I had the best day!

Thank you so much for all of the happy birthday wishes. Your sweet comments made me feel so good. I got to spend the day with family and friends. We went ice skating (fun, but a bit nerve-wracking) and then went out for an extraordinary meal at Pair, a French bistro -style restaurant.

My husband "dressed up" for me. He wore closed-toe shoes instead of his Birkenstocks. So sweet of him ;)

I wore a dress I sewed back in December, but styled it using a lot of great YLF advice, which really pulled things together. Thank you!

More family get-togethers might keep me away from the forum for a little bit, but I'll try to pop in when I can.


Jeans - Keep or Return

I've been looking and looking and looking for jeans. I bought 3 pair today. Should I keep or return them?


Pictures 1-2 : Wit and Wisdom

Pictures 4-5: Kut from the Kloth (my only reservations about these is the rise in the back. I wish they were about an inch longer. I don't plan on ever wearing them with a shirt that would expose that area, though. Is this a problem?

And, just for fun, the last picture shows why I shouldn't wear empire bodice tops. Not pretty.


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Yellow and Green (Day 2 of my Adjacent Colors Experiment)

I'm once again following in Aida's footsteps. I didn't think my wardrobe was all that colorful, but after excavating it to its very depths, I'm happy to report there's a lot more color for me to play with. Yay!

Try to ignore my crazy hairdo.

I laughingly told my husband that my hair reminded me of a lion's mane. He said it's been looking like that for a week or so. When I glared at him, he quickly spluttered out that he likes it like this.

I'm thankfully going to get the 'do tamed on Friday.


Neighborly Colors and Some Youthful Hijinks

I'm battling a case of the blues right now. I don't know if it's the typical mid-winter depression I get or if it's due to something else, but I'm struggling to keep my attitude positive lately. If anyone else is coping with this, I'm sending you a big hug!

Aida's color project sparked an idea for today's outfit. I thought playing around with blue and purple, two of my favorite colors, might cheer me up. I can't say these are my nicest clothes, but I did make the top, skirt and necklace. A little bit of handmade gives me warm fuzzies too.

Also, I tried a little bit of pattern-mixing. Unfortunately, I think it's hard to see the houndstooth print on my stockings. Next time I try this, there will be more drama, lol!

Bonus pictures of my crazy kids...


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Did Someone Say Something About Shopping for an Imaginary Lifestyle?

So...I'm currently yearning for a pair of sequined pants. I prefer the wider-legged versions over the leggings. I really love the harem style best, but just know they would look terrible on me.

You can laugh now. I certainly am.

Could I possibly wear something like that to my sister-in-law's wedding, which will take place this fall in Las Vegas? Could I wear something like that with a cropped tuxedo jacket? Is it ok to wear black to a wedding in Las Vegas, or do I have to stick to lighter/brighter colors?

Are my cold meds making me crazy?

She's getting married by Elvis, so I imagine almost anything goes fashion-wise. (I'm a little perplexed at the ultra conventional gown she selected though.) Or, does the venue not matter so much and I should stick to regular old wedding guest attire?

Talk me down, people.


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WIW - Wonderland

I looked out the window yesterday and saw an unfamiliar substance coating the sidewalks, trees and yards. More of it has accumulated since then and my kids are delirious with excitement. Their mood has rubbed off on me.

Of course, this strange substance required different clothes than I normally wear. What I was able to cobble together for myself and my children wasn't particularly attractive, but you know what? That strange substance makes everything look a little magical--kind of like candle light.


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01/13/12 WIW to the Grocery Store and My Kids' School Assembly

Today was one of my days off work and I had to run some errands and go see my kids perform songs/choral poetry in their Martin Luther King, Jr. school assembly. It was also remarkably cold out, so I had to bundle up.

All these factors figured into my eclectic assembly of parts:

Chapeau - $10 bargain at Target
Necklace - Another Target find? Or was it Forever 21?
Sweater - Thrifted Ann Taylor knit
Turtleneck - courtesy of the Rack
Jeans - Sewn by me before I knew about PPL
Loafers - nothing stylish about these, but they're comfy and great for walking and standing in overcrowded school cafeterias.

Later on, I wore this outfit with purple rubber gloves to wash the dishes. They were really stylish! I need a matching feather duster.


01/12/12 - When in Doubt, Wear Black and White

Hi everyone!

One of my New Year's Resolutions was to take more photos of outfits this year so I could develop a better sense of what outfits work out best for me. Yesterday, I took the silly route and used Miss Marple as my fashion role model. Today, I'm defaulting to one of my stand-by color combinations: black and white with a pop of red.

Top: thrifted Cable & Gauge
Pants: Ann Taylor Broken Tweed Signature Trousers)
Shoes: Crown Vintage
Scarf: Made by me from a square of chiffon. I tied it in a french knot.
Earrings: faux pearl dangles.

Thanks for looking and taking the time to comment!


Evaluating Quality

I'll admit it. I'm a snob about quality. I know this isn't as big a deal to some people who just want to have fun with their clothes and don't mind a quality issue here and there, but I go a little crazy when I spend my hard-earned money on something and it just doesn't hold up. If there's a team for this, then I'm clearly on the team that would rather save up for a high quality garment that will last me years than the team that enjoys buying a trendy item that will only last a season or two. This doesn't always mean I'm comfortable with high price tags either. I often thrift shop or sew my own clothes when that fails me.

I'm not judging people on the other team at all, since I love to see what they wear and enjoy their creativity. It's just not for me.

On the off chance that this will be helpful to others, here's a draft list of factors I check when considering buying a garment. Am I too darned picky or what?

1. Fabrication

a. Natural fibers are often, but not always to be preferred over synthetic fibers. They tend to be more “breathable.” Polyesters are not breathable and tend to build up static, which is uncomfortable.

b. Natural fibers tend to be more malleable and will stretch out when worn. They do not always recover their original shape very well. Everyone has had the cotton t-shirt that stretched out beyond belief and the jeans with baggy knees. Consequently, it’s often preferable to look for natural fibers blended with more resilient fibers. Spandex and lycra can help garments recover their shape.

c. It’s nice to find nylon blended with some yarns, like wool or cotton because they improve the garment’s durability.

d. When evaluating printed fabrics, check to see if the pattern carries through to the reverse. If you find a pattern printed on one side and the reverse is plain white, that’s a sign the fabric is poorer quality.

e. The softer a yarn is, the more prone to pilling it will be. Softness is often due to a halo of long fibers that surrounds the yarn’s core. This is what makes it feel soft, but it’s also what pills. Consequently, you’re going to have to make a choice between softness and durability. If you love soft yarns, invest in a sweater comb/stone.

2. Workmanship

a. Nowadays, most commercial garments feature serged seams. For the most part, this is ok, especially on casual garments like jeans, t-shirts, etc. Just check to make sure all seams are nicely finished and none are left raw. (see image 1)

b. Sheer or thin garments are nicer when they aren’t serged, but are assembled using what’s known as French seams. (see image 2)

c. Seams should be smooth. There shouldn’t be any puckers. This is especially noticeable in satin garments and in stretchy fabrics.

d. If you’re evaluating a stretchy garment, the seams should have some give to them so they don’t “pop” or break when worn. This is when serged seams are preferable.

e. Regular patterns like plaids and stripes should match at key points, e.g. side seams. Sometimes, pattern mismatches are unavoidable, e.g. rounded seams like shoulders.

f. Patterns should be placed in a flattering manner on the garment. Check to make sure large polka dots and florals aren’t placed over your bust apex or you’ll be attracting some unwanted attention.

g. Buttons should be sewn on securely.

h. Zippers should open and close smoothly and not cause puckering on the garment.

3. Linings

a. Garments with linings tend to be of better quality than garments without.

b. Linings help garments fit over your body in a smoother and more pleasing manner.

c. Linings help prevent garments from catching on layering pieces worn under them.

d. Linings help garments retain their shape.

e. Polyester linings are prone to static, so make sure they don’t cling in an unattractive fashion.

f. Rayon linings are very nice to wear, but they tend to wrinkle. They’re best in skirts, dresses and pants where the linings remain concealed from view. They’re not the best choice for coats and jackets where the lining might occasionally be visible.

g. Silk linings are luxurious.

h. Coat linings should be durable. If they feel like they’re going to snag, run, etc. every time you touch the lining, then it’s not worth it.


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