goodies I love because, frankly, for me they are more interesting.  And no, I am not writing to provide meaningful dialog or commentary on serious subjects; I will leave that in far more competent hands than my own!  Instead I will continue to Polyvore, shop and write as inspiration moves me and I am curious to see where those whims take me in 2012. 

I treasure my readers and, while some folks like my sweetheart are obligated to follow, there are also some fabulous peeps from as far away as the UK and even Australia who have joined the fun just because.  Bless you one and all!!!  I hope you find Something To Wear is as I intended, a delicious fashion dessert to enjoy after our meaty days.

Much Love and Happy New Year!!!

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