Thursday, August 27, 2015

Hat, Hat, Hooray for Hats, Hounds & Hooves!

Hat (August Accessories Fine Millinery Collection, with my own custom embellishments); Dress (eShakti); Bag (Brahmin)
Even occasional readers of Red's Shoe Diaries are likely aware that my love for hats is rivaled only by my love for statement making shoes. So, it's no surprise that when asked to organize a charity polo match and develop between-chukker entertainment to engage the crowd, I wanted to celebrate chapeaus of all shapes, sizes, and styles. Thus was born the Hats, Hounds and Hooves Halftime Hat Parade (I do love alliteration), complete with background music (Roy Orbison's Pretty Woman, of course) and a contest with swanky prizes awarded for the fanciest, funniest, and best in show hats.
The halftime hat parade proved popular with men, women, children, and even dogs.
This was the inaugural year for the event, the proceeds of which benefited Dress for Success Indianapolis and Waldo's Muttley Crew (the "hounds" part of Hats, Hounds and Hooves). I wasn't sure whether, or to what extent, attendees would embrace the theme, but men, women, children, and even a few dogs turned up in all manner of headwear: from a cowboy hat carved from solid cherry wood; to Derby-esque feathered pieces; to a child's tiny alpine hat that made its adult male owner look a little like Buddy the Elf (not surprisingly, he won the prize for "funniest" hat). 
One hat, multiple looks: my own hat for last week's polo match was one that I've worn a lot, but I created a new look this time around simply by changing out the ribbon accent.
I've had women tell me time and again they would love to wear hats, but don't do so because they're afraid or think they lack the chutzpah to pull it off. Yet, when encouraged to wear one in an environment where they won't stand out as an anomaly, these same women hold their heads high and revel in the opportunity. As author Martha Sliter observed, "[a] hat is a flag, a shield, a bit of armor, and a badge of femininity. A hat is the difference between wearing clothes and wearing a costume;  it's the difference between being dressed and being dressed up; it's the difference between looking adequate and looking your best...A piece of magic is a hat." Indeed, the hats on parade at last week's polo match added a touch of magic to the evening, though not one of them contained a rabbit.
An acrylic monogram from Etsy shop Thrilled2Design adds a personalized touch to an otherwise basic hat, while monogrammed shoe clips from Initial Perfection enhance my divot-stomping sandals and carry the navy and pink color-scheme from head to toe.
Our sponsors also helped us make a little magic, and I'd be remiss if I didn't give a big shout out to the Grossman Wealth Advisor Group at Morgan StanleyStill Moon MoonshineJust Pop In; and Evan Todd Salon & Spa for their support of Hats, Hounds and Hooves. Thanks also to Indianapolis Star reporter Leslie Bailey for serving as a judge for the hat contest. You can check out the Star's coverage of the event here, and you can see my own photo album with full coverage of the evening here.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
For more hat fun, I'm linked up with Hat Attack!
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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sundaes & Six Shooters

Cowboys and ice cream; that's a thing, right?
If you follow Red's Shoe Diaries, you might know that a tack room and worn saddle leather are my favorite smells on the planet; that I am an eclectic collector of art; and that a favorite piece is one I've affectionately dubbed "The Cowboy Crotch." (read more about it here). It should come as no surprise, then, that I love living in a city that boasts one of the world's preeminent collections of Western and Native American art and cultural objects - this despite its location east of the Mississippi and north of the Mason Dixon line.
A favorite pair of whimsical shoes from Irregular Choice is a fun Summer match for this vintage cowboy print skirt; The silver six-shooter pendant actually comes out of its ornate gold holster.
The Eiteljorg Museum of American Indians and Western Art is a gem in the heart of downtown Indianapolis. Founded to inspire an appreciation and understanding of the art, history and cultures of the American West and the indigenous peoples of North America, the collection includes artists such as T.C. Cannon, N. C. Wyeth, Andy Warhol, Georgia O’Keeffe, Allan Houser, Frederic Remington, Charles Russell and Kay WalkingStick. The museum also regularly offers unique exhibits like the history of pistols and motorcycles, underscoring my personal belief that great art, and artistry, can be found everywhere, in everything. Seriously, people, regardless of how you feel about guns and the Second Amendment, it's hard not to appreciate the beautiful craftsmanship that went into the ornate carving of Old West six-shooters.
As much as I love hats, I find cowboy hats to be the least flattering on me, but this pink straw version is fun, and for just $7 at Gordman's, I couldn't resist. I do own a Stetson, but it's actually a fedora, not a cowboy hat. If you love hats, you might enjoy checking out my friend's Hat Attack blog!
All of that really has very little to do with this vintage, sequined cowboy print skirt in shades of pink and yellow that would have made a cowboy blush (and which I've also hiked up and worn as a dress). But, as coincidence would have it, I was wearing it recently when I got my first reminder of the year about the Eiteljorg's annual fundraising event, the Buckaroo Bash, which takes place on October 10th. The event is a long-standing tradition for the museum, but this year the committee is revamping the format by partnering with a plethora of local restaurants, chefs, caterers, distilleries, wineries and breweries for a juried competition that engages all the senses. Guests will also kick up their heels to a live band and have the chance to bid on one of a kind silent auction items. It's a unique way to experience all the museum has to offer and then some. This year's Buckaroo Bash is themed "How the West Was Won," but you know I'm more about "How the West Was Worn!" Somehow, I doubt shoes with ice cream cones for heels were a wardrobe staple... Get your tickets here and join the posse!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Shoes & Stripes Forever

Chevron striped skirt (American Living); Cardigan (ModCloth); Tank (Gordmans); Sterling Silver and Neoprene Necklace (local Indianapolis jewelry designer Dani Fishman); Shoes (Kate Spade)

I've had this chevron striped skirt forever. Well, maybe not exactly forever, but I've had it since 2009. I still like it just as much now as I did when I bought it, and I've worn it a lot. But, lately it hadn't been getting much love, and I sort of forgot about it at the back of my closet. 
I forgot about it, that is, until I discovered these Kate Spade shoes (called the "Bina") at Zappos. I wasn't looking for shoes to wear with this skirt. I didn't need shoes to wear with this skirt. It's a black and white skirt, after all. There's no shortage of choices when it comes to coordinating footwear. But these shoes. These. Shoes. They jumped off the page at me (well, off the computer screen). They were on clearance; there was but a single pair remaining in my size; I had an unused gift certificate burning a hole in my virtual Zappos account. The only conclusion to be drawn was that I was supposed to have these shoes.
Yep - this skirt has been in rotation for years: the photo on the left was taken at my baby brother's high school graduation in 2009; the photo on the right was taken by photographer Faith Blackwell in 2011. I love pieces that stand the test of time.
And while I'm not ashamed to admit that I have, on occasion (I won't say how many), bought shoes that necessitated purchase of an entire ensemble to wear with them, that wasn't an issue with this pair. Nope, these new shoes meant new life for a well-loved but forgotten wardrobe staple. Sometimes a new pair of shoes really is all you need. 
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Monday, August 17, 2015

Jody Joan Jody: Mad Men and Me

For as long as I can remember, people have told me I remind them of whatever redheaded female TV or movie actress/character happens to be en vogue at the time. As a child, it was Pippi Longstocking; when she first came on the scene and we both had long curly hair, it was Nicole Kidman; after Titanic, it was Kate Winslett; for the last couple of years, it's been Mad Men's Christina Hendrix (aka Joan Holloway). I've never been offended by the comparisons (who would be?) but, frankly, it's very little to do with anything other than a shared hair color and it's relative rarity. That's okay. It may have taken me more than 30 years to fully embrace my ginger genes, but these days I don't want to be anyone other than a constantly evolving and better version of myself. 
That said, I didn't mind posing as Joan's doppleganger for a charity fundraiser last weekend. Guests were encouraged to come as their favorite Mad Men character and/or dress in favorite 60s styles. If you know me at all, you know how much I love vintage fashion, so the theme was right up my alley. Of course, with this hair and our somewhat similar proportions, coming as Joan was a foregone conclusion.   
I have to admit that, with the right dress; a vintage brooch; and my hair pinned up, there is actually more than a passing resemblance. Indeed, there was no question which Mad Men character I was channeling. Yet,the best compliment I received all night came from an older woman I'd never met before who said, "Honey, you don't even look like you're in costume. You just look like those are the clothes you wear and that's who you are." 
Thank goodness, because these really are clothes I wear in my everyday life! In fact, every piece was already part of my wardrobe, though I hadn't put them all together in quite this fashion before. Rather, I typically mix vintage finds (like the 1960s orange crystal brooch) with newer pieces to create my own unique and (hopefully) somewhat timeless looks. 
The Poetic License shoes and embossed leather Fossil bag, both of which have a vintage feel but are only a few years old, are in regular rotation in my wardrobe, as are the cat eye sunglasses pictured below. The Pinup Couture dress I bought online some months ago because it's my favorite color of "Jody Orange." I love it, but it's turned out to be a little less versatile than I'd hoped because the neckline hits so low (exactly what Joan would wear to the office; me not so much). The feather pillbox hat is one of a number of vintage headpieces I've collected, and although Joan actually didn't wear many hats in Mad Men, I never pass up a good opportunity to wear one. After all, I still gotta be me...

Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
Today I'm linked up with Hat Attack, and you may also enjoy these posts:

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Skis, Schwinns & the Summer Skirt

A few weeks ago was the annual "Feast 'n Ski" at Heritage Lake - our neighborhood's version of a Block Party. Along with a ski and wakeboard show featuring local kids, adults, and sometimes even dogs, there are exhibitions by professional skiers and wakeboarders; a kids' casting competition; and a live band. The yearly celebration is also a significant, volunteer-run community fundraiser that helps keep our lake clean, safe and stocked with all manner of freshwater fish.  
It's fun to see local waterbugs demonstrating their skills and having fun at the annual neighborhood Feast 'n Ski. (Photo courtesy of Paul Corsaro)
I volunteered to help sell and serve food this year - a fun way to catch up with old friends, make new ones, and contribute in a small way to the community. I'd hoped to take some pictures of the festivities, but the stream of hungry picnickers was steady, and I was so busy counting change and chatting with neighbors that I never even looked at my phone, let alone stopped to take photos. The talent of our local kids (young and old) is actually pretty remarkable, though, so I'm sharing the above photo captured by a friend across the cove.
This retro print skirt from Amazon comes in other prints, too.
I was also too busy to take any photos when I got caught up in the afternoon's live auction. It was a shiny reproduction of a classic Schwinn that caught my eye.
Had it been a regular old road bike, I probably wouldn't have given it a second thought. I already have a perfectly good Cannondale, after all. But the vintage style really captured my imagination, and neighbors who know me a little too well were quick to point out that it was the perfect complement to my retro skirt. It was also my favorite color of "Jody orange." Did I mention that? And it was for a good cause, so that's something, right?
Nearly this whole ensemble consists of bargain finds, and only the skirt is new this season. The shoes are from Target; the necklace (a perfect complement to the striped hats in the fabric) is from Burlington Coat Factory; and my straw hat is from WalMart. Style is not about how much you spend!
Let the bidding frenzy begin! Ultimately, I came to my senses and let the bronze beauty go to a gentleman from the north end of the lake despite a small crowd egging me on about how well the bike matched my outfit. I mean, really, who buys a $350 bike to go with a $16 skirt?! I'm fairly certain I'd have had buyer's remorse had I won, good cause or not. I hope the winning bidder feels good about the healthy contribution he made to the Lake Committee fund. Though somehow I doubt he'll be riding around the neighborhood in a vintage summer skirt. Hmmm, wonder if he'd like to trade it for a Cannondale...? 
As for the skirt, it's been a staple of my wardrobe this Summer. It's lightweight cotton and washes beautifully, but it's the fun print that's had me reaching for it over and over again. For less than $20 from Amazon with free shipping, to boot, it was an undeniable bargain. 
I don't think I could have said the same about the Schwinn, but I'm still keeping my eye out for another one...
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
Today I'm linked up with Hat Attack, and you may also enjoy these posts:

Tuesday, August 11, 2015

Share a Coke; Save the Girl

Creative recycling, with sparkle!
Last Summer, I dropped a two liter bottle of Diet Coke on the concrete floor of my local Kroger and sent a geyser of the delicious but sticky caramel liquid spewing all over me and every patron in a 20 foot radius. You're familiar with the ad campaign, "Share a Diet Coke with...?" Let's just say I don't think my fellow shoppers appreciated my literal but messy interpretation of the concept. (Amazingly enough, at least, these pants survived the debacle without permanent stains)
Meet Millie!
This Summer, I've discovered a more creative (and deliberate) way to share a Diet Coke (or any soda of choice). Meet Millie Trent. Millie is a recent graduate of Avon High School who designs, fabricates, and sells creative jewelry made primarily from recycled soda cans. Some of the pieces, like my Diet Coke bracelet, display an obvious nod to their saccharine roots. While others, like her signature heart charm bracelets, are more subtle.
I wanted a bracelet that proudly showed its origin, but other jewelry Millie makes is more subtle.
In addition to her creative, entrepreneurial spirit, Millie also has deep empathy for the disadvantaged, and has made the bold, philanthropic decision to donate the proceeds from the sale of her jewelry to Care India's Save the Girl program. The mission of this program is to help Indian girls, who are often treated as second-class citizens, complete their education and break the chain of poverty that limits the choices of so many. Meanwhile, Millie, now a college Freshman, is working her way through her own education with a job at Monster Mini Golf.
The colorful heart charm bracelet is Millie's signature piece, but she's always adding new designs.
I met Millie at Danville's Handmade Market last month, and was enamored with her fun, clever pieces. She didn't have a Diet Coke bracelet at the time, but she happily took the can I had just finished as I browsed the stalls and used it to make one just for me (I had to pick it up a few days later, because I wanted it "with sparkles," of course, and those take time to prepare and dry). While she was at it, I also had her make a Diet Dr. Pepper bracelet as a surprise for my friend, Stephanie, who for indiscernible reasons prefers that beverage to my beloved DC...(I actually like Diet Dr. Pepper, too, Stephanie)
Millie can make jewelry from the beverage can of your choice.
You can check out more of Millie's recycled jewelry on her website, as well as find out about upcoming exhibits of her work. You can also join Millie and me on Wednesday, September 16th from 6 to 9 pm in downtown Indianapolis for "Recycle with Red." For just $20, the net proceeds of which will go to Save the Girl, Millie will lead you through the process of making a unique recycled necklace and bracelet of your own design, and I'll serve light refreshments to fuel your creative juices. Spots are limited for this special event. Reserve yours with an RSVP to I hope to see you!

Can't make it on September 16th (or even if you can), but want a chance to win your own recycled soda can bracelet featuring the beverage of your choice? Like Millie's Jewelry for Save the Girl page on FaceBook; share this blog post to your FaceBook page; and let me know you did so. I'll pick one lucky entrant at random on September 1st.
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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