The Space Between My Peers: November 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.

Thursday, November 30, 2006

Update: Current Coat Conditions

Have you seen the MSN's animated weather maps? Perhaps it will explain my recent focus on coats.

I said, concerning my coat wardrobe, that I was using a black puffy down coat, until I found an ordinary quilted down jacket in a better color. What I didn't anticipate was a friend not having a coat at all. In obedience to Luke 3:11 I took the coat to her house today. I have others.

For spring, if it were in my color palette (NOT BLACK), I'd consider a coat like Agathe's blue leather trench at Style Bytes. Seems perfectly functional to me!

Between My Peers Classics: Rule Number 2

Continuing the "Blogiversary Celebration", I now bring you Rule Number 2, from the December 2005 archives:

Everything you wear should make you feel like yourself, going where you are going and doing what you are doing. Nothing is more distracting than feeling inappropriately dressed. Be yourself. Then focus on reaching out and making others feel comfortable.

I suppose that could be more concisely said, but I'm not sure how. Now I'm busy thinking about belt placement. This afternoon I should be taking pictures for the fashion lab.

Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Rumor: Kohl's Replacing Mervyns

Oh, by the way, I heard a rumor that Mervyn's is being replaced by Kohl's.

This could be good ...

Athletic Shoes: A Better Color Choice

L.A. Gear - Women's Honey
L.A. Gear - Women's Honey
(Brown/Pink/Bone) Free Shipping from Shoes.Com

Yes, it's true. Mervyns is closing stores in several states (I wrote about it last February). So Saturday, on our way home from our second family Thanksgiving gathering, we stopped to check out the sales. Romantic/Trendsetter daughter and I both found athletic shoes.

And then we noticed the pattern. Hers are grey with green, mine (pictured) are brown. Both are our eye color.

Which makes perfect sense. Athletic shoes are sporty and active, they should be an accent color. Which leads me to a question I've had for years:

Who looks good in white runners?

Now I think I know the answer, test this on yourself: someone whose inseam is greater than half her body's total length. Or greater than four head-lengths.

Am I on to something?

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Between My Peers Classics: Rule Number 1

At Jenn's suggestion, in honor of my blogiversary, I am going to try to do a little "mini-series" featuring some of my favorite posts. Since I started this blog November 26th, 2005, the November 2005 archive only contains four posts. I like them all. But the following is the most significant in terms of getting dressed:

Rule Number 1

Forget what the so-called fashion experts tell you, the focal point for every outfit should be your FACE (not any other body part or a piece of jewelry). It's a matter of human dignity.

Leather Outerwear Sale at Eddie Bauer

All leather outerwear now $50 off, plus enjoy free shipping on all orders of $100 or more through 12/25.

Remember, though, if you live in the Great Northwest, leather outerwear is NOT a winter coat, although we often see shivering people pretending that it is.

Free shipping on all orders over $100 - expires 12/25
Coupon Code: HOLIDAYFS

Monday, November 27, 2006

My Coat Wardrobe

This jacket is too romantic for me but ... maybe you'd like it.

In my lifestyle segmentation pie chart, only two slices are really worth serving: leisure and casual. Living in a region with four distinct seasons requires more coats, to my practical mind, than would seem necessary. But they are.

Here's the run-down:
  • Leisure winter coat = a puffy down jacket. Currently I am using a black one, which will naturally be replaced when I happen on something in a great color (for the single dollar which I paid for this one).
  • Casual winter coat: If I could only afford one coat, it would have to be a topper-length wool. Like my aubergine one I blogged back here.
  • Leisure spring: uh, yeah. We'll have to come back to this one. I do have the suede jean jacket, but that's no good if it rains.
  • Casual spring. Back here I mentioned that I consider a leather coat a great rain coat. After trying it on again, I am keeping the leather blazer. What remains to be seen is whether it will make a suitable (read: warm enough) spring coat for me.
  • Leisure summer: a white jean jacket. What else? (I do have a windbreaker, in case I go to the beach with my parents.)
  • Casual summer: All summer long I carry a cardigan around in my purse. Comes in handy at restaurants, the grocery store, basically anywhere air-conditioned.
  • Autumn leisure: the burgundy quilted pictured here.
  • Autumn casual: This black chenille bedspread looking thing is what I've been using. Works for me.
Now I need to go look what I have besides these. Can I justify any more? Probably.

You Are Invited to a Fashion Lab

In the spirit of cooperative problem-solving, I invite you all to participate with me in analyzing the topic of belt placement.

  • Why did it just not work when one friend took her belt off the other night and put it on another friend in the same, low-slung position?
  • Does it really work to belt a cardigan or jacket?
  • How about transforming a fitted sheath into an empire-waist with a ribbon belt?

You embellishment people must have many more creative ideas to add.

Here's my invitation. I will post a Fashion Lab: Belt Placement piece this Friday, Dec 1st (sometime after I get up, PST). If you would like to play, just write a piece picturing or describing or testing something related to belt placement, and leave the link in comments on this post. I will link to you, in the spirit of a blog carnival. If you have no blog, I will publish your piece here.

BTW, my Blogiversary was November 26th.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Looking for a High-Waisted Skirt?

How about this one? Ann Taylor sz 6 soft-black wool tweed pencil skirt

19 more hours ...

Saturday, November 25, 2006

A SWEET Thanksgiving Deal From Aeropostale: 50% Off EVERYTHING!

I wish I had known about this sooner, but there's still another day to get 50% Off Storewide (excludes fragrance and already marked down items) 11/23-11/26/06 at Aeropostale.

And to top it off: Free Shipping on orders of $75 or more.

(We just came from the mall.)

Friday, November 24, 2006

Thanksgiving Leftovers Party

Have you ever been to a leftovers party? Picture a potluck of Thanksgiving leftovers and games, with your friends, since yesterday was spent with relatives.

My outfit (that's me on the right, but dd's outfit is so cute I made her be in the picture too):

  • Old Gap jeans. I paid $1 at the thrift store. As usual, I am wearing silk "pants" under.
  • Old merino wool turtleneck, originally clearance at JCPenney.
  • Gotta love the burgundy quilted jacket with corduroy trim. $10 at the "Eddie (Bauer) Outlet". It's too "classic" for my style, I wear it as a costume. Alot.
  • My practical shoes.
  • Yay! My birthday belt came today!

Something else to be thankful for: the ladies bought us Apples to Apples for Christmas (and allowed us to open it prior to this holiday weekend). Have you played it yet?

Thursday, November 23, 2006

Holiday Reading

Happy Thanksgiving! (I'm happy. I'm not cooking!)

Links for reading:

BTW, I did finally notice that it took more than three clicks to get to my Fashion Personality Quiz. I fixed it. Sorry.

Wednesday, November 22, 2006

Black Friday $5 Shipping Weekend at!

Get $5 Shipping on every purchase - starts today and lasts through Nov 27th. (If you are still thinking about the fleece blazer, does this help?)

What I Will Wear: Thanksgiving

About the feet: I will really be wearing my practical shoes, but I wanted my sister to be able to see the slippers that I bought with part of the gift card she gave me for my birthday.

Unfortunately I didn't realize until it was too late that you can't really see the coolest thing about this outfit:

The blazer is brown (multi) velvet paisley!

More later!

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

What To Wear: Thanksgiving

Now that we are really getting close, and I have a fairly full social calendar this weekend, I am beginning to give serious thought to what I am going to wear for Thanksgiving. The big question mark is, "What kind of an event is Thanksgiving, really?"

When I was growing up, Thanksgiving was more of a fancy dinner. I wore a dress. But this weekend we will be attending two separate dinners given at people's lake houses. Probably a bit more casual. Dressy leisure wear?

If it fit me, I might wear this leather blazer, for sale on ebay, along with jeans and a nice shirt and boots. Unfortunately it's a hair too small. Would it fit you? (Starting bid $9.25 American. Auction ends in just over five hours.)

I'm going to try to "play dress-up" and take some pictures some time today. In the meantime, how do people dress at your Thanksgiving festivities?

Monday, November 20, 2006

Uniform Template for SAHM

Googling "SAHM Wardrobe Basics" brings people to this site on a regular basis. If you got here that way -- welcome! Just know that what you are about to view is not a one-size-fits-all prescription, but a suggestion for a specific, real live person. Adapt to suit yourself.
Gap Lightweight fleece blazer
The basic template:

  • basic bottom (jeans, khakis, black slacks, or simple skirt)
  • + tee-shirt in a flattering color (sleeve-length dependant on season, sweater for extreme cold)
  • + layer as needed for warmth and dressing up/down.

How this works practically:

Running around the house, doing stuff with the kids, you are wearing your jeans and a tee-shirt topped with a sweatshirt if it's cold. You have a Bible Study, parent/teacher conference, or some other such meeting to go to. Remove the sweatshirt, throw on your black wool blazer, and you arrive looking crisp and stylish. (I'll let you in on a little secret, though. The blazer pictured is fleece, Gap Lightweight fleece blazer, and on sale for $49.95.)

What could be simpler?

What To Do With Too-long Jeans

Don't hate me because I'm average.

Three thoughts for when the inseam on your beloved jeans seems super-sized:

Saturday, November 18, 2006

For Sale: Eddie Bauer Khaki Blazer

Currently available on my ebay auctions:

New with tags! Size Large EDDIE BAUER cotton khaki blazer. Minimum bid of $3.85.

Friday, November 17, 2006

Fashion Lab: Jeans Tucked Into Boots

When I first noticed the practice of tucking jeans into knee-high boots being revived, I thought to myself, "I'll just sit this one out".

Until one day last week. Walking at noon with my husband, I happened to notice a lady on the other side of the street. Her boots were very like mine, and she looked quite normal wearing them with jeans tucked in. With the color value similarity of the dark jeans and brown boots, her legs looked like legs (not hams on pedestals, which was my fear).

The other thing I noticed was that her top was a light color, in contrast to the pant/boot combination.

"Ah ha!" Maybe that's the trick.

So here you have it:
  • What I actually wore today. Since I was the greeting mentor at our MOPS group, I wore my Eddie Bauer Seattle Suede jean jacket over my sweater.

  • The look I am testing: dark jeans, tucked into knee-high boots, topped by a light colored top. I think it works!

  • For the sake of comparison, the same look only with a dark brown top.

What do you think of jeans tucked into boots? What techniques have you successfully used?

Now Through Christmas: Free Shipping on $100 Orders at Eddie Bauer

Deciding whether to shop on-line or in stores this Christmas? Maybe this will help:

Eddie Bauer - Free shipping on all orders over $100 - expires 12/25

Coupon Code: HOLIDAYFS

Thursday, November 16, 2006

Gift-giving: Selecting a Sweater Color

Do you love getting clothes for Christmas or does it make you cringe? Recently, as I was looking at the back of everyone's heads in my Sunday School class, I was thinking about some easy ways to choose a color which stands a chance with a gift recipient.

Three to think on:

What color sweater are you hoping for this Christmas?

Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Fashion Lab: Apparent Body Size

The question posed was, "do you think that clothes that are just a little big make the wearer look smaller?"

Cast your vote: do I look smaller in the fitted gray turtleneck or the oversized gray turtleneck?

Tuesday, November 14, 2006

Length Balancing Lesson: Isaac Mizrahi Couture

Okay, some of you have asked for more pictures of do's and don'ts. Since the Coutorture team has been kind enough to provide some, the least I can do is to provide a small commentary telling you which it is.

This picture is a don't, which the photographer was able to make look like a do.

The dress is actually pretty, but quite impossible from a length-balancing stand-point. So how is it that the photographer was able to make it look attractive? Cut off the model's feet!

If you really want to be analytical, take your tape measure to the picture. Headless, which is a perfectly appropriate way to measure these things, the ratio of the dress to the leg shown is about 4 to 2.5, which is perfect. Trouble is, how do you add shoes to this look without making it 50/50? 9 inch bright green platforms anyone?

As long as we've got the picture here, do you spot any other don'ts?

Follow-up: Crimson Pleated Velvet Skirt

Thank you, Tessa, for blogging a picture of the skirt in question. Admittedly I was having a hard time picturing it. (Question and answer here.)

And thank you, Wendy, for offering more specific top options:

... black or white tuxedo style shirt, a black (ideally cashmere) twin set, or black on black beaded sweater. And I'd wear black pumps.
The good news for Tessa is that she has dark, almost black, hair. Makes life easy!

Monday, November 13, 2006

Today and Tomorrow: Free Shipping at Eddie Bauer

Free shipping on all orders for two days only - November 13-14

I'm looking at this clip timer/watch for my husband.

My Most Difficult Reader Question Yet

Tessa asked, and I had to put her off and think about it:

What kind of top does one wear with a crimson velvet pleated skirt with pink lace at the bottom?

Honestly, my first thought was, "None!", as in, "get rid of it"; but I have seen enough of Tessa to believe that she has good taste. The skirt must be worth wearing.

So the birthday card my sister had gotten me provided a little bit of inspiration. I'll try to explain:

1) First of all, establish a rhythm with the colors. I assume the crimson and the pink relate to each other, choose a third color that relates to the crimson in the same way the crimson relates to the pink. It could even be black.

2) The texture of the top and its length you will have to choose according to YOU. Likewise the shape. However, the visual weight of the fabric of the top should be, in my opinion, either at least as heavy as the velvet or half-way between the velvet and the lace.

3) Now add heaps of delicate necklaces, or a scarf, incorporating both the color of the lace and the color of your hair.

4) Shoes: How does one go about matching crimson and pink? Not. Wear a black, fitted, knee-high boot, as long as there is some other black in the outfit; or choose a soft neutral that relates to the hair-color (a little darker is fine for shoes). Knowing that Tessa is fair-skinned, I'm going to go out on a limb and suggest something like this: Vaneli - Ellette (Tmoro Suede) - Women's

Does that help? We'd love to see a picture of the outfit you end up with.

Friday, November 10, 2006

My Viktor & Rolf at H&M Post

What does Viktor & Rolf for H&M have to do with a SAHM at the bottom of the fashion food chain in the mountains of the Great Northwest? Not much. But when Catwalk Queen (beware: pop-ups) began showing up in my Sitemeter, I serendipitously got a peak into how the more fashionable live.

Queuing up for hours to buy things fascinates me. I've even been know to get up early on the day after Thanksgiving (does that shopping day have an official name?), go with my husband to get a latte, and drink it in the car, while watching the early morning shoppers go in and out of the store. So I thoroughly enjoyed Shiny TVs video, at Catwalk Queen, as well as Style Bubble's longer one with interior shots.

Tell me: what position in the fashion food chain do all those people in line occupy? And more importantly, what are you willing to queue up for?

Thursday, November 09, 2006

Do You Make This Common Shoe Color Mistake?

The common shoe color mistake I am talking about is to wear only black dress shoes, if your coloring is soft or fair. In the early days of this blog, I suggested that the one shoe color you really need is the color of your hair. But there is an easy alternative.

What brings this up again? Other bloggers talking about the return of nude heels. Since high school I have considered "leg-color" the single most versatile neutral.
JEFFREY CAMPBELL - 8273 - DI (Taupe Leather) - Juniors
I'm afraid that some people, however, consider it an odd, shoeless, uncomfortable look. What about you?

Wednesday, November 08, 2006

New Riveting Question: Can Responsibilities Be Delegated?

Please consider stopping over at Riveting Questions to help me out with this one:

Can one's responsibility be delegated, or merely the functions pusuant to it?

Obvious question for a mother of teens, don't you think?

How to Spot a Fad

Or perhaps more correctly titled One Way to Spot a Fad. Please leave a comment and share your method. Here's mine.

When you see a look that contains an inherent contradiction, it will probably turn out to be a fad.

At the very least, it will project a somewhat dramatic look. For example, a sleeveless turtleneck sweater, a 3/4-sleeve coat, stilettos with jeans, you get the idea. Which explains why the modern Bermuda suit is so much more wearable than yesterday's (corduroy or whatever) "city shorts".

When to wear it anyway:

  • When your personal idiom is high drama. Either your style personality is glamorous or trend-setting, or you work in a high-fashion arena.
  • When the look just matches you, for some unique reason. Like my pink-striped flip-flop necklace. Casual, and with a hint of a joke, the color and pattern on it are just right for me.
  • When you can be certain you are going to wear it so much while the look is hot that you achieve your cost per wear before it cools off.
So, only one question remains: How do you spot when the fad is expired?

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

More on Apparent Body Size

Laura left a fascinating comment my post Apparent Body Size. I didn't want anybody to miss it, so here it is:

I think that frame size has a LOT to do with it. I have two sisters who are within an inch of each others' height and within a few pounds of each others' weight.

Yet one of them is apparently-tiny, and one of them is apparently-strapping. Tiny has a small frame, delicate features, and carries most of her excess weight where it can be easily disguised. Strapping has a broad, strong-looking frame, large hands and bosoms, and some facial softness that makes her look like she's carrying around a few extra pounds.

It's not just clothing size that people guess, either. People often perceive Strapping as several inches taller than Tiny. Heck, people perceive *me* as taller than Tiny, and I'm shorter -- but like Strapping, I've got a broad, solid frame to Tiny's narrow, delicate one.

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing, Laura. Now I'm going to be analyzing everyone's apparent size by looking at their face. Anybody else?

Public Service Announcement: Nordstrom Half Yearly Sale

Hey, I thought (some of) you'd want to know that yesterday, when I was driving through downtown, I noticed they were putting the Half-Yearly Sale for Women and Kids sign up on the window at Nordstrom's.

In-Store and Online Sale Start Dates - Wednesday, November 8, 2006. Happy Shopping!

Where to Shop: The "Old West"

picture via

It's not my style, but I'm always impressed with the selection of clothing available at a certain category of, often overlooked, retailer: the combination hardware and western clothing store. With names like The General Store and Big R, I wouldn't expect much in the way of style. I'd be wrong.

The other advantage to these types of stores is that they actually carry sizes, specifically 36 and longer inseams in men's pants, unlike Eddie Bauer, which is where I formerly bought most of my husband's clothes.

Have you discovered the "Old West" store in your neck of the woods?

Monday, November 06, 2006

Coutorture It

The newest from Coutorture:

In the spirit of social news sites like Digg, Reddit, and Lipstick, Coutorture has developed a site that will allow all users to submit and vote on the top fashion news stories of the day. Anyone who registers can submit a story and the entire user community will vote on the piece to determine its placement. The stories can come from any space in fashion whether traditional media, blogs, magazines, or forums. It is up to you the users to decide what gets top billing!

Check it out!

Eddie Bauer Outlet Clearance - Take an additional 30% Off

11/06/06 - 11/12/06

Speaking of vests as outerwear, I like this quilted corduroy vest (see the other color too) better than fleece. On sale, but still beyond cheapskate range.

Fleece Vest = Outerwear

(I have tried these links in every conceivable order and it still comes out like this. Since I am still geek-less, I invite any of you to tell me how to fix it. :)

Anyway, my point, and I do have one, is this: IMHO, a fleece vest looks like outerwear. When wearing it, you project the appearance of wearing a coat. In fact, almost all polar fleece gives off the same vibe -- "I'm outdoors".

I allow there are exceptions, but in general I wouldn't wear it except for leisure activities. And never as shown, with a short sleeve t-shirt.

And, another thing. These kind of cotton t-shirt type turtlenecks are UNDERWEAR, especially when done in cutesy little prints. Together with a fleece vest, they could be a cute look for a sporting event or game night (WITH JEANS).

Just my opinion, but I thought you'd want to know.

Friday, November 03, 2006

CoutureCandy Dress Sale

This dress would be cute over a pair of pants (I know I said dress over jeans is a don't.) 15% Off Dresses at

CoutureCandy is offering 15% off all dresses for the month of November.

Crazy Hip Blog Mamas Giveaway

IGIGI has teamed up with Crazy Hip Blog Mamas to offer the following contest:

During the month of November, 06, blog about a time when you felt like the fashion disaster at that fancy wedding, your best friend's graduation ceremony or on that hot date, and leave a comment here with a link to your entry for a chance to win a styling session with an IGIGI in-house consultant and a $100 gift certificate to splurge on yourself!

Three lucky winners will win IGIGI gift certificates each for $100. The contest starts on November 1, 06 and ends on November 30th, 06. The winners will be announced on Crazy Hip Blog Mamas website and will be notified via email for their prizes.
See all the fine print at Crazy Hip Blog Mamas.

Thursday, November 02, 2006

Blogtipping Day

I "hear" the first of every month is Blogtipping Day.

Can't you hurt a blog if you tip it over?

Let's hear from you cow-girls. Hee hee.

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Apparent Body Size

It's hard to tell how big somebody is just by looking.

In this post with picture, I noted that when I wear these particular jeans a frequent comment is that I look small. To which Maria Palma said it was hard to tell from the picture that I look small. She's right.

But even in person, looks can be deceiving. I have one friend who is barely bigger than me, but somehow she appears to be a larger-scale woman. Presumably her larger scale features and exotic appearance create a greater "presence", making her seem larger-than-life, so to speak.

So what goes into apparent body size?
  • Height
  • Width
  • Supposedly that's all. I wonder. That in no way explains why gifts to my two daughters are invariably smalls while mine is medium.

Selecting the everyday purse is the primary reason to identify apparent body size.

What about you, do people tend to estimate your size wrong?

Taut vs Drapy Fabrics: Combining for Congruence

This vest is on sale at Gap. Click on the picture to buy. Contact me if you need a place to have it shipped to. :)
Gap Long cable knit vestMaybe we're all sick of discussing taut vs drapy fabrics and relating them to the body, but I still have a few ideas left in my brain that make some sense. After that, I throw up my hands and declare, "cashmere and stretch cotton for everybody!"

As I explained in this recent post, my own body-type, speaking now of fleshiness vs angularity, is combination: straight on top, curvy on bottom. What about the combination pictured makes it so right for me?

  • The crispy white shirt, which is what I need most and should buy with my remaining birthday money, would both support and hide the straight lines in my upper body.

    (What could be grosser than a smooth, drapy, lightweight tee-shirt with collar bones showing through? Okay, maybe a smooth, drapy, lightweight tee-shirt with rolls showing through. But it's close!)

  • Although barely visible here, the jeans appear to be more on the softly broken-in side. And clearly heavier weight than the crispy white shirt.

    I'm beginning to suspect that my distaste for drapy fabrics on bottom is because the fabrics I am picturing are too lightweight for my body-type. In terms of jeans, softer, either because of wear or spandex, seems better.

  • The vest, being both soft and medium-weight, seems to link the top and bottom harmoniously.

    And note the patterning created by the combination of vertical ribbing and cables. Because my face is primarily vertical, with some rounded features, this is good. All cables, however, emphasizes the tip of my nose. Crazy!

Actually, there are a few other things I like about this combination as well, but since I'm not writing a book here, I'll stop now.

Your turn. Does this give you any ideas?

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