Archive for July 31, 2014

A few activities for August

A couple of other bloggers are starting some August challenges. In order to get myself back to regular blogging, I’m going to do both of them!


Leah proposed focusing on using what we have rather than buying new.  While I wait for fall to truly kick off, that sounded like a great idea!

Marie Denee proposed a themed instragram challenge.  Since I haven’t been using instragram to it’s fullest potential, here’s a chance to practice.  (Warning though, these will be iPhone pictures directly uploaded…)  I’m going to be adding an instagram feed to this page if you want to keep track, or follow me @misanthropic789



Wednesday summer outfit

I realized as I was flipping through this blog that I actually wore almost this exact same outfit a before.  I changed up the shoes and the jewelry and the bag, but the basics are there.  The big difference is that the last time I wore this outfit I needed the cardigan.

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This time I took it off when I left the building to avoid roasting in 114 degree heat.

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None of this stuff is new, so I apologize for the lack of links to the items…

  • Dress: Lands End
  • Cardigan: Marshalls
  • Shoes: Orthaheel
  • Bracelet and Necklace: Got in swaps – no name brands
  • Purse: Kate Spade Outlet

You will be pleased to hear that this is my very LAST outfit post using my phone.  While I don’t have a photographer and there was no sense buying an expensive camera that I wouldn’t know how to use anyway, I did pick up a Canon Powershot ELPH 340, Consumer Reports’ best reviewed subcompact camera.  While this isn’t a pro camera, it does have a few neat features such as the ability to use my phone as a remote control.  That should improve picture quality.  I also discovered that you can get a quite decent 60 inch tripod from Amazon for $19.99, which should also help.  (Previously I was using a 5 inch tripod and finding places to balance the camera – it was a frustrating process.)  Onward and upward.

pleated poppy

Color analysis and closet strategies

Color Analysis

I mentioned in my last post that I had an actual color analysis done this past spring that confirmed what I expected:  I’m a dark/deep winter.  Here’s what that means:

  • Cool tones work better, although my skin is relatively neutral
  • I can wear either silver or gold
  • I can wear many of the dark colors in the dark/deep autumn palette as well as those in the winter palette.
  • High contrast is good; I already have a lot of contrast in my own coloring, so using it in my clothing works well.
  • Darker colors generally look better, although there are light tones that are OK.

33d5e5e327fdcb055e4884f35135d964Things to notice about this fan of colors:

  • No orange, yellow, or khaki
  • Most colors are the darkest versions of themselves – No pastels.
  • This includes both the dark brights (true red, cobalt blue) and the more shaded versions (dark burgundy, navy)

Of course, I have a pinterest board that has dozens of different versions of the colors for Dark/Deep Winter.  They don’t all agree – none include orange or coral (a color I am having a hard time giving up), but beyond that there is some variation.

Closet Strategies

I bring all this up because I spent some quality time in my closet this summer and it is a lot smaller than it used to be.  I was wearing a great many colors that were not optimal, and while I liked a lot of them they weren’t doing me any favors.  (Major offenders were orange, coral, olive green, and tomato red.)

After the color analysis was done, I went through my closet with a fine tooth comb and made a LARGE donation to our local Goodwill of items that were not good colors for me.  However I didn’t really want to try on everything that was left, so I decided to finish the job over the next year.

I turned every single hanger around.  That day, they all started off backwards. When I go to get dressed, if I try something on that is ill-fitting, out of style, uncomfortable, stained/torn/moth-eaten/worn-out or just doesn’t make me feel good, it goes straight in to the donate bin* that we keep in the closet. If it just doesn’t go with the outfit, I put it back in the closet with the hanger still backwards.

After I wear something, it goes into the closet with the hanger the normal way. This tells me what I am and am not wearing.  I can quickly see what I haven’t worn recently, which drives me to try to find an outfit for it.

If, at the end of 6 months or a year (depending mostly on whether it was in season or not) I still haven’t made it work in an outfit, it goes into the donate bin.  I foresee that happening with a number of items that have either small prints or are colors that I just don’t really wear that often.

So what have I learned so far?

  • Many of the items I have a hard time making work are difficult because they are too long.  This is particularly true when they have uneven hemlines.  I find it hard to make these look professional.
  • Certain brands shrink.  A lot.  And something that fit beautifully when it arrived and the first time or two I wore it will suddenly be to short or too tight or both.  I have several pairs of perfectly good work pants from Coldwater Creek (RIP) that shrank up to 5 inches in length. Completely unwearable now.
  • My love of color blocking extends to how I put separates together. Small patterns tend to appeal most to me when they are an accent; i.e. the tank UNDER the cardi, not the other way around.  The only patterns I truly love are geometrics, usually with quite large designs.
  • The things I love get worn well past when the fabrics are dead.  I need to be better about letting those items go.

One thing to understand about color analysis is that it doesn’t mean you can’t wear other colors, just that you will look better in those in your season.  If I really want to wear orange, I can, and if I work carefully with makeup and such, I can make it work.  So there are a couple of less optimal pieces that I haven’t given up yet because I love them too much.  Perhaps with time.

Color Analysis Resources

If you are interested in figuring out you colors, check out these sites:

Each blog talks extensively (although not necessarily exclusively) about color analysis.   Take a look, keep an open mind and see if you can narrow in on your best colors.

*The Donate Bin:  One of the advantages of having the donate bin in the closet is that things go in there immediately – as soon as I realize it’s not working, it goes straight in there and doesn’t waist my time any further.  But there is a second advantage that is equally as important; the second look.

In order to deduct the donation on your taxes, you need to set a value.  There are standards for this, but in general you need to know things like the number of dresses, pants, t-shirts, sweaters, etcetera, that go in to the donation.  So when the time comes to take a load to Goodwill, the bin gets pulled out and each item is reviewed and counted.  In the process I have a second chance to look at an item.

I rarely pull things out, and if I do I try them on and find an outfit right away for them to go with.  But, occasionally, things end up in the bin because I’m having an “I hate everything” day.  This second look catches those items.

Rockin’ the 60s

This dress just seems so Mod to me – I cannot WAIT for the temperatures to drop enough to wear it with a pair of black boots….

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(Apologies for the wet hair – I’m going to Yoga after work, so I won’t have another chance to get in front of the mirror and take a picture.)

Dress is from BB Dakota – Gwynnie Bee carries it, but I actually bought it from Modcloth before I ever saw that. Modcloth is out of the plus sizes, however. But if you haven’t seen the wonderful things they are doing for plus sized girls lately, clicking on this link will get you $15 off your purchase.  They are carrying a hundreds of plus sized items, up to a 4X (26/28), and their style has broadened quite a bit as well.

I wore it with a pair of relatively old Born platform heels (not the same but these would look amazing as well) and carried my Kate Spade Deborah Dot Little Nadine bag mostly because I ran out of time to change bags, and it still goes 🙂

Photo on 7-28-14 at 1.15 PMFor jewelry I wore a ring from Wantable and a cuff that I got in a swap and has turned in to my single favorite piece of jewelry.  Wantable is a subscription box (well, actually 3 boxes) that you can subscribe to.  For a set price per month you give them sizes and preferences and they send you a selection of items. Right now I subscribe to the Accessories box, which is where the ring came from, and the Intimates box, which is where my undies today came from.  (No, I’m not posting a picture.)

2014-07-28 13.27.12I have no idea where the bracelet came from – it’s a silver plate cuff with a hinged back, and I am going to cry like a baby when the plating finally wears off.  Here’s hoping it lasts for a long time.  (Wonder if I could take it to a jeweler and get it re-plated when that happens…)

Anyway, linking up to Visible Monday and whoever else is still doing link parties these days!

Join us! Click the Spotlight stillbeingmolly WatchOutForTheWoestmans

Impatiently waiting for fall

BtbpbRdIUAAmTIvIt was 116 degrees in AZ this week.  That makes it FAR too hot to ride my bike to work (or rather to safely get home after work – the morning’s are OK). Walking the dog is something that happens around 10pm, if it happens at all. It’s also monsoon season, which means that many nights we get rain and a dust storm/haboob (see above).  All this has me looking longly forward to fall; cooler weather (by our standards at least), but more importantly fall colors.

One of the things I’m fascinated by is color analysis; which colors make us look better, which don’t.  I’ve worn colors that didn’t work for me in the past (mustard, orange) and others that were amazing (oxblood, navy).  This past spring I got my colors done officially and confirmed what I kind of already knew:  I’m a Dark or Deep Winter.  (Think also Ellen Page, Sandra Bullock, Anne Hatheway – Brunette, Dark Eyes, Pale Skin)

Summer isn’t a bad shopping season for dark winter because all our colors don’t have to be dark.  In fact, we can wear a LOT of the really strong colors you see in the summer – cobalt blue, fuchsia, primary red, etc., as well as looking terrific in high-contrast color blocking.  But dark winter coloring is winter leaning toward autumn, which means that a lot of the really rich, deep, jewel tones that come out in the fall are our BEST colors.

So I’ve started shopping.  Here’s what I’ve ordered this recently:

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(Items 1/2: Zulily, 3-5: Old Navy, 6/7: ASOS, 8-10: Nordstrom)

It looks like a lot, but I would be amazed if I kept all of it.  For example, the Old Navy items involved taking a bit chance for me – their fit varies wildly. Still, if you look at the colors, they are ALL fall shades.  Deep, rich, and strong.

Notice also that most of these items fit the climate of AZ – even though the colors are dark, the sleeves are generally short and the fabrics are light.  (The one exception is the cardigan, but it matches too perfectly with the colors in the print top next to it; I couldn’t leave it behind.)  I can start wearing these items any time now.

It’s a start.  Most lines haven’t released their fall collections yet, so I expect to find many more items over the next few months.  I’ll post what I find!