Monday, October 31, 2016

About to fall

Fall florals are an underappreciated motif in clothing, greatly outnumbered by springy pinks and summery reds, but when you find them in their rusty hues of burgundy and orange, they allow you to be a walking embodiment of nature, right up until the depths of winter (when you can switch to snow-and-ice-themed clothing instead). Until this year, my only piece of fall floral clothing was a sleeveless brown dress with a roses and leaves print. But after 3 years of dutifully wearing it once or twice a year, I retired it at the beginning of this autumn. Just in time to rotate in a seasonally appropriate replacement—this nifty fall floral blouse with outsized bell sleeves and frilly embellishments running up the front!

I bought it for too much money ($5.21, after you factor in the cost of shipping), but I don't regret my splurge. Since I discovered in early August, I've made 3 orders from the site, but this shirt is probably my favorite purchase. It is unapologetically over-the-top, and I love it for it.

I kind of did it a disservice, wearing it with my baggy, outdated (but very comfortable) brown slacks. Originally I had much grander plans to wear it with a new brown skirt, but the lengths and relative fits of the two garments did not work together, so at the last minute I switched to the pants. Hopefully the fun and festive blouse will stand on its own merits (better than I stand on this bench!).

Monday, October 24, 2016


You know something that I've come to love over the last couple years? Tunics.

I used to get so annoyed when I would buy a dress on eBay only to find that it barely covered my rear end. I could never understand why so many women are happy running around in minidresses—if I can't bend over in it without revealing all of my "assets," it is completely worthless to me.

However, once I decided to rebrand these dresses as "tunics" and wear pants underneath, everything changed for the better.

I love tunics! I can wear them with leggings (i.e. the comfort kings of fashion) and still feel like I'm dressed appropriately for work! They have the cute, feminine appearance of dresses, with none of the cold legs and underwear anxiety! They are dressy yet casual at the same time—they help you look nice, but not "too nice." Haha, points for the "tunic" wordplay, right?

Here are a handful of the tunics that have enhanced my wardrobe in recent years:
You could even consider my blue and white caftan top a tunic, covering two of my current favorite styles in one majestic garment!

The latest addition to my tunic collection is this blue half-sleeved sweater which I got for just a dollar at Rugged Wearhouse! I bought it in early summer and tucked it away for fall, whereupon I got it out, took one look at its folded form, and wondered why I had bothered getting yet another blue warm-weather sweater. Then I unfolded it, marveled at its length, and fell in love! It could be worn with so many different pairs of pants for any number of effortless outfits!

Today, I decided on white skinny jeans and white heeled boots, because I do love the combination of blue and white (it always reminds me of elegant china dinnerware). I wore a long necklace just to break up the blocks of color, but the charms and chains kept snagging on the sweater, so I took it off midway through the morning, before I took the photo.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

The Life Aqua


You might have noticed, I get a little sartorially excited when we have unseasonably warm weather, and this, the third week in October, has been a true blessing from Mother Nature, with temperatures not less than 80 degrees for the last 3 days! Now, I made my fall wardrobe switch October first on the dot, which left me with precious little summer clothing to sustain me through this warm spell, but somehow I managed.

My favorite outfit of the week was this one, a study in blue and blue-green. I have so much aqua in my wardrobe that I once decided to wear it every day for a week. I haven't tried anything like that again (nowadays I actively avoid wearing the same main color two days in a row), but aqua's still the color of choice when I want to go for a tonal look.

The sweater is yet another of the baggy sheer top layers I'm obsessing over this year (there's another one which I wore last week but didn't have much to say about). In the past with this sweater, I've tried to do a little contrast between the underlayer and the top layer, but this time, I decided matchy-matchy was the way to go.

With the aqua tops, I wore my teal pumps (shout-out to these workhorses, which I've had for 4 years without them showing any signs of dying, and which remain my most comfortable pair of heels!).

To further celebrate the warm weather, I decided to wear cropped pants. I've really been enjoying the fact that cropped flares are so trendy this year. While all my crops are so old they're from a time when they were referred to as "capri pants," they bear a striking similarity to the new ones—enough that I'm wearing the dickens out of them while I still can. I had several options, but in the end I felt the dark blue denim ones looked the most polished, so on they went!

I like a good monochrome (or monochrome + blue jeans) look as much as anyone, but I felt like I wanted to spice things up a bit and wear some non-blue jewelry. Butterflies ended up being the name of the game. 
I put on a now-ancient butterfly bracelet and some newer butterfly earrings. Sadly, I lost one of the earrings on my bike ride home (this is one good reason why I never spend more than 2 dollars on a piece of jewelry), so it looks like this will be the first and last time they feature in my blog. Bon voyage, beautiful butterflies!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Pajama Time

Every outfit looks better with a cute dog in the foreground
It's stylish to wear your pajamas everywhere these days. To prove it, I decided to look for an article on the subject to link to, so I went to my favorite website for info on fashion trends: Who What Wear, and immediately found this piece taking up their whole home page! If that's not validation, I don't know what is.

I've been on a mission to find my own set of silk pajamas to wear around town (I'm guessing my 15-year-old flannels with the frog princes on them wouldn't qualify), but it's been hard. I thought the thrift store would be a veritable treasure trove of pajama sets, but I was wrong. Eight months into my search, I'd still dug up nothing. Finally, on, I ran across this sheer floral top with navy blue satin lapels and cuffs. It wasn't a pajama set, but it had that pajama-top feel to it.

Besides, the more I thought about it, the more I realized that walking around in pajamas might be nice on those rare occasions when I go out brunching or shopping, but it wasn't really appropriate for work (or my generally less sophisticated weekend activities). Wearing only the top gives a nod to the trend without being mistaken for someone who just rolled out of bed.

The idea of a see-through pajama top was a little puzzling to my sensibilities (If you were going to go for the sexy-nighty look, wouldn't you choose – well – a sexy nighty?) but in the end, I think the sheerness of the top is one of my favorite things about it. Its incongruity as a sensible pajama piece makes it even less likely to be misjudged as nightwear worn wrong. And just in a general sense, I've grown rather fond of sheer baggy shirts. They are loose and comfortable and work-appropriate, but still show the outlines of the body underneath, so you don't have to feel so bulky and shapeless. This one was so boxy that I did have to tailor the sides a little bit, but there's still plenty of room to move!

I paired the pajama shirt with a navy tank underneath, my brown jeans, and my navy blue quilted flats. Enormous gold earrings add (literal) weight to the message that I'm not dressed for bedtime. Not-so-incidentally, I'm getting more varicose vein treatments today and tomorrow, so this outfit was carefully calculated to hide the single compression stocking I'd be wearing after my appointment. As a friend and reader noted, back to Compression Sock Chic!

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Scary Cat T-Shirt

I've been waiting since January to share the remaking of this Halloween T-shirt I got last year, and now that it's finally October, I can!

It's a little graphic tee with a tiny (rather weird-looking) cat and the caption "Scary Cat." Well, I love any cat, no matter how weird-looking, so when I found it in a lot of 4 on eBay for 9.95, I absolutely had to have it. It didn't hurt that one of the other shirts in the lot featured an even cuter cat! The shirt on the top right turned out to be old and scruffy and poorly fitting and not really my style anyway, so I donated it, but the other two tops have enjoyed lots of success in my wardrobe. But let's talk about the scary cat.

I'm always excited to dress for the season, but sadly, like many of the secondhand T-shirts I find these days, it had the baby-doll cut of a bygone era, and it was a size too large, so not flattering at all!

I started by unstitching the bottom hem. Sometimes I do this as a really quick and dirty way of lengthening my clothes, but it wasn't enough this time.

However, before adding any more length, I needed to reduce some girth, which I did by taking in the last few inches of the side seams and then trimming away the excess fabric.

For adding to the length, I decided to go with a nice strong Halloweeny black. I got this poor T-shirt at a conference a few years ago, and after many failed attempts to make it look more "cute," the only thing it was good for was scraps.

I cut off the bottom hem and attached it right to the raw edge of my new T-shirt, adding almost 2 inches to the length and saving myself the bother of sewing a new hem.

After this, I felt the bottom strip stood out like a sore thumb, so I decided to similarly alter the neckline.

I drew a line around the original collar and cut it off, then used more of the conference shirt as a bias tape to bind the raw edge. This part was hard, so I didn't take any pictures!

I'm really pleased at how this project turned out. When I started out, the tiny cat seemed almost drowned in the vast expanse of orange on the shirt. With the addition of the black trim, I think the cat fits in better...and the shirt fits better too!