Tuesday, May 15, 2018


My summer wardrobe came out of hiding last weekend. I'll withhold the commentary... At least for now!

It took several days to complete the switch, but the day I started was only one week after I took out my spring wardrobe (ugh! The weather this year! Took forever to get even remotely nice, and then it went from winter to summer in one week!).

Weirdly, since I've uncovered this wealth of new and exciting clothes, I've been absolutely stymied as to what to wear. I'm crippled by choice! Also, perhaps, by the fact that my new puppy makes trying on outfits prohibitively difficult.

Until I get over my lack of inspiration, I've decided to set a daily theme to help guide my sartorial decisions. Today's theme, in a reflection of the weather forecast (for the entire week! Ugh! The weather this year!), is "Thunderstorm."

I started with a tank top in a watery print of watery blues. I chose a deeper blue for the pants, to still evoke rain, but to also call to mind the dark skies of a thunderstorm. Grey shoes continue that thread, representing the color of a cumulonimbus cloud.

I would have been content with the tank top as-is, except that the cut seemed a bit casual for work, especially when combined with jeans. So I decided to cover up more of my shoulders with my long-line aqua vest, which conveniently drapes in a way reminiscent of falling water.

I chose two pieces of jewelry that aren't at all related to each other (I usually like my jewelry to match) but to the theme: my tiny black zigzag ring reminds me of lightning, and the dark blue earrings are the color of water and the shape of a raindrop.

Even though none of the elements of this outfit are new, I was still excited to wear them because 1) I think they look good on me, and 2) they do such a thorough job of meeting my arbitrary theme!

But despite the forecast, it didn't even start raining until long after I'd taken the outfit off for the day.

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

Thigh-high boots for Spring

Finally, my first short-sleeved work outfit of the year! I think the last of the winter weather is behind us. Following a 50's-and-breezy Sunday, the temperature rose up to 70 degrees by Monday afternoon.

But that doesn't mean it wasn't still 34 degrees out when I woke up in the morning! To survive the nearly 40-degree shift over the course of the day, I decided to go light and layered on top, but completely cover my legs with pastel pink thigh-high boots. 
The dress was a good choice for the in-between weather—its thick bodice was warm enough for the morning, especially when combined with some fingerless gloves, yet cool enough in the afternoon, thanks to its short sleeves.

I'm still working on ways to keep the boots from sliding down my legs all day, but I hope that I won't have to try and perfect the art until fall! Warm days are in the forecast for as long as I care to look ahead!

Friday, April 20, 2018

Jellyfish Skirt

Another skirt I recently found and fell in love with on Swap.com is this purple and blue one with a watercolor design. Something about it reminds me of jellyfish...and even though I'm sure it's not supposed to be representational of jellyfish in any way, I nonetheless have dubbed it my "jellyfish skirt."

When I got around to wearing it today, I was tempted to try and give an aquatic theme to the other garments in my getup, but I was unsuccessful in finding anything that worked. Probably all for the best, since I am pretty happy with what I came up with, despite the absence of anything remotely oceanic.

I got to break in a new pair of purple thigh-high boots, and I wore a sweater in another shade of purple. The disparate hues were bothering me, until I thought to add a (new!) pastel blue scarf as a sort of distraction.

My final addition was a blue carnation brooch, which adds a subtly different but still coordinating color to the mix. And as a bonus, it also helps hold all the layers of the scarf together, which means less adjusting throughout the day!

Thursday, April 19, 2018

Sweater with straps

You may recall this sweater from last year, when it was new to me and I sang the virtues of its comfortable length and appealing pastel sheen. I've worn it a few times since then, but I found that it was rarely my first choice—being put off by the oversized asymmetrical collar. Or is it a cowl? Half-cowl? Whatever it is, it didn't work for me.

It had the usual problem of making my big shoulders look bigger, it would never lie flat where it folded, and it added an uncomfortable layer of bulk that tended to get bunched up under coats, to my great annoyance. It had to go.

I experimented, as best I could without rashly snipping it off, to reshape it in various configurations, but at last I decided the only thing to do was just remove it entirely.

Cutting off cowls is fast becoming my specialty, but I tried a new technique this time.

My first attempt at finishing the neckline saw me sewing it under with a long continuous hem. Of course, as always happens to me with stretch material, this resulted in the neckline becoming stretched-out and wavy. I removed all my stitchery and tried again, this time just tacking down the collar every few inches.

Once I was satisfied with the lay of things, I gingerly cut off the rest of the cowl. No matter how many times I cut up my clothing, I am always terrified by this part, because it means you can never go back!

Fortunately, everything looked fine, but I discovered I needed to tack down the fabric in more places. I ended up with a stitch approximately every inch.

The sweater was done (at least, done enough to wear, although it's questionable whether it would stand up to washing, as I hadn't bothered to finish the cut-off edge).
But when I wore it, I was mildly irritated to see that the neckline was so wide, my bra straps were on full display.

I could do a number of things to mitigate this – constantly push the straps out onto my shoulders all day, or wear a strapless bra – but since my vision for this sweater was something I could throw on and go to work without having to worry about things like my bra, I decided to add decorative straps to the sweater, which would cover up my bra.

Fortunately, I had a lot of cowl left over!

I folded over one edge of it by about an inch and a half, stitched down the edges, and turned it inside-out so it formed a tube shape.

Then I did the same again, to make a second strap.

After a bunch of finicky fittings and readjustments, I had decided on the perfect placement and length for my straps.

Using the same technique as I had to form the neckline, I now tacked down each strap in four places.
Here's how it now looks on the inside!

...And the outside!

I stayed up an hour past my bedtime to finish this project, so I could wear it the very next day. It's still in the 50's outside here in Maryland, but it looks like spring temperatures might finally arrive this weekend, so I wanted to make sure I could wear this heavy sweater before it gets warm. I succeeded!

For a grey and rainy Thursday, I proudly wore my new DIY sweater with my new DIY haircut (and that's a whole 'nother story still in progress!), brown skinny jeans, and pink booties.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Straight skirt and mustard shirt

Straight skirts have never been my favorite style. However, I was forced to revise my opinion on them when I came across this graphic skirt on Swap.com. [Shop from my referral link!] The floral print was bright and bold, and I'm always a sucker for anything with birds on it!

I could have worn many different tops with this skirt, but after trying a couple of sweaters and feeling top-heavy in them, I decided I needed a lightweight shirt that I could tuck into the waistband and show off the red ribbon belt.

Enter my mustard-yellow long-sleeved tee!

Mustard is another departure from the norm for me, as it has never been one of my favorite colors. I've slowly warmed up to it over a course of years, during which several mustard items arrived in my possession by way of bulk lots and hand-me-downs. But the first mustard thing that I actually chose for myself (knowingly, and not just because I thought it was a straight yellow, like these boots) is this shirt. I've decided that long sleeved T-shirts are a versatile addition to any wardrobe, providing color and coverage without bulk. So I stocked up on several over the winter and am currently working to expand my collection to every color, much like my campaign to acquire short-sleeved T-shirts last spring.

The problem with most of my long-sleeved T-shirts is they are way too thin and tight to be appropriate for the office. I could see my bra through the back of this one, so I decided to cover it up with a neutral vest. Although the vest does hide the awesome ribbon belt a little, it adds a level of complexity that turns this 2-piece outfit into a 3-piece layered work of art.

I thought about wearing my art with colorful boots in a variety of hues, but ultimately, I decided there was so much going on up top, I should keep the bottom simple. I chose flesh-toned boots because they made my legs look extra long!

Wednesday, April 4, 2018

These pants are Fire

One of my early purchases from Swap.com was a pair of palazzo pants that I thought, from the picture, would be red. When they arrived, I was somewhat astonished to find they were actually orange, wound through with glittery gold thread. Clearly far too flashy for everyday use, even for an Unfashionista, they sat in my closet for months. I spent several of those months buying and rejecting tops to wear with them, as I'd decided only a gold top without too much sparkle of its own would do (the top I wore with my gold star boots was one that didn't quite make the cut). 
Once I finally had a gold top that I liked, I had to find an occasion to wear the pants. They seemed too glittery for serious occasions, but too formal for bars and clubs, so it was a while before circumstances were right.

The circumstances were: the afterparty for the opening of the Burning-Man-themed Smithsonian exhibit. The palazzo-pants-based outfit seemed to me like just the sort of thing an eccentric rich old lady would wear to a gallery opening. Of course, then I learned that the friend who had invited me planned to wear his skin-tight tie-dye pants. Clearly "too flashy" wasn't going to be an issue, but I began to question whether I should redirect my vibe more towards "partying artist" than "flamboyant arts patron"...until suddenly, I had a revelation.

Flamboyant – root flam – suspiciously similar to flame was exactly what I needed to bring to this gathering of Burners (the creative community responsible for the Burning Man festival as well as the night's festivities). What better pair of pants could I choose than the ones that veritably glowed like fire!?

Apparently I was not the only one to decide on orange pants that night.

Despite my lack of originality in the clothing department, I made up for it in the posing department. After I took one last parting shot with this enormous bear sculpture, apparently a whole group of other people were inspired to do the same....That's the rumor I heard at least—far be it from me to bask in the glow of my own brilliant ideas.

Tuesday, April 3, 2018

Lavender fields

I hear tell that lavender is a pretty trendy color for this spring. Fortunately, my wardrobe came prepared with a cute sweater I got back in October.

For a springtimey look even though the weather's still wintry, I paired my lavender sweater with pastel pink pants, white boots, and a lace camisole that provided pops of white around the neck and hemlines. White floral earrings finished off the look.

I thought my outfit was a cute use of pastels for the day before Easter, but it turned even more appropriate when my boyfriend and I ended up, quite without planning, at a lavender farm and winery! We drank lavender-infused wine and ate lavender-infused ice cream before having the obligatory photo shoot in front of the still-winterized rows of lavender.