Month: March 2013

Dress disappointment = blessing in disguise

Postcard dressA few weeks ago, I ordered a dress from ModCloth:

Cute, right? Fun print, nice colors, would work  with a cardigan before spring really gets here, I have multiple pairs of shoes that would look good with that style and print…I was excited. And then it showed up.

I LOVED the fabric. The dress felt great and had decent quality construction. But…

The shoulders were too narrow. The neck was way too high, concealing my entire collarbone and decolletage, which I rarely cover. The gathers under the bust made the middle of the dress somewhat bulky. It just didn’t work for my body.

Sigh. Back in the box for the postal carrier.

When Tim and I were hanging out with friends Saturday night, Bernadette said that she’d also ordered a dress that had to go back as it didn’t fit.

Then she asked if I wanted to try it on.

B_dress_side

I love the color. It’s greener than it looks here.

It makes me feel like a pin-up.

It makes me feel like a pin-up.

Tim likes this view.

Tim likes this view.

The dress came home with me. B still has to find another dress, but this one has found a loving home. Now I just need to manufacture reasons to wear it. Suggestions?

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Adventures in New Jersey

On Tuesday, I went to New Jersey to help my friend Carole move to a new apartment. Though the circumstances surrounding her move aren’t exactly cause for joy, I was really glad to get the chance to spend time with her. We’ve been friends since we met in seventh grade. Because adulthood gets messy, we’ve only seen each other two or three times in the last five years or so…but she’s one of those friends where no matter how long it’s been, we immediately pick up like we just saw each other yesterday. (In our case, that means lots of “your mom” jokes. Really.)

Carole’s a professional puppeteer and an wonderful seamstress. While she’s made countless puppets and performed in many different shows, I think this peacock marionette will always be my favorite. I love the attention to detail and how naturally the bird moves–the music is also really fun. So cool.

In addition to being fantastically resourceful and creative, Carole is a model housekeeper – everything is always perfectly organized, yet still welcoming, not austere. My space runs more toward the contained chaos end of the spectrum, much to Tim’s chagrin. But there’s hope for me yet–Carole gave me a great vintage housekeeping book: A Thousand Ways to Please a Husband With Bettina’s Best Recipes. It’s full of recipes and housekeeping tips, presented in vignettes about newlyweds Bettina and Bob and their friends.

A thousand ways to please a husband

The book has great illustrations.

A sample chapter and recipes

A sample chapter and recipes

I’ll try some of the tips and recipes in the coming weeks and keep you posted on how they turn out. Bob and Bettina don’t seem to celebrate Easter, but I’m sure there are plenty of spring recipes to choose from for next weekend’s holiday dinner with Tim’s family. Stay tuned.

Vargas calender page

A few weeks ago, my cousin Becky sent me this wonderful calendar page she found:

Varga calendar page

A page from a vintage calendar

It’s one of the illustrations Vargas created for Esquire, probably in 1945 or ’46. I love her hair and her tiki costume. I’m partial to redheads; Vargas frequently used a redheaded model named Jeanne Dean. I have a series of Petty calendar pages on display in my office; Vargas replaced Petty as the main artist for Esquire because publisher David Smart realized he could exploit Vargas for far less than he was paying Petty. I have no idea how the two artists felt about one another.

My three Petty girls - blonde, brunette, and redhead.

My three Petty girls – blonde, brunette, and redhead.

Wouldn’t my Vargas girl look nice with some friends? I certainly think so. Maybe I could even find another Vargas girl to make the display symmetrical. Any excuse to find more pin-ups!

Thank you, shoe gods.

Yesterday I wrote about being discontent with my wardrobe. I have a work event in New York City this evening, and somehow travelling always makes me feel like I need to look better than ususal. Yesterday morning I identified an outfit that’s suitably professional yet bombshell, except for one thing.

The Liz Claiborne Jacob boot. Note the snakeskin detail at the heel.

The Liz Claiborne Jacob boot. Note the snakeskin detail at the heel.

The shoes.I live in New England. We’re still getting whacked with snow. My black boots are low-heeled and tired. They actually make me feel kind of dumpy. Not what I want on a day I’m trying to be super ON and confident. So I decided to stop at the shoe store on the way home to find new black boots. You know, because wearing new shoes for the first time on an all-day travel adventure is super-comfortable and an awesome way to break them in. (Yes, I’m making fun of myself.)I figured I wouldn’t find anything.I was wrong.

Not only did I find boots that I love, they were in the clearance section. For $39.99. And I had a $10 off coupon in my purse.

That never happens.

I took it as a sign and I bought them.

While I was shopping, I noticed a number of other very cool shoes. Lots of cute vintagey wedges and espadrilles. And these:

creamy spectators front

Gorgeous details. Great delicate ankle strap.

creamy spectators back

Love the back. Picture with backseam stockings. Delicious.

While I didn’t buy them, I’m definitely going to. They’ll replace a similar pair that’s getting perilously close to the end of their lifespan. Thank you, shoes, for restoring my confidence. Amen.

Melting season

Spring is almost here….but not quite. And I’ve reached the point where I’m sick of all my clothes. I’m having daily fashion meltdowns because I feel like everything I own is boring or broken. Throw in some weight fluctuation and laundry mishaps and…you get the picture. Not helpful. I really, really, really can’t wait for warmer weather. (Did I mention I misplaced one of my favorite shirts? As in, I’ve been looking for it for at least two weeks and can’t find it anywhere? Not in my drawers or the laundry or under the bed or in the couch cushions or behind the dryer or anywhere I can find it. Tim says the sock gremlins got it. I’m starting to believe him. Grrrr.)

I had a nice visit with my mother last weekend and she mercifully took me out and bought me some new cardigans. (Thanks, Mom!) I missed a recent clothing swap due to travel schedule and illness…I was hoping that would alleviate some of my malcontent. I did order a cute dress from ModCloth and I’m frantically tracking it as though that will hasten arrival.

What do you do when you’re sick of all your stuff? Where do you turn for inspiration?