a taste of fall

I forgot about this coat until I gingerly opened my off-season closet this morning. I was judicious and didn’t take out more fall clothes than I need this morning. After all, my actions have been rumored to control the weather. But it is seasonally appropriate for this faux jaguar coat this chilly morning.

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falling for fall

photo credit: http://www.polyvore.com/come_hither_fall/set?id=58371091#stream_box
I’ve had a love affair with fall my entire life. I’m just not a summer person. Perhaps if I could, as my friend Sarah says, summer on a lake (just the use of the word “summer” as a verb connotes leisure) or if I didn’t live in a landfilled swamp, I’d feel differently. But nothing lifts my spirits like the first nights that dip into the 60s, allowing for open-window sleeping, sweaters, and my all-time favorite, riding boots.

I’m not completely convinced that fall is imminent, but am fed up with summer. Two mani-pedis ago, I abandoned the bright shades that aren’t very me but which I feel compelled to adopt in warmer months. And earlier this week, I knocked two items off my fall wish list, though I hope the purchase of said items doesn’t have the effect of extending this dreadful summer.

Since imitation is the sincerest form of flattery, I must disclose that I was inspired to assemble my top ten list by DC Style Factory and her list earlier this week. Thanks, Rosana, for reminding me on a 92-degree day that fall might be around the corner.

And because it’s never too early to wish upon a star, my list:

1. The Bettye Muller Roxy in Bordeaux: I have lusted over this shoe since style sister Austin from SimplySoles sent me a photo of it before they had it in stock. This is one item I already bought because I panicked the other night when I noticed they only had two more pairs in stock, one in my size.

2. Western Jean Shirt in Desert Willow Wash by Madewell: I was not only inspired by Rosana to make a list, but to add a dark wash denim shirt to my wardrobe this fall. I have a summer weight, chambray one, but the darker wash version appeals to my sense of fall. Except when I stepped into the dressing room at Madewell, I liked the fit of this western version better. I would NEVER in a gazillion years have ordered this shirt sight unseen. I wasn’t even going to try it on until the saleswoman suggested it, and I’m glad she did.

3. More Minnie Pants: I fell in love with these pants a few years ago, then fell out of love when I was feeling a little heavier than I like to be. I’m usually a skeptic when it comes to any pant on me that isn’t floor length, but the Minnie has been the one exception. However, the pairs in my closet, aside from looking well-loved, are actually a little too big (thank you, Biker Barre!) so new Minnies go on the list for fall. The only debate is what color(s)?

4. Essie Nail Polish in Stylenomics: I suffer corals and fuschias in the summer because I technically live in the south, but my northern sensibilities want to wear dark nail polish all year round. While I normally default to OPI’s Lincoln Park After Dark or the Essie version, Wicked, the color I have in mind now is a dark green, and Stylenomics looks to fit the bill.

5. Opera-length Fingerless Gloves: I first coveted a pair from DVF that cost a shocking $350 more than this affordable pair. I love fingerless gloves to allow for easy access to my touch-screen devices, as well as for the fact that they won’t cause wear and tear on my manicure. I want to wear these with jeans as much as I do a fantastic dress. And at this price, it’s a no-brainer that you will soon find them in my possession.

Other items that round out my top ten wish list include (6) a new LBD, object of my affection yet to be identified; (7) more bracelets and bangles to stack on my wrists; (8) new jeans, maybe even the sexy boyfriend style Wardrobe Oxygen swears by; (9) the Marie Jo Carole Bodysuit, or at least the Avero plunge bra in raisin since I’d slightly intimidate myself in a bodysuit; and (10) a new wool coat. My old ones are on the verge of being threadbare; I needed to invest in a new one last winter. I can’t decide whether I want a reliable neutral shade or pop of color. I will try to not let indecision get the better of me this season.

There’s so much more I covet, but these essentials will work with my existing wardrobe and get me into and through the glory days of what I can only hope will be an extended fall.

Triple Workout Styling

Here it is. A compilation of what I decided to wear to my spin+spin+barre workout at Biker Barre today.

To the left is a great to and from the gym jacket, or in today’s case, what I wore to recovery breakfast with spin sister Monica of Blue Print for Style in the air conditioned Ted’s Bulletin so that I wouldn’t freeze from my sweaty workout clothes.

For the workout itself, the No Limits Tank from Lululemon provided the support, freedom and inspiration I needed for today’s mental and physical challenge.

What two hour and 45 minute workout would be complete without a Sweaty Band to keep your hair out of your face? That mine has pink skull and crossbones on it just makes it more cutely fierce. I swear, it doesn’t move out of position at all.

And barre socks are totally a must for me. I don’t tuck barefooted. I like that this pair has a little message to remind you that if your legs are shaking, you are doing something right.

It all worked so well that I am already signed up for the same adventure next Saturday.

Hope to see you there.

the Rita by Lillybee

I bought a white purse. Okay, it isn’t exactly nursing shoes white, but more accurately, a soft cream color that my kids just happen to call white. It has lovely dove-colored handles, the length of the drop on which is perfect for me and my on-the-go needs.

In three weeks, I may be wondering why I went with such an unforgiving color. It’s only a matter of time before it catches the nip of my ink pen, rubs up against something sticky, or just starts to accumulate a city hue from being carried to and fro in an urban environment.

But I’m going to diligently protect it from such evils because I love it.

I love that it looks just as good with black as it does with my brightly colored dresses and skirts for spring and summer. I love that it works with jeans. I love that it isn’t matchy matchy with my spring and summer shoes, but it also doesn’t clash with them. And most of all, I love that it’s from the Lillybee inaugural Italian handbag line, designed by local shoe goddess Kassie Rempel. That means my purchase not only supports a dear friend, but a woman-owned, DC-based small business.

On the first day I broke it out, I was mainly confined to my desk, but the three times I stepped away from the office, I received compliments on Rita. She makes a fine addition to the Lillybee family, and with any luck, maybe I can talk Kassie into offering it in eggplant for the fall.

the reveal

I do believe I promised that yesterday was decision Saturday and that I would be forthcoming with my dress selection. Did Team Poppy win out over Team Black Lace with their heaps of praise over the color, their insistence that the Sarita Tulle Lace is more wedding appropriate and their argument that black is too somber for a May wedding? Or did Team Black Lace prevail with their promise that the Zarita Lace is timeless, more elegant and can be a closet staple for years to come? Maybe a dark horse emerged, something that missed my eye when I was shopping the other day.

I know I made a promise, but sometimes promises are cruelly broken.

I did buy a dress yesterday, but I’m not going to reveal which one. I will tell you that I’m going to wear nude pumps. I will tell you that I’m in need of a clutch. I will tell you that I haven’t decided on jewelry yet. But if you want to see pictorial evidence of the happy ending to the guest of a wedding style dilemma, tune in next Saturday, May 5th. My morning starts early at Michael Anthony Salon where Mickey either will or won’t cut my hair short again, then continues on to Annapolis, where I hope to check in early so I can change into the mystery dress before heading to the Naval Academy chapel for Kaitlan and Adam’s special event.

The suspense is maybe not quite as high as it was one-year ago today when the world caught first glimpse of what dress Kate Middleton chose to wear to wed Prince William. But one element will be the same at Saturday’s nuptials.

There will be lots of men in uniform.

more things I won’t wear

Fashion blogger Alison gave me a teensy bit of a hard time for won’t wears that describe what 78% of the universe of fashion bloggers would have on their lists. (I suppose we’d diverge when it comes to boyfriend blazers and strapless dresses.) Thus I decided I should push the envelop a little (something else Alison is trying to get me to do more of) and add some won’t wears that are either on trend or prevalent on our fair streets.

1. Colored Jeans. In the spirit of full disclosure, a year and a half ago, after three months of wearing all black in order to camouflage my back brace, I grew obsessed with owning a pair of J. Brand cherry red skinny jeans. Then I bought a pair. I looked like a hooker in them. If I’d been on twitter at the time, any #twitterfashionshow comments would have concurred with my assessment. I quickly got over the trend, apparently just in time for it to explode to include every color under the rainbow.

2. Boho Anything. There can be an understated elegance to bohemian styling when done right, but it’s totally hit or miss and it’s totally not me. I’m not exactly the carefree type and would feel in costume wearing a peasant blouse, floaty cotton skirt, or anything described as hippie chic, an expression I consider an oxymoron. After all, aren’t these the same people who made UGGs commonplace?

3. Maxi Dresses. I want to have the extra six inches of height that I think necessary to carry off a maxi dress, but since I don’t, I’m saving this style for the Alisons, Nancys and Liesls of the world.

4. Peplum. Who needs wider hips or the illusion of wider hips? Not this woman who has birthed two children. I don’t want peplum on a dress. I don’t want it on a jacket. I want the opposite of peplum please. (I guess that’s called shape wear.)

5. Leggings. Alison might put this item in the category of yesterday’s obvious selections, but I see enough people wearing them that I think they deserve a place on my list. I wish I could wear leggings with riding boots and a tunic and feel effortlessly cool. But the one time I tried a pair of leggings, I felt like I was wearing running tights. I have a comfort issue personally, but leggings in general are very tricky. Not everyone can/should wear them, even those of us who work out regularly. If in doubt, don’t.

There we go. Again, very personal and based on my age, personality and body type. For the most part, I’m not judging if any of these items fall on your must haves list.

Well, maybe judging just a little.

five things I won’t wear

I get asked all the time what I will and will not wear. I don’t have a ton of rules, but I do have some fashion nos.

1. Yellow: So few people look good in yellow. In fact, I think maybe 10 people, including Halle Berry and Michelle Williams that one year she wore canary yellow to the Oscars (though it was a love-it-or-hate-it dress). That leaves eight non-celebrities who can carry off this tricky tone. It doesn’t matter if it’s a pastel or the neon hue that’s so omnipresent right now, I think it casts a sickly glow. It probably doesn’t look good on you either.

2. Boyfriend Anything: No boyfriend blazers for me. They are too boxy and too long for my frame. I also stay away from boyfriend jeans. Even if I had a boyfriend, I wouldn’t wear his jeans, so why would I buy jeans that are meant to mimic his? I’d rather wear yoga pants. And the only thing worse than a boyfriend cardigan is a grandfather cardigan. I like clothes that fit and have feminine detail. Some women (tall, willowy ones) can carry off the boyfriend this or boyfriend that look spectacularly, but it isn’t for me, and I won’t cave to trend.

3. Nude Pantyhose: In the winter, I wear opaque black or gray tights, and occasionally, black silk stockings if they are Wolford. I splurge on one pair a year, and literally that one pair gets me through my winter needs. But otherwise, if I’m wearing an outfit that can’t take a dark tight, I bear leg it. No matter how cold. Let’s be honest: nude pantyhose aren’t really the color of actual skin nor do they provide any warmth value. So why keep up the charade?

4. Messenger Bags: After all, I am not a messenger. The one possible exception is if you consider the Proenza Schouler PS1 to be a messenger bag. But there is neither a reflective patch nor a gore-tex seam in sight on this amazing bag that my fashion fairy can feel free to leave on my doorstep (work though please where someone is here to sign for it).

5. Strapless Dresses: I wore a strapless dress to my cousin’s wedding two summers ago and within 15 minutes, I swore I would never wear that style again. Frankly, most women look uncomfortable in strapless. There’s nothing worse than having to yank your dress up all night except perhaps watching someone else yank her dress up all night. The options with strapless seem to be (1) fall out of your dress; (2) spend all night preventing such a fashion disaster; or (3) bind yourself in so tightly that you can’t breathe.

These don’t wears of mine are very personal and aren’t meant to insult anyone. My advice when it comes to style is that if it feels wrong on you, it probably is. However, if it feels right to wear a boyfriend blazer over a yellow strapless dress with nude pantyhose and carry a messenger bag, I might identify you as needing a fashion intervention.