Tuesday, September 13, 2016

A fitting send-off

Some of you may know that I am doing a "purge lite". It's an ongoing process, not helped by the fact that a lot of stuff hides in plain sight. For example, a box labled "Old Clothes" in my basement storage unit seems like something that should have gone at the beginning. But it didn't.

Though these aren't actually just any "Old Clothes". They were my favorites from junior/senior year at college and after graduation, when I got my first suits.

I liked these clothes so much that I held on to a shirt whose collar had almost totally detached. ("If I wear a sweater over it, can you tell?")

And a DKNY jacket from when DK first launched NY and which I had stalked at the Hanes Mall Belks until it came down to a price I could kind of afford. I liked to wear this with leggings and boots and a dove gray silk body suit (remember them?). I owned a similar style jacket in green velvet and I rocked that with velvet leggings. I liked my equestrian look!

The blue suit was my first ever. When I lost one button, that was my perfect excuse to buy new ones that reminded me of the YSL Rive Gauche perfume ad.

(Kind of, maybe?)

You can't tell from the outside, but it had a gorgeous green silk lining.

My parents gave me money for a second suit for Christmas one year, since I was working at Nordstrom, so could get a nice one with my employee's discount.

I got this thick wool dobby suit that was sort of "Mobster" inspired. I never saw that movie, but I probably would have dug the tailoring.

My mom pointed out that it wasn't exactly a conservative interviewing suit. That is true.

And I made it even less conservative by wearing it with bright t-shirts and tights.

My favorite was mustard, prompting one of my witty colleagues at the boutique investment bank I worked at (yes, I did get an office job) to say "Boy, Stephanie. Did you take a bath in mustard?"

I also remember wearing it on a plane because I thought people should be more glamorous on planes. And that was before terry cloth sweatsuits and Uggs. (You have a lot to answer for, Juicy Couture!!)

Btw, these shoes. I got them in Berlin. I thought they were heels.

A lot of these clothes were Ann Taylor, including this dress, which I think was heavily inspired by the long brown and white polkadot dress that Julia Roberts wore in Pretty Woman.

I don't have the shoes I used to wear with it and can't remember even what they were.

Liz Claiborne was another favorite. I had these two skirts that I loved and that looked great with a loose floral blouse.

I wore them a lot with brogues - what comes around, right?

I got this velvet skirt in Berlin and felt very sophisticated when I bought it and wore it, usually with plaid or paisley tights.

A couple things I noticed. Sizes really have changed a LOT! A size 10 back then would be a 6 or a 4 today - and it wasn't even all that long ago!

Things were made in the US, too.

So farewell clothes! For those of you that are wearable, may you have a happy life on the back of some teenager who gets a kick out of the '90s retro vibe.


Saturday, May 3, 2014

The Four Seasons

As I mentioned in my last post, I'm a little preoccupied with systems, especially as we are finally able to put away our heavy winter clothes (I think..?)

If you have as little storage space as I do and, if, as I do, you can't help yourself from buying new clothes that you like, but don't want to get rid of old clothes that you like, you probably have had to deal with the seasonal overhaul of your closets.

It's actually a good thing (I think?) Everything gets clean and folded and organized and it's nice to have a break from seeing your clothes for a while. By the end of winter, I'm so sick of my sweaters - I'm happy to put them out of sight and mind until it's the fall and I'm chilly and open up my storage and say, "Well, hello beauties!" Unless of course, I say, "Oh, you're still here?", in which case, that item goes directly to the donation pile. Sometimes absence doesn't make the heart grow fonder.

Anyhow, my system theoretically is to group like with like, though it breaks down with questions such as: is a bulky gray cardigan best stored with bulky sweaters, with other gray sweaters, or with cardigans - or maybe with interim clothes, as it's also outerwear on days when it's a little cold, but not coat cold? I haven't decided yet. We're tapping into deep veins of thought here, folks. What is my true nature and where do I belong? (just kidding.)

And then there's how I store them. Do I use Space Bags, which half the time reinflate during the summer, make my clothes super-wrinkled, and leave a funny plasticky smell? Or do I store things in canvas so there's air for clothes to breath (but also for moths to breathe?). I've always opted for the Space Bags, as I've never had a bug problem and a travel steamer takes the wrinkles and smell out pretty easily. But I don't know. I feel like a canvas bag with a lavender sachet is a more elegant option. But that requires more investment and space. One solution I love is to use old rolling suitcases that don't travel any more (broken zipper, etc), but that function well enough for me to use them for seasonal clothes storage. They roll and stack. Perfect! Btw, I asked my dry cleaner whether plastic boxes or bags were bad for clothes storage. He said they are, but not for short periods of time. I guess a few months is ok. A few years, probably not.

Last year, I was super ambitious and washed every single piece of wool I own with the Laundress' cashmere detergent and laid them out to dry flat. Every single piece! It took FOREVER! For over a month I had clothes spread out on the living room floor. Every other day I did laundry, because the clothes took 2 days to dry fully. It was a drag, but I felt incredibly virtuous and it was nice knowing that my clothes were all clean and smelled really good, but still... who wants to do that every year? This year, with the broken wrist, I am not in the mood, so I'm just washing the sweaters that I wore the most and next to my skin. It's still a pretty big pile, multiple drying days' worth, but not as bad. I use a clean terry cloth shower curtain for drying (another solution I'm pleased with).

So how boring. It really is just a post on storage.
I'm quite proud of my folding here.

This is the part of a change in seasons that I do not like!

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The elusive beauty of a perfect system

Hey there!

I've been a bit uninspired recently, but my recent search for the ideal light colored (not white, and hopefully pale pink) bag reminded me of how much I love an efficient system. A truly elegant, efficient system! And I was so inspired by this idea that this post pretty much wrote itself.

So, how does a bag come into it?

After a lot of research, I found the bag I wanted in the color I wanted on farfetch.com. Do you know this site? They sign up independent boutiques around the world and you order from the boutique directly, so that's nice. It's the opposite of shopping locally, which is not so nice, but at least it's shopping small.

But to be honest, I didn't really see the point of it until I realized that the color I wanted wasn't available in the shops in New York, but a boutique in Italy had it. So a few clicks and I'm told this bag is on its way to me. The next weekday, they send me an email saying it's been picked up and here's the DHL tracking info.

DHL tracking info is awesome. I'm sure FedEx and UPS provide a similar amount of detail, but DHL has a jet set glamor to it. On Tuesday, ah, my bag has left the store in Veneto and is headed to Venice. Venice! I've never been to Venice and really want to go! I'm jealous of my bag! But it doesn't get to stay long and then heads off to Leipzig (never been there either, darn bag..), where it leaves Europe to the US Gateway - NYC!

I know I am massively geeking out, but seeing each step of the process of how this bag got from store to me was a really exciting part of the purchase.

So here's the bag and how I'm planning to wear it. All light! I worry that dark colored straps will rub off on light colored summer clothes, especially in humidity. Well, they have, so it's a justified worry. But hopefully problem solved!

Oh, and speaking of gorgeous bags coming to me from overseas, I have two stunning black bags due to arrive this summer, ordered from my friends' new handbag line. Check it out: changgoto.com. After this post, maybe they'll let me follow their progress, too! I'll post photos when they get here.

And I owe another fabulous friend - I just got this skirt and top from my friend Jane's sample sale (which runs through next week - ask me for details!)

But back to systems - I'm probably going to be a little obsessed with them for the next little while so you may see other posts on related topics coming up. It's cold to warm weather clothes changeover season (a process that I am nowhere near having a good solution for!) and I'm getting some built-in cabinets in my bedroom (which I hope will help me create a maintainable level of organization). Well.. we'll see. 

By the way, I used to be a very messy kid. (Sorry Mom!!) Now that I'm a grown up, I appreciate how nice it is to have uncluttered surfaces, but I'm still the kid who hates putting things away. This is why I dream of a low maintenance, elegant, beautiful system.

If you have one, share!!!

Sunday, January 29, 2012

Downhill trend

My year goes like this...

Always, the end of summer with its darker mornings and earlier nights is heartbreaking. I cling to every last second of it, even though I know that eventually I'll have to let the season go. And when I finally do, it's ok - soon after the start of cooler nights is Halloween (which is not just a day but a mini-season, as you all in NY know), then - quicker than I think - Thanksgiving, the dizzy series of holiday parties in December, then Christmas itself. Being an early January baby, I drag out the holiday season until January 5, at which point I'm left with an empty expanse of winter on my horizon.

At about that time, I really want to go skiing. Not just for the day in NY State, that won't do it. I'm thinking full blown Alpine village, hot wine and hot apres, charming wood chalets, passports required, menus auf Deutsch (ou francais), and my ski instructor is called Gunther or Pierre, not Chris, thank you. The kind of place that looks like a James Bond ski scene was filmed there and where you'd feel like you were in a fairy tale if it weren't so darn cold.

St Anton: I was very happy to be there
This year it's been an obsession. I didn't go skiing last year (though I would not have given up an amazing trip to Africa with my sister and parents) but this winter I'm not working, and there's absolutely no excuse not to go given I've got the time, the boots, the wardrobe - everything!! I'd be wasting the best opportunity I've had to go more than once, even!!! It's MANDATORY!!!! And it's so much on my mind that it's showing in how I dress - one of my neighbors even commented that I looked like I was geared up for the slopes not the gym. My fixation is manifesting itself physically!

I will end the suspense and your undoubted concern now and tell you that I do indeed have plans to go to St Anton in February with my friend Deborah (and I am really really excited about it!!!) - and a second ski trip is also possibly on the horizon (woo hoo!!!). But that still hasn't ended my enthusiasm for wearing ski-ish clothes this winter - at least on the odd days that are below 50 degrees - and I love the look on other people too.

So yeah, it's not just me, it seems. It could be that Nordic knits and fluffy boots are what some dormant fashion clock tells us we should wear in winter, like french sailor stripes in spring. Or maybe other people have the same ski trip craving that I do. I haven't been too literal in my ski-inspired wardrobe (I don't actually own any Nordic knits and don't go around the city in actual ski clothes). But the other day, walking down 6th Avenue, I saw a guy wearing a parka, ski helmet and goggles. I had to look twice, as I thought I might just have been projecting, but no, no tricks of the mind as he pulled his goggles down and hopped on his bike. I don't know if he was purely thinking practically, as it was cold, or if he was also thinking of rushing downhill as he rode into the wind. But the fact that he owns a ski helmet and goggles made me think that he's got the same compulsion as me.

Not a literal translation, but ski influenced

Friday, January 13, 2012

Never surrender!

In my last post back in August, I mentioned that I'd changed jobs. Well, there's been more change and I'm now part of the leisure class, the 8.6%, the (f)unemployed, the pink slipped... blah blah..

And while my effort to impose discipline on my weekdays by getting up by 7am and heading straight to the gym lasted about one week (imagine - 10 years of a 5:15am alarm has STILL not turned me into a morning person!), I've upheld my vow not to wear sweatpants or crappy clothes.

There are sections of my closet that haven't been touched since last winter (the work-y clothes), but on the flip side, I get to play around with the fun stuff that I didn't get to wear as much, the clothes that weren't work appropriate and were too "day" for going out. On occasion, I do find myself a little overdressed for the dry cleaners and grocery store. But putting on something I'm happy about sets the tone for the day.

And once you're out the door, you never know who you'll run into. Last week after lunch with my friend Stephany, I was stopped by a crew to be filmed for part of an MTV pilot. While I am pretty sure I came across as an idiot, at least I liked what I was wearing (photo below).

Which just proves that, while not everything in life is under your control, you can at least try to look all right.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Remember me?

It HAS been a long time, I know. As most of you know, I changed jobs and my scheduled changed quite a bit with that. But I've come back. I was called to speak out. There is something happening that is making my stomach twist. The media, public institutions, and corporate America are conspiring against us - and especially the children of America.

So I am here to share this important message:


Don't tell me about back to school, what to wear this winter - wooly plaids in these days? - Yeowch!!! Stop pushing me out of summer and into fall and winter. I love summer - I'm very happy here!! And it IS summer!!!

So, you know those really summery clothes that can't be spring or fall - just a couple months of the year that they're perfect? And maybe you haven't yet had the chance to wear some great summery outfit yet - maybe because you only just got the shoes that make it click? Well, don't waste time in flip flops and shorts. Wear it now!!

And that's exactly what I'm doing. Where am I going tonight? Well, that doesn't matter. I'm wearing the cream jumpsuit and impossibly high shoes that I can barely walk in. Because I want to!!

And because it's still summer!!!