Allure

In December my husband started to receive a subscription to Allure magazine. When it arrived I had to wonder why. Did someone give it to him as a joke? Was it a gift for me because I had recently renewed my interest in style and appearance? (that would be a long shot. He is quite contemptuous of the fashion world and certain sorts of marketing that aim to keep us all hungering for the next “big thing?) Did he want to look at beautiful young women? This was a more likely answer. But when questioned he said “No I thought I was ordering a fishing magazine A Lure.” This happened a couple years ago as well when we started getting US. He thought he had ordered U.S Weekly. A case of not listening carefully or paying attention.

Are you listening carefully or paying attention to whether your appearance matches your intended actions and attitudes? You might say you care about getting the job or the customer but your appearance doesn’t match that statement if you show up wearing a dirty hoodie or a sloppy shirt. This conveys the subliminal message that you don’t care enough to do anything different to get the job or the customer. Even here in the PNW. Even if that’s not what you mean.

When I started this journey I was shocked when I looked at myself and realized that what my appearance was saying was what I really felt and what I really was on the inside- an exhausted, depressed woman who spent too much time just going through the motions of living. I didn’t even have the awareness to know that was what was happening to me. Then a friend (on the pretext of helping him) helped me open my eyes to the fact that my life was not really a life but more of a forced march. And I dressed to match it.

My eyes are open now but I have to fight  every day to keep working my way to the edge of the marching formation and into the unit  with the dancing queens and nude cylists (who also need to be aware of using the same behavior patters and march over and over only in a less conventional way(. Have you looked inside lately to see what might be influencing your external world and results? How could your bring more joy into your life (or someone elses?).

Magical Color

When I wear the colors that flatter I feel magical, transported out of the gray rainy northwest and into a land of unexpected delights and surprises. Because I feel magical and happier, there is a smile on my face and a bounce in my step and people notice. They ask if I’ve lost weight or tell me I look fabulous. I get smiles from others (sometimes I wonder if maybe I have accidentally been dragging toilet paper around on my foot or if I look silly but I don’t think that is the case – I think that is just self doubt rearing it’s ugly head). There were many years of my life when I wore black or simply picked colors because I thought I liked them. Then when I got them home they never matched anything else in my closet (except the black) and I never had any accessories to wear with them. These were the desperate years when I barely had time – or didn’t know how to make the time for myself. Every article I read said black was a great neutral. They failed to mention that black is not a color for everyone. I guess they just assumed every reader knew as much as they did. I didn’t know that black is harsh on some people. I was trying to streamline my life and have clothes that would mix and match so I took the advice that we should all have a base color and add accents to it. I assumed that black was the best base color because everyone is supposed to have a little black dress. As I think back I never got a compliment that I looked great. I think some wear black so they disappear. It is our invisible cloak and armor against the world. We hear black is slimming. The easy answer we are all looking for. As I look back on my black years I know that dressing in black and not taking time to care for my appearance because I thought it didn’t matter were my way of avoiding the pleasant and unpleasant parts of life. If I wore black and didn’t try to look like I cared, I could slip under the radar. I wouldn’t have to worry about how to talk to people. I would have an excuse for failure in whatever venture I tried be it making friends or sales. It allowed me to be invisible. Invisible means no one is going to ask you to do anything. It meant I wouldn’t have to worry about adding anything else to my busy (but repetitive and unnecessary) schedule. Wearing black and not taking risks in my wardrobe was the equivalent of not taking risks in my life. Now I joyfully put on my yellow raincoat and blue scarf and head out the door hoping to greet the world with a smile and get a great big smile back. (now if I can only avoid looking like a drunken sailor)

Party around the world

Last weekend we were invite to a graduation party for a young woman with a double master’s degree from WSU. She was then headed off to travel Asia before returning to (hopefully) the working world. The fellow celebrants were a well traveled group who don’t hesitate when fun comes calling. One of the guests was referred to as the man who has partied with everyone. Knowing how much he travels I also concluded that he has partied with everyone around the world. I decided that should become one of my new goals – to party with everyone around the world. Hopefully all of it won’t be virtual. I think the outfit I wore to this party will fit 60% of my party needs. The other 40 will call for dressier attire. What is your goal for the New Year? Want to join me in a party with everyone around the world?

Success!

 

I may still need to work on my photography and pay more attention to the background but the outfit was a success. We were lucky enough to be invited to a party that asked us to wear cocktail attire! This is a real score in the grunge capital of Seattle and I jumped on it. In the past my idea of cocktail attire was to pull out my square shaped black velvet sleeveless maxi dress and my worn down black velvet flats, throw on a scarf and call it good. Black was not my color and I never got compliments except from my husband who knows his job.

Our first party was across the street (and attire was described as come as you are). I was overjoyed that the first words I heard were: “Thank god! People in clothes!”. She of course meant dressed up clothes – no one was naked and I thought everyone looked pretty good for Seattle.

The person who greeted me (who looked fabulous in her gold dress that brought out her beautiful hair) then said “There is a woman who knows her colors. Look at how that teal matches her eyes” That made me glow because ever since our trip to Turkey I had been working hard to add the right colors to my style.

At the second official cocktail attire party a sweet young make up artist came up and told me I looked fabulous. Fortunately the dress distracted her from my cover girl makeup job.

The evening was great. I truly believe finding clothes that I felt comfortable and confident in made all the difference in my conversations and interactions with the other guests. I met new and interesting people and heard great stories. We danced, ate and toasted in a wonderful New Year.

What was your successful New Year’s eve outfit? Please share your unique style with me.

The mid life crisis

You ask – what is someone who dresses like this doing writing a style blog?

They used to call it a mid-life crisis. My life was on the same path it had been on forever. I just assumed that was how life was supposed to be. Wake up work your a– off, come home, go to bed. Drink a lot of wine.Then a friend helped me see that whatever I was doing it was my own doing. No one was holding a gun to my head and I was the only one who could change it. Well in the midst of my mid life crisis and self realization I decided to find my way back into apparel design. Something I had pursued after high school and started a few times before telling myself I didn’t have the ego to be in fashion design. That led to the examination of what I wore and how I look.

Last March I challenged myself to put some effort in to what I wore every day for 30 days. This was my baseline. I found myself headed out the door to Home Depot with no makeup and something I hoped hid my middle. Having been a plant lady for 35 years I was able to skate by under the radar and no one expected much. (including AND ESPECIALLY myself) A camera and this first picture helped me see that I was way past the time for a personal makeover.

It has been a learning experience and I’ve come out the other side with some new knowledge and a first hand experience of the challenges you face when you want to up your style game.. Some of them are physical- like money, time, the clothes in my closet,my actual body – some are mental – like self confidence, self denial, the discovery that I was trying to be invisible and  questions about why it matters. I have found some of the answers to these challenges and look forward to sharing them with you. I hope you will also share your challenges, discoveries and solutions with me and other readers.

I would love to see you start a style challenge and invite you to share your journey.

 

 

Jacket from my mother in law 23 years ago when I was pregnant

Black V neck top from Goodwill

Black workout pants from Salvation Army