Green | Everybody, Everywear

KE0O6288.jpg 18 October 2011 5 July 2011
19 November 2010 12 January 11 22 February 2011 -- Day 14
2 December 2010 18 April 2011 28 February 2011 -- Day 16

[ Top row, from left: February 2012 / November 2011 / July 2011 // Second row, from left: November 2010 / January 2011 / February 2011 // Third row, from left: December 2010 / April 2011 / February 2011 ]

If I had had my act together today, I’d have (a) actually picked out a pair of green pants instead of continuing to endlessly search for the perfect one, (b) worn said pants and made it long enough into the day without getting baby spit-up on them to take photos, and (c) actually edited and posted said photos amid a blur of deadlines and an allergies-without-medicine induced haze. Because you all know part (a) was by far the least realistic of the required elements, I bring you…this recap of some of my favorite ways to wear green and green-ish through the ages, settings, seasons and stages of being not-yet-pregnant, barely-pregnant, hugely-pregnant and thankfully-not-pregnant-anymore.

*and I would love, love, love your suggestions on green pants. I tried those adorable tiny babypants from Target, but the pants-kryptonite of my waist-to-just-above-the-knee ratio proved their undoing (terrible pun intended). Have a wonderful Tuesday!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to.

KE0O7129.jpg

KE0O7148.jpg

KE0O7142.jpg

KE0O7150.jpg

  • Doubleknit Blazer: Halogen via Nordstrom’s
  • Dot-Matrix Dress: Target
  • Belt (worn backwards): Forever 21
  • Black Tights: HUE
  • Brown Riding Boots: Franco Sarto via Zappos.com
  • Teal Earrings: Mall vendor

When my late, great advisor in graduate school (the first time) thought I needed a little prompting to get going on a writing project (not that that ever happened. Ever. Of course not.), he would say, “[S.], the tempus is really starting to fugit on this one.” Or sometimes he’d just an e-mail with the subject heading, “the tempus is fugiting!” and a description of what I was supposed to be working on in the body of the e-mail. (Knowing now how little time he had left when he sent some of those e-mails, I wish I had spent more time just listening to him and less time frantically responding to those e-mails, but that somewhat cruel irony is better left for another day). It wasn’t really all that funny a way of trying to get me off the dime (again, that was never necessary! ever!), it was just one of those sort of classic things about him: that he was the kind of person who felt so strongly about your needing to meet a deadline that he had to express it partially in Latin.

But that time has come, now, on a number of projects, as I hurtle towards graduation (a word that never sounded so sweet). Time really is flying by, and there are days that I struggle to break through the deep procrastination that comes from not having a realistic plan for getting it all done on time and in a way that I’m proud of (note to Congress: your inability to resist the temptation to change federal law regarding religious refusals in health care is not helping. Settle down so I can finish writing, already!). But some days are better than others, and I’ve been glad to have some time during this “spring break” (hah!) to work in more uninterrupted blocks than I would normally be able to. We’ll get there, even if I have to just keep breathing through it sometimes. And who knows, being overdressed for a day in the library can’t hurt, right?

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to.

Tagged with:
 

KE0O7092.jpg

KE0O7078.jpg

KE0O7048.jpg

  • Black and Red Faux-Wrap Dress: Express, circa 1999
  • Red Cardigan: Vintage Michael Kors, mommed
  • Black Tights: HUE
  • Black Croc Wedges: Stuart Weitzman via Bloomingdale’s
  • Necklace: gifted

I didn’t plan it this way, but this outfit is doing the time warp in a serious way, blending a dress I got in eleventh grade with the first ever pair of “grown up shoes” I got when I had a job that could pay for food, heat and rent at the same time with a sweater that was the first of many workhorse items I’ve inherited from my mother. It’s one of the great—and continually surprising—things about clothes: I’m willing to bet every item in your closet has a story, and they come together in often-hilarious ways that reveal things about us. For example: if this outfit could talk, it would say, “yup! Still kind of into red. And still here. Really. If I were a person, I could have had a bat mitzvah by now, and I’m still in your closet.”

Setting aside for a moment the absurd age of this charming fire hazard of a garment aside (seriously, folks, the biblical prohibition on poly blends is there for a reason!), this last red-out look is another red-on-black combination. Instead of red on white and black, though, it’s red on wine and black, giving this red topper a slightly different kind of emphasis. And instead of using a neutral base to mute or calm a bright colored accent piece, here, I’m doubling down on the brightness, using the interplay between the sweater and the dress to downplay the slightly goofy pattern and make the bright sweater pop even more. It’s not a strategy for the faint of heart, but I liked the way it worked out here, making an outfit whose demure silhouette says “I know how to play by the rules” into something much more special.

Remixing a beloved and boldly-patterned dress can be a trick, no matter how versatile the piece originally seems. Drawn as I am to these items, after a few iterations, I often feel like I’ve run smack into the wall of cardigan-and-blazer rotation and am fresh out of new things to do. But it’s in the ability of these kinds of pieces to function both as blank canvases and as one-and-done standbys that their real value lies; as I was trying to get out the door this morning, knowing that I could combine this dress and a pair of black tights and end up having something to wear, no matter what else I did, gave me that little extra oomph to try something new, and end up wearing a 13-year-old dress in a way I’d never tried before. Partying, I suppose, like it was 1999.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to. Note: Google Friend Connect will be discontinued in early March, so please shift your subscriptions to RSS or Bloglovin’ before the end of February!

Tagged with:
 

KE0O6744.jpg

KE0O6754.jpg

KE0O6735.jpg

KE0O6725.jpg

  • Necklace: Swapped
  • Sweater/Jacket Thing: Vintage Piazza Sempione, mommed
  • Maroon Maxi Skirt (worn as a midi dress): Old Navy
  • Black Boots: Born ‘Mallory,’ gift from husband D.
  • Brown Woven Belt: Loft
  • Not Pictured: Black Tights: HUE

Well, hello there! We’re back from two (two!) trips with our big-girl 5-month-old (yikes!) in one week (about which more later), and though rejuvenated by visits to friends and family, we’re all a bit exhausted and facing a monster case of the Mondays, so I’ll keep this one short and sweet. This is another attempt at remixing this Old Navy maxi skirt as a midi dress, using some of the same techniques I used here: a topper to hide the nursing bra straps, a belt to provide some waist definition and hold the whole thing in place. This version is a bit more obviously wintry, but has a bit of a funky, country vibe with the boots overlapping the skirt hem. Though I’m not 100% sold on the proportions (which somehow managed to feel slightly Hey, Dude! (dare I date myself), and give me a serious case of distressingly-flattened hindquarters), I love the combination of cream and maroon here, with the pop of turquoise from the necklace. This boxier-than-I’d-normally-wear jacket has also become an MVP of my new-mom days, at the right level of formality for a bigger range of situations than I’d have initially imagined. All in all, I think the first attempt was more successful, but for a combination of not-quites on a crazy Monday morning, I’ll take it and run.

Midis with boots: awesome or a little too cowgirl for big city life? I’m thinking of chopping the hem on this skirt to turn it into a proper high-waisted midi skirt in the near future. Thoughts? Tips for hemming jersey?

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to. Note: Google Friend Connect will be discontinued in early March, so please shift your subscriptions to RSS or Bloglovin’ before the end of February!

One last thought: I’d be so honored and thankful if you’d take a minute to vote for me in the Circle of Moms’ search for the Top 25 Fashion and Beauty bloggers! You can click here to vote (or the button in the sidebar), once per day until February 28, 2012. (No registration required).


Tagged with:
 

KE0O6321.jpg

KE0O6325.jpg

KE0O6345.jpg

KE0O6349.jpg

  • Chambray Shirtdress: Target
  • Burgundy Tights: HUE
  • Red Scarf (worn as cowl): Malo, mommed
  • Brown Riding Boots: Franco Sarto via Zappos
  • Brown Woven Belt: LOFT

Last week, Lex asked me about my adventures with crocodiles that I teased a while back. The resulting tale sweeps broadly enough to link together this outfit (and yet another analogous-reds combination), forty days of wandering in the desert, new parenthood and yesterday’s misadventures. If it had a twee soundtrack, it would be the stuff that Wes Anderson films are made of…or a reason to call the Society the for Prevention of Cruelty to Metaphors. It’s also something I’ve never shared. Here we go:

* * *

It’s mid-July of 2004 and though it’s “winter” in the Northern part of Western Australia, you wouldn’t know it: here, “winter” means no flooding, soaking rain, a few extra hours in the morning before the temperature tops 100F, and an entirely different cast of hazardous characters. It is the most beautiful place I have ever been, desolate and open and undisturbed, but also terrifying, like a hot version of Antarctica, like living on the moon. We are deep in the King Leopold Ranges of the central Kimberley, where we have been for some fifteen days. Other than the morning we hiked out to the road to meet the re-ration truck, we have seen no other humans since we left Broome. We have seen no other humans because there aren’t any: the population density of this part of Western Australia is .247 people per square kilometer, vastly outnumbered by sheep, kangaroos, cows (feral and domestic), and snakes. We’ve been assigned random spots along the banks of a stream for twenty-four hour “solos,” so here I am, all alone with a copy of David Amsden, my journal, and a camera. Probably, there are pictures of my desperately swollen feet to mark the occasion sitting on a memory card somewhere in our house.

* * *

I am, at this precise moment, more alone than I have ever been in my life, and more than I ever will be again. Six months ago, in what I have to fairly describe as a fit of late-adolescent pique, I decided to follow through on a longstanding ambition to take a National Outdoor Leadership School course, and because I was petulant and generally pretty aggravating and sick of being in Charlottesville and nineteen, I picked the one that sounds furthest away and most dramatic in the catalog. Broome, the tiny town on the northern tip of Western Australia we left from, is nearly 14,000 miles from home: it is almost literally as far away as I could possibly go.

Of course, life has changed since then. Whatever the great crisis of the winter of my second year of college was, it has more or less subsided, I’ve wrapped up the term and come home, and I’ve met D., and with the heady self-assurance of being young and strangely more reckless than either of us usually are, we’re oddly serious and confident about each other almost immediately. When it finally comes time to get on a plane and fly half way around the world, I am excited but also almost mournful. I land in Auckland after a day and a half worth of plane flights and feel like I’ve landed in Lost in Translation without the ironic distance.

I wander around New Zealand for three weeks in a haze of late-teen angst and insecurity, staying in hostels and riding buses through a landscape that really does look exactly like the establishing shots in the Lord of the Rings trilogy. Thanks to cheap international phone cards, I talk to D. most days. I climb a mountain that appears in the opening sequence to The Two Towers, and jump out of a low-flying airplane, but those are both tales for another time. I watch a lot of rugby, re-read A Heartbreaking Work of Staggering Genius in anonymous restaurants, and don’t drink even though it’s legal. I write in a journal. A lot.

There are twelve of us on the course, and two instructors. Eleven women and three men in total. Mostly American college students, with two friends finishing up a year volunteering with Americorps and doing this as a stop on a world tour they’re taking together. We fall in and out of alliances, but no one can get voted off the island. We are it, we fourteen strangers, in the desert, for 35 days.

We start out with hazard training. The take us to a snake farm and try to teach us to identify poisonous and non-poisonous snakes (and because there are 10 college girls and snakes, there are embarrassing pictures). The highlight of the afternoon is the trip to the croc park, though, where captured, ancient saltwater crocodiles laze about in caged sections of a muddy stream. They look like dinosaurs. We talk about how to identify one in the water without disturbing it, about safety precautions when setting up campsites and gathering water. An attendant torments an eighty year old croc with a ball. The croc suddenly leaps from the water and runs for the large, pink ball, which deflates in his jaws. The image haunts me. A few times during our 35 days in the bush we see eyes in the water, and one night a small monitor lizard wakes me up running up the beach to the rock I’m sleeping on. I won’t forget them. Ever.

The NOLS philosophy doesn’t generally involve a lot of explaining why you’re being asked to do what you’re doing. There’s also a resistance to the use of technology that’s either quaint or incredibly aggravating, depending on your point of view, so here we are, wandering in the desert with topographical maps and compases and nary a GPS or a marked hiking trail in sight. Every day, when we divide into two groups to hike to our next campsite, each group is given a “snake beacon,” that will send off an alarm to summon a Medivac if necessary. We take on increasing leadership roles in baby steps: first rotating who leads the group with an instructor to assist with navigating, then being “leader for the day” with no instructor assistance but the instructor present, then off on our own in groups of six for the day, with instructions to meet at an X on the map by evening, then, eventually, on our own in groups of six for the last five days.

* * *

The first day that I was the “leader for the day” was oddly like my first days as a parent. I muddled through in a haze of self-doubt, worrying that I wouldn’t do “well enough,” with no idea what well-enough meant. I remember wanting nothing more than for someone to make decisions for me, to tell me I was “doing it right,” for feedback of some kind that would guide me. I wanted absolution for my unknown and assuredly myriad failings, to have someone show me what to do and how to do it. Unsurprisingly, whatever it was I was looking for—in either case—was not forthcoming.

I’m an ambitious person, but I’m also an instinctual conflict avoider. If something doesn’t work out well, it often doesn’t take me long to develop a once-burned, twice shy approach to insulate myself from the possibility of future failure. I change course, radically if necessary, to try to give myself the best shot, to evade the hot, buttered boiling sensation of having screwed up. I do my best to fight this instinct, but there’s no denying I feel it. Even yesterday: I received some mildly disappointing news and remember that feeling flooding my senses, the desire not to even try again, to close doors, to hide.

But there is no running away in the desert, and there’s no “doing it right,” either. There’s only getting from here to there, only finding the X by nightfall. You have to live with the person you are and the things you do every day, to keep putting one foot in front of the other in the face of embarrassment, failure, misstatement, sunburn, severe aggravation. There is no such thing as conflict avoidance, and there is no one to make decisions for you. It doesn’t mean you do everything perfectly—we miscalculated our remaining food supply and ended up so hungry we fought over the crumbs out of the packet of cake mix our instructors gave us to celebrate my 20th birthday—but you do it. And you discover, at the end, that you’ve been doing it all along.

* * *

I’ve never written before about this time in my life, though that in and of itself is a strange realization. Physically, those days changed me: I broke my wrist when I tripped carrying a 70-pound backpack, I may have gotten a mild case of Ross River Fever, I came home with some stress-related GI problems that have never really gone away. But more than that, it very much was the emotional turning point in my life, the moment when I began becoming the person I am today, when my life began to take the shape it now more or less holds.

I didn’t plan on it being the case. Or at least, not in the way I expected. In my teenage frustration I had planned on exhausting myself to the point of clarity, on drowning out the noise in my head with the clear air of long, difficult days. And I suppose that happened, but the real kicker was what all that noise was replaced with. At some point, maybe after that first miserable day trying to lead the group or maybe on that dark night with the monitor lizard or maybe that morning that we were out of food and the stream had run dry and we had to keep going, anyway, I stopped being the person who always ran away and started being the person who ran towards things, who trusted her ability to put one foot in front of the other and keep going.

I am not always that person, and I certainly wasn’t yesterday afternoon, but I’d do better to remind myself—as a parent, as a scholar, as a friend—that I can be, that I pride myself on being the kind of person who solves problems in life, who makes things happen. Someone who doesn’t just want, but does, who doesn’t wait for things to happen to her. Who remembers that there’s no one coming, but knows that that’s okay, anyway.

* * *

If you’ve read this far looking for the kicker of how this relates back to the outfit I’m wearing in these photos: the folks from the Society of the Prevention of Cruelty to Metaphors did indeed call, and suggested that stretching it any further was just inhumane. So I’ll just say this: the aesthetic reminds me of those dusty days and the baking sun, of a climate for which there isn’t really a right thing to wear to protect you from the heat and the vegetation and the sun and the snakes all at once. Call it outback-inspired. Call it a very, very odd kind of power dressing, drawing on a very strange, and often hidden, source of power.

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to. Note: Google Friend Connect will be discontinued in early March, so please shift your subscriptions to RSS or Bloglovin’ before the end of February!

One last thought: I’d be so honored and thankful if you’d take a minute to vote for me in the Circle of Moms’ search for the Top 25 Fashion and Beauty bloggers! You can click here to vote (or the button in the sidebar), once per day until February 28, 2012. (No registration required).


Tagged with:
 

KE0O6679.jpg

KE0O6671.jpg

KE0O6665.jpg

KE0O6664.jpg

  • Patterned Shirtdress: Target
  • Red Jacket/Sweater: Cabi, gift from MIL
  • Black Tights: HUE
  • Black Croc Wedges: Stuart Weitzman via Bloomingdales
  • Necklace: gifted
  • Earrings: Old Navy

In the spirit of the season (and, okay, it also might be my favorite color!), I’m featuring a series of red-inspired and red-inclusive outfits this week, with hues from wine to tomato to magenta and back again. For yesterday’s “Everybody Everywear” challenge, I paired bright pink and maroon. Today, I’ve gone for perhaps a more classic combination, the stuff of cute firehouse Dalmatians and newspaper jokes: black and white and red all over.

As promised, I’ve been remixing this shirtdress, which I love for its slightly swishy swirly shape and fun, pop-art-like pattern (for some reason I seem to be collecting Target dresses that invite art-history allusions. I must miss the chics!). It’s continued to impress with its versatility, and with its surprisingly wearable shape: though I can count the number of actually-well-fitting button-ups I’ve had since puberty on one hand, the dress fits well and comfortably, with no awkward gaping or need for crazy fashion-tape experiments. I think it will work well in the spring with bare legs and fun shoes, but I like the slightly modish feel of black tights into black shoes.

This version pairs it with one of the more misunderstood pieces in my closet: this red quasi-blazer cardigan my MIL gave me a few years back. It’s the kind of piece that should be a standout in my closet: it’s my favorite shade of slightly-bluer tomato red, the collar has an interesting shape, it has a built-in belt…yet I’ve struggled to find good ways to wear it. I think that may come from one too many attempts to remix it with pants, since this version seems much more promising. It’s yet another reminder to be mindful of proportions in context: sometimes it’s not the piece itself, but what you pair it with.

Have you had a piece that you’d struggled to style for a long time that just clicked when worn a different way?

However you marked (or didn’t mark!) the occasion, I hope you all had a wonderful, affirming, love-filled February 14th. I’d give you all a big hug of thanks for all your inspiration and insight, but my arms don’t reach that far!

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to. Note: Google Friend Connect will be discontinued in early March, so please shift your subscriptions to RSS or Bloglovin’ before the end of February!

One last thought: I’d be so honored and thankful if you’d take a minute to vote for me in the Circle of Moms’ search for the Top 25 Fashion and Beauty bloggers! You can click here to vote (or the button in the sidebar), once per day until February 28, 2012. (No registration required).

Tagged with:
 

Pink + Red | Everybody, Everywear

KE0O6840.jpg

KE0O6839.jpg

  • Maroon Skirt: Kyla‘s closet sale
  • Pink Knit Blouse: Banana Republic (2008)
  • Tweed Cropped Blazer: Tracy Reese via Nordstrom’s (2004)
  • Black Tights: HUE
  • Black Croc Wedges: Stuart Weitzman via Bloomingdales

Happy Valentine’s Day (if you feel so moved!)! I couldn’t help but fall for this month’s Everybody Everywear theme of pink and red together, since I (a) adore the color red and (b) have apparently never met a pairing of tightly analogous colors that I couldn’t find a way to love. Laughing in the face of color-matching “rules,” I’ve worn red-based tight pairings on dates, at home, at work and school, while pregnant, while postpartum (and still wearing my maternity jeans). I’ve also waxed poetic about my love for these kinds of clashing-but-not-clashing color combinations, which, once you get used to them, can feel downright visually soothing.

This outfit is a version of red and pink together that would work even in a moderately conservative office. I wouldn’t wear it in an environment where I’d never seen anyone wear anything that wasn’t a black suit with a white shirt, but if I’d been there a while and had seen matched separates and the occasional texture or color walk by, I’d give it a whirl. While a brighter skirt would also have worked, I’ve chosen a darker shade here, which preserves the playfulness of the red + pink combo, but adds a touch of sophistication and makes it decidedly office friendly on days other than Valentine’s Day. I’m using the cropped blazer to add a little extra punch of formality (and let’s face it, it’s pretty cold outside), and to provide a kind of a decoy for the color blocking below: in a funny way, it serves the neat function of letting the bright elements in the outfit stand out and blend in at the same time.

Are brights and “clashing” colors a go in your workplace? Do you have a favorite color pairing or strategy for making brights work for work?

Never one to be left out of the party, baby M. decided to play along, as EBEW’s youngest participant. In fairness, she would like you to note that this was totally by accident (i.e., mom discovered as we were leaving that baby was wearing red and pink, too!), but also that ever since grandma bought her this adorable hot-pink-and-tomato-red jacket, she rocks tightly analogous color pairings almost every day. It was also one of those I-should-have-worn-a-raincoat spit up days, so this outfit lasted for approximately fifteen glorious minutes.

Baby #EBEW
On baby M.:

  • Pink and Red Fleece Hoodie: Carter’s, gift from MIL
  • Ballet Pink and White Striped PJs: Hanna Andersson, gift from my mom
  • One of two kinds of socks that ever manage to stay on her feet: Target

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to. Note: Google Friend Connect will be discontinued in early March, so please shift your subscriptions to RSS or Bloglovin’ before the end of February!

One last thought: I’d be so honored and thankful if you’d take a minute to vote for me in the Circle of Moms’ search for the Top 25 Fashion and Beauty bloggers! You can click here to vote (or the button in the sidebar), once per day until February 28, 2012. (No registration required).


Tagged with:
 

Like most new parents, we had grand plans for how “normal” our post-baby life would be. Inspired by our remarkably portable niece, we imagined going places in the evenings, taking her on long excursions during the day, having spontaneous adventures…

Yeah. About that. As it happens, M. very much likes to sleep in her crib, thankyouverymuch, and not really in other places. And I can’t really say I blame her, since the world is a pretty interesting place. But between her preference for sleeping at home and my logistical and emotional need for some semblance of routine from an early date (about which more later), things have looked, well, different than we expected.

But we had one cherished dream for our post-baby life that I’d been unwilling to give up on, even though it’s been on the shelf for a while: taking M. rock climbing with us. D. and I met in a climbing gym more than seven years ago, and through injuries (some serious) and other interruptions, it’s been a major part of our lives (and indeed, has been a part of mine since I started doing it competitively in high school). With precautions and my doctor’s okay, I continued climbing some until I was about 20 weeks pregnant, and I hadn’t been back since then. (D. has been in and out with injuries since then, but has been back a few times since M. was born.)

And then finally, yesterday, it happened. We wrapped up work a little early, picked M. up and headed off to the climbing gym. We alternated playing with the baby and working on boulder problems for a few hours, introducing her to old friends and introducing our muscles to old ways of moving. And when she eventually needed to eat, I found myself leaning against a back wall of the gym, nursing a smiling baby, unable to stop smiling myself.

It wasn’t the greatest night of climbing I’ve ever had. We’re still figuring out the kinks of getting both of us enough climbing time, and my shoes are mindbogglingly tight on my relaxin-stretched feet. Lateral movement on overhangs is… slightly jarring, a searing reminder that I need to keep working on my core strength as my body continues to knit itself back together. But my arms are sore in a euphoria-inducing way, and I felt alive, and alert, and blissfully happy.

But it wasn’t just the pump in my forearms and the thrill of being off the ground that made our night, it really was the experience of being there together. Of getting to feel physically more like my prepregnancy self, sure, but also of getting to feel like the kind of family we’ve always said we wanted to be. The kind who shares the things we love with our daughter, who blends her smoothly into our adult lives (as cute as it is to watch her focus so, so hard on the toys on her exersaucer). I know this may only get harder as she continues hurtling down the path towards being a toddler, which is all the more reason to push myself out of my comfort zone of chaos-avoidance to help us live the kind of life we want to now, before things change again.

Who knows, maybe I’ll have to make an exception to my shopping ban for a new pair of climbing shoes (and to do some research on kid-sized harnesses).

Do you play sports or enjoy outdoor activities with your kids, or have memories of doing so with your own parents?

20120209-230411.jpg

{ photographic proof of a night well spent, my #febphotoaday self-portrait }

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to. Note: Google Friend Connect will be discontinued in early March, so please shift your subscriptions to RSS or Bloglovin’ before the end of February!

One last thought: I’d be so honored and thankful if you’d take a minute to vote for me in the Circle of Moms’ search for the Top 25 Fashion and Beauty bloggers! You can click here to vote (or the button in the sidebar), once per day until February 28, 2012. (No registration required).

 

KE0O5765.jpg

KE0O5779.jpg

  • Necklace: Swapped
  • Black Tights: HUE
  • Tweed Sweater (again!): Ralph Lauren, mommed
  • Black Jersey Dress (again!): Ann Taylor
  • Boots (again!): Born “Mallory,” gift from husband D.
  • Black Nursing Tank: Bravado Designs via Figure8Maternity.com

I’m breaking several style-blogger rules at once here, using such oft-remixed elements, but I’m hoping it ends up being more “positive testament to unexpected wardrobe versatility” than “wow, could you wear a different sweater?” In my defense, these photos were not taken on consecutive days (sorry: performativity alert! Where’d that pesky fourth wall go?). On the other hand, it’s hard to blame yourself for wearing things you love in different ways: this dress is a constant standby, this boxier-than-usual sweater has been an unexpected postpartum superhero, and the necklace is precisely the right shape to keep baby m. intrigued without a huge risk of her accidentally choking me whilst expressing her enthusiasm for it. (Who said getting dressed with a small child wasn’t exciting?)

But there’s a broader point, lurking behind this meta-remix of an outfit, and it’s one worth reminding myself of: even my old-favorite-ist of old favorites still offers new possibilities. And in a way, that’s both challenging and comforting.

And well-timed. Although I’m not doing anything as organized as a 30-for-30, I am taking a little break from shopping this month. Time and budget are part of the reason, but not all of it. I’m hoping a little time consciously resisting the desire to acquire will give me a little mental clarity and re-energize my creative muscles a bit.

When you’re surrounded by fashion inspiration (thanks, bloggy friends!), and when your body is in a state of flux (not such robust thanks, pregnancy), it’s easy to convince yourself that things that are really “wants” are needs. More times than I’d like to admit, I’ve looked at something and thought, “if I just had…” I’d never need to shop again! My wardrobe would be complete! But it’s like the myth of the last big score (okay, okay, we’ve been watching to much White Collar): the house always wins. And that’s fine! It’s the great thing about fashion, the idea that there are interesting things out there waiting to be discovered and to be used as raw materials for creative styling. But it does mean that the idea of wardrobe completionism (or its more insidious cousin, wardrobe-completionism-as-sense-of-self-completionism) is pretty unhelpful.

The much-ballyhooed piece in this weekend’s WSJ about the superiority of French parenting referenced the Stanford Marshmallow Experiment, where young children were offered two marshmallows if they would wait, in the presence of a single marshmallow, for fifteen minutes. While I’m not a small child with a desperate urge for a sugar high of painful proportions, I have been feeling my own sense of fragmented distractability lately, a strange desire to be constantly adding new things and doing new things. Not shopping isn’t really the solution to this broader problem of needing to be able to sit still and focus on just. one. thing. in a more effective manner, it’s a piece of the puzzle, somehow. I’m hoping that the discipline of the exercise will give me a little breath of fresh air, though, a sense that for a few weeks, nothing new will be jammed into the sometimes-hopelessly-overfull of my days, that I’ll learn to say “that can wait,” or “I don’t need to.” Or at least, I’m crossing my fingers that that will be the case.

Have you ever taken a hiatus from shopping? Just for clothes or for other things? Did you find it clarifying?

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to. Note: Google Friend Connect will be discontinued in early March, so please shift your subscriptions to RSS or Bloglovin’ before the end of February!

One last thought: I’d be so honored and thankful if you’d take a minute to vote for me in the Circle of Moms’ search for the Top 25 Fashion and Beauty bloggers! You can click here to vote (or the button in the sidebar), once per day until February 28, 2012. (No registration required).

Tagged with:
 

{ Focus and wonderment, with a quick detour into Northern Renaissance painting }

{ In a Gerber zip-up sleeper and a Carter’s onesie. Both of which are pink. Sigh. }

KE0O6440.jpg

Like what you just read? You can subscribe to Narrowly Tailored via RSS or bloglovin’, or follow me on Twitter to be the first to know what I’m up to.

Tagged with: