little league mommy chic

Soccer moms have a bad fashion rap. I think we should blame election pollsters. But we don’t have to take it. We can prove them wrong. Or, if you find yourself guilty of the stereotype, it’s possible to tweak yourself. Reject the label. Take back our image. And since this season, my boys are playing little league, the first step in reclaiming my identity is to declare myself a little league mommy.

I don’t drive a minivan. I promised myself when pregnant with my second child that I would not buy a one. I know they work for some people and I don’t judge you (though I do judge that one guy that took me out on a date in one). I’m grateful for the other parents who do drive them and can help cart my kids around when carpooling makes schedules more tolerable. But my driving a minivan would be like my wearing Uggs. It’s just not going to happen. Ever.

Hair? The reputation is that soccer moms always wear their hair in a pony-tail or a bob or a short older-lady haircut. While I recently cut my hair short, it’s stylish short, not mom-on-the-go short. (I swear it takes me longer to style it now than it did when it was long, though not for these early morning games, when it is fabulously tousled.) For the record, I didn’t see any ponytails on the bleachers today. Nor did I see any bobs weren’t of a fashionable length and styling.

I’m sure that I speak for other moms when I admit that I cannot always promise to take a shower before heading to a Saturday morning game. But there are a few things I do try to find time to do. I always apply some tinted moisturizer, because primarily, I like to moisturize in the morning. And because it has SPF. And because a little tiny bit of coverage after a night of (usually) restless sleep goes a long way. If I plan to be going somewhere after the game, I might throw on some mascara. And I am devoted to Fresh lip tinted treatment in plum.

I must own up to having something of a Saturday morning little league mommy uniform. This look won’t transition into summer. It’s really only appropriate for spring mornings that start off cool. But yoga pants, a v-neck tee (maybe two contrasting colors layered if it is a little chilly outside), my j. brand denim jacket and a scarf make a passably chic mommy sporting event ensemble. The other night I traded the denim jacket for a cardigan (though I wish I had brought both). While I’d like to throw my Tory Burch Eddie flats into the look, these baseball fields are generally muddy, with the path to the bleachers perhaps being the worst. My running shoes (which don’t exactly get to be used for running anymore) are completely appropriate for the nature of the setting. It isn’t like I am going to wear them around Europe or anything.

But really, the best look for a mom on an early Saturday morning is the one reflected by the big smile on the face of her kid when he gets on base.

Style This! Results

Nancy takes my fashion advice

On Thursday, I worked up an outfit for Nancy and her event tonight, and this is how she replicated my vision. And without my having to drag her out shopping (yes, she hates shopping). I hope it yields attention from a worthy suitor!

Style This! Business Formal

Style This! Business Formal

Style This! Business Formal by chelseahenderson featuring a cashmere shawl

Last night, I was texting with my BFF Nancy when she posed a fashion question I couldn’t answer. Nancy is the owner and CEO of Belmont, Inc. in Alexandria, and she is often invited to business networking events. Usually these events are either formal, themed, or occur after work and thus business attire is de rigueur. But she was invited to an event this weekend, for Saturday evening, and the invitation reads “business formal.” So Nancy’s question: WTF is business formal?

In my mind, I was envisioning something less than a cocktail dress but more than a business suit. After offering to put together an appropriate business formal outfit for Nancy, I did a Google search to see if my instincts were correct. I found numerous descriptions for business formal for women as being a suit with a jacket of the same color, close-toed shoes, and panty hose. Panty hose? Really? And tell me, etiquette goddesses of the interwebs, how is this look different from straightforward business attire?

I went to bed discouraged with this news because I was hoping to suggest that Nancy invest in a silky (slinky) DVF. (She could really rock the Della in cadet blue.) But then I woke up and had an epiphany. There is no reason why Nancy has to look like she’s going to a board meeting. She can wear a dress, though of the wool sheath professional variety, have fun with some accessories and look totally business appropriate.

Nancy is tall, thus she can wear just about anything, and since she is blonde, I love the idea of her in the peacock blue town hall dress from J. Crew. Since the color is so vibrant (like Nancy’s personality) I recommend she accessorize with neutrals. Her legs will look even longer than they already are (damn her) in a beige pump (close-toed, but still sexy) and the gold bag will offer a little evening shimmer (I mean, come on, it’s a Saturday). I added a white silk and cashmere wrap because it’s either cold outside or cold inside. As for jewelry, since Nancy doesn’t do earrings, I suggest she opt between the necklace or the bracelet. (I had to work a pop of orange in there somewhere, and it’s engraved “stand tall” which is so appropriate for Nancy.) She could potentially wear both if they work together. Fashion is about trial and error, I just prefer for that trial and error to be worked out in the confines of your own dressing room and not in public.

I wish I was wearing…

green with envy

green with envy by chelseahenderson featuring a linen shawl

We all have those days where we wish we had worn something else. And for me, today my something else is an outfit that I don’t actually own. While today’s heat and humidity prompted me to opt for a hot pink sheath with a suede white and mustard belt and beige patent leather wedges, my color scheme today does not match my mood.

As I finish up two memos that I need to get done by COB, my mind keeps wandering to this other outfit that I mentally created for myself. This look is effortless, yet perfectly put together, would work for the type of schedule I have today, and would transition well to drinks on a patio in the early evening. I’ve been hot for the green Stefania wedge by Butter for months, and may have to bump them to the top of my shoe wish list. But for now, I’m stuck at my desk in a pink dress. Luckily I don’t have drink plans tonight on a patio, where I would just wilt in this weather anyway.

What do you wish you were wearing?

Dear Chelsea Chronicles Chelsea Chronicles:

I have been eying this Tory Burch belt for a couple of weeks now, but I am nervous about spending so much money on one accessory. I know that I’ll wear it at least 2-3 times a week though. So my questions are: how much is too much to spend on a belt, and if I do buy this belt and wear it several times a week, am I going to be known as That Tory Burch Belt Girl?

Appreciatively: That Belt Girl

Dear That Belt Girl:

For years, I never owned even one belt. Then I transitioned into belts to wear with jeans. Then Michelle Obama became First Lady and rocked the belt world off its axis. I bought skinny belts. I bought studded belts. But always on sale at J. Crew during their “take an extra 30% off sale items” offers because it was hard for me to justify paying a lot for something that seemed extraneous. After all, I had lived without them for so long, and I assumed some day I’d tire of the look.

But then, about 18 months ago, I found myself in a similar situation as you, pondering the purchase of a belt that was more comparable to the price of a pair of good shoes. After talking it through with my fashionable friend Janna, I decided to make the investment. And let me tell you, I wear that belt at least 2-3 times a week. I wear it with jeans. I belt dresses. I belt pencil skirts. Sometimes I mimic the FLOTUS and wear the belt over my cardigan. Or I might belt the shirt I am wearing and throw on a cardigan or blazer. I even belt blazers. I love the belt I splurged on; my cost-per-wear ratio has justified the purchase. And as far as I know, no one calls me by any belt-inspired moniker. Buy it. Belt it. Enjoy it.

Dear Chelsea Chronicles:

Are Spanx really more comfortable than the girdles our grandmother’s used to wear?

Breathlessly Yours: Constricted

Dear Constricted:

My only basis for a Spanx vs. girdle comparison is a story I recently heard from my grandmother. She faithfully wore a girdle (with garter and pantyhose) everyday. Then one day, while in the ladies room at the office where she worked, she complained to a colleague about the constricted nature of her undergarments. The woman exclaimed, “what? you still wear a girdle?” and my grandmother, shocked (but pleased) to hear they were no longer a fashion requirement, promptly took hers off and threw it away, even though it was brand new, never to don one again.

I imagine we all have a love-hate relationship with Spanx, but I have to guess that today’s modern version of what our grandmothers wore is indeed more comfortable or the girdle would have made a comeback by now. Sorry that I can’t always be the bearer of brighter news. Beauty can be painful.

Don’t forget to send me your Dear Chelsea Chronicles questions and your Style This! requests.

Buy This!

Buy This! Color EditionIf you buy one thing this week, be sure it comes in color. After all, bright colors are the new black. That’s why today’s feature is actually going to highlight three items (because I believe in options) that will add a splash of color to even the most cynical northeasterner’s wardrobe.

My first recommendation is the Coral Bib Necklace by ZAD, available at Simply Soles for under $50. I would wear this necklace with a white tee shirt and jeans or a navy sheath dress. Or a chambray button down and white jeans, shorts or pencil skirt. This necklace would make an excellent addition to any wardrobe and given the many styling opportunities, the cost-per-wear ratio definitely warrants your adding it to your collection.

If you don’t have the huge orange crush that I do, the necklace also comes in turquoise, a color which I find stunning with black.

My second recommended item is also available at Simply Soles. (How’s that for promoting multi-tasking?) Having just been on an over-air-conditioned airplane without even a scarf (I was trying to pack light) all I could think of is how I wish I had this great Eternity Loop I saw in Kassie’s National Harbor store when I was there a few weeks ago. While I highlight the green one because it is my personal favorite, I find all the colors to be beautiful and vibrant. Wear this to the office for when you lose the battle over the thermostat or use it to ward against a breezy night that doesn’t quite call for a sweater. Don’t be afraid to pair this shade of green with orange.

And last, but not least, what outfit is complete without a colorful shoe? While I have been leaning more toward a neutral-hued shoe these days because as many of you have seen (you can’t miss it) my Kate Spade Essex Scout purse is neon orange, who can resist the Band Over Band Heels in Tiffany blue from Anthropologie? These heels, even though they are stacked and have a slight platform, are not for the faint of heart, but the color is spectacular, and they would make a great outfit component for color blocking.

But if you want a suggestion for how to incorporate them into an outfit, you have to present me with a Style This! challenge. Let me just warn you now that my pairing is likely to involve orange.

Style This!

I asked for it, I got it. My first Style This! challenge. I have to admit two things. One, I am a polyvore novice, so really I have no idea what I’m doing. And let me just convey that there’s a reason I didn’t go into the graphic arts. Secondly, I think I’m addicted. But because I am a beginner, please be patient while I navigate how best to showcase my styling recommendations. That is to say, I borrowed the template featured here because I was scared (and too time crunched) to do my own, but once I get the hang of it, my sets will look fantastic.

(I will not work on polyvore sets until all my chores are done. I will not work on polyvore sets until all my chores are done.)

One another note, these sets are fantasy. If I see something that works, I’m going to include it even if it’s beyond a price point that is comfortable for most normal people with mortgages, kids and student loans. In the spirit of that old Elizabeth Hasselbeck show The Look for Less, if you like something I have presented, take the vision and replicate it with lower-priced items. With that said, I want to encourage you to not be afraid of investment pieces. (Sounds like a blog post subject in and of itself so stay tuned.)

My friend Kasey was not only the suggester of Style This! but also the first of my followers to make a request. Her issue? She has a self-professed crush on the Sunrise Shirt Dress from Anthropologie. But as Kasey wisely noted, while the texture of this dress is perfect for hot and humid summers days, if not styled properly, it has the potential to give a serious Anne of Green Gables vibe.

I think this muted shade of green would look fabulous with a pop of color. In the polyvore set shown above, I went with a dark pink belt, necklace and bangles and a bright yellow clutch. I could see swapping the necklace for a scarf (or nothing) if in person the necklace is too dressy for the rest of the outfit. (Even my outfit pairing ideas for items¬† already in my own wardrobe don’t always work out how I envision them.) A nude shoe for this ensemble is a must. I know Kasey can handle herself in a pair of heels, so I chose high, but I wanted a sandal style that compliments the dress and the season. The issue of what to wear over the dress confounded me. A sweater seems too frumpy. A blazer seems like you are trying too hard to dress up a casual dress. But a white trench coat seemed like a natural pairing here because you never know when a summer thunderstorm might roll in or the air conditioner in your office might be set on arctic.

As an alternative, Kasey could also try this dress with an orange shoe and a neutral belt. But then I would ditch the yellow clutch and add a cross body bag in a shade just a bit deeper than the dress. Keep the same bangles. In fact, talking it out here, I think I might like the second set better than the first. So now, I should probably delete the first and pretend this was my original vision, but I really want you all to know that style is a process.

Style This! take two

I mean, even da Vinci drafted and redrafted.