Thursday, October 13, 2016

Bright lip for fall

Activity: Family bike ride along Ocean Beach (and inevitable grocery store run)

Jacket: Old Navy (similar)
Top: Old Navy (similar)
Jeans: LOFT, hem cropped and frayed by me (similar)
Shoes: Dolce Vita via ebay (similar)
Bag: Linea Pelle, thrifted (strap was missing, so I ordered a custom one via ebay - well worth it for snagging a bag like this for only $5) (similar)
Earrings: craft fair (similar)
Lipstick: Maybelline fuchsia flame (similar)

I usually save this lip color for summer, but I didn't use it much this year, which was a shame.  So, when I saw this article, I thought I would have a good excuse to wear one of my favorite lip colors a little longer, even though it wouldn't be my usual choice for October.

This outfit may not seem too extraordinary, and it truly isn't, but it does represent my achieving a long-time style goal.  Also a simple one: find outfits that look cute and allow you to carry out whatever activity is needed - in this case, a bike ride with the family (so not too intense with a six-year-old, if you know what I mean, but still activity) - without feeling like I'm stuck in a workout clothing or sports clothing rut.  I often find it frustrating when we have a "day out", which doesn't come along that often, and I'm stuck wearing useful but not very stylish clothing.  I mean, I live for the cute outfits I own but rarely get to wear!

I've resolved this in two ways (well, three really - sometimes I just suck it up and wear the practical thing when needed, imagine that), first by getting cuter workout outfits that I don't mind wearing in regular life (some of the time - I'm not a fan of the workout wear for every day), but those tend to work better for warmer days somehow.  Secondly, I've realized that I can do certain activities in jeans, even though I wouldn't have thought so.  These spandex-infused jeans worked just fine for a leisurely bike ride at a 6 year old's pace.  Sometimes I seem to think I'm doing things at a professional level, at least based on the way I dress for those activities.  Just chill already.

What's your activity day dressing solution?

Sunday, October 9, 2016

Breaking out the cape... (including some cape-buying wisdom)

Activity: Volunteer ministry

Cape: vintage via ebay (sort of similar - try vintage shops or eBay)
Top: Uniqlo (exact)
Skirt: Charlotte Russe (similar)
Boots: Dolce Vita, thrifted (similar)
Bag: GiGi New York, via ebay (similar)
Sunglasses: LOFT (similar)
Earrings: pearl studs, gift (similar)

Ah, the cape.  The quintessential fashion item that tends to divide those who get it from those who don't (although it's entirely possible I'm one of the "don't get its").  What's funny to me is that an item that seems to come from a very practical, utilitarian, non-fashion place, now seems like the essence of "fashionista wear", at least judging by various reactions to the cape as a fashion choice.  

I made my first forays into Capeland last year, once I figured out that the climate here in San Francisco seemed quite conducive to wearing a cape more than that one fall or spring day in the Midwest that is warm enough to avoid wearing an actual coat, but cool enough to necessitate a woolen top layer.  I'm not sure why, but it had always been a "back-burner" fashion goal to find and wear a cape.  So last year I first bid on this one on eBay, but in a "silly-me, I forgot I already bid on one cape because there's such a long time before the auction ends" kind of way, I ended up bidding on and winning not just one, but two capes.  That did feel a bit excessive.  I thought the second one would end up much being more versatile because of the solid gray color (see how I wore it here and here), so I planned to re-sell this one on eBay.  However, I soon learned that all capes are NOT created equal.  The really tailored, small slits for arms kind are quite nice looking, but not practical for driving at all, unless you want to feel like a tiny-armed tyrannosaurus trapped inside your outerwear.  For me, this was an issue.  I also have a young child of the male (and crazy) variety, so limited arm mobility can be a problem. (I need all the advantages can get, these days.... ;) )  So while I didn't photograph this cape last year, I actually wore it relatively often, while I ended up gifting the other, seemingly awesome cape to a friend who had admired it  (she hasn't worn it yet that I've seen however, so perhaps she suffers from the same trapped-arm issues).  

So this year, when a cape-weather kind of day came up recently, I was rather excited to pull this guy out again.  This particular cape was made in Wales, from what seems to me to be a classic style from an old pattern type, and it actually proves why capes can be very practical.  For example, this one is very versatile in size, since the belt is adjustable.  So no needing a new outer garment if you put on or lose a few pounds, you just adjust the belt.  This would be especially practical during pregnancy, right?  It's also very flattering, what with said belt and all.  In addition, it's rather flexible for temperature variations, since it accommodates a variety of clothing underneath (as opposed to a very fitted style wool topcoat), so could be layered depending on the weather.  I think I could actually use this when traveling to cooler climates in fall or early winter as a very versatile outer layer, depending on what I used underneath.  (Now let's hope for a fall or winter travel opportunity!)  Lastly, this version gives free arm movement for child wrangling, always a practical option.

Here's a quick purse/cape wearing tip: Put your small cross body bag on after your clothing, but BEFORE you put on and fasten your cape.  This will prevent it from messing with the line of your cape, or from falling off your shoulder.  You could also carry a top handle bag instead of a cross-body.  Skip the shoulder bags with this look.  Note: This can make it interesting buckling your seatbelt while still wearing the cross-body bag, but nothing a determined, well-dressed individual cannot overcome.

I cannot conclude any post about capes without including at least a momentary mention of fashion reactions.  These are actually fun.  People in general, but especially males, appear to be somewhat fascinated - or perhaps mystified - many non-fashion-inclined men seem to take inordinate interest in this particular piece of clothing (not in me, you understand, but in the actual piece of clothing I'm wearing).  It's so funny to see them eyeing it to try to figure out how it fastens, or for the more tailored version I wore last year, to watch as my arms disappear inside the arm slits to reach my purse (which I wore slung cross-body UNDER my cape).  So. freaking. funny.  The day I wore the outfit pictured above, a cafe owner I've known for a while, who has never made a single comment on any item I was wearing, saw this cape and said "I like your.... what do you call it? Poncho?"  It was cute.  So, I guess you could call it an ice-breaker.

Any cape anecdotes?  Do share!

Saturday, October 8, 2016

Utility vest for fall

Activity: School pickup

Vest: Old Navy (similar)
Top: Uniqlo (exact)
Jeans: LOFT (similar)
Shoes: Banana Republic, thrifted (similar fringed style - save, similar fringed style - mid price , similar color)
Bag: vintage Coach via ebay (similar)
Necklace: Forever 21 (similar)
Earrings: gold ball studs via Groupon Goods (similar)

It's so strange to finally live in a place where it's not stereotypical "Fall Weather" during the season.  My dressing for autumn used to consist of trying to delay starting to have to dress for winter (by mostly feeling chilly in my cute fall outfits in the cool early winter temperatures in Wisconsin).  Now I live in a place where September and October are often the warmest months of the year, while summer is quite chilly.  So by the time fall arrives, I tend to be more excited to break out the sandals and shorts I haven't gotten to wear all summer.  C'est la vie, right?  I'm okay with dressing for the temperatures, rather than the season, especially since I like the overall range of temperatures here in San Francisco, but I do understand the appeal of fall fashion.

This was my attempt to blend both autumn style with somewhat warm temperatures.  I do find a utility vest very versatile for times I want to create a layer without too much warmth.  This was also the premiere for my newly thrifted d'Orsay fringe oxford flats in cobalt blue.  I wasn't sure how well I would be able to use the color with my wardrobe, but so far I've been wearing them a lot.  And a bit of variety from a ballet flat or athletic shoe in a comfortable flat is always a bonus!

What do you think?  Dress for the temperature, or the calendar?  Discuss.