Friday, April 28, 2017

Spring What Huh?

The other day, I was looking through my closet, and I felt a little sad that I probably wouldn't get to wear any of my cold weather skirts for a while, with spring underway and summer close behind. I should have known better. There is always another opportunity for cold weather clothes around here.

It does feel a little weird to be wearing a sweater and a wool skirt with tights at the end of April, but that's how it goes. It's a good thing I never pack away my winter clothes. 

I love this sweater, but I hardly ever wear it because, like so many tops these days, it is slightly cropped. "Slightly cropped" tends to mean "super cropped" with my long torso, and I've never been one to bare my midriff, so this is a problem. The obvious solution would be to layer a camisole underneath the shirt, but I hate how it looks. To me, it looks like I'm trying to hide the fact that I'm wearing a shirt that doesn't quite fit. Instead, I get a high-waisted bottom, and tuck the top in. This hides the shortness of the shirt, and it makes me look like I have life figured out. Smoke and mirrors, y'all, smoke and mirrors.

Rain makes everything look so...dreamy.
I don't mind a little cold snap, as long as I can pull out my adorable bunny tights. You won't likely see me in any leggings or tights with crazy prints, but I am all about the singular woodland creature thing. I like tiny details like this, the sort of thing that isn't hidden, but isn't exactly noticeable, either. People are always surprised to find bunnies on the back of my legs. 

My normal go-to for this skirt is a black tee, which is fine, but I think it's so much more interesting with this sweater. The colors go together nicely, and the hearts give the whole look an 80's vibe that I love. I am all about the vintage feel these days, so this is perfect. I also love that my heels add another pattern to the whole thing with just a touch of zig-zag. It was way too miserable out to get detail shots, so here's a close up of the shoes from another post: 

Ah, yes, Target shoes from six years ago, still going strong. Maybe I can pass them down to my daughter someday. This outfit took me a while to figure out, and I ended up with a mess of clothes strewn all over my room, but it feels good to be wearing the things I don't normally get to wear. This means I don't have to feel bad about buying them in the first place, and not feeling bad feels pretty good. Right? 

For the curious: My sweater is Lauren Conrad for Kohls, purchased second-hand from Instagram. The skirt is vintage, also purchased from an Instagram shop that no longer sells clothes. The bunny tights are from Tabbisocks. The shoes were part of the Missoni for Target line from 2011. 

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Pattern Smash

I hate fashion rules. The only rules I abide by are that your clothes should fit you, and your clothes should make you happy. I wear black with brown, I never match anything to anything, and every chance I get, I smash patterns.

I don't know what to do with my hands!

Maybe I should have worn this blue checkered top with a neutral bottom, but why would I do that? The blue in the top is a perfect match for the blue in the skirt, and the simple, geometric pattern doesn't compete too much with the floral. It works so well, and I love it so much, it makes me want to barf with happiness. 

I've had this skirt for a few years now, and I love it, but I wouldn't wear it in cooler weather because of an awkward tights situation. Light colored skirts are tricky with tights; I wanted something neutral, but black seemed too harsh, white tights looked too much like my bare legs, and brighter colors weren't versatile enough. Eggplant purple seemed like a perfect solution: They're dark, but not as harsh as black, and they don't clash with the colors in the skirt.

With so much happening with my outfit, I decided to keep my shoes simple and unassuming. The black wedges play off the black squares on my shirt, which effectively brings the whole outfit together. I also had to add a little something extra with the felt brooches, just because I love them, and we all know that love goes well with everything. 

Platinum is also a neutral.

I am so happy with this entire look, I think I will repeat it in the future. I'm also looking forward to mashing more of my clothes in unexpected ways and pushing myself to be true to my sense of style. Even though I've always loved fashion, I'm still trying to figure out what my personal style is. I find inspiration all around me, and it has been fun pulling it into my wardrobe and surprising myself. Sometimes it works, and sometimes it really doesn't, but it's always good.

For the curious: My top is Anthropologie, bought second-hand from an Instagram shop last year. The skirt is from Oasis, a shop in a mall in England. My tights are fleece-lined, which should be the only tights I ever buy because they're like wearing kittens on your legs. They're Nicole Miller, and they came from Kmart, on clearance. My wedges are Chinese Laundry, also purchased from an Instagram shop.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Who Gives a Shoe?

The basic black Oxford dress shoe. If chosen wisely, it can a become the foundation for an admirable wardrobe capable of getting you to the alter, off to work, out for the night and if taken care of properly, sold on eBay to make half your money back or better. Hi there! My name is Joe Ryan and you may already have seen a few pics of me on this blog. Melanie was kind enough to invite me to contribute a few words here and there... so here I am. And there you go.

Heh, I am going to pretend my humor is normal and hopefully you'll get used to it. 

Back to shoes.

My last pair of dress shoes finally wore out and I have recently taken a day job with a slightly more business-like dress code.  I knew that I would be on my feet and I suffer from lower back problems. I needed to make a smart choice when choosing my new pair of shoes. They need to be versatile 
because if I spend a bit more to guarantee a higher level of comfort, it may be that I cannot afford another pair of casual shoes (or so the little voice in my head tells me). Plus, I am always trying to find the Swiss Army Knife equivalent of everything I buy. Maybe I am just trying to sound smart... Whatever. I digress. I digress a lot. Sorry. I won't keep apologizing though. I know that get's tiresome. It's safe to keep reading.

I went upon my search for classic styles in dress shoes and settled upon a pair that fit all of my criteria. Comfort, durability, versatility of style and of course it had to be in my price range. I went with a pair from Red Wings because I knew that if they didn't live up to all of their lofty claims, I could send them back, their warranty was second to none, and it almost goes without saying they need to make a white tee and blue jeans look good. The icing is that I found the exact style of shoe for sale on Ebay, and still commanding a price reminiscent of the used Honda Civic market.

Oh, what's that? I get to buy more stuff like a shoe shine kit and bore Melanie with stories from my time in the Marines?

I am so there, conveniently worded joke that goes with my silly pictures!

After about 2 months of wear, I can honestly say these things are the most comfortable shoes I have ever worn. They make me feel good at work, and that is what I bought them for. I should mention that I had to wear them non-stop for roughly 3 weeks before they properly broke in and stopped giving me blisters. It's worth it; when I get home from a long day, take off my work clothes, slip on my denim jeans... and put my work shoes back on.

If you were wondering: The shoes I settled on were the Red Wing Heritage Postman Oxford. I am not trying to sell you on them, so no link for you. I recommend calling the company directly and having a chat. Cheers!

Thursday, April 20, 2017

Find Me in the Trees

When I was a kid, I lived in a neighborhood with a small field in the center of it. On that field was a minuscule brick church with tiny, but impressive, stained glass windows. That church was bordered by a little patch of pine trees, about seven of them, seemingly huddled together against the endless sky. I was small, so I could crawl underneath the fanning pine branches and go to the protected spaces between the trees. It was roomy and quiet inside the cluster, and the dirt around the trunks was soft and littered with pine needles. I would lay a blanket on the ground and just sit there under the trees, hiding from the world. It was pretty magical...until the day a giant spider dropped into my hair from above. I don't mind spiders, but I prefer not to have them in my hair, so that ended my little forays into my magical forest.

I have a similar patch of trees behind my house now. It's only three trees, but they are large and full and positioned in such a way that creates a perfect little clear space in the middle. This place is usually occupied by screaming neighborhood kids (including my own), but today, it was perfectly empty. I had to take advantage.

Hanging out in the trees is great, but I need some sunshine!

I bought this pink sweater because it reminds me of a vintage top I stole from my mom when I was in high school. It was short sleeved, pink angora straight from the 1970's, and I wore it constantly. I even wore it in my senior portraits! This version is better because it fits me, it doesn't smell weird, and it has this amazing sweetheart neckline and cuffed sleeves. The pins are felted brooches, handmade by my talented sister, Jennifer. I've had them for years, and I reach for them constantly. For someone who isn't great with accessories, pins like these are a must.

And, of course, there's always the old standby, my favorite accessory of all, this vintage 1950's belt. It's another item I own as an homage to my mom's style; she had a belt a lot like this one back in the 80's, and I was obsessed with it. It was gone by the time I was old enough to start pilfering her things, but I never stopped thinking about it. Finding this one was like a little miracle. I just hope it will hold up forever.

I forgot all about these shoes during the months and months of ugly boot weather. I loved them when I first saw them and decided to buy them, then I kind of hated them for a while, but now I love them again. Fashion can be fickle; we'll see if it lasts. In the meantime, I'm loving the bow-but-not-really-a-bow thing these shoes have going on. I think they're pretty perfect for this outfit.

For the curious: My top is from my favorite local boutique, The Be a Siren Shoppe. I love this place so much, you will be seeing LOTS more from there. My skirt is Banana Republic, bought from ThredUp. My belt is from Roulette Vintage on Etsy. The gold glittery sunglasses are Kate Spade, and I have been told that they are ugly, but I don't care; I love them.  The shoes are from Modcloth, and my feet are freezing.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

The Last Day of Spring Break!

It's the last day of spring break, which means my kids insist on staying in their pajamas for the entire day. They have good ideas. I had similar aspirations for my day, but my laziness capped at about an hour in bed. It's not spring break for me; I still have stuff to do. So, I got out of bed, and I got dressed.

I put on pants! I deserve an award!

Isn't it nice out? It looks like spring, all sunny and slightly breezy and no snow anywhere. I know my fellow Montanans are wearing shorts and tank tops and sandals, but not me. I'm still cold! It's only 60 degrees out there, which is about 20 degrees below what I'd like it to be. I'm still using my electric blanket and the heated seats in the car! I need warmth, so I'm going with this vintage letterman sweater. It might not look like much, but not only is it ridiculously cool (can you even handle the wildcat patch?), it is also one of my warmest sweaters.

Side note: The shadow looks like a bunny!

I didn't realize it while I was getting dressed, but now I'm noticing a vintage theme to my outfit. The sweater is from the 1950's, the unicorn pin is from the 1980's, and my earrings are made with vintage style prints from the 1930's. As we all know, Converse sneakers were created at the same time as the mountains and the seas, and have been a classic across all decades. 


I always wear this pin with this sweater. The top button is missing, and the lone buttonhole looks weird without its button. I could just replace the button, but I don't feel like hunting one down, so I cover the hole with the majestic unicorn. We all know that unicorns are neutral, so it works with everything.

You may have noticed that my earrings don't match.  Most people don't notice; I don't think anyone spends much time examining earlobes. These earrings are different, but they're just alike enough that it works. It always feel like I'm getting away with something when I wear these. Look at how cute they are!

As I have mentioned before on this blog, I love sneakers. I have lots of them, and I like them fun and colorful and unique. The problem is, fun and colorful and unique sneakers tend to be specialized, and will not go with everything. Mint sneakers are like mint toothpaste: Mix it with the wrong flavor, and you will die. So, after years of wearing pink, mint, and patterned sneakers, I finally decided to get something neutral. I thought my soul might die with something so practical, but no, my soul is just fine.

It has been a long time since I wore a pair of Converse. I've been bouncing around between Adidas and Puma and Superga. The last pair of Converse I had were purchased over 5 years ago, and they were painted with Wonder Woman. Those suckers looked new for years until suddenly, out of nowehere, they were falling apart. I couldn't bear to get rid of them, so I keep them by the front door and I use them for yard work. It's the circle of life. :)

For the curious: My vintage sweater is from an Instagram shop, but I can't remember which one. I stalked it for months, then pounced on it when it went on sale for $20. My unicorn pin is also from an Instagram shop, but I'm a terrible person, so I can't remember that one, either. My earrings are from the Etsy shop byElena. She has all sorts of mismatched (and matched) goodness.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Hair Happiness!

Do not underestimate the power of hair happiness. Hair love = self love. I tend to forget this sometimes, and will go months and months just letting my hair hang there. It doesn't look bad, exactly, but it doesn't look good, either. My dark blonde roots start to take over the platinum blonde while my ends get straggly as they reach my shoulders. The result is a look that suggests I'm en route to some sort of style, but not quite there yet. My loving boyfriend, Joe, put it in a way that makes sense: It's good to have a hairstyle that looks like it is being done on purpose, rather than looking like something you're stuck with for the time being. So, I went ahead and did my hair on purpose.

I have always wanted my hair to be long and full and curly, but my hair wants to be short, sleek, and straight. I've decided to let my hair be what it wants to be, and it has never been better. This is true hair happiness. I hope you find some hair happiness in your life, too.