Archive for October 18, 2012

OOTD: Black-out and the Statement Necklace

There’s a really big football game on campus today against a top ranked team.  As a result, about half the campus is wearing school shirts while the other is doing what they call a “black-out” in support of the team.  It basically looks like, in bright, sunny, warm weather, we all went goth for the day.  (Note that there are a good chunk of the folks in school shirts that are black, so it’s kind of impressive to see just how much black there actually is around!)  They even made the homepage background black for the day.

It is REALLY easy for me to dress in all black.  The biggest question is how to find enough black, but which cute top to wear.  I picked the SWAK MIA top in Black that I picked up a couple of weeks ago for $24.99 and am wearing it with yet another pair of my Coldwater Creek Ponte Knit Jean-style trousers.  The top gives me some shape while still being soft, comfortable, and sufficiently modest to wear to work.

However just because I went for all black does NOT mean that I can’t accessorize.  I recently found this GORGEOUS, graphic, black and white collar-style necklace on the Dressing Your Truth site.  At $22 I had to get it and am just as much in love with it now as I was before.

Shoes were chosen for comfort today.  I have a 3-4 year old pair of black Merrill Slingback Wedges that have both leather and suede in them.  They provide a little lift, but also look nice with trousers and provide some comfort.  (Picture shows them in brown, since I couldn’t get t good picture of the two-tone effect with my cellphone.)

Looking at this closeup reminds me of something; lately a lot of the plus-sized bloggers have been posting makeup tutorials, so here’s what I have to say on that topic.  I’m wearing Revlon Just Bitten Kissable Balm Stain in Adore, and that’s it.  Looking at this picture, I could use a bit of under-eye concealer, but the fact is that I am NOT a big makeup person.  Eye makeup always looks like fun, but a coating of mascara hardly shows, and anything more complex tends to take on an 80’s drift in my hands.  I’m blessed with pretty good skin and I use my Clarisonic Mia Brush daily with Philosophy’s Purity cleanser in order to keep it that way.  I focus on skincare, not skin-coverage.  So I stick to a bold lip color and call it a day.  In other words, this is NOT the place to come for makeup advice :-).  Now, if you want to talk about skin care, I am ALL over that one….


Favorite Frock Friday

Shopping: Boots and Bags

I really left the house thinking, “I’d like to have a pair of riding boots”.   They are one of those trends that reappear every few years. I decided to hit up DSW and Dillards and get a feel for the options.    Since I used to actually ride English, I know that riding boots do not have much of heel, so that eliminates a slew of the selections I ran across.  I have not bought any yet, but here are a couple of contenders.

The likely winner at an excellent price point is Me Too, Dee, Wide Calf Riding Boot, $99.

These boots were everything I was looking for, comfy, classic and nice looking with leather uppers and rubber non-skid soles.  They have a wide calf option as well. I was able to wear “Normal Calf” but depending on what I’m tucking in, the Wide Calf probably is more versatile.  I view this as a boot I might have for a few years so there is a pretty good chance I’ll buy them.

(Rebecca: This is one of the build differences between us.  I have NEVER found a normal calf boot I can wear, and always need wide or extra-wide.  Which means I almost never get to buy boots in person and try them on; I am always ordering from Zappos or other stores.)

I wanted to see more options so I headed off to Dillards.

After looking at dozens of boots, the Steve Madden, Judgement, $189 (Dillards, Zappos) caught my eye.   What I love about them is they remind me of “dressy paddock boots” with a great two-tone leather style with a fleur-de-lis detailing in black and brown.

Alas, I had to rule them out as there is no zipper, so unless you are a very tall supermodel, no way you can get these on and they seem made for someone with a longer calf than I.  Bummer, I really loved the look.

I should really stop going to Dillards’ handbag department.   I think, “I’ll just run through really quick” and then it happens, the sharp intake of breath, the total loss of reason, when I spot a new bag.     This time it was the Brahmin Nadine Dowel Bag in Grey.

I have a grey bag that’s simply too big for every day use, and since I wear a lot of grey and amazingly I actually pair grey and brown together with some regularity, I bought it.   This bag is a Dillards’ exclusive, and was $345.

Stopping there would have been the smart play.  But a bag I have been circling for a while was in stock, the Brahmin Vivian Colorblock tote in Moss. $295, not available online but look in stores.   So it came home with me.

The thing is these are beautifully made bags.    I don’t spend a lot on individual items of clothing, choosing to instead buy great accessories.     Accessories inspire me to be more creative in putting together outfits.   I often select the accessory first and then find something to wear with it.

So no boots yet, and two handbags, but I’m happy with my selections.   I’ll be ordering the boots from DSW next week and feature them on a future post.

OOTD: Feeling a little Autumn

It’s still in the 90s most days in Arizona, but that doesn’t stop me from craving Autumn.  So I on color and texture to get that feel!

For the color part, I am wearing a cotton printed-plaid maxi-skirt.  It’s nearly a full circle, so I tried to hold the skirt up in order to make it more visible.  It’s a favorite from Marshall’s (similar plaids but in bolder colors, or similar colors in print), and is actually a standard misses XL.  (Elastic waist full circle skirts are really forgiving…)

For shoes, I went with Born Issa Cork Wedges in Black.  Sandals, but solid ones.  They appear to be just about gone, but grab them if you can find them; super comfortable and easy to walk in.

As far as the tops go, this first picture makes it hard to see, but that was where I went for texture.  The tank is from Kohls and is tiered (similar), so that even though the cardi over the top is the same color there is some interest in person.

The necklace is a natural stone-bead chain – nothing fancy, but very earthy.  I think some of the beads are even wood.  That lends the grounded feel and ties the colors in the skirt in.

Regardless, the idea for me was to make it feel like fall, and I think this outfit was successful in that respect.  Some wooden bangle bracelets would have been a nice touch.




pleated poppy

Articles you shouldn’t miss

In the last day or so I’ve come across 2 articles that I think every woman needs to read:

Allison at Wardrobe Oxygen reminds us all to “Lighten Up… It’s Only Clothes” and I think that is a really important point.  If you wear a color that isn’t optimal for you, no one will be injured.  If you wear a mini-skirt after 40, the space station won’t crash back to earth.  Clothing is supposed to be fun, and that means sometimes we try things that DON’T work out the way we had hoped.  So what?  Relax.  If you are happy, then the outfit is fine.

Angie at You Look Fab talks about the styles seen at Spring 2013 Fashion Week.  While I don’t tend to follow those things TOO closely, it’s useful to keep up on what is coming at the high end so that you know how much wear you are likely to get out of new pieces.  For example, she notes that color blocking is still all the rage, which means a new color-blocked piece will see lots of wear without looking dated.  The same goes for leather, sheers and structured handbags or clutches.  All are likely to be wearable without looking dated for at least another year, so go ahead and invest in a more expensive piece that you love.  At the same time, maxi-length skirts are becoming less popular, so now is NOT the time to buy an expensive piece.  You can still wear what you have, but the focus should be on other hemlines OR on hemming the pieces you love.

I realize that to some extent these two articles contradict each other – lighten up but don’t look dated are slightly conflicting messages.  But if you truly love a dated piece, you can work it into a current outfit by surrounding it with items that are more up-to-date.  However if your outfit looks catwalk perfect but you hate it, it won’t look good.  So take each with a grain of salt, but give them both a read!

OOTD Dragging on a Monday

I was dragging this morning, badly.  Yesterday was a LONG day on my feet and a long day of being chipper and sociable with a lot of people.  As an introvert that exhausts me.  My first temptation this morning was to wear all black and hide, but I forced myself to wear something a bit brighter in an effort to wake myself up.

I don’t think this outfit is entirely successful, primarily because I don’t think the shape at the bottom of the cardigan is the right one for me and am not happy with the overall proportions.  It will probably go straight into the “goodwill” bag when I get home.  It came from Marshall’s earlier this summer and is in great shape, so hopefully someone else can put it to good use.

The tank is also older – probably about 5 years old come to think of it.  It also came from Marshall’s and I keep it because this is as close as I get to wearing yellow.

These pieces were worn with my standard Coldwater Creek Ponte Knit pants.  For better or worse, they are very comfortable (almost like yoga pants) while looking good in the office.

I also carried my Modcloth purse and wore my Red Pikolino’s (although most places don’t have them online anymore in the red outside of this one pair I found in a size 42).

The last piece was the gold multilength circle necklace (which, now that I search around, appears to be a knock-off of this very expensive Jennifer Meyer design)

Despite not being entirely happy with this outfit, I’m still linking up to some of the hops.  I’d love any feedback on why this isn’t working.  Is it the shape?  The proportions?  The way the sweater is curved?  I am still pretty new at this, and while the best way to learn is to DO, it helps to have the vocabulary to explain what went wrong….


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Covered in Grace