Thursday, July 30, 2015

Santorini & Sequins

Midi Skirt (Chicwish); Striped Sequin Top (Steinmart); Necklace (a vintage 1950s find); Belt (eBay); Cardigan (Carson Pirie Scott)
This time last year, I had the good fortune to spend a bit of time in Germany, Italy, and France. The trip was the perfect combination of "vacation" and "travel" - time on the beach and golf course balanced against the discovery of historic sites and the exploration of backstreets that don't see many tourists (and certainly not American tourists). I have long made a distinction between the terms "vacation" and "travel." Vacation, to me, conjures up images of Spring Break in Ft. Lauderdale; a cruise through the Virgin Islands; a rented lake house in Michigan; Disney with family; or an annual pilgrimage to a favorite resort in Aspen. The purpose of a vacation is to have fun, relax, unwind, and perhaps engage in favorite hobbies I don't have enough time for in everyday life. 
These shoes from Poetic License are among my favorites.
"Travel" may also involve all of those things (and I generally hope it does), but travel is much more than a good book and a pina colada in paradise. Arthur Frommer (of guidebook fame) summed it up perfectly when he said "[a]t its best, travel should challenge our preconceptions and most cherished views, cause us to rethink our assumptions, shake us a bit, make us broader minded and more understanding." Travel is an opportunity to learn; to experience life from a different point of view; and if we're lucky, to connect with other cultures and other people in a way that has a meaningful impact on both sides. Backpacking on my own through Europe; spending three months volunteering with a governmental entity in Australia; hiking for days through unmarked (and bear heavy) territory in the mountains of Wyoming; studying language and history in Spain; and exploring small Irish towns on foot and by car - a treasured travelogue that has broadened my horizons in ways that a day at Epcot and a week on the beach never will.
Of course, vacation has its own intrinsic value, and I think it's important to make room for both. Tonight I booked a true vacation, and I'm looking forward to four days of fun and frivolity with friends when the time comes. But, I'm also dreaming of travel, and all the wonder that new and exotic places bring. This midi skirt from Chicwish paints a picture of Santorini that has me longing to explore the ancient cities of Greece, a place that has intrigued me since I fell in love with the Iliad and the Odyssey in high school English. And, if the picturesque seaside scene is any indication, I'm guessing Greece will offer plenty of "vacation" opportunities, too. Sign me up!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
Safety Pin Clutch (Bodhi); "Van Gogh" bangle bracelet (Erwin Pearl); Citrine ring (David Yurman). Thanks to photographer Faith Blackwell for capturing a candid moment over drinks in the bottom right photo.
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Tuesday, July 28, 2015


So the bright tropical print on this dress is pretty loud, even for me. And yet, I love it. I love it because it's just a happy looking dress; I love it because orange and green are my favorite colors; and I love it because wearing it reminds me of dancing with my Mom when I was a little girl (well, my Mom danced and I tried my uncoordinated best to follow along). 
Dress (Grace Karin, Amazon); Cardigan (ModCloth); Brooch (vintage 1950s); Staw Pineapple Bag (Steinmart)
For many years when I was little, my Mom and a few of her closest friends practiced belly dancing, as well as the hula. They even performed in local shows. I don't remember how or why they started dancing (I need to ask her!) but I do have vivid memories of watching Mom, Carol, Jocelyn, and Linda practice various routines in one another's living rooms. Not surprisingly, I also remember the costumes well. Mom sewed most of her own costumes (one of which I even wore parts of as a Halloween costume in the 5th grade and again as a college sophomore). 
Left to right: Channeling I Dream of Jeannie in Mom's gold lame for a 5th grade Halloween party; Mom performing in parts of the same costume; Sporting the same pants and more pieces of the costume for a Halloween party during my sophomore year in College . Who knew that belly dancing gear was so versatile...?!
Oh, yes, how I loved to play play dress up in all those layers of organza, lame, and sparkles. Too bad I never asked her to teach me to sew for myself because it's a skill I really, really wish I had now. But I digress.... This dress, which I bought for a song through Amazon, reminds me of a very specific routine she and her friends performed in a Tri Kappa Follies show. It was a traditional Hawaiian hula dance, performed to The Hukilau Song. 
Cardigan (ModCloth); Leather floral bracelet (Indianapolis Museum of Art gift shop); Citrine ring (David Yurman); Shoes (Target)
With its vibrant tropical print, that song and those costumes were the first thing that came to mind when I wore the dress for the first time a few weeks ago for a Reel Big Fish concertI spent what seemed liked hours standing behind Mom and her friends in Carol's living room, trying to mimic all the steps as the song played over and over again while they perfected the routine. 
Mom with her friends Joceyln and Carol backstage before their Hukilau performance at the Tri Kappa Follies in the 1970s. Mom - not sure if you knew I had this photo (don't shoot me for sharing)!
I remembered the song's melody and first few lines well, but I actually had no idea what a hukilau was. According to Wikipedia (so it must be true, right?), a hukilau is a traditional Hawaiian method of fishing in which a group of people work together to cast a large net lined with leaves from the shore. When I looked up the song's lyrics, I found that, sure enough, the song is about fishing in "that old Hawaiian way." Just perfect for a concert by a band that goes by the name Reel Big Fish (whose lead singer was also sporting a tropical print)!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Thursday, July 23, 2015

The Art of Science Fiction

I have a not so secret soft spot for science fiction from across the pond, and I'm not afraid to admit it. I'm also not afraid to wear my heart on my sleeve (or my dress, if you will) when it comes to expressing my fondness for the good Dr. Though, I do prefer a bit of subtlety over the all out Gen-Con fan girl cosplay that will descend on the Circle City next week. Not that there's anything wrong with cosplay (there's not), but it's not really work appropriate (unless you work at a gaming store or an amusement park, in which case have at it).
This dress is a different story. I feel entirely comfortable wearing it to the office. At first glance, it merely looks like an abstract pattern reminiscent of Vincent Van Gogh's Starry Night. But on closer inspection, those in the know will recognize the time traveling blue police box that is "bigger on the inside" and has been an iconic symbol of the world's longest running science fiction program since 1963. If you have no idea what I'm talking about, we can't be friends...Just kidding. I don't actually run into many fanatics of the BBC classic, and this dress received multiple compliments yesterday from people who had no idea the pattern was a reference to Dr. Who, let alone one of my favorite story lines. The people who actually did recognize it...well, they're a little bit cooler than everyone else. Just sayin'...
I fell in love with the exploding TARDIS pattern months ago, and was thrilled to find a dressmaker in Memphis offering a custom-made dress from the fabric on Etsy. I love Etsy,and I have generally had good luck with my purchases from the online marketplace for vintage and unique handmade goods. Yet, when you're ordering a made to measure dress through the internet and in-person fittings aren't possible, there's always a risk the end result won't meet expectations. Not so with this dress from Four Eyed Girl - it fits perfectly, and is very well made. I was nervous when I opened the package, but downright giddy once I tried it on. What's more, it only took a couple of weeks from order to delivery. I wish every dress in my closet fit this well, and I can't wait to have Four Eyed Girl's Ashley Kopera make something else just for me - the only hard part will be choosing among several fabrics (none of which are science fiction related) that I've fallen in love with!  
All the details: Mustard and gold bag (Relic); Shoes (Poetic License); Citrine ring (David Yurman); Watch (Anne Klein); Leather floral bracelet (Indianapolis Museum of Art Gift Shop); TARDIS iPhone 5 case (eBay).
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hats, Hounds and Hooves!

"Beware the steaming divot!" I can't think about polo without thinking of the iconic polo match scene from "Pretty Woman." Are you picturing it now? And that song! The Roy Orbison classic has been on a near constant loop in my mind ever since Dress for Success Indianapolis asked me to partner with some stellar volunteers from Waldo's Muttley Crew Animal Rescue to organize and host an upcoming charity match to benefit both organizations. Are you singing the chorus yet?
I couldn't resist this Ralph Lauren dress that is so reminiscent of Vivian Ward's (Julia Roberts') polo match ensemble. These Allen Edmonds spectator shoes (from the mens department at Nordstrom Rack!) are actually much better for stomping divots than a pair of heels...
I won't apologize if the tune gets stuck in your head. I hope it does. And if you're in the neighborhood, I hope it reminds you to join me on August 21st at the Hickory Hall Polo Club in Whitestown! Bring your lawn chairs; pack a picnic and pinot; and prepare to get up close and personal with the polo ponies for a tailgating experience like no other. At just $20 per vehicle, you can treat the whole family or a group of friends to a unique evening in an idyllic setting. 
Click HERE for more great images of Hickory Hall Polo Club!
You can dress down in denim or do it up Derby dandy for this family friendly Friday night event. There's no dress code, so no need to worry whether the wrong attire will make you feel as out of place as Vivian Ward on Rodeo Drive. But, if you choose to wear a hat (and I really hope you will), you'll have the opportunity to participate in a halftime hat contest hosted by yours truly. Local celebrity judges will be on hand to award prizes for the "funniest," "fanciest," and "best in show" hats. If you have a well-behaved dog, feel free to bring him/her along (in a hat or not), as well. I would love to see you there!

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

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Thursday, July 16, 2015

Ode to Orange

Nothing rhymes with ORANGE, I'm told.
No words to pair with a color so bold.
But worn with turquoise, it's quite sublime,
Even if with orange, nothing does rhyme.
Turquoise and orange make a fresh pair;
Two of my favorites for weather fair.
Like a setting sun on an azure sea,
Turquoise plus orange makes a happy me.
My stanzas are simple; a sonnet it's not.
This ode to orange won't provoke much thought.
Nevertheless, it's a poem I choose,
To talk about these beloved orange shoes.
Orange croc with blue suede and four inches high,
These shoes from Zappos were an excellent buy.
From Poetic License, my favorite footwear.
They inspired this rhyme I just had to share.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
All the details from this post: Shoes (Poetic License); Orange and white striped dress (eShakti); Mandarin Garnet and diamond ring (Aronstam Jewelers); Blue Topaz ring (Ross Simons); Carnelian, blue topaz and calcedony necklace (Laura Gibson); Bridal bit enamel bracelet (Churchill Downs Gift Shop); Earrngs (Erica Lyons); Watch (Michael Kors); Safety Pin Clutch (Bodhi Bags); Sunglasses (freebie giveaway from a University of Miami football game)
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Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Accidental Party Shoes

It's an understatement to say that we've had a lot of rain this year, but the sun gave us a big Saturday afternoon smile last month when we welcomed Summer at the lake with a grand Fiesta. There's not much I enjoy more than a theme party, so it was fun to plan all the little details. I did not, however, buy a new outfit for the occasion. The lake is a place to kick back and get comfortable. In fact, despite my love for shoes of all sorts, you'll most likely find me in flipflops or barefoot when I'm at home. This is true regardless of whether I'm spending a lazy solo afternoon in the hammock or playing hostess to a hundred.
For Fiesta, though, I was going to make an exception and wear my favorite cowboy boots with this lightweight cotton paisley peasant dress (a $14.99 girls' dept. bargain at Target) that's been in my closet for a few years now. Handmade in Mexico and embroidered with colorful sugar skulls, the boots were spot on for the South of the Border theme. In reality, boots at the lake when it's hotter than Hades and you're likely to spend at least some time with your toes in the water is just silly. Really, who does that?! 
I probably would have done that (after all, I did wear those same boots to a beach in Florida early this year). But the truth is, when guests started to arrive I was too busy greeting friends and enjoying myself to change. I never gave the boots a second thought. In fact, I never gave a second thought to the shoes I was actually wearing - a very old $10 pair of beaded flipflops from JC Penney - until sometime Sunday afternoon when I was cleaning up at the dock. It was then that I realized those accidental party shoes were a dead on match for a new outdoor rug....
Weird, right? I do like to match, but this was truly unintentional. I mean, come on. I must have some matching mutation that causes me to do it on instinct. Or, perhaps more likely, it's just that my tastes tend toward similar colors and patterns, thereby increasing the likelihood that anything in my orbit will coordinate with other things.  (Though that doesn't explain why this year's pale aqua Kentucky Derby dress was a perfect match for the Grandstand Wristbands, which change color every year).
Regardless of the reality behind my magical matching mystery powers, I'm embracing them. I'll also be most happy to embrace the sunshine when it decides to reaapear and the water line drops far enough below the dock that I can actually bring the new outdoor rug back out without it washing away. Sadly, I won't be wearing the matching flipflops next time that happens, because these beaded beauties bit the dust a few weeks ago. Must have been all that dancing with the mariachi band!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!

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Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Circle City Love Story

The Circle City has had a bit of an image problem of late. A mobile meth lab in a Wal-Mart parking lot and a viral video of fisticuffs in the aisles (not to mention the black eye the entire state is still sporting in the wake of RFRA) paint a picture of a backward town intolerant of its neighbors. The negative press is disheartening because there is truth to it. But it is equally disheartening because the focus on isolated stories of idiocy and bigotry have eclipsed the reality of a diverse city that largely embodies a friendly and vibrant blend of small town charm and metropolitan culture. 
Don't get me wrong - Indianapolis is no Mr. Rogers' neighborhood. Yet, from my (admittedly biased) perspective, it is a community of which I'm proud to be part and for which I'm proud to serve as an (unofficial) ambassador. It is also a community that can be better if we work together to make it so. Thankfully, the city has a lot of community leaders, businesses, and (extra)ordinary citizens who are willing to step up and be the "helpers" Mr. Rogers' mother told him to look for in times of trouble. 
The Buckingham Foundation is one of those helpers. After winning a T-shirt design contest sponsored by Plan 2020 in conjunction with Visit Indy's #LOVEINDY campaign early this year, the Foundation's leadership turned the victory into an opportunity to partner with several local business owners to raise money to provide food assistance to hungry children on the city's Eastside. 

I was excited to learn that net proceeds from the sale of these oh-so-soft charcoal grey Ts will help neighbors in need, though I'd have bought mine regardless because, frankly, it's just a cool shirt (and I'm serious about the soft part - no need to wash before wearing!) Get your <3INDY shirt for just $20 at any of the following local retailers: Retro 101; Art + Supply at the Alexander; Pattern; Silver in the City; Queen Bee Vintage; and James Dant. You can also purchase it online.

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