September 15, 2013

Go Team, Go!!!


Watching college football on television got me to thinking about just how silly most sports fans look on game day – it’s part of the fun I think.  But sometimes you do have to up the style quotient a notch.  I have had a recent experience that is an excellent case in point.

As I have mentioned before, the hubby and I have season tickets to the Los Angeles Clippers that happen to be in a very prominent location for photo ops.  This has always meant being a little bit self aware lest you find yourself getting texts from friends who see you scarfing up popcorn, wearing a baseball cap and track suit  on national television. Oh yeah, sooooo not good for one’s fashion cred.  

This year the stakes got upped another notch when we found we have new folks sitting in front of us in the next row  – the very gorgeous Gloria Govan, star of Basketball Wives and wife of the handsome LA Clipper Matt Barnes, and their adorable twins Carter and  Isaiah.  She is engaging and lovely, and the little boys, along with their good buddy Chris Paul Jr., draw a lot of player and therefore camera attention.  

The Barnes family members are quite the Fashionistas – Matt, always well dressed off court, was even a guest on Fashion Police this summer and his taste and knowledge were impressive.  Even the twins are always nattily dressed – so adorable and on-trend, even at four!  Gloria has great style and the girl can rock skinnies and Louboutains like nobody’s business.  But it’s not all NBA Wife bling.  I complemented her at one game on a really chic necklace and she giggled and shyly told me it was from Forever21.   

Needless to say, I have found myself making a bit more of an effort to look my best when we are at the games – not so easy this particular year.  And it got even trickier when, miracles of miracles, my beloved team made it to the playoffs.  Why you ask?  Well besides increased media coverage, the arena gives away free shirts for every playoff game in the Clippers team color – red.  They want you to wear them or wear you own red fan gear to show a sea of red on national television (see pic above).  It makes a great visual impact and would be great if the freebies weren’t too small to go over my chest. 

I wanted to represent my beloved team – and I wanted to look chic doing it.  To make it more challenging, there are a LOT of games (stretches of two, three or four home games in a week) and frequently I am going straight from the office to the game, so clearly the one hand-sequined tee I made wasn’t going to cut it.  Game on! 

I started with some fun shoes – it took some hunting but I managed to find not one but two cute and comfy pairs of red shoes on sale – adorable sparkly metallic Cole Haan ballet flats and some Dansko’s that look like platform Keds – no tottering about in ridiculously high heels for me.  Next I found two great layering cardigans (one long and drapey, one cropped and classic),  an a-line cashmere tunic and a ballet neck tee all from JJill in a gorgeous color called “True Red” and all on sale!  Whahoo!!!  Lastly, because I simply can’t go anywhere without great accessories, I fashioned up a bold statement necklace in silver and gorgeous red glass beads.  Add trousers, leggings, or jeans in blue or white, layering pieces like my white leather jacket, et voila – a Clippers fan capsule wardrobe!

I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on the “fan” looks – even one from Gloria.  And in case you are wondering, the lovely Gloria is NOT wearing free tees either– she and the rest of the team wives showed up for the playoffs in super-cute customized team jerseys, with matching ones for the twins, of course.  Go Clippers!!

September 7, 2013

Dreaming of Autumn

Anniversary Goodies


With NY Fashion Week in full swing, and the seasons changing (except for here in Southern California) my thoughts are turning to autumn and all the yummy clothes that come with the cooler weather.   I have written before on how much I dislike the fashion rut that is June through August.  The stores are full of dreadful summer clearance merchandise (size 00 neon yellow monokini anyone?) and the fashion magazines go on breaks.  We don’t even have a mid-season break like we do in January when we get resort wear in and can fantasize about being warm when it’s cold outside. 

The one bright light in the otherwise uninspiring late summer is the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale in July, when we can sit in front a blasting air conditioner and look at leathers, boots and cashmere ON SALE and then actually go buy those goodies.  I have written about this event, a personal favorite, before (

This year I spent a delicious few hours with the catalog and then online plotting what I wanted to get.  Then I did the same with my eldest step-daughter, Christie.  She has just graduated from college and has started her first “real” job so we’re in career wardrobe-building mode for her.  No denim, no tanks, no flip flops – just real grown-up, versatile and sophisticated goodies.  Best part of our shopping “trip” was that it was all ordered online so we had the best selection, no first-day-of-sale crowds, and we got a little Christmas for a few days as the packages arrived later. 

We scored some amazing grown up goodies for Christie – a gorgeous Kate Spade top in bang-on-trend purple, a kicky and very chic leather trimmed fit and flare dress that has an endless number of destinations from work to a chic night out in San Francisco, and a luxe leather jacket that I expect she will wear for years to come. 

And for me?  Well I have been a bit disappointed in the past few years at Nordstrom’s plus size offerings for this event, seems like too often the fabulousness and gloss doesn’t make it past size 12.  But this year there were a few gems even for me!  I nabbed a much-needed new leather jacket, black with very cool and superbly flattering knit insets on the sides.  I also found a yummy cashmere sweater with bold sparkly embellishments, and a pair of black Attilio Giusti Leombruni ballet flats.  The flats are one of those pricey-but-worth-it items I tried on months ago and loved for their amazing comfort, but they didn’t have the right color in my size at the time, so finding them on sale and in stock was exciting. 

Lastly, I snagged a set of Givenchy necklaces in a very cool bronzy metal with blush pearls and crystals.  I loved how they layered them in the catalog pics and loved the effect even more when I got them home.  They were a bit pricey for fashion jewelry, but I have several other Givenchy pieces and they are of amazing quality that puts them in a class above regular costume jewelry.  Better yet, the brown color makes them super versatile, they filled a wardrobe gap (I don’t wear gold so its tricky when I accessorize brown) and they were perfect for an upcoming event (more on that later)

I have only one left-behind-and-regret-it item; an absolutely gorgeous Burberry Orchard satchel with super natty brogue details.  Nordstrom offered a “limited time” special price on these bags in a burgundy and a cognac color for a few brief moments at the beginning of the sale, then zipped them back up to full price.  I love love love the Orchard bags but if I get one, it really needs to be black so I resisted.  Now they are at regular price and no signs of a version in black yet.  Rats! 

California’s perverse September weather arrived this week with scorching heat and insidious humidity.  The news and Facebook are full of reports of fall leaves, cooling temperatures and even rain.  My new jacket and sweater wait tantalizingly in my closet until the weather cools.  Meanwhile absurdly I sweat away and dream of cashmere…oh yeah, and rock my new flats and necklaces 😉

September 1, 2013



Hello wonderful peeps – yes, it is I. Long lost but hopefully not forgotten.

It’s been exactly one year since I last posted and I have missed you. But I am back at last! So where have I been? Well, what started as first a slowdown in writing became a full-on break during the run up to my wedding and then life hit me…hard. Let me catch you up on what’s been going on and then we can take it from there….

Shortly after the wedding (which was wonderful and I will share more on that in future posts) my beloved father passed away. He walked me down the aisle and then just two weeks later he was unexpectedly gone. After his death came the holidays and a winter and spring filled with some very serious work stress and several tough trips to Oregon to fulfill my duties as executor. Then, just as I was starting to get back into the swing of things, my mother’s health began to fail and, before we could even believe it possible, she was gone as well.

I cannot sufficiently express the sadness and loss. The grief and stress were devastating, leaving me barely enough energy to maintain critical functions like work and the occasional desultory workout. My ability to focus was completely gone, and normal social interactions required serious effort – to speak without crying, to remember common civilities, to not bore the socks off of everyone I came in contact with just by being so utterly wretched. I trudged through the days and if I didn’t drop any critical responsibilities, had acceptable hygiene, clean clothes, and enough consideration not to be outright rude I considered myself ahead of the game. Needless to say, I did not have the time or the inclination to care about fashion, much less write about it.

Sartorially I was at my most, ahem, essential – ponytailed, bare-faced and even bespectacled as frequent tears made make-up impractical and my contact lens impossible. My sister said it best when wiping her eyes after one particularly teary greeting – “oh crap, there goes another five dollars in eye cream!” (Embarrassingly, nearly anything will still make me cry – happy, sad, funny, just about anything can trigger waterworks). My only nod to maintenance at my former levels is the near-religious upkeep of my hair color, a vanity but necessary as the year’s events dramatically accelerated the silver taking over my roots with none-too-flattering results.

I was able to dress like I meant it for the trips and funerals – I donned a seriously chic Louise Green hat for Dad’s memorial that he would have LOVED and even got a new interview suit queued up as a security against getting laid off. But my usual panache was dimmed, replaced by only occasional glimmers – getting excited about a new season of Project Runway, a Zappos raid, and dressing for a few social events. I didn’t completely lose it and wander around in sweats 24/7, but much of the time I found myself wrapped in what I call “comfort clothes” – layers of forgiving jersey, soothing cashmere, reliable denim, paired with comfortable shoes, adding a bag here or a necklace there for accessories. Nothing complicated or elaborate, just easy, soothing and requiring no thought.

Ever so slowly I am recovering – emerging like a butterfly from a chrysalis. I haven’t quite gotten back into the full swing of things (must confess that I am still enjoying 10 more minutes over my morning coffee rather than spending them doing my make up) but I am getting there. As I awake from the haze of the past nine months I am discovering the need for some other changes, though.

After months of comfort dressing I stood in my closet one morning and it dawned on me – many of the clothes hanging there felt like they were for a different person! Clearly it is time for a rethink. So I am embarking on a period of personal discovery and trying to figure out what, exactly, these new wings are suppose to look like. And I invite you on what I hope is a fashionable journey – do stay tuned!

August 28, 2012

Hat Last!

One of the niftier aspects of wedding mania is the fun fashion opportunities it has presented.  So many events to dress for, so many pictures!   This past week my darling sister and dear friends hosted my bridal shower.  As expected every detail was thoughtful perfection, and truly fashionable.  Instead of little pins we got bangles for the “don’t say ….” game, we all got to shop for Stella and Dot jewelry with some of the proceeds benefiting my pet charity, Concept 7, and my adorable nieces strolled the party modeling the great pieces.  Best of all, in keeping with the theme, all guests were asked to wear hats!

As you know from some of my previous posts, I looooovvveeee hats.  Their recent revival has simply thrilled me.  I am so happy to see them appearing on celebrities and being seen for more than just the infrequent special occasion.  With my baby-fine, style-resistant hair I was meant to wear hats and I would really enjoy a life that accommodated them – one filled with race days at Ascot or Churchill Downs, opening ceremonies, coronations and the like – basically I should have been a royal.  Sadly my real world is not so accommodating and an engineering department in a big corporation is really not an appropriate place for such self-expression.  Booo. 

Needless to say, this party was a dream come true for me – way to go little sister!   Brilliant!  Among the guests however, the idea got a mixed reception.  My friends and family members are definitely an eclectic bunch from the very trendy young to the relatively conservative and mature.  We have some true Fashionistas but we also have quite a few women who very proudly declare they are NOT girly-whirly and consider wearing a color, a scarf or a miniscule  embellishment their outer limits in the name of fashion.  But, after a few “does she mean it?” questions, folks started to get into the spirit and I was dying of curiosity to see what they would wear. 

I was simply amazed at the chic variety. The more casual gals wore a range of chapeaux from wide-brimmed sun hats to sportier cloche models.  The young, hip and/or trendy donned nifty fedoras.  Except for my gorgeous step-daughters-to-be,  Megan chose to wear a fascinator-like flower clip she made herself, and Christie channeled Audrey Hepburn in my beloved black chiffon swathed straw.  Two women took this opportunity to actually MAKE hats and the results were fabulous – a gorgeous tulle and silk flower number was really chic, as was a teal feathered version.  Some were a bit more tongue-in-cheek – a fascinator with lights and one embellished with a tiny shark.  Tulle and feathers featured prominently.  Everyone looked so chic, so fun!  Each hat really did say something about its wearer, too.  My sister, for instance, really should have been a flapper and she simply rocked her adorable black straw cloche.

So, what did I wear?  Well the minute my sister told me about the hat theme I raced up to Louise Green Millinery Co. in Los Angeles (online at:  I have been dying for a justifiable reason to get a Louise Green for several years.  I was in heaven the minute I stepped in the door and Mr. Commando was so very patient as I tried on a dozen hats and modeled for him.  He was a great partner in crime for this adventure as he loves hats on women and he appreciates the artistry that makes them special.  So gave his opinions willingly.  Most were hits – the cloches, the wide brims, the dramatic; a few- not as much (apparently the tallish Jackie O, and Eliza Doolittle numbers did not suit me as well).  Every hat fit perfectly and every hat was beautifully made.  I fell in love with several – but for the shower I chose to do a custom version of the fabulous Kelly hat I featured last year ( ).  I picked material, color, and trim – it was so much fun.  And in just a few weeks my gorgeous confection arrived at my home in its spiffy green-striped hatbox.  The results speak for themselves – my very own My Fair Lady moment.

Okay, confession time…this is NOT the only hat I ended up buying.  No…I ended up with THREE hats; all very different, all simply beautiful.  They are all very happily nestled in their snazzy hatboxes waiting for their moments and I will feature the others in upcoming posts.  AND Louise Green has just released her Fall 2012 collection – so I am already warming up the ol’ credit card! 

Photo Credits: Photographer – Mr. Commando, Model – Me (even though I hate having my picture taken) Clothing – Anna Scholz Jersey Tunic with chiffon sleeves, Anna Scholz Linen Pants (from a few seasons ago and still my faves) and a fab and oh-so-dramatic Madame Mathilde necklace.

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