Saturday, March 29, 2014

The Four Dollar Sandals

Day one: The American Thrifting Machine that is me is still operating with optimal efficiency. Check out these nude leather Kenneth Cole wedge platform sandals that I found at the No Weapons Allowed Thrift Store. They are brand new...and you know how I love a nude sandal. Four bucks. Boo-yah!

They're super-comfy, and will go the distance this summer, providing we ever see summer again. 

I am already planning the ways in which I will wear these little beauties. Behold. 

Make it into a look

Friday, March 28, 2014

Ye Olde Travel Outfit

The default uniform has struck again. This is me early (very early) Weds morning about to get on my flight from Glasgow to Minneapolis. I know you can barely see, but I was not able to linger, fuss with the lighting, etc. Especially in the airport toilets, I mean, come on, right?

Anyway, this should be a configuration that is becoming familiar to you by now: Loose top, skinnies, boots, cropped jacket...yep. It's the Scottish Uniform, last seen here, and before that here, and originally coined thusly here.

And now, if you'll excuse me, I have some serious thrifting to do. Which reminds me...just when I thought I was making headway convincing my British and European friends and acquaintances that all Americans are not hard line right-wingers, sitting at home cleaning their automatic weaponry before Sunday dinner (praise the Lord and pass the ammo...), I saw this sign on the door of my favorite local thrift haunt.


Never mind that.  Back to The Uniform. 

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Gray & Osbourn: Sleek and Chic

For the second time in the last few months, my good friends over at Gray & Osbourn had me jumping up and down excitedly when I opened the package they sent me containing this Betty Barclay Perforated Leather Jacket.  Its arrival coincided with the first day of "spring", no less (here in Scotland, we've taken to putting quotation marks around the word "spring", so that people don't get the wrong idea).

Ladies and gentlemen of the internet, take it from me, this jacket is the business. The quality of the leather is fantastic; it has a fluid, buttery hand to it that makes you have to resist the urge to hug yourself when you have the jacket on, which would be fine I suppose, provided you're not in a crowded business meeting at the time. The detailing of the jacket also screams high-end: heavy, good-quality zippers, intricate seam work, a silky full lining, and the contrast provided by the perforated panels in the leather are all really pleasing little details upon closer inspection. It's lightweight, easy to wear, and I really like the colour. I like that it was made in something other than the ubiquitous black, which has become the default uniform for leather jackets the world over. This particular shade of taupe has a kind of elegant understated quality to it, and gives the jacket a lot more versatility.

I chose to pair it with a denim pencil skirt, heeled booties, and a graphic tee. I liked the way the t-shirt and tough booties played-off the elegance and simplicity of the jacket. This is definitely one of those pieces that will endure, and I daresay you will be seeing more of it in the future.

Betty Barclay perforated leather jacket / thrifted express tee, similar / Unlisted booties (old), similar / Merona (Target) skirt (old), similar / labradorite ring (old), similar / sterling status link necklace, similar

Make it Happen. 

Friday, March 21, 2014

Fashion School: Indoor Recess

It's another apocalyptic weather day here in Scotland. I actually ran full-tilt for nearly a mile down my coastal road in a pair of garden wellies today, looking over my shoulder, excited dog in tow...trying to outrun the threatening white squall that I could see coming at us from down the sound. That's a Scottish workout if there ever was one. So today, we will be having playtime indoors once again.

Though I dabble in showing you what I'm up to from an experimental point of view, I don't really like to post "how-to" types of posts on this, my personal blog. I am of the belief that sometimes, we should all just forego the lesson and enjoy ourselves a bit more.

That said, I do provide a lot of freelance content for other outlets. One such outlet specialises in the How To. With their encouragement, I am sharing this content, in the hopes that perhaps you might just find some of this advice helpful, interesting, or at the very least, entertaining.  Below you will find a catalog of fashion tips; fashion school rules according to Moi.  You are invited to tweet, share, pin, and comment freely on this content.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Can An Orange Face Ever Be Chic?

No, I''ve not been ignoring you. I was away skiing last week, and am just in the process of getting myself sorted out. I have some pretty exciting things to share with you this week, but as usual, the Scottish weather has decided to stick to the status quo and not allow me out for more than 40 seconds of dry, gale-force-wind-free time to take some photographs. Ah, well.

Luckily, I don't necessarily need to go outside to discuss today's topic with you, which although has been addressed before on the blog, feels like it might be a tad more urgent this time around.

I have an orange face.

It's bad.

No, really. It's pretty bad. Pictures don't really do it justice.

See? I told you it was bad.

It was absolutely glorious in the Alps last week, and as a result, the ol' visage was exposed to one hell of a lot of sun. No amount of sunscreen seemed to be enough to prevent the inevitable effects of a full week of brilliant sunshine against a backdrop of pure white snow. Yes, it was absolutely brilliant. But against the backdrop of the grey Scottish weather, frankly, it now looks ridiculous. It is beyond what a little yellow-based concealer or green-tinted lotion can do. I'm going to have to wear it.

Luckily, bad weather notwithstanding, we seem to be on the cusp of what my husband and I refer to as Orange Face Season, wherein large numbers of people appear to take leave of their senses and commit themselves wholeheartedly to liberal helpings of self-tanner. I am not a fan of self tanner, largely due to a few rather traumatic experiences in my younger days. Every few years I relent, convinced by someone I trust that I have just been using the wrong brand, technique, or amount, and end up orangeing myself up once again. Why? I have no idea. I'm kind of prone to becoming naturally orange, so I suppose it's a testament to modern marketing that I still occasionally think about self-tanner at all.

So the question now is, what the hell do I do with this orange face (besides moisturise and wait for it to quiet down)?

As with so many things in life, with an orange face, less is more.


Sunday, March 16, 2014

The Middle Aged Crop Top

I know. I said I wouldn't. In fact, I said I would never. But there is something compelling about channeling my 90s self that I have a hard time walking away from.

I was out and about in the city the other day, and decided to indulge my fancy in trying some of the more trendy high street offerings for Spring 2014. Perhaps it is my curious nature, or more likely my resistance failure to grow up. Like just about everyone else I know, I completely eschewed the new, won't-go-away flock of cropped tops, citing the fact that I was around for the first permutation of the cropped top and jean arrangement, and therefore to resurrect it would be desperate and creepy.

But here's the thing. I still kind of really like the look. I know....I know.

When I saw this tropical print, I was drawn to it. Partially, because it reminded me of the Hermés Spring 2014 collection, and perhaps partially because it simply reminded me of something I have worn before. But can I go there again? Can any of us ever really go there again....back to the intersection of Can Vs. Should?

Meh. Why the hell not?

Granted, I didn't purchase this particular top. Like so many other high street pieces, I felt the fabric let it down. But a seed has been planted. A seed that will probably be paired with a pair of higher-waisted full trousers, as opposed to these skinny jeans (to keep it looking modern), but still. Screw it. I'm going there. Again. The difference is this time, the "crop" is more of a theoretical concept. A nod to short-hemmed, voluminous boxiness, as opposed to navel-baring, ab-revealing croppedness. The idea this time around is that there will simply be a bit of a gap between waistband and shirt know, longing for each other, yet barely touching. Kind of like Sir Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson in Remains of the Day. They need each other, yet never the two shall meet. At least, not in that way.  Nobody's getting tucked in, that's for sure.

This time, it will be more like this. Again, this specimen also let me down in the fabric department, but lengthwise, it is a good example.

Mind the gap. 

Wednesday, March 12, 2014


I know, I know. Those of us who live in northern climes right now have lost the will to live after looking at that photo. That's Lanzarote in the Canary Islands, by the way. Not recently.



A few weeks ago, the venerable Alicia from Spashionista nominated me for a blogger award called the Sunshine Award. I was in the midst of travelling and crazy work patterns and was unable to respond in the moment, but promised I would in due course. So....get ready. Here it comes.

The rules of engagement for the Sunshine Award are that one must acknowledge the nominating blogger (check), share eleven random facts about myself (gulp),  nominate another eleven bloggers, who may (or may not) wish to carry the torch. I will also state here, as Alicia did, that I know many of you don't "do awards", so if you find yourself on the list of nominees, consider it a shout-out. I tried to pick blogs that have not yet been mentioned, as we all do seem to belong to the same bloggy peer group...right. Let's begin.

Eleven Things You Probably Didn't Know (and In a Moment May Wish You Didn't Know) About Me

1. I used to make my living as a professional saxophonist.
2. I was in the U.S. Air Force and the Washington State Air National a saxophonist.
3. I worked as an on-board member of staff for a major cruise line.
4. I appeared in a Lifetime TV movie called "An Upstanding Citizen", about a suburban mom hit and
    run driver. My very insignificant part ended up on the cutting room floor, although you can catch a
    fleeting glimpse of me as an extra in the party scene.
5. I once drove 34 hours from Seattle to Cheyenne, Wyoming and back in three days to adopt a dog.
6. I am vegan.
7. I met my husband at a wedding in Scotland while I was still in graduate school in NY. I was a
    bridesmaid and he was the best man.
8. I have a BA in English literature and a master's degree as a nurse practitioner. Whoopdee-doo.
9. I have dropped more cell phones and pagers into the toilet than should be humanly possible.
10. For a 41 year old, I have an unusual affinity for any kind of zombie fiction.
11.When I get home from work, I give my dog my smelly work socks to play with. He seems to
     enjoy them.

 A Shout-Out (or Nomination, If You Will) to Eleven of the Many Bloggers That I Enjoy

1. Bourbon and Pearls
2. Birdy Begins
3. The Class Factotum Speaks
4. Small Stories
5. PopCosmo
6. Pretty Cripple
7. Fifi Lapin
8. Mis Papelicos
9. Fashion for Giants
10. Grunge Queen
11. Mrs. Jack of All Trades

Sunday, March 9, 2014

Big Silk Shirt

This shirt was a thrift purchase that I just had to have in spite of myself. It is a gorgeous silk shirt by St. John, and I believe it to be circa 80's, Dynasty era. Yes, I had to rip the shoulder pads out of it, and yes, it is a size larger than I wear (by 80's standards, making it more likely two sizes larger than I wear), but it was such a quality garment I just had to have it.

I find that wearing it in a kind of blousy, casual way works best. Because the cream silk material is rather shiny, I felt that to modernise the shirt I needed to pair it with edgier, more dressed-down pieces, lest it give off that kind of Falcon Crest, Lady of the Manor kind of vibe that is always a little too close for comfort when you have salt and pepper hair like mine. So I kept it simple, deconstructed, and added a few chunky pieces of fun jewellery to keep it light.

thrifted St. John silk blouse, similar / thrifted Armani jeans, similar / silver and green prasiolite amethyst ring, H&M alligator stretch ring (sold out), similar / Report shoes (old), similar

Make it Happen. 

Friday, March 7, 2014

Tan Textures

This is not a picture that screams spring, is it? If there is one thing about Scotland that holds true, it's that it Never. Stops. Raining.  It's still pretty cold here right now, and the ground feels like walking on top of a really old sponge from the kitchen sink that you should have thrown out ages ago. I had big plans for today that included plants and topsoil and garden stuff.  Sigh.

I decided to combat my frustration with some texture and snuggly fabrics. Now that I've decided that I can wear beige after all, I appear to be unstoppable.

Rachel Zoe faux fur gilet / Seven jeans / Mink merino sweater jacket with hood (old), similar / ASOS booties (sold out), similar /  thrifted sunglasses, similar / Lucé leather hobo bag (old), similar

Make it Happen. 

Wednesday, March 5, 2014

The Cross Body Handbag: The Ultimate Hands-Free Device


Having just spent the last few hours scouring the Spring 2014 runway shows, I am officially confident in declaring the cross-body bag back with a vengeance. We've been seeing it on the scene for a few seasons now, and I couldn't be happier. Not since the 80s have we seen so many cross-body bags on the market. Sure, they have always been out there, but previous post-80s permutations have always felt a little bit...I don't know...sensible. And I mean sensible in the lacking chic sense of the word, not in the understated minimalism sense of the word.

Rewinding a few decades, those of us who were out and about in the 90s will undoubtedly remember the surge in popularity of mini bags, brought about by the Fendi Baguette, which is still available if you're so inclined.

I love the idea of mini bags; their petite size and feminine charm works well in going from day to night, but I daresay we 90s gals often found ourselves fidgeting as it constantly slid from our shoulders, refusing to stay tucked-up inside our armpits while we tirelessly browsed the local sale racks with one good arm.   It also dictated that we make a kind of cosmetic Sophie's Choice when going out at night; there was no way you were going to fit both a compact and lipstick in there along with your wallet (and you could forget about getting a 1990s-era cell phone in there). You had to choose. Red lips or matte skin?  You couldn't have both.

The year 2000 and the ensuing decade brought the arrival of the "it" bag. These bags were big, huge even, and loaded with hardware. The Chloe Paddington, the Mulberry Bayswater;  enter the era of the expensive-as-a car handbag. The massive Hermés Birkin became the status symbol for the status-conscious everywhere, and in it's bespoke permutations (think rose gold crocodile and diamonds), sold for up to 1.9 million US dollars.  Don't worry, if you missed out on the trend, you can still find a pre-owned classic Birkin for as little as $14,000.00.

I have nothing against big handbags, I actually quite like them. There is however, a limit to the amount of stuff you can actually carry around with you all day, before you start to suffer from back pain or the bottom of the handbag starts to buckle under the weight of that pair of shoes, bottle of water, magazine, makeup kit, iPad, iPhone, Kindle, book (in case the Kindle dies),  mineral water atomiser, hairbrush, straightening iron, dog leash, hairspray, eau de toilette, hand lotion, kleenexes, vitamin supplements, sunglasses, car keys, sunscreen, and nail file.

The cross-body bag solves this too much - too little conundrum. The wide variety of new shapes and sizes provide just the right amount of space for what you really need, while the cross-body strap distributes the weight evenly across the body. You can find them in quiet, logo-free permutations, or outfitted with studs, chains, feathers, or crystals. The possibilities are endless, making them very collectable, and therefore highly addictive.

I recently started wearing my favourite vintage Coach cross-body bag again, and the freedom I feel when out and about with my hands free is quite liberating indeed. Perfect for travelling. Gone are the shackles of the too-tiny mini bags,  just as my days of lusting after airline carry-on sized handbags have disappeared into the ether. This season, I'm more than ready to let practicality have it's fifteen minutes.

Get Hands-Free!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Sweet Pea

For a girl that didn't have a single wool fall or winter coat in her cache at the beginning of the season, I am happy to report that I now have two. Okay, technically I had a cropped pea coat, but it's cropped, and therefore counts as a jacket. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it. As you know, I decided to push the boat out on a Thakoon leopard print coat earlier this season.  I am in love with that leopard coat, but decided I should also have something a little more subdued in my closet so that when the occasion calls for it, I won't scare the natives.

I knew I'd found the thing when I found this vintage Larry Levine camel hair double breasted pea coat on Ebay. I always remembered my Mom talking about what great quality she thought the Larry Levine coats were when I was younger, and as it turns out, like with so many other things, she was right. The fabric of this coat is as soft as butter and drapes beautifully; none of the scratching you would expect in a wool pea coat. It is also finished beautifully, and you can see evidence of this in the detailing of the lining, collar, pockets, and sleeves.

Funny, for years I shied away from camel coats because I thought I couldn't wear beigey colours next to my face. Sure, there are other colours that suit me better, but I now realise that I was selling myself short. With the right makeup or a strategically placed necklace, this is a neutral I daresay anybody can wear. I cannot wait to pair this beauty with a black leather skirt or my over the knee boots to edge it up a bit.

Vintage Larry Levine coat (via Ebay), similar / Tahari shoes (old), similar / Calvin Klein jeans (old), similar / Ebay necklace (old), similar

Make it Happen.