Sunday, July 28, 2013

Giving It the Cold Shoulder

Top (Boston Proper); Capris (Focus 2000); Bag (Magid); Watch (Fossil); Blue Topaz ring (Ross Simons); Smoky Quartz and Diamond ring (David Yurman, G. Thrapp Jewelers); Leather and Turquoise Cuff (Steinmart); Sandals (Lindsay Phillips SwitchFlops)
This embroidered and beaded lightweight cotton top is one of my "go to" weekend picks this summer.  It's airy, a bit bohemian, and reminds me of a Mexican vacation.  The pairing of turquoise with chocolate brown is a favorite; I already had SwitchFlop straps to match (possibly the most versatile casual summer shoes on the planet); and I really like the "cold-shoulder" style, which was new to me.  

The pewter and turquoise pendant is actually an earring I picked up at a little boutique in South Carolina a few years ago while visiting my brother at his military base. I loved the design but, as earrings, they were just too big.  With a small pair of needle nose pliers and a chocolate silk cord, however, it was easy to convert one of them into the perfect necklace for this outfit.  I'm not sure yet what I'll do with its mate...I guess I'll have a spare if I ever lose the pendant!

Sadly, I don't have a back-up of the top hiding in my closet - I dripped strawberry juice all over the gauzy white fabric at a cook-out over the weekend.  As I've mentioned in a prior post, I don't have the best luck with white clothing....Any tips or go-to products for getting stains out of your favorite clothes?

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Friday, July 26, 2013

IN Fashion Friday: Bus Stop Shopping?!

Last weekend, my aunt Gloria and I had a girls' afternoon, enjoying lunch on the canal at Creation Cafe and taking in the play, "Love, Loss and What I Wore" at the Phoenix Theater (see my prior post about the play here).  To our delight, we also got an unexpected opportunity to do a bit of shopping when we happened upon Retro 101 parked outside the theater.  Billed as "Indy's First Mobile Boutique," Retro 101 is a converted 1978 Chevy bus that will roll to special events, shows and other functions.  It's like a food truck, but with clothes and accessories.  How Fun!

Retro101 features new clothes, fun accessories and items made by local artisans (maple bacon jam, anyone?)  I really liked some of the accessories, especially the turquoise daisy statement necklace featured above, and the lace shorts Gloria is modeling are adorable.

Owner Heather Pirowski and I had an immediate connection - she's a fellow ginger who, like me, was challenged to accept her red hair as a child (for years I said my hair was strawberry blonde or auburn, depending on the season, though my high school Spanish teacher and many friends insisted on calling me by the nickname "roja," which is Spanish for "Red").  Heather recently shared her story, and the entrepreneurial spirit that led to Retro 101, here.  It's a great read!

Want to know where the bus is headed next, or want it to roll into your next event?  Get all the details here.  It's worth checking out!

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Love, Loss & What I Wore to the Play

Dress (INC, Macy's); Shoes (Massini); Bag (Nine West)
Last weekend I had the good fortune to see the Nora and Delia Ephron play, "Love, Loss and What I Wore" during its opening weekend at the Phoenix Theater.  The play is based on a 1995 book of the same name by Ilene Beckerman.  Through a series of monologues, the characters share personal stories triggered by memories of clothing and accessories connected to key moments in their lives.  Both hilarious and poignant, the tales will have you laughing, crying, and fondly (or not so fondly) recalling your own historical wardrobe. 

I have long associated memories of events with what I was wearing.  It's not just about my favorite outfits or even those that were definitely Glamour "don'ts" - I just always seem to remember what I was wearing, whether the occasion was significant or inconsequential.  I still remember what I wore to my first "boy-girl" party in Kelly Tacket's garage.  In particular, I can painfully recall the grey rubber jelly shoes that dug in to my feet so badly my mother threw them away after the first and only time I wore them.  They were a size too small when I got them, but they were the last pair in the store and I was so desperate for them I'd told her they fit fine.  

I remember what I wore to Debbie Etter's birthday party at The Pipe Dream (a long-defunct pizza, piano, and arcade venue) in downtown Kokomo, Indiana:  blue and white pintripe pants, red polo shirt with a popped collar, and a blue and white striped railroad engineer hat that I thought made me look so cool, even though no one else was wearing hats at the time.  I also recall what I wore to a differnt birthday party at Debbie's house - a sweatshirt that featured a white mouse and a black mouse dressed in pastel suits and the caption "Miami Mice."  It was horrible.  I loved it at the time.  And I will never forget the yellow flannel Garfield nightgown that I once took to a sleepover at Brandi Hulet's house.  I probably would not remember this particular garment, but it left a trail through the blue gel icing on her birthday cake when I carried it through the kitchen on my way to change.  I was mortified.

For the first day of school in the 7th grade, I wore a white Liz Claiborne mini skirt and a white Hang Ten camp shirt with multi-colored palm trees, both purchased with lawn mowing money I'd saved over the summer.  To my high school graduation, I wore the first of many spectator pumps I've owned over the years - these were navy and white and the perfect match for a polka dot dress in the same colors.  

When I met my husband for the first time, I was wearing navy sweatpants and a nylon Reebok windbreaker with navy, green and burgundy colorblocking given to me for my 20th birthday by my best friend and college roommate Melanie (it was a softball game, otherwise, I wouldn't have been caught dead in sweatpants).  Twenty years later, I still have that windbreaker.  I uncovered it during a big closet clean-out last fall and it's actually hanging on the back of our laundry room closet door at this very moment.  I tried to give it new life and wear it again, but when I did (also for a softball game), it immediately became the butt of several jokes by my teammates.  It did look sort of ridiculous, so it's now been permanently retired, though I haven't quite decided whether I'll actually get rid of it.

As I drove to the theater, I also couldn't help but recall the last time I wore the bright, bold print maxi dress I chose for the play.  It was a miserable 14 hour plane ride home from Mumbai throughout which I was violently ill with food poisoning.  India was definitely not an "Eat, Pray, Love" kind of experience for me.  It will be nice to now be able to associate an exponentially better experience with the dress!

Love, Loss and What I Wore is playing at the Phoenix through August 11.  You can purchase tickets here.  It's a perfect play to see for a girls' night out!

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Vanilla Caramel Sunday

Editor Pants (Express); Silk Peasant Blouse (Boston Proper); Shoes (Poetic License); Bag (Dooney & Bourke); Faux Tortoise Cuff and Pendant(Tagged Designs); Leather Belt (Nordstrom)
        Bright white pants are a dangerous choice for me, given my proclivity for clumsiness.  (Did you read my prior post, Calamity Jane's Left Shoe?)  In high school, my tennis coach banned me from drinking anything other than clear liquids prior to my matches because my crisp white uniform was a magnet for spilled drinks.  While working as a waitress in college, I once spilled an entire gallon of Thousand Island dressing on my white button down at the beginning of a 12 hour shift (I smelled like a Big Mac all day long).  On our second date, I proudly proclaimed to my future husband that I didn't need his help carrying our Chinese take-out to the car because I used to be a waitress, and then promptly dropped his dinner in the parking lot.  In the first week of a new job as a corporate lawyer, I spilled an entire plate of fried chicken, mashed potatoes, and corn in my lap during a lunch meeting with key company executives (at least my suit was black that day).  You get the point...bright white pants are a dangerous choice for me.  
         And yet, I can't resist pairing them with this caramel-hued silk blouse because it's such a great combination with the vanilla caramel striped spectators from my favorite brand, Poetic License!  I love these shoes with their subtle seersucker-like stripe, rich caramel leather, and quirky tassel ties.  I also have a yellow and blue version of the same shoe (see them in prior posts here, and here).  These are the kind of shoes you build outfits around just so you can wear them more often, and they're super comfortable, too!  So, I boldly take the risk that accompanies the bright white pants!  I do, however, choose my food and beverage wisely while wearing them.  Red wine and vanilla caramel sundaes are out, clear liquids and non-greasy foods without sauce are in.  Hmmmm, maybe white pants are a tool for healthy choices!
         How do you wear white pants?  Any tips for keeping them spotless?
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Friday, July 19, 2013

IN Fashion Friday: The Best Clothes Money Can't Buy

Yesterday I visited one of my favorite boutiques in Indianapolis.  It's beautifully appointed; the walls are covered with gorgeous one-of-a kind artwork from local artists; it carries clothing brands I covet; and the staff is in the midst of unpacking a truckload of more than 1000 new pairs of shoes that was delivered last week!  I've spent more time at this boutique than at any other boutique in the city, but I've never purchased a single item.  In fact, the suits and shoes in this stylish shop aren't even for sale, but being there gives me something money can't buy.  

Part high end shopping experience, part art gallery, and all social services agency, I'm talking about the boutique at Dress for Success Indianapolis!  DFSI provides professional, interview appropriate clothing and ongoing career development services to low income women living in Indianapolis and the surrounding counties who are referred by over 90 partnering agencies, and its critical mission is "To promote the economic independence of disadvantaged women by providing a network of support and the career development tools to help women thrive in work and in life."  DFSI accomplishes its mission through multiple, successful programming initiatives that help women on their journey to financial independence.  

One of these programs, Suits for Success, provides women with the professional look and confidence needed to secure employment, as well as workforce apparel. Each woman who is referred to the boutique for a suiting appointment is assisted one-on-one by her own Personal Shopper. These highly trained volunteers spend time getting to know their clients and select the perfect ensemble appropriate for a job interview. Once employment is obtained, clients may return for additional clothing appropriate for their work environment.  I was a personal shopper for many years, and the experience benefited me at least as much as it benefited any of the clients with whom I worked.  I have been moved by their stories and inspired by their perseverance and success.  I am fortunate to call some of them life-long friends.    

The clothing, shoes, and accessories provided through the Suits for Success program are donated by corporate partners and individuals.  The truckload of 1000 pairs of black pumps I mentioned earlier came from the generous support of Designer Shoe Warehouse; the gorgeous St. John suit that elegantly outfits a mannequin came from the closet of a prominent local businesswoman.  Learn how you can donate here, and if you have the opportunity to visit the boutique, make sure you take time for a tour to appreciate all the unique artwork that adorns nearly every wall. Here'a a sneak peak at some of it: 
Art, clockwise from top left:  John Blauvelt, official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2009; April Willy, official artist of Stepping Out in Style 2013; Laura LaForge, official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2006, 2007; Mallory Marty, official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2012; Marianne Glick, Official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2008; Emma Overman, Official artist of Stepping Out In Style 2010.  See my prior post about DFSI's largest annual fundraiser, Stepping Out In Style, here.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Thursday, July 18, 2013

No Shoes on Tuesday

         I generally think a shoe-lover's fashion blog should feature shoes, but this week, I spent an unplanned, mid-week barefoot morning at the lake with friends that I had not seen in nearly a year - a rejuvenating few hours for both my soul and my soles (being that sand is a natural exfolient and all....)  
         When I decided to post this spur-of-the moment snapshot taken during my shoeless Tuesday morning, I was reminded of a recent article that purported to identify the top ten trite Instagram photos. Self-portraits (aka "selfies," a term I'm inexplicably not fond of) featuring one's feet on a beach/by a pool was near the top of the list, along with sunset illuminations of sparkling or frothy adult beverages.  Indeed, my own Instagram feed often features just such vantage points, frozen in time by friends in the midst of relaxation and celebration.  Common?  Perhaps.  Trite?  Not in my book.  Snapshots like this make me happy to see that my friends and loved ones are finding time to enjoy life.  They remind me that it's important to savor small moments and appreciate simple pleasures and little details that can too often be taken for granted.  
         Likewise, seeing my lake community through the eyes of my friends' children, ages 3 and 4, who had never seen a water-skier before, made me appreciate anew the beauty of my everyday surroundings and reinforced the inarguable truth that time with friends and loved ones is more valuable than anything that can be purchased, even the Swarovski encrusted Louboutins I'd love to one day own. So today, I have no shoes to show you, though at least the turquoise tips of my toes match my towel....
         I hope all of you are savoring the small moments, and I love seeing your Instagrams that capture them!  Follow Red's Shoe Diaries on Instagram here.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Chevron & Chablis for the Symphony

Dress (Anthropologie); Cardigan (Old Navy);  Shoes (Lindsay Phillips Switchflops, with custom monogram clips from Initial Perfection); Bag (Lauren Ralph Lauren); Leather Bracelet (Churchill Downs Gift Shop); Hat (Marley Lilly)
         Ok, so maybe it was a riesling and not a chablis, but I couldn't resist the temptation to use alliteration after a great evening with friends for the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra's annual performance at the Ellis Park amphitheater!
         Anyway, have you noticed that chevron patterns are everywhere these days?  I'd like to think that I was ahead of this trend, because I purchased the black and white chevron skirt shown here back in early 2010, but according to Wikipedia (so it must be true, right?!), chevron designs have been around since at least 1800 BC.  I also remember wearing it back in the 70s, when Missoni made it cool (not that I owned anything Missoni in the 70s or even knew who the Missonis were).  But, I did have a multi-colored "Missoni-esque" crochet poncho that was hand-made by my mom or grandma, and I still have a couple of beautiful chevron pattern afghans that my Aunt Linda made for me when I was a child.  They make me smile just thinking about them, especially the one she made as a gift to match my freshly painted and newly decorated apricot colored bedroom.
         This time around, the pattern is crisper and preppier than it was in the bohemian 70s, and I've fully embraced it.  I recently purchased a green and white chevron skirt online and on sale from Anthropologie.  When it arrived, I realized how similar it was to the black and white one I already owned so, even though I liked it, I decided to return it to my local Anthropologie store.  Of course, when I got there, I decided to exchange it instead...for the green and navy chevron dress I wore to the symphony in the park.  So much for the "too much chevron" philosophy!  Have you embraced chevron?
         Here's my 2010 chevron "head-start":
With my sister and brother at his high school graduation, June 4, 2010.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Friday, July 12, 2013

IN Fashion Friday: The Place to BE!

Artwork, center (Laura LaForge); Dress, belt and all merchandise (Be The Boutique)
          It's hard to find a happier place to shop than Be The Boutique!  From the chic pink and black Illinois Street facade to the explosion of colorful clothing, unique gifts and decor waiting inside, this boutique is a delightful shopping experience.  A word of caution - you will find things at Be you never knew you needed, but suddenly must have.  Visit when you have time to browse because there is quite an eclectic assortment of treasures to explore in every every nook and cranny of the cleverly merchandised space.  The dress I'm wearing above is from their late summer stock, but will also look great with tall boots and tights in the fall.  The frilly French fabric aprons are fantastic and would make a wonderful hostess gift, if you can bear to part with one after you get it home!
          Be also showcases the original works of several local Indiana artists, including that of Laura LaForge, whose illustration graces the exterior awning of the store (as well as multiple walls in my home).  In addition, Be carries several items that can be customized with your monogram or personal seal, and if you can't find quite what you're looking for, owner Barbie Turner will see if she can track it down for you.  If you're looking for a unique, locally-owned boutique that will always bring a smile to your face, now you know the place to Be!
5607 North Illinois Street
Indianapolis, IN 46208
Follow Be on Facebook here or on Twitter here
Artwork, upper left (Laura LaForge); Artwork, lower left (); Artwork and all other merchandise at Be The Boutique
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

What's "Naut" to Love About a Bargain?!

Silk Skirt (Lauren Ralph Lauren); Cardigan (August Silk); Shoes (Naturalizer); Braided Leather and Rope Anchor Bracelet (Kiel James Patrick); Garnet and Sapphire Rings (gifts); Necklace (Forever 21); Purse (Wilson's Leathergoods); Belt (Boston Proper via eBay)
         Sometimes, a single, statement accessory can anchor an entire outfit (pardon the pun - I couldn't help myself).  This wide-leather nautical-inspired belt is just such a piece.  I first saw this belt several years ago in a Boston Proper catalog, but with a price tag of $179.00, I added it to my "mental wish list"and periodically checked the store's website to see if the price had been reduced.  To my disappointment, it disappeared from stock with nary a discount.  I was reminded of it this spring while reading a magazine article about nautical style and decided to search eBay on a whim.  Imagine my delight to find the very same belt, in like-new condition, for $21 with free shipping!  Classic nautical looks are always in style, and I expect I'll get far more than my money's worth over the next several years.  I've worn it a few different ways already, and I couldn't resist sporting the classic red, white and blue color scheme in early July.
         Have you had luck finding coveted items on eBay or similar online sites?  What's your favorite find?
Shoes (Talbot's); Monogram Pendant (Tagged Designs); Braided Leather and Rope Anchor Bracelet (Kiel James Patrick); Watch (Tommy Hilfiger); Linen Blouse (Lands End); Navy and White Striped Capris (Jones New York)
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Monday, July 8, 2013

Red, White & Shoes

Shoes:  Lindsay Phillips switchflops
This past weekend was a time for relaxation and celebration at the lake with dear friends.  I tried a new recipe, fresh watermelon salsa, which was a big hit, and enjoyed pulling the stars and stripes decor out of the party closet for a Fourth of July feast.  I also wore a touch of the Independence Day spirit on my fingernails and feet.  I had high hopes for getting some good photos of the fireworks show, but after about five minutes of fumbling with my camera and nearly dropping it in the lake, I decided that I'd rather just enjoy the moment.  I hope all of you enjoyed many memorable moments over the holiday weekend!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

Polo Ponies, Puppies, and Pink Posies

Dress (Nine West); Shrug (J. Howard); Hat (Nine West); Shoes (Lindsay Phillips Switchflops with custom floral embellishment); Pink Leather and Silver Bridle Bit Bracelet (Churchill Downs gift shop); Pearls (vintage); Watch (Wyler, vintage 1940s from the G. Thrapp Estate Collection)
         On Friday, we attended a polo match at Hickory Hall Polo Club.  The match was a fundraiser benefiting Waldo's Muttley Crew Animal Rescue, whose mission is the rescue and placement of stray and abandoned animals.  This was my first polo match, and as a life-long horse lover, I was excited to experience a new (to me) equine adventure.  I've also been thinking a lot about a new dog lately, so the fact that the match benefited an animal rescue organization was an added bonus.
         Of course, a polo match also seemed like a good opportunity for a new outfit, but I decided that shopping in my closet was the better tack (money saved for rescuing a new puppy, perhaps?)  I resisted the urge to wear the brown and white polka dot "Pretty Woman" dress I wore to the Derby this year (see it here) - a little too cliche, even though I do love that dress!  Anticipating the "stomping of the divots" between chukkas, however, I knew that heels were a bad idea, so I paired a pink floral sundress with my go-to outdoor summer shoes - the Lindsay Phillips switchflop, this time customized with bold bright pink flower clips.  
          If you live in central Indiana and have an interest in polo, consider a visit to Hickory Hall - nearly all of their matches benefit local charities; you can pack a picnic and pinot to enjoy on the sidelines; and the players visit with the guests between chukkas.  It's a wonderful way to get acquainted with the "sport of kings" in a friendly, accessible atmosphere.  Already planning your visit?  If so, you might enjoy reading "Top 8 Tips for Your First Visit to a Polo Match" and "What to Wear to a Polo Match" from the blog, That's a Pretty Hat.  
          Just for fun, here's a throwback photo of my first equine outing in this dress (with a more elaborate hat and slightly less elaborate flowers on my shoes) for the Kentucky Oaks "pink out" in 2010:
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!