totally random picture, but I don’t have an outfit to share today yet, and I’ve really been enjoying this drawing my mother did of a bird a friend took a photo of during their African safari trip a couple years ago…
I finished watching the OA recently. Worth watching, but SO WEIRD. I laughed out loud during the “dance” scenes because they were so strange (the choreographer works also with Sia, which explained the strangeness). Now, I’m catching up on the newest season of Mozart in the Jungle.
I am reading Red Rising, which I enjoy, now that I’m into it, have Designing Your Life on tap, and am busy adding EVERY SINGLE book on Frances’ (Materfamilias) 2016 reading list to MY reading list. So excited about some of those books, especially the birder mystery books (LOL), although those will be harder to track down.
Lisa from Privilege is graciously bowing out of regular lifestyle blogging and her post about why, and what she is turning to now, is worth a read. And not only because she mentions Grechen’s Closet as a familiar cohort, which I am beyond honored to be considered. I can’t wait to follow Lisa’s writings elsewhere; it feels right for her to do what she’s doing, and I support her wholeheartedly.
Disneyrollergirl mentioned my book review of her The New Garconne book in a post this week, along with featuring the new Everlane modern penny loafer (this cognac color is so pretty) as a Garconne-approved shoe. Did anyone order/receive the penny loafer? I think it’s a beautiful shoe, but I’ve not been able to make Everlane’s shoes work for me (too narrow), and am honestly more drawn to a classic rounded toe, like the Bass weejun, now anyway.
I went to “the mall” yesterday, something I don’t do very often, but now, want to do more. Every time I go, I inevitably come away inspired by the women I see there. Women just walking around, shopping, talking to friends. But I always draw my inspiration from a specific type of woman: the Eileen Fisher woman, if you will. Not exactly, but just to give you a picture of the type of look I’m referring to.
Yesterday as I was walking into Nordstrom I watched a beautiful, gray/silver-haired (a little longer than shoulder length) woman walking to her car with a friend. She was wearing a long black flowy skirt – simple – a midi-length mustard, leaning-towards-orange open coat and suede stretchy low wedges (either Eileen Fisher, or my Robert Clergerie Nalo wedges) with short gray socks. It was the socks that struck me, because they were at once practical, and chic – in that “my feet were cold so I threw socks on with these shoes.” It felt to me that that was her motivation, not to be “stylish” – which I find so appealing.
Of course, I have no idea what she was thinking. She could have spent as long working on an outfit as I do, overthinking it to death, and then finally settling on something that just felt right, but I doubt it. I don’t know why, but I just do. She seemed so effortless, and comfortable, I thought about her all day. First, I became obsessed, again, with finding a good long black skirt that is NOT fitted (something which I’ve tried and failed at consistently), and second, I wondered if I would ever be able to achieve the elusive “effortless” style.
I actually don’t think “effortless” style is so effortless; it takes a lot of work. And truthfully, my wardrobe is built for effortless style, filled with things I love and always want to wear, and everything works well together. I have only to pull a few things out to make an outfit, and go. My problem tends to be that I don’t go “out” often, aside from running errands to Whole Foods, Target, and Costco, so when I do go somewhere more interesting, I feel pressured to wear all the things.
That’s probably really hard to understand if you don’t work from home, have kids, or don’t have a lot of time to mess around with getting dressed, but that is my constant struggle. I’ve often thought the “solution” is to go out to more interesting places more often – every day – so I get used to wearing more things, more often, but I can’t seem to make my schedule work for that. Or, I could wear my harem pants to Costco, as it were, and dress up to do ordinary things.
In reality, nothing in my wardrobe is exceptional enough to NOT be worn to do ordinary things; I’ve actually designed it that way. I WANT to wear anything in my closet to do nearly anything, everything is versatile and useful. But we live in such a casual culture nowadays, in the US, and in the suburbs specifically, that wearing something more than leggings and running shoes often feels frivolous, and like I’m “peacocking” or something. If that makes sense.
I feel like I harp on this all the time, and struggle with it too much. But there it is…my reality. I am better overall at wearing what I like, when I like, now, but I wish it was a little easier to do without overanalyzing so much. Sigh.
Anyway, a couple of other notes about shopping in person.
I saw these Coclico shoes in the sale section at Neiman Marcus and they are stunning – and quite a steal for $138. I tried on my usual size 8/38 and they were too small, so I think it’s best to size up a half size or one full size. Coclico is a brand I’ve always wanted to try, but I’ve never found quite the right pair. They’re responsibly made in Spain, and I always forget that Neiman Marcus carries the brand, so I can try them in person.
Also at Neiman Marcus I saw a black nylon version of the Vince warren sneaker, something I didn’t know existed (unless it’s really satin?) and that I will probably purchase to replace my oldest Blair sneakers. I wore those old blair sneakers yesterday actually, and they’re about finished after four years or pretty constant wear. I’m wearing holes in the bottoms, and the heels are worn down. They suit me fine for wearing to and from Pure Barre, which I will continue to do – and am doing right now – but I’m about ready for a new black pair of slip-in sneakers. And as often as possible, I’m trying to not buy new leather. I also want to support more “mainstream” designers using non-leather materials for shoes & bags, so in some small way, this will do that. (I’m seeing more and more nylon bags and shoes from contemporary designers, which I appreciate).
Finally, as you must have surmised, I’m not perfect, and another side effect of shopping in person is impulse buying.
As I walked out of Nordstrom on way way into the mall, I spotted another pair of Vince shoes, the Tanner platform oxfords. I thought about them the ENTIRE afternoon, and as I was walking back in, I tried them on and bought them. They’re beautiful, and just what my wardrobe needs, I think. As if it needs anything. But they’re SO FUN, and add just a little something to whatever I might wear (yes, I already tried them on with EVERYTHING in my wardrobe), AND they provide some much-needed height with the platform, something I want now. I don’t want to wear heels, but I want more height. And anyway, I love platform shoes.
Finally – I ordered the Everlane cropped ponte pants in a size 8 to review for you. I don’t need them, and I probably won’t keep them, but I am interested to see how they fit. I was sort of looking forward to the new cotton button-down shirts, but now that I see them, I’m not excited. I was hoping for something straighter, not so boxy and oversized. I might finally be over that. And I’m just not excited at all about any of Everlane’s “coming soon” pieces. What do you think?
Happy Friday!! Any good plans for the weekend?
I hear you as someone who works from home in a town where I stand out. but, i actually felt way more constricted in office culture. i needed an entirely separate wardrobe that I would never use on weekends. now my daily uniform consists of frame le original denim and a slightly cropped long sleeve tee + high tops. it fits my lifestyle but also makes me feel like me – and on the outside it looks like i put in zero effort (um, light wash cut off denim) which is fine by me! in short, i am able to experiment with less flattering silhouettes now, which i am loving. even when i have somewhere to go i find myself gravitating towards a casual look (silk top + sneakers).
After your earlier post this week, I went looking at weejuns – my favorite pair ever, that I wore until they fell apart, were black patent leather. My mother told me I’d never wear that material often enough and they were too expensive for a “fad”. Proved her wrong, didn’t I? Anyway, there’s a patent weejun heel I want so badly but they don’t have my size. Probably for the best because I don’t think that weejuns are comfortable enough for my middle-aged feet (I try on shoes every so often at the Bass outlet but haven’t bought a pair in years…)
Simone Chic Heel https://www.ghbass.com/product/simone+chic+heel+weejuns.do?sortby=ourPicks&from=fn
No weekend plans. Scheduled to color my hair (I do it myself) but am thinking of going a little longer, checking on the amount of grey, and maybe trying that for a while. I’ve been coloring my hair since I was 16 and honestly, I’m tired! Of course, for 25 years I was coloring for fun. Now that I “need” to color for grey coverage, I’m tired of doing it. Things we should have known when we were younger, right? Though, as my hairdresser and I have joked with each other, we wouldn’t have listened…..
I have come to the conclusion that life is just too short to worry about others thinking you are overdressed! Some days I am in jeans, and some in a dress, and yes, the dress may only be to go to Costco, but if it makes me happy, then so be it. I can work, clean and cook, and run errands in a dress just as well as jeans. I am not mucking out stables, or climbing into bed, so why go out dressed as if? I am all for comfort, but comfortable does not have to equal sloppy! (Why is sloppy so ubiquitous?)
Public service message: I have SIX pairs of Everlane pants, including the ponte and the crop ponte. They all fit me the same, i.e. perfectly (otherwise I would only have one pair) so that means that all you people who have never been able to wear Everlane pants, you are going to hate these too. Don’t even. It’s a positive and a negative that Everlane pants are so consistent. On the plus side, if they fit once they’ll always fit (at least so far in my experience), unlike many (most?) other brands. In fact, in many brands different colours of the same style can fit differently. Which can be annoying or helpful 😉 On the down side, if Everlane pants didn’t fit the first time, there is little to no hope for future styles. I think Everlane is my JP, Grechen. It just fits me and hangs perfectly. Plus lots of navy! I guess there is just no one brand out there that favours all our infinite shapes and sizes. Which, after all, would be pretty boring for all of us.
Perhaps dressing and getting out to do some of things you currently do at home but in a different setting? Reading, writing or even journaling? Going out for the occasional solo lunch midday or to the library (or museum/cultural center) for an afternoon break. You technically don’t need to dress for any of these events either but it may be more enticing to wear an outfit you enjoy on an excursion out versus a Costco visit. Also as you are interested in sustainability and retail, it can be inspiring and bring new writing or learning ideas to visit locally owned coffee/tea/juice bars, local restaurants, local farm tours and small boutiques. I love people watching too and sometimes it’s fun to wear something I love and sit with a beverage and a book at an independent small business. I love those real life EF ladies too! Although I usually have to go to YouTube or their website.
I agree w Kathryn and Tania and I think of all those ‘EF ladies’ and women in general who dress the way they want to everyday and always look fabulous, comfortable and put together. ( I strive to be like that) Maybe the anxiety you experience will dissipate with time. My mom was one of those ladies who did not give a damn what other people thought. If she liked it that was it, there were no rules. She always got dressed , that was her therapy as she put it. I’m like that with make-up. Clothing does have the power to cheer you up, give you confidence , fill in the blank… So I think you will find your happy medium. A famous line from an actualization workshop I took years ago called Lifespring was, Oh what the f*#@k , go for it anyway! Just keep repeating that and shake your shimmy in DFW girl!
Thanks so much for the mention, and I hope you enjoy some of those books. I know exactly what you mean about “fear of overdressing” vs. enjoyment of putting outfits together. It was trickier for me when I lived on a small, rustic PNW island where many of my neighbours lived in Helly Hansen boots and plaid jackets that hit the style meter accidentally every four or five years. Honestly, though, I only ever got positive feedback, albeit with a “To each her own” edge 😉
Now, in the city, my mission is to reconcile my retired lifestyle with all the possibilities of urban culture and with the reality of much less wardrobe storage space. Your post’s inspired me to make the most of that culture (even if it’s just heading to the movie theatre with my guy, as tonight, to see Manchester by the Sea) and dress up a bit when I can (in flat shoes, of course! We’re walking the 6k there and back to earn calories for the pizza that’s rounding out our Movie and Dinner Date. . . .Happy Weekend to you!
Thank you very much Grechen. Your efforts in sustainable fashion inspired me, among other things, but I have paid attention to what you are doing. Thank you much so for that. I think the woman with the gray socks is benefiting from her age. You live a while, you succeed and you fail, and with any lucky you find your IDAF increasing exponentially with each decade.
Agreed! I do this thing when I start to second guess something. For instance going out and feeling overdressed. When have I thought to myself, ” wow that person is really overdressed for the situation.” Never! Or ekk my leg veins are showing with this skirt. I don’t notice this stuff on other people so chances are they are not noticing it on me.
Thanks for sharing about the end of “Amid Privilege,” sad, although, I’m excited to see what Lisa has to say…smart woman, she.
And before I forget: LOVE the Coclico shoes! And I’m liking the cropped ponte Everlane skinnies, but why no mention of the zipper in their on-site description? It says “soft luxe elasticized waistband.” I think I’ll wait for your review before purchasing. And I could do without the zipper if they’re truly elastic waistband.
I can picture exactly the type of woman you’re talking about that you spotted at the mall…effortless elegance, which I agree, is not effortless at all, but rather well thought out. And I always want to ask them to stand still for a few minutes so I can study the outfit! 😉 But you’re the epitome of [the appearance of, except that I know it’s not effortless at all] effortless casual chic!
Debbie Downer moment: Did you see that the description of your new Vince oxfords on the Shopbop link includes the word “sheepskin”?!?
Grechen Reiter says
yes, i saw that after i bought them and fell in love 🙁
i’m going to have to figure out a way to offset it now. make a donation to peta?? lol
Felt THE SAME WAY about The OA. After every episode, I just sat there asking myself “is this worth it?” Anyway, we watched the whole thing and I want to see the second season, but I still can’t say that I like it…mixed feelings I suppose.
Those Coclico shoes are GORGEOUS. I haven’t looked at Everlane’s site recently because I’m only buying secondhand for a while…have to keep my eyes off the temptation. But come this spring, I’ll try out their shoes, as I need some flats (loafers or something). I have narrow feet, so I think they’ll work out, based on others’ reviews.
I read this Friday morning and almost replied that morning (I was in Coronado with friends working from the hotel for a few hours) but didn’t and we ended up in a mall that afternoon in Coronado – I was going to say I don’t shop in malls any longer (or haven’t for years excluding a trip to Nordstroms for a hemming of a dress or a watch battery repair but alas there is no Nordstroms anywhere near my new home)- my inspiration comes from airports – both of what not to do and what to do – and the mall in San Diego was just not a good experience – are malls really someplace fun any longer or are they all just a sad relic of our history? Marshall Fields (the downtown Chicago store) was “THE” place to go for clothes when I was a kid and my mom and I would train in from the burbs – while I miss that you can’t find the same experience in a big store any longer so I seek out smaller independently owned stores – ok enough of that.
I live in a mountain town (yah I have mentioned that before) and it’s a cultural experience I have never had before – you have people who have TONS of money and people who have none and ranchers and farmers and everyone is pretty casual. I am firmly a city girl but I am loving this new experience but I stand out – always no matter what. And as I travel for work I do my darnest to blend in anywhere – oddly enough being that different from anyone has made me pull things out I haven’t worn in a long time and really “stretch” my style threshold – each new city I work in I have adjusted just a bit to blend in and now I find myself going in the opposite direction at home – trying to figure out why –
And if you come across a beautifully made chelsea boot with a low heel I WOULD LOVE a recommendation – I am looking at the Rag and Bone ones but trying to do more “sustainable” and it’s my primary winter shoe….. Thanks!