Monday, September 10, 2012

Budget Career Dressing Deal: Faux Suede Pumps

If you lived with me, you'd know I've driven myself almost completely 'round the bend, and I keep myself from getting all the way there by focusing on Quests of the Moment. Not being possessed of great wealth, or any wealth at all, the objects of these Quests can't cost much, and lately have been thrifted.

The last Quest of the Moment was centered on a search for a colored pair of heels for fall. I wanted them to add pop to my conservative and sometimes dark winter wardrobe. Plus, you've probably figured out by now that when the days get long at work, I entertain myself either with my shoes or my Arm Candy or both.

I found so many beautiful pumps in blues, pinks, and purples, but could not justify their cost right now. It's the beginning of the school year, and we have to cough up hundreds of dollars in extracurricular activity fees for the teenage daughters. I can't even look at the Fluevog clearance sale. I did see colored pumps in a price range I could live with in JCPenney circulars, but hadn't had a chance to get to the local store.

When I found these Ollio colored pumps in an Amazon search, for less than $20, I decided to give them a try. After all, Amazon makes returns easy.

Readers and fellow recessionistas, I know these shoes won't last forever (or maybe even two weeks), but they are so comfortable and well, the bomb-diggety. My feet like them, and they haven't liked any online shoe purchases I've made this year. Now let's hope my office wardrobe likes them, too. They come in many different colors, and I had a hard time choosing between the blue, brown, or purple.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

Inspired by Curtise

When I saw this 1970s maxi dress in a thrift store in June, marked down like crazy, I thought I would just try it on for grins and giggles. Because I've never bought anything remotely close to this orange or, er, this print, in my conservative office dressing little life.

In truth, I got the jacket stuck on the bracelet, and had to leave it on for the picture.

But when I tried it on, the empire waist made me feel like a princess, and I was suddenly reminded of how much I enjoy Curtise's wildly beautiful vintage maxi dresses. So in it went with the rest of my amazing thrift haul. I didn't know where I would wear it exactly - except probably certainly not to the law office. (Robin, all of the attorneys I work for are not as fashion forward as your boss :)

I thought this dress would be a killer photo op on the beach, where my mom took me for a short getaway last week. (We got caught after two days and had to come home. I also discovered the world does not end with no WiFi signal.) But the wind was blowing so hard, and dear hubby had cautioned me so much about taking the Nikon out in the sand, that I chickened out. Plus, I was so chillaxed, I couldn't be bothered with make-up or heels high enough to keep the dress from dragging.

Or even shampoo after swimming in the ocean. Because I forgot it. True story.

Instead, I decided to blow the minds of the three elderly people we'd likely see in the local restaurant, and trailed out to dinner wearing just my adult acne and flip-flops, plus my $4 thrifted denim jacket 'cause I was cold. My mom urged me to get a picture of the dress anyway, so we found a very glamorous blue boat trailer to stand in front of instead of the blue ocean.

Photo credit: My mom who reads this blog and will be so pleasantly surprised!

To my fave style bloggers, thank you for inspiring me to step outside of my quiet little comfort zone every once in a while, even if I do chicken out and run right back in. Still, those exciting moments on the bright and beautiful side feel amazing.

This one is definitely going into Not Yet Dead Style's  weekly feature for ageless, stylish peeps,Visible Monday.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Paralegal Career Dressing: Boring Black Shirt Dress...or Not?

I've been looking for a shirt dress to thrift for a long time. The seed of desire for one was planted by Sal at Already Pretty, who always looks fabulous in hers. I know some of y'all might be thinking, "Good grief, how boring is a shirt dress?" but remember I work in a law firm.

I've also always loved 50s fashion, with the crisp button-front shirts, narrow waists, and wide skirts, but that look is not easy for a short skinny woman with a pencil body type to wear. I've tried many, many shirt dresses, and they usually have too much fabric for my petite, straight figure.

When I saw this Talbots shirt dress in a local consignment store, I almost skipped over it. First, it's a 10P, and I've lost weight recently, so am even smaller than my usual 4-6 in a dress size.

It's not real exciting on a hanger, but it has French cuffs, stretchy fabric, and POCKETS!!!!

Second, it's black. For most of my working life, I have been a Monochrome Girl, sticking to mostly blacks and grays, with white blouses thrown in for excitement. Insert yawn here. Since actively budget career style-blogging for almost a year, I've had a no-black purchases rule because how many black clothes can one woman own, right?, but recently I had an epiphany.

I only wish I had more of these rhinestone stretch bracelets from Jada's Jewels.

Black is my freakin' favorite color to wear. I like black. Let me repeat that. I LIKE BLACK! (So in addition to the black shirt dress, I bought a black Ann Taylor skirt with a cool front kick pleat for $10. I'll purge one of the less nice black skirts I already own to make room for it.)

Not crazy about this belt with this look. But many thanks to Carole for the vintage cuff bracelet from a yard sale!

Back to the shirt dress. It is very tailored and has only a little fullness in the softly pleated skirt. It's a little big on me, but belts fix the waist, and I like the loose comfort of the rest of it.

You know what the women in my family are known for? The crazy eyes.

I played around with styling it on Sunday afternoon (so good to even feel like playing a little dress-up again now that The Teen is home and feeling better), but I'd love to hear your suggestions. I did try to find a longer skirt to layer underneath (heavily influenced by the lovely Sheila), but I don't having anything not black that's long enough.

And, oh yes, this dress will be coming to a post near you soon with one of Megan Mae's gorgeous obi belts.

So I've admitted that I love black and dressing like a 50s housewife. Please feel free to share any fashion love of yours that you feel a bit sheepish about here :)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Off We Go!

By the time this post is published, I hope my feet are in the surf at the beach. I had to work part of the day on Tuesday to leave some projects in a position for someone else to work on. We are seriously busy at work with immigration and other cases, so it feels a little hard to get away for a few days.

Too big for me now  black and white Violet & Claire peasant blouse cinched with Limited obi belt
Lapis convertible maxi skirt/dress ~ old Marshalls or TJ Maxx
Report wedges ~ Ross Dress for Less
Pendant ~ Jada's Jewels
Reading glasses obligatory

I tried to pack light, even wearing this convertible maxi skirt/dress to work, so I could wear it on the drive (comfy) to the beach, and wear it on another day. My outfit pics turned out blurry, so I decided to give them the old newspaper treatment. Because I'm old, and I still like to read the newspaper :)

Stylin' new Old Navy tops from the birthday shopping trip on Labor Day

So excited The Teen got to go to school, but she was dropped off the rolls in all her classes and designated as "home school" - even though the guidance counselor promised to have this taken care of last Friday. The Red-Headed Teen (Dear Hubby's daughter) drives now, so it's weird watching them leave together in a car I'm not driving.

Do you have room to store items that don't fit now but might fit later - or do you just make a clean break and purge them?

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Many, Many Balloons - and Thank You

We had so many wonderful family, friends, and hospital staffers help celebrate the end of The Teen's two-week hospitalization, that what could have been a rotten 16th birthday was super cool instead. But I did have trouble stuffing all of her birthday balloons in the car (not all of them are in these pictures.)

Fish Lips. Finally a style blogger pose I'm good at. This wasn't the best outfit pic, but it was the best pic :)
Loft and/or Loft Outlet everything, super on sale, except for the Charming Charlie accessories

By the time this post is published, I'm hoping that she'll have had a great day at school - and that I'll be sipping a glass of wine at the beach with my mom. My mom and I made plans for a quick trip when The Absent-Minded Professor (AMP) was off for a week (kicked off campus by the Democratic National Convention along with all the other faculty, staff, and students), but then I cancelled the reservations last week because The Teen still hadn't come home.

I've signed up for style blogger posing lessons from the Red-Headed Teen.

Both AMP and my mom insisted we try to get our reservation back, which we did. Luckily, the beaches are not far from where we live, and I can get home quickly if I need to. I think they both think I'm close to sitting in a corner and having a quiet wee break with reality if I don't have a change of scenery.

We did not actually let the balloons go because that would be pollution.

The gorgeous and super stylish Amber at Butane Anvil wondered if her readers are interested in what she wears when she's not at work, and of course, we are all. I thought I'd share these pictures so you can see what I run around in for a trip to the Big Gawdy Mall (I hate it) to give The Teen a 16th birthday shopping trip. Actually, AMP and I went to see Premium Rush while they shopped. That Joseph Gordon-Levitt is so adorable he could have ridden a tricycle for an hour and that would have been fine by me, but the NYC bicycle action sequences are wild and crazy (I got kinda motion sick) and worth the price of the film.

The Teen made the owl in the hospital. That metal purse is a family heirloom from the late 19th century.

I hope you guys have a great week. I really appreciate all your warm and supportive comments and emails the last several weeks. Your blogs, Twitter updates, and Facebook statuses also entertain and inspire me, especially during tough times.

Finally, I leave you with a picture of The Corginator, because you get more hits when you use the word "dog" in your posts :P