Saturday, December 8, 2012

Weekend Wants: Lace

I bought a pair of black lacy tights last week and realized I basically have no lace in my wardrobe whatsoever. I think for a while I felt like it was too cutesy or girly for me. But I've been seeing a lot of ways to use lace that look fresh and sophisticated lately. Here are a couple of my favorites:

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I really enjoy knitting lace, but a lot of the lace motifs out there are a little more fussy or flowery for my taste. I love this simple, geometric pattern and like to fantasize that I might knit it some day, maybe with that gray baby alpaca I have squirrelled away. It could happen, right?

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

This combo of lace and ombre veers dangerously close to trend overload. But with a plain black sweater and tights, I think it makes a great statement piece. I love the bluish hue of the gray lace next to the antique/ivory color.

Knee details on tights can look juvenile, but this is so chic and beautiful, I absolutely love it.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I see a lot of wing-tips and oxfords around these days, but I personally find them hard to wear without feeling like a little boy. The insets and open lacing on these adds just the right feminine touch that I think would look great with a pleated skirt or a loose dress/tunic over leggings.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

Love the subtlety of these sleeve details - to me, it looks like the type of "refashion" that Zo might do. If I were crafty, I would attempt something like this. Instead, I'll just admire the concept.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

Red cords, three ways

Weekend Wants will be coming tomorrow; in the meantime, I had something different I wanted to share.

I picked up a pair of boot-cut red fine-wale corduroys the other day. They're really soft and comfy, and the fit is great, but I found myself struggling for ideas for how to wear them. So I made a couple sets on Polyvore to explore my options.

Preppy casual

This is a facsimile of the first outfit I wore my red cords with. I'm not sure I pulled off the whole mixing-neutrals thing here (i.e. brown belt with gray shoes and sweater) but I kind of like the effect.

Red pants 3 ways - feminine

OK, so the bows, dots and lace may put this a little over-the-top in the feminine category, but I kind of love pink, white and red together, so I wanted to play with that. I can see myself finding a way to pair my 20-cent pink pashmina with these pants.

Red pants 3 ways - edgy

Leopard and red is one of my favorite combos, and adding gold just seems like a natural fit. This outfit is veering close to trend overload, what with the peplum and the collar necklace, but I like it anyway.

Which one is your favorite? How would you style red flared cords?

Monday, November 19, 2012

Impulse buys

I had a rare early afternoon off work, so I went, naturally, to my local thrift store. I hadn't been there in over a month, which seems crazy - I used to go at least once a week, sometimes more, to take full advantage of the daily sales. So I may have gone a little bit nuts today and made some impulse buys.

Do you have that list, in the back of your head, of stuff you're always on the lookout for? I do. Right now the list includes gray pointy-toe flats, brightly colored pumps, "weekend" sweaters (i.e. comfy and machine-washable but still cute so I don't feel like a slob) and, well, I'm always on the lookout for a good coat, as I mentioned the other day. (There's probably more, but those are the highlights.)

But then there are other lists I have in my head ... it's hard to explain. Sometimes I just get hung up on an idea of a garment, and it just floats around in my mind for a while. Not like I desperately want it - just like I am turning over the idea of it and imagining what I would pair it with, or thinking about the associations it evokes. 

Today my lists got a little crossed up. So I wound up buying a jacket I didn't really need, a sweater I definitely don't need and a pair of shoes I may never wear, but that I kind of love. 

The jacket is the most practical of the lot: it's a sleek grey zip-up coat of some space-age/high-tech fabric that I'm sure resists wind, rain and stains. It's the kind of thing my sister would wear - her wardrobe is always really stylish and practical at the same time. It's like she never gives up and just gets something that's OK - she always gets the thing that's just right. 

I usually do not do this. My wardrobe is filled with compromises and things I am desperately trying to make work. My current everyday winter coat is an example of that. I decided two winters ago that I really needed a coat that was a) really warm and b) machine-washable (if you live in a cold climate and drive a car, this is essential - or am I the only one who leans up against her car all the time and gets road sludge on her coat?). But I was too cheap and impatient to do it properly, so I would up with a slightly too big puffy coat that's supposed to have zip-off sleeves, but the zippers are broken and mended with duct tape. It's pretty crappy, but it fulfilled my two requirements, and it's plain and black so I told myself it wasn't so bad. And I've been wearing it ever since. The question is, now that I have a better one, will I get rid of the old, crappy one? Or will I keep it around for forever because I have convinced myself that it makes sense to have a shitty coat that I don't care about? (Answer: the latter.)

The sweater, well, let's just say I thought for some reason that I needed a short-sleeved, boxy, oatmeal pullover. But wound up buying a cardigan. I looked at it when I was taking stuff out of the car and thought, "Um, yeah, I really do not need this sweater. At all." I think it will probably wind up going to consignment, and we'll see if I can turn a $1 profit on the deal. (Answer: unlikely.)

The shoes? Gold wedge heels. That's all I have to say about that. 

I did manage to pick up a couple of things for the shop - some fantastic (albeit tiny) T-strap Ferragamos and one of those cool 70s part-leather sweaters (you know what I mean, right?). I have the day off Friday and I'm hoping to do a big shop update - provided the baby obliges with a nap or two. Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Weekend Wants: Coats

So I confessed to my shoe problem a little while ago ... now I will own up to also having a coat problem. (I also have a sweater problem and until recently I kind of had a lamp problem. What can I say, I like to shop.)  As far as I am concerned, I can never have too many coats, I am never satisfied with the ones I have and I am always on the lookout for great finds. Here are some of my fantasy picks from around the interwebs this week:

I love the details on this mid-length coat, like the flared cuffs, the curved patch pockets and the deep hem. It's gracefully feminine but would still look awesome with jeans and sneakers. I feel like all the coats right now are either cropped or trench-length, so this looked really fresh to me.

OK, so I already have a plaid wool coat that is cut almost exactly like this. But is mine buttery yellow? No, it's not. I just love the hues of this coat - it seems so cheery and bright for winter's dark days.

Speaking of bright, how freakin' amazing are these vintage Hudson Bay coats? I repinned this from Solanah, who always finds the most amazing images online.

Much as I love color (and I really do love color, a lot), I can also appreciate a good sophisticated neutral. I love the tawny hue of this coat, combined with the brass buttons. Never mind that it looks like such a slim fit that I probably wouldn't be able to wear anything heavier than a T-shirt under it.

To see more coats I covet, plus other drool-worthy stuff, check out my "want" pinboard. I also have some great coats and jackets in my Etsy shop right now, including this beauty:

Saturday, November 10, 2012

Weekend Wants: Dotty

Apparently polka dots are on trend this fall? Good, because I love me some polka dots. I feel like they can be sweet and feminine while still looking refined and not immature. Here are some of my favorite dotty picks from around the web:

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I missed out on these cute sweaters from Old Navy - something to keep my eye out for on the secondhand market.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

More tan and black - I like the combo, it seems modern and good for fall/winter.

This is not the best picture, but I had to include it because I love the confetti-like color combo. It juuuust toes the line of being too sweet and cute, but I think it stops short.

I would so wear this exact outfit with my camel flats. Mint and red is my new favorite (not original, I know, but I like it anyway).

As I've admitted before, I'm not very crafty and pretty much never do DIY-type stuff. But I do like the idea of these DIY polka dot jeans, only because the frugality of it appeals to me.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

Mixing prints is always tough, but I feel like this combo does a really good job of it.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

Weekend Wants: Call me Imelda

I really like shoes. In fact, you could say I have a shoe problem. My only saving grace is that my husband has a ton of shoes, too, so he can't be mad at me. But in fact, many of my shoes (like 5 pairs of sneakers) are actually hand-me-downs from him - shoes he bought that turned out to be too small for him. But I digress. Here are some of my favorite shoes from around the Web this week:

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I have been pining for a pair of yellow shoes for, oh, forever. I love the idea of an ankle-tie flat - it's such a cute detail to add to a simple shoe.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I've been searching for the right pointy-toe grey to replace a dying pair of Old Navy flats that I have. I love the detail on the toe, and low heel on these - it's the perfect subtle bit of vintage flair.

Do I have anything I could wear with these shoes? Not really. Do I want them anyway? Yes.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

If you said to me "Red lace pumps," I would be like, "Um, no thanks." But these are AMAZING. I love the delicate shade of them - not quite red, not quite pink, not quite melon. Gorgeous.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I have been stalking these loafers on eBay for weeks now, waiting for them to have a pair in my size in grey (or purple!). Let's be honest, these are probably not the finest workmanship in the world. But they are really cute. And the idea of fleece-lined loafers is just really appealing to me right now.

You can see more of my shoe obsession, plus other stuff, on Pinterest.

Sunday, October 28, 2012

Sentimental heart

I am not a hoarder. In fact, I think I tend toward the opposite extreme, getting rid of great swaths of stuff in fits of cleaning energy. This is especially true of clothes - my closet has a pretty high turnover rate. This is one of the things I love about buying inexpensive, secondhand clothes - I can gamble on something I'm not sure of, and if it doesn't work out, back to the thrift/consignment store it goes without me feeling too guilty about money going down the drain. 

But I am stumped when it comes to garments that hold some sentimental value. I have a storage bag of clothes in my room right now that includes some of the few pieces of clothing I still own from when I was in high school - a tattered T-shirt, a beat-up hoodie, a pathetic pair of sneakers. What am I saving these clothes for? I don't know. I just know that they have outlived their usefulness, and the thought of putting them into the garbage can is more than I can bear. 

Now I'm facing another difficult decision. My wedding shoes are dying. 

When my husband and I got married six years ago, we kept things pretty low-key. My "wedding dress" was a white vintage dress from eBay; my shoes were a $45 pair of brown spectator pumps. Only the second pair of high heels I ever bought, these shoes proved comfortable and versatile enough that I have worn them nearly every week since my wedding. And I'm amazed they have held up this long, but they are finally giving up the ghost. The narrow piece of elastic at the end of the ankle strap is frayed almost to the breaking point. I can't quite see how to repair it, and I'm scared to wear them for fear that they will break completely. 

So, what to do with these very sentimental but not functional shoes? I don't know. If I were the crafty type, I would probably put them into some sort of shadow box with souvenirs from our wedding. But let's be honest, I'm not that person. Shoving them into the back of my closet doesn't seem like the best option either. So, I'm stumped. 

What do you do with your sentimental clothing? 

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Weekend wants: Silver and gold (and copper and jade)

I have been digging back into my jewelry box this week, and I definitely feel like there are some holes in my game. Here are a few pieces I would love to add to my collection (in that fantasy world where I actually spend money on stuff like this):

I don't have a single bib necklace, and I love the neutral tones of this one - a lot of the bib necklaces I see are kind of over-the-top, which makes them fabulous but a little intimidating to incorporate into my wardrobe. This one would be a great way to add texture to a plain sweater or blazer, but you could still wear it with prints as well.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I have a thing about the full moon. As a kid, I used to go out in the yard at night, climb up in the apple tree and just stare at the full moon. Or when the moonlight would shine in my window, I would wiggle around in bed so that I could see the moon from where I lay. So the idea of being able to wear a full moon around my neck is just fantastic to me.

I was laughing at myself the other day because this is literally the only "crafty" thing I have ever saved on Pinterest. Usually I look at that stuff and just laugh or sigh, because I feel like I have no time to do cute fun crafty stuff these days. But this one caught my eye and I thought, "OK, I could actually do that one." It's really simple and cute, and I think it would be fun to try different combinations of beads (wood? glass?).

I was looking at Alexis Russel's jewelry the other day when A Cup of Jo posted a link - it's really gorgeous, I love the rough finishes she uses. I don't wear bracelets a lot, but this one caught my eye. It's so sophisticated, yet easy to wear.
Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

You didn't think I would get through this list without posting an Etsy link, did you? These barn owl earrings are so adorable, I could die. But they stop short of being too cutesy.

I have more fantasy shopping here on Pinterest, including a gorgeous butterfly necklace and a lightning bolt bracelet! What's on your "want" list right now?

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Weekend Wants: Scarf print

I'm sure this is horribly not on-trend of me (as if I care), but I have suddenly become enamored of scarf print. Here's a little roundup of my virtual scarf-print shopping for the week:
Pastel scarf print dress by George for ASDA
This feminine sundress was featured in an Easy Living spread highlighting "Mad Men"-inspired fashion. If you say so ...

Navy and white scarf print dress by Nautica
The epitome of easy, casual dressing - classic palette, no accessories needed. Somehow I doubt I would look this much of a knockout if I wore it ... but I can still admire the idea.

Sea NY mitered stripe dress
Regardless of how sullen the model looks, this dress makes me want to smile. Yes, I do love a good, mad print ...

Lovestuck dress, modeled by Chocolate
I love everything about this look. It's not everyone that can pull off a boater. Hats off to you, Ron (warning, I just feel down the rabbit hole of her blog for like half an hour, it's gorgeous).

Silk dress by Dolce Vita
A refined and subtle take on scarf print courtesy of Piperlime. I love that they paired it with black tights and boots; it makes the blue of the dress look so much more vibrant.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Weekend Wants: Better red than dead

Here's my roundup of fantasy shopping for the week:

Thanks to a tip-off from The Dainty Squid, I am now obsessed with these skirts:

/Custom skirts by Ananya on etsy

I will take one in every color, please!

Red faux leather booties by little den vintage on etsy
These vintage foldover booties are amazing -- and, coming from someone who is very "meh" about booties in general, that's saying something. If they were in my size, I so would have bought them already.

Source: via Joanna on Pinterest

A Cup of Jo tagged these as "perfect red flats" and I can't argue with that. I haven't even clicked through to see how much they cost because I'm afraid I will just get depressed.

Source: via e.p. on Pinterest

I came across this gorgeous purse while looking for a replacement diaper bag. Just lovely, even if it doesn't suit my needs.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Transitions, decisions

When I decided to start selling vintage a few months ago, I honestly did not put a lot of thought into it. It was more of a, "Hey, why don't I give this a try?" kind of thing. I was still out on maternity leave after the birth of my daughter in January, but I finally had some energy and was eager for a project of some kind. Browsing vintage stores on Etsy, I was struck by the demand for certain types of garments that I seem to see regularly at local thrift shops and rummage sales. So I figured I would give it a whirl.

Six months later, I am trying to evaluate my "success" as an Etsy seller. I am inching close to a few of my rather arbitrary goals (50+ followers on Facebook and Twitter; 100+ items in my shop) and recently reached one goal of making it to 50 sales. I am in the black, financially speaking, which is good, and have learned a lot about photographing and describing my items, communicating with buyers, crafting realistic and fair shipping policies, and promoting my shop.

But am I "succeeding"? I really don't know. Between work and family/home obligations (not to mention trying to have a little down time now and then), I struggle during the week to devote any time at all to my shop, which is frustrating. Due to some changes at my job, the time I used to be able to spend in the mornings and occasionally on my lunch break, taking photos or writing item descriptions, seems to have evaporated.

This blog is another example. I toyed with doing daily outfit posts (because, let's admit it, I'm vain and I like showing off my outfits), but again, time got away from me. The simple act of having to pull photos off my camera and crop/color-balance them was more than I could fit in on a day-to-day basis - especially while juggling a screaming infant. I would really like to get back to this some day, but it doesn't seem realistic right now.

So I'm struggling to figure out what I can do, what I should do and what to let go. I would love to have cute custom tags and packaging for my clothing like some other shops I've seen, but is that really the best use of my time/money? Probably not. I am also scaling back my buying right now, since a) I have a pretty sizable backlog of clothes that still need to be listed, and b) I am trying to be more judicious about what I buy, based on what my customers seem to be interested in. (Although I am still surprised sometimes at what gets the most clicks!)

And I am thinking hard about what direction(s) to take this blog so that I can post more often and do so with a distinctive voice and point of view. I have to be honest with myself about what I can and can't do. I am not a great photographer and I'm not much of a graphic designer, so I have to admit to myself that this blog is, at least for now, probably not going to be visually stunning. But I can at least make the content the best it can be. The blogs I enjoy reading the most are the ones where the author's personality really shines through. So I'm looking forward to refining my voice and finding ways to communicate my passion for fashion (sorry) to all of you. I hope you'll stick with me as I try to forge ahead and make a go of this whole thing!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

I'm old and bitter

I try not to write too much about other people's blogs on here because I don't want to sound like a jealous/weird/stalker-y bizzo. But the things I read are on my mind a lot, and stay with me, so it comes out from time to time.

I haven't checked in on Style Rookie in a long time, which it turns out is OK because she hasn't posted in a while. But mostly I stopped reading it because I was feeling an insane, weird form of jealous nostalgia that got me thinking about when I was in junior high and high school.

You see, children, back then there were no Internets. There were just zines, which I basically didn't find out about until it was too late, and Sassy magazine. These were my guideposts to what might somehow be cool. Oh, and older siblings (like my sister). That was huge too.

Now, I'm not saying that being born at the wrong time is all that stood between me and stardom; that I could have been another Tavi Gevinson. Because I'm pretty sure I wouldn't have, even if I had all the advantages in the universe.

But I am a little bitter at how easy it is to be cool in the age of the Internet. I am a little jealous at kids who grow up being able to connect with this whole community of other people who are into all the weird, silly, amazing, distinctive stuff they're into; who can share images and ideas and song lyrics and self-portraits with more than just their BFFs.

I can imagine my 14-year-old self cultivating hundreds of pinboards, or relishing in a daily-outfits blog to showcase the stuff my schoolmates scoffed at. 

I keep thinking of the two photo albums I had when I was in high school. One was pictures of me and my friends; particularly, I used to make my friends take pictures of me when I was wearing what I thought were particularly awesome outfits. (The two-different-colors-of-Doc-Martens, purple tights, plaid overalls and pigtails day comes to mind.) Then there was another album, which I filled with clippings from fashion magazines. No one other than me, really, ever saw that second album. And even as I was doing it, I wasn't sure what it was for. I just wanted to save these images, to remember them, to somehow stake my claim on them and make them part of my life. And it was the only way I knew how to do that.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

A week of invisible outfits

Real life has really been kicking my butt lately. A combination of work problems and a sick baby (just a cold, nothing serious) have made the concept of "free time" something of a fantasy.

This is a long-winded way of saying I didn't take any daily outfit photos this week. But I have been thinking about coats.

I posted on Facebook last week that I'm really not all that into fall - which is true. To be honest, the onset of fall weather just fills me with trepidation. Shorter days, cooler nights, turning leaves and the first frost just kind of scare me and make me feel like everything is dying/decaying. But I digress.

I read a lot of people getting excited for "sweater weather," and I can't really relate. For one thing, my over-air-conditioned office makes year-round sweaters practically a necessity. For another, I have a real love/hate relationship with sweaters. I adore wool and cashmere sweaters, but am too lazy to keep them properly cleaned. And when I do wear them, I tend to overheat and sweat and feel uncomfortable.

But what I can get excited about for fall are coats. You see, I have something of a coat problem. I have kind of a lot of coats, and I find them really hard to get rid of. Up until a few years ago, I was still wearing an old vintage pea coat that my sister had bought in London in 1990. And I'm still clinging to a J. Crew pea coat that I got several years ago whose lining and pockets are completely shredded.

The coat I'm looking forward to wearing this fall is a turquoise and black plaid capelet. I don't have a picture of it, but the proportions are similar to this little number, only with a wide collar:

So amid the stress of the past week(s) and my not-so-positive feelings about fall, I've been clinging to this as one thing I have to look forward to about the coming season. What do you look forward to about fall?

p.s. Some great new fall items are up in the shop - check them out:

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Daily outfits: Aug. 27-31, sort of

Whew, what a brutal week. I'm just going to warn you right now that I look totally shell-shocked in most of these photos because, well, I am. We're going through a really difficult software conversion at work, and it pretty much destroyed me.

Monday, Aug. 27

Day shift after a night shift. I really tried to make an effort to look at least semi-professional, but it was a struggle. I did at least wear a belt to combat the problem I have with these khakis falling off.

Tuesday, Aug. 28

My major achievement for the day was resisting the urge to match my belt to my shoes. Mission accomplished.

Wednesday, Aug. 29

This outfit did not work out quite as I had hoped. I have had this blazer for like 9 months now and still can't really make it work with the rest of my wardrobe. Not to mention someone at work complimented me on my "Pat Boone shoes."

And while I would swear in the name of all that is holy that I took a photo on Thursday, my camera would disagree. So, poop.

Friday, Aug. 31

Another lackluster casual Friday. This will get better in the fall, when I can wear my standard casual Friday ensemble of jeans, boots, blazer, sweater and scarf. I bought this tunic/dress/thinger thinking it would be really great, but I have to say I'm not loving it. I should just get rid of it so I don't feel obligated to wear it anymore.

Now that my hell week is over, I'm pleased to say that I've added several new items to my Etsy shop, including a number of sale items. Please check it out!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Daily outfits: Aug. 20-24

Some hits and some misses this week. But, what else is new?

Monday, Aug. 20

It's too bad I look like a crazy person in this photo, and my collar is all messed up, because I was actually really happy with this outfit. I happened to see this sweater and skirt sitting next to each other, and loved the colors together.

Tuesday, Aug. 21

Let's be honest, I wasn't really trying here. Although I do like how the necklace shape echoes the buckles on the shoes.

Wednesday, Aug. 22

Is this outfit work-appropriate? Probably not, but I looked good anyway.

Thursday, Aug. 23

My crowning achievement of the week!

This indigo skirt is one of the first vintage pieces I ever bought, and it's one of the only things still in my wardrobe that I had in high school. I think it's from the 1940s or thereabouts, but it is handmade, so it's ab it difficult to tell for sure. Unfortunately it's in awful shape and you can see the faded spots on the hem in this picture. I bought it at this amazing, crazy little shop called The Tweak Shop that was open the most random hours. I would always make a pilgrimage to it whenever I was downtown (it was kind of off the beaten path) and it was so hit-or-miss, I would get really excited when I actually got to go in and shop. I also bought an amazing pair of platforms there, but sadly I got rid of those somewhere along the way, probably in college when I got sick of hauling all my clothes around and jettisoned a ton of stuff I wish I had kept.

Anyway, I love the way this outfit looked, but I was terribly uncomfortable all day, mostly because of the damned high waist. I just can't do it. But such are the sacrifices we make for fashion, eh?

Friday, Aug. 24

I am trying to act like I feel cute in this outfit, but I know it is unflattering and I just should NOT wear loafers with a straight skirt, ever. It does not work.

I've started rolling out some fall items in the shop after a small hiatus. Please check them out!