Monday, April 29, 2013

Zalina and the Modified Liebster, and Weeding the Wardrobe

First, it is my pleasure to refer you to the home of the lovely and amazingly talented Zalina at My Peace of Jewelry
and include my thanks to her for playing the Modified Liebster game. She is one gorgeous creature and makes some extremely beautiful and interesting jewelry. Thank you Zalina, and I appreciate your patience and your really interesting answers!  Pop over through the link above as well as her VM Link and see what she has to say!


Weeding the Wardrobe

Finally ... our two weeks of spring seem to have arrived. I think I missed the first week of it somehow, 'cause it's jumped from 50 degrees to 80-ish, and summer is hot on the heels of spring's pink patent leather pumps. And instead of working on this blog post this morning, I found myself pulling things out of the closet, either to store or begin to wear now that it's warmer. I've been performing major wardrobe weeding. I have piles and piles of clothes on our bed. (I can't be bullied or even shamed into anything so punishing as real gardening with the pollen counts as high as they are!)  

Beyond moving the seasonal stuff to and fro for best accessibility, I'm going to be ruthless this year about pruning that third category of clothes: things that I should be wearing but won't because they just don't inspire. Or flatter, or fit well and were never loved. Time to send them to consignment and out into the world where I hope they find true love in someone else's closet. No more guilt-tripping myself into keeping one more mistake.

And I'm noting that there are some distinct categories into which my wardrobe rejects fall.

A-line skirts
Universally flattering, or so I'm told. I just don't wear them. And I have some pretty ones, in varying lengths. But not for long. It's a proportion thing that I've never figured out for my shape.

White sleeveless tops
I have obsessed over these for several years now. I've always liked Carolina Herrera's classic look, and white tops with long sleeves seem to work much better for me. I have half a dozen pretty white tops without sleeves, in various shapes, all of which that look like poo on me. It's not upper-arm shame. It's all that white across my chest without long white sleeves for balance. And there's no wearing them with jackets to cut the vast expanse of white across my chest down to size. It's way too hot for jackets, so out they go. This year, I vow to not even try to wear them any more. I feel better already, just by giving up and letting go!

Bat-wing / poncho- cut chiffon blouses
And these seemed like such a good idea.  However, I cannot ignore the fact that, when wearing one, I look like I should be revving up for a rousing night of bingo or an early bedtime after Lawrence Welk re-runs.  These similar styles were everywhere last year, and didn't work well for a lot of us, it seems. Additionally, if they are everywhere here where I live, that can be a wildly waving red flag.

Wide-leg pants
These will work well for consignment because there are women who look good in them, but I am not one. I had fun with these in the 70's and 80's ... but my body was cut differently. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

My Current Crop of Fat Clothes
Most of us have a range of sizes we hang on to for security.  I'm giving up my fat jeans. ( Pity I can't send my fat genes with them.) Accompanying them will be the too-big dresses I saved just because I loved them, and I might gain 10 pounds and have a semi-formal event to attend that requires a several-years-out-of-date cocktail dress. Not happening if I can help it. In fact, there are several departing  items that I purchased during that period after weight loss when you really don't believe you're smaller in girth as well. They will go to taller women, I hope.


The following might well be a Preview of Coming Attractions in more ways than one. I loved my first pair of printed jeans so much (you saw them HERE), I had to have another pair.

Sorry about repeating the coral heels ... I'll wear them out this summer!

What is cool about these is that they are reversible. I would NOT lie to you. They're from Target, and this is what the other side looks like.

 They are an absolute two-fer. I'm not nuts about the reverse side print, but it could come in handy on one of those days when ya' just have to wear something different. The vertical-ish pattern is not a bad thing.

And because I liked these so much I bought two additional pair of printed jeans (single-sided, sadly) you will be seeing fairly soon.

This brings up a final category of my personal fashion-fail. The ever-classic What Was I Thinking?! group of cast-offs. I hope my printed jean obsession won't fall into this company.  My guess is that this little style won't last long, so I'm inclined to wear it with grown-up and modest tops and shoes for as long as it's still fun.

And, for now, it's still lots of fun!


Speaking of fun, I'm linking to the very fun Visible Monday and always adorable hostess, Patti.  Join us to show off and out, just a little!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Just Saying ...

This painting (my work, from the late 80's) hangs in our restaurant. In spite of the very poor quality of this photo, you can see the elements of the painting pretty clearly. It has been there since the day we opened, and I've had ample opportunity to watch and listen to people's reactions to it.

The title of the painting is Madonna / Magdalene . The conversation that I intended with this piece was about multiple issues; feminism, religion, art history, and how the meaning of symbols changes with cultural change. And because a lot of the people who where looking at it then were thinking about similar topics in context, I found that folks generally understood my intent.

In the almost two decades it has been hanging in the restaurant, the conversation about it has changed.
Much more often than not, viewers tell me that they think the two women are a lesbian couple, even after they know the title. While that was never the intent, I can see why viewers often think that. Here, and in this decade, the symbols that viewers see in this painting bring up uncomfortable political and social issues. We bring elements of who we are, right now to our interpretation of all kinds of images.

And that applies to what we see in the mirror and in fashion magazines. Clothing design speaks to each of us, and we interpret what we see in personalized ways. Style, cut, color, fabric texture; all of these elements have meaning to us, and in simple and complex ways, each item in our wardrobes are an element of the vocabulary we use when dressing.

So, when we dress and go out into the world, we begin a potential conversation with everyone we meet.

No pressure. None at all. Don't worry about it.

This is one of the things I think about when I look in my closet or find something I really like at TJ Maxx. And it's one of the reasons why I care about fashion (what there is to use to make up vocabulary) and style (what I say with that vocabulary.)

If you love vintage, what does that say about you? If you don't wear vintage, but wear lots of modern interpretations of retro styles, does that say something different? What about wearing only black or neutrals or bright color? Because there is a sudden trend to mixing prints, are you now a follower or a leader? If you show a lot of cleavage or never show any cleavage, what are you saying? And if you never consider questions like these, does it matter?

None of this may matter to you at all. There's no right or wrong answers to these questions. But what you can count on is that you are saying something when you dress, and that some people who see you are listening.


Some days ago, I was cruising my favorite blogs and in checking in on the lovely Reva at Reva's Rags 2 Roses, I saw that we'd just bought identical pants for a very good price at JCP. Stop by HERE to see how Reva wore them ... I love what she did with them! I'd already made a photo of myself in them some days before, and you can see the difference in what we both had to say. Same vocabulary, different conversations. Isn't that cool?


For more conversations, I'm heading over to the chatty Patti for her Visible Monday gab fest.  Lots to talk about ... join us!

Thank you for stopping by!  Comments are always wonderful, so feel free to tell me what you're thinking.  I read them all, and try to answer each one ASAP!

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thank You in Threes

Look what Anne Bray, the infamous and fabulous Spy Girl herself sent me this week! She generously and sweetly included me in her Digital Catwalk series, and I'm completely tickled! Click HERE to see her continuing series, and while you're at her wonderful site, take time to prowl around a bit to see her two dimensional and digital art as well as her photography. All art, all wonderful, all the time.

Thank you again, Anne ... you have to know how much I love this.

 Lindsey and the Liebster

And here's another Thank You that I send to the lovely Lindsey at   High Heels & Training Wheels for nominating me for the Liebster Award. Please pop over to her blog and see how this adorable mama integrates her personal style with the all-important job of motherhood.

Here are the questions from her followed by my answers.

{1} Why did you start blogging?

I live a fairly isolated life out here in the sticks, and have found it difficult to make the kind of girl-friend connections I'd like to have. Because some of my interests are in personal style, and because I like to write about what interests me, this blog seems a natural way to extend my voice a little further afield than is possible in my real world.

{2} What has been your favorite part about it?

Hard to say! But I really love reading what other women who are more or less my age (beyond what was, until recently, our cultural expiration date) write about what they are thinking and doing and wearing. And why. That's the most interesting part.

{3} Have you learned anything from your experience?  If so, what?

Tons. Lots of stuff, technical and inspirational. But in looking at what other women were doing, I found a way to revive an old love of drawing and painting in the form of illustration. For me, it's always about process, not so much about the goal. So, learning to make digital images from step one is giving me long term process to pursue.
{4} What blog(s) do you go to for inspiration and why?

I wander around quite a bit, but so far Patti's Visible Monday participants always provide a wide range of inspiration.

{5} In lalaland where you could do whatever you wanted, what would be a perfect day for you?

So hard! I could have a new answer for you every day. But today, I'd like to be in a Very Large City with my husband, shopping and dining with no physical or financial constraints.

{6} If you could live anywhere, where would it be and why?

It would be in an area rural enough to have all my animals, but very close to a train station that would allow me to quickly travel to the above mentioned Very Large City any time I wanted.

{7} How would you describe yourself and the kind of blogger you are?

What a huge question! I'd only describe my blogging style as a nerdy approach to matters of personal style.

{8} What is your favorite thing to wear?

My most comfortable high heels (yes, they do exist!). I often put together outfits from the ground up.

{9} What would you call your style?

Evolving New-Old Lady Look for Women of Considerable Experience.

{10} Coffee or tea?

Coffee before noon, tea in afternoons. French Roast-Espresso Blend for coffee, English Breakfast and Jasmine faves for tea.

{11} What are you most proud of?

Again, a hard one. Today, this minute? The fact that my husband picked me and still does choose me after all these years. There are some other things, and I'm glad of those as well.

And here are the eleven requisite random facts about me ...

1. Our newest rescued stray pet is named Toutes, because when she wags her tail, she wiggles EVERYTHING!

2. I have a nickle allergy that has limited my jewelry choices to real gold and silver jewelry only.

3. I have recently discovered a barrier cream that allows me to wear base metal next to my skin, so Dan can now get away with giving me cheap jewelry. The plus in that is that he might actually buy me jewelry.

4. I usually prefer to pick out my own jewelry, so Dan's off the hook after all.

5. I'm lying about liking to pick out my own jewelry.

6. I need eight hours of sleep to really work creatively the next day.

7. It's obvious that I only got five hours last night, because I'm having a hard time coming up with random facts about myself!

8. I finally bought that tulle skirt I've been coveting!  Not here yet.  Stay tuned.

9, My new favorite fish is Swai, and I will have a fish taco for dinner tonight.

10. I have no plans to stop coloring my hair.

11. Saw my first hummingbird at the feeder last Tuesday.
Awwwww ...

And, in the spirit but not the exact letter of the Liebster, I hereby open nominations to anyone reading this who wants to play. Feel free to answer the following eleven questions on your blog or as a comment on this page. (Send me a link, please, if you post it on your blog.)   Additionally, I'd love to see eleven random facts about you! (Again, feel free to save them and use them for the day ... and it will come ... when you are stuck for a blog topic.)

1. What's your favorite menswear piece in your wardrobe.

2. How often do you edit your closet? (Isn't edit just a fancy way of saying clean out?)

3. What was your last clothing purchase for someone else.

4. What did you last buy for your own wardrobe?

5. What's your favorite fashion magazine.

6. What's your biggest style challange?

7. What's your best facial feature.

8. Shop alone or with someone?

9. If you were offered a pair of Celine Mink-Lined Shower Shoes or cash equal to the price they're asking for the real deal, which would you choose?

10. What's your favorite or fantasy birthday dinner menu?

11. Favorite brick-and-mortar shoe store or department.

More Olowo and a dash of Camuto

And last but not least, I'm thanking JCP one more time for bringing us the Duro Olowo collaboration. No drawing this week, but a photo for those of you who may be wondering if I still exist. I'm wearing the "Leaf Dress" by Olowo, and the big canvas and faux-python tote from the group as well. And because we're talking threes, my Vince Camuto coral patent leather heels. I'll wear these all summer. Other pieces from this group to come ...

Actually there's another Thank You, due every week about this time to the Amazing Patti for hosting all the Petite Flowers who step out on  Visible Monday . Join us!

Thanks for stopping by!  Please drop a note ... I love to know what you're thinking about.  I read each one* and try to reply ASAP!

*Note: comments are moderated, so don't give up if it doesn't show instantly! 

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Collaborations Combined

This week I decided to try not only combining a couple of favorite prints, but a couple of different designers that have done collaborations with Target and JCP (as good old
 JC Penny likes to be known these days.) Earlier this spring, Target brought us Prabal Gurung's offerings. Currently, JCP and Duro Olowo are brightening our world with his excellent tribal prints, made expressly to mix and match.
I didn't expect that these very bold prints from different designers would work so well together.

I'm getting such a kick out of wearing these very pretty Gurung shoes. And they go with almost every solid in my wardrobe and a whole lot of prints! And I'm wearing this sheer-ish Olowo blouse every chance I get before it gets too hot to wear long sleeves. There are several pieces in this extremely affordable group that I really want before they're gone. And kudos to JCP for having more than one item available in each size. (Do you hear that, Small-Town-Sized Target ?)


And, for those of you who saw last week's post dedicated to my husband, Dan, and his forays into the realm of public presentation of personal style, I have a quick update for you. On Sunday, we were mooching around the house, thinking about getting ready to drive into the Big City. I went into the bedroom, and found him standing in front of the closet, just staring thoughtfully at his wardrobe.

"Whatcha gonna wear? " I asked.

He was silent for a moment, then said quietly and very deliberately, "I don't know. There's so much pressure now that I have a fan base ..."

I very nearly wet my pants. But you had to be there, I guess.

Thank you all for your glowing compliments. He enjoyed being in the limelight for a while, but we don't want this to go to his head too much. No.


And speaking of laughing ...
This week's Style Imitates Art inspiration is by Alex Gross. 

It's titled Captain America, and he's painted over late 19th-early 20th century postcards or "reconfigured cabinet cards" ( For more of these go HERE .)

This is my response, and it's only complete with its title, 
A Blue Blazer Goes with Everything.

The title didn't go in with the SIA entry, and it just seems too serious without it.
 I thought it was funny, anyway ...

Here's to always gorgeous and true-blue Patti at Visible Monday, where I'm joining all the other Super Women 
 (see how I worked that in?) showing up and out!


Thanks for reading.  I love comments and I try to read and respond to every one as soon as I can. 

Monday, April 1, 2013

A Man of a Certain Age

We women of a certain age are not the only ones who feel the pressure to sit down, shut up and fade away. So do many of our fathers, husbands, significant-others, brothers, sons, guy-friends and co-workers. One of those older guys who share in our rebelliousness is my husband Dan. He is the inspiration for and subject of this week's post. If you saw him in his work clothes, you might not guess that under the boring old polo shirt beats the heart of a clothes horse.

And, it might surprise you to know that he's got some interesting ideas about style that are informed by his old college major: sociology. He took his degree in this field, and although he didn't choose a profession in it, his observations of group and individual behavior in the context of society have resulted in some pretty cool attitudes about fashion. His nerdy thoughts about the presentation of self lead us to some pretty interesting conversations about the much more fun issue of what to wear. And that's not always an uncomplicated topic at our house.

Most women of my generation were taught early on that if you wanted to be treated like a lady, then you'd better dress like one. And Dan figured out pretty early that personal presentation was not just an issue for girls. Once he internalized that, it was only a short leap to the understanding that the counter-culture, non-conformist image he hoped to project could be greatly enhanced by the way he dressed. And from there, he learned that even subtle elements in the way he dressed gave people hints and cues about how he wanted to be treated, resulting in a little more control in the often insecure world of his youth.

Dan says that his choices now, as an older adult, reflect his desire to differentiate himself. "It's one of the ways I avoid complete assimilation into rural culture," he says. "What I wear helps to maintain my urban sensibilities in an rural environment." So nowadays, we dress up a bit when we go into the Big City to shop, go out to dinner or even just run errands. Bear in mind that dressing up here only means stepping it up from work t-shirt and jeans for a lot of people. Our local Big City is an extremely casual place.

He also says "Like most men I know, I thought I knew how to dress before I got married." (This comment he says completely without sarcasm ... isn't that adorable?) And he adds, "Besides, I really like it when my wife says I look good."


Not only is my huz very smart, he's also charming!

My own recent foray into the arcane practice of print and pattern mixing has inspired a few of his own choices. He's got a good eye for it, and more than once has made some spot-on suggestions about how I might combine elements from my own closet.


I particularly like this scarf with this jacket, simple
sweater and driving cap.(His odd shoes are a kind of gillie ... he has arthritis in his feet, and has difficulties wearing regular shoes.
He wears them confidently, and that usually works pretty well!)

   Blue and brown. 
 A favorite combination of colors on my favorite person

I think this is his version of the Zoolander
"Blue Steel" look.  
Hazel Steel.
And I really like his slim red jeans. 
 Keeps him looking modern.

Teal slims, plaid shirt, brown gillies ...
Spring is here for me!

And, last but not least ... had to do a drawing.


Showing UP and OUT with the
memorable Patti at Visible Monday 

Thanks for stopping by.  Please feel free to make comments, ask questions or just say hello!
I read everything, and try to reply to every comment.