43 by 43: vintage patience

While some of the goals on my 43 by 43 list are easily crossed off (paint living room, wear red lipstick at least once a week) others are more subjective and harder to judge success. For example, how do I adequately measure goal #26: be more patient.

As I make my way down the list, I’ve been struggling to come up with a form of patience measurement. I almost took it off the list for something more concrete, but that felt like cheating, whereas patience is a virtue, and one I need more of in my life. After much soul searching, I finally decided that one interesting way to exercise patience is to use it as I strive to fulfill one of my other goals. Then I get to kill two birds with one stone. (Not that I’m pro bird killing, unless of course it’s the duck I’m going to roast since that’s a goal too.) In other words, I need to pick one of my goals that requires patience to execute and use that goal to fulfill the patience goal.

Following me?

Well, this weekend an idea came to me.

I’ve often longed to be one of those people who has a knack for vintage shopping. I’m a huge admirer of women who incorporate vintage pieces into their modern day looks, but the few times I ventured into a vintage store, I felt out of place and overwhelmed, coupled by a fear that the effortlessly chic vintage shop owners are looking at me in my completely current day (read: boring) outfit and wondering what I’m doing in their store? (I’m sure this is my own projection of insecurity and not actually happening.) Instead of taking my time to imagine what pieces might work with my current closet, I pass quickly through the racks the way I would at a warehouse sale (another shopping arena where patience eludes me).

Since goal #42 is to push my style envelope more, I’ve decided that by working on goal #26 to fulfill goal #42, I can both practice the art of patience and perhaps score some vintage finds in the process. Who knows, if I take my time, I may find that perfect sexy secretary something that would compliment my army of pencil skirts. I’m thinking a hat, clutch, some funky broaches or even a pair of gloves. Perhaps I won’t find anything my first few trips, but I won’t let it discourage me and I promise myself I will keep trying.

I’m going to be patient as I embrace this fun way to shake up my style while remaining true to me.

The only question now is who’s coming with me?

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Dear Chelsea Chronicles

Seersucker Thursday 2008

There is nothing that quite makes you feel like your own little universe’s fashion icon than to get questions from friends on what to wear. Lately, a number of you have suggested ideas for new blog posts, and most of these ideas come in the form of questions, such as “do you think it’s okay to…” or “how would you recommend styling…” Not to mention, “I have a wedding to go to…” As a result, beginning today, I am going to include a weekly post dedicated to your burning questions. So bring them on.

Dear Chelsea Chronicles:

When is it okay to wear linen? On that note, when is it okay to wear white?

Sincerely: Your Office Mates

Dear Office Mates:

You wouldn’t be asking me this question if you weren’t looking for a response that allowed both items to be worn outside the traditional Memorial-to-Labor Day window. And you are in luck, as the rules of fashion have been not only bent, but completely broken over the last few years. For example, while we were always told that white was only to be worn during the aforementioned time frame, I read a blog recently that advised women to wear white jeans in the early spring. The key is to make the outfit more seasonably appropriate by pairing the white jeans with a darker hued top and adding a cardigan or blazer. That is to say, white jeans and a sleeveless pink silk shell look out of place in March, but white jeans with an orange tee and a nautical striped shirt (and camel colored shoes) would pass my pre-Memorial Day test.

Part of the answer is in the styling, and part is in the weather. Last week, I saw a woman wearing a seersucker suit on a 62 degree day. Texture fail. It was just too breezy and cool of a day to pull out the seersucker. Even former Senate Majority Leader Trent Lott, who founded the tradition of Seersucker Thursday, would have looked out of place. If you’re going to don linen, seersucker or poplin fabrics, make sure the weather is appropriate for it. That doesn’t mean you have to be a slave to wool until May 31st, dearest office mates. Opt for lighter fabrics and play with color. When in doubt, you know where my office is if you need a personal consultation.

Dear Chelsea Chronicles:

Is there a red lipstick that doesn’t make teeth look yellow? I hate to have to bleach my smile every time I want to opt for a sexy red pout.

Yours Truly: Stuck in the Capitol

Dear Stuck in the Capitol:

Finding the right red lipstick can be harder than securing a date with an unmarried man over 5’8″ with a good head of hair who is gainfully employed and isn’t living with his mom. I have heard it said before that the “blue reds” will minimize the yellow tint caused by love of red wine and coffee. A quick Google search of “red lipsticks with blue base” revealed several hits for M.A.C. Ruby Woo. (I never knew there were so many blogs dedicated to red lipstick.) I myself am devoted to Chanel’s Rouge Allure in Lover, although recently I was seduced by Tom Ford’s Private Blend Lip Color in Smoke Red. Any make up artist should be able to steer you toward the so-called blue reds. The best advice I read though is that if you are testing lipsticks at the cosmetics counter of a department store, take a moment to step outside and see how you look in the natural light instead of relying on what the overhead lights (or self-absorbed bloggers) may tell you. Though given that you may be wearing your perfect non-teeth yellowing red lipstick while confined in the U.S. Capitol complex, perhaps natural light in this case is overrated.

Dear Chelsea Chronicles:

Is it okay to wear black to a wedding?

Warm Regards: What (Not?) to Wear.

Dear What (Not?) to Wear:

In my opinion, the only color it is not okay to wear to a wedding is white (or shades thereof) unless it happens to be your wedding. Or you are maid of honor to the future Queen of England. So if it is an evening wedding, wear your black dress, but make sure the fabric, cut and accessories (in particular, your shoes) don’t scream day at the office or funeral chic. And while you’re at it, try a lush red lipstick.

So, my dear readers, bring on the questions, the more challenging the better. I may even attempt a polyvore set for you.