Sunday, April 27, 2008

WT Week 4: Coming soon...

Wardrobe Therapy week 4. You know, the one with the shoes.
See all the hard work that I'm doing?

I'm wrangling shoes for ya and this isn't all of them either!

Clothes that fit: Priceless

I decided to go shopping Friday after work - - and shopping I did go.

I pretty much hit everywhere on the way. The main goal was a return to H&M, but I ended up stopping at Pier 1, World Market, Home Depot, and a new franchise boutique; called Fab'rik, along the way.
At Pier 1, I checked out the dinnerware and glassware but I didn’t see anything I liked until World Market where I saw this set of cherry blossom-themed dishes. I like them but I think it’s more the pattern I love; I would love to have a dress in that pattern.

At Home Depot, I was ecstatic to find that they were now selling a larger variety of the colors in RustOleum’s Painter's Touch and American Accents lines in half pint sizes. As it is now, most of their non-primary colors only come in spray cans.

So, did I buy anything? Yes, I bought a lovely top and Capri pants at H&M.
Most of the tops I looked at last week were either not there, did not fit, or I just couldn’t find them since they rearranged the store since last week. Those pants that I really liked had the funkiest fit ever. Supposedly wide-legged pants they had the tightest upper thigh fit making the pants look like supremely wrong bell bottoms, starting to flare from high at mid-thigh. They had an extremely low rise, which doesn’t look attractive when you have such a wide waistband. I thought they would be at waist height or even much higher from the look of them. I guess I should have looked at this picture closer.
I then tried on their other pants, getting more and more discouraged, and starting to blame it all on my weight loss UNTIL… I tried on this last choice in pants. I had turned them down before because they were definitely Lycra enhanced and felt a lot like parachute material because of it. Well, I now want more parachute clothes! These things molded to my body; waist and butt included, and I actually felt attractive in them. It wasn’t until that moment that I realized how debilitating always wearing clothes that don’t fit well (my droopy-crotched pants!) makes you feel. When you find yourself posing from all different angles in a dressing room mirror, you know you have to buy it. It is no longer a “just OK” or “it will do” situation. If it makes you feel “pretty” or “hot,” then you better put your money down because it is worth it.
Great patterned top: $15

Fab Lycra Capri pants: $25

Clothes that fit AND make me feel cute: priceless

*I kept the price tags visible so you could see them. Dimwit me, how exactly were you supposed to read them that small? Hah!

Best show ever!

Take that SNL!

Friday, April 25, 2008

WT (very belated) Week 3: Jackets and Cardigans

  1. Torture Devices.
    Dusky blue linen jacket - very elegant, very deconstructed, however, I think I'm more of a "constructed" type of girl now.Black wool vintage-look wool swing jacket from Forever 21. If only it wasn't black since I'm trying to move away from that.
    Ann Taylor brown silk jacket, also part of a suit where the bottom half was given away a long time ago.

  2. Velveteen Rabbits.
    Oriental silk jacquard jacket with ruby red lining and frog closures - This has actually been too small for years because it can no longer be closed. It is so gorgeous and such a find that it will probably become a Sentimental Journey and stay around for a bit.

  3. Superstars.
    No superstars. Unfortunately, the last superstar (a khaki jacket from Papaya) was lost (and then stolen) before I had a chance to make a copy from it. I have a small picture of it, but it had both an empire seam and princess seams on the bodice; instead of a zipper or buttons it closed with small metallic snaps and had open French cuff-like sleeve bands. It was very cheap and I was really excited to make a copy from it in the near future. Then, very soon after that, it disappeared.

  4. Stalwart Staples.
    Forever 21 red vintage 'swing' jacket This store really does have some nice jacket and coat designs and their styles are usually retro; very 1950s. Their quality is hit-and-miss, but this one only needed some reinforcement stitching here and there and some work done on the buttonholes.
    A one-button black Lycra cardigan from Target. With this I need to find a similar style in one or two "joyful" colors.
    J. Crew Jackie O-type jacket in green wool. It was part of a cute boxy suit but I outgrew (in all directions!) the short straight skirt and gave it away years ago.

  5. Same Time, Next Year.
    The same dusky blue jacket from above. This made it to this category because I really don't have anything to "go" with it, except some black and white pieces. In addition, because of its fabric - linen - it only comes out in Summer and because of its style, only for rare occasions.

    My two rarely worn work suits. I have been lucky that during the years, my work environments have been deemed work-casual. Suits for me have been required only for conference first impressions (followed by the wearing of separates with the suit pieces) and for job interviews.

    Therefore, this navy Casual Corner (remember them?) suit is still in my wardrobe despite being more than eight years-old. Underneath the flattering cut of the jacket with its in-seam pockets is a boat-neck sleeveless shift dress.

    The olive three-piece suit was purchased from Ann Taylor Loft. The long, mid-thigh length jacket is matched with a pair of creased and cuffed pants and a straight pencil skirt. This suit is a bit dated only because of the non-typical length and the fact that the pockets zipper shut.
  6. Sentimental Journeys.
    My bebe pale green suede western-style jacket - It was a gift from a past boyfriend but it may be sold for money on consignment. Sentimentality does have a price tag apparently.
  7. Mysteries of the Lost Shopping Trip.A Tahari navy blue suit that I bought on sale when I truly believed that I was going to have the jacket tailored to fit...SEVEN years ago! It has never been worn. I hope to get this one to a consignment shop because luckily it's a very classic design.
What I need now:

  • A fitted brown or khaki jacket (but not a blazer type) that will go with at least 50% of my new outfits. This item has been VERY hard to find.
  • A sweet cardigan that will look good over dresses, simple but not too boring, and defnitely in colors other than black or brown.

    Anyone see anything cute (and affordable) out there?

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Tips from Real Simple

In the May issue of Real Simple they have this short article on how to build a modern wardrobe. I thought the four design legends and design principles that they chose were great and wanted to share them.

*which could also be the "feminine" of the first principle

Sunday, April 20, 2008

H & M Update

I unfortunately, didn't make it to H&M today, but I wanted to show you the pants from yesterday.

Look how well they could work in replicating Jillian's look from PR that I mentioned here.

Sorry, that those links for my other choices did not take you directly to the items mentioned. However, I hope you had fun looking through their catalog.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

H & M Love

I quickly went to the mall today. I just wanted to look around, take a small scouting trip. I wanted to see what was out there so I could figure out how much money I could spend while buying just enough pieces that would make the ones I already own seem new and interesting.

I went into H&M and shockingly found myself in the dressing room with 14 items. This is amazing, I rarely find that many things I find even remotely interesting. In this case, I hadn't even finished looking around the store, it was just that my arms were getting tired.

H&M has stores here in the US but you can only shop online in six other countries. However, to see the merchandise I found that they seem to have the same merchandise in all of their stores. So here are pictures of what I'm tempted to buy. Note that the prices in the links do not convert to the prices I saw in the store so I provide the US prices below.

Simple striped tank, $6
Green Lycra long-sleeve T for $12
Red/Fuchsia color block top for $18
Linen 40's waisted wide-leg pants, $30
ballerina flats or purple crossover slides, $10
cute pajama set or nightdress, $15

There were other cute tops but I couldn't pick them out from the website. Their Marimekko collection was very cute too, loving the Minnie Mouse-like dotted skirt.

Which one's of these I end up buying I have no idea. Time (and $) will tell.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Summer Pasta recipes

Although Spring just officially started, last Friday seemed like Richmond's first day of Summer. The temperature was around 80-something. Whew! After playing back and forth with this scarf and glove weather for a while that was quite a shock.

I suddenly had a craving for ice cream, pink lemonade, fresh fruit salad, and summer pasta dishes. So, perfect timing for these recipes:

Velvety Broccoli and Feta Pasta
Broccoli and Feta Pasta Salad
(a variation)
Anelletti Pasta with Sausage and Greens

Real Simple:
Fusilli with Spinach, Ricotta, and Golden Raisins

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

WT Week 3: Dresses, dresses, dresses....

Guess what?

That wasn't even all of my dresses. Since I've been behind on WT I just decided to go with what I had. I'll probably revisit dresses in Week 7: Leftovers. I have many more of the easy cotton/Lycra pull-on dresses (love these!) I really did want to show actual pictures of my favorites; the BCBG "Audrey" dress, the bronze velour, and the blue brocade; so they may show up then.

The amazing thing is that I still have so many dresses on my sewing to-do list.

In college, there was no dress code so wearing a vintage dress to class was doable and don't forget getting dressed for even the most mundane of college parties. I wore vintage dresses as part of my everyday wardrobe back then and yes, I have even more of them for my Sentimental Journeys column than I showed.

However, even though I still see myself as a DRESS girl, most people who see me nowadays probably think I prefer pants. You see, almost every office I've worked in the last few years have been freezing (no matter what season!) and pants + tights + thermal socks + boots just worked out better for my comfort level. However, the advent of light-weight silk thermal garments have evened the field for me, so dresses year-round here I come!

Monday, April 14, 2008

WT Week 3: Dresses

Torture Devices:
  • Black and white mandarin-collared wrap dress from Target, typical wrap dress problem...unexpected peek-a-boo.
Velveteen Rabbits: None.

This in black

This in bronze
  • Black satin "Audrey-like" dress with a nipped-in waist and a tulle underskirt from BCBG. This dress was originally $200 during a $100 off a $200+ purchase sale! So, half-price equals...ka-ching!
  • Bronze velour tulip dress made from the pattern shown above.
  • Black calf-length linen dress from New York & Co.
 Stalwart Staples:
  • Black Han Feng silk dress from a designer re-sale store in New Orleans.
  • Assorted Lycra wrap and pullover Mossimo dresses from Target.
  • Black Lycra knit from Charlotte Russe that looks like this.
  • Brown New York & Co. knit dress with crossover top and cap sleeves.
  • Spring green linen shift dress, super comfy.
 Same Time, Next Year:

  • Green and lavender burned velvet and silk bias-cut bridesmaid dress. A gorgeous dress that I WOULD wear again if I found the occasion.
Sentimental Journeys: (Unfortunately, none of these fit anymore)
  • Off-white vintage cotton dress from the 1940s; seems made for a garden party.
  • Mint green strapless linen dress for my first Gold Cup steeplechase. Dress does not fit now as I was at my heaviest then. Looking back at pictures, the cleavage still amazes me. Baby blue brocade princess-seamed dress that I made from upholstery fabric.
  • Red v-neck slinky dress with a long side slit.
  • (This one will probably go to a consignment store, it was only worn twice.)
Mysteries of the Lost Shopping Trip:
  • None. Well, there were a few that I bought even though they fit strange, but I eventually fixed them.
Their First Season Out:
  • My dress made from a Target table cloth.
  • A red floral sun dress I started five years ago that I finally finished last year.
All highlighted dresses were made by me.

Saturday, April 12, 2008

Arggh, Blogger!

I just updated my Blogger template, so bear with me while I retrieve some other elements throughout the weekend.

Elements that have been effected:

Blogger's AdSense site is down so I have to wait to put my ads back up
My Sitemeter code doesn't seem to work with the new template, so have to work on that.
My Sew Retro and Bloglines buttons are also missing.

To think I went through all of this just to get that damn Older Posts button!

So, I've had enough wrangling with for right now, so am off to window shop.

See ya later!

Inspiration seen around the Web

Church & State Homestate Dress in mustard yellow
Uniform Studio's Random Fold Dress
Clothing available at Impulse Boutique

Today I will be checking out the Spring Vera Wang collection at Kohl's today. I saw eight pieces on their site I want to see in person. The fact that they are on sale is a bonus. She does have a better (slightly happier) palette this season with blue, violet, and mustard yellow. However, it still is a bit too moody for my idea of spring. The site also does itself a a big disservice by showing the darker black and gray ones first, you have to click to see what other colors the pieces come in. I'll report back later.

Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Place the Cydwoq On Your Feet

Note: Originally published at the 2Modern Design Talk blog.

Old-World Craftsmanship for Modern Feet is their motto. Cydwoq is the company name and it is pronounced "sidewalk." Designed by Rafi Balouzian and crafted by hand from quality leathers. The artist, not surprisingly, originally trained as an architect. That particular talent in spatial relationships, the ability to take flat shapes of cut leather, wrapping and interlocking them to become fully formed shoes is evident in his creations.

The shoes are artisan crafted from some extremely imaginative designs; therefore, it is only right that the price reflects all of that. These shoes range from $239 to $400 for boots. For some, these would be a great indulgence, an investment, or a personal award worthy of saving and sacrifice.

The men’s shoes are quite tempting; even though they are modern they would look incredible combined with a narrow three-button suit jacket and flat front trousers that break amid the top of each shoe. The women’s oxfords share design sensibilities with these designs and I can only imagine that they would inspire a strong, determined, and confident walk when worn.

If you cannot get yourself to their namesake Burbank, CA store, many retailers around the country carry their designs. This is a bonus, because a style may be on sale at one site because of a lack of interest (!?!) while still available at full price elsewhere.

Go on...treat yourself!

Monday, April 07, 2008

A quick post on the Budget Babe

I just wanted to draw your attention to a new link over on the right. Under Misc. I have added Budget Babe, a great site I found months ago and then sadly lost track of for a while.

This site has a great knack for finding less expensive or just plain affordable versions of outfits seen in magazine, on high-end retail sites, or on TV. Maybe the outfit you saw in a magazine isn't even that expensive but you don't have access to the store, the B-Babe might put together a combination of separates from all different stores that would still give you the look.

I am surprised and baffled by how much time she must spend on her searches to find this stuff but I am very glad that she does.

So go and check her out.

Sunday, April 06, 2008

WT Week 3: Skirts

  1. Torture Devices.
    Some of my skirts have the same problem as my pants in that they are too loose but other than that, no torture devices. Above all, skirts do not reflect excess fabric as “droopy crotches." Yea!

  2. Velveteen Rabbits.
    I have no skirts that will be coming to life anytime soon. I did however make this skirt from some near-to-life velveteen pants.

  3. Superstars.
    I love full skirts and must admit I only have one right now. But what a skirt it is! I actually bought it at Anthropologie, so you know it had to be a great sale if I not only bought this one but also another skirt. This skirts falls from the waist to a skirt with multiple triangular inserts (
    godets) that add volume. I have not tried to measure the circumference but maybe one day I will.

    Skirt spread out a bit.

    Here is a picture of a slightly similar* skirt to give you an idea of what it looks like worn, except mine isn't tied or bunched up.

    Unfortunately, this skirt is a Superstar without a worthy top to go with it. For a funky look, I might make a Stitch Alabama corset to wear with it but for a classic look, I am stumped. Help?

  4. Stalwart Staples.
    My black bouclé Isaac Mizrahi (Target) skirt, when I bought it it was a size too large (on sale) so I decided it would be a low-rider skirt. However, now it is two sizes too large and practically spins around my body like a hula-hoop. My red sueded cotton skirt. A brown knit pull-on skirt from where else but New York & Co. A pleated and belted bell-shaped khaki beauty from Anthropologie. I love this skirt but I need more Superstar tops to go with it. Good thing, this year I will definitely wear my brown ones because of my new brown leather Miz Mooz pumps.

  5. Sentimental Journeys.
    These are the two elastic waist skirts: one brown with mini-polka dots and the other in a great geometric print. I love these skirts and I still marvel at their construction. These are elastic waist skirts that do not look like it when on. They were made years ago from this 1997 Vogue American Designer wardrobe pattern by Marc Jacobs. You can tell from the sketch and picture how short they were originally.

    Even though I added an inch to the length, I had to take down the hem later to wear them. Then when my waist grew bigger, I unrolled the skirt waistband a bit. Yes, I was desperate to keep these skirts in rotation. Therefore, I have to redraw this pattern so I can use it many, many times. I already found the fabric to replace the print; it even has the same feel, which had a great body to it. I also made the top, (it was pictured under the purple floral top here.)

  6. Mysteries of the Lost Shopping Trip.
    None, they already went in the Goodwill box last year. Hurrah!

The Plan:

I would like to add skirts in more joyful colors like green, blue, more red, and orange for a particular pair of shoes. I want to use some patterned fabrics also, some modern in both silhouettes and some with a more vintage vibe for the full skirts.

I have a vintage light blue eyelet dress with a full skirt that I keep meaning to cut and make into a stand-alone skirt. If it works, it will be the most pretty and feminine thing I will own. Especially, with my petticoat underneath.

* Funny that I have a necklace like that one too.
Credit: Ad from California Closets. Yeah, strange, they have the best outfits in their ads though.

WT Week 3: Pants, alas...

  1. Torture Devices.
    All of my pants are currently in this category because none of them fit me. Over the last year, I lost about eight pounds, which adds up to almost two inches lost in my waist measurement. This means all of my pants now hang lower than they should, creating a VERY unflattering "droopy crotch" area. Um, attractive sounding, right? Aren't you glad there are no photos with this one?

    I refuse to buy new pants (and can't afford to) and I don't want to take them in because I want to gain that weight back. However, the waist difference is so big that even with a belt they look saggy. Therefore, the goal is to wear more skirts and dresses (see next post.)

  2. Velveteen Rabbits.One pair of pants that I bought in New Orleans that I always meant to copy because the fit was so great and I loved the drape of the fabric. They are starting to pill, which is unfortunate but means it will be easier to take a seam ripper to them

  3. Superstars.
    The ones that were superstars, no longer are because of the fit but hopefully will be again.

  4. Stalwart Staples. Garments that I wear frequently that aren't Superstars but look pretty good on me. Of these, I have two pairs of corduroys (Ann Taylor Loft and Old Navy.)

  5. Sentimental Journeys. None.

  6. Mysteries of the Lost Shopping Trip. I have one pair of black, red, and cream subtly striped trousers from Ann Taylor Loft because they were on sale. They are so subtle that from a distance they look dusty. Ugh. Sale items are probably the reason for MOLSTs anyway, right?
Instead of listing all the pants I do not like, here are some that I think work now or will work in time:

  • One pair gray pants with a crease; they are the right length and have a perfect break with any low-heeled shoes.

  • One pair black wool crepe trousers that I hold so precious that I don't remember the last time I even tried them on. Note: Must stop that and wear the good stuff more often before it looks dated or no longer fits.

  • Two pairs of winter pants I bought that have needed to be hemmed for two years now, i.e: never worn.

  • One pair drapey polyester pants that need their closure secured.

  • One pair brown linen drawstring pants from New York & Co. that I bought along with a matching short-sleeved button-down shirt. Together with my red floral top or one of my bra-tank tops, this makes a great casual summer suit. Note: They usually have this group in the store every year so I must have company.
What I need in my wardrobe:

  • Another pair of jeans, hopefully wide-legged* and some more casual pants using simple patterns perhaps with subtle or not so subtle patterned fabrics.

Though, according to the news, I might have just missed this "fad."