Category Archives: fashion

Ugly Shoes and Why I Wear Them

I swear I hate ugly shoes! If I could have my wish, I would wear shoes like the ones I pin so lovingly to my “Beautiful Shoes” board on Pinterest. Of course real life gets in the way, and I can’t afford these beauties. As a mom of 2 pre-school age children, heel aren’t always ideal. I used to wear heels to work every day. Now, I only wear heels when I’m dressing up.

I find it strange that I have such an abhorrence for ugly shoes, but have owned so many of them over the years. If you were to open my closet, you would find several pairs. They have official functions. No, really they do. I promise.

During the early 90s I was the proud owner of a pair of Birkinstocks. My first pair of ugly shoes I purchased as an adult. I’ll admit they were all the rage. I got them because a hippy friend of mine told me how comfortable they were. And they were comfortable, amazingly so, but they just didn’t go with anything. I wore them all the time. Well, until the cold weather struck. I promise I never wore them with socks.

Birkenstocks - Navy Suede Birks in the style Arizona. Just like the ones I had

Birkenstocks – Navy Suede Birks in the style Arizona. Just like the ones I had

In years past I also had a pair of UGGs. I only wore them as after ski boots. This was before the UGG craze of the early 2000s. I had them a solid decade before I saw Samantha on Sex in the City wearing UGGs. By the way, I had the exact same ones. Same color and everything. I’m glad to say I no longer have a pair of UGGs and haven’t for years.

Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones in Sex in the City in UGG boots

Kim Cattrall as Samantha Jones in Sex in the City in UGG boots

Sadly, when Crocs came out, I picked up a pair. I wore them to the pottery lab, and then out gardening. I never went any place of consequence in them, but I still do have a pair of hot pink crocs. Now they live by the back door, and I use them when I’m taking out the trash. They are some of the ugliest shoes known to man, but oddly are cute on kids. My kids wear them all summer long.

Classic Croc Clog in hot pink

Classic Croc Clog in Hot Pink

Several years ago I read an amazing book called Born to Run by Christopher McDougal. It was an inspirational book about ultra-marathon running, a small tribe of Mexican Indians who run for fun, and the idea of running with a minimalist shoe. Since Born to Run was published, there are many more options for a minimalist running shoe. I was so inspired by the book, I vowed to take up running, and got a pair of Vibram Five Fingers.

Vibram Five Fingers Classic in Black

Vibram Five Fingers Classic in Black

The most recent pair of “ugly” shoes added to my collection were a pair of Dansko Professional Clogs. I have a long history with clogs. My first pair of shoes I remember loving were a pair of red leather and wood clogs I wore when I lived in Spain with my family in the late 70s. My mother still has those clogs on display on her hearth. They are worn down to the nub. The stitching is coming undone, the rubber sole is worn through on the heels, and the toes are all scuffed up, but I LOVED those shoes. I wore them every day for over a year. I cried when I didn’t fit in them anymore. Ever since then, my parents would buy me clogs whenever we happened upon them. I wore them through middle school, and high school. I had pairs in college and even in my early 20s. Now, my mother buys clogs for my daughters.

About 18 months ago, I was visiting my parents in Ohio and we stopped into one of my mother’s favorite shoe stores. She offered to buy a pair of shoes for me, and I ended up picking these. Mainly because I always let my parents buy me clogs for nostalgic purposes. As I was writing this blog, I only now realized that the clogs I chose were Limited Edition Dansko Professional 20th Anniversary Clogs. No wonder every Dansko lover I ever run into loves these clogs.

Limited Edition 20th Anniversary Dansko Clog

Limited Edition 20th Anniversary Dansko Professional Clog

I feel like I’ve let some ugly skeletons out of my closet. I’m not sure if skeletons or these shoes are worse. So here is where I need to know: do you own any ugly shoes? Have you ever? Has your fashion sense ever stopped you from purchasing ugly shoes,when your feet were screaming for comfort? Please tell me I’m not alone in my ugly shoe shame.

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A Blast From The Past

Colin Firth in Bridget Jones’s Diary – In the “Reindeer Jumper”

Please tell me you remember this picture. It’s from the film Bridget Jones’s Diary with Renee Zellweger and Colin Firth. Remember how excited Renee’s character was as she was walking up to meet Colin. He had his back to her. Her inner dialog was so upbeat, she even said “Ding Dong!” Then he turned around in this crazy sweater and all her hopes were dashed.

I connected so much with that moment in the film because I was that kid in the 80’s with those terrible sweaters. I almost died of shock this fall when I saw that they were making a comeback. Everyone is making loud sweaters.

Balenciaga Sweater

Versace Sweater

Kenzo Sweaters

I found that the company Madewell is offering some printed retro sweaters this fall as well. Here they are.

Solange Knowles in the Madewell “Counting Sheep” Sweater

Madewell Owl Sweater

Madewell Neon Snowflake Sweater

These Madewell sweaters reminded me of some vintage ones I found online. I hope these at least bring a giggle.

Vintage 80’s Black Sheep Sweater

Vintage 80’s Bunnies and Carrots Sweater

 

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Bedazzling, Guilty Pleasures, and Male Virility

I have to thank Google reader for this post. I came across this article about the props needed for the new film Rock of Ages while I was reading this morning. What really caught my eye was reading the word codpiece.

So if you don’t have a chance to read the article, let me sum it up for you. There is a man who makes script specific props for Hollywood, and for the new movie Rock of Ages he was asked to make a jeweled codpiece for Tom Cruise’s character Stacee Jaxx.

 I’ve been looking for an image of the prop, and I haven’t been able to find one.

The reason this really made me stop and do a double take is that first and foremost, I am a child of the 80s. I love 80s music. I will unabashedly admit to it. It’s my guilty pleasure. Just watching the trailer made me nostalgic. Second, I’ve never paid much attention to what rockers wear in concert because I’ve never been to a rock concert. When I read that Tom’s character was wearing a codpiece, I was surprised to say the least.  (By the way, I’ve never been to a concert because I’d rather spend $100 or more dollars on shoes, a handbag, or cosmetics.)

When I hear the word codpiece, I think courtiers in the time of King Henry VIII of England. It’s not that the codpiece wasn’t around long before, but I know lots about English renaissance court fashion. I learned about this during my misspent youth following my parents around to renaissance fairs and renaissance costume workshops in my tween years. My dad has a beautifully detailed King Henry VIII costume. He also plays the renaissance lute. Back in the 80s, when my dad was in his 30s, and had a full beard, he could easily have played Henry VIII.

In all the costume workshops I went to, I learned that men (especially King Henry VIII) used the codpiece to show off their junk to the ladies. It was a sign of male virility. The larger the codpiece, the more virile the man. Of course, there came a time when it became a piece of jewelry as well. To attract more attention to the codpieces, courtiers would pin on expensive jewels. Of course, not to be out done, there is an anecdotal story of King Henry VIII saying that no one was allowed to have a larger or more bejeweled codpiece than him.

So why am I surprised to find that many male rock stars have worn codpieces? I suppose now that I think of it, I’m not. Men of prestige and riches calling attention to their supposed male virility. Why wouldn’t you strap on a bejeweled cock pocket when you have thousands of screaming fans yelling your name?

I’m trying to think if we women have an equivalent. The Million Dollar Bra? I’m not sure it’s the same. What do you think?

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Side Cleavage: Yea or Nay?

I’ve seen so many articles about side cleavage recently I can’t keep count anymore. If you’re wondering what side cleavage is, here’s a great visual description.

It’s when you have a little of your breast peeking out of your garment. Some people are calling it side boob. I don’t know if there is an accepted phrase for it, but I think there should be some guidelines for wearing this style.

I know the idea is to look sexy, and show off your breast in a different way. I’m all for putting your femininity on display, but I think you should keep a few things in mind.

  1. If you have really large breasts that can’t do without support, this style might not be for you. (I fall into this category)
  2. If your breasts are droopy, this style might not be for you.
  3. If your garment is so revealing that all anyone can look at, or think about, is a possible nip slip, you may want to consider a different garment or visit a seamstress.
  4. If you reveal side cleavage, don’t reveal other cleavage. There is a line, you don’t want to cross it.
  5. Use fashion body tape. You don’t want any surprises.
  6. Be confident. Don’t fidget with the garment. It only draws attention, and makes you look worried about something going wrong.

Anne Hathaway – I’m worried something’s about to come out

Jessica Simpson – she looks more like Lady Godiva

Mariah Carey – too much, or too little. I can’t decide which. Overall, terrible.

Lindsay Lohan – this particular photo has been blurred. I’m sure you can find one where it hasn’t been.

If you’re going to wear garments with side cleavage, do it right. Here are some good examples.

Gwyneth Paltrow

Scarlett Johansson

Olivia Wilde

Nicole Kidman

Side cleavage may be on trend right now, but it’s not a look I can pull off. If you can, just make sure to wear it with lots of confidence and fashion body tape. It looks best that way.

What do you think: Side cleavage, yea or nay?

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Evening Drama

I dream about getting dressed up for a black tie event. I love the idea of finding the perfect accessories, and then the dress to go along with it. I know that sounds backwards, but I’ve always done it that way. I’ll fall in love with a pair of shoes, or a handbag and need to find an outfit to go along with it. Now that I’m older, I find jewelry that I love, and have to find something to pair it with.

The same is true for this pairing. I fell in love with the Alexander McQueen bag and heels, then I started to build and outfit to go along with it. I can’t afford it, but I love the way it looks together. It’s total inspiration. Elegant and edgy. Hard, with touches of femininity. Everything I would want if I had an occasion to step out for a black tie event. Just enough, but not too much.

With the accessories speaking so loudly, I’d keep the makeup soft and light. Very youthful and dewy. I love the nude tone of the Deborah Lippmann nail polish and the Dior Addict lipstick.

I also love that with the exception of the cosmetics, the accessories cost more than the dress. That is so like me. I have expensive taste. I can never afford what I really love.

Evening Drama

Catherine Malandrino evening maxi dress
$795 – bloomingdales.com

Alexander McQueen strappy high heels
$865 – alexandermcqueen.com

Alexander mcqueen handbag
$2,295 – alexandermcqueen.com

Kara by Kara Ross white jewelry
$1,740 – bergdorfgoodman.com

John Hardy glitter jewelry
$3,495 – bloomingdales.com

Deborah lippmann nail polish
$16 – barneys.com

Beauty product
$30 – neimanmarcus.com

I’ve never had the opportunity to dress up for a black tie event. Maybe that’s a good thing, because I would spend way too much money. I would want to be the best dressed woman in the room. I know that being the best dressed woman doesn’t mean spending the most, but having the best style. But I also know that my style is expensive.

I suppose it’s okay to dream. I don’t see myself at a black tie even anytime soon, but I can keep up to date on the style trends so I’m ready when I do have to attend one.

Dream on my friends. If your dreams are like mine, there is no accessories budget in them.

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It’s All In The Details

It starts out with a simple dress. Just the right dress that’s a bit demure. All this dress need to be truly fabulous is confidence, and the right details.

I fell in love with this dress because of the polka dots. I’ve always had a weakness for polka dots and black and white. What I love about this dress is that the polka dots start out as circles, and end up as ovals near the middle. It’s a fantastic print. I love color too much to pair this dress with a plain black shoe. Also, gone are the days of matching your shoes to your bag. With so much print on the dress, and a bright red shoe, I needed a neutral bag. Of course a little sparkle doesn’t hurt.

For the cosmetics, I decided to let the lips rule. I’m a huge fan of bold lips, and red is my all time favorite color. It was just such a classic choice with this polka dot print. For the perfect red manicure, I’m loving Zoya nail polish in Sooki. My very own bottle should be in the mail, and arriving at my doorstep sometime very soon.  I also think that you can never go wrong with black eyeliner and great mascara. It’s such a compliment to the red lips.

As for the hat, I know some people think it might be a bit over the top. I put it in the mix because I’m an over the top kind of gal. I love hats. I look great in them, especially ones with wide brims. I should say “Hat optional”.

Just a little something to inspire the lady in all of us.

It's All In The Details

Talbots
$139 – talbots.com

Joan & David platform pumps
$154 – bloomingdales.com

Lancôme lip makeup
$30 – lancome-usa.com

Lancôme mascara
$26 – bloomingdales.com

Lancôme eyeliner
$30 – macys.com

Zoya nail polish
$8 – zoya.com

Aqua Large Raffia Floppy with Ribbon
$78 – bloomingdales.com

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Mommy Zombie Went to Work Yesterday

I was so late getting ready for work yesterday that I only had time to take a shower, slap on some deodorant, brush my teeth and braid my hair. I managed to leave the house wearing the same pants from the previous day. It wasn’t until I made it to my office that I noticed the stain on them. Oops. By that time, it was too late.

I’m sure I’ve mentioned it before, but I’m a radio DJ. No one sees me, I’m in the studio for 15 hours a week total, and most of the time I’m there, the rest of the staff are out at lunch. So when I say no one sees me, I mean literally no one. There is no web cam in the studio. My boss is almost always on the phone or in a meeting. The rest of the staff are so busy, they hardly ever notice me walk in. I tell you this just so you can understand how I’ve let myself be emboldened enough to walk into the office in pig tail braids. I’m a 37-year-old woman sporting a hairstyle that a child should be wearing. I’ve come to work in my fuzzy UGG slippers before on accident, and didn’t worry too much about it.

I managed to go to work yesterday not only in pig tail Dutch braids, but without make up. I’ve spent over $200 recently on new cosmetics, and I went bare-faced to work. Now that I look at it that way, I’m not sure what I was thinking.

When I got to work, one of my co-workers stopped me to ask for fashion and  cosmetic advice for her teenage daughter who was going to a school formal. She asked me about manicure options. What sort of hair style would I suggest. What type of makeup would look best on her daughter.

I gave her a few suggestions, and headed back into my “box of solitude” aka the studio. Right before I left a few hours later, she asked if she could bring her 17-year-old daughter in for a little beauty advice. “Sure, no problem.” I said. All I could think of was “How is any teenage girl in her right mind going to take fashion advice from me, looking like this?”

After asking about her dress, and personal sense of style, I made a few suggestions. I told her what to stay away from, and what to make sure her nail tech and hair stylist didn’t do that might ruin the over all effect of effortless beauty that is so easy for a 17-year-old to attain.

This morning when I made it into work, her mom showed me pictures of her daughter all dressed up in formal wear. She was so beautiful. Long black elegant dress with a low back, black nail polish with a very high shine top coat. She also convinced her hair stylist to skip the pageant updo, and go with something a bit more casual and less perfect. Her skin is perfection. The way a young teenage girl’s skin should be. She hardly needed any makeup.  The picture was incredible. With her date, looked like a princess in a fairy tale. She took every word of my advice and look amazing.

Her mom told me a funny story today. On the way out to their car yesterday after hearing my opinion, her daughter said “I never expected her to know so much about makeup and fashion. Especially the way she does her hair and makeup.”

Touche you young beautiful thing you, touche.

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Winter to Spring Wardrobe

The weather is changing, and I’m having a bit of a difficult time adjusting. One day I need a wool coat, one day I’m in short sleeves and sunglasses. I know that the best way to handle the weather change is layers. I’ve decided to pair fun tops with cardigans. A top that would be far too chilly to wear without an extra layer. I was looking for a distinctive feature. I loved these two tops because of the frills, and the fun print.

Same Purse, two different looks
I don’t frequently wear clothes quite this dressy because I work in radio. No one sees me, so I often wear jeans, dressy shirts, and nice shoes. Yesterday I picked up a sparkly top and cardigan to go with my favorite pair of jeans. The studded top really reminded me of spring because of the beautiful nude color. I paired it with a chocolate brown short sleeved cardigan. I already have the perfect jeans, and my favorite pair of Dansko studded, heeled clogs. Here’s what I got yesterday, just ignore the bright pink top under the cardigan.
New Outfit 3-11-12
The earrings in the set are an approximation of what I would wear. Here is where I admit that I make much of my own jewelry, and all of my own earrings. Here’s a picture of the earrings I’d wear with this outfit.

Smokey Quartz Briolette earrings with silver wire

So if you’re looking for a good way to transition from winter to spring, think of a fun, eye catching top with a cardigan. Don’t be afraid of color, and remember to layer. Spring is my favorite season. I can’t wait.

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I’m sick, but don’t want to look like Death on a Cracker!

I’ve been sick. Not just kind of sick, but really sick. The kind of sick that keeps me home from work for two days. I’m usually the sort that will tough it out and go to work anyway. I fill my system up with cold medications, and just plug away. So if this cold has got me calling in sick to work, it’s pretty bad.

After having to call in sick on the second day, I also put a call into my doctor’s office. I was going to get to the bottom of this. I couldn’t keep being sick. Thankfully I got an appointment during the time my babysitter is here to watch my kids. The hard part was dragging myself out of bed to get ready. I had spent the last 36 hours in bed, unwashed, unbrushed, unshaved, just totally gross. It was time to wash the stink off, and join the world of the living.

I knew that there was no way I was going to spend time on my hair, or putting on a full face of make up. That never happens when I feel sick. I also reminded myself that despite my illness, I could still look like a person not a zombie. So after a good hot shower, I put on some cute jeans, a simple black v-neck top and a bright turquoise scarf with red patent leather flats. I grabbed a clutch I just got from Little Black Bag, and headed out the door. (This Polyvore set is similar in color and style to what I wore. The prices are not.)

Sick, but still looking good

American Vintage three quarter sleeve tee, £45
Wallis indigo jeans, $52
Marc Jacobs flat heel shoes, $198
BCBGeneration clutch hand bag, $78
Jamie Joseph green onyx jewelry, $650
Odeeh green shawl, €329

As I was about to enter the Doctor’s office, I realized that I would have to remove my enormous sunglasses. I’m not one of those to keep sunglasses on inside. I’m just not that cool.

In every day life, I use sunglasses to hide my unmade face from the world when driving around. I didn’t realize until this moment that I wasn’t wearing a stitch of makeup. No concealer. No foundation. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. I just don’t bother when I’m sick. With all the bright color in my outfit, my face looked so pale. I quickly thought of just adding a red lip, but then realized that it would be too much. I would look terrible without the rest of my make up.  This is when I reached for my favorite sheer red. Lancome’s L’Absolu Nu in Red Chiffon. Just enough color to make my face come to life without overwhelming it.

L'Absolu Nu in Red Chiffon - The Perfect Sheer Red

After having a fingernail polish discussion with the nurse, and a ladies accessory discussion with my doctor. (My doctor is a guy, but notices stuff because his wife LOVES accessories, and has apparently trained him well) I managed to leave with instructions to stay in bed, take my antibiotics, narcotic filled cough syrup and call in sick for today because my chest X-ray revealed I have pneumonia. No wonder I cough like someone dying of consumption.

So today I’ve been sleeping, watching Downton Abbey on PBS, painting my nails, and trading accessories on Little Black Bag. It’s how us sick girls survive being sick.

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