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)

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.

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

Signature Style

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Part of the appeal of Project 333 is the opportunity to save money. The goal is to edit your belongings down to a seasonal collection of coordinating items that play well together. Arguably, you save money because you are shopping your own closet and you save time because your choices are limited.  Leave it to me to spend money executing a minimalist lifestyle change. 

You see what happened was… the process of curating a three month wardrobe revealed gaps in the coordination matrix. There was no black and white striped t-shirt, no nude go-with-everything stacked healed sandal, no gray ruched mini skirt - obviously items necessary TO TIE IT ALL TOGETHER. Not to worry, gaping fashion holes were filled, online, while nursing at 4:14AM. World’s best shopping conditions. 

As soon as I tapped the order confirmation button the familiar nervous/guilty anticipation set in: In 3 - 5 business days all of my problems would be solved by J Crew. This very feeling is the dragon that I am attempting to shake. Even as I type this her fiery breath is whispering that I need just one more thing to complete the perfect spring capsule – black nude flats. A good quality pair by Loeffler Randall. But I haven’t pushed ADD TO BAG. Yet. 

Dragon lady is graciously quiet on the jewelry and scarf front. These signature items, mostly special gifts from Matt, didn’t require deliberation because they bring me joy. 

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Jewelry: From left, David Yurman, Tiffany & Co, Stella & Dot, Kendra Scott, Gorjana, model’s own

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 Hermes Scarfs: From bottom, Red Horse Bits 2007; Purple Love Birds 2009

Day 2 Outfit Credits

Top: Tart Collections (2014 Gilt.com)

Cardigan: JCrew (2010 stolen from sister Emily)

Pants: JCrew Minnie (2013)

Shoes: Christian Louboutin Simple 85s (2007)

Bag: Loeffler Randall Industry Bag (2014 gift from sister Emily)

Scarf: Posh Boutique, Charlottesville, VA (2010)

Jewelry: David Yurman (2006 - 2013)