22 April 2014

Healthy Style: 5 Ways to "Make it Work" When You've Lost Your Style Mojo

"I've been struggling lately with food and activity, not to mention work-life balance. My #healthyme clothes don't fit like they did (10+ extra lbs will do that), so I find myself returning to old comforting strategies: perfect shoes, bright toes, and color. Lots of color. It may not improve my mood much right now, but every little but helps #WW #ootd #wearing @gap perfect khakis, @lillybeeshoes Ann, and pedi colors picked by the Bean"

When I put my tootsies up on Instagram this morning, I wasn't feelin' it. I haven't been feelin' it much at all lately. I've been feeling like I added an extra layer in a lot of ways - not the least of which is from extra food and increased inactivity.

I've lost my #healthyme mojo.

I'm not sure where I lost it, but I've been struggling some over the last year, starting last Easter. You see, I had a major run in with some jelly beans. That reminded me how sensitive I am to sugar, and sent me into a bit of a spiral. My activity stayed up for a while, so I was able to maintain reasonably, and even get back to my happy body place and fit into an amazing yellow dress.

But for the last few months, it's been worse. I've been eating well, cleanly, and happily. I've been eating too much. And then, after running a lot, I've stopped. As much as I love it, I haven't lifted a toe, really. So on came the pounds.

And then the clothes don't fit. Getting dressed in the morning isn't interesting right now, as much as I like my closet. When I can't wear whatever I want, it's just not.

So I'm calling "truce" with my body, and listening to my soul. I'm going to slowly return to the strategies that got me to my #healthyme goal, and adjust as needed. In the meantime, I'll reuse strategies that comfort me like I did today. These 5 things will help me "make it work" until I'm out from under the cloud.
  1. Find 3 things that work. 3 things that, with other stuff in my closet, will get me through. I don't have to love them. Number 1? The power pants.
  2. Reuse those 3 things to no end. We think others are keeping track, but they're not. And reusing things makes it easy, if only for a little while.
  3. Get a manicure. Or a pedicure. Or both. Nothing does a lady good like pretty fingers and toes. Really. I could look at mine all day and they make me smile. Currently, these pink butterflied toes and silver sparkly fingers.
  4. Pick out the one pair of shoes that makes me walk taller - whether they're heels or not. I haven't worn these old favorites in ages (um, winter), but I'm so glad I broke them out. I'll be reusing. Many times.
  5. Find one item - be it clothing, shoe, or accessory - that's as bright as can be. You guessed it: reuse it. Wear it to death. Make it a "signature piece."

Only I'm not sure how many times I can wear my "power pants" before it gets a little ridiculous.

19 March 2014

Renegade Style: Pushing the Fashion Limits

Who knew that there were renegades in sports fashion? Heck, who knew that there were strict attire rules against which renegades could buck? Sure, there's the whole deal around tennis whites, and then there's the glory of golf togs (and the rules regulating them at courses and clubs worldwide). Let's face it, though, tennis and golf are moneyed sports that didn't originate in the United States.

Redblooded American sports though? Baseball? Football? Basketball?

Yup. There are standards, apparently. Very strict ones, in some places. There's a long history of rule-making authorities and the athletic personalities that want to express their creativity with their garb. And we're not just talking about adding a ribbon or a patch to a jersey to honor someone or a cause.

We're talking about rules about whether or not a player can untuck his shirt.

Though all I wanted to do was turn off all electronics last night and go to bed, H talked me into watching ESPN's 30 for 30 Short, "Untucked," all of 14 minutes and 44 seconds long.

I might have rolled my eyes a bit (internally, I swear) when he suggested a post on it. To tuck or untuck a jersey? Really? Within seconds, though, I was pulled in.

The 1970s Marquette basketball team was a group of unwieldy trailblazers. As they tell the story, they essentially had nothing to lose. They were a group of relative misfits cobbled together by an unusual coach named Al McGuire, who grew up in a bar - and coached like it. Turns out that one of these misfits, Bo Ellis, recruited to play, told his coach that he wanted to study fashion design.

Marquette didn't have a fashion design program, so McGuire found a way for Ellis to be the first man studying at a nearby sister university. Then he laid the gauntlet down - unintentionally. He said his player could design new uniforms. He didn't think his offer was serious.

As the players recount, the next morning, and after sketch after sketch, a new uniform design was on the coach's desk. He just happened to also own part of a business that produced uniforms.

The groundbreaking kits came to life. Not only were they downright snazzy in their use of the school colors, but their player number and university name placement was practically irreverent. These weren't the uniforms of serious white boys lined up and tucked in neatly for team photos.

Pardon my last-year-in-the-ACC-yes-I'm-a-Terp prejudice, but it doesn't get much more straight laced than the Duke 1977 team. Image via

These were, one can only imagine, players in all senses of the word. They took their sport incredibly seriously, going on to win a national championship no one thought they could win.

Their discipline took them all the way to the very last seconds of the championship. And they won. Video via

Their irreverence and their coach's atypical style had folks thinking they were fly-by-night and undisciplined.

See? Players. Image via

Not so, it turns out. Turns out these players - this team - with their designed-to-be-untucked jerseys was one of the most disciplined groups of players out there.

Listening to the players and some fans talk about the time at Marquette, there was clearly a spirit of rebellion. There was clearly a sense of "we're different." There was clearly a sense of "let's do something no one else has done before."

It might have been an untucked jersey, but it was created like any other groundbreaking design on the fashion week runways: so that the wearer wants to - can't wait to - put it on, and so that, once on, the wearer feels better than they've ever felt before.

These jerseys were fashion.

I only wish I knew what else Bo Ellis designed.

For a little more on the history of "the untucked jersey" across college and professional sports:
here's a great piece by Paul Lukas over at ESPN

or check out the "Sportsartorialist" over here at Grantland (Scott Schumann, eat your heart out. There are pictures and writing.

07 March 2014

Healthy Style: Why Running is Important to Fashion

Running is critical to fashion.

"Ummmm...?" you say?

Season after season, show after show, pin after pin, and every time I see someone on the street that gives me pause, I've come to realize something. Fashion is about knowing your strengths and taking chances.

Sure, we have our uniforms. Designers, especially, are famous for theirs. Donna and Karl prefer sleek black. Dame Vivienne hasn't wavered - in 30+ years - from wearing that which she designs. Regular people, too, find what works and stick with it: a shape, a fabric, a color.

And then, one day, they - and we - try something different. We see something, are inspired by something, and decide to play.

Sometimes playing comes easily, and it works. Sometimes, the play feels uncomfortable, and it falls short.

Wish I knew where the image was from...

If you've been following me for a while, you know about the #healthyme journey I started in 2012. I started not because I wanted to play, or even because I was inspired. I started because I was unhappy and didn't feel good.

Well, my friends, it turns out playing does wonders for the physical and emotional souls.

You see, somewhere along the line, I learned to play, thanks in large part to my work with TrainerJen. I took a chance, helpless, almost, and willing to try anything, and she coached me into bear crawls and leaps and jumps.

And running.

She claims, actually, that I told her we could do anything she wanted - except running. I have no recollection of that brash statement, but apparently, I made it.

And then, about a year later, I took it back. Little voices started speaking to me, telling me to go for a run. They were kinda like those voices that claim you should try the fancy sweatshirt trend even though you don't think you like it and in fact you really despise it because you did it already in 1987. Then those voices keep repeating themselves every time you walk past the rack at Target and you think, "Well, maybe, it's kinda cute...but I can't."

"I can't run. I hate running."

"Well, if I'm going to try a trend, I might as well try it from Target, where it's not going to cost me as much."

"Going for a run won't cost me anything but time outside. And those voices."

So a year ago now, I went for a run. And then I signed up for races, and ran at least a mile for 64 out of 65 days straight. And now I'm willing to try almost anything, athletically or sartorially, because you never know what will work or make you stronger or happier or healthier. You never know what muscles you'll learn to flex and what new heights playing will take you to.

All of this is really warm up. Because I'm about to be a running pusher. You see, TrainerJen has a new program, and it kicks off this Monday night. She's hosting a Spreecast Webinar to talk about why everyone should consider adding running to their fitness program.

And no, the only reasons to add running are not just in case of zombie attack or to be able to wear a Viktor & Rolf gown.

But they're pretty good ones.

What: Why Everyone Should Run Webinar
Why: Zombies and gowns and playdates, oh my!
When: Monday, March 11, 7:30pm
Where: online - Spitfire Fitness Arts' facebook page has the details

03 March 2014

Paris Fashion Week: Kenzo Fall and Spring 2014 RTW Through the Bean's Eyes

"The foll cklleckshin was vare martin if the sprening was tieek that I wad sae that dut the sprening ckleckshin was spntacklear."
Translated, she wrote: "The fall collection was very mod-er-in. If the spring was [I'll update it when she's up in the morning] that I would say that the spring collection was spectac-lee-ar."
She bugged me for a full 24 hours until I put up her review. I may have created a monster. Here are her picks, some of which she noted in the left hand column above.



Images courtesy Style.com
Should you care to read a review of Kenzo's Fall 2014 RTW collection, hop over to my review on Glass.

18 February 2014

New York Fashion Week: A Childhood Dream Is Coming True

It's been over a month since my last post. We've gotten through 2 of 4 major fashion weeks. I'm a little behind. If you follow me on facebook, Twitter, or Instagram, you know I finally got to go to New York and attend shows. I won't offer reviews here, I don't think, there are plenty of those out there. But I will tell the story of my childhood dream come true. Here's the first of a few posts...

It all started with bad pageant wear. There were probably some batons, a bit of off key opera, and maybe a stilted sonata, too. The Miss Virginia pageant was on a local cable channel, and this woman I followed, @jessicaquillin, known only to me as a pair of red soled black shoes in her Twitter profile pic, was snarking it up.

I tuned in, snarked along, and the rest is history.

What the rest was – is – is a shared love of fashion, design, and the well-written word, and then of more “mundane” things like motherhood and reality TV. From the moment we met, we talked about elevating the written word around fashion. There are loads of photos and illustrations in this space, of course, but the writing in the fashion world, well, that needed our help. To realize that goal we needed to attend fashion weeks together. Naturally. We hatched plans. That was 3 years ago.

Fast forward past childbirth, new jobs, new businesses, a few (many) blog posts, many pounds lost, opportunities made and grabbed, and we ended up editor and contributing writer for Glass. Finally, then, this year, after covering New York, London, Milan, and Paris (Jessica in person for some, I remotely, thanks to the rapid posting of sites like Style.com) for Glass, the scheduling gods aligned, and I managed to join Jessica for 2 whole days of New York Fashion Week.

Let’s not be shy about it. As soon as I figured out that it was happening, I was ridiculously excited. Crazy excited. This was a lifelong dream, really. I was one of those (misguided) girls with a smidgen of artistic talent who sketched teal gown after teal gown (it was the 80s, afterall). I dreamed of attending fashion school. Then I wanted to be a marine biologist, a biology teacher, a history teacher, a German teacher, and then ended up in the current day job, nowhere near fashion.

As the email correspondence between my Glass editor (Jessica) and the PR reps hit my inbox, it got more surreal and more real simultaneously. I was to be there for 2 days only, and we wanted to maximize my time there. My schedule developed: confirmed seats for Porsche Design (yes, that Porsche), hoping for a standing spot at DKNY. Rolando Santana put us front and 2nd row, and Tommy Hilfiger confirmed standing at the last minute. Milly confirmed our spots, as did Guilietta New York. Only one of our requests fell through: DKNY just couldn’t make it happen. With the rest of the lineup, though, I was thrilled. It was a lovely mix of established, commercially proven lines, veteran niche designers, and newer lines.

Through all of the preparation, though, I was a mess. I had to ask Jessica about the app used for RSVPs, invite etiquette, and all sorts of other logistics. All while juggling significant day job deadlines, activities for the Beans, and, oh yeah, a few reviews of earlier shows for Glass. On top of that, I was coming off a 21 day food based cleanse, and was worrying about food choices.

A slinky yet-office appropriate DVF number I did not spend my Saks gift certificate on the week before my trip.

The easy face the Giorgio Armani counter at Saks gave me the week before I left. Buy the foundation. It really is that good.

It wasn’t until the night before the trip that I could even think about packing. Unless, of course, you count the morning I spent spending a Saks gift certificate on Helmut Lang pieces that would be absolutely perfect. Or the moment I spotted a pristinely vibrant but neutral vintage Pucci skirt and shirt set on my “dealer’s” facebook page. Also perfect for NYFW. So the night before I crammed on my last DayJob deadline, then made a packing list on my organizer app. But it didn’t list anything more than “Saturday night outfit,” “Sunday outfit,” “Monday outfit,” and “extra outfit.” That meant I forced H and the Beans to endure a quick packing fashion show Saturday morning.

The gloriousness of vintage. Thanks to Malena's, this is now in my closet - and came with me to NYFW.

I debated coats the morning I left. This vintage astrahan, a touch too big, as warm as it is (and with amazing details like a ribbon belt inside and embroidered monogram on the lining), stayed in DC.

How to pack for the most stylish event I’d ever attended? In below freezing temps. I had no idea where to start. What I did know was that I wasn’t in the least bit worried about standing out. I wasn’t vying to be photographed by the tents. I wanted, above all else, to simply look like I was meant to be there, even though I felt like a big ol’ pretender. In a bit of an existential fashion insider crisis, though, I realized on Friday night, as I was debating, of all things, whether or not to bring my blog business cards (I was attending as a fashion writer, see, not as a blogger), that not only do I belong, but I have something to contribute to the fashion conversation. And just as my blog – my writing – is what got me the gig at Glass – my writing is what earned me a spot next to the runways where I can almost literally feel the fashion fly past my face. That realization calmed me, and, maybe tritely, made it easier to pack. I put in four ensembles that make me feel good and strong and powerful, and off we went.

 It's not a party 'til there's a Bean on your shoulders with a glow stick in hand. If only you could see his little (self-selected hipster party outfit).

I said “we.” Did I mention I started my trip with a family night in Philly? We had a friend’s 40th birthday party to attend on Saturday, so we all went north in one vehicle – all five of us (my mother-in-law included). Then I got up at the crack of dawn Sunday morning (after showering, blowdrying my hair, and doing my nails the night before in the darkened hotel room so as not to wake the Beans) and took the train to New York City.
Traveling clothes, pre-dawn, in the Le Meridien Philadelphia bathroom: Hanes sweatshirt, Calvin Klein coated cotton moto pants, Bettye Muller oxfords, LOFT crystal necklace, Target aviators, vintage Hermes Kelly bag

Yes, Mommy, I am carrying a white bag, wearing a white coat, and drinking coffee. All in the name of arriving in style.

When I arrive in NYC, there are those minutes where the train pulls into Penn Station through dark tunnels. I can’t see New York. I don’t know where you are. Out of the platform, then up to the street I come. It’s bright, alive, and the world is zipping around.

So into the tunnel I zoomed, then disembarked. Up the escalator, and…into a cab I went…off to the W New York Downtown. My first shows were hours away. Hours. I could barely contain myself.