Footloose and Fancy Free

A very long time ago a six year old boy I babysat looked down at my pink flowery flip flops and asked “why are you always so fancy?” I still smile when I remember that exchange. I don’t consider myself fancy. A fancy girl wears heels everywhere. A fancy girl reapplies lipstick and maintains a French manicure. A fancy girl wouldn’t think of trying to pass off Lululemon as real clothes.

My un-fanciness was on full display this past week at the beach with my family. I blew out my hair exactly once and managed to go barefoot 80% of the week. My beach look consisted of two J.Crew bikinis, my Target MC Hammer pants and the Stella & Dot Havana pendant. To add interest I applied multiple Flash Tats to an assortment of body parts. One afternoon I layered the MC Hammer pants with a fringed black tank top, which prompted AJ to observe that my shirt looked like an octopus.  

A long span of my lifetime was spent fancy. I distinctly remember wearing a black and white Ann Taylor flair waste dress with pink pointy stilettos to the airport in 2004. On our honeymoon in 2009 I wore my sky high teal wedding Louboutins to dinner at an Italian restaurant located atop a steep cobblestone hill in Capri.  

Today, with two small children and fallen arches from walking up hills in heels, mine is an incredibly paired down aesthetic of accessorized basics. My first instinct is to correct well meaning friends when they describe me as fancy or, better worse yet, a “fashionista.”  What others perceive as the quality of my clothing is actually the quirkiness of my character. I am totally comfortable in quirky. Fancy hurts my feet.

A 35-piece wardrobe makes it that much easier to get quirked up on a Monday morning, even after vacation. I wear this Tart Collections dress on repeat but keep it fresh with accessories. I’m passing off tan lines and a monogrammed OBX tumbler as critical elements of my fresh off the beach look.

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses, (2014); Tart Collections dress (2014); Hip to be Round belt (2014); J.Crew flip flops (2013); Kate Spade wedges in hand (2014); Loeffler Randal open work tote (2015); Hermes scarf tied on handle (2007); OBX Monogram Shop tumbler (2015)

The Force

AJ is obsessed with his new Darth Vader costume. He’s assumed the iconic role with impressive conviction for someone who has never actually watched a Star Wars movie. He even has the breathing down. Unfettered by humidity, DV stoically guards the driveway, synthetic black cape absorbing August heat, plastic robotic mask askew on his little face. In lieu of a light saber (on backorder) he practices anti-Jedi moves switching mommy’s skinny yellow J.Crew belt at family members.

Costumes dictate the quality of your behavior – and your audience’s reaction. Whether you’re a lady lobbying for beads on Bourbon St., in line at the bank in an army uniform, the only guy at the meeting without a tie or swathed in custom Christian Siriano and electric teal Christian Louboutins on your cold, rainy wedding day – costumes can grant you power or take it away.

I can be am obsessive about my appearance. Having two children under 3 has loosened my (weekend) standards but believe me I am just as compulsive about casual. Every ensemble must fit just so, coordinate and be appropriately accessorized. Why? Because if it doesn’t I am uncomfortable ALL. DAY. LONG. I can’t concentrate. I tug and over think and seek out mirrors to scrutinize. When my outfit is sorted my mind space is clear. I am empowered to perform and the world responds accordingly.

We went to the mall last night for flip flops and Shake Shack. After lengthy negotiation it was settled that AJ could wear his cape and mask, and we would leave the body suit at home. Matt requested that AJ stay on my side as we strolled through Lord & Taylor so he didn’t have be associated with the crazy kid in the Halloween costume. I didn’t mind. The Darth Vader costume empowers my little guy to strut like a big guy. I get it. AJ, I am your mother.

The Dark Side has inspired this week’s outfit choices, too. When all else fails (and half of your 35 items are at the dry cleaner) bet on black. 

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses, (2014); BCBG cuff earrings (2015); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant necklace, (2014); BCBG black asymmetrical tunic (2014); J.Crew Minnie pants (2012); Tahari blue peep toe flats (2012); Marc by Marc Jacobs Metrooptic cross body (2015); Lanvin tassle keychain (2014)

Outfit details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); 14K gold hoop earrings (Mother’s Day gift, 2015); ASOS black dress (2014); Miguel Ases necklace (2012); Renvy sandals via Gilt.com (2014); Loeffler Randall open work tote (2015); Hermes scarf tied on handle (2009); Stella & Dot bangle (2013); David Yurman classic cable bracelet (2006)

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)

What Happened in Vegas

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Vegas has a shelf life of 48 hours. On Thursday night the iconic city is sinfully charming. Hundred foot digital screens light up the Strip as the crowds swell beneath. A deafening EDM anthem repeats while the Ding! Ding! Ding! of a million slot machines reinforce the promise of winnings and revelry. The party has started! Let’s play.

Like the punishing glare of sunrise after late night at Drai’s, if you stay beyond Sunday afternoon, everything painful about Las Vegas compounds. Second hand smoke, dehydration and black jack losses, for example. Depart on Tuesday and you are lucky to get out with your life (or your wife).

I had delusions of leaving the adult playground with an authentic Hermes Collier De Chien cuff, purchased with winnings from an epic run of split eights after the dealer busted when I doubling down on a five and a six. Well that didn’t happen in Vegas so the cuff stayed.

Outfit wise, however, I was a winner. Three days of work mixed with two days of play requires the ultimate capsule collection, which I meticulously purchased* over the past month. My fashion formula was black, white and watermelon separates connected by a new Marc by Marc Jacobs multi-print cross body, new Sergio Rossi flat gold sandals and two of my favorite Hermes scarves. 

Back in VA, today’s outfit features three of my most beloved accessories. Hey, what’s a few grand to realize what I have at home is priceless?

Top outfit details: Hermes scarf as head wrap (2013); Joie silk jumper (2015); Sergio Rossi flat gold sandals (2015); Marc by Marc Jacobs Metropoli Optical Stripe Crossbody via South Moon Under (2015); Gorjana Nina layered lariat necklace (2015)   

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Outfit details: Tart top (2015); J.Crew pencil skirt (2015); Hermes maxi twilly as belt (2014); Sergio Rossi flat gold sandals (2015); knock off Hermes Cuff via Party City (2014)

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Outfit details: South Moon Under high low tee shirt (2012); Banana Republic ruched skirt (2015);  Marc by Marc Jacobs Metropoli Optical Stripe Crossbody via South Moon Under (2015); Loeffler Randall sandals (2011). On AJ: Polo t-shirt; Baby Gap shorts, Nike Lebron James kicks. On Ashby: Baby Gap onsie and pants. On Custis: new Pet Smart collar thanks to Sylvia Mapp

*Newly purchased apparel has been rotated into my 35 piece capsule wardrobe, replacing less popular selections.

Highlight Reel

This week’s fashion themes were flat sandals, pendant necklaces and the ole pocket book elbow hook. Out of all of my blogged outfits so far, these looks feel the most like like “me.” Can you tell me why?

Outfit details: Hermes Maxi Twilly as head wrap (2014); Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); ASOS dress (2014); Stella & Dot Havana convertible pendant necklace; Sergio Rossi gold sandals (2015); Loeffler Randal Industry bag (2014)

Outfit details: Foster Grant aviator sunglasses (2015); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant necklace (2014); Helmut Lang twisted back tank (2014); Hermes scarf as belt (2007); Banana Republic skirt (2015); Loeffler Randal Industry bag (2014); Loeffler Randal gladiator sandals (2009)

Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Target/Mossimo red tank top (2014); J.Crew cardigan (2010); DVF skirt (2012); Manolo Blahnik gladiator sandals, originally yellow (2007); dyed black (2009)

1 Dress, 4 Ways

Four doses of Friday fashion featuring the American Apparel Le Sac dress. 

Yes, I did this in my office and yes, my co-workers think I’m kooky. 

Note that each dress variation also features a slightly different hair style. Kudos to Cibu Ka Pow Dry Shampoo for putting the FUN in multi-functional hair.
Eh oh!

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Outfit details: American Apparel Le Sac dress (2014); Loeffler Randall sandals (2012); David Yurman cable classics hoops and bangles (2006 - 2013)

Cibu Ka Pow Dry Shampoo is available exclusively in Bubbles Hair Salons, Salon Cielo & Spa, select Hair Cuttery locations and online at cibuinternational.com

Showing My Stripes

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I love stripes. At least that’s the story my outfits are telling. Truth is, my propensity towards stripe selection is almost entirely subconscious. There is a Benton stripe dress on my mental summer shopping list and damned if I’m not wearing one right now. Didn’t even connect the dots. 

Last night we moved next door. Our new tenants don’t arrive until June and we’ve had the keys to the new place since late February. Schlepping a few items ten feet across the lawn has been a nightly ritual for several weeks. Yesterday was the final haul - beds and the like. Easy peasy, right? Not quite. 

The thing about having two homes right next to each other and no sense of urgency to vacate/occupy either is that you just kind of leave a pile of non-essentials behind. Apparently disorganized non essentials make me very anxious. Overwhelmed. Snappy. Impatient. Okay, I was SUCH a bitch last night. After six weeks of closet reduction, space clearing, almost daily yoga and meditation - was it all just a delusion of mindfulness? 

That’s why we call yoga a practice,” whispers the tiny guru in my head. “For goodness sake you’re not enlightened yet! “

Thanks, tiny guru. Any chance you could apologize to Matt for me?

So yeah, last night, when I was confronted with my deep seeded need to be in control at all times, I showed my base nature. But unlike that bitchy tiger, I am pretty sure I can eventually change my stripes. Or at least stop buying more.

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Top Outfit Details: Gap denim shirt (2015); Tart Collections striped dress (2014); Tangerine cashmere scarf, origins unknown (2012); Chuck Taylor All-Stars (2006)
Bottom Outfit Details: Hermes scarf as head band (2013); Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J. Crew striped rolled sleeve tee shirt (2015); layered over J. Crew poppy silk cami (2015); Joe’s Jeans skinny fatigue pants (2010); Christian Louboutin Simple 85 pumps (2007); Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014); Kendra Scott big ass cocktail ring (2013); David Yurman Classic cable bangle (2006); Nonexistent manicure

This girl cleaned out her closet, and what happened next was epic.

I spent last weekend peddling my fashion baggage all over Northern Virginia. It took three consignment stores (who does Current Boutique think she is, anyway?), one for-the-sisters pile and several trash bags earmarked Goodwill to shed my worn wears. So how does it feel? Simply put, it feels really good.

The creator of Project 333 suggests that clearing the physical and mental space previously occupied with shopping and storing purchases allows for richer, more meaningful experiences to enter your life. So far, its biggest impact on my life is the emotions I’ve left behind. You know that feeling when it’s 8:35 7:35 and you are frantically looking for a work outfit but you can’t even slide garments down the rack to select anything because your clothes are packed so tightly? I do not miss that feeling. Or the one when you try on a dress that you bought online for the fifteenth time and it still looks weird but it’s been over 30 days and now you can’t return it. Don’t miss that one, either.

Before I curtailed impulse shopping and minimized my wardrobe I routinely felt guilt, annoyance and disdain towards my closet. Now I feel proud, creative, savvy and mindful about pretty much everything. Three months ago I could produce any number of excuses to buy something new. Now I can’t find an excuse to buy anything at all! In fact, I missed the boat on these Loeffler Randal sandals and these J.Crew flats in gold, both planned purchases for my summer capsule, because I delayed the purchase and now they are sold out. On the bright side, I saved myself $568.

How’s this for a rich and meaningful experience? On Sunday night Matt and I attended the annual Blue Jeans Ball to benefit the Capital Area Food Bank. Impulsively, we bid $700 on a three night stay in Paris – and won! That opportunity was made possible by Project 333 – for once, an extra $700 was actually sitting in my bank account. Plus it was for a good cause. ‘Cause we’re going to Paris!

The round up of outfits in today’s post all share simple foundations highlighted by joyful pops of color. What a way to live.

Top Outfit Details: DVF wrap dress (2012); Joie military jacket (2014); Tangerine cashmere scarf, origins unknown (2012); Loeffler Randal Tasmin ponyhair pumps (2014); Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014); Stella & Dot Norah Chandelier earrings (2014); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant (2014)
Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); J.Crew necklace (2013); LA Made dress via Stitch Fix (2015); Coach purple Legacy tassel cross body bag (2012); Loeffler Randal gold gladiator sandals (2009)
Outfit Details: Chloe Havana sunglasses (2014); Stitch Fix top (2015); Hermes scarf as belt (2009); J.Crew Minnie pants (2013); Elie Tahari teal peep toe flats (2013) Coach Legacy purple tassel cross body bag

On the Wagon

Project 333 has helped me curb the urge to shop compulsively. Proudly, I am 14 days clean. I still peruse the 9 PM Gilt.com sales while waiting for my toddler to fall the eff asleep; the difference is that I choose not to indulge. It’s an empty high, anyway. Almost never does an impulse purchase emerge as the link that connects my entire wardrobe. Little things trip me up, though. It’s easy to delay the purchase of $495 Loeffler Randall tassel sandals; but damn you indigo Ikat print scarf, with your $45 allure of outfit completion and on-trend pop of color. Just a nip, she says. A sweet little sip of accessorize.

In the face of an upcoming tropical vacation, I rationalized my summer clothes hoping to find an excuse to shop. What I found, however; was three pairs of white jeans, four barely used and extremely versatile beach wraps; a floppy straw hat and a straw fedora; two pairs of J. Crew chino shorts that fit and FIVE pairs of J.Crew leather thong sandals. Truth be told, I did purchase two new bathing suits. Give me a break! I just had a baby and itty bitty string bikini season is over.

A rainy day is so suitable for draping gray layers. Comfort clothes, if you will. Also an example of an outfit I own in 24 variations. 

Outfit details: Design History gray open front cardigan (2014); Gap Body black t-shirt (2014); Banana Republic gray ruched skirt (2015); DKNY tights (2014); Nine West Heartset Wedge Knee High Boots (2014); Striped scarf from Posh, Charlottesville, VA (2010); Red tassel pendant from a boutique in Charleston, SC.