The Space Between My Peers: June 2006

The Space Between My Peers

From the bottom of the fashion food chain ...

Location: The Great Northwest

I'm a home-schooling, bible-believing SAHM with an annual clothing budget of about $500 American. The Space Between My Peers reveals my secret passion: analysis of the art and science of what to wear.

Friday, June 30, 2006

Modest One-Piece Swimsuit

In the market for affordable vintage-style swimwear? If you are searching for a modest one-piece, pop on over to yesterday's post at Style Tribe. (And rejoice! In the comments, the stylish Ms. S declares modesty "in".)

While most of us are still after tankini plus boardshorts, the fashion pendulum swings back towards one-pieces.

Thursday, June 29, 2006

A Cyan Cycle

I can't get this picture, taken by The Sartorialist recently in Milan, out of my mind.

More later.

Okay, I'm back. And I've been thinking navy blue all day. What I'm thinking is that we're coming into a major cyan cycle; that is, a trend toward blues which are on the green side. (With the last big blue trend, I recall, we all wanted periwinkle.)

Wardrobe planning considerations:

  • Navy, midnight, and other dark blues work with dark brown hair/eyes. If you are wondering why, go back and read my previous post about complementary colors.

  • Navy is a spring staple. It also enhances workplace credibility.

  • Does your style run to the traditional or are you more contemporary? Blue is a very traditional color; if that's you, stock up.

  • Buying versatile pieces, such as those pictured, and wearing them together is a way for the more contemporary dresser to indulge in blues without getting the blues.

Unfortunately, I have nothing like this outfit, which would have been perfect for this evening. Instead I wore a long crew neck t-shirt, never pictured, about this color, with my new jeans, pink 3/4 sleeve jacket and, of course, the wedges.

Sorry, no time for a picture.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

We All Have to Eat

Yes, this is still a fashion blog. I'll tell you all about the outfit at the end of the post.

For quite some time now I have been looking for an excuse to blog the coolest thing I've discovered recently: this rice cooker. I shouldn't need an excuse; my love for you should be reason enough.

In the time it takes me to cook brown rice, I can simultaneously cook meat and/or vegetables in the stainless steel tray. 5 minutes of prep (after the forethought of thawing the chicken), 40 minutes of cooking, stir in spices, and ... voila! --we have dinner! I have NEVER had the rice burn, or even stick, although I see on Amazon's reviews that others have.

My husband assures me he could eat this nearly every night. Next up: using it outside in the summer, to keep the kitchen cool.

So why am I dressed up as Betty Crocker?

  • This is the silk skirt I bought for $1 last week. I can't wait to wear it with my silver t-shirt for holiday.

  • My taupe crew-neck t-shirt would have been boring without the necklace my sister made for me.

  • Still loving the wedges.

  • The apron is just the first one that I pulled out of the drawer in the church kitchen.
I cleaned up after coffee.

I consider appliances servants. My rice cooker Works For Me.

Festival of Frugality at freemoneyfinance

This week's Festival of Frugality, featuring my Watching Fashion Trends Is Frugal, is up at the very interesting blog freemoneyfinance. Check it out.

The host also has a later post entitled Save Money by Avoiding Stores and Malls. To which I would add: blog daily. Yes, keeping up on this blog has limited my time in the stores in the most pleasant way!

Monday, June 26, 2006

Blogrolls and Linkages

Yum! Sounds like breakfast!

A quote from Almost Girl:

For most people in the blogosphere the blogroll is pretty important. I must admit that I totally love seeing myself on the blogrolls of other people I respect ...

(And the post goes on to say really nice things about ME. Thanks Julie!)

For those of you who weren't around then, I'd like to indulge in a little nostalgia. I had been blogging for just 3 months (this was before Coutorture) when I wrote this post. A quote:

I confess that I'm mystified by blog-itics (the politics of getting noticed in the blogosphere). The notion that value is measured by the number of other bloggers linking to you puzzles me; does that mean that because my sister and my husband own the only blogs that link to mine, my content is of little value?

Both Julie and Danielle responded with very encouraging comments. Thank you both.

Unknowingly, Shannon from Rocks In My Dryer has also encouraged me in considering blogrolls, just by her straight-forward and gracious explanation of how her blogroll works. Thanks Shannon.

I'm still figuring out my own system. I'm no longer up-tight about who links to me and who doesn't. And I'm very much looking forward to the day when I can actually read all my own linkages.

Watching Fashion Trends Is Frugal

Integral to my frugal wardrobe strategy is awareness of the ebb and flow of fashion cycles. Not the little here-today, gone-tomorrow fads (like ponchos), although I have no objection to wearing ONE when it suits the wearer.

What am I looking for? I'm looking for classic pieces that are becoming popular, such as pretty flats. And I'm looking for major silhouette movement, like the return of narrow jeans. And, last but not least, I am looking for the pieces that work within MY idiom.

How I use this information to save money:

  • Emerging looks: When a look is very fresh, it will often show up in final clearance at major stores. Buy it now, wear it for a really long time! Some items, such as a white dress shirt, are worth actually paying for at this point. (That's hard for me, but there's always my birthday.)

  • Established looks: Once a look becomes popular, it becomes more difficult to find inexpensively. Sometimes I will find it at a thrift store (usually off-season), but more often it's Old Navy or wait. Typically I choose wait.

  • Saturated looks: When it's everywhere, the handwriting is on the wall. A decision needs to be made: is this something I want in my permanent wardrobe? If not, and it's still in good condition, I sell it on consignment, usually for more than I paid.

While I don't always have to have all the latest styles, I do want to dress like myself. Myself really doesn't like to look OUT of style.


Friday, June 23, 2006

Camouflage of a Slight Tummy

Jenn brings up a very good question:

I genetically have always had a little "pot" belly, even at my skiniest. After 2 kids, I think I look pretty good but do try to camoflague the belly :) I always thought that when wearing a top you wanted it to end below the point that you were trying to de-empansize, but my mom said she saw a thing on TV that said you should actually bisect it to break up the line (in the case on tv they were talking about the butt I believe).

To be honest, I've spent so much of my life worrying about my thighs that I hadn't really thought about this. Here's what I found when I looked it up:

  • Diagonal lines are always slenderizing.
  • They may have been referring to construction lines. I modeled a pair of jeans with a very deep waistband for my family and the consensus was they may have made me look smaller.
  • The style pictured here would translate that concept to tops and tummies.
picture via JCPenney

To learn more techniques to camouflage or highlight particular body characteristics, you could buy the book. I've seen it here for as low as in the $30 - $40 range (or there's always the library).

By the way, did I mention that Coutorture now has Channels and is broken down into Communities? I am thrilled to be included in the Advice Community.

Find Your Colors

Today I'm heading out to the park with the ladies. If anyone were so inclined, it would be a lovely day for personal color identification.

Here's the project: Go outside and have a friend identify every color present in your personal coloring. Name them according to my mental color wheel (two variations of each hue: orange-red and purple-red, blue-green and yellow-green, and so on).

  • Eyes contain multiple colors. Look at the iris, the ring that rims the iris, any flecks, and the white.

  • Hair, either natural or enhanced, often has a wide range of colors. Remember to check the nape and also eyebrows. And what impression do the colors give all together? (That's where I get the taupe idea.)

  • In identifying the colors in your skin look for reds, oranges, purples, whites, browns, and possibly yellows or blacks; all very subtle, of course.

Here's the application: My best post ever on the topic of color.

And the shoes:
Chaco - ZX/1 Unaweep (Sassy) - Women's

Thursday, June 22, 2006

Biblical Submission

Bear with me here, there is a connection ...

The Biblical teaching on submission is a hard one in today's feminist society. If you are not familiar with it, I invite you to scroll down and use the Bible Gateway search form to look it up. Sometimes what makes it hard is the media-driven idea that men are meanies. And some are. Mine's not. Indeed, most aren't.

But why is it hard to submit even when it's for our own benefit? Consider the following, all too common, scenario:

She says, "I've been thinking about getting _________ (insert your choice of item both affordable and advantageous; such as a robot vacuum, a pair of Chacos, or hi-speed internet)."

He says, "That's a good idea; why don't you go ahead and do that?"

Yes, indeed, why don't we? I know I'm not the only smart one who thinks I have to scrutinize every decision for myself; I've talked to too many frugal moms who won't buy themselves a pair of shoes, even when their husband wants them to.

Today's one word sermon: Submit!

Oh, and the connection? It's about to speed up!

Wednesday, June 21, 2006

Old Navy Perfect Fit Tees

picture via Old Navy

I hear that groan! While I agree quality is not the best at Old Navy, for the price, these shirts work.

Earlier this week, when I was going through my drawers, I discovered, to my delight, that I own crew neck tee shirts in just about every color I wear. (Wait a minute -- I knew that!)

A color run-down for you:

  • White. Secretly I feel like I am wearing a man's underwear shirt when I wear these by themselves. I love it! Costumey and laidback.

  • Black. Mine is actually Gap favorite tee. Because black isn't a summer color, and t-shirts are a summer piece, I consider black optional.

  • Brown. My eye color.

  • Pink. Since pink is my signature color, the color family from which I draw freely, I have three different pinks: the one in the Clean Laundry picture, one that is the color of the Score or Snore twinset, and a coral pink that I wear alot of, but I've never pictured here.

  • Taupe. My haircolor. I also have a heather gray, another version of my haircolor. I don't wear either of these much.

BTW, the color I've pictured here flatters most people. No guarantees though.

Welcome Old Friends and New

As I was putting together yesterday's post, the term "works for me" sounded somehow familiar. You see, Shannon at Rocks In My Dryer hosts a weekly blog carnival with that title, dedicated to helpful hints (which I need LOTS of). So I entered! You can see the full list of entries here.

I also did something kinda crazy this week: I emailed a link to this post to a bunch of Real Life Friends. The conversation that prompted the idea originated at my previous post: Blogging Questions From 'She Lives'.

So, whether you have been here from the beginning or just came for the first time: Welcome! If you are interested in what to wear, I hope you will stick around. My approach? Highly analytical, slightly entertaining (I know that because I hear snickering when my daughter is catching up on what I've written).

One other thing, and I don't know if this fits here or not, but, although I LOVE blog carnivals, I don't do memes. (Once I was tagged for one and, though I read the post, I didn't learn until months later that I was the R. Sorry!) It's nothing personal; but that's just it, this blog is nothing personal. Well, sort of. I guess it's a personal knowledge blog.

Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Wardrobe Planning: The Four Seasons

I've got to find a better place to take photos ...

Since I didn't get much response to yesterday's post about extreme thrifting, I thought I'd show a picture. Perhaps some of you doubt what I got was any good ...

In this picture I am wearing the $10 jeans (INC, in case you were wondering, and I am really happy with how they fit); (the Limited) sateen blazer; and the necklace I won from Blestwithsons.

Now, on to the topic of today's post: where I am relative to each of the four seasons. Sartorially speaking, of course.

  • Spring: Probably today, I will be biffing, freshening up my bleaching and painting clothes, making rags, and generally looking for what is too worn to save for next spring. Since I no longer make many buying mistakes, I don't have any items I just don't like. Wow, was that me that just said that?

  • Tomorrow is the first official day of summer. Between now and July 4th, I will inventory my extreme hot-weather clothes. I figure I need a new outfit to sweat in every day for at least a week. If I don't have enough, I will hit the clearance racks in July.

  • Won't the outfit pictured be great for an autumn evening out with the ladies? I am just beginning to think about what I will need for fall (and shop for it cheap, of course).

  • When I packed my winter clothes away in the freezer, I neglected to get a good inventory of my sweaters. After I de-fuzz my new cashmere "long-sleeve t-shirt", I will pull everything out and make a list before packing it all away. If I have enough sweaters, I won't shop for any more. Oh, and I still need to take a few items in for dry-cleaning.

Year-round wardrobe planning; it works for me. Saves time and money. Lots of money.

WFMW ladies, I'd love to have your input on a question I posed a few days ago.

Monday, June 19, 2006

Summer Thrifting

Being the first Monday that the schools are out, today marks the official beginning of the summer thrifting season. Have I mentioned that I find my best thrift store bargains in the off-seasons? I've just returned from $1 Monday at Value Village, where I spent a grand total $20 American (plus tax) for 3 pairs of jeans, a sateen blazer, a cashmere sweater, 2 summer tops (one with tags still on), a silk skirt, and a leather coat. In an hour and a half.

Anybody want to take me up on this previous offer?

Summer thrifting bargains:

  • Sweaters. It's like a t-shirt, only warmer. Light pink, crew-neck cashmere pullover, in need of a little de-fuzzing; yes it fit and was only $1. (Picture me doing the most dignified of happy dances!)

  • Jeans. After sorting through LOTS of good, basic jeans for only $1 apiece, I kept coming back to a $10 pair. We've talked about jeans here before, and I have challenged myself to be more critical about finding a flattering fit. I hope this is it. At $10, I'll still easily achieve my cost per wear.

  • Coats. Although not suitable for a winter coat here, the brown leather blazer with cream top-stitching will make a great rain coat for one of my daughters. It was also only $1.

Now, I know there is a more frugal summer option than thrifting: the yard-sale. Personally I don't partake much, but I'd love to hear YOUR success stories. I might just get inspired.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Carnivale of the Couture: About Shoes

About Shoes asks:

So ... it's not a big night out, there's nary a potential partner in sight, and there is no office dress code. Which shoes do you reach for when you're only dressing to impress yourself?

You may see them here and here. And you may see the pair I want next here.

Just call me Chaco Mom!

Why I Won't Stop Talking

If you didn't like the Which Classic Female Literary Character Are you? quiz, perhaps you will like Which Jane Austen Character Are You? found at Young Ladies Christian Fellowship.

Am I the only one who is fascinated with cataloguing the differences in personalities? I think not. Check out this table of equivalents for the 4 personality types, found at the above-mentioned blog. To help you find your personality type, they offer a link to Gary Smalley's on-line test.

(I think I'll stick with the first literary quiz. I'd rather be Jane Eyre than Lydia Bennett. Ouch!)

"Expressives think that life is not worth living unless they are talking." -William A. Glaser

At first glance, that quote may seem funny. I assure you, it is not. The question that SAHMs don't want to talk about: "How do you get your social needs met?" We don't even want to acknowledge that we have social needs. Who wants to be needy?

In my life there have been periods where I didn't feel life was worth living. Never did I think it had to do with not talking. But conversation brought relief. Conversation's hard to come by. And here we are.

It's still a fairly raw subject. I'll come back to it, I'm sure. In the meantime, please share your thoughts:

  • How much conversation do you need on a daily basis?
  • Where do you find it?

Thursday, June 15, 2006

Modest Swimwear

Today, simply so that I can have a short post in the midst of all these longer-than-usual ones, I bring you minimal linkages (and no pictures of me!):

Anybody have any wisdom to share about the advisability of attempting to make a swimsuit?

Book Review: How to Be a Budget Fashionista (Part 3)

In this post, I'm just reviewing the cover.

Style Bard asked, in the comments to this previous post, for pictures of do's and don'ts. I'm not certain how to get people to pose for 'don't' pictures, but I can show you some 'do's' right here on the cover of How to Be a Budget Fashionista, by Kathryn Finney. The topic is length balancing.

  • On the left: The suit represents a monochromatic look. It could be knee-length, or longer; what I want to point out is that hair and shoes are the same color. The blouse serves as accent by repeating the lip color.

  • Center: Another variation of How to Wear a High Waisted Skirt, this time using only colors present in the personal coloring. Note how the collar of the blouse is flipped up, otherwise it would not be the approximately 2/3 of the length of the skirt that it should be. Because the belt adds to the black (this is all math, isn't it?), it makes sense for the shoes to blend with the legs.

  • Right: In this final example, with dropped waist, adding the shoes to the skirt is necessary to achieve balance. Matching shoes and belt -- always a good idea, not always necessary -- makes it work.

Have you ever wondered if I actually use this stuff? The answer is: sometimes. Many days I just get dressed, but some days I wonder if what I am trying to do works. Then I just whip out the steel tape I carry at all times and take some measurements. And I can leave the house in confidence.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Defining Respectable Apparel

One day last week, while listening to the car radio, I caught a snippet of this program on Revive Our Hearts, with Nancy Leigh DeMoss. It's been stuck in my head ever since. (Aaaah! Get it out! Get it out!)

I'll tell you why it's been stuck in my head. 1 Timothy 2:9-10, a well-known Bible verse relating to women's apparel, reads:

9Likewise, I want women to adorn themselves with proper clothing, modestly and discreetly, not with braided hair and gold or pearls or costly garments,
10but rather by means of good works, as is proper for women making a claim to godliness.

That, I knew. I have studied, to some degree, every verse in the Bible relating to women's apparel. But I have not gone as deep as I could. For instance, I did not know that:

... the word that is translated adorn. Women should "adorn themselves." That is the word kosmeo. Now, there is a similar word, and that's the word respectable. Women should adorn themselves in "respectable apparel." The word respectable is translated from the Greek word kosmios. Kosmeo, which means "adorn," and kosmios, which means "respectable."

Now, when I say those Greek words kosmeo and kosmios, what English word does that make you think of? Cosmetics. The word, cosmetics: makeup, putting on our face. That comes from these two Greek words: kosmeo, "to adorn" and kosmios, respectable."

Let's look at those words. The word adorn, kosmeo, is a word that means "to put in proper order." It's used of decorating a house, of arranging furniture, of trimming oil lamps in the New Testament culture: "to put in proper order, to arrange, to decorate." It means "to make ready."

We are to be in respectable apparel, to adorn ourselves in respectable apparel. That's the word kosmios. It's a word that means "orderly" or "decent." John MacArthur says that word is the opposite of chaos.
Nancy Leigh DeMoss

Tell me, what could possibly be more orderly than a wardrobe based on one's own personal coloring, natural silhouette, and God-given personality? As I have mentioned before, God does not equate modesty with unattractiveness. That would be a human mistake. And there's more good news: Revive Our Hearts, with Nancy Leigh DeMoss allows comments. Let's all say, "YAY!"

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Festival of Frugality

My latest Frugal Mom post is currently showing at the Festival of Frugality available for your viewing at Aridni.

Some other posts you may be interested in:

My Summer Soapbox

My sister sent me the link to this Seattle Times article, Near-naked feet at office ... and other unpleasant summer fashion trends, By Robin Givhan.

Some choice excerpts:

A foot in a flip-flop might as well be naked. And naked feet don't belong anywhere near an office.

And there's no debating this. Flip-flops should be paired with surf shorts and swimsuits; they should be found on beaches and in public showers. Exceptions can be made for walking the dog, watering the lawn, taking out the trash and ensuring that a fresh pedicure makes it from salon to home without getting smudged.

Flip-flops are sloppy, cheap and generally unattractive. And that is part of their charm. They represent the blissful informality of summer, the most grudging, reluctant response to the admonishment, "No shoes, no service."

My summer soapbox:

  • The noise made by flip-flopped feet, or any other backless shoe for that matter, is exceptionally unattractive in quiet surroundings. Like offices. And church. And when making your way to the front of a group to be presented as speaker or with an award.
  • Don't think you can fix that problem by wearing pantihose. What's worse than a near-naked foot? The toeless clog with pantihose. You people frighten me! One day you're going to be scurrying along, trying to accomplish something, and wind up with a broken leg because you didn't have the good sense to put on some real shoes.
  • Backless shoes MUST be worn without stockings. Bare skin grips the shoe, thereby holding it onto your foot.

More quotes from the Seattle Times article:

Warm weather brings additional ghastly threats to the aesthetic landscape: leggings and sweat rags.

The fashion industry is a-twitter over the return of leggings, those footless tights that last made a significant stand in the 1980s. Designers have shown them layered under filmy skirts and short sundresses, and in theory, it is a charmingly bohemian style.

Can there be such a thing as too much self-confidence? One must consider that question regularly. So often women embrace a trend that is by all measures unflattering on them - low-rise trousers, shrugs, miniskirts - and yet they still strut proudly along the street, head held high, shoulders back.

The sweat rag should engender no such ambivalence. This grotesque accouterment is most often spotted in the hands - or on the head - of young men.

He is simply hot. But he views himself as exceptionally cool. And so in lieu of a handkerchief or a Kleenex, he is carrying a hand towel.

To which I can only say:

  • Please, please, please remember that legging are TIGHTS, not pants!!!
  • And -- EEEEEEIWW!

What's your summer soapbox?

Monday, June 12, 2006

Frugal Mom Has a Social Life

AKA Frugal Mom Goes to the Ball.

Finally! The long-awaited, fourth and final installment in the frugal mom wardrobe by lifestyle segment series.

The key to being frugal, and still accepting invitations to social events, is to be prepared. Forget the foolish notion that every event requires a new dress. With one each of the following hanging ready to go at a moment's notice, you can go anywhere.

  • A street dress: In my previous post, A Single Dress, I explained how to get by with just one. Mine is dark blue with a small print, purchased at Value Village for just $1. Still nursing? A nice skirt and twinset fills in nicely for most events, and is more forgiving size-wise.

  • Cocktail dress: The sensible woman has one of these hanging in her closet, just in case. The Bargain Queen, who is more sensible than most, has several, including some she picked up from the trash. Here's mine. Look for a length that's at least to the knee; shorter can look dated or, worse, desperate.

  • Ball gown: My $7 ball gown is actually a long skirt and top combination. Because I still crave the wardrobe variety I am trying to convince myself (and you) is not really necessary, I exploit the flexibility of separates.

Now, the best for last, my favorite event dressing tip: borrow a dress from a friend. I love to lend clothes!

Saturday, June 10, 2006

Blogging Questions From 'She Lives'

Carol at She Lives, which blog I only stumbled onto yesterday, threw a blogging about blogging event. These are some of the questions she posed Friday and my answers to them:

-- How do find the blogs you read regularly? Through other bloggers' recommendations? Their sidebar links? Search engines? Through comments left on your blog? Something else?
Yes to recommendations and some sidebar links. Not search engines. I don't get many comments from new people, but that always gets me to take a look. In reality, most of my reads come from comments on other blogs, my sitemeter, and Coutorture.

-- When you leave a comment, do you frequently return to that post to check for the author's response?
We've talked about that before.

-- What types of situations might cause you to stop reading a blog that you once enjoyed?
Posts too long. I also have a hard time with blogs that take a long time to load. (I have an "itty-bitty straw". Actually, it's more like a stir stick.)

-- How much personal privacy do you try to maintain when posting on your own blog? Everything that might identify you to a friend or neighbor? Only demographic data? Only children's information? Something else?
I have never said exactly where I live or my children's names, nor have I shown my face. But that's mostly because I have a goofy smile in pictures.

-- What are your thoughts about encouraging offline friends to read your blog?
I try not to mention it. Nevertheless, it is disappointing that more of my friends aren't interested. Hey, people, THIS is the real me.

Now, they were all fascinating questions but, because I don't believe in huge posts, posting on the weekends, or blogging much about blogging (I heard it is somehow not good form), you can read the rest of them here. I am, of course, interested in YOUR thoughts.

For more blogging about blogging, see the 7 days of posts at Blest with sons. She's got more questions!

Friday, June 09, 2006

Name Another Tune

Getting to know people is one of the things I enjoy most at parties. So, although I am not giving away a CD this week, perhaps if I give you a little background on myself you will play anyway.

I was born a rock-and-roller. No, I have no musical talent; beyond head-banging, that is. So I went from Partridge Family to KISS to ZZTop without skipping a beat. I never really warmed up to '80s music (--gasp!--). But then along came "alternative" ... just the combination of creativity and predictability to suit me.

Trouble was the themes. At first I wasn't really "listening" to the words, but there they were nonetheless. Eventually I couldn't listen anymore. Thankfully, around that time we found DCTalk.

This week I received my copy of the ApologetiX disc Ticked, parodies of '90s modern rock masterpieces. Name the original song and band for this one:

"Weird Al" should agree; it's all a parody. Someone else could've made every song we played. What if you don't like lines the band re-writes? What else do you need ... our apologies?

But if our songs get someone to see the Son, is it wrong? Is it wrong? Really? Really?

Do you have a guess?

Score or Snore?

There exist, in my universe, three Fred Meyer stores. One, less than a mile from my home, is where I buy milk, and where I first saw the Natalie Portman Vogue cover. Another, nine miles to the east, is in the vicinity of the Eddie Outlet and the fine repair shop where we sometimes must take our "vintage" German automobiles. The third is north. The only reason we are ever in that area is for driver's licensing, which is what I was doing last Friday when a gentleman kindly pointed out that I had a puddle of coolant under my car.

It was hot, so rather than wait there we walked to Fred Meyer to await our rescuer. Ah, serendipity! There I found the pink twin set on the clearance rack.

Random thoughts:

  • If your style idiom resembles that which is common in your neighborhood, the good news is that you will feel at home. The bad news is that clearance shopping won't be as good. Getting out of my neighborhood, meant the clearance options were much better, even within the same chain.

  • I took my own advice. Clearly the cardigan pictured here was within my price range (it was $10, down from around $40); the tank, on the other hand, wasn't as much of a bargain ($9, from a little over $20). As an act of shopping discipline, I reminded myself, more than once, that I shouldn't be dishing out advice if it isn't worth taking.

  • Last night I attended a "year-end performance", where the kids and their classmates put on a show for the parents, etc. Wearing the pink twin set, my brown linen pants, and Chacos; it was pointed out to me that, indeed, I was dressed semi-casual.

  • And yet, I could make a case that this is a boring top. Hence, the title of the post. What do you think?

Epilogue: Thank goodness for cell phones, and my mother-in-law who provides mine out of the goodness of her own heart. While daughter #2 and I were happily shopping, daughter #1 was promptly and cheerfully coming to rescue us. Even after the following conversation:

"Hi. I just wanted to tell you we're in the clothing department, not the food."

"Okay. Well I'm already in the store."

"See you in a few."

And then the next conversation:

"Where are you in the store?"

"I'm in the junior's department."

("Ask her what Fred Meyer she's at.")

No, she wasn't at the one by our house. She was at the other one.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

O Magazine June 2006 Cover Art

Likely it is not necessary for me to explain why I have chosen this detour in my series on Vogue cover art. I'm sure you've seen the Uma Thurman in bikini, June 2006 Vogue.

So, why not do Oprah? For a dose of reality dressing, her looks are closer to where most of my peers live.

First principle I want to highlight is that of line in the body. It's no secret that Oprah's body is primarily soft, curved lines; notice how the smooth stretch fabric of her clothing harmonizes with her soft curviness. Perhaps you are already employing this principle in your own clothing choices.

  • Identifying your body lines: Look for soft, smooth curves (like Oprah's); harder, muscular curves; or the straighter lines of visible bones. Many people (like me) have predominantly straight lines above the waist and curved below; you could also be the other way around.

  • Creating harmony with fabric: Drapey fabrics, such as smooth knits, flatter soft smoothness; crisper fabrics, such as cotton twill or linen, suit more skeletal bodies. In the case of the combination, my preference is to dress to match the top half (after all, the face is the natural focal point of every outfit).

  • Creating harmony with tailoring: Among other considerations, line in the body contributes to preferences for straight or angled details vs. rounded lines in things like necklines and collar construction.

  • Creating drama with contrast: Once you've assimilated this idea and feel comfortable working with it, you may want to try the opposite for dramatic effect.

Okay, now for something simple. How about the color harmony? Monochromatic (Oprah's own coloring is monochromatic). And a bonus thought: Note how the line movement in the print relates to the lines and shapes in Oprah's hair and features.

Ugh. I so wanted to do a helpful and analytical post. Unfortunately, due to Blogger issues, I have to be thankful for whatever this turns out to be. For some reason, I am unable to use preview. Oh well.

Wednesday, June 07, 2006

Since You Asked

This is me, Saturday night after the play.

Dress: $20, from Value Village. Ralph Lauren green label. Stretched with me when I threw myself into the 1985 Volkswagon Vanagon we travelled downtown in; which, by the way, is for sale. Any takers?

Looking at the picture, I'm either standing stupid or the dress could fit better.

Pantihose: $7, from JCPenney. Yes, I purchased pantihose just for this occasion. If it had been a scorcher, I would have done without. Surprisingly, I was comfortable.

Shoes: $1, from Value Village. Etienne Aigner. Since I rarely dress up, I consider these shoes quite the score.

Accessories: The red crystally bracelet and watch set was a gift from my daughters (Christmas before last). My earrings were silver-toned, large enough to show, and twisty to go with my semi-wild hair. Why do people always assume I like little studs?

Yeah, I know what you're thinking.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Book Review: How to Be a Budget Fashionista (Part 2)

In a previous post I began reviewing the book How to Be a Budget Fashionista, by TBF, Kathryn Finney. Let me just say up front that, although I did receive the book for the purposes of reviewing it, I would have bought it anyway. And kept it.

Beginning with Step 1: Know Your Budget, this book is concentrated usable information. Could that be because it was born of a popular blog? Long-winded bloggers risk losing readers. In Step 2: Know Your Style, we get to take a personal style quiz and benefit from lots of very practical "looking-good" tips. (No, unfortunately, her style types do not convert to mine.) Step 3 is Know Your Bargains, with tons of information about shopping, for people whose shopping needs extend beyond the weekly trip to Value Village.

Approaching each topic with respect for the individual, How to Be a Budget Fashionista is a goldmine not a landmine.

Monday, June 05, 2006

Carnivale de Couture: Regional Casual Uniform

After experiencing every kind of computer problem, today of all days, I am finally able to offer you the 20th Carnivale of the Couture! Thanks to all who participated!

Now, on to our whirlwind Regional Style Tour of North America, moving roughly East to West. You can tell you're in _________ when you see the people dressed in ______ --

  • Downtown Boston, via Phyllis and published in comments here: "black stretch microfiber pants, black boots, and a denim jacket worn with a white turtleneck, white blouse, or white T-shirt. The only other accessory is a cell phone, a cigarette and a handbag adorned with lots of hardware. Sunglasses are optional."

  • New York, via Almost Girl: American Apparel, Rem Koolhas Mobius sandals, and skinny jeans (but not on Julie).

  • New York's "poorer, less hip cousin", Philadelphia, via Shoe Sense: colorful nonchalance, masterfully accessorized, and comfortable shoes. Philly was also mentioned in comments as being recognizable for Eagles gear.

  • Culturally diverse Toronto, as compared to New York, via final fashion: accessible trends, such as American Apparel and H&M (neither of which is available in my neck of the woods).

  • South Florida, Designer Ella's second home, via Kiss Me, Stace: lamentably too casual beach wear.

  • Pittsburg, via Style Graduate, who takes us from the airport to her neighborhood: Steelers gear.

  • Chicago, Linmayu's own neighborhood specifically (from comments): T-shirts, leggings, and flip-flops on obese middle-aged women. Younger women: tank tops and muffin tops.

  • Dallas, also published in comments: good hair, tans, and lots of skin showing, with various neighborhood "dialects".

  • SE Montana, via Jody, and published in comments here: cowboy hats, boots, Wranglers bootcut jeans, leather belts with big buckles, and, on the ladies, tank tops.

  • Update. Las Vegas (the visitors), late entry (in comments) from Annie: puffy white athletic shoes, the cut-offs and the message t-shirt.

  • My own neighborhood : army green pants/skirt, black top, dark brown or black toeless clogs.

  • San Diego, via The Runway Scoop: the ubiquitous flip-flop.

  • Malibu, via Manolo's own blog: "California Beach Chic", the description of which you must, of course, go read for yourself.

  • San Francisco, from comments: thrift store finds mixed into most people's wardrobes.

  • Almost Canada via my sister, from comments: fitted v-neck t-shirts in colors, not black; cargo or denim capris or bootcut pants/jeans; and Danskos.

There you have it -- 14 stops! Are you exhausted? I am. But what fun! Manolo, I'm definitely in next time it's my turn to host the Carnivale.

Friday, June 02, 2006

I'm Giving Away Another CD

Last Friday night, I threw a party here, with music by ApologetiX, That Christian Parody Band. It was loads of fun (at least it was loads of fun for Susan, she took home a CD). Now I'm at it again.

Name That Tune, Installment #2:

All the stalls stink - Two bears, two pigs
I'll take one whiff - Before I get sick
Wallabies, rhinos - you'll see on my boat
Watch me straightening - the mess they're making
Save your raincoat - I will not go
Where's the Lysol? - carry me soap
Na-na -- na-na-na-Noah -na -na -na

This description of Noah's ark begins a Christian parody of a popular song; to win, name the original song and the artist/band. More than one person with the correct answer? We'll have a drawing. Monday morning. Before I start working on the Carnival.

Monday a.m.: So sorry, no winner. The song? All The Small Things, by Blink 182.

Thursday, June 01, 2006

The Carnivale de Couture Is Here!

Manolo, despite getting the name of the blog wrong, has graciously extended to me the opportunity to host this week's Carnivale de Couture. Originally posed by Jody, this question is so much fun I think everyone will want to play:

Suppose you stepped off a plane in your neighborhood, city, or country. Could you tell you were home by how people were dressed? Is there a Regional Casual Uniform? What do people (and you may narrow down to a specific segment of the population if you like) wear when they are going out, during the day, going to be seen, but not needing to dress up?
Bottoms Up!
  • Here in the Great Northwest, while the bottom may be a skirt, shorts, or pants, there will be something "outdoorsy" about it. If it isn't denim and/or it doesn't have cargo pockets, no doubt it is tree-colored.
  • No such variety in tops, though. Last MOPS meeting, when I was trying to point out a particular mom, it went something like this: "See the lady in the black shirt? Well, behind her is another lady in a black shirt. Then there's so-and-so, wearing a black shirt. Well, the lady you're looking for is the next one".
  • And then there are shoes. Why so many people insist on wearing shoes that look like these when they could have Chacos, that is something I just don't get.

So there you have it, the Great Northwest Casual Uniform. What do the streets look like in your neck of the woods?

Bloggers leave your link as a comment, before 8 am (PDT) Monday, June 5th. Because I have comment moderation switched on, I will just pick up the link from my email (don't get distressed because the comment doesn't publish, that's how it's supposed to work). No blog? You are invited, too. Submit your entire post as a comment.

I shall work my little fingers to the bone on Monday, posting the Carnivale as soon as possible. What fun!

Lookup a word or passage in the Bible
Include this form on your page