Dress You Up #5: C.

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Do I ever have a treat for you! This week on Dress You Up, C! C is a good friend of mine and someone I've always wanted to dress up--she's so glamorous looking, and has such a different style than I do. Here's what C has to say:

I'm a size 2 or 4, depending on the day and just recently colored my hair dark brown from blonde. I'm stuck in a bit-time rut fashion-wise but I have been trying as of lately to put in more effort. What I really admire about other people's fashion-sense is the ability to look comfortable even when super-casual(aka -- not wearing sweats). I'd like to try more patterns and I love to stick with bright colors and I adore stripes and a feminine look, in general. I'd say my favorite fashion icons are Audrey Hepburn and a modern choice would be Jennifer Aniston(don't laugh).

I am so not laughing! That totally makes sense!

This is the gorgeous C:
gracepic.jpgMarch 2011 064.jpg

Some things I know, but C didn't mention:
1. C is a busy mom of 3 little ones.
2. C lives in a seasonal, but not extreme climate.

Since C specifically mentioned some fashion icons, I thought I'd do a little image search for inspiration. These are the images that resonated with me:

audrey in stripes.jpg
Audrey Hepburn in casual stripes, image via About.com

audrey_hepburn on a bike.jpg
Chic Audrey on a bike, image via Library of Congress

audrey checks the oven.jpg
Audrey checks the oven in a short dress--unable to locate photo credit

casual jennifer aniston.jpg
Casual styled Jennifer Aniston looks from People.com

I think Audrey Hepburn and Jennifer Aniston are absolutely perfect style role models for C--both have a simple, laid-back glamour that showcases natural beauty and not a ton of overdone accessorization.

The first thing the casual glam mom needs, as showcased by the pictures of Jennifer Aniston, is great jeans. For C., I thought similar jeans (a dark wash and a boot cut) would be perfect. I paired them with simple, casual stripes, a ruffled tank, and a great wedge sandal. I see C. taking her kids to the park in this:

Crochet top
$40 - delias.com

Knit top
$7.99 - delias.com

GAP slim fit jeans
$50 - gap.com

Old Navy sandal
oldnavy.gap.com

J Crew summer handbag
$43 - jcrew.com

Guess jewelry
$18 - buckle.com

Forever21 sunglass
$5.80 - forever21.com


Though both Audrey and Jennifer rock a sleek look, I also like the idea of C. in a more feminine, boho style, which Aniston often wears. Still casual, but softer. Something, maybe, like this:

Old Navy floral top
$22 - oldnavy.gap.com

Old Navy ribbed tank
$8.50 - oldnavy.gap.com

Gladiator sandal
$35 - delias.com

Leather shoulder bag
$41 - orvis.com

Wrap belt
$19 - shopruche.com


It is impossible to discuss Audrey Hepburn as a style icon without adding black cigarette pants to the mix, so I'd be remiss not to style some up for C. If you've been reading these Dress You Up entries, you'll recognize these. They're a great, chic alternative to jeans. I'd love to see C. wear some with flats and a vintage-inspired blouse:

Dorothy Perkins short sleeve top
18 GBP - dorothyperkins.com

R2 shoes
$40 - tillys.com

Nine West studded handbag
$50 - ninewest.com

Gold jewelry
$35 - kohls.com

Sunglasses tortoise sunglass
$24 - spiegel.com

Another simple, Audrey-inspired twist on the cigarette pants:

J Crew t shirt
$20 - jcrew.com

GAP cropped pants
$50 - gap.com

BDG shoulder bag
$30 - urbanoutfitters.com

Handmade jewelry
$42 - peggyli.com

Glass pearl necklace
$8.99 - girlprops.com

A chic mom cannot live by pants alone. For my money, nothing is more flattering, comfortable, and versatile than a dress, especially in the spring and summer. This floral version, by Patagonia, can be thrown in the washer and dryer and dresses both up and down well. With flat gladiator sandals, a big bag, and fun jewelry, the dress is casual and fun.

Patagonia dress
$40 - moosejaw.com

Sandal
$30 - alloy.com

Banana Republic nylon tote bag
$50 - bananarepublic.gap.com

Forever21 bracelet
$4.80 - forever21.com

Vans aviator sunglass
$10 - swell.com


With heels, a pashmina, and more formal jewelry, the same dress can go out:

Patagonia dress
$40 - moosejaw.com

Nine west handbag
$20 - ninewest.com

Sequin silver earring
$42 - charmandchain.com


The photo of Audrey Hepburn in the short dress, peering into the oven, makes me want to try a short dress for petite C. Two possible casual looks with short dresses:

Nautical dress
$40 - delias.com

Pointelle cardigan
$9.99 - delias.com

Rocket Dog flat shoes
$46 - shopruche.com

White handbag
$44 - unique-vintage.com

GUESS black gold necklace
$30 - zappos.com

White House Black Market earring
$24 - whitehouseblackmarket.com

Tea dress
$46 - shopruche.com

BC Footwear flat shoes
$37 - endless.com

Cross body bag
$30 - dsw.com

Square earring
$20 - urbanoutfitters.com

Beading necklace
$12 - mandee.com

A last crucial wardrobe element, as far as I'm concerned, is a denim skirt. I love denim skirts, and I think a short, straight, dark version would be great for C. Two possible looks:

Floral top
$35 - delias.com

Old Navy rib tank top
$8.50 - oldnavy.gap.com

Old Navy straight skirt
$30 - oldnavy.gap.com

Nine west flat
$44 - ninewest.com

Magid handbag
$46 - endless.com

Betsey Johnson bracelet
$35 - piperlime.gap.com

Enamel jewelry
$5.50 - agacistore.com

Old Navy graphic tee
$15 - oldnavy.gap.com

Old Navy denim pencil skirt
$30 - oldnavy.gap.com

Wedge sandal shoes
$40 - delias.com

Roxy shoulder bag
$42 - zappos.com

MNG by Mango coral ring
$16 - jcpenney.com

Bracelet
$13 - delias.com


So what about remixes?

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Amazon, don't you know me at all?

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The other day, my email contained this gem:

gotmilf.jpg

Based on my purchase of a book of essays about women and body image, Amazon suggests I buy a book entitled, "Got Milf?: The Modern Mom's Guide to Feeling Fabulous, Looking Great, and Rocking A Minivan." The connection they are making, I guess, is one about body positiveness, but they kinda missed the mark.

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Fashion Beauty Friend Friday #1: Feminism

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I finally got around to joining the Fashion Beauty Friend Friday group! I am stoked to say that the first questions I'll be answering are on the subject of feminism!

1. Do you think there is an incompatibility between feminism and a love for fashion?

Sad as it is, and unpopular as this answer may be, yes, I do. I don't think the incompatibility is inherent--it would be possible, in a perfect world, to be a feminist who loves fashion and never feel competing pressures, but in the world in which I actually live, there are a lot of ways in which fashion is most certainly not feminist. Fashion is strictly gendered, and much, if not most, of it is tied in tightly with the beauty myth. Fashion has, for centuries, pressured women to wear clothes and shoes and makeup that hobble, constrict, and even, occasionally, kill us. It's hard to see any of that as compatible with feminism.

2. There is more to each of us than a love for fashion, how do you incorporate every aspect of yourself into your blog?

As I am only incidentally and recently a fashion blogger, this one is pretty easy--my blog is, first and foremost, about me. I post, for the most part, about whatever is on my mind or interesting to me at the moment in which I am writing. This gives a pretty well-rounded picture of who I actually am.

3. With the fashion industry still being a male-dominated profession, how do you think it would differ if women played a larger role?

I am not sure it would be much different, honestly. I'd like to think that if women were in charge, we'd have more option in terms of sizing, styles, and politically and ecologically conscious garments, but honestly, I don't believe it. Now as much as ever before, women are so often complicit in their own oppression, and I think that's pretty clear in the fashion industry.

4. How is your self-image and the way you carry yourself informed by your beliefs?

I have worked hard for a long time to get where I am in terms of self image. I spent years wishing I was smaller, wishing I was pretty, rather than "distinctive," wishing I looked like somebody else. But as I've gotten older, I've been able to slowly learn to appreciate the body I was given. Part of it is finding good role models, people who look a bit more like me than the average pop star or model does, and being able to recognize their beauty. It's a constant work in progress, though.

5. Do you think clothing/makeup/hair helps communicate the truth about yourself or are those things superfluous add-ons?

Both? I think some aspects of how I look communicate the truth about me--the colors I choose, the vintage styles I gravitate towards--those things feel authentic. But it's pretty hard for me to argue that my daily efforts to make my skin look better, eyelashes look longer, or hair look shinier have much to do with my essential self.

Be sure to check out the list on Modly Chic to read more answers to these questions!

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Dress You Up #4: E.

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This is too much fun. Can't I just be an online personal stylist?

My next Dress You Up participant is the lovely E. E. says:

I want stylish clothes to wear to work (so business or business casual), plus cute clothes to wear to school or on weekends that aren't just jeans and solid long sleeved tees. Right now I'm in winter mode, but I definitely need work suggestions for summer (that don't include capri's) and for downtime in the summer (and no shorts but maybe capri's). Oh,and shoes.

This is E., complete with recently short hair. How cute is she??

005017


Some things E didn't write, but I happen to know about her:
-she is a size 8/medium
-she's about to become a CPA
-she's a busy mom of 3 little ones
-she lives somewhere with a definite four season climate

My initial thoughts for E. are that I'd love to see her in sleek, professional clothes with fantastic shoes (she's not opposed to heels) and little pops of fun color. The outfits I am going to put together are spring-summer oriented, since E's climate pretty well dictates seasonal wardrobes.

First, I know E. has a pair of dove gray trousers she loves, so I thought I'd try to build a couple of work looks around those:

Dress You Up #4 E Outfit #1
-J. Crew Perfect-fit mixed-tape cardigan
-Old Navy Womens Ruffled Linen-Blend Top
-Banana Republic Martin fit sleek trouser pant
-Restricted Ann Wedge
-Zara city briefcase
-Nordstrom 'Etchings' Floral Cutout Cuff
-ASOS Oasis Chain Drop Earrings

I love this so much. The simple color palette really lets the shoes have all the glory, and to me, the shoes say "SPRING!!" I also think the bag is just perfect, and I love the jewelry. This is casual, easy, and so pulled together. Perfect for work.

Dress You Up #4: E. Outfit #2
-retro drape front blouse
-Navy pleat front blazer
-Banana Republic Martin fit sleek trouser pant
-ASOS Squash Bow Suede Court Show shoes
-Mustard Chain Handle Pocket Bag
-Mandee Teardrop Chandelier earrings
-Old Navy Womens Embellished Cocktail Ring

This is a more formal, but still really fun work look. I am absolutely dying for this type of blouse, and I think it would make a great addition to E's work wardrobe as well. Under the fitted blazer and with the same trousers, it's business like, but way more interesting than a suit. Adding the great squash colored shoes and the mustard bag pulls it together and still keeps it looking a little bit retro, and the jewelry gives it just a touch of elegance. Incidentally, if these shoes came in my size, I'd have bought them already.

I love dresses, especially in the spring. Why? Easy and versatile, baby. Two examples:

Dress You Up #4: E. Outfit #3
-Fred Flare Spring Retreat dress
-J. Crew Jackie cardigan
-Miz Mooz Sophia pumps
-Under One Sky Double Buckle Bag
-Tarina Tarantino Classic Flower Stud Earrings
-Spring Street Design Group Wood Bangles (Set of 4)

How great is this? A cute, comfortable flowered dress, paired with a cardigan and great shoes that bring out its colors, with simple jewelry and bag. This would be a wonderful spring work outfit. And that same dress?

Dress You Up #4: E. Outfit #4
-Nine West Thora sandals
-Forever21 Large Unstructured Leatherette Bag
-Top Shop Violet Semi Precious Cocktail Ring
-Target Turquoise and Sterling Silver earrings

If E. ditched the cardi, traded her heels for flat sandals, and grabbed a big unstructured bag and more fun jewelry, she'd be adorable to head out somewhere with her kids on a weekend.

Another versatile and flattering option is a sheath dress. Paired with conservative jewelry and a monochromatic bag, low heels, and jacket, the dress is exceptionally professional:

Dress You Up #4: E. Outfit #5
-AB Studio Pleated Sheath Dress
-Black tailored Boyfriend jacket
-MICHAEL Michael Kors MK - Flex Low Pump
-Nine West Wrinkled Denver Shoulder Bag
-Single Pearl Pendant Necklace
-Banana Republic Genuine freshwater pearl earring

Make a few changes, though, and the dress screams "date night!"

Dress You Up #4: E. Outfit #6
-Aldo Pelayo heels
-Paco Mena Ulfang Clutch
-Peggy Li Crinkled Link earrings
-Banana Republic thin sparkle bangle

The dress remains refined and even conservative with the matching clutch and simple silver jewelry, but E.'s sense of fun and daring can still come out in the great pink peep toed shoes. I love this idea for her--classic clothes, wildly hot shoes.

One casual spring/summer option E. mentioned was capri pants. I don't love capri pants, but I do love slightly longer cropped pants, for both casual and less casual wear, so I thought I'd try a pair of those for E:

Dress You Up #4: E. Outfit #7
-Delia's Boho Printed Blouse
-Hollister Marina Park tank top
-Gap Slim Crop Pants
-ZiGiny Women's Ginger Ballet Flats
-Mondani Graham Messenger Bag
-Kenneth Cole New York Turquoise Wrapped Ring
-Turquoise Pebble Fireball Necklace

Cropped pants, a peasant blouse, and flats--totally comfy, simple, and cool. I love how this mixes hippy boho stuff like the blouse and turquoise jewelry with the more understated and classic crops and flats. I think the juxtaposition works really well.

Of course, even if she thinks she can't, E. could also wear her crops to work:

Dress You Up #4: E. Outfit #8
-Anthropologie On The Agenda Shell
-Red Izod Cardigan
-Nine West 'Hiala' Sandal
-Faux-Leather Tote with Cross Strap
-24k Gold-Over-Silver Polished Hoop Earrings
-kate spade new york ultra thin idiom bangle

I love the mix of retro sailor and retro glam in this outfit. The slim cropped pants and high-heeled sandals are so chic with the polka dot blouse, but the pretty Izod sweater keeps it from being too serious. And how cute would E. look in this red/tan/black palette?

Another thing I'd love to see E. take from work to weekend is a fun spring skirt. I happen to adore this one:

Dress You Up #4: E. Outfit #9
-Old Navy Womens Long Perfect Tank
-peacock paradise a-line skirt
-dELiAs > Madison Gladiator Sandals
-Fossil Hanover Checkbook Clutch
-Melly Necklace

With a simple tank, flat sandals, and a dramatic necklace, this print skirt couldn't be any cuter, or any easier, for spring/summer weekend wear.

Dress You Up #4 E. Outfit #10
-Old Navy Womens Ruffle-Trim Tank
-Manor and Manners Blazer
-Nine West Shoes, Quirky Pumps
-Francesca's Collections Sea Level Bag
-Spring Street Design Group Metal & Wood Bangles (Set of 7)
-Lauren by Ralph Lauren Wood Beaded Drop Earrings

To take the fun skirt and tank to work, all E. really needs to do is add a jacket and some heels. The more serious bag and slightly less quirky jewelry helps, too.

So what about remixes?

Two work looks:

Dress You Up #4 E Outfit #10

Dress You Up #4 E Outfit #12

And two casual ones:

Dress You Up #4 E. Outfit #11

Dress Me Up #4 E Outfit #12

My boiled-down advice for E?
1. Embrace a well-fitted pair of crop pants.
2. Look for pieces that can dress up or down.
3. Focus on great shoes.

Who wants to be next? Email me at gracemitchellwriting@gmail.com with your specifics and I'll put you in the queue!

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Super Style Icon: Elizabeth Taylor

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I actually started this post before Elizabeth Taylor's death, but given her passing, I thought I'd finish it up and post it today.

When you think style icons, how can you not eventually get to Elizabeth Taylor? The woman has defined beauty and fashion for decades. I've actually hated a lot of her choices, but I'd loved other ones, and always admired her ability to wear whatever opulent thing she desires. Let's take a look at what has always made Liz's style amazing:

1. She had no fear of glamour

I strongly believe that most of us mere mortals could use a little more glamour in our lives, and in our clothes. Beginning early on and right up until her later years, Liz accepted and embraced being glamorous.

LEADING LADY photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

One of my favorite pictures of Liz ever, in which she rocks a perfect green dress. There is simply no way this could be any more flattering.

WILD CHILD photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Amazing in a leopard swimsuit in the mid-50s.

TRUE LOVE photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Also in the 50s, unashamed in a full-length fur coat.


Photo via MSN.

Rocking a serious necklace in 1959.

GIRL'S BEST FRIEND  photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.
Gorgeous in her 40s, wearing the infamous Taylor-Burton diamond.

STRANGE BEDFELLOWS photo | Elizabeth Taylor, Michael Jackson
Photo via People.com.

Still fabulous as a blonde in sequins and bling in 2001.


Photo via MSN.

Still in white fur and diamonds in 2007.

2. Her clothes fit her so well.

Real style is about 90% clothes that fit your body. Liz knew that.

HATS ALL, FOLKS  photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

In a perfect suit in 1957.

PETAL PUSHER photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Rocking a glam mini dress and headband combo in 1981.

GOLDEN MOMENT photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Wearing a perfect body skimming gown to show off new weight loss in 1992.

3. She used color to her best advantage.

Black is always chic, but I admire a woman who can wear color. Liz could wear color.


Photo via MSN.

Resplendent in green at her 1959 Vegas wedding to Eddie Fisher.


Photo via MSN.

Sultry ice blue in Butterfield 8 (1960).


Photo via MSN.

Unafraid of yellow in 1964.

LEAFY LADY  photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Beaded green and pink in 1969.


Photo via MSN.

Regal red at Cannes in 1987.

4. She accepted that size matters.

Liz lived large. She dressed large. Big dresses, big jewels, big hair. I gotta love that.

BEST IN SHOW  photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Presenting an Oscar in an antebellum dress in 1949.

HERE COMES THE BRIDE photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Marrying Nicky Hilton in a giant veil in 1950.

DIAMOND DAZZLER  photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Showing off a 33-carot diamond.

TOUGH TIMES  photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Rocking some huge hair in 1971.

HAIR RAISING  photo | Elizabeth Taylor
Photo via People.com.

Gaga before Gaga in a crazy 1977 headdress.

There are a jillion other things I could say about Elizabeth Taylor's style--once I get started looking at pictures of her and her clothes it's difficult to stop. This is the heart of it, though--she wasn't afraid. She wasn't afraid of size, of color, of drama, of showing her body off. She wasn't afraid to make scandalous movies, or have a scandalous life. That's today's style motto, straight from the late great Dame Liz: no fear.

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Incredible vintage stuff Tuesday

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So I missed Thrift Share Monday yesterday. I have a good excuse, though. I was in New Jersey, attending the funeral mass for Mark's grandmother. She was an incredible woman who had a wonderful, full life and died at 96. This post isn't about her, though--though I was blessed to have known her, she's not my story to tell.

This day-late post is about her house and the treasures within.

I've heard stories about this house for years. It's a connected duplex, with two discrete halves connected on both the first and second floors by hallways, with a shared basement and attic. Though I've never seen a set up quite like it, apparently it wasn't all that uncommon back in the day. For many years (from the late 1940s or early 1950s, I believe), the house was occupied on one side by Mark's grandmother, her husband, and her four children (one of whom is Mark's mother) and on the other by Mark's great aunt (his grandmother's sister) and her husband. Through all that time, there have been almost no changes to the house or its contents. Mark's aunt, who is a bit older than his mom (maybe about 70?) told me she remembered the house being re-sided when she was a little girl, and a roof being put on when she was a young adult. The washing machine and dryer in the basement, as well as the boiler, were replaced in the 80s. Other than that, everything is pretty much the same.

Which is to say, it's pretty much my idea of heaven. Mark knew it would be, and prepared me, but I still ran around exclaiming over everything I saw in a way that was probably not quite polite, given the occasion. There wasn't a piece or two of nice mid-century (and older) furniture--there were rooms full. Every totchke, every glass or cup in the kitchen, every square of wall paper--it was all perfectly, resplendently, old. There was almost nothing there I wouldn't have picked up and considered buying in a thrift store.

But there were two highlights.

First, Mark and his dad took me down to the basement to show me where Mark and his brother and their cousins had spent so much time as children. It was a basement--work bench, laundry, etc. Except that every thing on the work bench, every can of varnish or paint, had a pristine mid-century label. As I was oohing and awing over them, I almost missed the chairs.

The room was more or less lined with perfectly lovely mid-century lounge chairs. Several wooden framed ones with cushions, and two absolutely perfect turquoise naugahyde ones. I gasped, ran over to them, and began to pet them lovingly while Mark and his dad laughed at me.

Then, later, Mark took me up to show me the "kids' bedrooms" in the attic. On an exposed shelf, I noticed a row of pristine vintage hat boxes. When I mentioned them to Mark, he grabbed one and looked inside.

They were full of perfect condition vintage hats, circa 1930s-1960s. There were probably six hats, wrapped in tissue paper, in each of the four or five boxes. Church hats. Party hats. Feathered headbands. Mark's great-aunt was a jazz singer. She kept costume hats. And they are all in perfect shape.

I so nearly cried. Just touching this amazing collection was a privilege. Being able to see these things in their native environment, before they are separated and given away, or sold, or (please God no) thrown away? An unbelievable joy.

This, my friends, is why I thrift. To be able to see these things that have lived such long lives, and occasionally to bring them home with me. But seeing them like this, as they were used in the lives of people I know, is so much more amazing. I am so honored to have been invited to take a peek.

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2011 Goals Check-In #2

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I'm already behind! I should have posted this at the end of February/beginning of March, and we're already past the mid-way point in March. Guess the 30for30 distracted me.

Here's where I am with those goals:

1. Read 30 books.
In February, I finished two books I had in progress from January:
The Lives They Left Behind: Suitcases from a State Hospital Attic by Darby Penney
Stuff: Compulsive Hoarding and the Meaning of Things (audio) by Randy O. Frost

And added:
Bird Cloud by Annie Proulx (audio)
Obsessive Consumption by Kate Bingaman-Burt (not much actual reading in that one)

That puts me at 9 completed books in the first two months of the year, which is definitely on track for this goal.

2. Get at least one new stamp on my passport.
Nada.

3. Blog 5 times a week.
I blew this one out of the water. I blogged 44 times during February's 28 days. Go me!

4. Journal every day.
Massive fail. Much as I try to be otherwise, I am still just not a journaler.

5. Cook dinner at least once a week.
I'm not sure how I did on this one. I know I cooked a couple of times, but I don't know that it was quite once a week. Partial success?

6. Fully fund my 401k.
No progress yet.

7. Save $15,000.
No progress yet. Still chipping away at the CC. Should be all paid off by the beginning of April, though.

8. Excel at my new job.
Things continue to go really well at work. I have received no indication that I'm anything but loved. So score on this one.

9. Make one positive health change per month.
For January and February, I had two changes--establish a gym routine and get 5 fruits/vegetables a day. The first one is an unmitigated success--I am consistently going to the gym and loving it. The second...not as much. I'm still trying, but I'm only getting my 5-a-day about half the time. I'm going to move to a new challenge in April. March's challenge is to track my daily eating, which I hate doing, but is necessary at this point.

10. Re-institute monthly date night.
Done.

All in all, I'm feeling pretty good about how things are going. Progress is always slower than I'd like, but keeping track helps me see it more clearly.

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Gap/Old Navy/Banana Republic Give and Get

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Today is the start of the Give & Get Sale at Gap/ON/BR. Follow a Give and Get link (there ought to be 100 on your FB or Twitter feeds, but mine for some reason will not post thus far) and you get 30% off your purchase, with 5% going to the charity indicated. Happily, this coincides with the end of the 30for30, which means I am clear to shop for non-used clothes again! I'm itching for spring stuff. I ordered:

br tank.jpg
From Banana Republic, the Silk Asymmetrical Ruffle Tank in black

on dress.jpg
From Old Navy, the Floral-Print Chiffon Dress in green print

And a bunch of stuff from the Gap:

gap trousers.jpg
Perfect Trousers in true black


Slim Crop Pants in true black

gap soft drape top.jpg
Soft Drape Top in true black

gap floral tie neck.jpg
Floral Tie-neck Blouse in light gray floral

gap pleated cap sleeve.jpg
Pleated Cap-sleeve Top in polaris

With the exception of the dress from Old Navy, which I bought because I love the print, I tried to pick classic styled pieces that seemed well-made. The first three tops are all silk or silk/cotton blends (the cap-sleeve top is poly, but I decided to give it a try anyway). The pants I'm already worried about--I opted not to size down, and they very well may be too big when they arrive, but I'd rather return too-big pants than too-small ones.

My hope is that, with the exception of shoes (which will be a separate, and angst-ridden, post), the just under $200 I spent on these items will be it for non-used spring/summer
clothes shopping. We'll see...

Did you hit the Give & Get sale? Are you planning on it? What's your eye on?

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30for30 Day 30

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I'm finished!!!

Today I went with classic, since the only way I was going to get any green in was with accessories. What is most amazing to me, though, is the way these pants fit today, versus when I started this 30for30.

30for30 Day 30

30for30 Day 30

30for30 Day 30

30for30 Day 30

I'm wearing:
#10 Ann Taylor short sleeved ruched black sweater (also worn on Day #4, Day #6, Day #19, Day #23, and Day #26)
#7 Ann Taylor Loft Ann black and white mini houndstooth wide leg trousers (also worn on Day #3, Day #9, Day #13, and Day #24)
#26 Antia black lace-up wedges (also worn on Day #4, Day #9, Day #11, Day #14, Day #18, Day #19, Day #23, and Day #29)

With:
-green plaid Land's End scarf (thrifted)
-black Tommy Hilfiger belt (Ross)
-green stone necklace (worn as bracelet, thrifted)

Let's see how all 30 days have looked, shall we?

30for30 day 1.2IMG_357930for30 Day 330 for 30 Day 430for30 Day 5
30for30 Day 630for30 Day 730for30 Day 830for20 Day 930for30 Day 10
30for30 Day 1130for30 Day 1230for30 Day 1330for30 Day 1430for30 Day 1530for30 Day 1630for30 Day 1730for30 Day 1830for30 Day 1930for30 Day 2030for30 Day 2130for30 Day 2230for20 Day 2330for30 Day 2430for30 Day 2530for30 Day 2630for30 Day 2730fo30 Day 2830for30 Day 2930for30 Day 30

What did you like? What did you hate and I should never ever wear it again?

I wondered, as I was going along, what my 30for30 MVPs would be--I suspected the short sleeved AT sweater I am wearing today, since it was one of my only layering pieces, and my tall black boots. I was right on those counts, but I wore other things nearly as much. Here are my most worn items:

#25 Ros Hommerson Sidney flat black boots--worn 10 of 30 days
#26 Antia black lace-up wedges--worn 9 of 30 days
#8 Ann Taylor Loft Ann charcoal pinstripe wide leg pants--worn 6 of 30 days
#10 Ann Taylor short sleeved ruched black sweater--worn 5 of 30 days

The shoes aren't surprising, but I was sorta shocked at how much I depended on pants. I don't think of myself as a pants person. That might be partially seasonal, though--it was cold here for most of the challenge.

I'm relieved to be finished, but happy to have done this. I definitely learned something about my wardrobe (it's way more extensive than I thought, and less may actually be more). The most interesting thing for me, though, has been watching my body change through the six weeks or so I took me to string together 30 days of work outfits. It's encouraging!

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Do you express feminism in the way you dress?

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As I mentioned in my Gloria Steinem post, I've recently joined the Feminist Fashion Bloggers group here in the bloggysphere. Today, the group posts the following question for members' blogging consideration:

Do you express your feminism in the way you dress?

I dunno about you, but for me, that's really not an easy question. I believe that the small choices we make in our day-to-day lives have meaning. I believe they are part of our politics. Many people will tell you that wearing dresses, or heels, or makeup, or whatever, has nothing to do with feminism. I don't buy that. We have extremely different standards of dress, and standards of beauty, for women and for men. The decisions we make about how much to cooperate, or not cooperate, with those standards are not neutral.

For many years, my line in the sand was drawn just this side of makeup. I was never, I insisted, going to treat my life like a stage on which my features had to be grotesquely highlighted or downplayed with paint. You can see how that worked out...I started playing with makeup, discovered I liked it, and I was a goner from there. While I'm still determined not to become one of those people who refuses to leave the house without a full face on, I paint myself up more days than not.

So how to I justify it? Mostly, I don't. A long time ago, on a now-defunct feminist message board, folks uses to say that we "all make our deals with the patriarchy." This is, more or less, true--we all have things about which we've decided not to fight, either because they simply don't strike us as important, or because we need tor reserve our energy for things that are, to us, more vital. Clothing choices and makeup use are deals I choose to make. I recognize that I am not make the most feminist possible statement with my clothes, or my makeup, but it isn't important enough to me to be an area in which I take a stand.

Except when it is. I am an absolute advocate for widening the scope of what we call beautiful, especially for women. The idea that you are attractive only if you have the body of the moment, or only if you fit into a certain set of normative standards, is, bluntly, horseshit. In my own life, it's a constant struggle, but I try very hard to maintain a view of my body that focuses on my strength, my capacity to do things, my competence, rather than how I can manage to squeeze into norms that don't come in my size. Women should NOT all be trying to take up less space. I consciously remind myself of this, on a near daily basis. In this way, wearing heels has been oddly liberating--it's a reminder that it really is OK for me to be taller than the boys.

These issues are complicated. The intersection of feminism and fashion is one I haven't thought much about, mostly because I've tried not to think about it. It leads me to uncomfortable places. But I think it's a worthwhile exercise, and I'm really happy that this group is in existence. I'll be continuing to participate in whatever challenges I can, and I'll be reading with great interest.
You can find other answers to this particular question linked on Mrs Bossa's blog.

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30for30 Day 29

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I gave myself a pep talk this morning about finishing strong. I have no idea what I'm going to do about tomorrow (St. Patrick's Day, as well as the last day of my 30for30!), but today, I'm wearing an outfit that I out-and-out love.

30for30 Day 29

30for30 Day 29

30for30 Day 29

30for30 Day 29

I'm wearing:
#2: Navy and white Dockers floral shirt dress (also worn on Day #8)
#26 Antia black lace-up wedges (also worn on Day #4, Day #9, Day #11, Day #14, Day #18, Day #19, and Day #23)

With:
-red grommeted belt (thrifted)
-vintage silver flower brooch (thrifted)
-Superhero necklace
-silver cuff earrings (gift)

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Dress You Up #3: A.

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I am so happy this feature is taking off! Today's Dress You Up victim is my online friend A! Here's what she has to say:

I am about a month away from graduating from my Master in Teaching program and will soon be entering the world of subbing and interviewing for middle school teaching positions, so I'm in desperate need of interview outfits and comfortable shoe ideas. Also, I find myself wearing the same 2-3 "casual" outfits and I am stuck in a rut! I just got a new pair of shoes that are just adorable and would love tips on things to wear with them and how to accessorize in general.

And here she is!

abi_dress.jpgabi_hoodie.jpg

A. also told me that she is a small or medium on top and generally an 8/10 in pants and dresses. These great ballet flats are the shoes she mentions.

Inspired by the picture A. chose of herself in the green dress, and by her ballet flats, I decided to start with a cute casual-to-dressier combo:

Dress You Up #3 A: Outfit #1
-Doodle All Day floral dress
-J. Crew Merino ruffled strata cardigan
-Nine West Voyager shopper
-Soul Flower Bronze Filigree Leaf Earrings
-Blowfish Women's Segment Shoes

This is easy--dress, cardigan, flats, bag, earrings--but looks much more polished that jeans and a t-shirt. I like the shape of both the dress and the cardi for A, who carries her weight in her lower half, like I do--they'll accent her little waist and make her look feminine. I also really like the interplay of the very wearable, mostly neutral dress and shoes with the pretty teal sweater and yellow bag to make the ensemble stand out.

The same dress, though, could be made much more formal:

Dress You Up #3: A. Outfit #2
-SM Women's Sadee Pump
-Nine West Corfu Medium Satchel
-Banana Republic dropped gem bracelet
-1928 Multifaceted Sapphire Blue Jewel Necklace
-Milanoo Gray Woolen Women's Jacket

To take the dress to school, I replaced the cardigan with a fitted blazer, the flats with low heels, and the bag and jewelry with more understated options. The ensemble is still fun, and will still show off A's waist, but comes off more professional.

One thing A. mentioned is that she wears jeans, a t-shirt, and a hoodie nearly every day, and wants to change things up. I feel her on that, but I also think it is good, sometimes, so stay in our comfort zones and try to improve them, rather than stepping outside them completely. Besides, there is nothing wrong with jeans and a hoodie:

Dress You Up #3: A. Outfit #3
-AE Striped Thermal Hoodie
-Old Navy Womens Ruffle-Trim Tanks
-Gap Womens Dark Curvy Jeans
-Khaki Violet across body bag
-In Flight, spider web-wood bird necklace

This is exactly what A has been wearing, but the pattern and color combo, the fun necklace, and the new shoes pull it together. The style of jeans is also really important--companies are finally getting wise and making jeans especially cut for curvy women, and A should definitely take advantage of those styles.

There is, of course, a less casual way to wear jeans. In the summer especially, jeans and a nice top can go so far towards dressiness. The recommendation for trouser jeans is pretty much a given these days, but I'm going to recommend them anyway. I love trouser jeans, especially for the wide-hipped.

Dress You Up #3 A.: Outfit #7
-Old Navy Wrap Cardigan Sweater
-dELiAs Avery Ruffle Tank
-LOFT Trouser Jeans
-Merrell Petunia Mary Jane
-Old Navy Womens Scarf-Print Tote
-Lucky Brand Amour Shower Earrings

While it's basically a variation on A.'s existing jeans and hoodie theme, the trouser jeans and wrap cardigan here add a little bit of style to a comfy outfit. Because A. is interested in versatile, comfortable shoes, I've added a wedge heeled Merrell Mary Jane, which should be extremely comfortable. Once again, though, it's all about the accessories--without those great earrings, this outfit is pretty dull.

Another casual option is for A. to broaden her jeans love to other types of pants. For spring, I like cropped styles. I hate them if they're too short, but just slightly cropped versions can be very chic. These longer navy ones are from The Gap, and I think they're the perfect length.

Dress You Up #3: A. Outfit #4
-Women's AE Boho Dress
-AE Long Spring Cardigan
-Gap Slim crop pants
-Teva Women's Ventura Cork 2 Wedge Rialto Sandals
-Modcloth City Market Pouch in Plum
-Lucky Brand - Peace Corps Red Stone Ring
-Egyptian Scarab Bracelet - Pewter

There are so many things I like about this--it looks casual and boho, but also really intentional. The shoes are built for comfort, but still cute. The jewelry is fantastic. A. asked for help accessorizing, and my #1 suggestion there is to wear what you like. Accessories are about form, not function--focus on things that make you happy, and less is generally more. I typically wear either a necklace or a scarf and then one other thing--earrings, bracelet, etc. Other people may hate having things around their necks and always wear rings and bracelets, or feel naked without earrings. Whatever it is, it's fine, just make it your thing! For this looks specifically, I really like the bright colors in the jewelry and how they contrast with the mostly neutral/blue clothes.

I've mentioned before that I really kinda hate suits. They don't do anything for most women, and we usually know that and look uncomfortable in them. For interviews, I think separates tend to come off much better, with more room for proper fit, individual style, and a little more femininity.

Dress You Up #3: A. Outfit #5
-French Connection Folk of the Green sweater
-H&M Jacket
-J. Crew Hutton trouser in Super 120s
-Gabriella Rocha Gezzina heels
-Alvina Abramova Red Agate-Drop Alexis Earrings
-Charm & Chain 12-Strand Thin Chain Necklace
-Hayneedle briefcase

I absolutely think a pair of wide-legged trousers would serve A. well, and I love mixing them with a colored, fitted jacket. The color and the separates make it look as if the wearer is comfortable dressing up, rather than as if s/he is wearing his/her only formal clothing. For this to really work as interview wear, though, I think you have to be careful with the details--hence the great shoes and bag.

Another way to not wear a suit at an interview is to mimic the shape of a jacket with a fitted cardigan. This won't work for super formal jobs, or for super informal cardigans, but I think it can be a great way to remain comfortable while looking sharp.

Dress You Up #3: A. Outfit #6
-J. Crew Cashmere crewneck cardigan
-Spiegel Sleeveless Silk Cowl-Neck Blouse
-J. Crew Double-serge pencil skirt
-White House Black Market Black Patent Leather Closed-Toe Heels
-Diesel Crossbody bag
-MNG by Mango® Silver Link Bangle Bracelet
-Yes Style Square Rhinestone Accent Earrings

This outfit is conservative, no two ways about that. However, I think it's also beautiful, and simple, and really really sharp. I'd feel confident interviewing just about anywhere in this, and the pieces can all be used in other ways. You'll probably also notice the pieces here are more expensive than most of the rest of what I have picked out--if you are going to go with something this simple, I think it's often worth it to pay a bit more for higher quality items.

So now that we've got both interview and casual looks, how about remixing?

A more upscale casual look:
Dress You Up #3 A: Outift #8

Or a work option:
Dress You Up #3 A: Outfit #9

Or another interview possibility:
Dress You Up #3 A: Outfit #10

So, definitely remixable!

Overall, what's my advice for A?
1. Embrace jeans for casual wear, just wear nice jeans that fit well and flatter your shape.
2. The key to accessories is that YOU like them.
3. Skip the suit--choose well made, well-fitting separates instead.

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30for30 Day 28

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I'll admit it, I phoned it in today. I'm sick of these clothes, I have a cold, and I'm tired of it being cold. But I'll shake the cold, we're expecting to see 70 degrees by the end of the week, and there are only two 30for30 outfits left!

What I didn't realize this morning, which is embarrassing, is that I wore these pants in snowy/salty Buffalo last week, and there are salt marks all around the hems. Classy.

And in today's photos? Mark makes coffee!

30fo30 Day 28

30for30 Day 28

30for30 Day 28

30for30 Day 28

I'm wearing:
#18 Ann Taylor Loft burgundy scoop neck sweater (also worn on Day #9 and Day #16)
#8 Ann Taylor Loft Ann charcoal pinstripe wide leg pants (also worn on Day #5, Day #11, Day #18, and Day #22)
-#28 Softspots purple suede wedges (also worn on Day #3, Day #7, Day #12, Day #17, Day #22, and Day #26)

With:
-black leather Coach belt (thrifted)
-vintage floral silk scarf (thrifted)
-silver and purple bead earrings (LBB)

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Thrift Share Monday

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Thrift Share Monday may not be happening today, since Selena doesn't have a post up yet. But I thrifted a bit yesterday, so I am going to share my finds anyway.

First, early in the week, I got a beautiful Banana Republic silk blouse and a great cropped short-sleeved jacket from Tahiri from the little Goodwill near work. I forgot to photograph them before I stuck them in with the dry cleaning. $4.99 for the blouse and $6.99 for the jacket, I think.

Now, at Unique yesterday:

A set of eight of these small, silver-rimmed glasses. No identifying marks. Anybody know who made them/when?
small silver rimmed glasses

Two small, oddly organically shaped wooden bowls.
wooden bowls

A small, perfect condition orange dish from Luzifer Bauscher Weiden, Bavaria.
orange German dish

Two of these super cute linen tea towels. There are no labels/markings on them--anybody seen them before? My guess is that they are not vintage, but repro of some sort, but I really have no idea.
tea towel

I also bought a silk skirt from Ann Taylor and a pair of tweedy cropped pants by Calvin Klein, neither of which fit in a way that is at all flattering. Such are the risks of thrifting in a store with no dressing rooms!

What'd you get??

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30for30 Day 27

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Nothing like time change to make your Monday feel extra Monday-ish. Why don't we spring forward on Friday afternoon? Wouldn't that make more sense?

Anyway, I'm in the home stretch. Four more days of 30for30, including today. Today's outfit is one I had in mind early on and didn't particularly care for, but I'm down to dire straights (half of my 30for30 clothes are in desperate need of a dry cleaning), so here it is:

30for30 Day 27

30fo30 Day 27

30for30 Day 27

30for30 Day 27

I'm wearing:
#11 Old Navy printed button down shirt in pink ditzy floral (also worn on Day #7 and Day #12)
#6 Anne Klein taupe fluted skirt (also worn on Day #6 and Day #17)
#25 Ros Hommerson Sidney flat black boots (also worn on Day #1, Day #5, Day #6, Day #10, Day #13, Day #16, Day #21, Day #24, and Day #25)

With:
-pink camisole (Old Navy)
-black studded Betsey Johnson stretch belt (Ross)
-circular bronze beaded bracelets (gift)
-Broken Plate Pendant Company necklace (gift)
-black knee socks (no idea)

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Date night!

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Date night!

As sick as I am of my 30for30 clothes, I got a special thrill out of getting dressed in non-30for30 apparel to go out to dinner with Mark last night. The spring-like weather also made it exciting--no tights! Short sleeves!

I'm wearing:
-black shirt dress with pink floral design (eShakti)
-pink camisole (Ann Taylor outlet)
-black Sofft Oriole pumps
-silver charm bracelet (Ebay)
-silver concentric circles necklace (Ebay)

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Super style icon: Dr. Temperance Brennan

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Let me be clear. I don't really know much one way or the other other about how actress Emily Deschanel dresses. But I see at least one and usually multiple Dr. Temperance Brennan outfits every week on Bones, and I love, love love her style.

Why?

1. Fantastic jackets.

Bones rocks a suit jacket like nobody's business.

2. Fabulous trench coats.

A whole wardrobe of them.

3. Stunning evening wear.

We don't see Brennan dressed up too often, but when we do, it's worth the wait.

4. Perfectly fitted button downs.

She really really makes me wish I could figure out how to wear button down shirts.

5. Amazing jewelry.

The most noted thing about Dr. Temperance Brennan's wardrobe tends to be her bold, fabulous jewelry, and it's for good reason:

bren_112b

bren_110c

bren_118e

bren_108

Basically, Dr. Temperance Brennan takes conservative wardrobe classics and wears them really really well, often with unusual jewelry to bring personality to her ensembles. She always looks cool, collected, and put together. For a woman who spends more than half her screen time in a lab coat or a Hazmat jumpsuit, that's pretty impressive.

All photos courtesy of Fox Broadcasting Company except those of necklaces, which are via Bonesnecklaces.

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30for30 Day 26

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I was thinking of Allie when I got dressed today. Allie is a huge advocate of well-made, well-fitting basic, classic pieces. For me, this Ann Taylor short-sleeved black sweater fits the bill. It's been a tireless workhorse during this 30for30, and I am sure I'll still be wearing it a lot after next week. It's comfortable, flattering, and professional looking. The details (neckline, side ruching) are very well done. And it's cotton/silk blend, so it is an easy season-hopper. Love it.

These pants, on the other hand...they'd fit the bill if they fit. I don't think they ever really fit quite right, and they seem to be getting worse all the time. Too bad, too--I love the color and fabric.

30for30 Day 26

30for30 Day 26

30for30 Day 26

30for30 Day 26

I'm wearing:
#10 Ann Taylor short sleeved ruched black sweater (also worn on Day #4, Day #6, Day #19, and Day #23)
#9 Banana Republic Jackson wide-leg suit pants in gray alloy (also worn on Day #7, Day #15, and Day #20)
-#28 Softspots purple suede wedges (also worn on Day #3, Day #7, Day #12, Day #17, and Day #22)

With:
-black leather Coach belt (thrifted)
-pink multi-strand seed bead necklace (thrifted)
-silver matte bangles (not sure)
-silver hoop earrings (not sure)

Burlesque by Smashbox.jpgAlso, a makeup note--most of what I am wearing today (well, the eyeshadows and lip gloss, anyway) comes from the Smashbox Burlesque kit. Which is on sale now. I bought it at full price and have no regrets--it's been my go-to for months for this sorta soft femme look. Run. Don't walk.

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30for30 Day 25

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Today, my criteria for getting dressed was very simple: what will feel the most like pajamas? In a really fantastic conflation of circumstances, I have a cold, it's pouring rain, I'm going to be sitting in a training session all day, and it's that one day of the month where the idea of clothes touching me at all, especially anywhere near my mid-section, is revolting. Definitely no belts or buttons today. Nothing that doesn't stretch if I can get away with it.

And so, this:

30for30 Day 25

30for30 Day 25

30for30 Day 25

30for30 Day 25

I'm wearing:
#4 Ann Taylor teal ponte shift dress (also worn on Day #10)
#22 Purple v-neck cardigan (also worn on Day #15)
#25 Ros Hommerson Sidney flat black boots (also worn on Day #1, Day #5, Day #6, Day #10, Day #13, Day #16, Day #21, and Day #24)

With:
-purple paisley silk scarf (thrifted)
-black leggings (Long Tall Sally)
-silver charm bracelet (Ebay)
-butterfly earrings (LBB)

Wearing purple and teal together always makes me think I'm dressing like The Joker. And I don't love the proportions in this outfit, either. But it looks better than my pajamas, and nothing is pinching or pulling at me, so I'm going to call it a success.

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March Love Drop

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Last month the Love Drop Team raised over $13,000 (and 3 iPads!) to help two little boys with autism receive a service dog. They were beyond touched, and we did this in only 1 month - that's it. Everyone came together and gave a few bucks each to impact one family's life. If you were a part of it, THANK YOU! You can check out the final video of us showing up to their house here - it's pretty cool.

This month we start all over again and rally behind Katie, a single mom out in Dallas battling not only two brain tumors so far (she's knocked out one, and currently working on the other), but who's also dealing with hydrocephalus. We're teaming up with folks at Blissdom this month to not only bring the community her way, but to make a huge dent in her medical bills.

Wanna help? Here are 3 ways we could use you:

1. Give $1.00 - This is the best way to help out and join our team at the same time.
2. Join our blogger network - Blog about our Love Drops each month like I am :) It's easy, it's rewarding, and it REALLY helps spread the word (which in turn helps our families). Love Drop will give you all the content you need.
3. Give a gift or provide a service - Gift cards are always helpful. Places like Target, Safeway, gas stations, etc would definitely help them out.

Thanks for reading! Here's to love, baby.

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30fo30 Day 24

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Back in town and back to your regularly scheduled early morning kitchen pictures! I had intended to wear this shirt and this sweater together from the beginning of the 30for30, since the necklines work so well, and time is (thank God) running out, so today seemed like a good day to do it!

30for30 Day 24

30for30 Day 24

30for30 Day 24

30for30 Day 24

I'm wearing:
#15 Ann Taylor chunky black short sleeved sweater (also worn on Day #7 and Day #21)
#14 Banana Republic green and black cowl neck top (also worn on Day #11)
#7 Ann Taylor Loft Ann black and white mini houndstooth wide leg trousers (also worn on Day #3, Day #9, and Day #13)
#25 Ros Hommerson Sidney flat black boots (also worn on Day #1, Day #5, Day #6, Day #10, Day #13, Day #16, and Day #21)

With:
-black leather Coach belt (thrifted)
-jade and agate chunky necklace (gift)
-bronze circular beaded bracelets (gift)

I am not 100% happy with this. I think it needs a different belt. And these pants, like the gray ones, are fast becoming too big. But it's not too bad.

The question: do you all want to keep seeing my clothes when this 30for30 is over? Should I keep doing outfit posts?

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30for30 Day 23

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Polka Dots | Everybody, EverywearToday's outfit had to meet a lot of complicated criteria. It had to be appropriate for a meeting. It had to be packable in a small bag without wrinkling. It had to use 30for30 clothes. And it had to contain polka dots. Polka dots? Yep. Why? Because it's March 8, Polka Dot Day for Everybody, Everywhere!

My 30for30 items contained two polka dotted contenders, the black with white polka dots shirt dress and the black with white polka dots cardigan. I also have a black with white polka dot scarf. I considered wearing them all together, but decided that might not make the best impression on new co-workers. So instead, I played it safe and went with a very slight variation on an outfit I already wore:

30for20 Day 23

30for30 Day 23

30for30 Day 234

30for30 Day 23

I'm wearing:
-#5 Josephine Chaus black a-line skirt (also worn on Day #4, Day #16, and Day #19)
#10 Ann Taylor short sleeved ruched black sweater (also worn on Day #4, Day #6, and Day #19)
#19 reversible black and white polka dot cardigan (also worn on Day #4)
#26 Antia black lace-up wedges (also worn on Day #4, Day #9, Day #11, Day #14, Day #18, and Day #19)

With:
-blue faux snakeskin belt (thrifted)
-black patterned tights (Norway)
-red circle shell necklace (somewhere in Austin)
-silver charm bracelet (Ebay)

This is a near replica of my Day #4 outfit--same shoes, skirt, sweater, and cardigan. It's also pretty close to my Day #19 outfit--same shoes, skirt, sweater, and belt. At this point, though, I'm considering myself lucky if I don't wear exact duplicates, accessories and all. Only seven more days.

Again, odd looking pictures are due to being photographed in advance, on Sunday night, without makeup and in fairly terrible light. My apologies.

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30for30 Day 22

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I really want to quit. And I was presented with a perfect excuse--a last minute two-day business trip! I couldn't possibly wear the same tired 30for30 clothes on a business trip, could I?

I thought about throwing in the towel. And I thought about taking a two day break for the trip. And then I decided I wanted to complete the challenge more than I wanted to quit, and I wanted to complete it as soon as possible more than I wanted to take a break. So I am pushing on.

Today is the first day, which is a regular work day and then a travel day. I'm dressed for comfort and plane coziness:

30for30 Day 22

30for30 Day 22

30for30 Day 22

30for30 Day 22

I'm wearing:
-#16 Calypso blue Banana Republic whipstitch v-neck sweater (also worn on Day #3 and DAy #13)
#8 Ann Taylor Loft Ann charcoal pinstripe wide leg pants (also worn on Day #5, Day #11, and Day #18)
-#28 Softspots purple suede wedges (also worn on Day #3, Day #7, Day #12, and Day #17)

With:
-black Coach leather belt (thrifted)
-green and blue striped cotton and linen scarf (thrifted)
-turquoise glass bead and silver earrings (LBB)

If these pictures look strange, by the way, it's because they were taken in advance, on Sunday night--and I'm not wearing any makeup!

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Dress You Up #2: J.

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022811layers.jpgI am so excited about my #2 Dress You Up subject, J.! Isn't she stunning? J. has been an online friend for some time, and I've always been an admirer of her style, especially her hair, which has sported various hues since I've known her and is now, as you can see, cropped off. In her email, J. wrote:

Size 8 pants, small/medium shirt, size 11 shoe (I can do 10 if it's open toe). I have a long torso and a 30" inseam, so that does influence my clothing choices. My default is jeans & t-shirt with minimal accessories. I want some fun & funky clothes that are a little outside what I wear now. Comfort is a necessity, because if I'm not comfortable, I won't wear it. Bonus points if it's clothes I can wear now and still in 3 months.

J. is a busy mom living in a very cold, very rural area, so I understand both her need for comfort and her desire for clothes that will make the seasonal transition. With those things in mind, I set out to look for some inspiration--what looks especially hot on women with very little hair?

My first thought was for how amazing Natalie Portman looked with her post-V for Vendetta bald head. Remember that?

natalie_portman_bald.jpgm215584430.jpg

Pictures via The Daily Makeover and Lovelyish

Baldness just made Natalie's features look more beautiful and feminine, and I think it's the same for J.

Another example is India.Arie, whose bald head radiates strength:
indiaarie-jpg.jpeginda-arie-105.jpg
Pictures via The Well Educated Pony and India.Arie Photo Gallery

Kylie Minogue didn't go bald by choice, or for a film--her baldness was due to chemotherapy. And, in my opinion, she never looked better than with her super short regrowth:

Kylie-Minogue-Bald.jpgkylie63.jpg
Pictures via Visboo and Now Magazine

Looking through these and hundreds more pictures of gorgeous women with no or little hair, I came upon the following styling ideas:
1. Super feminine details.
2. Statement jewelry.
3. Beautiful rich colors to compliment the skin tone.

In addition to featuring her fantastic face, I wanted clothes for J. that were layerable, mixable, and created a long leg line. Most importantly, though, as she mentioned, the clothes had to be comfortable.

The first thing I knew I wanted for J. was a femme jersey dress. J. said she wears jeans most days, and I support that, but I think a great dress is a really versatile layering piece, and while it may seem more difficult than jeans, a jersey fabric makes it machine washable and comfy.

The dress I chose to start with is the Easygoing Dress from Boden, who make fantastic, if slightly spendy, dresses. First, I styled it in a multi-layer look for J.'s current weather:

-ARIAL-Women's AE Thin Slouchy Cardigan
-Faded Glory - Women's Organic Cotton Striped Long-Sleeve Scoop Tee
-J. Crew Wool-blend ribbed tights
-Sperry Topsider Women's Pelican Wedge Sadie Tall Rubber Boot
-Forever21 Wooden Handle Tote
-Deb feathered drop earrings-
-Boden Easygoing Dress

I like this for a lot of reasons. The overall look is very feminine, with the patterned dress, floral clutch, and ethereal feather earrings, but it's funkified by the amazing boots and surprising striped shirt underneath. The high waistline on the dress will elongate J.'s legs, as will the wedge on the boot. The whole thing should be super-wearable, and if the wool tights don't provide enough warmth, leggings could be substituted, as could a heavier cardigan.

In warmer weather, the same dress will be just as wearable. It will also be easy to dress up for a nicer event.

Dress You Up #3: J. Outfit #2
-Delia's Pointelle Rib-Trim Cardigan
-Kustom Nina Flat
-Alloy Crochet Bag
-Nordstrom True Birds 'Birdcage' Pendant Necklace
-1928 Vintage Mother of Pearl Cuff Bracelet
--Boden Easygoing Dress

This version is straight-up femme, with a vintage touch. I love the color interplay here with the gray cardigan, green cuff bracelet, and coral bag, and I think the jewelry is awesome. It's a very springy look, almost Easter-dress like, and I think J. would look absolutely beautiful in it.

Moving on to J.'s more preferred everyday style: jeans. I definitely think J. should consider leg-lengthening trouser jeans, which will look more put together than other styles, but be just as easy to wash and wear.

Dress You Up #3: J. Outfit #3
-Cabela's Women's Crocheted Cardigan Hoodie
-Old Navy Women's Tiered Tops
-Old Navy Women's Mid-Rise Trouser Jeans
-Breckelles Dallad-11 Army Green Women Boot
-ASOS River Island Vintage Style Cross Body Bag
-bibelot Purple and Silver Leaf Floral Earrings
-Betmar Solid Cotton Scarf

I really really love this outfit. Really love it. And I think it's absolutely perfect for J.--it's just as easy was what she's been doing, but it looks more put together, and it's infinitely layerable. The amazing floral print of the tank top and the almost Art Deco earrings are beautiful feminine details, and the boots and sweater are a wonderful color. I think the pink scarf will do fantastic things for J.'s complexion and bring it all together perfectly, and I love how the almost business-style bag formalizes the whole outfit just a bit.

Skinny jeans and boots are another thing I'd like to see J. in:

Dress You Up #3: J. #4
-AE Floral Peasant Cami
-Old Navy Women's Lightweight Scoop-Neck Sweater
-AE Skinny Jeans
-Old Navy Women's Scarf-Print Tote
-Nine West Casilda boots
-Aerie Multi Strand Beaded Necklace
-Urban Outfitters Chandelier Earrings

This is very similar to what J. is already wearing--basically jeans and t-shirt. In this case, though, I've added tall flat boots, a patterned cami underneath the solid shirt (a loungy sweater for warmth), and some serious jewelry. With no hair for distraction, J.'s jewelry can always take center stage, especially shorter necklaces and earrings, so I think those areas are the ones where she can most easily make a fun and funky wardrobe change while still remaining comfortable.

I could put J. in feminine florals and soft colors forever, and with spring coming it's temping to do just that, but a harder edge might also serve her well:

Dress You Up #3: J. Outfit #5
-Rue21 Long Sleeve Wide Stripe Zip Hoodie
-Hollister Victoria Beach tank top
-J. Crew Vintage matchstick cord
-Hot Topic Black Stud And Strap Low Moto Boot
-ASOS Triple Chain Pendant With Semi Precious Stone Spikes
-BKE Plaid Cabbie Hat
-Hurley Spectrum Belt

This is a look I'm not sure I could pull off, but I am sure J. could. Again, it's really not far from what she's wearing now, but it's a whole lot more put together and intentional. There isn't anything here that shouldn't be totally wearable, but it ups the hotness factor by several degrees, and shows some extreme punk-influenced personality. Plus I have scads of hair that I can't fit in a hat, so I have to live vicariously through those who can wear cute ones like this plaid cabbie cap.

Another casual pants possibility for J., which would be just as comfy as jeans but give her another option, is ponte pants. I've been seeing these on style blogs all over the place, and although I haven't tried them yet myself, I think they make good sense. I like these ones from the Gap because they have a zipper, a waistband, and hardware--they aren't leggings--and they're cut a little wider in the leg than some of the skintight versions, making them a bit more trouser-like.

Dress You Up #3: J. Outfit #6
-FULL TILT Dolman Womens Top
-Gap Ponte boot cut pants
-Charlotte Russo Cross My Heart Ballet Flat
-Buckled Hobo Bag with Strap
-Lane Bryant 11 piece bangle bracelet set
-Wet Seal twisted mobile earrings
-Modcloth Here to Infinity Scarf

The idea to use a dolman sleeved top actually came from J,'s picture--she already has one! I think it would look great with narrow black pants and colored flats--very chic and streamlined. I also really like combining the black here with autumn colors--the pumpkin scarf and bag and the green and gold bangles and flats. That isn't something you see a lot, but I think it really warms the black up and makes it feel less stark.

Though I knew her emphasis is on casual clothes, I couldn't resist making J. one femme, sexy going out outfit:

Dress You Up #3: J. Outfit #7
-Victoria's Secret Lace Corset Top
-Shop Ruche embroidered flower beds black skirt
-Rue21 Capsleeve Belted Jacket
-Gap Jacquard Dot Tights
-Shop Ruche at last perfect bow pumps
-ModCloth Glitter with Glamour Clutch
-Arden B. Oversize Filigree Chandelier Earrings
-Old Navy Women's Fashion Necklace
-Forever 21 Braided Rope Wide Belt

This is a more complicated look than the others I've suggested, but wouldn't J. be stunning in it? I think it walks the sexy/feminine line really well, and the colors, florals, and statement jewelry I've been arguing for all along all makes an appearance.

OK. So what about remixing? How will these things work together?

Pretty well I think!

Dress You Up #1: J. Outfit #8

Dress You Up #3: J. Outfit #9

Dress You Up #3: J. Outfit #10

Dress You Up #3: J. Outfit #11

So what's my overall advice for J.?

1. Branch out in your pants choices--consider different styles of jeans, corduroys, or ponte pants.
2. Consider a knit dress as a comfy alternative to pants.
3. Make the most of being bald--show off great earrings and necklaces!

Who's next? Email me at gracemitchellwriting@gmail.com to sign up!

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Goal progress: have I become a gym rat?

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I know I need to do a monthly goal round up for February, and I will get to that, but I wanted to share some specific goal progress with you first.

feb fitlinxx.jpg

What you see above is my monthly FitLinxx report. FitLinxx is a system used by my gym (and lots of other gyms) to help users track their progress and work towards goals. The cardiovascular and weight training machines I use have FitLinxx capabilities added to them, so that my workouts are automatically logged every time I go to the gym. My previous stats (like how many sets and reps I did and at what weight, for example) are saved and shown to me when I log in to a machine, so I don't have to remember what weight or which other settings to use. Cool, huh?

I started using FitLinxx on February 5 (I started going to the gym in mid-January, but it took me a few weeks to meet with a trainer and get set up in the system). Between that day and the end of the month (23 days), this report tells me that I:
-visited the gym 13 times (a bit more than every other day)
-did 297 minutes of cardio (about 23 minutes per visit)
-lifted 189,380 pounds (about 13,568 per visit)

Those are interesting stats. The third one doesn't tell me all that much without a basis of comparison, but the first two tell me I'm close to where I want to be with using the gym (going 3-4 days/week and doing 25-30 minutes of cardio each time). It's not a triathlete's schedule, but I'm shooting for consistent and doable, not Wonder Woman.

I was surprised to see I'd burned only 2,604 calories in 13 gym visits--that's only about 200 calories in each visit. However, I realized that the system is only counting calories burned while doing cardio, not weight lifting. I suspect I burn an additional 100 or more with each weight lifting session, since they take 30-45 minutes.

Overall, I think this report will be a lot more helpful next month, when I have a means of comparison. Still, I do love keeping track of things, so this appeals to my inner geek quite nicely. Do any of you have a set gym routine? Do you/how do you track it?

I'm also taking progress pictures, since the numbers aren't moving on my scale and I need to convince myself I'm doing some aesthetic good, as well as making myself feel good. These ones are from a couple of weeks ago. Please excuse the goonie grin. And the visible sweat marks. I iz sexy.

Progress picture--week 6
Progress picture--week 6

I plan to take progress shots every 4-6 weeks. So far, I feel very very good about how things are going.

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Trade me up!

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trade me up.jpgApron Thrift Girl has done it again! In conjunction with Amy from The Thrifty Chicks, she is starting a new project: Trade Me Up. Here's the scoop:

Here's how Trade Me Up works. It's like many of the other sharing opportunities here. If you'd like to take part, find something that you'd like to trade whether it's goods or a service. Write a blog post about the item with a photo. Also write out your wishlist of items that you'd absolutely love. Think big. Think crazy big.
Come back to ATG and add your link to your blog post where your Trade Me Up item is posted. For those taking part in Trade Me Up make sure to spread the word to your friends, acquaintances and blog readers. Anyone can offer you something. Share on Facebook, Pinterest & Twitter. Tell friends in your area what you are participating in and see if they'd like to trade.

I am so in.

Here's what I currently have available for trade:

A vintage cookbook from Maine, 1967:
Maine cookbook, 1967

Three Ben Steibel for Mikasa Duplex plates:
Ben Steibel for Mikasa Duplex plates. 1970s

13 Jackson Custom China Paul McCobb Falls Creek pattern saucers
Jackson Custom China Paul McCobb Falls Creek pattern--13 saucers

Three Franciscan plates
Franciscan plates

A 1950s West Bend bean pot
West Bend bean pot--circa 1950s

Small Winfield China Oats pattern platter
Winfield China Oats pattern small platter

Steubenville Pottery Co. Fairlane pattern small platter
Steubenville Pottery Co. Fairlane pattern small platter

Nelson Lebo salad plate
Nelson Lebo salad plate

6 Homer Laughlin/Syracuse dessert bowls
Homer Laughlin/Syracuse--6 dessert bowls

1950s Royal Stetson Royal Maytime china--1 dessert bowl, 3 bread plates
Royal Stetson Royal Maytime china--1 dessert bowl, 3 bread plates, c. 1950s

Yogurt maker (don't think it has ever been used)
Yogurt maker

Anybody interested in any of that?

Things I'd like:
1. A guest posting spot on a high traffic blog, or a high-profile blogger to guest post here on WINOW.
2. Catherineholm pieces of any kind.
3. Mexican pottery in the same style as my little owl.
4. Vintage wooden animal carvings.
5. Someone to sew for me.

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30for30 Day 21

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By now, you all are used to my vintage-inspired outfits. I love the 40s, 50s, and 60s. Today, however, I thought I'd try something different. How about...the 80s?

30for30 Day 21

30for30 Day 21

30for30 Day 21

30for30 Day 21

I'm wearing:
#15 Ann Taylor chunky black short sleeved sweater (also worn on Day #7)
#30 NY&Co skinny jeans (also worn on Day #2 and Day #13)
#25: Ros Hommerson Sidney flat black boots (also worn on Day #1, Day #5, Day #6, Day #10, Day #13, and Day #16)

With:
-red grommeted belt (thrifted)
-black cotton camisole (Old Navy)
-teal pashmina (Ebay)
-wooden bead wrap bracelet (AJ Wright)
-orange glass bead and copper earrings (LBB)

Mark had the nerve to LAUGH at this ensemble this morning. Then he said he liked the scarf. Whatever. He doesn't understand my hawt 80s style. I wish I could have feathered my hair.

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Some thoughts on blog direction

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I've been giving a lot of thought lately to where I want to go with What If No One's Watching? in the near future. The more I blog about clothes, makeup, decor, shopping, etc., the more feedback and audience I seem to be drawing. When I asked you all what you wanted me to blog about, the great majority of you picked topics in that realm. This really surprises me. I've always tried to temper my posts about these things with other topics, because I thought too many of them might be boring for you all, but that really doesn't seem to be the case.

So...I'm thinking I'll roll with the changing focus that seems to be moving of its own volition at this point. I like to blog about clothes, makeup, thrifting, decor items, etc. Those subjects may not be "serious," but they make me happy. And if you like to read about them, then what would be better?

I'm not saying WINOW is now a beauty/fashion blog exclusively. I still just don't have it in me to be a single-subject blogger, regardless of expert advice. But I am going to start focusing a little more on the general category of "style." I considered starting a new blog for this endeavor (I even bought a domain for it), but in reality I don't see myself contributing regularly to two personal blogs, so I think it makes more sense to just let this one morph.

So, what can you expect to see here?

1. I am extremely happy with how the first post in the Dress You Up series turned out, and plan to do a lot more of those. If you would like to be a subject, PLEASE email me at gracemitchellwriting@gmail.com.

2. I am also really enjoying doing the Super Style Icon series, and have come to a reasonable solution as far as picture use, so I'm going to continue doing those posts.

3. I plan to continue posting along with Thrift Share Monday, as I really dig that community and it's always fun to show off my thrifted finds.

4. I am hoping to increase the product reviews and giveaways I do here, even if I end up having to fund some of them myself. I do seem to be slowing breaking into this space, though, so look for more of that content in the coming months.

5. Though it may not fit neatly in with the other categories I enjoy discussing, I intend to keep talking about money and finances here, because I think it's important and good for me. Like broccoli.

Other than that, I'm pretty flexible. I want to write about things that interest me, but I also want to write about things that interest you--especially things that move you to comment and join the conversation! I've noticed a huge uptick in comments with my 30for30 posts--does that indicate you'd like to see daily outfits posts more regularly? It's a complete time suck, so I'm not sure I can commit to doing it every day, but I could do it on a more regular basis if folks are interested. I also plan to keep working off the suggestion list I got with the Lush contest entries, which should keep me busy for a bit!

So here's what I'm asking you to do--help me build my audience. If you read and enjoy this blog, recommend it to someone! You can do it easily online (via Twitter or Facebook or a shout-out on your own blog), or even just mention it to a friend. I want this community to grow and I'm very happy that we seem to slowly be doing just that. There have recently been a number of comments from new folks here, and that makes me just about as happy as I can be. Let's keep up the momentum!

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30for30 Day 20

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This is just a hot mess. It's a I-got-up-late mess. It's a I'm-sick-of-these-clothes mess. It's a these-pants-don't-fit mess. That's really all I have to say about it.

30for30 Day 20

30for30 Day 20

30for30 Day 20

So there.

30for30 Day 20

I'm wearing:
#20 Charter Club red and black cropped cardigan (also worn on Day #6 and Day #14)
#9 Banana Republic Jackson wide-leg suit pants in gray alloy (also worn on Day #7 and Day #15)
-#26 Antia black lace-up wedges (also worn on Day #4, Day #9, Day #11, Day #14, Day #18, and Day #19)

With:
-gray and black paisley Ann Taylor camisole (outlet store)
-black leather Coach belt (thrifted)
-black stone earrings and necklace set (A.J. Wright)

So let's get on to something more fun! It's Day 20, so let's look at the last ten days of outfits.

30for30 Day 1130for30 Day 1230for30 Day 1330for30 Day 1430for30 Day 1530for30 Day 1630for30 Day 1730for30 Day 1830for30 Day 1930for30 Day 20

Which is your favorite? How about a poll!




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30for30 Day 19: Inspired by Gloria

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As sick as I am getting of my 30for30 clothes (which are really 28for30, since I've declared two of my pieces unwearable), some days it's still fun to put things together. Today was one of those days. This outfit is dead simple, but I think it looks good, and it feels great. I love the super subtle pattern mixing, too (tights, belt, scarf).

30for30 Day 19

30for30 Day 19

30for30 Day 19

I'm wearing:
#5 Josephine Chaus black a-line skirt (also worn on Day #4)
#10 Ann Taylor short sleeved ruched black sweater (also worn on Day #4 and Day #6)
#26 Antia black lace-up wedges (also worn on Day #4, Day #9, Day #11, Day #14, and Day #18)

With:
-Land's End teal and black silk scarf (thrifted)
-narrow blue faux snakeskin belt (thrifted)
-silver matte bangle bracelets (no idea...)
-black patterned tights (DKNY, I think)

Now, will you believe me if I tell you that this outfit is inspired by Gloria Steinem? It totally is. There's this group called the Feminist Fashion Bloggers, which I have recently joined, and they hold blog events (days where the members all blog about the same thing). Today's event is "Fashionable Feminist Icon." So, we're all to post about a fashionable feminist icon. And I was so excited about mine I decided to try to create an outfit inspired by her today as well!

How, exactly, is this outfit inspired by Steinem? Well, I spent a good chunk of time last night going through pictures of her, and these were the common threads I found:

1. Gloria loves an all-black ensemble.
This seems to be true no matter what decade it is.

gloria all black.jpg
In all black in 2008, photo via StyleHive

gloria all black 1960s.jpg
In all black in the late 60s, photo via Smith College

2. Gloria always rocks a great belt.

conch shell belt gloria.jpg
In a wide conch shell belt in 2010, photo via The Harvard Gazette


In a 1970s macrame belt, photo via Gifted

3. Gloria has been wearing straight, center parted hair for 50 years.

long hair 1970s.jpg
Gloria's amazing mane in the 1970s, photo via Life Magazine

gloria hair 2009.jpg
The 2009 version of the same style, photo via Minnesota Public Radio

4. Gloria embraces glasses.

gloria big glasses.jpg
Rocking huge aviators in the 70s, photo via Life Magazine

big glasses 1993.jpg
Round frames, but still making a statement in 1993, photo via Getty Images

5. Gloria likes a nice scarf.

scarf 2010.jpg
An around-the-shoulders scarf in 2010, photo via Day Life

gloria scarf 2.jpg
A flowy, neck-looped number in 2008, photo via Digital Journal

So, when I got dressed this morning, I put these elements together. All black+great belt+long straight hair+glasses+a scarf. And that is how this outfit became a tribute to Gloria Steinem.

Power to women!

30for30 Day 19

Wanna check out the rest of the Feminist Fashion Bloggers' Feminist Style Icons?
Björk - Oranges and Apples

Christine Lagarde- Rags Against the Machine

Cindy Sherman - Mrs Bossa Does the Do

Claude Cahun - Cervixosaurus

Diane Von Furstenberg - For Those About to Shop

Elizabeth Smith Miller - Techie Style

Ellen Page - SK{ru}SH

Frida Kahlo - La Historiadora de Moda from Fashionable Academics

Frida Kahlo - Knitting Up the Ravelled Sleeve of Care

Gloria Steinem - Ef for Effort

Gloria Trevi - Feministified

Grandmother - The House in the Clouds

Griselda Pollock - Magic Square Foundation

Hedy Lamarr - Adventures in Refashioning

Marjane Satrapi - Jean of all Trades

Joan of Arc - Interrobangs Anonymous

Julia de Burgos - Mad Dress Game

Margaret Cho - What Are Years?

Oroma Elewa - Fishmonkey

P.J.Harvey - Northwest is Best

Rachel Carson - Aly en France

Siouxsie Sioux - Yo Ladies

Sydney Fox - My Illustrative Life

Vivienne Westwood - Seamstress Stories

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My three-days late Oscar fashion thoughts

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I didn't watch the Academy Awards this year. I was home, and I knew they were on, I just...didn't care enough to bother. The hosts were uninspiring to me and I hadn't seen most of the films. So, it was an Oscar off-year. Since I didn't watch, my thoughts on the fashions of the night have been delayed as well. Still, I wouldn't feel like a real wanna-be fashion blogger if I didn't at least tear a few dress choices down.

Mostly, the dresses this year bored me. There wasn't a whole lot I was scandalized by, and there wasn't a whole lot I loved. Nothing I've seen has made me question my decision not to bother watching. That said, here's the best and the worst:

The Best

natalie_portman.jpg
A lot of people were bored by pregnant Natalie Portman's Rodarte dress, but I loved the combination of the billowy shape and the gorgeous color. This choice may have been a bit on the safe side, but I thought she pulled it off wonderfully and looked really beautiful.

amy_adams.jpg
I am always a sucked for saturated color, and Amy Adam's blue/purple sparkly L'Wren Scott dress is a great color. I also really like the shape on her--it's fun and glamorous at the same time. And I love that she went with another color in her jewelry, rather than playing it safer with just diamonds or matchy-matchy sapphires. This look is an all-around win.

scarlett_johansson.jpg
Scarlett Johansson's purple lace Dolce & Gabbana dress was another one people all over the place have been criticizing, but I loved it. The color is fantastic on her and I think the high neckline and her messy hair look great together. I find this look neither matronly (one criticism I saw) or trashy (another one). I think it presents a great balance.

sandra_bullock.jpg
Sandra Bullock in a strapless bright red Vera Wang dress with an architectural neckline? Yes, please! This is just unreal beautiful--so elegant, so dramatic. My favorite look of the night.


The Worst

michelle_williams.jpg
I would love to love Michelle Williams in this Chanel sheath, but she looks like Casper the friendly ghost! The pale dress, pale hair, and pale makeup have her almost disappearing. The Oscars is NOT a good place to blend in with the wallpaper.

melissa_leo.jpg
Melissa Leo's Marc Bouwer dress really looks like it's made out of doilies. Paper doilies. And it looks super uncomfortable too, doesn't it? All stiff and scratchy. It also does nothing for her figure and that high neck remains me of Queen Elizabeth. I pretty much just all around hate it.

mila_kunis.jpg
Mila Kunis is gorgeous, but there is nothing I like about this Elie Saab Haute Couture dress. The color is washed out and the skirt looks like a cat got hold of it with its claws out. It also makes her look completely flat chested while simultaneously adding volume to her hips--amazing that it can do that on someone so thin.

florence_welch.jpg
I really really wanted to like Florence Welch's outfit. I loved her hair. But this dress is unmitigated awful. First, it looks like it's made out of cheap polyesther, then it looks like it's built by committee. It also covers way too much (high neck, long sleeves, floor length--can we get some skin?). Just no.

Lastly, go over to Parsimonia and check out the amazing recycled dress worn by Colin Firth's wife, Livia. I didn't see any pictures of Livia on any of the typical Oscar style sites, so I wasn't aware of this until I saw the blog post, and I am stunned. What a great concept AND a gorgeous dress.

What were your favorites? Un-favorites?

All photos are from MTV.com.

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30for30 Day 18

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I had a rough night last night--I am having some very painful problems with my foot and they kept me awake for hours. My hope is that skillful makeup application (ha!) and an outfit I both like and feel comfortable in masks my exhaustion this morning. What say you?

30for30 Day 18

30for30 Day 18

30for30 Day 18

And my emo picture:

30for30 Day 18

I'm wearing:
#8 Ann Taylor Loft Ann charcoal pinstripe wide leg pants (also worn on Day #5 and Day #11)
#21 Cream cardigan with black beading (also worn on Day #8)
#26 Antia black lace-up wedges (also worn on Day #4, Day #9, Day #11, and Day #14)

With:
-gray ribbed tank (Target)
-black leather Coach belt (thrifted)
-gold concentric circles necklace (thrifted)

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Dress You Up #1: K.

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I cannot tell you how pleased I am to present a new feature here on What If No One's Watching! I plan to do as many of these as I can/as many as y'all are interested in, but they will be intermittent, not on a fixed schedule. Basically, I'm going to move something I've been doing for a long time, both online in person, to the blog. I'm going to give fashion/style/makeup advice. If you're interested in being featured, whether or not I already know you, just send your query and photograph to gracemitchellwriting@gmail.com, and I'll put you in the queue!

First up is my friend K. K. has this to say:

I'm a size 18 at old navy, but a size 20 most anywhere else. I'm 5'9"ish and I wear regular length. Also, my feet are not tiny. 10.5 W or 11 regular typically. I haven't set myself an official budget. I own 4 pairs of jeans that fit fairly well. Just plain "the flirt" from ON. Otherwise, I'm pretty hopeless. I need clothes that are put together and present me as being put together but casual, as well as a business casual look, and something more along the lines of interview/formal. I need to own khakis/black slacks for community course work starting soon (to go with a garnet polo). I need shoes and preferably a little cardigan type sweater to wear with it. More than anything, I want outfits that are tied together like yours are, with accessories that really make the outfit. I'm hitting the thrift shops during Spring Break in 2 weeks, but I don't even know where to start! I'm open to advise on best hair ideas and make up as well. I'm def. trying the foundation you recommend.

k front picture.JPGk side picture.JPG

Isn't she gorgeous? What a great first model!

A few other things I know about K., which will influence the kinds of things I suggest:
-she's a busy mom of three little ones
-she's a soon-to-be-graduated nursing student
-she lives in a warm climate

The first thing K. requests as a put together casual look. Since she already has jeans she likes, I'll build a couple of looks around those:

Dress You Up #1: K. Casual Outfit 1
-Old Navy The Flirt jeans
-Old Navy Women's Roll-Up Button-Front Top
-Old Navy Women's Two-Tone Sneakers
-Old Navy Women's Scarf-Print Tote
-Modcloth Great Horned Necklace
-BKE Beaded Slider Bracelet Set

This outfit works because it's very simple, but not sloppy. The button down tab-sleeved shirt is going to feel just like a t-shirt, but appear a bit more structured. The fun colorful sneakers will be comfortable, but still stylish. And the jewelry not only gives a sense of K.'s personality (she loves owls) but brings together some of the colors in the outfit and the bag. Even though it really is just jeans and a t-shirt, the jewelry, bag, and shoes all coordinate (but don't match)--which will give K. the "tied together" look she's after. With all the major pieces coming from Old Navy, this outfit is also really inexpensive (no single piece is more than $30 and most are far less) and easily accessible.

Dress You Up #1: K. Casual Outfit 2
-Old Navy The Flirt jeans (just in dark wash this time)
-Old Navy Women's Pintucked Tunic
-Nine West Women's Loredana Flats
-Roxy 'Truthfully' Shoulder Bag
-Delia's Coral Tie-Dye Scarf
LC Lauren Conrad Gold-Tone Simulated Crystal & Simulated Pearl Floral Drop Earrings

Though this outfit appears slightly less casual than the previous one, it would be just as easy to wear. The flowy tunic top should be cool and comfortable, and it's self-belting so that K. can show off her wonderful curves. I love the brightly colored flats and I think a similar pair should be staple for K., who wants to be stylish but still be able to run around. Finally, I'm jazzed about the subtle pattern mixing with the pinstriped tunic and tie-dyed scarf. Once again, all the pieces here should be accessible and affordable, with the most expensive piece being the $40 Roxy bag (and you could easily get something similar at a thrift store or discount store for less money).

Next, K. requests business casual options:

Dress You Up #1: K. Business Casual 1
-eShakti shirt dress
-Old Navy Women's Poinsetta Cardigan
-Nine West Kitten Heel Pump
-Merona Ditsy Floral Clutch
-Full Tilt Flower Statement Necklace

Being who I am, I'm always going to suggest something vintage inspired. For K., I love a 50's looking ensemble based around a shirt dress. Though the whole look may be a little bit over the top for her, finding a plain colored shirt dress that fits her well would NOT be a waste of her time or money. This one is from eShakti, which I love for it's large size range and ability to be altered to measurements. Once K. has the dress, the rest is easy--just about any cardigan and statement necklace would work great. I've paired the dress with a kitten heel here, to make it a bit more formal, but flats would definitely work. And I couldn't resist getting a little bit of ditsy floral in with the clutch--I saw those at Target the other day and they are adorable.

Dress You Up #1: K. Busniess Casual 2
-A Love So Sweet Curvy Plus Size Button Up Top
-Old Navy Women's Perfect Denim Pencil Skirt
-Blowfish Stella Ballet Flat
-Under One Sky Double Buckle Bag
-Zad Etched Flower Large Bracelet
-Peacock Feather Earrings

To put a lot more casual in her business casual, I strongly suggest K. invest in a super-versatile denim pencil skirt. I've paired this Old Navy version with a gorgeous belted tunic top and some slightly over-the-top jewelry. I love this look because it's very put together, but also really fun.

K. also needs a formal/interview look:

Dress You Up #1: K. Interview
-eShakti Edge Pipe Trim Sheath Dress
-Old Navy Women's Plus Double-Weave Blazer
-Andiamo Women's Hallie Pump
-Timeless Black / White Cross Woven Weave Snap Closure Leatherette Satchel
-White House Black Market Blue Quatrefoil Short Necklace
-Metallic hoop earrings

I don't really know how formal interviews are in K.'s profession. What I do know is that I hate suits, and I hate suits especially on curvy women. Suits are still men's clothes, and they are most often not cut correctly to flatter or even accomodate curves. I've found two ways to dress myself for interviews or more formal business occasions without wearing a suit, and I'm suggesting those to K. The first is this look--a fitted blazer over a sheath dress. I love the way this looks--it's crisp and professional, but still feminine and curve-flattering. I love this black/white/royal blue palette, too--it's bold and take-charge looking but not gaudy in the least. At $60 for the dress and $37 for the jacket, it's also a lot cheaper than any suit that's going to fit.

Dress You Up #1: K. Interview 2
-Old Navy Women's Plus Rib-Knit Tank
-Spiegel Plus Sizes Signature Matte Jersey Collection:Shirred Shawl-Collar Jacket
-AK Anne Klein Plus Size Trouser Leg Pant
-Naturalizer 'Badell'
Pump

-Nine West Plain Jane Print Handbag
-Briolette Agate Drop Earrings
-Madewell Flea Market Floral Scarf

The other interview option I've enjoyed is a colored or patterned fitted jacket over a plain black base (a black top with no embellishment and black trousers). I like the color combination in this version, which features a matte jersey jacket from Spiegel and a gorgeous silk scarf. I think it works because the color palette is kept pretty simple and the scarf is the focal point. I would not, however, try to pull this ensemble off for a super formal interview, or with flats.

Finally, K. needs something for her community course work:

Dress You Up #1: K.Intership Outfit #1
-Old Navy Women's Fair Isle Tie-Belt Wrap Cardigan
-AE Uniform Polo
-Old Navy Women's Perfect Khakis
-Blowfish Women's Smooth Flat Shoe
-Mixed Bag Designs 720-700 Black & White Damask Zipper Tote
-Unique Vintage Glam Naturale Vintage Style Owl Necklace
-Wet Seal Braided Chain Bracelet

I really, really hate polo shirts. There is nothing you can do to keep them from looking like a uniform, because that's usually what they are. That said, I think this kinda works--the monochrome palette and fun jewelry keep it from looking like you just came from your shift at Target.

Dress You Up #1: K. Internship outfit #2
-AE Sailor Stripes Cardigan
-Old Navy Women's Pique Polo
-Gap Perfect khaki pants
-Delia's Taupe Messenger Bag
-Maylan's Vintage Style Multicolor Crystal Love Birds Necklace
-Women's Converse® One Star® Oxfords

If there is a way to make khaki pants (which I also hate for uniform-looking reasons) and a polo shirt to not look preppy and collegiate, I don't know what it is. So, I say if you can't beat 'em, join 'em, and go all out with the retro college vibe. The combination of the striped cardigan and the One-Star Converse actually have me kinda liking this. And I love love love that necklace.

So now that I've suggested a whole bunch of things for K, how realistic are they? Are they remixable? I came up with a couple of remixes:

Dress You Up #1: K. Remix #1

How cute is this for a little-bit dressed up casual day?

Dress You Up #1: K. Remix #2

I love the fun colors in this.

Dress You Up #1: K. Remix #3

K. could even dress up her standby jeans with a jacket, scarf, and heels for night out!

So overall, what am I suggesting? Two things:

1. K. should invest in a few basic pieces that fit her well and make her comfortable. Ideally, these would include: a neutral suit jacket, khakis and/or black pants, a casual fabric (probably denim) pencil skirt, a fitted sheath dress and/or a flare skirted shirt dress, and several colored cardigans.

2. K. should use her thrift and discount shopping time and money to add things to her wardrobe that make her happy and show her personality--jewelry, scarves, fun shoes, bags, etc. It is amazing what a difference it makes just to have a few of these types of items you can mix in with your boring neutral clothes--they make what you're wearing feel and look like *you*.

I also think K. should look for colored shoes (colored shoes just make it look like you aren't playing it too safe with your wardrobe and I love that) and consider the figure-flattering options available with vintage reproduction clothes, especially dresses.

Now, on to the hair and makeup aspect of the question. I like K.'s hair the way it is--I think both the cut and the color suit her face very well and look easy to maintain. I wouldn't change a thing. For makeup, a woman with K.'s schedule needs an easy, doable routine. I'd start with either a tinted moisturizer or a cream foundation, depending on the level of coverage wanted. K. mentioned that she's going to try the Maybelline mousse foundation I mentioned last week, and that ought to be a great start. From there, I'd go with a neutral-ish blush, maybe something like Bare Escentuals bareMinerals Blush or Benefit Dandelion. I'd definitely use a correcting eyelid primer/concealer, since K. doesn't get much sleep--for my money, you absolutely can't beat Benefit Lemon Aid. K. can then use shadow and liner or not--if she wants to, I'd suggest a neutral and easily mix and matchable palette, like the Smashbox Eyeshadow Trio in Shutter Speed or Viewfinder, or, for a more economical option, the Physician's Formula Matte Collection Quad Eyeshadow in any of the available palettes, and a basic dark brown or plum liner, like MAC Powerpoint Eye Pencil Bordeauxline or Stubborn Brown. Mascara is a must, and everybody has her own favorite--for K., I'd recommend a long-lasting, waterproof version, like Cargo Better than Waterproof. Finally, K. needs something for her lips--I really think nearly everybody looks better with a little lip color/shine. For both longevity and ease of application, I can't recommend Tarte Lipsurgence pencil lipsticks enough.

Whew! That turned out to be quite the project! I hope you all enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed putting it together! K., does this help? And everyone else, please drop me a line if you'd like to be featured! No question is too big or too small!

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