must have monday: boot edition #1

photo credit: http://www.polyvore.com/boots_more/set?id=59029937#stream_box
so many boots, so little time

I love boots. I have brown riding boots, brown wedge boots, camel tall boots with a heel, brown tall boots with this interesting stitching up the back, black ridding boots, black cowboy boots, black tall boots with a heel, a fancy pair of rain boots (Aquatalia red patent leather) and a not fancy pair of rain boots (muddy, well-worn Hunters). I even have a pair of over-the-knee boots, though they are currently in the consignment pile. But what I don’t have are any short boots. I do not own a bootie. Nor I do I own an ankle boot of any heel height.

I feel it is time to remedy this situation.

Here’s the issue: when you are short (like I am) you’ve been conscious your entire life that you shouldn’t wear anything that makes you look shorter (hence my love of heels). After a few of what I now regard as feeble attempts to try a short boot, I gave up. After striking out, I assumed all such boots would cut me off and be unflattering.

But I admire this look on other women who are even shorter than I am (yes, I mean you, Wardrobe OxygenDC Style Factory and @travelinjames) thus, I have come to the conclusion that I might be wrong. It’s possible, perhaps, that I jumped to conclusions after trying the wrong pairs. I mean, there’s a classic short boot that shares my name, so how wrong could it be on me?

The bottom line is that I’m ready to try again. What I’m looking for is something that doesn’t go too far up my calves. I don’t want a substantial heel for this pair (sorry, guy readers, baby steps). It has to work with my bootcut jeans as well as with my skinny jeans (tucked in) and (gasp) maybe a dress. I know some of you are having a hard time with that visual, but one of my 43 by 43 goals was to challenge myself when it comes to my style. Pairing short boots with a skirt or dress would do just that.

Have you seen a boot that you think fits my needs? Please share. And if you want to go shopping with me, even better.

what are you waiting for?

If your closet needs an infusion of fall fashion, head on over to the Periwinkle pop up shop today from 11:00-8:00, tomorrow and Saturday from 10:00-8:00 and Sunday from 11:00-4:00. Owner Elizabeth Mason (a woman I want to know better given the transition she made from politico to style maven) and her team will have on hand goodies from her three boutiques and we wouldn’t want her to have to drag any of these items back to Virginia or National Harbor, would we? For these four days, Periwinkle will house a fourth boutique at Tabula Rasa, located at 731 8th Street, SE. Going to Barracks Row for lunch or happy hour? Or maybe a workout at Biker Barre? You have no excuse to not at least pop your head in and support this tiny moment in time when women’s retail comes to Capitol Hill. Maybe we can show enough support to talk Elizabeth into a fourth permanent Periwinkle outpost.

adventures at the district sample sale

my finds from the District Sample Sale

In a continuation of a week of DC fashion firsts, I hit the annual District Sample Sale (DSS) last night.  For the uninitiated, DSS brings together a number of high-end boutiques who offer their goods at discount prices in one big location complete with music, hors d’oeuvres, cocktails, and oh – the real purpose is to raise money for charity.

When DC Celine said that I had to go with her and that I furthermore had to buy a VIP ticket to allow me an hour of access before the masses were let in, I of course did what she told me. (Though I would not cut the line to join her at the front because I was afraid someone would impale me with a stiletto.)

I was warned to dress in something that would allow me to try on items absent a real changing room, so I wore a pencil skirt (my big goal was to score some jeans and I figured I could shimmy them up under the skirt or as least under enough of the skirt to be respectable) and a blouse, but more importantly, a pretty bra (do I ever wear any other kind?) in case I really wanted to take off the blouse in front of hundreds of strangers to score the object of my desire.

Luckily, it didn’t come to that.

In the end, I walked away with a hammered cuff bracelet and two fantastic necklaces from Queen Bee Designs and a wrist full of leather wrap around bracelets from Fornash. (I promise photos of these items on me when my poison ivy clears up.) I did not try on any jeans, and the only top I tried on, well, I did it over my blouse and there’s photographic evidence of it on DC Celine’s instagram feed. I had to try it on not because I was really interested in purchasing it, but because I was so curious about the construction. Imagine an off the shoulder sweater that’s tunic length. Then imagine sewing a bra into the neck of the sweater. With step-by-step instructions from the helpful Muleh sales associate, I figured out that you first put on the bra component, then you tie the sleeves around your waist. Yeah, no 42-year old mom is going to find use for this item, but it was fun to try.

Lessons learned? If you’re going to the DSS, go with a kick ass woman who clocks in at close to six feet tall and can wear Union Jack skinny jeans because you (or rather she) will get noticed. As I was forewarned, do not hit the food and drinks until afterwards as it’s hard to balance shopping with treats. Have a plan, but have fun too. You probably won’t score exactly what you come in expecting to find, but you may discover a hidden gem.

fashion night out

Yes, I went to Fashion Night Out.

I can hear you saying to yourselves, “of course you did, Chelsea. Isn’t that your scene?” But the truth of the matter is, it’s totally not my scene and here’s why.

First and foremost, I hate crowds. I have a rule about not standing in line to get into bars and a similar rule applies to shopping. Is J. Crew really going to have anything this one night that I couldn’t get on a regular day with much less pushing, oh-my-god-ing, and waiting to check out? I mean, Madewell did offer free hair braiding to customers, but I’m not the boho braid type, so that feature didn’t make the experience more pleasant (though I did buy a great shirt). The champagne and other cocktails most stores offered were nice until someone bumped into me and my ivory Magaschoni sleeveless top with a Hawaiian punch-colored concoction.

Secondly, I hate Georgetown. The cobblestone sidewalks are killer on your feet even when wearing my version of a practical shoe. There is no easy way to get there either. It isn’t exactly metro accessible, which means I had to drive. And park. And drive home. Maybe if all the stores I like were conveniently situated all on the same block, I’d shop there more. But on second thought, no, even that wouldn’t make Georgetown more palatable to me.

So why did I venture out on this night? I was purely motivated by the desire to spend time with the amazing Rosana Vollmerhausen of DC Style Factory. She was a first-timer to FNO as well and had asked last week if I wanted to check it out together. The verdict? We had a great time. It helped that we (1) have great energy together (2) only hit four shops (Madewell, Tari, Urban Chic and Alchemie Forever) and (3) share the same sense of snark.

For example, I wish I had snapped a photo of the skirt that was so short and tight that I swear I saw cheek. (Rosana is convinced it was meant to be a shirt.) If only I had captured the ball gown skirt that looked like it belonged more at an Inaugural event in cooler temps than at a glorified shopping festival on a 91 degree day. My favorite outrageous outfit can best described as modeled after I Dream of Jeannie if she had worn all black. (Yes, there was exposed midriff.) While I don’t have these images saved for posterity, they provided bonding moments for me and Rosana, who instead focused her lens on other highlights of the night, which you can see here.

Other FNO bright spots: meeting the Closet Coach, seeing my sole sisters from SimplySoles, and the free pedi-cab ride we took for three blocks because we are not as young and sprightly as the other revelers.

All and all, I had a good time, which had little to do with fashion, but much to do with the women I shared the evening with.

jubilee

In January and July of each year, SimplySoles holds its three-week Jubilee sale. A gambler’s sale, the way it works is the first week, select items are 30% off, the second week they are 40% off and the third week, remaining items are between 50-80% off. It’s a great way to score an investment shoe at Nine West prices, unless of course, you are cursed with the ever-so-common size 8 foot like I am, in which case your dream shoe is almost always sold out by the third week.

Usually my approach to Jubilee is to roll the dice the first week of the sale under the premise that if the item(s) I covet is still available the second week, then it was meant to be. Rarely do I risk the third week, though in January I did wait and scored the Stuart Weitzman Tango for a mere $67.00.

My friend Adrienne is more daring than I am. She waits until the last week and more often than not, ends up with shoes by Bettye Muller, Butter and Dana Davis at highway robbery prices. But this July’s sale, her patience paid off greater than normal dividends. In fact, she said she feels like she’s stealing shoes from Kassie by getting the deals that she got.

The catch is that Adrienne can afford to wait. She has a size 11 foot.

By her own observation, many of the shoes she picked up in this week’s haul were the last remaining shoe of that style. Thus they were marked down the entire 80%. She didn’t have to worry (like I do) about the little “1 remaining!” alert next to the sale price because of her confidence that not a lot of other size 11s are out there competing with her. As such, on Tuesday, the beginning of the third week of Jubilee, she bought six pairs of shoes. The original price of all would have totaled $1062.00. But when you calculate the sale price and subtract the $50 “sole saver reward” she used, her total came to $242. That’s over $800 in savings!

So next time you large-footed friends of mine lament your shoe size, I’m going to remind you of Adrienne and the benefit of sales that us average-footed women never get near. I would posture that savings like this is worth the few hundred water ski jokes you’ve had to endure over time.

 

accessorize this dress: take one

yellow or purple?

Yesterday, two different women asked me to help them figure out what accessories to wear with the dresses which they plan to wear to (different) weddings next week.

Request #1 came from my friend Chani, who shocked me in the process by wearing a gorgeous purple dress when we met up.

Me: I only ever see you in black or gray.

Chani: I know! But I was inspired by you to not buy this dress in black.

It turns out Chani went on a little shopping spree, buying the aforementioned dress and a little number to wear to outdoor nuptials in Charleston on July 8th. The dress is from Kate Spade, and it’s a swirl of purple, brown and yellow paisley. She plans to wear nude pumps, and while she doesn’t know this yet, I have the perfect little handbag for her to borrow.

Chani is moving into bold colors slowly, so I created two fairly conservative options for her. (And by conservative, I mean pulling from shades in the dress and not going totally crazy with something offbeat like turquoise.)

Option #1 – Yellow: I like the idea of making this sunshine shade pop. I’d recommend choosing between bold earrings or a bold necklace, but not both. If Chani opts for the earrings, I think she can go sans necklace. If she goes with the necklace, I’d wear a simple stud earring of some variety (and am happy to look up some options).

Option #2 – Purple: Perhaps considered the safer option for someone just breaking into color, these purple earrings both make a statement in their size but are not too dramatic in their shade. I couldn’t find a necklace for under the price of the dress that I thought would work, but if you have suggestions, Chani has the weekend to shop.

Lately, I’ve been into stacking bracelets or wearing one statement-y cuff. I’ve pictured examples of each, but there are a gazillion on the market to choose from in this category.

Stay tuned tomorrow for the second styling request, and of course, check in next Friday when I hope to have a picture to post of Chani in her complete ensemble. I’m confident there won’t be a hint of black or gray to be seen.

must have monday: the Treat

The Treat

I interrupt today’s planned item I can’t live without to bring you another must have that is on special today only with sizes selling out fast.

On the cusp of their annual July Jubilee sale, SimplySoles is offering this one-day special: 30% off five colors of the Treat by Bettye Muller. This shoe will not be included in the upcoming Jubilee, so today is your chance to get this perfect work or event shoe at reduced cost. Are you on your feet all day but need to be clad in a professional shoe? Do you stomp the marble halls of Congress, which we know can do damage not only on feet but on our shoes themselves? Are you wary of four-inch (or higher) heels that leave you limping by the end of an evening event? If you answered yes to any of these questions, do not hesitate to stop reading and start shopping.

Last summer, I bought the Treat in buff (unfortunately this color is only available for my size 11 friends) and then in the fall, her platino sister joined the collection. Today, I ordered the Treat in black and tan (the only of the five colors on sale that is still in my size) and in the fall, I plan to get the navy.

This shoe is not only beautiful, but truly comfortable. (You can hunt me down if you try it and find it not to be so.) This classic silhouette will stand the test of time in this city, regardless of which party controls what branch of government. In other words, while hemlines may rise and fall along with the political times, the Treat is bipartisan.

And since we need more of that spirit in this city, you should buy two pairs.