Tag Archives: Fashion

What I Wore

So I really wanted to do my Friday Dance Party thing, but the Internet is like NOOOOOOO! We will not allow you to post any real music because of copyright laws.

So poop on YouTube.

Don’t worry, I have something else up my sleeve.

(Did you notice that I always have something else up my sleeve?)

Here is my first post in what will become a series of fun “What She Wore” posts.) And I promise that no matter what I’m wearing (or not wearing), I’ll post it here.

Today I tried to look well put together. I got this A-line skirt on the sale rack at Express and this awesome wrap bracelet is from WrappedinYou‘s Etsy shop. Renee (not me, another Renee) has lots of great stuff at reasonable prices. And, as far as I’m concerned,  a short skirt should always be paired with a pair of thigh high boots. So I did.

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Have a great weekend everyone! Oh, and if you really can’t get enough of me and you’d like to hear about how painting helped me heal during benzodiazepine withdrawal, consider hopping over to Michelle’s place at Steadily Skipping Stones. Her series of podcasts called “People I Almost Know” is a lot of fun, and it serves to remind us that no matter how well we think we know someone, there’s always another story to hear.

What are you wearing today?

 

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I Have One Lilly Pulitzer Dress

“Being happy never goes out of style.” ~Lilly Pulitzer

 When I was in middle school, the pretty girls took off their Fair Isle sweaters in May. They sloughed their turtlenecks with the little whales on them and switched up the covers on their Bermudas bags. Spring meant sunshine and tulips and daffodils and lovely lightweight dresses.

One day, I dared to ask a pretty girl where she found her colorful sleeveless shift.

“It’s not from here,” she said, crossing her arms in front of her very flat chest.

“But where did you get it?”

This particular pretty girl – let’s call her Courtney — flipped her hair and caught it in one hand, a move I could never master.

“It wouldn’t work on you,” she said. “It’s a Lilly.”

Cover of The Official Preppy Handbook

Cover of The Official Preppy Handbook (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

That night, I consulted my Official Preppy Handbook. It showed a photograph of a similar looking dress to the one Courtney had worn in school that day. The handbook stated that Lilly Pulitzer clothing was a “must-have” item for all “preppy” women.

In middle school, I didn’t care that my mother made kick-ass matzah balls.

I just wanted to be a prep.

Looking at myself in the mirror, I thought about Courtney’s words. A little Jewish girl with a big nose, I’d never look good in a casual shift dress. I’d never rock pale pink lip-gloss. At summer camp, when I got off the sailboat, my hair was a frizzy triangular mess. I’d never look like I’d spent the day relaxing on the yacht. Who did I think I was?

About five years ago, I was in Florida shopping with my friend, Jan, when we passed a Lilly Pultizer Shop. I’d never seen one before. We don’t have Lilly Shops in Western, New York. Why would we? We wear sleeping bag coats for most of the year.

Anyway, Jan encouraged me to go in. She may have physically pulled me through the door.

I didn’t think I had any business being there.

But I sifted through the yummy racks filled with whimsical fabrics.

How can you not love orange elephants?

How can you not love orange elephants?

I heard Courtney’s voice in my head.

What was I doing? I was still that Jewish girl. And now I had boobies. Big ones. How was I ever going to fit into anything Lilly? It was ridiculous.

Jan handed me a pile of dresses and commanded I try them on.

And there was this one.

When I came out of the dressing room, the Lilly ladies made a fuss.

{But, you know, they work on commission; they’re paid to smile and coo.}

Still.

I looked at myself in the mirror, and I liked the way I looked.

I’m no socialite.

And I’m decidedly unpreppy.

But I bought it.

Because screw you, Courtney.

It works on me.

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Lily Pulitzer passed away last month, on April 7, 2013 at the age of 81. I am confident her legacy of brightly colored fabrics featuring flamingos & seals & peacocks & turtles & elephants & hippoptamuses & flowers & flowers & flowers will live on forever. A believer in the power of whimsy, I like to think we would have been friends.

• • •

May 14th marks the beginning of my 4th year in the blogosphere. Come back next week because I’m giving away a Lilly Pulitzer handbag, baby!

In the meantime, tell me about something you never thought you could wear/do/be, but you did it anyway!

tweet me @rasjacobson

My Sleeping Bag Coat

When I moved to Rochester from New Orleans in 1995, the sunflowers in my backyard turned their yellow heads to face a blue, cloudless sky. That fall, the leaves on the maple trees turned red and yellow and brown and fell at our feet, but the sun stuck around. One October weekend, my husband and I hopped in his car to scout out a grape festival. Everyone kept saying how unseasonably warm it was. We hardly heard them as we scooped gobs of pie directly out of the tin and into our mouths. Standing there in our short sleeves, it seemed the warm weather would never end. Clearly, moving to Western, New York had been a delicious choice.

One October afternoon, a friend came to help me unpack the last of my boxes.

“Where are your coats?” she asked.

After five years in New Orleans, I didn’t have many. I held up my denim jacket, a green raincoat, and a few sweaters.

She shook her head. “You’d better get a good coat. Fast.”

But I ignored her. Because what did she know? Everything was so cozy in our apartment, and the afternoon light never stopped streaming through the stained glass windows of our apartment.

And then it happened.

One morning, I went outside to find everything blanketed in white. Shivering, I brushed off the windshield and hopped inside to turn on the heat. And after work, I drove directly to the nearest mall to buy my first sleeping bag coat.

Let’s be clear. My sleeping bag coat isn’t pretty. It isn’t fashion forward. But once the temperatures fall below 40 degrees, I am never without it. Black and puffy and filled with down, I wear it all the time. While I make breakfast. While I do the dishes. While I run errands.

I have even slept in my sleeping bag coat. Several years ago, we had a major ice storm. Trees cracked and power lines went down. People lost power for over a week. It was mid-April, and I could see my breath in my house.

Recently, I realized sleeping bag coats are kind of a Rochester thing.

Everywhere I go, there they are.

In the grocery store.

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 In a restaurant.

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Out for a walk.

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At Target.

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At the pharmacy counter.

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And again at the pharmacy.

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I know some ladies will argue that fashion should always come first. In my experience, these women are usually in their 20s. They often live in warm weather climates and wear bikinis with 5” hoochie-mamma heels.

In Rochester, we have to be pragmatic.

Because when it is cold for nearly six months of the year, we have to wear boots.

And hats. And scarves. And mittens.

We do the best we can.

We really do.

Cut us some slack.

Eventually it will stop snowing. The daffodils and tulips will dare to poke their heads out of the cold hard earth, and the trees will decide to sprout leaves. Things will green up. The thermometer will register above 60 degrees. Then, and only then, will I dare to step out of my sleeping bag coat.

What is the signature look in your neck of the woods?

I’m linking up with the fabulous folks at Yeah Write. Click on the hat to read good stuff from other peeps.

challenge100

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Tingo Tuesday: Tell Me About A Krawattenmuffel Moment

Cover of

Cover via AmazonIt’s Tingo Tuesday!

HAPPY NEW YEAR, EVERYONE!

What do you mean: “Keep it down!”? I know everyone was getting down and getting intoxicated funky last night.

But it’s Tingo Tuesday!

Just because everyone is hungover doesn’t mean we should stop playing, does it? No way!

Plus Adam Jacot de Boinod actually emailed me to tell me that he liked Tingo Tuesdays.

I know, right? How cool is that?

In case you are new here, here’s how this works. The first Tuesday of each month, I share a word from The Meaning of Tingo & Other Extraordinary Words From Around the World by Adam Jacot de Boinod.

And today is Tuesday!

So I’m sharing a German word with you.

Have you ever known someone who absolutely hates wearing neckties? Yeah, well that person is a “Krawattenmuffel.”

Screen Shot 2012-12-14 at 12.04.09 PMGuess who married one? I did! I love when we are invited to go to a fancy-schmancy party and Hubby reads the invitation and groans: “Black-tie optional? Does that mean I have to wear a tie?”

I would think guys would LIKE to wear neckties. After all, they are one of the few fashion accessories that are made especially for them. The way I see it, men have neckties and jockstraps. And while I love a good garage sale, I’m not currently interested in checking out anybody’s junk.

I love that other cultures have language for the actions and concepts for which we haven’t necessarily got the right words.

So now it’s your turn!

Guys, leave me a comment about a time when you acted like a total krawattenmuffel and win a lap dance for just $25.99. And ladies, tell me about that special tie-hater in your life. Comments can be real or fictional.

If I love your comment as much as Hubby hates the floral tie I bought him back in 1993, I’ll slip a photo of you into my sidebar so folks can check you out all month!

If you are not a blogger, don’t worry. I have plans for you, too.

This month’s winner is Kristal Zacharias of Clearly Kristal. To see the comment that won her a month of linky-love, click HERE. It is a masterpiece that will make you totally hate her old elementary school nemesis, Debbie. After you leave me a comment here, be sure to check out Kristal at her place. Just click on her face in my sidebar and you will be magically transported!

So tell me about that (real or fictional) “krawattenmuffel” moment. What happened? What color was it? How bad was it?

tweet me @rasjacobson

You have until January 31, to enter a comment! The winner will be revealed on the first Tuesday in February!

Putting My Faith in Boots That Pinch

Me in my brown Frye boots, circa 1985.

I have this freakin’ awesome pair of brown leather Frye boots.

I got them in 1985, before I went to college.

They cost $172.00.

I remember holding my breath as the cashier took all my bills and slipped them into the register.

When she handed me the bag, I thought I might throw-up.

That first semester I walked around campus with bloody heels, praying my investment would eventually pay off.

I’d dreamed of soft chocolate boots, like the couches the people I’d babysat for owned.

But my new boots were stiff and unyielding.

Those suckers took forever to break in. 

Somewhere along the way, they stopped hurting.

And when I wear them now, someone always admires my kicks and asks me where I got them.

I like to watch their faces when I say I got them in a shoe store that closed in 1989.

Ten years ago, I promised myself that if I ever found a similar pair in black, I would buy them – price-be-damned.

Recently, I was not shopping for shoes when I saw the sister pair to my old brown Fryes: tall black boots with a buckle.

I looked at the bottom of the sole to find the price tag and sucked in my breath.

It’s always been hard for me to spend money on myself. 

“You’ll have those forever,” said the well-dressed saleswomen who handed me an oversized white box.

I slipped the boots over my stockings and took a few steps.

Omigosh. They. Hurt. So. Much.

I found a chair and tugged them off.

“What do you think?” the saleswoman asked.

What did I think?

I thought only a crazy person would buy boots at that price that were that uncomfortable.

And yet.

I remembered.

My old boots had been awful, too.

It had taken years to get them to a place where I could call them comfortable.

But they have been my signature footwear for decades.

So I held my breath as the cashier scanned my credit card.

Because they cost a lot more than they did in 1985.

And I brought them home.

And while my new boots look freakin’ awesome, I’m back to bloody heels and Band-Aids.

Right now, I’m faking it.

Pretending every step doesn’t hurt.

I have to believe that eventually these boots will be right.

Because sometimes having something worthwhile means enduring a little pain.

Ask a newly published author. Or any woman who has given birth.

Have you ever made an expensive purchase that you fretted over? What was it? How’d it turn out? 

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This week the directions were to write a piece using the idea of money as inspiration — in under 450 words. I did it in 419. 

How Having a Wedgie Made Me Realize My Son is Becoming a Man

Me in my Express Jeans. Size 2.

It was a regular day.

I spent a few hours at school, met a former student, ran to the post-office, stopped at the grocery store to pick up that one necessary yet missing ingredient for dinner — just like any other day.

On the way home, while sitting in my car, I noticed my jeans were a little… uncomfortable.

You know, they were a little… tight.

By the time I rolled into my driveway, I definitely had a… wedgie.

I couldn’t wait to get out of those pants.

As I yanked the faded denim over my knees, I saw them: little button tabs on the inside of the waistband.

I sucked in my breath.

Old Navy Boys Jeans, Size 16.

Because I realized I hadn’t been wearing my pants.

They were my 12-year-old son’s jeans from Old Navy.

I am horrified amazed that my son and I are the same size.

And yet, I shouldn’t be surprised.

We’re wearing the same shoes.

Or rather, I can wear his shoes.

When I hear the mail truck coming, I often slip into his sneakers: the ones he so conveniently leaves by the door.

Of course, I know what this means.

From here on out, he will continue to grow.

And soon he will pass me.

Eventually, I will look up at my child.

And that will be a whole new thing.

Although in some ways, I have always looked up to him.

Watching my son become a man is about so much more than watching him slip into and out of his different sizes of clothes.

Obviously.

He’s always known exactly who he is.

I’ve been the one who has had to adjust my expectations about who I thought he might be.

Just like I probably needed to let out a few tabs on his jeans the other day, now I have to adjust to the idea that my son is becoming a man.

With his own ideas.

And his own interests.

And his own methods.

Which don’t always align with mine.

Emotionally, Tech has always been an old soul.

But now the changes are physical.

I realize our state of equilibrium is temporary.

Like receiving an alert from my iPhone, it is a gentle reminder, that while I am still in him…

…he is out-growing me.

Do boys outgrow their mommas?

(NOTE: Clearly, we have to start being more careful with the laundry. Theoretically, Tech could make the same mistake and end up wearing my jeans. And that would be bad.)

I’m thinking this look would not go over well in the boys’ locker room.

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The Hideously, Fabulous Sneakers

Monkey's sneakers

My son has these ridiculous shoes. They came to us as hand-me-downs from friends whose son who never wore them. Apparently, the sneakers were custom-made for our friends’ son, but he exhibited some kind of advanced fashion sense and never wore them.

Because they are kind of ludicrous.

I mean, they are blood-red, white and royal blue.

Yup.

Clown shoes.

Anyway, my son fences. (No, he does not steal. He is a saber fencer.) And last weekend, his foot suddenly didn’t fit into his fencing sneakers. (How does that happen? Friday, good. Saturday, not so good?) Anyway, one hour before the big tournament, all we had were the clown shoes. Monkey tried them on and they fit. Like a glove. (Okay, that’s a terrible mixed metaphor. They fit like a pair of fabulously comfortable pair of whacked-out clown shoes.)

Thrilled, Monkey immediately ran upstairs and grabbed an ancient pair of unworn royal blue soccer socks. (You know, to match.)

And he kicked ass. (And by kicking ass, I mean he did better than he ever has before: He did not win, but he did not come in last place either.)

Meanwhile, and perhaps more importantly, everyone commented on his shoes.

And Monkey (who tends not to be an attention whore like his mother) actually liked the attention.

Those wigged out kicks gave my boy a little swagger.

Frankly, the patriotic Nikes seemed to be a constant and very visual reminder that he needs to move his feet.

Which is something his coach often reminds him that he forgets to do.

As stupid as it sounds, the clown shoes made for a great weekend moment.

Of course, now we have to go to the mall.

You know. To buy sneakers.

Tell me about that one ridiculous piece of clothing to which you were very attached as a kid. Or tell me about something you have to tackle on your to do list! 😉

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