Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fashion Irony

The average American woman is just over 5 feet 4 inches tall.  The average fashion model is 5 feet 9 inches, and many are even taller than that (think the lovely Karlie Kloss, at 6"1", and Elle MacPherson, at 6'.)  However, there are two initial problems with that 5+ inch discrepancy:
  1. The obvious one: the models do not reflect what most women will look like in the clothes. This is the problem most women find frustrating, and understandably.  If these models are the standard for ideal physical beauty, and height is nothing we have control over, then women are judging themselves in a comparison that was never even comparable to begin with.
  2. But the less obvious one--at least less obvious to anyone of average height--is that for those of us who are 'model' height, ironically the clothes actually for sale are not made for us.  We cannot assume because an item of clothing is photographed on someone we know is our height, that if we try on the same item it would fit us. 
Bet you didn't know being average height was actually a shopping blessing, did you?  I am 5'11". A good height for sports, yes, and a good height for modeling (if I were 10 years and 20 lbs lighter - and I'm only 140. I'm not saying I need to lose weight, its just the industry....).  But it's not a good height for buying clothes off the rack.  Pants are never long enough. And even if you decide 'hey, that's ok, I'll rock these regular length skinny jeans as crop pants', the proportions are off, so you can't pull them up past your knees. Try on a cute, fitted sheath dress, and the narrow of the waist is at your rib cage, and the width of the hips is at your waist. That look may have worked in the days of the bustle, but not so much today. A full length sleeve usually ends up being 3/4 length.

One of the wonderful things about this world is all the diversity of life; all the beautiful shapes and sizes and colors we come in.  So I understand, practically speaking, that mass-produced clothing cannot be made in every single size and shape.

Thankfully, many companies are beginning to make more clothes in tall length. Not just longer limbs, but longer proportions, so the waist is where the waist should be, and the knee-length hem is actually at the knee (and not pushing decency boundaries.)  ASOS is increasing their line, and I could not be happier about this. I honestly don't know how I dressed before I discovered ASOS.  They have super cute, affordable maternity clothes (which I shopped when I was pregnant, and will again next time) and their tall size styles are increasing. With free shipping on any order over $25, free expedited shipping over $125, free returns, petite, maternity, average and tall sizes, and a massive inventory, what more could you ask for?  If you're not shopping there yet, set some time aside and check it out (you will find dozens of things you love, I promise). You're going to have to start an ASOS wish list board on Pinterest.

Fitted dresses are always a tall challenge. These are so cute and in tall proportions. (Here, here, here and here.)  They have styles for work and play.

Peplum tops are always a tall girl challenge. Here's a cute one with longer proportions.  And a fun, tribal top that is long enough.

A beautifully colored shift dress that's not a mini; and while many brands carry basics in longer lengths, its often hard to find trendier pieces.  These plaid pants look great for the fall.


Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Royal Inspiration

I think its safe to say that, generally speaking, office/professional attire are not the most fun, fashionable pieces a girl has in her closet.  But for so many of us, they are the clothes we spend most of our lives in.  Every morning - actually beginning the night before - I try to figure out how to wear/style/assemble my outfit that I'm professional in appearance, yet youthful and feminine and even fun.  One of my new fashion inspirations in this regard is the Dutchess of Cambridge.

Clearly becoming a Dutchess does a wardrobe good.  She didn't have bad style before she got married, but her style now that she's officially a Mrs. has been flawless.  If you google "Kate Middleton Fashion Blooper", all you get are images of the wind blowing her skirt up almost too much.  If those are your only fashion bloopers and you live in the public eye as she does, you are doing very well.

What's so great about Kate's style is that we can all see ourselves wearing the same thing. She may have the ability to spend more than most of us, but her sensibility is classic and tasteful, and what really makes her look good is that everything fits her perfectly. And while she does have an enviable figure, even models can't wear everything right off the rack.  Buy a cheap dress but have it tailored to fit your body, and you will look more expensive than what you spent.

Kate has a way of making frumpy not-so-youthful pieces look youthful and lovely.  Some of the tweed and high-neck suits and dresses she has worn would make me feel like and old lady, but she doesn't look matronly in the slightest.

And of course, who doesn't want to be a princess for the gowns?  Don't we all wish we had lives where it warranted wearing beautiful dresses regularly? Kate has great taste picking the loveliest gowns. She really does look like a princess.

And can I just say I don't know why we don't wear hat/fascinators in the US the way they do in the UK?  It's a shame.

I'm working on filling my closet with my version of Kate style. Classic sheaths in a variety of colors, dresses and skirts of midi length, and well-fitting blazers and jeans.  And I will be making friends with a good tailor...

Monday, August 18, 2014

Monday Madness

This morning was one of THOSE mornings. One of those mornings with a crawling baby who is now getting in to EVERYTHING. Like from a movie: he thinks its the funnest thing for the dog to lick him in the mouth, and while the dog likes to lick him in the mouth, Mom does not like the dog licking him in the mouth, so dog gets in trouble.  Dog goes to her bed to stay away from baby, but baby crawls to dog. Dog growls. Mom hollers. Baby thinks its just so funny. "I don't laugh when you tickle me, mom, but I'll laugh when you hollar at me and my sister-dog."

So mom attempts to remove the temptation and bring baby in bedroom where she is getting ready, forgetting that the day before while cleaning the front room, she moved a large picture frame into the bedroom and its leaning against the wall in baby range (awaiting to be hung). So of course baby immediately crawls over and pulls the frame over on to his head (no injuries), and while mom is moving the frame to the other side of the room, baby crawls over to dad's night stand and pulls a cup of water down (again, no injuries, just mess.)

To add frustrating elements to this circus, its already hot and humid at 7a, and there is no air conditioning in our apartment.  So mom is trying to get put together to go to work, and despite a morning shower is continuing to sweat. Work outside the home is like a vacation from the work that is non-stop with an infant.  I am so thankful baby has a good daycare that he enjoys going to.

The above chaios was only 30 min of my day.  So needless to say, anything that makes some aspect of a working mommy's life easier is something I'm willing to try.  Meal planning is an area that I need help with. I love to eat, and don't mind to cook, but the challenges I encounter with this on a weekly basis are that I have limited time to prepare dinner (so recipes need to be quick), I want the meals to be healthy (but my husband wants a form of substantial protien, read: meat, with just about every meal), and I don't want to waste ingredients, so I want to use what I have on hand, or have a plan for the week that uses similar ingredients without eating the same thing all week. Its hard to shop fresh for essentially just 2 people and use everything before it goes bad.

Thats why I love this site/app: Pepperplate.  You set up a profile on the website, and download the app to your mobile device and log in with the profile you created on line. Then the site and app sync, and continue to do so whenever you make a change in one.

With this program you can save and store all your favorite recipes in one place, give them filters so you can sort them easily (20 minute meals anyone?), make a weekly meal schedule, and there's a shopping list that you can add a recipe to and it will update your list with all the ingredients, and you can check off what you already have at home. 

What especially love is that Pepperplate had coordinated with a couple dozen other food/recipe sites and when you want to import one of the recipes from those sites to Pepperplate, you just copy the link to the webpage and it imports automatically (you can manually enter recipes as well.)

It takes about 10-15 minutes for your initial set up (creating an account and adding some recipes to get started) but once you do, then you'll always have recipe ideas at your finger tips, consolidated into one place.  And the shopping list feature is great, bc you can see what ingredients you need that overlap with the other recipes.

I've had several successful weeks of planned meals, thanks to this app.  And less wasted food.  So at least my evenings are a little calmer, despite how the days start out.

I'm curious to know how it works for you.