Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Month: June 2017

Arizona Packing

Arizona Packing

We are off! Yes, I know it makes us possibly certifiable. Going to Arizona in June and July. And that’s okay with me. I love to travel! Especially when there are people I love to see. So Arizona in the middle of summer it will be!

What to pack? I love Janice at The Vivienne Files, and have been reading her blog for years, now. (Please go visit her gorgeous and witty site!) She has the same travel “problem” that I do, and will pack at the proverbial drop of a hat. Taking a page from her book, I will be packing a travel 6-pack. A 6-Pack is 6 items to mix and match. The six items do not include shoes, accessories, or the clothes for the plane. (And no, I will not be wearing my jammies to travel in! See my last Throwback Thursday post to see why.)

When I pack for travel, I start by thinking about our destination, itinerary, availability of laundry facilities,  and the weather.What a blessing to be able to access weather reports for any destination in the world at the click of a button! I remember traveling when all you could do was go for a best guess on what the weather would hold. For this trip the destination is Arizona, so hot, hot, hot. The itinerary is visiting family, and no special outfits are required. If this was a trip for a wedding, or a business trip, my 6-Pack would be far dressier.

On my body: white tee, stretchy skinny jeans, cardigan and jean jacket (I freeze on planes!), turquoise suede wedges, and a polka dotted scarf.

On arrival: Off with the wedges, on with the sandals from the carry-on tote. Lose the cardigan and jean jacket.

In the suitcase: white dress for church or anything I want to feel special for, grey shorts, white jeans, short sleeved denim blouse, striped cotton swing top, dark turquoise tank top. Everything here is pretty much mix and match, a kind of Garanimals for grown-ups. (I also have PT gear packed, and will rinse these out in the sink as needed.)

That’s it folks. My purse will be packed into my carry-on tote with the sandals, glasses, underwear and a toothbrush. reading materials, and some leftover pizza for lunch! Wish us luck, and a cool breeze or two. I hope to Instagram you some beautiful scenery…

My Love-Hate Relationship with Pink

My Love-Hate Relationship with Pink

Pink. Love it? Hate it? Or both? My relationship with pink is complicated. I used to h.a.t.e. pink. I don’t remember owning pink clothing as a girl. My mother preferred, and bought me, clothes in more classic colors. The only pink I clearly remember from my childhood was Bazooka Bubble Gum. And that pink, wrapped in wax paper with the Bazooka Joe comic inside, with its jaw straining memories (to soften it up), is the color I associated with pink for years. (Even Barbie wasn’t nearly so pink in her pre-vehicle days!) No pink for decor either, my bedroom was painted blue; we tried yellow at one point, but it was too bright, streaky, and stressful, so back to blue it was.

I never really liked pink until I found “my pink.” I was well into adulthood before I did. We were living in England, in the most amazing house in which we will probably ever abide, with our three sons. Two were teens at this point, and the third was hot on their heels to becoming one. In desperation, I bought myself a pink towel, hoping that the bright color might give my sons pause before grabbing it to dry their semi-washed hands. It was amazing! They left my towel alone. Not only did they not dry their hands on it, they never even grabbed it when their own was not at hand. They would walk dripping wet past my towel to get one of theirs out of the airing cupboard. Hallelujah!

And so began the parade of pink. When I needed a new Thermos, I found one in pink. Then came a pink coffee mug. I even bought a pink scooter. My strategy became “If I don’t want to share it, I will find it in pink.” Pink became my happy color, and not just my selfish color. My affection for pink these days is much more broad. There are myriad shades of pink I find attractive, and I love how there is a pink to flatter everyone.

It’s just a matter of finding “your pink.”

What shades of pink do you love, or hate? I would love to know! Please share your thoughts in the comments below!

Magenta!

Magenta!

Pink, or purple?

Neither, thank you! I’ll take magenta. More grown up than bubblegum pink, not as moody as purple, less in-your-face than red, but never overlooked.

Feminine, assertive, and adult.

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday

Since Throwback Thursday seems to be the ubiquitous default, I’ll give it a try. As I have few to no previous posts to choose from, instead of an old post, I’ll ponder what items or trends I wish would take another spin through fashion culture.

I love the clothing of the very late 50’s through the early 70’s, before hippie chic took over. You know, the styles that drove people to swoon and discuss the wardrobe logistics of Mad Men more seriously than politics around the office coffee maker. (The P word is a topic I really would like to avoid here in Closet Play land, but I am sure it will be inevitable as it also affects style and fashion.) I realize is that it is not only the clothes themselves, but the idea that occasions were to be dressed for, and that different occasions merit different clothing choices. Are we losing our sense of the special, because so many go almost everywhere in the same clothing worn for cleaning the garage?

I remember, as a child, dressing up to get on an airplane to fly East to visit our family. We did this regularly. Not Easter Sunday dressed up, but not in play clothes, either. Today, I am agog at the people in airports in their jammies, hauling around blankets, stuffed toys, and full sized pillows. No, I am not talking about children. I get it for toddlers. Very small children have carte blanche go everywhere in their jammies. I am talking about adults, dressed as pre-schoolers. I, too, want to be comfortable, because Lord knows that passengers are even more tightly wedged into aircraft than ever before, but comfort is not only found in jammies and gym clothes.

Yes, I miss those fabulous 60’s clothes, but even more, the sense of occasion that dressing nicely brings.

What style or items do you miss?

Limitations

Limitations

(Warning. Rude language at the end…)

I stopped off at my mother’s favorite store this week to see what a “new’ color looked like in person for one of my clients. (Now, I realize there are not really any new colors in the world. There are new pigments, new dye processes, new finishes, that can make colors look “new.”) For my intents and purposes, this new color was new for the season, and between monitor variations, and photographic tweaking to make everything look great, you never know what a color you see on-line will look like IRL. Whilst there, I saw that all of their spring, and much of their early summer merchandise, had been moved onto the sale racks in the back of the store, and boy(!), were they full!

When I saw the sale racks, newly stocked, I knew it was time for a shopping trip with Mama. It was time to refresh some of my mother’s tops and she was also hoping for a new pair of trousers as well, and maybe some jeans. Priority one was some new tops for the summer; Mama only wears knit tops. They are more comfortable on her fragile skin, and more forgiving of her distorted spine. My mother is a sale shopper. She does not like to pay full price for herself, even though her finances can very comfortably handle it. Full price items garner an “I’ll think about it” from her, and she never does.

Off we drove this morning. “Her” parking space was there, right at the front of the store, and we stopped for a moment to admire the windows. My mother is a city girl, who worked on Wall Street before marrying my father and moving to the wilds of the Midwest. When we traveled back East to visit family, I remember riding into the city with her on the train, and going window shopping. Bloomingdale’s, Macy’s, Lord and Taylor, Tiffany’s, Bonwit Teller… Beautiful window displays are not only good advertising, but a treat to the eye, and a lovely change of scenery on the streets.

After perusing the windows and peeking at the new merchandise at the front of the store, Mama and I headed back to the sale racks. The merchandise was marked down, and there was an extra 30% off the markdowns, plus another 10% off for cardholders. This is the kind of shopping that makes my mother’s heart sing! We found a bit of everything to try on, including some jeans that fit her beautifully. I headed out to look for another color in a top and asked her to try on the jeans again, herself, but the button and zipper were just too much for her twisted hands. She wanted the jeans; they looked great on her. They made her feel younger, and just a little hip and stylish. She liked them so much she was ready to pay full price for them, but she couldn’t get them on by herself. They weren’t too tight; my mother is sparrow-sized. They just were not arthritis friendly. So, we left them behind.

In the end, she went home with a cute new pair of trousers, four tops, and a lightweight sweater (all marked down!) which will be fantastic for going out to dinner, since restaurants in our neck of the woods generally keep their air conditioning somewhere near Arctic. And I will continue to search for a pair of jeans for my mother. Because she deserves a cute pair of jeans that she can get on by herself, dammit.

What’s a Must-Have?

What’s a Must-Have?

Stylish and Modern, or Fashion Victim? It’s easy to fall victim to the fashion rollercoaster. Fashion is everywhere… on the streets, in the stores, on the cover of magazines in the grocery stores. Everywhere you look are lists of the new season’s MUST-HAVES. Really? Must have? Technically, we must have clothing that covers and protects our bodies from the elements, but even our prehistoric ancestors wanted more than mere protection!

How do you choose what Must-Haves are musts for you?  Your must-haves depend on your personality, your lifestyle, your body type, your comfort level, and your values. (so they depend on YOU!) Some might throw in age as a factor, but that is up for debate! It’s good for us to try new things. Without novelty, our style can grow stale, and we get bored with our closets. Unfortunately, too much fashion novelty can leave us with a closet full of clothing, and no outfits.

If a seasonal Gotta-Have-It is something you love, and it works for you and your life, knock yourself out! Wear it to death, and enjoy the fun of the ride. But if isn’t, feel free to pass it by. Save your money, and pricey closet real-estate for the right Gotta-Have-It for you. Your ride will come around. It always does.

2017Jun19

Boutique or Rummage Sale?

Boutique or Rummage Sale?

When you open your closet, what do you see? A mini-boutique of custom selected clothing, all just right for your shape, size, and coloring, chosen to maximize your assets and your options, and able to dress you well for any occasion? Or does your closet feel more like a stuffed-to-the-gills hodgepodge of color, size, and shape, with nothing to wear? The closet dream, or the closet nightmare?

The nightmare is usually the result of shopping without a plan. I know, planning sounds boring, but wardrobe shopping without a plan is kind of like going to the grocery store drunk, hungry, and without a list. (If you don’t drink, imagine letting a toddler fill the grocery cart. You’ll have the same result.) You come home with an empty wallet, a kitchen full of snacks, pizza rolls and ice cream, and no staples to make the week’s meals. This seems to be how much of America wardrobe shops. (Just head to the mall on Saturday afternoon if you aren’t sure. Or, watch a couple of haul videos on YouTube.)

The fabulous mini-boutique is the result of discipline and planning, combined with a dash of serendipity.  Now, discipline has become quite the dirty word of late; the first entry in the Merriam-Webster online dictionary for discipline is PUNISHMENT. A further entry lists the synonym SELF-CONTROL. That sounds so much better! Self-control means that I am the one choosing what comes into my boutique. I want it to represent my boutique’s brand or concept. For my closet, I want it to represent my personality and values, so I am willing to wait for the right thing, instead of the newest thing that the shops are pushing this week.

More about wardrobe planning next week…

2017JUN16

Why just for special occasions?

Why just for special occasions?

Here we are, smack dab in the middle of June. Wedding season. And beautiful brides everywhere are slipping into the only custom fitted item they will ever wear. I know, every bride wants to look stunning, and unforgettable on her wedding day. But what about the other 364 days in the year? (Or 365 if it’s a leap year…) Why not all the rest of the years of her life?

At one time, all our clothing was custom fitted. We had less clothing, it fit us properly, and we looked better in it because it was made for us and our unique bodies. Now, I understand that buying custom-made clothing is not in the average budget, nor even in the generous budget, but what about tailoring off-the-rack items to fit like custom made? The clothes in the stores are not designed to fit you. They are designed to fit a fit model, so if you are a fit model, my apologies, they are designed to fit YOU, just not anyone else out there.

So why not take your off-the-rack items to the tailor or seamstress? Most people would say it’s not worth it. For those “fast fashion” fixes to be thrown out after a season, it’s probably not. But for those clothes you depend on day after day, be they your jeans, work trousers, jackets, blouses, quality tee shirts, try it!  Alterations/tailoring should be an expected part of your clothing budget. The extra you spend on tailoring just might keep you from feeling like you need a “better fitting” pair of black pants, bringing the total in your closet to five.

Shouldn’t the clothes you wear daily make you feel and look fabulous? Why only spend for the special occasions? You will most likely never wear that wedding dress again, but those favorite jeans or trousers are likely to see the light of day more than a hundred times this year. That’s the clothing worth investing in!

2017 JUN 14

Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Makeover

Elizabeth’s Wardrobe Makeover

 Elizabeth (Not Liz. Please.) is creative, feminine, and relaxed. She loves options and unusual color combinations. She doesn’t want to be boxed into a particular style. Her work has a relaxed business dress code. Weekends, she ferries the children to their activities, and surprises the corporate crowd at her husband’s social events. Always appropriate, but never ordinary. No LBD for her… Too cliché! Please click image below to see in Polyvore.

Under Construction!

Under Construction!

It’s so exciting to be starting this new web adventure, but the logistics are daunting to the Luddite that I am. I am determined to slay the tech dragons that thwart my every move lately, and get this site up and running… In the meantime, please come see me on Facebook or Instagram! (And, yes, I am still struggling to change the freaking image.)