Have you noticed that some people think it’s Spring, or that Spring will soon arrive, and that it’s time to adjust our wardrobes accordingly? I haven’t been to Target in a while, but I’m guessing you can buy a swimsuit now. Lots of the crafting websites I read are talking about Spring wardrobes and fashions. I even bought daffodils today (benefiting the American Cancer Society) that should bloom in about a week, and they will scream “Spring!”
Of course, it snowed here yesterday, so I’m not really thinking Spring. I’m dreaming Spring, to be sure, but my wardrobe will not be switched over just yet. (Which is really too bad, because I stood there staring at my closet this morning, complaining about how bored I was with everything that was in there. I’m ready for the switch.)
I’m going to stick with Winter fashions and patterns for the moment, no matter how badly I want to see grass. It’s just prudent. Did you know that the last 1″ snowfall in Minnesota in the last few years has been at the end of March? We’ve got a ways to go. So I’ll continue on with the clothing I’ve got in the works (specifically that green corduroy skirt and the blue charmeuse long-sleeved cowl-neck blouse) until further notice.
That said, since people were going on and on about Spring clothing, I thought I’d take a look at what was out there this year. I was sorely disappointed. Everyone raved about Anthropologie, and I’ve got to say, if I had to dress solely in Anthropologie clothing, my closet would be really, really empty. I just don’t like most of their stuff. Or it’s impractical for my life. Or unflattering.
Sidenote on flattering clothing for pear shapes: that whole billowy at the waist thing that is popular? It is not a good look for those of us whose hips are disproportionately larger than our chests. Case in point? This is the shirt I am wearing today (bought on ebay on a whim):
Seems cute enough, right? It's Anne Klein, the torso is fully lined in a very soft fabric, and the sheer sleeves (and top layer of the shirt) give an airiness to an otherwise heavy black blouse.
However, that billowy look at the waist? No good. There is nothing in my closet that makes that look good. It only accentuates that which I try to camouflage (which is why all of you were saying in your head, no, she’s not pear shaped!). This is only the second time I’ve worn it, and I think it’s going to have to go to Goodwill. Lesson learned. Or rather, re-learned. I never buy/wear tops that have a waist that should be tucked in or is otherwise fitted in that regard. I will continue on as if this never happened.
Back to Spring fashions. So I checked out Anthropologie, and since I wasn’t finding much of anything (yes, there are a lot of pics below, but they have a ton of stuff on their website, and this is just a tiny fraction of that), I thought I’d check out J Crew, hoping to find some nice, basic wardrobe options. Oh, no. That was just bad. So bad that I won’t even link you to their site. Nothing good came of that. I also checked out ModCloth, because while most of their stuff isn’t appropriate (mini skirts? no thanks. sleeveless dresses? not so much.), it is often fun and cute and inspiring. So I’ll share with you what I did find that inspired me (whether inspiration means “purchase” or “want” or “can make on own” is another story).
From Anthropologie… (images link to Anthropologie’s main site)
A few notes: I know I have a pattern to make either of the skirts in the top row. The skirt in the bottom-right corner I was unsure of until I saw it on an actual person, and then I was in love with it. Seriously, I need one of those in my life. I would gladly pay money for either of the beige sweaters (if they actually looked good on me - they sure look comfortable!), and while the orange shirt and red dress aren't really my color of choice, I thought they had nice design elements that would be flattering. Also, I heart jersey dresses.
I'm totally loving the cowl on this navy blue shirt - I would make one for myself if I could figure out what's going on there. The polka dot dress is cute and yet still work appropriate - that's a hard one. And while the blue and white tunic may not be super flattering, it would feel comfortable and loungy and... beachy. That would be nice. And it does have a waist (it's not just a huge tent of a shirt), so that's in its favor.
And from Modcloth…
With the exception of the purple dress, these are some great work-appropriate dresses. Nice little details without making it difficult to find a sweater to wear over that doesn't conflict. The purple dress? Not a fan of strapless, but the pintucks are such a cute design element, and the A-line skirt would be quite flattering.
I love, love, love this dress, and don't think I would ever wear it. It reminds me of Lucille Ball, and also of 50's diner waitresses. I have been wanting a black polka-dot shirtdress for years now (just not with the white details that make it look a bit more waitressy). These two shirts have some really interesting details. Obviously, I'm into cowl necks (having discovered they are flattering to those of us with small chests), and the slight flare might be OK with the right pants/skirt. The purple one would have to ditch the waistband in order for me to really like it, but there's all those tucks and buttons at the neckline - it's fascinating!
Now I feel like I’ve done my bloggerly duty of speaking of Spring fashion. Whew! We’ll now return to things that are appropriate for the weather, which means Winter-wear. (I reserve the right to talk about Spring fashion again when Spring is actually here and I’m ready to switch over my sewing projects for the season. But I promise to keep that discussion to sewing and not ready-to-wear clothing.)
Yes, you’re going shoe shopping with me again. Why? Because I can make you, and because hates doing it. I don’t blame him. I don’t like shopping for shoes for me either. There are rules about shoes, rules that are not always easy to communicate (and are not absolute, either). Rules like “no bows… unless I like them.” Or “they can’t make my feet look big” (as if that’s measurable).
I don’t know if you know this, but it’s cold here today. I ran back into the house this morning to grab a coat. Yeah, quite chilly. As I was getting dressed for work, I was debating what shoes to wear. It’s jeans Friday, you know, which gives me more options for shoes. I thought, since it was cooler out (and since I’m almost out of nylons), that I’d wear my brown shoes… Oxfords, for lack of a better term. But then I pulled them out of the closet and realized that they should never again see the light of day. They’re in baaaad shape. Bad enough that I’m a bit embarrassed that I wore them last year. The toes are missing most of the polish (despite having re-polished them many, many times), some of the stitching around the sole has broken… not good.
So obviously, I need to go shoe shopping. If I can state the problem succinctly, it’s this: at some point in the last 10 years, I have owned two perfect pairs of brown shoes, both very different, and I want shoes just like them, and I will never find that, so I will be disappointed.
Bandolino "Fairview" - one pair looked like these, though with a chunkier heel. Very thin, supple leather, lace-up, almost delicate for a boot.
Frye "Clara Campus" - the other pair was brown clogs, very understated, much like these. Probably not the best example because I think the clogs were actually trying to replace another pair of shoes which was even more perfect, but I can't remember that far back. Also, clogs are a bit impractical for Minnesota winters, with all that snow and all.
So… suggested I look on Zappos for inspiration. Below is what I’ve found, and hopefully along the way I’ll be able to clarify what it is I’m looking for. (All pictures link back to Zappos – also, it’s highly unlikely that I’d buy any of these exact shoes, so I didn’t pay attention to price or size available or anything. I’d have to buy shoes in a real store. I have no idea what size my feet are right now.)
Reiker "Sarah 96" - The color's off, and I'm not a fan of the bow, but I do like the overall shape, especially where it meets the ankle. The heel's not bad too. These would be wearable with a skirt. (Quality 1: Must be wearable with khakis, jeans, brown dress pants, and the occasional skirt. I do have brown "dress" shoes for skirts and dresses, but I like my shoes to be as versatile as possible.)
David Tate "Megan" - These have the... refined, delicate look that my first pair of ankle boots had. They look comfortable. Too high on the leg, but simple and understated without being plain. (Quality 2: Must be wearable for a full 10 hours without having to do complicated bandaging beforehand.)
Annie "Krit" - Ooh, these I like! Very low on the ankle, so there'd be no worries of rubbing against... that bony part of the ankle. (What's that called?) Would it matter that they have gold accents? I usually wear silver. Do people care about that anymore? (Quality 3: Heels may not be too thin or too tall. This example is probably too tall. I've got to be able to walk in them without looking like I'm wearing my first pair of heels.)
RSVP "Bravura" - OK, these break the previous quality, but they do have a nice look to them. I like the side zip - big fan. But, the large expanse on the top is generally unflattering to feet the size of mine. (Quality 4: Cannot make feet look like canoes.)
Clarks "Dara II" - Well, you know how I love my Clark's, so I was hoping to find the perfect ones. Alas, I did not, but I did find some prospects. I like that these are a bit more casual than the earlier ones that had gold accents (though I think I like the fancier ones better), but they remind me a little too much of cowboy boots. The heel is a great height though. (Quality 5: Must be appropriate for suburban/urban life, not farm life. Must not make others think that I know how to ride a horse or rope cattle.)
Clarks "Mika Beth" - Interesting details, nice heel. Actually, the heel on these might be perfect. Also, the color is exactly what I'm looking for. (Quality 6: Brown leather. Sounds simple, but it's important to mention.)
Clarks "Loving" - Nice and low again, which seems to be the way I'd rather go (wouldn't that look better with a skirt? with pants it wouldn't matter, but I don't always wear pants). Understated but not boring. (Quality 7: Must not bore me. Must not elicit a sad sigh when considering them as part of the day's outfit.)
Clarks "Faithful" - Not too different from "Mika Beth," but darker and a bit shinier. I am undecided on shiny. (Quality 8: Must not be overly shiny. Patent leather is never acceptable, unless you are under age 8. And as a child, I did not want patent leather, since I was sure I'd scuff them up and ruin them.)
So, what are your thoughts on brown ankle boots? What can I wear with pants and skirts? What will be comfortable? What will look stylish (but not trendy) for several years?
*From Friends, one of the earliest episodes (maybe even the first one) when Rachel needs to stop relying financially on her dad but she goes shopping and buys boots… with a credit card her dad pays for.
Do you want to know how much I love my new Rav4? I had a custom keychain made, because the red plastic thingy they gave me at the dealership was not worthy.
Now this is worthy of my new car.
I found SewSweetStitches via Flickr, where she shares some beautiful pieces in one of the embroidery groups. It took me a while to figure out exactly what colors I wanted, but once I did, she made it up for me pronto. I was very impressed.
And then it arrived at my house, quite quickly as well.
Isn't it lovely?
Anyway, you should go visit her shop. Keychains aren’t really her thing, but she is more than willing to do custom work (since barrettes and iPod cozies aren’t really my thing).
Maybe you don’t. I didn’t. That is, until today, when I wore my pretty new grey sweater with my navy dress, and had to wear my black shoes. Not that big of a deal, but grey shoes sure would be nice. I have at least two grey sweaters, and two grey pairs of pants, and at least one skirt. That warrant’s grey shoes, right?
So, um... would these look OK on my larger feet? I mean, sure they're cute in size 5, but I'm a 9 1/2 these days. Can my canoe feet pull off the ruffle? (Source: Cassie by Kensie Girl in Gunmetal via Zappos.com)
Grey shoes are not exactly easy to find. I don’t want silver, I want grey (I don’t need to bring sparkly attention to my feet). And I don’t like heels. And… well, I’m picky about shoes.
The only problem with the above, other than the ruffle dilemma, is that people say they run wide, and I have narrow-ish feet. Oh, and there’s the slight problem of them being out of stock in this size/color combo. No one seems to have them. But, put those things aside. Can I wear these, or are they too… [fill in the blank]?
The other day I was perusing the internet looking for inspiration, and I came across this dress at White House | Black Market:
It's part of their wedding collection, though with only two dresses, it's hardly a collection.
Isn’t it gorgeous? Try to avoid looking at the model’s face – it totally looks like it was cut-and-pasted on there. Focus on the dress.
To be sure, I love my wedding dress, and it was perfect and exactly what I wanted. It was inspired by a designer gown I saw in a magazine (Reem Acra, 2007 Spring Collection, totally not anywhere on the internet anymore). Here are the sketches I sent :
Wasn't I nice to clearly label them?
In drawings, gravity has no meaning.
I know, I know. You’re impressed by my mad drawing skills. That aside, it got me this wonderful dress:
Those are Grant's chubby little legs there, when he was not yet one year old!
Wow - I had not noticed my hair before. Huh. I'm sure it looked fine in person.
Pretty true to my sketches, don’t you think? had to make it up! I got tons of compliments on it too (though when you’re the bride, you generally receive compliments all day long). Definitely not a dress I’d sell or part with. (Also, because of the design, I could lose or gain 20 pounds and it would still fit. Most brides cannot say that.)
That said, had I seen the first dress, I might have had other ideas. I mean, I’m not a huge fan of the bust part, but the skirt is fabulous. Maybe I would have hated it three years ago. Who knows.
I realize this was a completely random rambling, but I saw the picture and wanted to share it with someone, and who better than with my captive blog audience!
I’ll leave you with the picture again, to spur your imagination.
To post anything, that is.
But I’ll give you some pictures anyways.
All from Ikea… some current favorites of mine:
In the center is the new desk for the Expedit bookcase that I want to get (the bookcase, and then the desk just makes it all that much better) when we have a new house if I have a craft room. The rest of it is just fun.
Some fabrics and textiles that I'm liking (but won't be purchasing).
And some fabrics that I might get up the gumption to purchase, if I find the time to go over to Ikea sometime when it's not super crazy. Like not right now, because the whole back to school, college, whatever thing is going on and Ikea can be crazy then. But, you know, later.
I've been avoiding (so far, successfully) purchasing this mug at Starbucks (images totally stolen from ebay and Pottery Barn, though I didn't hotlink them so I'm not totally evil).
It makes me want to decorate entirely in semi-sheer, flowy, white fabric and look for a house like this.
They have some others that I’m briefly tempted to purchase:
Blue swirl mug
Blue stripes mug
Blue floral mug
Except that then I’d have to decorate entirely in blue and white and live in a beach house, which is not really my thing:
Do you ever see very small household items that make you want to entirely redecorate?
Pottery Barn has these candles, which I think I could easily enough do on my own, given the time. All the craft stores sell the basics of candle-making (wax, wicks, etc), and I'm quite sure you can buy terra cotta pots in minature in bulk. Not that I need any more projects to attempt....
PB also has these doors. Remind you of anything? If you've ever been to visit me (not at my current home), you've probably seen my shutters. I love them. They're currently in hiding in our spare bedroom, because there's no place for them in our house. I always planned on finding a third part or some shutters or something... but never got around to it, or never found anything right. These doors, of course, aren't right, because they're the wrong shade of wood (mine are nearly grey), and honestly probably in too good of condition, but they made me think of my shutters.
Williams-Sonoma has this 3-Tier Oven Rack. It scares me. I don’t think I could handle preparing that much food, all at once, without something going horribly wrong. Multi-tasking in the kitchen is not a skill of mine.
Williams-Sonoma is also selling this strainer right now. It is the spitting image of the one my parents used for years. Design hasn't changed in at least 30 years. My parents always grew tomatoes in the garden, and then at the end of the season made their own tomato sauce. Some years it was better than others, and it was always a lot of work, but I remember it very specifically as part of my childhood. I'm not sure I could do it myself, my distaste for tomatoes and all, but its possible. Of course, we also had a large chest freezer that sat in our garage where they could keep all the tomato sauce.
OK, to be clear, I have no need for these in my life. But I ran across them in the “expiring soon” category on Etsy and thought they were so cute!
It is absolutely gorgeous outside today. On my way to get coffee, I noticed how the sun was shining, the sky so blue, just a few wispy airbrushes of clouds. And the breeze, which meant I wasn’t too warm in my long-sleeves despite the 75* weather, could only be described as soft and round (unlike the hard, biting wind of winter). But I forgot that it gets better on the way back, because when I step out of that door, I’m facing directly into the sun. If it’s a really bad day, and the slow walk doesn’t calm me down and the coffee doesn’t mellow me out, the sun shining can still turn my mood around. I almost turned in a leave slip to go home for the day, it’s that nice outside, until I remembered I don’t actually own a hammock, and so the hours would, in part, be wasted. Still, if no work shows up, I may go home this afternoon sometime.
Do yourself a favor and go experience the beauty that is today’s weather, if you’re at all in the Twin Cities area. I’d love to be responsible for everyone taking the afternoon off.
This morning, at the Western Avenue stop, a boy (ahem! excuse me, man), who I can honestly describe as pretty, got on the bus. Pretty as in Ashton Kutcher on That 70′s Show. Seriously, “prettier” than most of the women I know. Now, don’t be offended if you’re one of my women friends. I still love you and think you’re beautiful. But I don’t think you’re understanding this man’s physical appearance.