sunshine on a cloudy day

candy-striped belt over a yellow sundress

I never imagined I’d use the word “belt” as a verb, but look at me now.

yellow dress, coral cardigan, striped belt

I wore some of the brightest pieces in my closet on one of the dreariest days, hoping my style sunshine could counteract the blah of clouds above.  For most of the day I wore a couple of my favorite orange bead bracelets with two bangles: one skinny and yellow, one chunky and green.

green, yellow, orange bracelets

By the time of the outfit photo I had taken them off.  And by the time I realized they didn’t make the photo it was too dark for a Round Two to include them.  Recreating the look the next day was also out of the question because I don’t like putting on clothes again after I’ve tossed them in the hamper.  Not even for fashion’s sake.  So you’ll just have to use your imagination.  I’m sure you’re capable.

M at the flower shop with roses

What have you belted recently?  Any tips for how to manage the dangling end?

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learning with lacey

I think I’m making progress. I’ve been analyzing other gals’ styles to try to figure out why certain outfits look good. Photos from these three helped me. Blog posts, magazine articles, Polyvore, and co-workers helped me. I’m secretly spying on everyone, wondering how to boil down the concept of proportion into something practical. I’m no Coco Chanel, but I’ve gone from this…

pink lace skirt, lavender rosette top, brown belt & boots, tan cardigan

…to this…

pink lace skirt, blue & white striped top, cardigan, sandals

…and this.

lace skirt and knotted chambray shirt with flats

Neither of these looks is an extreme makeover; I get that.  But I think subtle changes often make a dramatic difference because I can stick to them.

Right now I’m getting to know my proportions.  That process is  helping me discover what works–sometimes through trial and error, I admit.  What I’ve learned from Lacey (the skirt, in case you were confused) is not to fear my “natural waist.”  It feels funny to me to let the bottom half of my clothes cross over onto what I think of as the top half of my body.waist and natural waist

But the whole “halves” concept was part of my problem.  I was breaking my outfits into two chunks a lot of the time.  (See the first photo where the thick belt across my hips draws a heavy line between torso and legs.)

This new insight into my proportions sent me to my closet yet again.  This time I removed everything that, if I’m honest, I have to admit isn’t flattering.  (Then, because I’m a real human and not an honest-to-goodness fashion plate, I put back one pair of sweatpants, one hoodie, and a free T-shirt from the library.  There are those days….)

I’ll save the closet purge for another post.  For now I’d like to know how you direct your own fashion evolution.  Does seeing yourself in photos help you recognize what works?  Do you feel inspired to remix your clothing when you flip through catalogs?  Have you crafted a signature look?  Do tell….

purdy on pinterest

I wish I could say my desk is cleaner thanks to Pinterest, but it’s still a mess. Despite not being able to immunize my physical space from entropy, I do enjoy finding tools that help me organize and, what’s better, visualize my projects.  This spring I compiled a personal lookbook that mixes trends with the tried-and-true.

As you can tell at a glance, I’m crazy about a few things this season: stripes, florals, yellows and corals.  (I couldn’t resist that chance to rhyme.)  I’ve always liked the shorts-with-long-sleeves look, so some of these photos grabbed my attention right away.  Especially the one of the gal with the navy shorts and yellow anorak–so fun!

This board is guiding my thrift shopping for the warm weather.  I haven’t found any colored pants to love yet–they’ve got to be skinny but not second-skin-y.  (I’m young but I’m not 12.)  So here’s to a patient search, all you who are now mapping your fashion quests via Pinterest.  May it go well with you!

P.S. Pantone’s official color of the year is “Tangerine Tango.”  Are you feeling bold enough for this color?!

P.P.S. Want to know how to put a Pinterest board on your blog? I use the free version of WordPress, and this is what I did:

1. Use the Function and Print Screen keys together to take a screenshot of your Pinterest board.  (I took two: one of the top half and one of the bottom half.)

2. Paste your screenshot (or two, one at time) into Microsoft Publisher.  If you have two, change the view to major percentage–I used 500%–to make sure you can see well enough to line things up just right.  After that you have to draw a box that encompasses both screenshots, then group them so they become one object.

3. Right click and choose “Save as Picture.”  I saved mine as a JPEG.

4. Upload as you would any photo.

5. For extra fun, once the photo is inserted into your blog post, click on it and then click the link button.  In the URL field, copy and paste the URL of your actual Pinterest board.  Then, when anyone clicks on your image, they get swept away on a magic carpet ride to the actual board. Ta da!