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Growing out a pixie cut

24 Jul

A couple years ago, I donated 14 inches of hair. I had grown my hair specifically to donate it and was delighted to get back to a pixie cut. I love short hair. I feel good in short hair. Short hair feels like me.

But I get bored. I don’t color my hair — don’t want to — and to have a new hairstyle after a pixie, you have to grow it out. And once I start growing it, I figure I might as well grow it out to donate. So, here I am growing out a pixie — again. I’ve done this several times in my life: in the awkward middle school years, through the weight-gaining college years, now when I often ask myself, “Have I fallen into a mommy-style rut?”

There’s nothing easy about growing out a pixie cut. It’s slow-going and awkward and shaggy and takes patience. I have found a few things that help.

BOBBY PINS. Lots and lots of bobby pins. Pin back your bangs. Pin up the sides. Create a bobby pin “headband.” I don’t do these sorts of hairstyles at work because they don’t feel very professional to me, though I have been known, in desperate times, to pull back my bangs with a bobby pin or two. But on the weekends, my hair is almost always pinned up at least a little.

HATS. If you’re comfortable in a hat and — and this is key — will not have to take the hat off, you no longer have to worry about your hair. I spent an entire sweaty baseball game in my son’s ballcap. It was wonderful.

REGULAR CUTS. Don’t go a bazillion weeks between haircuts. You’re likely used to getting a trim every eight weeks or so. Stretch it a little, but don’t wait forever. Having a decent shape to your hair as it grows out will help you be patient for the long hair you want. No one looks good all shaggy and shapeless. My hairdresser sister tells me it’s also better for your hair to be trimmed regularly. Plus, different styles along the way is half the fun. I’m about ready for a stacked bob and very much looking forward to my next haircut day.

GET A GOAL. For me, donation — and really, the instant mood lift I get when I whack off a foot of hair — is the motivation. Figure out why you want long hair. Get a goal in mind and keep it where you can see/think about it. You will have mornings when you want to hack off our hair yourself. Give yourself a good reason not to. It helps to have a friend around to remind you.

MEAN IT. Your hair does not look the way you want it to look. That doesn’t mean it doesn’t look good. Confidence is the key to pulling off a pixie; it’s also key to growing one out. Hold your head high, wear some pretty earrings and a cute outfit, and say thank you when people compliment you — because they will. And when they ask if you’re growing your hair out, don’t apologetically mumble yes or talk about what you want your hair to look like eventually. Say, “Yes, trying something new!” Because you are.

 

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Things I bought recently

26 Jun

So, Anthro is having a summer sale and I succumbed.

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The top skirt has a slight high-low hem, which I’m on the fence about, however, it also has pockets, an elastic waist and a hem long enough that I don’t have to worry about flashing people if I wear it to a playground. Seems like the perfect weekend skirt. The bottom is the latest attempt to find a denim pencil skirt that doesn’t look woppy on me. (That’s a technical term.)

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This Vera for Target ladybug scarf is my other, much cheaper new acquisition. It was an impulse buy. I had no idea who Vera Neumann was, but the print was pretty and whimsical and I am a sucker for ladybugs. They’re lucky, you know, and I figure I always can use a little luck. They also seem cheerful to me, so this scarf is the perfect thing to perk up a day — much like a pair of shiny red shoes.

What have you bought recently?

Do you use clothes to improve your mood?

 

Surviving Summer

29 May

I’ve never much liked summer, a fact I reiterated to my husband when we moved to South Florida. But the jobs we wanted were here and so we came, and nine years later, I like our Florida life, though I still don’t much like summer heat and humidity. The nice thing about a Florida summer, however, is that we’re all in misery together. No one likes hurricanes and 100 percent humidity, so there’s no putting on a happy face about it.

It’s tempting to give up on cute clothes in the summer here. But I’ve found there are ways of surviving summer while still looking like you’re trying — even if you’re face is sweat-slicked.

1. Maxi dresses/maxi skirts

These full-coverage options seem counter-intuitive, but you get a whole lot of air on your legs, they feel like wearing jammies and you don’t have to worry about flashing anyone like you would in a shorter dress. A maxi skirt with a nice tank — or even a not-so-nice tank — instantly looks summer chic. This maxi dress is from Target and is my new favorite thing.

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2. A pair of shorts you love

I think a lot of us hate shorts. It’s hard to find a pair that’s flattering. They have all the problems as jeans, but with the added bonus of showing off thighs. Fun! I refused to wear shorts for years, but between Florida and kids — I need something I can wear easily on a playground — I’ve had to give in. It took me two years to find shorts I really really love, but now that I have, these (from Old Navy) are the first things I reach for on the weekend.

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3. Cardigans

I know. It’s hot. But every place is air-conditioned and if I don’t have a cardigan, I will freeze in my office — and the movie theater, grocery store and any other place I go. It’s also nice for when I’ve been outside too long and need coverage to avoid a sunburn. The key here is lightweight, wrinkle-free material. You want to be able to throw this in a bag without it looking too mussed.

4. Sunscreen

My favorite is this Neutrogena Ultra Sheer Dry Touch. I like Jason, too, but the Neutrogena is available anywhere.

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5. Structured dress/pencil skirt + blazer

This is my work uniform for summer. The blazer is for warmth in the office. Once outside, I strip it off and, in a dress or a pencil skirt+tee, still look decently dressed.

 

What are your summer style tips?

Customizing a trend

15 May

Not every trend is meant for everyone. I know this. I know not every style is going to work on me, and I know I don’t want to look like every other person I see.

But I also don’t want to look like I live under a rock or a decade behind the times. And sometimes I just think something is cute, even if it’s not ideal for me, my body or my life.

Chambray is one of those trends.

Chambray shirts are everywhere. Much as I mocked the look at first  — didn’t we do this back in the grungy ’90s? — I have to admit a chambray shirt paired with a colored pair of shorts is awfully cute.

On other people.

On me, maybe because of my coloring or my lack of a rack, these denim-y shirts look like prison garb. So I’ve hemmed and hawed for months, trying on shirt after shirt and discarding them all. This one was too light. That one was too dark. Another was too streaky. Pockets on the chest just looked awful. Tabs on the sleeve were way too safari.

And then I found it: MY chambray shirt. The Merona Dobby Dot button-down from Target.

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The subtle print somehow keeps it from feeling prison-y. (Plus, it reminds me of a pink shirt with dots like this I had years ago, until I wore it into rags.) The shirt is not quite chambray, but it’s close enough to feel like the trend — and more importantly, it feels like ME.

And it looks great with my hot pink shorts.

Are you on the chambray bandwagon? What one worked for you?

Any trend you’ve struggled to fit into?

Recommendation: LL Bean shirts

1 May

My husband ran the Boston Marathon. He’s fast and we all were far from the finish line when the bombs went off, but we scrapped our plans to hang out downtown for the rest of the week and headed north. We ended up in Maine — Portland and Bar Harbor and Acadia Park, all of which were wonderful — and were not prepared for the chilly spring temperatures.

Let’s be honest. It wasn’t THAT cold. In the mid-40s most days. However, we’ve lived in Florida for going on nine years and our boys call jeans “long-sleeve pants,” so that’s cold enough for us to need better gear.

We made a stop at the L.L. Bean flagship store in Freeport, Maine. I don’t normally buy from LL Bean, but someone had recommended it as being worth a visit and we all needed hats. Seemed like a good idea. After prowling all three floors of clothing and finding several good deals, I was a convert.

Our wool hats are nice, not least because they were less than $10 from the sale rack. The boys love their new Teva hiking shoes and fleece hats. But the hands-down best things I bought were the French sailor’s shirt and the toggle cardigan. Here they are in action together on the way home.

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Both are 100 percent cotton. The cardigan is thick enough to be a coat in mild weather, but light enough to work as a layer. The shirt has three-quarter length sleeves and is long. It’s not bulky, but it doesn’t cling. Here it is in a work outfit.

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I feel like this is the perfect casual shirt. It’s nice enough that it can be dressed up, but super comfortable and washable. I’m hoping it doesn’t pill — only time will tell — but it seems too thick and sturdy to end up with the tiny little pinholes that usually plague my thinner T-shirts all too soon. I ended up spending enough at the Freeport store to earn a gift card, and I’m pretty sure it’s going toward another one of these shirts in a solid color.

Recommendation: Old Navy dresses

3 Apr

I think everyone has been looking at the Old Navy eyelet dress this spring. It’s cute, for sure. It also is strapless and I have had mixed results with strapless stuff in general and from Old Navy in particular.

cn6096556So, cute as it is, I had to pass. And I’m kind of glad I did. I always hate to be wearing the exact thing everyone else is. Still, I did come home with several of their summer dresses. I don’t expect these to last forever, but they’re cheap, cute and I’ve gotten quite a few compliments on these — enough that I’ll recommend them to you.

First, the fit and flare tee dress, which is the perfect little black dress for summer. It really does feel like you’re wearing a Tshirt, and it’s just long enough for the office. I paired it with a tweedy blazer and flats one day and it was the perfect out for going from work to the park with my kids. I might need more colors, though I’ll probably refrain because I expect this to get pilly quickly and only last a season. We’ll see how it does after more than a couple washes.

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Next, the heart crepe dress. I know: HEARTS. But the color combination, red and navy, is classic, as is the shape, and to me that makes the print just fun instead of childish. I’m not sure this will make it into the office, but it’ll be fun for weekends and date nights. cn5762363

 

The next one was my Easter dress: the paisley shift dress in pink. I felt a bit like an Easter egg crossed with Mia Farrow. (It’s that shift style. I always think of her.) They have it in blue, too, which is pretty and the picture I grabbed. cn6140049

Finally, I don’t have this linen-blend tank dress and haven’t tried it on. I suspect it would be disastrous on most people, what with the dropped waist and stripes. But I think on the right person — and maybe that’s you — it would be fantastic: easy and chic. cn6238935

 

 

Details, details

20 Mar

Sometimes it’s the subtle details that really make an outfit or a piece of clothing great. Take for instance the slightly darker wash on the side of these pants from Anthropologie. It’s a pretty basic pair of jeans, but that tuxedo stripe makes it a bit special — and lengthens the leg.

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Jess at Just Expresive is great at details like this. She always has on a piece of jewelry or a simple piece of clothing with a surprising detail — a keyhole back, a tie closure, unexpected embroidery — that really makes it HER.

I try to keep this in mind when I shop and when I get dressed every day. The littlest things can make me happy.

Like these gold glitter shoes:

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This teal pendant:
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(Found at Serenity Blue in St. Augustine, Fla. You probably could find something similar on Etsy or a place like Francesca’s.)

 

Or the leopard print on these sunglasses:
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(Found at Target. These are similar and also from that fine establishment.)

 

I find it’s usually these little finishing touches that people notice. What are your favorite little details?

Success

20 Feb

I put together an outfit last week that reminded me of a few style lessons I’ve learned over the years, but don’t always apply. The result was cute and got an embarrassing amount of compliments. Seriously. It must have been a slow Friday because the women in my office actually were emailing about this outfit and one purposely stopped by my office to check it out.

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Lesson #1: Wear what you love.

Every piece in this outfit is something I wholeheartedly love and feel good in. Confidence and comfort are the best accessories.

 

Lesson #2: Mix high and low.

This little black dress was a bit pricey. I bought it a few years ago for a party, but specifically looked for something classic I could repurpose under a jacket or cardigan for work. It’s a basic black sheath dress from White House/Black Market with some seaming around the waist. I don’t remember the exact price — it was more than $100 but less than $200. But everything else in this outfit was CHEAP. The tights were $3, at most, on sale at Target. The scarf and sweater were from the Loft sale rack — I first bought the scarf as a cover up for nursing Beastie, who is now 3 — and the booties were $15.

 

Lesson #3: Play to your strengths.

Neon green is not a color for everyone and it’s not a color that’s always trendy. But it is a color that looks good on me, a fact I’ve known since I was in middle school. At 12 or 13, I had a neon green turtleneck that yielded compliments every time I wore it.

 

What style successes have you had lately?

 

Cold weather!

23 Jan

It’s chilly right now where I live — 55 degrees when I left the house this morning! — and while I know most of you, dealing with single-digit temps, are cursing me right now, I am so happy about this. I can wear  tights! And boots! And my new scarf!

I’m sorry for the exclamations points, but it’s been multiple days in a row like this. I wore a sweater and ankle boots Monday and my long wool skirt, which usually languishes in the back of a drawer, on Tuesday. I am a happy happy woman.

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What clothes do you get most excited to wear? 

Go shopping because I can’t

9 Jan

This is the time of year when I start desperately wishing I lived some place that, at the very least, regularly had frost on the ground in the winter. All the stores start to put their winter stuff on sale to make way for spring and summer styles, and I find so many cute things — that would be completely and totally impractical in South Florida.

So, here’s what I would buy, if I could. Since I can’t, maybe you should.

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The Double-Cloth Metro Coat from JCrew is on sale in red for $275 –pricey, I know, but winter coats are worth spending a little extra on, I think. They have it in pink for under $200. When I lived in a cold-weather climate, a bright-colored winter coat was one of the things that helped me through cold, dreary winter days, so I would argue a splurge might be in order.

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The Mantilla Sweater from Anthropologie looks light enough I might actually be able to justify for $49.95. Maybe. Up north, I’d probably layer this over a button down or under a jacket.

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Both the cowlneck and ribbed turtleneck from Gap are under $30. Contrary to what this blonde model would have you believe, they have colors other than navy.

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At Banana Republic, I was eyeing this Heritage Button-Sleeve Pullover for $70 and another winter coat, this buffalo plaid one for under $200. It kind of looks like a robe or something my grandpa would have worn cutting wood, but with a cozy black scarf and smart hat, I think it would be fabulous.

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So, go forth and shop. And don’t feel too bad for me and my tropical woes. Come February when you northern folks are thinking winter is never going to end and every day is gray, I’ll be very thankful for my sunshine and flipflops.