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)

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)

Calculating D.I.N.K

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  1. Monthly payment on matching “His and Her” 2015 Range Rover SuperChargeds
  2. 18K white gold Cartier Love bracelet set with 2 diamonds
  3. One pair Christian Louboutin “So Kate Booty” in Python 
  4. Two nights, mid week, standard room, The St. Regis Aspen Resort, Aspen, CO
  5. 89 J.Crew perfect fit tank tops
  6. Saturday night coursed dinner for 10 at the Inn at Little Washington (excludes tip, taxes and gratuity)
  7. Four Hermes 36 x 36 silk twill scarfs
  8. Twenty-five year supply of Cibu Sticky Rice Pomade (111 tubs) 
  9. Mortgage payment, 4BR, 5BT, 3860 SF new construction in Dallas, TX
  10. 129 bottles of Mumms 

or

One month of daycare for my two children, Falls Church, VA

Good thing I paired down my wardrobe. 

Today’s outfit was an “Ish I woke up at 8:15AM!” fashion moment. Still managed to get out the door relatively on time because it’s pretty easy to pull it together when you only have three dozen-ish items in your closet. 

BTW: DINK means Double Income No Kids

Outfit details: Rite Aid Foster Grant aviator shades due to lost Chloe Havana (2015); LouLou scarf (2014); Tart Collections dress (2014); Kate Spade wedge sandals (2014); Stella & Dot Waverly Petite cross body bag; David Yurman Classic cable bracelet (2006); Stella & Dot Coral Cay earrings

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)

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

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

Let It Go

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Perhaps the omission was a gift from the universe, easing our family’s transition through a late winter cold snap: For several months my toddler forgot to sing the theme song from Frozen. In early April, however; The Frozen Song re-emerged as a thematic element in our collaborative bedtime story. In summary: AJ hosts an egg hunt and all of his cousins are invited (”All of them, Mommy!”). There is a custom Play Doh decorated surprise egg hidden for each cousin. Anna’s egg is wrapped in a tutu and when she opens it a real ballerina dances out (these are big eggs). Caroline’s egg is decorated as an egg and when she cracks it open, baby Ashby is trapped inside and AJ rescues her. Finally, Isabelle opens her egg, emblazoned with a glittering crown, and out jumps Princess Elsa, singing “Let it Go, Let it Go, Let it Go...” At this point he falls asleep softly singing the only words anyone really knows from that song.

Yesterday the nurse at the doctor’s office needed to confirm my last name. “Is it Mapp or Bressan?” After a very pregnant pause I responded “Bressan.” I have been married for nearly six years but man was it hard to let that one go. We cling to things, don’t we? Maiden names, college scrapbooks, dog eared copies of Judy Blume’s Blubber, a $175 silk Joie blouse that never actually looks good on - they all tell a story about who we are, or were. But where is the line between identity and junk?

That evening I enjoyed a glass of champagne with a chic friend to celebrate her newly acquired American citizenship. Thinking back on the last name conversation I asked if the ceremony sparked any sort of identity crisis. “Not at all,” she replied. “I retain both my Swiss and Italian passports.”  Leave it to Ada to be a triple citizen of the world. After a moment she added, “It was kind of hard for my Dad, though.”

Today’s outfit wasn’t quite as inspiring as the pink magnolia letting go of her petals in the background. Looking to the indigo top and flats to elevate grey base layers and an overcast spring morning. 

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Outfit details: Salvatore Ferragamo silk twill scarf (2009); J. Crew ruffle trench (2008); South Moon Under indigo hi low t-shirt (2012); Banana Republic ruched grey jersey skirt (2015); Steve Madden Kstudd indigo studded flats (2012); Stella & Dot Rebel pendant necklace (2014)