Tag Archives: Fashion

Bling and baubles for my feet

As I’ve aged, I depend on my shoes to make a fashion statement.

When I was young (and thinner), a cute pair of jeans said a lot about my style; I hoarded brands like Gloria Vanderbilt and red-tag Levis that were long enough. Unfortunately, cute jeans aren’t as adorable when you have a muffin top.

But shoes? Gaining a few pounds doesn’t show on my feet. Now those stilettos, they’re fashionable but unwearable at any age, in my opinion. Standing nearly 6-feet tall in my stocking feet, I’ve never been real fond of 4- and 5-inch heels.

Which makes these babies with 1/4-inch heels absolutely perfect for me. Besides fashion, these state “summer” even when the snow is still melting.


Aada flat sandals from Zigi Soho: Thank you, DSW, for the timely coupon!

“Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.”

~ Marilyn Monroe


Blast from the past: Cheesy was once a treasure

As part of the Grand Home Office Remodeling project, I’ve been sorting through my files.

Yes, my paper files. I’m a dinosaur like that.

Among the treasures I unearthed while sorting each piece of paper in every manila file were these two brochures stashed in a folder carefully labeled “Fashion & Beauty”:

Boy, did they take me back. Oh, Multiples and Hairdini-helped French Twists were the height of fashion and beauty in the 1980s! The only things missing are Bonne Belle Lip Smackers and Maybelline Great Lash Mascara.

Dressing in theme for a Halloween party of spirit week? You can’t go wrong with shapeless jersey knit and tube belts. But wait! There’s more! I bought my Hairdini Magic Styling Wand from an infomercial, and it really worked! I had the best up-dos around.

I wish I still had some of those Multiples, but timeless, they weren’t. Why I still have the brochure with tips on pairing pieces, I don’t know. Ditto for the Hairdini instructions because the Hairdini itself is long gone.

Well, yes, I do know why I hang on to useless stuff long past its expiration. I’m a sucker with a hoarding problem who doesn’t understand the fallacy of sunk costs.

But I’m forging into the future resolving to do better.

Following the publication of this blog post, these brochures have officially completed their useful life, including this pointless foray of wistful nostalgia. I’m throwing them away.

I know a man who doesn’t pay to have his trash taken out. How does he get rid of his trash? He gift wraps it, and put it into an unlocked car.

~ Henny Youngman

Comfort clothes on a Friday night

My latest favorite hang-around outfit is my slouch tee from CAbi, a gift from my Beloved for my birthday.

slouch teeI’ve waxed complimentary about CAbi clothes in this space before. Great quality, long enough for my arms and legs, and the clothes always look great. (And CAbi is a direct sales company, which I heartily endorse.)

My slouch tee is sort of dark gray-green-heather, so it goes with everything, and it’s the perfect weight — sort of like a T-shirt, sort of like a sweater. Goldilocks would love it because it’s just right.


Don’t be duped by the dancing lady in upscale denim

As we approach the end of the world, I’m looking for signs of the apocalypse, and I saw one this morning between the weather report and news of Honey Boo Boo on “Dancing With the Stars” as I jogged on the treadmill at Snap Fitness.

It is, after all, 12/12/12 tomorrow, and we all know the Mayans predicted the end of time is coming in 10 days. So begins the countdown.

Among the ads I couldn’t escape as I switched from CNN to NBC and back, I noticed Heidi Klum dancing around in Jordache jeans.

H. Klum

Ahh, I remember Jordache, I thought. I coveted those jeans back in the early ’80s when they went on sale at The Hut, a dark and moody fashion store tucked behind the Cozy movie theater in the small town where I grew up in central Minnesota.

B. ShieldsA pair of Jordache jeans cost something like $45, which represented six good weekends of babysitting back when parents were paying $1.50 an hour if I was very lucky and I cleaned up the ice cream dishes. Only Calvin Klein jeans were higher on the 1983 prestige scale and only because nothing got between Brooke Shields and her Calvin Kleins.

Somehow, the thought of wearing tight jeans without underwear is kind of gross, but not when young Brooke was peddling it. In middle age, well-preserved 39-year-old Heidi — woman of multiple pregnancies with the sharp critiques on “Project Runway” — is my hero.

So when I saw her dancing around in Jordache jeans, I thought “how can I get some of that?”

And that’s when my headphones popped off and the treadmill stopped turning.

Jordache jeans are available at Wal-Mart.

For $13.

I don’t like Wal-Mart to begin with, but to think the object of my materialistic envy is now available around the corner in every small American city with a dying downtown business district provokes much wailing and gnashing of teeth.

The whole thing reminds me of this gem from Nostradamus, predicted in Quatrain 1212:

In the human realm dip Angelic offspring
Through her enemies, they will come to consume her
The one harsh of letters will make a so horrible notch
Dancing by force the remnants poisoned by son of Wall

It’s all so clear.

Fashion fix via scissors

Raw edges don’t scare me! Take that, Strangely Proportioned Shirt — chop, chop, chop!

Inspired by Zhenya over at “Being Zhenya: Style, Fashion, DIY, Thrifting,” I got wild with a household instrument today. Zhenya never hesitates to take a scissors to a piece of clothing that needs an update, remodel or complete overhaul.

Not too long ago, Zhenya solved the problem of T-shirt armpit stains by cutting out the stains! I clicked on her post looking for a magic laundry formula, and instead I found her wielding her scissors like a woman on a Mission: Impossible.

How novel, I thought. I never would have thought of that. (That’s one of the reasons I subscribe to something on the lines of two dozen blogs now — I am exposed to a plethora of novel ideas every week.)

As I got dressed this morning, I searched through my closet looking for something different and came upon this bright number. I wear it rarely because is too short to be worn alone (at least by a woman my age), too long to wear with shorts, too sheer to wear without something underneath, and it has weird, useless pockets that show through.

Though I’ve owned it six or seven years, I’ve worn it twice (no, I don’t know why I’ve kept it so long either — but it’s such a happy shade of yellow and it has such a nice neckline). I put it on, apparently hoping it had changed since the last time I donned it, and discovered …

It was still too short, too long, too sheer and had weird pockets.

Empowered by Zhenya (and the prospect of a blog post), I whipped out a pair of scissors and cut off the bottom and the pockets, thinking the worst thing I would have would be a shirt with raw edges that falls apart in the washer, which would finally be the excuse I could use to throw it away.

I’m pleased to have found today’s fashion statement. I’m wearing it now, the raw edges conveniently tucked away (what happens later, be darned), and I’m reminded of how the happy color brightens my day (instead of my closet).

Here’s to making bold moves today!


Gathering a wardrobe as well as memories

Gatherers tend to enjoy shopping more than hunters.

If you have one thing in mind, and you’re in and out of one store, and you accomplish your mission, you’re a hunter. My Beloved is a hunter, and that’s why he prefers buying pretty much everything online. Click, click, click and he’s done.

I’m generally a hunter, too, but on occasion, I enjoy a gathering-type of expedition. I learned to shop this way from an old supervisor, with whom I shopped once on a business trip. When I was done with one store we entered together, she was only 5% through the racks. Ever the polite follower, I started over again and really looked at the choices. I ended up finding one of the best suits in which I ever invested (I still own and wear it, nearly 15 years later).

Gathering is an especially good approach in a Goodwill, for instance, when you really have to look at every single item. You tend to find things you didn’t know you needed (at excellent prices). A gathering approach is definitely the way to find good deals on any clearance rack.

I enjoyed a gatherer’s approach to shopping this week with my stepdaughter and mother-in-law as we shopped for some career pieces Morgan can wear in her new job (congratulations, Morgan, on her first “real” job!)

The last time I shopped with Morgan was definitely a hunting expedition in search of an interview outfit. But this time, she played the dutiful paper doll and I got to suggest some mix-and-match pieces to dress her. I learned why personal shoppers love their jobs — nothing like spending someone else’s money to make my stepdaughter look good (Grandma footed the bill).

We invested in a lot of colorful tops to balance her conservative black and navy pants, but my favorite piece in Morgan’s new wardrobe: A cuffed-sleeve python print shell from Express. Python is the trend print this season, and it’ll look stellar with black, gray or taupe.

This afternoon, she paid me a sweet little compliment by calling me from a shoe store she was visiting. “I’ve got a fashion question for you,” she said as she queried the work appropriateness of a certain type of shoe.

Oh! She wanted my opinion! This, I thought, must be what mothers feel like. How fun!

Fashion, stated by one’s phone cover

A person’s shoes say a lot about her fashion sense.

If you’re willing to settle for boring (yes, I know, comfortable) shoes, you’re probably settling in a lot of other fashion decisions, too.

In your 20s, you may settle in the shoe department simply because you don’t have the funds to get jiggy. It’s sad, actually, since one’s pain tolerance is probably highest in one’s 20s.

In your 30s, you might settle for boring shoes … heck, I don’t know why anyone in their 30s would settle for plain-jane shoes.

In your 40s, you settle for functional shoes because your balance starts to go and you don’t even want to risk a chance of standing for even 20 minutes in heels.

That’s when you divert fashion attention to your purse. Of course, by your 40s, you’re really sick of dumping stuff from one purse to another just so the metal accents match your jewelry. I can barely change purses for the season, let alone the day.

So, a fashionable woman in the 2010s makes a statement with her phone case. I marveled the other day at all the cool options Zhenya dug up over at “Bringing NYC Style to Minneapolis” (click here for that post and pay close attention to the Swarovski crystal peacock case — wow).

Here’s my phone cover:

I love the sparkly ’60s vibe. I must confess, however, I didn’t pick it. My Beloved, the former shoe salesman with an eye for detail, chose it for me when he got me an iPhone for Christmas.

I also love the look of my Stella & Dot iPad gun-metal quilted case, which I chose myself:

Like a pair heels with comfort inserts, it’s function and fun, all together, holding the fashion bar high.

A girl should be two things: Classy and fabulous

On a normal Saturday, a sweater and a pair of jeans are my uniform.

Recently, I’ve been wearing paint-spattered jeans and an oversized sweatshirt (that’s what a home painting project does to one’s sense of fashion).

This Saturday afternoon, however, I got to dress up, and I wore a new outfit I from my reliable CAbi consultant.

I just love to dress up. Even on an occasional Saturday.

CAbi is a line of women’s clothing designed by Carol Anderson and sold through a field of direct-sales consultants; CAbi stands for Carol Anderson by invitation. When you attend a CAbi party, you get to try on clothes with your friends and get immediate, real-world feedback on what works and what doesn’t with your frame.

I love CAbi clothes because they are high-quality, long-lasting in terms of both durability and fashion and they come in long lengths.

Today’s outfit included a three-quarter-length-sleeved tweedy jacket with gold threads and v-neck T-shirt embellished with beads, buttons and ruffles. I felt like a million bucks, which so helpful when one has to speak in front of a group of people.

If 90% of success is showing up, and clothes make the (wo)man, I did pretty good today! Coco Chanel, the originator of the title of today’s post, would approve. She said this, too:

“Dress shabbily and they remember the dress; dress impeccably and they remember the woman.”

Want to feel younger? Then start acting younger

Attitude is everything when it comes to aging gracefully.

If you think you’re young, you act younger. Expectation, not biology, leads many elderly people to set physical limits on themselves, Harvard University psychologist Ellen Langer was quoted as concluding in a story in Sunday’s Chicago Tribune, “The key to staying healthy and living longer is deciding you’re not old and decrepit.”

Men and women older than 50 with more positive self-perceptions of aging lived 7.6 years longer compared to those with negative perception, according to one study.

I'm not wearing shoes like this ...

After a recent post about my aching feet, a prosthetic-making friend whom I admire for his blend of science and art suggested I try orthotic supports. Um, as much as I appreciate his good intentions, no. No offense intended to old ladies, but I’m not going to wear orthotic shoes — or give in to menopausal insomnia or go gray — one second sooner than I have to, and it’ll probably be about a decade after I ought to.

... as long as I can pull off shoes like this.

In fact, age identity researcher Markus Schafer found this magic number: If you feel 12 years younger than you are, you do better at tasks of memorization and other mental tasks.

Since I turn 45 next month, that means my age identity ought to be 33.

That’s a mid-life crisis I can live with.

Can Minnesota Transplant come out and play dress up?

So I’ve been slobbing around all summer, unemployed and wearing my sweaty running clothes half the day.

I finally get the chance to dress up — for lunch and dinner with a couple different friends this week — and I hear,”Wow! You look nice. Why’d you dress up?”

Um, having lunch out is the best excuse for dressing up I’ve had all summer!

Seriously, my extra long chinos and fancy costume jewelry and sort of high heels were just collecting dust (literally — I haven’t been spending a lot of extra time dusting either). I had the opportunity to wear them, and I did.

One friend told me, “Gee, you make me feel special when you dress up.”

Well, I don’t dress up every day. You are special!

On a related note, I learned today via Being Zhenya that when I dress down, as Ifrequently do lately, I shouldn’t be wearing my Snuggie for outerwear. Do you hear me, Paula?! Step away from the fleece!