U Can’t Touch This

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Yesterday I emerged from the shower to find my husband watching the babies an episode of In Living Color. The iconic Fly Girls nailed the Running Man to Calloway’s 1989 hit “I Wanna Be Rich.” Instantly I am in 7th grade, feeling all the Fly Girl feelings. These middle school style muses embodied 1990: Hair, dance moves, attitude. A pitch perfect blend of hip-hop and cheerleading in Merry Go Round crop tops. 

The throwback theme followed me to Tysons Corner Center where I encountered the Vans window display: Two mannequins in tie-waist flannels and high waist jeans posed under the directive: “Bring Back the 90’s!” I snapped a snarky picture to share with my Facebook friends. Subtext: “Silly children.” Translation: “We are old.”

The generation gap happens slowly. First Michael Jackson dies. Then one day you glance through Glamour magazine and find that you can’t relate to a damn article about Tinder hook up etiquette or what to wear to a boozy brunch. And then the Vans store packages your teenage wardrobe as “ironic vintage.”

It’s unsettling to realize that you are no longer the target audience. I remember the day I came home from the mall with a pair of pink peace sign earrings. My dad was all “do you even get the significance?” He was thinking Woodstock and I was channeling NKOTB.

Today’s outfit proves that fashion is truly cyclical as it just occurred to me that I’m wearing Hammer pants. Can’t touch this. 

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Outfit details:  Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Stella & Dot Havana pendant necklace (2015); Pave disk necklace (2014); J.Crew embroidered cuff 92015); Gilt.com Firth tank top (2012); Target Mossimo “Hammer” pants (2015); Sergio Rossi flat sandals (2015);  Loeffler Randall open work tote (2015); Hermes scarf tied on handle (2014)

Orange Crush

They say that an attraction to the color orange is an indicator of creativity. This makes sense because orange is also the color of the sacral chakra, which governs creativity. I must be creative - or maybe just influenced by the UVa fans in my family - because paired with navy blue, this summertime hue is popping up all over me. 


Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses, (2014); J.Crew cashmere cardigan (2012); Tart Collections dress (2014); Stella & Dot Havana pendant necklace (2015); Stella & Dot Waverly Petite crossbody bag (2015); Kate Spade gold wedge sandals (2014)

Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Peter Som for Bergdorf Goodman linen top (2008); Diane Von Furstenburg skirt (2007); Brian Atwood nude peeptoe pumps (2008);  Stella & Dot Waverly Petite crossbody bag (2015)

Head Case

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This weekend I unearthed hundreds of vintage pictures. You know the kind we used to take on a camera that housed a film roll, which you then removed and dropped off at CVS to develop and pick up one week later? I scanned through these relics pictures contemplating two decades of fashion choices. From Gangsta Chic to Raver 1.0, Miss Steeple Chase to Bebe Goes to Vegas, mine was a vast and varied trend trajectory.

I have always prided myself on possessing a definitive personal style but my fashion moments seemed disconnected.  Unnerved, I looked closer, willing a pattern to emerge. And there it was, right on top of my head. Be it a bucket hat or a bandanna, beret or backwards visor, the only thing more prevalent than the one arm on hip pose was my enthusiasm for headwear.  

Why the obsession with headdress? I pondered this. Does it convey status? Nobility? Class distinction? Nope. Simply put, I find the head the perfect place to put an accessory. Makes you look. Plus a jaunty hat has an attitude that just resonates with me.

Twenty years later, only the quality of my scarf selection has changed. I’ve upgraded the bedazzled JLo-era bandanna for a collection of Hermes twill but the attitude remains. As they say, you can take the girl out of Norfolk but you can’t take the Naughty out of the girl.

Today’s outfit reflects my 2015 style – a settled, comfortable and colorful aesthetic, accented by a baby. Of course I had to throw on a gypsy wrap for good measure.

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Outfit details: Hermes scarf as headband (2008); Girls Day Out raw amethyst pendant, Charlottesville Farm Market (2015); J.Crew cardigan (2014); Tart Collections top (2014); J.Crew #2 Pencil Skirt (2012); Renvy by Gilt.com sandals (2014). On Ashby: Baby Gap onsie and bubble shorts

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Raver 1.0 in fairy wings, candy necklaces and a glitter crown, 1997

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Sporty spice goes to beach week in a Ralph Lauren bucket hat, 1997

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Naughty by Norfolk in a classic gangsta bandanna and Tommy zip neck, 1999

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Miss Bebe in a beret, 2001

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Steeplechase vibes at Gold Cup, 2006

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Etsy rosettes and a Cibu pin at Washington Life’s Young & the Guest List Party, 2009

Sleep Training 101

Recently I had the bright idea to bribe my toddler for sleep. If he stays in his own bed all night long he earns a new Lego set in the morning. I am proud to report that seven days and seven Lego starter sets later, this mommy feels quite refreshed. The arrangement is what corporate types call a WIN/WIN – except in the ways that it isn’t.

For instance, AJ now wakes at 6:02AM, on the dot, every morning. With rooster-like clockwork, he bounds into our room and bellows “I slept my own bed mommy, where’s my Lego set.”  Immediately after directing him to his prize he returns and demands that I build it. Have you ever tried to assemble Rockit the Mixle at 6:05 in the morning? I don’t know about you but my dexterity doesn’t peak until 9. 

Last Thursday I capriciously mentioned to AJ that I stopped by the Lego store. As the words left my mouth I recognized my first mistake. “Lemme see! Lemme see! Lemme see!” he repeated. I resisted, futiley, and finally let him peek inside the yellow bag. Mistake #2. “Give it to me!” he demanded. Slightly panicked, I realized my toddler negotiations were unravelling, quick. I had entered into a “mutually advantageous” agreement with a 3 year old who lacked impulse control and any concept of delayed gratification. Standing my ground, I calmly explained the difference between earning and demanding. This teaching moment earned me two bruised shins and a 45 minute meltdown. 

This morning, after watching Matt struggle to assemble Batwing, I reclaimed our power and declared that there would be no more Lego sleep prizes. To which AJ replied “OK, mommy. Tomorrow I want Iron Man.”  Fair enough.

Unlike pre-dawn City Bulldozer builds, today’s outfit was very easy to put together. Favorite skirt, Hermes scarf, reclaimed cashmere shell – 3 of 33 pieces – all within easy reach.

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J. Crew summer cashmere shell (2007); J. Crew navy eyelet skirt (2012); Hermes scarf as belt (2014); DVF color block wedge (2014)

Alternate Realities

I have been awake since 5:45AM. Someone left the sunroof open in my car and it rained. There is a pimple the size of Manassas on my lip. The baby is congested and teething. It feels impossible to get anything cleaned or organized with a full time job and small children. Our refrigerator is very small. Daycare costs more than a mortgage in a normal town. I waste too much money on Starbucks. I am having a bad hair day. 

Or

Our new home has a playroom. It takes 14 minutes to get to my office from my driveway. I am paid to make Cibu hair products. People love Fresh Crunch pickles. It is nearly summertime. The bruises on my triceps are from extended side crow. I’ve been blessed with beautiful children, a very cute dog and an excellent cook for a husband. Everything is funny. The peonies are blooming. Life is full of creative opportunity.

Which of version of my story is more interesting? Which version of your story do you tell each day?

Today’s outfit is so much more put together than warranted for my level of fatigue. Why? Because last night I said eff it, let the baby cry a little in her crib and ruthlessly edited my summer capsule down to 33 items, exactly. More on that story later. 

Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J.Crew white button down shirt (2012); Hermes scarf as belt (2009); J.Crew #2 Pencil Skirt (2012); Brian Atwood nude peep toes (2008); Coach Legacy tassel cross body (2012); Fake ass Hermes cuff from Party City (2014)

6 Capsule Wardrobe Staples

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This infographic looks a lot better on Polyvore.  

Because the internet loves itself a random numbered list, here are my Project 333 Spring ‘15 Top 6 capsule wardrobe staples. Selected based on versatility, frequency of use, ability to anchor or connect an outfit and great fit, these items are best all around awesome.

  1. Gap Denim Shirt, 2015 - This shirt was my last mindless purchase of 2015 and it’s a winner. You can’t deny the cool factor of a denim shirt and I find myself reaching for it day after day. 
  2. Kiton Navy Blue Blazer, 2010 - So many good things to say about this jacket. Beyond classic styling and impeccable tailoring, the best thing about this Italian made blazer is that it’s valued north of $1000 but I scored it for free at the Greater Washington DC Clothing Swap.
  3. J.Crew Navy Blue Eyelet Skirt, 2012 - I could anchor 25 different outfits with this skirt. Navy blue is my favorite Spring neutral because you can pair it with virtually any color. Some fashionable people even wear navy blue with black. I do not. Reminds too much of St. Pius. 
  4. J. Crew Minnie Pants, 2013 - The perfect pant. The fit is on point and the angle at which they hit the ankle allows for easy styling with flats or heels. Classic and modern at once. J. Crew just gets it. 
  5. Halogen Nude Stacked Sandal Bootie, 2015 - Versatile, cheap and on trend. Marked down from $99 to $39 on Nordstromrack.com, these were a respectable purchase for Spring. Not that jazzed about the quality or construction (the leather is flimsy) but you get what you pay for with shoes. Which is why I usually pay a lot of money for shoes. Dammit.
  6. Hermes Eperon d'Or Remix Maxi Twilly Scarf, 2014 - My heart for an Hermes scarf! A signature accessory, this French beauty was a birthday gift from mon Mari. What makes her unique is her shape: she’s not a classic square but a long wide rectangle. Her vibrant color pallet and endless tie combinations earn her awesomeness status as my go-to outfit maker.

This week’s featured outfits utilize half of the Top 6 - can you find them?

Top Outfit: Street style selfie on timer in a stairwell at Towson Town Center
Top Outfit Details: BCBG asymmetrical tunic, 2013; J.Crew Minnie pants, 2013; Butter teal heels, 2012; Chloe Havana sunglasses, 2014; Stella & Dot Rebel Pendant, 2014; Party City teal Hermes knockoff cuff, 2014; Fendi B-Mix breast pump tote, 2007
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See what I mean about navy blue? Matches everything and not as graphically harsh as black.
Outfit Details: BCBG draped Dayton cardigan, 2013; No name navy pleated dress from TJ Maxx, 2011; Hermes Eperon d'Or Remix Maxi Twilly, 2014; Halogen booties, 2015; YSL Muse handbag, 2008; Chloe Havana sungleasses; Stella & Dot Norah chandelier earrings, 2014; Diamond disk pendant (2014) and floating citrin pendant (2010) gifts from Matt

Namaste What?

An integral element of a rich spiritual practice is intention. From yoga to meditation to chakra balancing - the first step is to make a dedication, offer it up to the universe and allow the energy of your practice to manifest it into reality. 

My intention for yesterday evening was to commune with nature and enjoy a sweet Spring evening with my children and husband. As soon as I got home I went into the backyard to admire the budding trees. So peaceful. Such prana. Moments later my family returned from a nature walk to 7-11. My toddler barreled into freshly cleaned house with sticky hands and a mouth full of Tic Tacs. Poor little Ashby wasn’t wearing socks. Matt nursed a Big Gulp and wanted to know why I always “look so angry.” Om. 

My intention this morning was to wear white jeans. Last night I laundered the selected pair and laid out several top options. Striped pocket tee, navy blue blazer, poppy red cami – all contenders. After several rounds of mixy-matchy it finally came together. Now I needed to bust a move. I was intent on a swift exit but AJ chased me across the decomposing pink magnolias intent that I hold him “like a baby.” BAM! Dirty feet meet white jeans. Om Shanti.

Thankfully, the #OOTD was saved by Matt, who knows how to dab out a dirt stain. Mindfulness guru that he is, I also earned a lecture about taking things too seriously.

I was intent on an authentic Hermes Collier De Chien Cuff bracelet but this knock off from Party City will have to do
They called him Soot Foot
Sending white light for a speedy recovery

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J. Crew striped roll sleeve tee shirt (2015); J Crew yellow skinny belt (2014); Seven for all Mankind white jeans (2013); Halogen nude booties (2015); Coach Legacy purple cross body (2012); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant (2014); Hermes inspired teal cuff from Party City (2014)

The Day Before Tomorrow

Feeling good today, friends! Because: vacation. I am a big fan of anticipation. My favorite day of the week is Thursday, so wrought with possibility.  When we were little, my sister and I would spend a week each summer in New York City with our Aunt Catherine. NYC is epic, always has been, always will be, but this was the ‘80s and NYC was authentically cool. Break dancers on street corners cool. Hot pink dollar sign earrings cool. DJ Magic Mike mix tape cool. Understandably, our annual trip was a BIG DEAL. And while the week’s festivities never disappointed (Aunt Cat ran that city) my favorite part was the plane ride there. I can still feel the giddy belly butterflies. Once you were actually in the city the trip was destined to end and with that the return of another sweltering summer in Norfolk, VA.

Tell the truth day! I bought some stuff from J.Crew. Also I forgot to cancel Stitch Fix. Both packages arrived yesterday. As soon as I spotted them at the door my minimalist rationale went out the window. Matt asked if I loved our baby anymore, because she needed to eat and I straight sprinted to her nursery to rip open boxes.

In the light of day I could see that the braided rope belt wasn’t leather and the statement necklace was one that I didn’t need to make. This is when I had what my therapists call a “breakthrough.” Online shopping feeds my anticipation addiction. Until it arrives, anything is possible. The belt could be the link that connects my wardrobe; the vintage cotton v-neck tee might be the last that I’d ever need to buy. Unlike memories of late night cannolis and my first cappuccino in Little Italy or the fourth time we saw Cats!, these unnecessary online purchases left me feeling empty inside. I sent everything back. OK! I kept a pair of denim shorts. One day at a time, people.

Feeling the vacay vibes! Even the rain can’t get me down, or touch my new highlights and spray tan under this jaunty beach hat. 

Outfit details: Original Penguin hat (belongs to Matt, 2013); trusty Joie Military Fatigue Jacket (2014); Gap Women 1969 Destructed Western Denim Shirt (2015); Tinley Road Maya Vegan Grey Leather Shoulder Mini Dress (2013); Salvatore Ferragamo Louisa Silk Scarf as belt (2009); Hunter Boots (gift from sister Emily 2013); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant (2014); Stella & Dot Norah Chandelier earrings (2014); Pave diamond disk necklace (anniversary gift from Matt, 2014)
Spring 2015 Core Capsule Wardrobe  by  jennmapp     After much deliberation my master 33 piece Spring 2015 core wardrobe is complete. There are caveats to this capsule that you must note. March is notorious for rapid cycle weather patterns. As the forecast improves, some items will be swapped for seasonal-appropriate replacements. Like great art, Facebook app updates and noncommittal ex-boyfriends, this relationship is a work in progress. You may spot a tank or pant that is not on the master list. I will share the sub collections at a later date. Each is sparsely populated, containing shoes and accessories, seasonal replacements, licensed sports apparel and backup dupes of the master collection (the baby spit up struggle is real, ya’ll).   Happy Spring and Go Hoos!       Details: White + Warren cashmere beanie (2012);  Joie Hooded Military jacket  (2014);  Gap 1969 Deconstructed Western Denim shirt  (2015);  Hooded UVa long sleeve tee shirt , gift from Matt, Mincers, Charlottesville, Va (2015);  AG “Stevie” ankle jeans  (2013);  Hunter Boots , gift from sister Emily (2013)     Details:  David Yurman Cable Classics hoop earrings  (2013);  Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Tear Drop necklace  (2001);  David Yurman Color Classics Bangles with Black Onyx  (2013);  David Yurman Cable Classics Bracelet with Titanium and 14K Gold  (2006);  David Yurman Petite Albion Ring with Hematine and Diamonds  (2006);  Loeffler Randall Industry Bag  (2014)

Spring 2015 Core Capsule Wardrobe by jennmapp 

After much deliberation my master 33 piece Spring 2015 core wardrobe is complete. There are caveats to this capsule that you must note. March is notorious for rapid cycle weather patterns. As the forecast improves, some items will be swapped for seasonal-appropriate replacements. Like great art, Facebook app updates and noncommittal ex-boyfriends, this relationship is a work in progress. You may spot a tank or pant that is not on the master list. I will share the sub collections at a later date. Each is sparsely populated, containing shoes and accessories, seasonal replacements, licensed sports apparel and backup dupes of the master collection (the baby spit up struggle is real, ya’ll).

Happy Spring and Go Hoos!

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Details: White + Warren cashmere beanie (2012); Joie Hooded Military jacket (2014); Gap 1969 Deconstructed Western Denim shirt (2015); Hooded UVa long sleeve tee shirt, gift from Matt, Mincers, Charlottesville, Va (2015); AG “Stevie” ankle jeans (2013); Hunter Boots, gift from sister Emily (2013)
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Details: David Yurman Cable Classics hoop earrings (2013); Tiffany & Co. Elsa Peretti Tear Drop necklace (2001); David Yurman Color Classics Bangles with Black Onyx (2013); David Yurman Cable Classics Bracelet with Titanium and 14K Gold (2006); David Yurman Petite Albion Ring with Hematine and Diamonds (2006); Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014)