Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Winter White

Ivory faille and lace skirt (Eliza J, Nordstrom); Velvet bolero (Alex Evenings, Nordstrom)
No white Christmas in the Hoosier heartland this year, but Winter white is always right in my book. There's just something about ivory that exudes elegance year round...This ivory faille Eliza J skirt is a Spring/Summer staple, but a velvet jacket; vintage fox fur stole; and opaque tights transform it into a warm Winter's eve ensemble.
Bag (Burberry Prorsum); Gloves (TJ Maxx); Booties (J.Lo from eBay); Brooch (Premier Designs)
A Burberry Prorsum bag with an intricately hand-cut lace pattern in the leather; black and cream perforated leather driving gloves; a lace and sequin embellished wool cloche; and the addition of a pearl and crystal brooch to a pair of ivory leather booties complete the dutone look.
Cloche (Nordstrom Rack); Fox fur stole (vintage 1960s); Earrings (Gordmans)
Believe it or not, each piece of this outfit was acquired separately (in different seasons and even different years), only put together as a whole last week as I scanned my closet for inspiration sans shopping...and now it's one of my favorite Winter looks. As the new year approaches, spend a little time scouring your own closet - you might just come up with Winter wardrobe you never knew you had!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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I'm linked up with Hat Attack!

Friday, December 23, 2016

Happy "Paw"lidays!

Photography by Faith Blackwell
Why,yes, I did buy 4 month old Tim Riggins a buffalo plaid jacket that matches a few of my own Winter accessories. Come on...you're not surprised about that. You probably won't be surprised to learn that I also bought him a larger size that will fit when he packs on another 25 or so pounds and reaches his adult size. I'm not even sorry.
Tim Riggins' buffalo plaid coat is from Amazon.
I also wasn't sorry some twenty years ago when I found a cat carrier that matched my luggage and my Jeep Wrangler. I remember it well: hunter green canvas with cognac leather trim. The only problem - I didn't have a cat.
So what's a first year law student living alone for the first time to do with a shiny new cat carrier that looks smashing with her first brand new vehicle? I rescued a cat, of course...I brought Madison home from the Marion County Humane Society one week later. Six months old and given up by her original family because she was "too playful," she became a constant companion for the next 19 years.
Bag (Nordstrom); Boots (GX by Gwen Stefani)
The first time I took her to the vet, he complimented my choice of carrier. I beamed, but didn't tell him it was the impetus for the cat herself. As for Madison, she was not a fan. She peed in it nearly every time I took her anywhere, thereby ensuring its early demise. I did not replace the carrier: it was wholly insignificant compared to the fat little ball of fur who ruined it...just as every item in my closet now is insignificant compared to Tim Riggins.
My wish for you this holiday season is that you surround yourself with those you love, both two-legged and four, and that your presence in each other's lives, more than any presents you exchange, brings joy to your world!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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I'm linked up with Hat Attack!
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Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Presents, Presence, and Holiday Spirit

I started a working for a new company in May, and my new office is next door to a major Amazon.com distribution center. Now, I LOVE Amazon Prime. So much so that I'm pretty sure the UPS man knows my address by heart. That said, the nearly 20 minute increase in my workday commute due to extra holiday truck traffic in and out of the Amazon lot had me seriously rethinking whether I wanted to update my Amazon gift list or buy gifts for others from Amazon this Christmas...
Ruby and white sapphire necklace and earrings from India.
In reality, it wasn't the horrid commute that gave me pause. It's the nature of holiday giving that has kept me awake of late...You see, I love to buy gifts for those I love. Thoughtful gifts. Meaningful gifts. They don't have to be expensive. They don't have to be for a particular reason. Indeed, when I find the perfect gift for someone, I'm often so excited to share it that I can't wait for whatever "expected" gift-giving occasion might be next on the calendar. I really do get more joy from the act of giving than I do receiving (not to say that I don't like presents, because I do).
Safety Pin Clutch (Bodhi, found on eBay); red leather gloves (TJ Maxx)
When it comes to Christmas gifts, in particular, those I've found the most joy, the most holiday spirit, in giving have never been items chosen at random from a loved one's pre-selected online holiday "wish list" while sitting on the couch in my pjs. Yes, it's a time saver in our overscheduled lives. Yes, I want to give people gifts they actually want. Yes, I prefer to receive gifts that I actually want. But still, I find it lacking in joy, more like an obligatory spending of some "appropriate" dollar amount to be completed as efficiently as possible than an act of love and celebration. Even creating my own "wish list" seems like a chore (gone are the days of furiously dog-earing the pages of the JC Penney Christmas catalog in hopes my Mom would get my not so subtle childhood hints!)
Plaid dress (Bernie Dexter); Cashmere and sable wrap (Day Furs)
Several years ago, I opted out of a large extended family gift exchange, partly because I wasn't always there for it, but just as much because I felt like it had become a relatively thoughtless exchanging of gift cards. I don't see the point. I care about these people. I enjoy spending time with them at the holidays and I'm grateful for the opportunity. I value their "presence" in my holiday orbit more than any present I might receive from a random drawing of names. We come together for food and fellowship and I treasure it. It is enough.
The rings are costume jewelry, but festive for the holiday season; Shoes (Isabel Toledo)
Still, in other situations, I sometimes find myself furiously searching those online wish lists at the last minute because presents are expected; I haven't found the "just right" gift; and I'm out of time. This is the commercial reality in which we live. At least I know when I purchase a wish list item that it's something actually desired - far better than grabbing a pair of socks from a bargain bin or a box of chocolates from the check-out line just to check the proverbial gift box. But still, it doesn't fill me with the same holiday spirit and joy of giving, and makes me wonder if it wouldn't be better if we all just settled on "presence" rather than "presents" for the holidays, and surprised each other with those "just right" gifts whenever inspiration strikes (and even if it's from Amazon)...
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Saturday, December 17, 2016


These over the top crystal cat-eye sunglasses from Jazzy Jewelry Indy sparkle like icicles hanging from the trees in my backyard.
I love Winter. I love Winter. I love Winter. I love Winter... 
The top of this dress from Bernie Dexter has a sweetheart neckline, but below freezing temps call for layers.
if I repeat it enough times, maybe I'll convince myself... Not likely.
The dark green wool hat is from Nordstrom Rack.
To tell the truth, the older I get, the less tolerant I am of extreme temperatures and bad roads.
A vintage 1970s handmade saddle leather bag with a stag horn clasp from Charm School Vintage in Austin, TX was a surprisingly fun accessory with this holiday print dress. See it styled for Summer here.
Winter storms used to mean snow days and building igloos...now they mean long, maddening commutes and higher propane bills.
Like the bag, this fox fur stole is also vintage, and once belonged to a friend's mother. I was honored when he gifted it to me.
That said, Winter also means a a backyard with a frozen lake glistening in the moonlight; icicles that drip like diamond tennis bracelets from the tree limbs that form a canopy over the hot tub; and a crackling fireplace that warms my soul as well as the family room.
Leather and suede duck boots from Tommy Hilfiger are among my favorite Winter boots; An $8 snowglobe ring from local boutique Silver in the City echoes the whimsy of the dress. Yes, it's kitschy...and I couldn't care less!
Winter also means boots and coats and cozy scarves galore. And I LOVE boots and coats and cozy scarves galore,
...not to mention the opportunity to pull out a favorite dress that manages to paint a perfect holiday picture without a single Santa Claus or candy cane.
It's not for everybody...KDef says it looks like Thomas Kincaide threw up on it, but since when do I care what anyone else thinks, anyway?! Stay warm and wear what you love!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Sunday, December 4, 2016

Paws & Tots and Gifted Gowns: the Season for Giving

Every woman should own a red dress. The classic little black dress, or "LBD," may be a staple, but a red dress is a statement. Chris DeBurgh's iconic song wouldn't work nearly as well if it was "Lady in Black."
And there's no better time of year to make a statement in red than the holidays. This weekend's "Little Red Dress" fundraiser for the Hamilton County Humane Society and Toys for Tots was a sea of red, and every woman there made a beautiful and festive statement while raising money for two great causes.
My own dress for the event was inspired by another great cause close to my heart: The Gifted Gown, a local Indianapolis non-profit organization that just received its official 501(c)(3) status this year. 
The mission of The Gifted Gown is to provide formal wear free of charge to those who would otherwise miss out on important occasions (such as proms, weddings, and military balls) because they can't afford to dress for them. I'm proud to be a member of the organization's first board of directors, and to help its clients make their own style statements at special events.
I first saw this Betsy & Adam dress, albeit in a size 2, when it was donated to The Gifted Gown in the Spring. Though not my typical style or silhouette, I loved it. And I was excited that the organization would make this dress, originally sold at Nordstrom, a reality for a woman who would otherwise not have the opportunity.
But, I couldn't stop thinking about it. I wanted it for myself! So, I started stalking it online, and finally found one on eBay, in my size, for just $35. It still had the tags on it! I added the belt; jazzed up a black cocktail hat with a red velvet rose taken from an old Christmas centerpiece; and added a crystal broach to a $9 lace choker from Amazon to make the look all my own. I'm fortunate enough to not need The Gifted Gown, but I'm still a bargain hunter!
I'll definitely wear this dress for another event in the future. I'm not a "one and done" kind of girl - when I love a dress, I want to wear it well and again. That said, there are always new dresses to love, so when I decide to "retire" it, you can be sure I'll be donating it to The Gifted Gown so that another woman can have her own "Lady in Red" moment!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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