Friday, June 25, 2010


I've spent the last few weeks bookmarking and note taking as the Resort 2011 collections have been presented. There are always a few pieces that interrupt my pattern of click click pause. That force me to take a breathe.

This year that task fell to the presentation from Valentino, which left me deeply craving the fourth season of Mad Men.

Photo via

Monday, June 21, 2010

The Vest

I’ve spent the last few weeks floating around Boston in various skirts and dresses. New, old and those never worn. Kicky ponytails and pink scarves and earrings that clink and clang. I have transformed into a veritable fountain of femininity. At least until some sarcastic quip escapes my lips. Until someone says Well you are just sunshine and flowers when they mean the opposite, and I throw my hands up and smirk guiltily.

On an off day, you’ll find me in jeans. It is summer after all, and, as I told someone on the evening that I debuted the Thakoon for Target dress (seen below) that had been sitting in my closet for 18 months, I plan to wear every dress that I own.

While searching for one of those never worn dresses in my closet, I discovered a favorite temporarily forgotten. One that does not fit into the flirty persona that I’ve adopted since the temperature has warmed.

I bought The Vest following The Summer of the Dress. It was one of the last pieces I bought that was a smidge too small for me, though I am glad for that bit of folly as it means that I can still wear it today. It is a deep navy and resembles those often seen in a three-piece suit. It was tailored and sharp at a time that I still favored pieces that allowed me a bit of breath. Things behind which I could still hide the tiniest bit. There was no question of the size of my waist, or my breasts, in The Vest. For this reason it frightened me slightly, but I began to wear it. With jeans skinny and wide. Over tees and oxford shirts. I traded the shape that I gained from wide belts, belts that made the skirts of my dresses billow gently, for that of The Vest. It found itself sitting through multiple internship interviews in the summer of 2008. I began to wear it so much that one of my friends threatened to take it away. In many ways, its lines more closely emulate my character than the flirty pieces. Sometimes rational to a fault. Harboring a love of structure.

Though I love them dearly, the dresses deceive. Sunshine and flowers I am not.

That morning, as I stood holding The Vest, I decided to try it on with some of the new pieces that had entered my closet during its brief retirement. The fit was better. The look was sharp. I had missed the seriousness it seemed to endow me.

Though its best season is the fall, I’m going to remove it from its hiding place. There are ways to wear it this summer. With chambray and gingham. Over a tee worn with an A-line mini. With kicky ponytails and pink scarves and earrings that clink and clang.

Image via

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Work Week

I hate what most suits do to the bodies of women.

Don’t say hate. Say dislike instead. These were my mother’s rules. As if hate were too strong of a word, too deep an emotion, for a child to be wielding. But there are instances in which it is warranted.

I hate what most suits do to the bodies of women. There is no quicker way to become a nondescript rectangle than to put on an ill-fitting suit. But for many women, suits appear to be the easiest route to professionalism. A world where you'll be taken seriously. A place where you command the attention and respect of your colleagues. But it is possible to do this without a suit. To give yourself the room to add the individual touches that can often become lost when dressing for work. And though it may not appear so, it is simpler than it seems.

I've purged my closet of all suits save the only one that ever fit me well and have, since The Summer of the Dress, been replacing them with alternatives in this vein.

This dress gives the illusion of a multi-piece outfit without the difficulty that some face when forced to play with multiple elements. Top it with a natural blazer for cooler days and important meetings.

For less formal days, this ruffled dress, when paired with a white cardigan and a rough-hewn men's belt, gives a business casual feel without relying on the chinos and a polo shirt uniform that I so often see.

If you'd rather have more options at your disposal, you can fill your closet with a cadre of skirts and pants that can be worn in multiple combinations.

In a forgiving cut and an office-appropriate length, this simple black skirt can elevate a striped linen shirt and a chunky necklace full of pearls.

Play with patterns and prints in a way that works for the boardroom by wearing this wrap top with a floral pencil skirt.

The summer can make wearing pants to the office a trial. Humidity-ridden long commutes can make your bottom half feel as if it's trapped in its own personal sauna. You can, however, trade out heavier fabrics for a classically tailored pair of navy linen trousers complimented by a simple, non-ribbed tank and a cardigan topped with a belt.

In place of lighter fabrics, you can choose shorter lengths. Shorts are rarely, if ever, appropriate, but you can take a chance in a pleated (yes, I said pleated) and cropped pair of gray trousers with a sweet button down shirt with elbow length sleeves.

And what of your feet? All of these options can be worn with anything from ballet flats to sky-scraping stilettos. That choice, in the end, is up to you and the mood you find yourself in on that particular morning.

There will be times when you must wear a suit. Where it will be required by whoever sets the rules for such things. But for all of those other times, there are many paths you can take.

These are only a few of them.

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Thursday, June 3, 2010

Romper Room

When I look at what people are wearing as they pass me by, I am culling information. Noticing how they put together their outfits. Storing away compelling combinations. Judgments are not the first things to form. Yet because of this blog and the sometimes strong personal opinions that I present here, I've been to more than one gathering where someone has mentioned that they spent longer thinking about what to wear because they knew that I would be present.

No one need worry. I have not titled myself judge, jury, and executioner. However, there are some wardrobe choices that I can’t help but judge. Tights worn as pants. Leggings worn as pants. Jeggings. Items that look like someone simply lifted the pattern from the 1980s. I could come up with a few more if I gave myself time, but the list wouldn't grow much in length.

The arrival of the sun and its long, luxurious days has forced another into my view.

I don't know who decided that rompers should become a viable option for females over the age of eight. I had rompers at one point in my life. I probably dirtied them rather easily as I had a liking for digging holes and playing with worms at a young age. But then I grew up and out of clothes meant to compliment diapers and pigtails and ringlets and playgrounds.

Even with the infantilizing nature of rompers (or playsuits if one wants to leave no doubt that you have stolen your outfit from a four year old), my distaste would be moot if I'd ever seen anyone look even mediocre in one. The issue with any one-piece item, but especially those involving a pants-like element, is that rare is the woman who is the same size on the top and the bottom. That's why finding a bikini sold in a set is nearly impossible. Why almost all suits are offered in separates. Because if bought in one, there will inevitably be one piece that fits perfectly while the other does not.

And above all else, I believe fit is the most important thing. Even more important than not looking like you belong on a swing set.