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Posts from — December 2010

Does it Have to Be a Competition?

Sally McGraw, founder of the blog Already Pretty had an interesting post about the fashion bloggers who seem to have unlimited funds to buy designer duds, professional photographs and are model beautiful to boot. The gist is that other bloggers are envious of the success, clothing, talents of these bloggers. In fact, some even say that these bloggers fill them with feelings of “self-loathing and inadequacy.” But, it goes beyond just blogging. Why is it that we take another woman’s success and turn it into our own personal failure?

Maybe because of my age, maybe because I’m finally pretty happy (it happened in my early 30s) with who I am, maybe because I’ve always been the cheerleader/supportive type, but I just don’t understand why anyone would be jealous of another woman’s success. We all bring different talents to the table. We all have things about us that make us unique.

The truth is much of that envy stems from a lack of confidence on your part. Pick yourself up and all of a sudden those richer, prettier, more talented women can be a source of inspiration, rather than a one-way ticket to self loathing. Next time you’re feeling inadequate, inferior, fat, washed out or just plain horrible about yourself, try these tips to perk you up:

1. Write it down. Grab a piece of paper and quickly jot down five things that are positive about your life. Then, write down five more positive things about yourself. Better yet, ask your mom, husband, best friend or boyfriend to tell you the top three things they like about you.

2. Take stock. Are you surrounding yourself with positive friend energy? Do your friends pick you up or drag you down? If they drag you down, maybe they aren’t really your friends. Eliminate the stress by setting boundaries.

3. Stop the negative talk. This takes a conscious effort. Every time you find negative thoughts creeping in; push them out and force yourself to think of something positive.

4. Take action. Not happy about your weight? Do something about it or accept it. True confession: I’ve always had to battle the pudge. It got really out of control after the birth of my son. When my fat jeans stopped fitting, I got fed up. That day I started jogging with my son in the stroller. I had a full-time office job as a magazine editor that required me to be up by 6 a.m. I had a one-hour commute each way (which included a drop off and pick up at daycare.) I found time and made it fun for my son with stops at the local park and special snacks.
I could only run 1/4 mile that day, but I was determined to keep going. Eventually I was running 5 miles, 4 days a week; lost 30 lbs and felt great. If I can do it with a demanding full-time job and a long commute, you can do it.
FYI: I’ve gained 15 lbs back but that’s OK, I’m at a weight that I can maintain with careful eating, occasional binges and moderate exercise (I run 4 miles; 4 times a week.) Set some small, realistic goals. And, honestly, if you just can’t lose the weight; then learn to love yourself. Life is too short to go through it unhappy about how you look.

5. Pay it forward. Make a point to recognize your female friends for the things they do well. Have a crafty friend? Let her know how much you appreciate her talents. Be sincere, but make a point to give at least one person a compliment each day. It will come back to you in spades and boost a friend’s spirits.

Let’s all support each other, love each other and learn from each other. We all have faults, we all have talents. Find the good in others, and you’ll find the good in yourself.

December 31, 2010   Comments Off on Does it Have to Be a Competition?

New Year: Dig Out of Your Fashion Rut

I love the start of a new year, a fresh start. I had a fabulous 2010 and am ready to rock 2011. Each year, I set goals for my business and throw a few personal goals in there as well. This year, many of my goals revolve around spending my money wisely, breaking out of ruts and creating new opportunities for my business (writing and editing.) This is the first year I’ve shared my goals with the world. I’m not listing them all, I don’t want to bore you with my business goals.

Goal No. 1: Wear some color and patterns. If I’ve learned anything from my blog it’s that I wear a lot of neutrals (umm… black and grey anyone?) and a lot of solids.

Goal No. 2: Be pickier. I have to admit, I’m a sucker for a sale. $20 for a designer dress, yes m’am! But, if I never wear that $20 dress, is it really a deal? I am going to try hard not to get sucked in by the sale and determine if the item really looks good on me and is something I’ll have the opportunity to wear. And, most important, do I really need it?

Goal No. 3: Wear everything in my closet. Another quirk: I buy impractical items like sequins skirts, dressy dresses and sparkly cardigans. Hello..I’m a work-from-home mom. I’m not a socialite, nor do I attend a plethora of evening events. However, I also have a bunch of not-so-dressy outfits (skirts, skinny pants, casual dresses) that I don’t wear because I don’t want to feel overdressed. So, I’m going to carefully go through my closet, put together some outfits with items I’ve never or rarely worn and wear them!

Goal No. 4: Get rid of it. If I can’t figure out a way to wear it, no matter how much I love it, I’ll sell it on ebay. What good is a closet full of non-wearable clothing? I can use the money to boost our family travel fund.

Goal No. 5: Exercise control and shop my closet. This piggy backs on Goal No. 2 and Goal No. 3. For the month of January, I’m going to forgo clothes shopping. This isn’t an exercise in budget control–we don’t carry credit card debt, and we didn’t overspend on Christmas. This is an exercise in self control. This is an exercise in controlling the the Gotta Have Its. I’ve got plenty in my closet to get me through the next lifetime. And, quite frankly, personal style isn’t about getting the newest and greatest. It’s about using what you have to create looks that fit your personality.

What are your goals this year?

December 30, 2010   4 Comments

Review: Little in the Middle Fashion Denim

I was recently contacted by Little in the Middle‘s founder Lee Ann Park to review the jeans that she designs. For the next few days they are offering 25% off and free shipping!

Little in the Middle clothes are designed to embrace the waist by creating pants that are one size smaller in a woman’s middle. As a result, the pants fit a curvier hip, while perfectly conforming to a smaller waist– a signature style for women with small waists and slightly larger hips. Typically, hourglass or pear-shaped figures fit right into this category.

Since I am not an hourglass or a pear shape, I decided to enlist the help of my good friend Adrea (pear shape) and my niece, Christie (hourglass).

The first thing they did was fill out a Sizing Survey. The survey suggested that both Adrea and Christie order a size 2.1 (a size 2 in the waist; 4 in the hips.) Just to be on the safe side, we had Little in the Middle send us a 2.1 and a 4.1 (size 4 in the waist; 6 in the hips).

Adrea

Adrea is about 5’6″. She is a pear shape with a long torso. Although the sizing survey suggested a 2.1, the 4.1 fit her much better. In fact, even the 4.1 was a tad snug in the waist. But they look awesome on her s(he will have them hemmed) and the style, Confident A Stone River (Retail $129.99), is very current. They are very high quality jeans. Adrea also really liked that when she bent over, the jeans stayed in place, no plumber’s crack!

Christie

Christie is 5’10”. She is an hourglass shape with a long torso. While the 2.1 did fit her, they were snug. She also fit better into the 4.1. She liked the way the larger back pockets looked and really liked the logo.

What we thought: Overall, the jeans are top notch. If you have problems with gaping waists and jeans that are too tight in the thighs, consider trying these.

The only issue we had was with the sizing survey. Both of my models needed to size up from their sizing survey. So, I decided to take the survey as well. I had my measurements done by my tailor. My size: 6.1. Ummm…not quite. The 2.1 actually fit me very well, maybe a little snug in the waist but no trouble buttoning them up, but enough to give me a little muffin. The 4.1 was actually a tad big in the hips (remember I’m a ruler shape, so I really need a 4 in the waist and a 4 in the hips.) So, take caution when using the sizing survey.

We reviewed the Confident A Stone River (Retail $129.99) and really liked the casual style. They had a long, 34-inch inseam that works for taller people but can be easily hemmed. The denim was soft and forgiving. And, the distressing was just enough to be interesting. Two thumbs up! In addition, Little in the Middle offers 14 different styles and washes as well as colored jeans.

Little in the Middle is very active in promoting a healthy self image and recently worked with
Tri Delta Sorority’s Fat Talk Free Campaign.

December 29, 2010   4 Comments

Shades of Grey

My sister is in town for a few days. Dinner was at a casual, local Italian restaurant.

The Outfit Deets
J Crew Merino Charcoal Turtleneck
Sequin Scarf: Gift, similar here
Ann Taylor Loft Leather Skirt
Grey Sweater Tights from The Limited
Diane Von Furstenberg Black Suede Claude Booties

December 29, 2010   Comments Off on Shades of Grey

Pumpkin and Leather

Today hubby and I got a babysitter and ventured out to the mall. I thought I was being bold wearing these leather cargo pants. The truth? You can’t even tell they’re leather! Regardless, I felt pretty good in this outfit, and that’s what it’s all about, right?

The Outfit Deets
Pumpkin-colored Sweater: Vera Wang for Kohls
Scarf: Kohls
Woven Belt: Ann Taylor Loft
Leather Pants: Tory Burch Italian Khaki Leather s/s ’10
Ankle Boots: J Crew Metropolitan Suede in Tobacco
Watch: Target

December 27, 2010   4 Comments

Sparkle and Flash

Our annual Christmas tradition is to go over to my mother-in-law’s house for dinner. There are about 15 of us (including my mother) but we always have a few extra—this year there were 25 for dinner.

I decided to break out my Gap sequin jacket, but my outfit just never gelled. I’m sure you can all relate to this–you have an outfit in mind but when you get dressed, you just don’t like it. Something is off, but you don’t have time to fix it because you’re getting kids ready and rushing out the door.

That’s how this outfit worked for me. My pants are too big and too long and my black blouse is a little too blousy. I ended up wearing the jacket unzipped but tied at the waist because it looked better. I will take the pants and probably the blouse in to get altered post haste!

Have an idea for styling this outfit? Post it in the comments.

The Outfit Deets
Jacket: Gap
Pants: Gap True Straight Pants
Boots: Tory Burch Glitter Corbet Bootie

And, more sparkle! One of my favorite Christmas presents:

Coach Poppy Sequin Purse in Navy

December 26, 2010   Comments Off on Sparkle and Flash

Merry Christmas to All!

I’m taking a short break from cooking to show you what I wore to church Christmas Eve–classic and understated for Mass.

The Outfit Deets
Dress: Ann Taylor
Necklace: Banana Republic
Shoes: J Crew via ebay

More holiday outfits to come as time permits! 🙂 Hope you’re having a peaceful holiday.

December 25, 2010   3 Comments

Reindeer Games: Part II

In my first post, Reindeer Games, I wore the white version of this J Crew sparkle tee shirt. Now it’s time for the chestnut color! I actually like this look better, don’t you?

The Outfit Deets

Reindeer Tee Shirt: J Crew
Checked Button Down: J Crew
Jeans: Tory Burch 5 pocket Denim Legging
Boots: J Crew Cadogan
Belt: Tortoise J Crew

Ummm…excuse the hair, I just had it colored yesterday and am not allowed to wash it yet! 🙂

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December 22, 2010   4 Comments

It’s Just Not Me

When it comes to personal style, what works for one person may not work for another. That’s the beauty of personal style–it’s all your’s. Knowing what you do and don’t like is half the battle when building your wardrobe.

Take a moment to write down your fashion no-nos. What colors look good on you? What styles look bad? To get you started, here are my no-way, no-hows:

1. No Capri Pants. I’ve gotten more reaction from friends about this one than anything else! I just don’t like capri pants/jeans on me. I’ll wear boyfriend jeans rolled up; I’ll wear ankle length pants but I won’t wear capri pants–especially those with a wider bottom. For a long time, I would faithfully buy a new pair from J Crew each season. They would go unworn, and I’d sell them on eBay or give them away. Then, the next season, I would see someone looking adorable in her capri pants and think, “Hmm…maybe I should try again.” Big mistake.

2. I’m Allergic to Logos. These days companies from Chanel and Tory Burch to Banana Republic and Abercrombie are putting logos on their accessories and clothing. I don’t like it. I refuse to buy a purse covered in an advertising symbol. I don’t mind discreet logos and even own a pair to Tory Burch Reva flats, but I prefer people notice my clothing for the style and fit rather than who makes it.

3. Empire Waist Dresses. I am a ruler shape, I like to hide my tummy. Whenever I read anything about dressing for my body style, it always brings up empire waist dresses. The truth: I look either pregnant or fat in an empire waist.

4. Cropped, boxy Jackets. I am short-waisted, these make me look like I am square. Enough said.

5. Quilted Prints. I can’t think of a single friend of mine who agrees with me on this one. I do like the Vera Bradley prints, but they just aren’t me. I see a friend carrying a cute Vera Bradley tote and think I want to buy one, but I start looking and just don’t see a print that is “me.”

In addition, I can’t wear camel-colored items. They wash me out. I keep wearing them because, quite frankly, I love the classic style, but it just isn’t a good color on me. I also won’t wear Disney-logo apparel, even for a day at the parks. 🙂 But, I have no problem dressing my daughter up in a Tinkerbell tee shirt.

What are your fashion no-gos?

December 21, 2010   4 Comments

This Week’s Ebay Deals

I’m an ebay addict. There, I said it. I love the thrill of getting a great designer deal. If you’ve read my post about how to find clothes that fit on ebay and my post on tips for using ebay, you know I’ve been buying and selling on the auction site since 1995.

Each week, I’m going to try to list the items I think are a deal. This week’s picks:

1. Kate Spade May Ronnie Linen Dress, size 4. Ends Dec. 22, only $20.50 right now, new with tags! The seller has a lot of positive feedback and this dress is listed for over $200 at Nordstroms.

2. Tory Burch Black Reva Flats, size 6.5, preowned but with box, Seller has 42 positive feedback, no negative. Ends Dec. 27. Shipping is a little high.

3. Nanette Lepore Floral Top, size 12. $25 right now, ends Dec. 25. Seller has 109 positive feedback. Love the black and red floral pattern.

4. J. Crew black cashmere/wool cardigan, size M. $34.99 plus cheap shipping. Ends Dec. 23 Love the ruffle trim.

5. Anthropologie Purple Embroidered Skirt, size S A funky Bohemian look! Ends Dec. 27, Now $25


December 20, 2010   2 Comments