Sunday, June 29, 2014

Goodbye, Cowboy Bill

Dress (Nine West, Steinmart); Bag (Nine West, Macy's)
Last week was incredibly busy, both at the office and with extracurricular commitments.  I'm not complaining, but I was looking forward to some down time on the lake and on the golf course over the weekend.  We had a family reunion near my hometown on Saturday afternoon, and I'd been wavering all week about whether to go - not that I didn't want to see family, but sometimes you just want to do, well, nothing.  Late Friday night, however, I received a text from my Mom that a dear family friend had passed away and the memorial service was scheduled for Saturday morning.  In that moment, I knew that making the drive a couple of hours north for both the funeral and the family reunion was the right decision.  

It was a hot and muggy Saturday morning, so a cotton sundress was in order, though as I got dressed, I did consider briefly the idea of cowboy boots in a nod to the memory of Bill, a transplanted Arkansas cowboy, who I don't think I ever saw in anything other than a pair of well-worn boots (usually with a denim jacket and true cowboy swagger).  Bill had been a friend to my family since I was a year old.  A colleague and mentor to my mother, he was a consistent part of our lives for many years, and I have fond memories of him from the time I was a small child until I became an adult.  In fact, the blanket he and his lovely wife, Joan, gave us as a wedding present nearly 17 years ago is still tucked in the antique pine trunk that serves as a coffee table in our family room, and gets used regularly on chilly evenings by the fire.
Sandals (Lindsay Phillips Switchflops with custom floral clips from JoAnn Fabric); Watch (Steinmart)
Bill was a larger than life character, yet as down to Earth as they come.  For many years, he had two enormous St. Bernards, his friendly furballs and partners in crime, who he regularly spoiled with pick-up truck trips to town for ice cream cones.  He always had a hug for me, but I learned to expect good-natured teasing, as well.  He was particularly fond of ribbing me about the time I took a high school summer job washing and waxing school buses and thought it was a good idea to cover a bus in turtle wax and let it dry overnight before wiping it off.  TIP:  unless you want to scrub until your arms fall off, DON'T DO THAT!  

Random memories floated through my head as we drove to the church, my favorite being of annual horseback-riding parties at Bill and Joan's farm.  I loved the trail riding and campfires, and they always served homemade donuts on the tines of an aluminum foil wrapped pitchfork staked upside down in the backyard.  I've always thought that was the coolest thing: a Pinterest-worthy party presentation idea if I ever saw one!  During the service, as I paid my respects to Bill, the memories formed themselves into a little rhyme in my head, set to the tune of The Sound of Music's My Favorite Things:
Donuts on pitchforks and horses for riding;
Hot apple cider and fish that are biting;
Camp-outs and fires in Fall and in Spring;
These were a few of my favorite things.
That's Bill in the middle, at one of the annual horseback-riding weekends (probably in the early to mid-80s).  My Mom is on the left, and another long-time family friend is on the right.
Following the funeral, we spent the afternoon with my paternal grandmother's family, most of whom I see once a year, at most.  I don't often make it to family reunions, but seeing the look of delight on my Grandma Norma's face when she saw I'd decided to attend was the highlight of my day (followed closely by cousin Patsy's homemade strawberry shortcake!)  It's never too late to make new memories, and saying goodbye to Bill reminded me, once again, that every moment spent with my Grandma is a moment to cherish.  I'm grateful for this weekend; I'm grateful for my family; I'm grateful for my friend.  Goodbye, Cowboy Bill.
Making memories with Grandma at the Coleman Family Reunion
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Thursday, June 26, 2014

Follow the Yellow Brick Road

Skirt (; Cardigan (; Tank (Gordmans)
In the wake of our recent spate of severe weather in central Indiana, including the twister in Speedway that foiled my golf outing on Tuesday, it seems apropos that everything about this look reminds me of the yellow brick road to the Emerald City of Oz.  Even my shoes (while not ruby slippers) are by Naughty Monkey (of the flying variety, perhaps?)  And the Anne Klein bag bears the brand's iconic lion, though I'd hardly call the bright yellow and white combo cowardly. 
Shoes (Naughty Monkey); Bag (Anne Klein)
The well-known Wizard's tale will always have a special place in my heart.  I loved the story as a child and, as an adult, I was riveted by the book "Wicked," devouring it in a single weekend.  Wicked turns the traditional narrative on its head, retelling the story from the Wicked Witch's point of view, with some extraordinary Orwellian animals thrown in for good measure.  As is often so true in life, the character of the characters in Wicked don't necessarily match their reputations.  As John Wooden said in one of my favorite quotes: "Be more concerned with your character than your reputation,because your character is what you really are, while your reputation is merely what others think you are."  Wicked drives home that lesson in spades, and is a brilliant reminder that we can't necessarily judge a book by its cover.
Monogram necklace (Etsy)
The musical adaptation of Gregory Maguire's twist on the classic was also the very first show I saw on Broadway.  As devastating as it was beautiful, I was crying by the intermission, and left the theater wanting to see it all over again.  So much so that I drug other people with me to see it in Chicago and Indianapolis.  I'd see it again now if I had the opportunity. If you're a fan of the Wizard of Oz and looking for some light but thought provoking summer reading, check out Wicked and its sequels Son of a WitchA Lion Among Menand Out of Oz.  And by all means, if you ever get the chance to see the show, don't miss it!

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Tuesday, June 24, 2014

A Leopard Can't Change Its...Stripes?

I've had this American Living chevron skirt since 2009 and it remains one of my favorites.  The graphic black and white pattern would be a good match for any solid color top, and I could probably create at least eleven different outfits with it solely from items already in my closet.  Yet, every time I reach for it, I find myself rejecting a new combination in favor of this black portrait collar sweater and my pink crocodile and leopard calf-hair Donald J. Pliner sandals.  
When I first pulled the look together, it was a complete departure for me.  There was a time when I would not have even considered mixing stripes with a leopard print.  In fact, when I first bought the skirt, I planned to wear it with a black top and black and white spectators - head to toe color coordination, which is right in my wheelhouse.  

I'm not sure what possessed me to slip on the leopard shoes, but as soon as I did - BAM! - I loved it.  The black and white skirt was the perfect neutral backdrop to highlight the shoes (one of my top ten closet faves), and the addition of a hot pink grosgrain banded watch adds a coordinated yet unexpected extra pop of color.  Maybe next time around, I'll try the skirt with a kelly green cardigan, and maybe someday I'll get around to pairing it with my black and white spectators as I originally intended.  Then again, maybe not...
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Friday, June 20, 2014

Orange you glad it's Friday?!

Cotton tie front top (Casual Living); Tank top (Gordmans); Skirt (Steinmart); Belt (eBay); Watch (Michael Kors);
Bag (Cole Haan); Shoes (Poetic License)

"Knock, knock!"
"Who's there?"
"Banana who?"
Remember that classic "knock knock" joke?  I'm sure you jumped straight to the orange flavored punch line.  At best, these Q&A jokes include a clever play on words.  At worst, they're not funny and, perhaps, even irritating. Yet, they're the first type of joke most of us learn to tell, and they're adorable when told by small children - even more so when they get it wrong.  My favorite knock, knock jokes of all time were told by my friend's daughter, Grace, when she was about 5 years old.  No matter what the opening line was, the punch line was always her name, followed by "get it?!" and peals of laughter at her own cleverness:

"Knock, knock!"
"Who's there?"
"Fish who?"
"Fish Grace, get it?!"
Her delight in the telling was infectious, and never failed to put me in a bright mood despite the nonsensical nature of her words (or maybe because of it).
So, too, it is with the color orange and these citrus and sea-inspired shoes.  Wearing them always puts a little extra pep in my step.  So much so that I've built multiple ensembles around them (see the link below).  I mean, seriously, who wouldn't smile while wearing orange crocodile leather and teal suede shoes!

Here's wishing all of you a weekend as joyous as a 5 year old with a new joke to share.  Orange YOU glad it's Friday?!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it! 

I first waxed poetic about these shoes here:

Thursday, June 19, 2014

Pink for Greens on Thursday

Top (Apt. 9, Kohl's); Capris (Counterparts, Steinmart); Scarf, used as belt (Marley Lilly); Golf Shoes (Callaway, with custom Kilties); Hat (Lacoste); Flip flops (Lindsey Phillips Switchflops); Watch (Skagen)
Despite starting lessons in the third grade (thanks, Dad), I have never enjoyed golf in my life as much as I am enjoying it this Spring.  And NOT just because I love these golf shoes with interchangeable custom kilties that I make using velcro and vinyl samples from the fabric store.  
No.  At the risk of jinxing myself, it's because I'm playing more consistently than I have in the past and seeing real improvement in my game, which makes me want to play even more!  Thus, it's no surprise that I jumped at the chance to play in a scramble next Thursday, for which pink attire is all but required on the greens...  
Golf Fore a Cure is an annual women's golf outing hosted by the Country Club of Indianapolis to benefit the Vera Bradley Foundation for Breast Cancer.  I'm a sucker for a good cause, a goody bag, and a good play on words ("fore a cure" is great), so I'm looking forward to spending time on the course with a colleague and meeting some fellow golf enthusiasts.  If you're interested in joining this outing, reservations will be accepted through Saturday, June 21st!  Find out more here.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

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Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Mint Condition

When I popped my head over my Assistant's counter one morning last week, she remarked that my glasses, which I rarely wear, made me look intimidating.  She could only see my face when she made the comment, and she took it back once she realized I was also wearing mint green linen pants and polka dot pumps.  It's hard to look intimidating when you're wearing mint green and polka dots.

This chocolate and mint ensemble was inspired by the striped silk scarf and conjured up during a recent "shopping excursion" in my closet.  Finding new ways to wear existing pieces equals a new outfit for no money - score!  Well, in this case, almost no money... 
Clockwise, from top left: Bag (Brahmin), Scarf (Echo); Jacket (Finity); Linen Pants (Chadwick's); Tortoise framed prescription glasses trimmed in aqua (DKNY), Watch (Zodiac) 
I pulled the look together, but couldn't decide on the right pair of shoes.  My mint green suede loafers were too casual (and too low without hemming the pants), and I wasn't about to buy a new pair of shoes just for this outfit (the whole purpose of shopping your own closet is to avoid buying new stuff you don't really need!)  Basic brown shoes would have been fine.  Yet, I just wasn't inspired by any of my existing choices.   

And then, in a beautiful stroke of coincidence, the "shoeniverse" smiled on me just a few days later when my mom happened upon the yard sale of a women who had once owned a boutique and was emptying her storage lockers of unsold merchandise at fire sale prices.  Spotting the dotted satin pumps and thinking they "looked like me," she picked them up for a mere three dollars.  Three dollars, people!  Bam!  The perfect pair of teal-trimmed polka dot pumps were mine for less than the price of a box of Girl Scout Thin Mints.  Thank you, Shoeniverse, and thank you, Mom.

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Sunday, June 15, 2014

Right turn, Clyde!

Their red hair and empathetic, self-aware personalities make orangutans my favorite apes; It was breezy and 70 degrees for this year's event - perfect Zoobilation weather (and for wearing a long flowy dress that catches the light as it blows around); orange lilies (my favorite) make simple but stunning centerpieces in front of the far East stage, where great bands played all night.
Am I the only person on the planet who remembers the Oreo-hoarding orangutan from the Clint Eastwood movies Every Which Way But Loose and Any Which Way You Can?  I've referenced the quirky, red-headed Clyde to a few people in the weeks leading up to this year's Zoobilation, which feted the opening of a new orangutan habitat at the Indianapolis Zoo, but received mostly blank stares in response.  Come on, people - how can you not love a movie about a fist-fighting trucker with a heart of gold and a Great Ape for a costar?!Zoobilation is my favorite black tie event in the city.  

The largest annual fundraiser in the state, it's described on its Facebook page as "a black-tie, outdoor dining event that highlights 50+ restaurants & raises money to support the care and feeding of the Zoo’s animals & plants, as well as the Zoo’s internationally significant conservation & research efforts."  
 It's NOT your typical black tie chicken dinner.  In fact, people take adantage of a new theme each year to get very creative with the boundaries of formal attire.  This year's theme was "Rock Your Orange," in honor of the zoo's new ginger-furred stars.  I wore my favorite "Jody Orange" dress to last year's Zoobilation (see it here), but I found a suitable sunset hued paisley alternative for just $40 at a little Indian boutique.  I like it as much or more than any of the exponentially more expensive dresses I checked out at Nordstrom and Saks.  It has a unique crochet bodice and the pleated paisley satin glowed in the late evening sun, particularly as it swished around in the occassionally stiff breeze.  
 This event involves LOTS of walking, so any woman who's been to Zoobilation more than once is likely to forego the haughty high heels in favor of fancy flip flops.  I found this pair, embellished with sparkling faceted beads, at Meijer a few years ago for only eleven dollars (yep - who else but me goes grocery shopping and comes home with a side dish of shoes?!)   These kitten heeled sandals are comfortable and just happened to coordinate perfectly with my gown.
 From a style perspective, one of the aspects of Zoobilation I appreciate most is that it also inspires the men to color outside the black tie lines.  From citrus bright vests and bow ties to persimmon hued eel-skin loafers and all-out orange tuxedos, even typically conservative dressers have fun with fashion in this celebratory setting.
Just a few of my stylish friends who rocked their orange (and a perfect photo bomb by Kevin); I didn't take as many pictures as I might have liked, but I was so caught up in catching up with friends, eating St. Elmo's shriimp cocktail, Blondie's cookies, smoked rainbow trout from Rick's Cafe Boatyard and about 100 other delicious nibbles and drinks that holding onto a camera all evening was out of the question - live in the moment!

It made my day when one of my friends emailed me on the morning of the event to say that her husband, a first-time Zoobilation attendee, was considering wearing orange and grey Chuck Taylor's with his tux and wanted my opinion on whether it would be "too ridiculous."  Were it any other formal event, I would have said, "don't even think about it."  But for this night, I was all for it.  He rocked his orange with personality plus, and his wife looked stunning in a graphic maxi dress from my favorite local boutique, Enza's.
 If you live in or near Indianapolis and you've never experienced Zoobilation, mark your calendar for next year's event, which will take place on June 12 (tickets will go on sale February 2, 2015).  In the meantime, you won't want to miss the new orangutan exhibit.  These intelligent, empathetic redheads are fascinating to observe with interact with - I can't wait to go back and spend more time with them.

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

Thursday, June 12, 2014

21 Jump Suit!

Jump suits are back, baby!  If you give it enough time, everything popular gets recycled.  Honestly, though, this is one blast from the past I never thought I'd embrace.  And then I went shopping... I ventured into Macy's with a $100 gift card I needed to use or lose.  On my way to the dressing room with an armload of things to try,the rich cognac caramel color of this Vince Camuto number caught my eye.  Tucked in the back of a rack otherwise full of dresses, I initially thought it was a dress, too.  When I pulled it out and realized it was a jumpsuit, I literally laughed out loud.  "Yeah, that's not happening." 

...and yet, I was sort of intrigued.  Curiosity got the better of me so I grabbed it on a lark and whisked it into the dressing room along with the host of dresses I didn't really need.  When I put it on and looked in the mirror, I could not resist the urge to immediately strike a classic Charlie's Angels pose!  Seriously, the jumpsuit was such a wardrobe staple for Kate, Farrah and Jacquelyn in the the late 70s that even their action figures were outfitted with them. How could I resist channeling their iconic silhouetted power poses?!  And why wasn't there a redheaded Angel, anyway? 
Charlies Angels - in '70's Silver jumpsuits.This is related to the dolls, but I have no idea how.Farah Fawcett - Charlie's Angels

My favorite show in high school was 21 Jump Street (Oh, Johnny Depp, how I loved you), but I have even fonder memories of watching Bosley and the girls outsmart the bad guys whenever I could convince my mom to let me stay up past my bedtime as a child.  Like I said, everything popular gets recycled - both of these shows have been remade as modern-day feature movies (with sequels) in the past few years.  
As for my new jump suit, it was such a spur of the moment, random decision that I half expected to have buyer's remorse and return it.  That expectation was reinforced when I mentioned the purchase to my friend, Faith, whose exact words were, "No, you didn't."  

But, I still liked it when I tried it on at home, and the addition of large, daisy-etched earrings from locally owned gem Grace Boutique; cork-soled Tommy Hilfiger platforms; and a leopard print, calf-hair hobo bag from Michael Kors (all of which were already in my closet) sealed the deal.  After wearing it to the office and out to a comedy club, I have to say it's my favorite purchase in the last six months (well, other than my new golf clubs, but that's a different blog post).  The only complaint I have, and which never crossed my mind in the dressing room, is how challenging it would be to, ahem, "get rid of" the copious quantities of Diet Coke I can't do without!  
Next time you're out shopping and something out of your comfort zone catches your eye, don't discount it out of hand.  In the words of my fashionable BFF, Deborah Dorman, "Try it, you might like it!"

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

Monday, June 9, 2014

Sunday Afternoon "Tee"

Argyle Cardigan (G.H. Bass & Co.); Cargo Pants (Sonoma, Kohl's); Braided Leather Golf Shoes (Aerogreen); Watch (Gordmans)
I love golf, but all too often my shoes are the best thing about my game.  Lately, though, I've made some good progress.  So after two years of talking about it, last week I finally pulled the trigger and bought new golf clubs, or "spades" as a friend of mine refers to them.  I picked them up on Friday and could not wait to try them out. 

Imagine my disappointment, then, when I woke up Saturday morning feeling under the weather and almost completely unable to talk.  I've never had severe laryngitis before, and I am not enjoying it one bit.  If you've ever met me, I'm sure you understand why - I talk.  A lot.   
But, I was too excited about my new clubs and the prospect of improving my game to let a little laryngitis keep me off the course.  So, I downed some hot tea prior to my tee time and played anyway (it was chilly, so of course I had to pull out an argyle cardi, too).  As I type this post, my voice is still a painful whisper, so I'm not sure it was the best decision I've ever made, but I love my shiny new Cobra bio-cell driver, hybrids, and irons.  Luckily, I was hitting them arrow straight all weekend, because if I'd needed to yell "Fore," someone might have ended up with a concussion!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Friday, June 6, 2014

Rhinestone Cowgirl

When I was little, my Aunt Linda lived in a farmhouse just up the road from us.  She had what seemed like at least twenty horses at any given time, and she and my Mom gave Western riding lessons.  So, it's not surprising that I was obsessed with all things equine.  Even before I was old enough to ride on my own, I was a constant fixture on the side of the indoor arena.  When I played with my Barbies, it wasn't uncommon for my Mom to overhear me admonishing them to keep their heels down while "riding" one of my countless Breyer horses.  My bedroom walls were full of horse posters from the Scholastic Book Fair; Black Beauty and The Black Stallion were my favorite books; and even my sleeping bag was covered in my favorite four-legged friends.  

I still remember the tiny baby blue fringed outfit I wore in my first horse show and, to this day, the smell of a tack room is one of my favorite scents.  Of course, I also loved movies and songs about cowboys and cowgirls.  My favorite song was Glen Campbell's Rhinestone Cowboy, and I'd beg my Dad to play it over and over (on 8 track tape, no less) on the behemoth faux wood-grain stereo in our living room.  
Dress (vintage, eBay); Turquoise Torsade (Ross-Simons); Annie Oakley pendant with removable pistol (eBay); Sandals (Lindsay Phillips); Leather and turquoise cuff (Steinmart); Blue Topaz ring (Ross-Simons); Citrine Ring (David Yurman)
This vintage, sequined cowboy print skirt reminds me of that once forgotten classic country ditty.  It was an eBay find that I picked up for a song last summer.  As sometimes happens with online purchases (especially when buying vintage), the fit was not quite what I expected.  It was considerably longer than it looked in the online auction photographs, and came down nearly to my ankles. I didn't care much for the prairie skirt effect.  Hemming it wasn't an option due to the print, and my complete lack of sewing skills meant doing anything more elaborate was out of the question.  My solution?  Pull it up Steve Urkel style, belt it, and call it a sundress!
The skirt is really just one, giant sequined circle, but the belt gives it shape as a dress.
As you can see in the links below, this isn't the first time I've worn a skirt as a dress, and I've even worn a man's shirt as a skirt.  So don't be too quick write off something that's not quite what you expected - maybe there's a creative solution!


A garment isn't always what it seems at first look: