June 29th, 2011 § §
- Top: Forever 21
- Shorts: maternity consignment store
- Tank: Old Navy (tall size)
- Necklace: Tilly Bloom
- Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell (I’m not tired of them yet…)
- Bikes: “Oliver,” a 2010 Raleigh One Way (for N.) and “Sammy,” a 1986 Schwinn Le Tour Mixte (for E.)
Over the weekend N. and I had the delightful gift of free babysitting (thanks, sister-in-law P.!) and the chance to go on a bike date picnic in a nearby park to watch the fireflies. (I’ll be sharing more about the date itself on S.’s bike blog in the near future.) It was a beautiful night and also a great reminder to me of why I should celebrate my legs during this year’s Dress Your Best.
My legs have always been “there” and I’ve rarely been that impressed with either their aesthetics or their extraordinary functionality. Unlike A., S., and L., I’m not a marathoner or a serious runner. I can’t say that my legs have carried me tremendous distances or that they’ve overcome great adversity. They’re kind of pale and kind of…normal.
But, since beginning biking last year, my legs have acquired greater value in my mind. It’s not because of their athletic prowess — because honestly I don’t really ride that far or that fast — but simply because they have allowed me to participate in an activity that my husband loves and that I, in turn, have come to really enjoy. My legs have taken me on many a bike date exploration of our city with N., with little e., and with visiting friends and relatives. It’s become our “thing” that we do…together. We bike to our respective jobs, to church, to the grocery store, to friends’ homes. And when I pulled out little e.’s trailer and hitched him up to my bike for a library run, all on my own accord, I think husband N. almost burst with pride.
So thanks, legs, for giving me the ability to spend a special kind of quality time with my family. You may not be hardcore or super long or super toned or super anything, but you’ve given me a great gift. And I’m celebrating you by wearing short shorts.
Category: Dress Your Best, Maternity Style, Night Without Grading, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, The Short of It, Vélocouture
Tags: bike commute > E. > Jeffrey Campbell sandals > maternity shorts > shorts
June 28th, 2011 § §
- Tank – Ann Taylor Loft
- Skirt – chopped from a J Crew Dress
- Leather Belt – from L.
- Stripped Belt – from another dress
- Sandals – H & M
- Pride Beads – Maui Street Fair
- Earrings – Gift from S.
I warned you that due to my little yoga mat exercise I would be highlighting some pretty random parts during this round of DYB. Today I’m showing my hands some love. I’ve always liked my hands, but would have never thought of them as something to celebrate on a style blog. See, my hands are anything but ladylike. They are large, tough, wrinkled, scarred, freckled. I’ve had my nails manicured fewer times then I can count on my long, but less than slender, fingers. I keep my nails super short and I often have dirt, compost, or paint under them. But, that’s just the way I like them!
I’ve never much cared for long nails and nail polish just doesn’t last on these busy hands. I have a big scar on my left hand that I have had since I was 9 or 10 and every summer more freckles seem to appear all over the tops of my hands. I have very deep creases in my palms, which sweat when I’m anxious. See, these are not the hands of a lady, but I love them just the same.
When I told A2 I was going to highlight my hands, she smiled and told me she loved my hands, especially my short well kept nails that always reveal what I’ve been up to that day. She said I needed to photograph my hands holding a coffee cup, because when she thinks of my hands, she thinks of them wrapped around a coffee mug.
Do any of your body parts carry stories, reveal your secrets, or specially mark you as you? Are you giving them a gold star this week?
By the way, I’m counting this as blue and white striped outfit #7 even though it’s a bit of a stetch. I do have a striped belt and a striped bag, but it’s not the outfit I had in mind. It’s just been too hot to pull out all my striped items. Don’t worry they will make it out eventually.
Category: Dress Your Best, It's in the Bag, Our Best Flatware, Skirting the Issue, Weekend Wear
Tags: A. > belted > hands
June 28th, 2011 § §
T-shirt: Forever 21
Necklace: gift from husband
Skirt: test run from Megan Nielsen of an upcoming pattern for DIY Maternity!
Wedges: Naturalizer, via DSW
Today I’m celebrating a body part towards which I was quite ambivalent for many years: my butt, my tush, my rear, my okole. When I was a bony freshman in college, I realized that my jeans didn’t really fit the way that my hallmates’ did. Maybe it’s because I didn’t wear pants often enough as a teenager in Hawaii, but once I was on the mainland I suddenly became very self-conscious about my lack of a butt. I used to joke that I didn’t really have a butt per se, just an expanse of upper thigh.
Now, Internet, I’m letting you know that I have a butt.
Somewhere through the past ten years of gaining weight, getting older, running a little, starting to bike, and doing endless squats to pick up little e…I got a butt. I haven’t thought a whole lot about if it’s “cute” or “shapely” or “mom-ish” or any of those things. But I do know that I love the way it looks in a pencil skirt with a good pair of wedges.
Gaining an okole — and being okay with it — as I’ve grown older has been a good reminder of how our bodies are not static. There is not some ideal form that we pass through from ages 18-24 to which we should continually aspire. Do I like every change my body has undergone in the last ten years? Not really. But I’m learning to be more graceful in accepting these shifts, acknowledging how my embodied experiences leave corporeal traces and how those traces can themselves change what I value and why.
P.S. In less than two years, I’ll probably really regret tying my shirt like this. But all the cool kids are doing it now and it gave me the silhouette I wanted for this outfit. I’m such a sucker for a good silhouette.
Category: Beltless, Dress Your Best, Maternity Style, Proportionally, Reaching New Heights, Skirting the Issue, Teaching Outfits
Tags: E. > maternity pencil skirt > red wedges
June 27th, 2011 § §
Dress – Banana Republic Outlet (pre-pregnancy worn here)
Tank – Maternity, Target
Sandals – Target
Necklace – AE, years and years ago
Bag – Dots, bought in high school
Wooden bangle – thrifted
In my last post, I embraced my pregnant belly as my ‘Best’ for Dress Your Best Week. But as I was trying to come up with my other ‘Bests’, I realized that I have to take a more wholistic approach this time around. Last year, when we picked our top five things to celebrate, I remember naming things like my legs, my hair, and my smallish chest. This time, those same aspects of myself have been distorted and changed by pregnancy.
My legs, which I loved for being shapely as well as toned and powerful from many miles of running, are still strong but no longer resemble the legs they used to be. I’ve gotten cellulite where there was none, they’ve been retaining water and looking and feeling puffy, and they no longer even accept the thought of being squeezed into heels. It’s all flats, all comfort these days.
My hair, which I always loved for being full and curly, is still full and curly but is now betraying me in that it’s gotten increasingly grey and I’m powerless to hide that. I started getting grey hair a few years ago and have consistently colored it as a way to hide that. Since being pregnant, I decided to skip the chemicals in hair dye and wait the nine months before getting another dye job. As those pesky wirey white hairs spring up all around my temples and forehead, I feel like I’m increasingly made to look older and more weathered than I am.
And, alas, that smallish chest that allowed me to easily fit into any top and not think twice about going on a run. Yeah…those changed about two months into the pregnancy and will likely continue to change (read: grow) as time goes on. Sigh.
I’ll spare you the laundry list of everything else that’s changed and will cut to the chase; perhaps this is what happens when you get older. Perhaps this is what happens to all women, regardless of whether you’re going through pregnancy or your body is just changing with the passing of time. Hopefully, as this happens, you realize that it’s not about pin-pointing that ‘perfect’ feature of your body but rather about embracing the whole and what it does for you. So I’m taking a much more wholistic approach here and celebrating my body in its entirety.
This same body that gives me a million and one reasons to feel frustrated also gives me just as many reasons to be happy and grateful. It’s been carrying my baby to almost full term now (and having had several friends for whom this has been a problem, I know not to take that for granted). It’s still propelling me forward on my bike, on walks, at yoga class, and in the pool. It’s healthy and resiliant and this, too, I know to value. And while it’s changing in many ways, in just as many ways, it’s still me. It’s still the same body that ran a marathon, that used to have a waistline, and that once long ago thought grey hairs and cellulite a thing of motherhood and adulthood. Well, here I am, on the threshhold of motherhood and certainly with both feet into adult life, so I might as well embrace all aspects of this stage. As my yoga instructor has us say at the end of each class, I bow down to the divine within me and I celebrate this body for all that it is.
Category: Beltless, Dress Your Best, Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally
Tags: floral > jersey dress > S.
June 27th, 2011 § §
- Shirt: Splendid via Filene’s Basement
- Tank (under): Gap via thrift
- Skinnies: Anne Taylor Loft
- Shoes: Steve Madden via DSW
It might not be immediately obvious from this photo what exactly it is I’m dressing. Like most people, I have a love-hate relationship with my hair. Instead of thinking about its tendency to poof out and curl in particularly annoying ways, I’m going to focus on the one thing that really makes it stand out: the color. I’ve been called everything from “copper top” to “fire bush” (by mean kids in high school) and my color has been described as anything from amber, auburn, red, or strawberry blonde all the way to chestnut and brown when it hasn’t gotten sun for a while. I like to showcase it off of turquoises, blues, and greens, which is why my striped turquoise shirt was perfect for this post.
My hair sticks out in my family too. I’m the only one with it in my immediate family, which was pretty confusing for my mom and dad when I was born, and to be totally honest, they still don’t really know where it came from. I’ve been teased for my hair and praised for my hair. I’ve never dyed it because I’ve always been afraid that it will grow back another color (crazy, I know). I avoided orange and red clothes for a long time because I was told they “clashed” with my hair. It wasn’t until I read Still Life With Woodpecker by Tom Robbins that I fully embraced my color as special. I actually get pretty defensive when people try to tell me I don’t have red hair. I’m positive I’m a redhead ;)
Robbins, also a redhead, has a character in this book who claims that “red hair is caused by sugar and lust.” He goes on to describe the flaming locks of the protagonist:
“…red being the color of emergency and roses; red being the prelate’s top and the baboon’s bottom; red being the blood’s color, jelly’s color; red maddening the bull, red bringing the bull down; red being the color of valentines, of left-handedness, and of a small princess’s new found guilty hobby. His hair was red, his cowboy boots muddy, his heart a hive of musical bees.”
Today I’m reveling in my color – whatever you call it, it’s mine.
Category: Dress Your Best, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Research Casual, Weekend Wear
Tags: black pants > hair > L. > patterned shoes > skinny pants > stripes > turquoise
June 25th, 2011 § §
- Striped Tee – American Eagle
- Black Ponte Pants – Ann Taylor
- Studded Flats – Banana Republic
- Necklace – gift from sister L.
- Earrings – gift from S.
- Bangles – gifts
For my first DYB contribution I celebrate my figure, my body shape. I proudly dressed my wide hips, broad shoulders, and tiny waist. However, after writing that post, I started to think about my laments about the J Crew models and the straight-line silhouette I couldn’t pull off. And I remembered, this project is about celebrating the body you have. So, here you go, I might not look like Audry Hepburn, but I’ll be damned if that’s going to stop me from borrowing her silhouette!
I love belts and any other clothing trick that shows everyone that my waist is smaller than my butt/hips region. But, I also like all-over stripes and stripes just can’t always be belted. I think sometimes I convince myself I am celebrating my waist when really I am desperately trying to mitigate and hide my hips/butt/thighs. I certainly don’t think there is anything wrong with using clothes to accentuate your best and in the process down play your “problem spots” and I will likely be back to belting tomorrow. But, for today I am going belt-free and dressing my best differently.
I also want to give a shout-out to my hair. As I’ve written before, a good hair-day can make my day and a compliment on my hair will make you my new best friend. I put a fair amount of effort into my hair and if I get a quick glimpse of myself in the mirror, I’ll check my hair (rather than makeup, shifted necklines, etc). I’ve been loving my new haircut, but it is much less predictable than my straight bob. I have very little control over what it does. So, today I am cerebrating a good hair-day that I couldn’t recreate if I spent all morning trying. (Don’t you think it looks a bid edgier than usual?) A.
Category: Beltless, Dress Your Best, Our Best Flatware, Pants Please, Proportionally, Research Casual
Tags: A. > embellished flats > ponte pants > stripes
June 24th, 2011 § §
- Dress: Motherhood Maternity
- Necklace: consignment store
- Sandals: Jeffrey Campbell
One guess as to what I’m celebrating as my “best” today.
All that’s changed in the past year, of course, as I’m come to really, really love stripes. Maybe I’m just a late-bloomer like that. And now look, I’m wearing stripes when seven months pregnant. ALL OVER MY BODY.
As S. has already expressed, the rapid changes that your body goes through during pregnancy can be emotionally trying. It’s hard to see a body that you know transform into something that you don’t always recognize when you catch glimpses of yourself in a window or mirror. Being pregnant a second time is a different ballgame in the sense that I have some expectations of what could happen…but no guarantee that things will be at all the same. My hips are a little more sore, my face seems puffier to me, and chasing a toddler around while also carting pregnancy weight is exhausting.
But this time I also have the benefit of knowing what comes next: a child to cherish and nurture.
So I adore this dress. I love that it hugs all of my pregnancy curves. I love that it’s graphic and modern. I love that it makes me feel hip and proud to be pregnant. This isn’t a dress that everyone will love (either on themselves or on me, for that matter), but it’s helping me dress my best with a little sense of humor and a whole lot of confidence.
Category: Beltless, Dress Your Best, Dresses for Day, Teaching Outfits
Tags: coral > E. > Jeffrey Campbell sandals > ruched maternity dress > striped dress > striped maternity dress > stripes
June 23rd, 2011 § §
- Button-down – swapped
- Belt – gift from Mom (Anthropologie)
- Skirt – J Crew
- Tank – Banana Republic
- Flats – DSW
- Earrings – Gift from S.
As I said, after my yoga mat body scan, I had a list of things I love about my body, both big and small. An intimate, funny, hopeful, and reflective list that I will try to remember to keep mentally close to me. A list I am here publicly vowing to recreate whenever I’m not feeling my best. While I won’t be sharing the whole (very personal) list with you, I am planning on highlighting some of the parts from that list. But, for my first DYB contribution, I want to celebrate my body shape as a whole.
As my proportions silhouette reveals, I have a small waist, wide hips, a big butt and thighs, and broad shoulders. I am an hour glass. While this is indeed a “classic” silhouette and does fit many Western ideals of beauty, it is not currently a very popular body-type. By that, I mean you won’t find too many hourglasses in the pages of J Crew. Most contemporary clothing is made for a straighter line. So, more vintage or classic silhouettes often look great on me. Yet, there are all sorts of rules out there for my body type that don’t match up with these looks. Because of my broad shoulders, I’m not supposed to wear puffed sleeves. A larger bottom half should not be clothed in white. Full hipped women aren’t supposed to wear fabrics that stick out from the body. I’m sure there are others! Well nothing about me is straight (pun intended) and I’m not all that great with rules, so…
I’m wearing puffed sleeves and a skirt that is full, white, and made of crisp stiff cotton and I am loving the way my body looks – broad shoulders, wide hips, small waist and all!
What body shape rules do you break?
[This is my fourth blue and white striped outfit -- three more coming!]
Category: Dress Your Best, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally, Skirting the Issue
Tags: A. > belted > hourglass
June 23rd, 2011 § §
- Sports-bra Tank: Nike
- Shorts: Brooks
- Socks: Smart Wool
- Shoes: New Balance
- Watch: Timex Expedition
Today I am paying homage to my legs, and while I certainly like how they look when I’m wearing a skirt and heels, I absolutely, hands down, feel like I look my best when I’m in my sports clothes. I suppose it is because I’ve always been an athlete, and for most of my life I’ve been on a team. I played soccer and lacrosse through high school, lacrosse for two years in college, and on various adult league teams since I graduated. I feel comfortable and confident on a field, which (most of the time) translates to feeling confident in other arenas of my life. I’ve met some of my best friends through sports and even played co-ed flag football in grad school to meet people outside my department. Unfortunately, in 2008 I tore my ACL (a ligament in the knee) while playing flag football and had to have surgery to repair it. More than anything else I was terrified at the thought that I wouldn’t be able to play sports any more, or at least not to the level that I wanted. So my appreciation for my legs is three-fold. I love how they look, I love what they do, and I love what they represent – my ability to overcome adversity.
After about 9 months of rehab I began running again, and since then, with A.’s encouragement as a training partner, have completed a half marathon, full marathon, and most recently a 10k (with my friend J.W.). I’m aiming to run another half marathon in the fall. So, THANK YOU legs, for all that you have done and continue to do — and you look darn good while doing it, if I do say so myself!
Category: Dress Your Best, Weekend Wear
Tags: L. > running
June 23rd, 2011 § §
Dress – thrifted
Earrings – made by me
Yellow flats – Target last summer
Maxi skirt – AE
Tank – Maternity, Target
For this take on Dress Your Best I am highlighting a body part that I would have never considered ‘my best’ in the past. In fact, I have written before about how my torso and midsection is what I tend to camouflage or visually alter through clever use of waistlines and belting. I do not have a naturally slender waistline and I spent many years feeling self-conscious about my midsection. But now that area has taken on new meaning as it’s been growing and housing a baby.
While dressing a pregnant body is not always as fun and ‘cute’ as the media and pop culture make it seem, it does offer a new way to approach getting dressed. Yes, clothes may not fit and finding something to wear may be somewhat of a challenge on most days, but the reason behind that are cause for celebration rather than mourning. So these past months, I’ve been embracing my midsection and celebrating my belly, not caring that it’s made my wardrobe shrink to a few viable dresses and tops at this point, nor that it obscures the view of my feet, nor that it causes endless challenges when looking for a comfortable position in bed. I love it for what it’s doing and what it represents to me now.
Of those few dresses that still fit me, I wore the one above to our baby shower this past weekend. It was a wonderful event and could have only been made better by having had more out of town guests able to attend. And notice those fun little tissue paper pompoms hanging from the tree? Long time readers may remember them from E’s baby shower with her first baby that A. and I co-threw with another friend. A. and I made those pompoms way back then and I was delighted to see them resurface in celebration of my upcoming baby (yes, they’re the very same ones, carefully saved and preserved by A.). If you want to see how we made them, check out our easy tutorial here.
There were many similarities between the shower we threw for E. and her husband N. two years ago and the one that was thrown for T. and I this past weekend. The main ingredients: a relaxed atmosphere, a co-ed group allowing us to celebrate with all of our friends and partners, easy but delicious backyard food, fresh flowers as decor, and small details that betayed the love and thought that went into the planning. If you want to read our tips on throwing a backyard baby shower, take a look at our post here.
Are you currently pregnant or have you been pregnant at one point? Would your belly have made it into a ‘Best Five’ list were you to Dress Your Best?
Category: Beltless, Color Combinations, Dress Your Best, Dresses for Day, Maternity Style, Our Best Flatware, Proportionally
Tags: jersey dress > S. > yellow shoes