Sunday, June 10, 2012

Not Everywhere

Sparkles the chicken completes the look!  Home of the Brave t-shirt - Old Navy; Skirt - Coldwater Creek; Boots - Vintage Shoe Co.; Sunglasses - Coldwater Creek; Watch - Dad; Bracelet - Target
Unlike the outfit from the last post, this combo is *not* one I've seen everywhere, and I can't say from where the inspiration came.  Well, no, that's not true.  The inspiration came from me, from my love of the blue/burgundy/cognac color combination and clothing that is as comfortable as pajamas.  Still, before this blog I never would have put these items together.  N.E.V.E.R.  But I've been feeling like my outfits have become a little "safe," and I'm curious about exploring some new styles, so why not?  



Over the weekend I was laying out some combinations and this one felt really natural.  I enjoy the coverage of a long skirt (as long as it's not rainy out, because who wants to drag around a wet skirt) and I love short boots (um, I love all boots).  A t-shirt, prairie skirt, and booties don't really seem to "go," in the traditional sense, and in fact feel a little cRzAzy adventurous for a mom who wears jeans most days, but who's to say?  I was curious to see how it would look together.  And I love it.  I almost wore a fedora, even.  Maybe next time.

Try it!  You could pull this off with a long skirt like I did, or throw a t-shirt on over a maxi dress.  You could do sandals instead of boots.  Play with it, put on items that you love simply because of their color, shape, or texture, and see what feels natural to you!  You might be surprised at how easy it is to "own" a look when you love the individual pieces.  Try something that's Not Everywhere because *you* love it, L.

Linking up with Monday Mingle at bonbonrosegirls.com

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Everywhere

Striped Top - Forever 21, via swap; Cardigan - Target; Jeans - DKNY; Shoes - Bass
Here is a look I have seen absolutely everywhere at this point - every blog and magazine seems to have featured a striped top with a colored jean and oxfords.  I love it, and I love how easy it is to translate it and make it your own.  I saw a Gap ad where the oxfords were hot pink and the jeans were lavender - so much fun!  I've seen it done with a moto-style cardigan and black footwear.  Depending on the shapes, colors, and textures, it can read as classic, preppy, nautical, biker, whatever.  You could bling it out with sparkle or flower-embellishments on the sweater.  You could do a longer top and belt it (with a colored belt, even!)  Flats or short boots or espadrilles or wedges instead of oxfords.  Do all bright colors, or do all neutrals.  It's an equation you could interpret as you like.  I love the pop of purple in my rolled-up jeans - how are you going to do it?

      pleated poppy

Monday, June 4, 2012

Updating by Shapes

Tank top - Revolve; Blue/White top - Tommy Hilfiger, via consignment; Cargo Pants - Athleta, swapped; Shoes - Keen City of Roses Cutout Sandals; Necklace - gifted; Hat - Shihreen
If you're just starting to step out of your stylistic comfort zone, one way to do that is to expand within a reliable neutral palette, but move toward a new silhouette.  Indeed, this is a great way to move slowly and ensure that new items will meld into your current wardrobe as you explore.  Traditional palette, new shapes!  

For those of us who are shy about color, neutrals can provide a feeling of safety as we try new styles.  In this pic I'm doing a very conservative palette in an updated way.  I'm loving this combo of navy, white, grey/taupe, and cognac ... but shocking it is not.  What makes it fresh are the shapes involved: the top is a criss-cross v-neck with an empire waist; the rolled up pants are a tapered cargo; and the sandals, while flat, have the feel of an on-trend peeptoe bootie.  There's even some pattern-mixing going, between the ombre stripes of the top and the print on the necklace beads (hard to see, I know, but trust me).  

So... are you in the market for some new tops?  Try on some in your favorite neutrals, but give tunic lengths, interesting prints, or different necklines (cowl, v-neck, embellished with sparkle) or sleeve-types (cap sleeve, flutter, 3/4 length) a try.  Pants?  How about a super wide leg, flared bootcut, or a rolled up straight- or skinny-leg (so cute for summer)?  Shoes?  Scope out a shoe website and type your favorite brand into the search to get a feel for the new seasonal collection.  You'd be surprised at the way brands change their offerings every few months to keep up with trends - and they pretty much always keep neutrals in the mix. 

No matter your budget, or whether you shop new, thrift, or consign, trying new shapes in a neutral palette can allow for slow transformation.  Try neutrals in a new way, L.    

Linking up with Monday Mingle at MomTrends.com!


Thursday, May 31, 2012

Love This: Big Brooklyn Style

YOU ALL!  There's a new show on TLC that I have fallen head over heels for (not high heels, but you know what I mean):  "Big Brooklyn Style," which TLC describes as "follow[ing] Lisa and Jim Dolan as they redefine the norms of plus-size shopping in their Brooklyn clothing store, Lee Lee's Valise."  Below you can see a trailer for it, but here's an conversation from the first episode that just made me go crazy bonkers happyhappy...

Customer wearing a dress for the first time in forever, reflecting on what her kids will say when they see her:
It's really important to me for my daughter to know that no matter what size you are that you can still be pretty and feel good about yourself.  That it's from the inside.  Something I've never really been able to tell her, that I feel good.

Store Owner: And now you're going to show it to her.

Store Owner's Sister, commenting on the Customer's reaction: It's funny, a dress is something you wear from your shoulders, down.  But the whole change has been from the neck up.

I don't know about you readers, but I'm going to be tuning in for this show!  Enjoy, L.


Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Cowl Neck + Necklace?

Cowl Neck Tank - Land's End Canvas; Jacket - thrifted; Green Belt - thrifted; Jeans - Paige; Green + Silver Bracelet - consignment; Short Boots - Vintage Shoe Co.; Necklace - Grandma
I love shirts and sweaters with cowl necks (that's what you call that drapey neckline), but sometimes it can be tricky deciding what necklace to wear.  I think cowl necks look great with necklaces that have a little flow and drape of their own, to echo the neckline of the top.  However, depending on the thickness and depth of color in the top, or how dramatic the drape, it can be great to let it stand alone and wear no necklace with it.  In this case, though, the top is of a very light color and weight, so my looped-three-times silver beaded necklace fits the bill.  A slouchy necklace for a slouchy neckline!

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Forecast: No Sand

Tank top - Forever 21; Dress - Moda International, thrifted; Vest - Old Navy; Bike Shorts under dress - Champion; Gladiator Sandals - Aerosoles via Marshall's; Watch - from my dad; bracelet - Target; belt - thrifted

Today's agenda didn't call for any playgrounds with sand or woodchips, which meant I could happily wear open sandals in today's crazy heat (getting gritty yuck in my shoes gives me the heebie jeebies).  Since I was going to spin class in the morning, I wore the dress and vest over my workout clothes.  I love warmer weather - there's so much less gear to haul around!  Still, the threat of an afternoon thundershower means I may be swapping the sandals out for boots later.  Gotta love variable footwear forecasts, L.

pleated poppy

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Never Say Never

After 2 years of running, these are my favorite things to wear!
Bra: Enell; Top: Nike Women's Running Singlet; Bottoms: Nike Dri-Fit Skapris; Socks: Nike; Sneakers: Asics

Despite what I consider to be a lack of natural athletic prowess, I have been into fitness since my college days, when step aerobics came on the scene.  After struggling through the early classes and tripping A LOT, I was hooked.  Later on, I discovered the joy of strength training and I'd meet a friend in the early mornings for weights workouts at the gym.  Step and strength were my go-to workouts for a long time, but sometimes I'd switch it up with long walks or workouts on the stairmaster or elliptical.  Around 2002 I got certified as a group fitness instructor, and taught step classes for a while.  Then I ran a Stroller Strides group for two and a half years when my daughter was little, in which we combined walking with cardio and strength intervals.  Around 2008 I got certified as a personal trainer.  I loved being fit and strong, but there was one thing I could never do: run.  I just hated it.  I found it both boring and too immediately intense, and I'd quit almost before I'd started, every time ... preferring to do just about anything else at all.  That is, until I discovered the Couch to 5K program in April 2010.  And now I run 3-4 miles, several times a week. I'm slow, but I can do it, and I never ever thought I would be able to say that. 

Designed to train you to run 3.2 miles in 9 weeks, the C25K program seemed like a manageable introduction to running, and that's exactly what it was.  Workouts consist of walking and running intervals, and at the beginning, the workouts are only about 20-25 minutes long and the intervals are about a minute to a minute and a half.  Still, with every passing workout, I worried I wouldn't be able to do the next one.  But C25K walk/run intervals increase in small enough increments that I was able to get through.  It helped that they tell you not to run more than three times per week, nor to progress to the next week's workouts until you feel ready.  Derailed here and there by other obligations or illness, I think it actually took me 16 weeks to finish the whole program, and I did run a race on Halloween 2010. 

These music podcasts kept me from having to stare at my watch to know when the interval was changing from walking to running, but now there are lots more out there as well as apps for your smartphone.  There are also these and these podcasts, if you are curious to check them out.  It helped to convince my sister and another friend to embark on the challenge with me.  We got to check in about the workouts and the podcasts.  For some people, it helps to keep things private when they are starting something new; for me it helped to have others around for support.  I also loved reading the C25K website for inspiration or answers to questions.

I've found that not only is running a highly accessible, low cost workout (no gym required), it can be of a relatively short duration for its high return.  You don't need to be fast, you don't need to be coordinated, you don't need to be in shape to start (although you should always consult with a doctor before beginning any new fitness program).  You only need to be curious.  You can do it, I know you can.  Never say never, L.