29 October 2012

Personal Style: Wear Your Happy

A friend emailed me the other day, “OK, I admit it, I really like watching Isaac Mizrahi on QVC. It's one of my guilty pleasures...after the kids go to bed, and [my husband] is working away on his computer, I sit and watch QVC.”

First, this gave me pause. I love me some good Isaac, but I had never thought about watching QVC. I have a vision of salespeople (remember that one just a few weeks ago where the co-anchor just went on talking as his colleague collapsed on camera?). It’s oddly a “hometown company” for me, headquartered in West Chester, PA, near where I grew up. One of my babysitters worked there during high school, and even auditioned for a sales job. They had to talk about a pencil - an old school, yellow, No. 2 pencil - for 5 minutes.

But the real reason she emailed me was a coat. Isaac was hawking a coat, and she thought maybe, just maybe, she wanted it.

Now, this friend is (though she’ll demure this description) one of the most stylish people I know, and I’m using “stylish” to mean that I think she regularly expresses herself well with her clothing and accessory choices, and then how she chooses to put them together. Not to mention I continually envy (in the nicest of ways) her hair, which is often in the cutest pixie cut, and when not short, it’s got the curls this non-curly, non-straight-haired girl always wanted.

So when she sent me the link, unsure whether or not to buy a coat she really liked, I was fairly sure I’d love it. She wrote, “I saw this coat recently, and I'm seriously considering it. I like it for a couple of reasons...first of all, that cute bow/scarf. Second, I like the nice, straight lines. Not too super-big, puffy. Third, it seems to be a good ‘mid-weight.’”

Even on my phone, I clicked through.

Isaac Mizrahi Live! Quilted Coat with Adjustable Scarf in Rio Red, image via

Seriously? Love. But that's not really the point.

I wrote back that I liked it, loved the color (she was also considering the grey, which I nixed, if only because, well, hello, a red coat with a bow), and asked about their return policy, since she was still unsure. The policy is apparently ok, but not great (you have to pay for return shipping). My response:

“If it makes you happy, then check the measurement charts carefully (one of my fave side effects of WW is knowing your measurements), and go for it! I think it might make you happy!”

You see, I could just tell from her emails that she loved it. She’s a creative, joyful person at heart, even if strangers wouldn’t see that immediately because she’s fairly reserved. She’s been pushing at her own style boundaries lately (she lost her kid weight just before I did), like when I pretty much forced her to buy skinny jeans that she didn’t think she could wear. (For the record, she now adores them, and doesn’t even feel the need to wear a tunic to cover up what she perceives to be a problem area. For another record, it’s not a problem.)

At this point, I don’t know whether or not she bought the coat. But what this whole exchange reminds me of is that, trends, a chosen personal style, or appropriateness aside, we all need to wear what makes us happy. Sometimes that has to do with a state of mind, sometimes it has to do with a pattern, texture, or color plain old making us smile.

Sure, you need to try things on and look in the mirror. Sure, there are colors that look better on one person than others. And sure, there’s a time and a place for certain pieces.

But go - look through your closet tonight (Lord knows we’ll probably all be looking for stuff to do, what with this #Frankenstorm of a Hurricane Sandy bearing down on us). Make 2 piles: one for pieces that work just fine, and one for pieces that make you smile and grin. Then, take a second look at that first pile, and see what decisions you can make about your closet.

Lastly, go find Isaac on QVC. I know I will be. As a blog experiment. Really. [Runs to set recurring program on DVR at said friend’s suggestion.]


Carrie Ellingson said...

Still thinking about the green dress Chelsea wore to the DNC - I have been looking for it off and on to no avail. It was so ME!

Carrie Ellingson said...

Still thinking about the green dress Chelsea wore to the DNC - been looking for it off and on, but alas. . .

Lemmonex said...

I think the occasional purge is so important. i moved in May and ditched things that fit poorly, or needed a pin to stay the right way or were worn to death or didn't really reflect my current style today...you get it. Huge purge. And I am so, so glad I did.

Curvy CEO said...

I love watching the fashion and beauty items on QVC and HSN . . . it's like watching a magazine! It's also funny to watch the on-air personalities gush on and on about something they know is butt ugly! (That's the only thing with tv shopping - the items tend to be hit or miss . . . whatever way they go, they hit or miss HARD.)