Tuesday, March 24, 2015

Spring Crashes In

Rather than her usual dignified and gently gradual arrival, spring's appearance here felt more like a teenager slamming through the front door and flinging herself dramatically on the couch, shouting "I'm HOME!" in case you somehow missed all the commotion. Two weeks ago, my pasture was snow covered at 28 degrees, followed by another week of mostly rain with temps in the high 30s, turning my pasture into a soggy gray-brown mess. A couple of days ago it was 74 degrees and sunny, followed by a couple of days of soft rain. There's green grass that's suddenly all over the place and some of the white-blossomed trees are already in bloom, but today we're under our first major thunderstorm alert with tornado watch at 78 degrees.

I wasn't ready for this kind of arrival. Although I knew logically that spring would be here any minute, this winter seemed eternal, and I was not ready for this Snow's Gone-I'm-Here-Right-NOW entrance. Consequently, I'm suddenly digging around for warm weather clothing, and our springtimes don't last very long so we could be into summer in nothing flat. Yikes.

Happily, I can now wallow in a satisfying fantasy of looking and feeling lighter and more optimistic after the weight of this last winter. To last winter's receding back I shriek, " ... and don't let the door hit your ass on the way out!" I always look forward to winter's arrival, but am particularly relieved to see the back of this one.

Google Keep is a list-making app on my phone that I've been using to record notes on Spring Stuff that Appeals and Interests. This year especially, the array of retro ideas that designers are re-approaching is extra fascinating. I'm charmed with the idea of evolved versions of my old favorite statements and silhouettes. Since I'm old enough to have loved and worn earlier iterations, it's like personal validation to see them enjoyed and appreciated again, with fresh inspiration applied in current context. Feels good to know what was groovy then still shows some potential now ... just like me!

More playtime with old playmates, but with the advantage of hindsight. I have questions, though. The best part of fashion revivals is that they're not exactly the same as the first time around. So how, exactly, does that translate, and how, exactly, is the old good idea made new and better? Here's some of the ideas that interest me the most:

Consider implications of modern Boho elements.
I actually wrote that pretentious little exhortation to myself, but it's not a bad bit of advice to me from me. See, although I love the Romantic era as well as Bauhaus modernism, I have a hard time integrating them into a single visual idea. After a few seasons of fascination with more minimal silhouettes, my little soul is craving a bit of Boho. Maybe. Where do I put it, though, and how to play with it this time around? No set opinion on this just yet ... stay tuned.

Shoes! A broad subject always of interest to me with several elements:

1. Platforms ... shop the closet!
As a short woman, my joy at their renewed availability is palpable. And I'm smug that I didn't pitch my favorite ones in recent purges. Out they come.

2. Big, blocky heel sandals, lowish & high
These haven't been around much in recent seasons, and I'm happy to see them again. The first time around they felt rebellious, as we differentiated ourselves from our mother's stilettos. Nice to have both shapes playing nice in the store windows!

3. Mules
Here's evolution; I wouldn't have worn these on a bet when I was a younger woman. They had a louche quality to them when famously worn by bad-girl bombshell actresses of the late 50s, suggesting high-heeled bedroom scuffs, festooned with marabou pompoms. They've changed a lot and now look more modern and a bit tougher with a higher vamp or strappier versions with a chunkier heels. I like that remaining hint of their slightly sinful past along with what seems to my eye a more sophisticated, cooler construction. They've come a long way, baby, and I like the new iteration a lot.

4. Red sneakers ... just because.
Got 'um, love 'um. My size goes early, so very specific shoes are always a first seasonal purchase. So cute, I think. You'll see them soon. As Dan said, though, they're "very un-Jan-like" but that's probably the best reason to add them to my mix.

5. Nude Sandals and Shoes
I have several pairs of these, in different shapes and styles, all much admired but rarely worn. They go with everything, are said to lengthen the leg, but they always seem the second best choice. But with such a strong emphasis on neutral colors, I intend that this will be the spring-summer when I figure out how to best style them. I really want to know how to wear them to best effect. Any ideas, tips, rules I don't know or silly-wild-ass-guesses are welcome.

Graphic dress and shift dresses
Sewing projects!? Yes, I think so. Stay tuned. The two ideas combine in my imagination. I love the idea of a graphic print in a shift shape. A classic shape that is noticed again and welcomed with pleasure. Below, I recently pushed the season a bit and gave this bright shift it's first outing. Making it cower beneath a blazer and pairing it with work shoes isn't the best presentation, but you'll see it again in sleeveless comfort as the weather warms.

(Shift dress from JCPenny)

Long tunic tops / Asymmetric tops with leggings or skinnies
I love this look, and I love how easy it is to wear, dressed up or down. Especially with cute summer sandals. I'm all over this one, but I know when I'm this dizzy for a look, I'd better check twice in the mirror for proportions.

I welcome these back too, and I love the sleek, minimal ones. Maybe these are the elusive, summer-time Third Piece solutions to my personal style puzzle. A good style principle, but always a challenge in hot humid climes.

Suede? Really? Suede for summer?
Interesting. What if I made an easy Ultrasuede tunic or even just a minimalist top? (Not likely to see any of this in stores around here any time soon.)
A recent Dillard's sale netted a ridiculously low price on some light cognac-ish suede sandals that I adore, and that might about all I can manage for this intriguing idea.

Straight leg jeans
Here's where I have lots of questions. I dug out some "straight" leg jeans from my past, but nowadays they look like wide leg jeans. Terms have changed, shapes evolve, and I've found that a modern take on this cut is basically a skinny that is straight from the knee but not tapered to the ankle. That's what I'm using as a working definition while I figure out if these can be flattering on me or not.
Again, stay tuned.

(I'm serious.  I need some feedback about modern straight leg silhouettes and how to wear nude shoes to best effect.)


I'm heading over to the Inimitable Patti's at Visible Monday
Come see how spring is evolving for a whole lot of fabulous people!

Tuesday, March 10, 2015

My Mojo Calls Home

Thanks so much to all of you who wrote and expressed sympathy for the loss of my mojo. I wanted to let you all know that she finally called very late last night!  She was happily inebriated and all giggly, declaring loudly that she was okay but not coming home until the weather warms up a lot, and that I'd just have to manage by myself for a while. She wouldn't tell me where she was calling from, but I could hear raucous laughter and steel drums and what I thought might be crashing surf in the background.  Of course, I checked caller ID but the number was blocked. Bitch.

What I want to know is where she got the money for a plane ticket.

So, I'm on my own for a bit but you deserve an update.

The weather here, like so many places, has been too rainy, snowy, windy or just plain cold to photograph outside.  So I finally got a bit of blank indoor wall space cleared where there is some decent light.  I sort of like the effect of the natural light, but I see that I'll need to devise some kind of fill light-reflector-thingy as the shadows intensify my wrinkles facial flaws a bit more than I'm thrilled with.  I'm comfortable with the better focus in my new camera showing more of them, but I'll be damned if I let them be exaggerated.  I'm getting better with the camera as well, so I haven't completely wasted the time away from the blog!

As you know, we mostly take these on our way out of the house when we head into the Big City for supplies.  This was on a miserably cold day, and on top of this I wore a big old coat, big old scarf, and fleece lined gloves. 

Photographing indoors invites more dog bombs.  Here you see our elderly boxer, Sophie, wondering why Mom is standing here all weird and posey-like.  She's also asking to go with us, but it was not to be.

Last weekend it warmed up considerably, and we had a very mild, 60ish-degree Sunday, so I decided to go all peep-toe in a pair of Ralph Lauren mules I lucked into.  Some recent closet diving netted my old minty trench ... I'm sorry that I wasn't able to capture its elegant, slightly shiny texture.
I have to remember to wear this outfit again.  Salespeople were amazingly attentive, like I had money or something. Had to be the coat.

.As one does this time of year, I've been feeling like the Goodyear blimp, so I'm pleased that these monster plaid pants don't look too bad.  Especially with my perfect-for-me, curvy and crisp white shirt.  I had a nice day wearing this outfit.

I'm off to begin catching up with all of you over at the Incredible Patti's Visible Monday !  I'll be over to check in as soon as possible.