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.

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.

 

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.

decisions, decisions

There will be real life photos of these items on an actual body (my body, to be precise) later. I promise. But I have yet to shower after doing morning shots (of resistance) at Biker Barre and am playing host to not only my own kids but to neighborhood friends who are still without power.

(Side note: I’m just going to say I was way overdue to be the one house that had power restored almost immediately after a storm. I’m sure it will never play out this way again, but I hope by offering electricity to those in need, I’m keeping on the good side of karma.)

Anyway, there’s nothing like a house with four boys ages six to ten to make you want to girl-out and create outfits.

As previously mentioned, I made a good dent in my summer clothes woes at the Periwinkle pop-up boutique this week (you have few hours left if you haven’t dropped in yet). Now the only so-called problem is that I have options.

On the left is a (fitted, I promise) t-shirt dress. Floral. I know right? Not what I usually gravitate toward. But this dress has an ease that I love, and I would try to edge it out with jewelry and shoes so that it isn’t too sweet in execution.

In the middle is a tunic, but not one that is too long (peril to the short woman). The fuchsia sash (which would also work with either dress) adds a nice pop of color. The only drama with this top for today is that I gave away my white shorts last summer and consigned my white jeans earlier this year, so my options for what to wear on the bottom are limited.

The dress on the right is my favorite. I might need to get it in additional colors. The v-neck extends deeper on the other side, which is actually the front, but I plan to wear it backwards.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I love the many pairing possibilities with navy.

I could wear the green chunky necklace or the orange one. (How badly do I need this marigold beauty from my friends at SimplySoles?)

I could use the sash that goes with it or I could swap it out for the fuchsia one.

Or I could even stay neutral with accessories and wear my coral espadrilles.

Maybe some combination?

Just in writing this post, I’m sure the navy dress is the one I will wear to tonight’s dinner party. If you have styling preferences or ideas, please feel free to share.

Otherwise tune in later to see what I decided. And don’t be surprised if I have a glass of bubbly in my hands. Sparkling wine is, after all, the perfect accessory for summer.

rainy day obsession

I have only ever bought one umbrella in my entire adult life, and for some reason, I still have it. Considering it wasn’t free, it’s the worst umbrella ever. The button on the handle that you push to open the damn thing is super sensitive and also brings the umbrella down with just the tiniest amount of pressure. So when I’m running in the rain to or from my car balancing my computer bag on one shoulder and my purse on the other, inevitably I hit the button and my umbrella closes. Then I have to juggle what I’m carrying, and attempt to reopen the umbrella, (which isn’t easy either) while the rain pours down on me, making me angrier than a wet cat.

But I paid for that umbrella so I have to keep it.

In the past, umbrellas were just the type of thing that found their way into my hands. Many were “borrowed” and some were “found.” I believe in the karma of umbrellas. If you forget yours behind in a restaurant or on the train, the next time it’s raining, you will likewise find one for your use. I operated for years under this system until two years ago in a moment of desperation when I decided to buy an umbrella. Unfortunately for me, it just happens to be one which, as we have firmly established, I hate.

Now with the forecast in DC calling for rain levels that will hopefully dent our drought, I sigh with disgust as I look at the mean-spirited umbrella dangling by its cord around my closet doorknob. And I dream of a nice umbrella, one the is big enough to provide coverage for two people, if necessary. One that is memorable enough that I won’t leave it behind anywhere. One that will pair just as well with my high gloss black Hunter boots as it does with my cherry red trench coat (which sadly happens to be at the dry cleaner today).

Of course, I found the perfect umbrella, the appropriately named Unsurpassed Umbrella. But at a cost that is equivalent to a pair of shoes, I will only dream of wielding its awesomeness. Especially since I know that if I haven’t been able to lose the cheap umbrella with a severe functional flaw these last two years, I’m guaranteed to lose this one within a few times of using it.

And that would just piss me off more than being stuck in the rain with a closed umbrella on a good hair day.