Friday, April 30, 2010

dressing the part

Is it bad to want to wear a Rolling Stone t-shirt to a country concert? We have tickets to Brooks and Dunn tomorrow night, and while I am mostly a rock kind of a girl, I love these guys. Last night my husband worried that he didn't have a western shirt to wear to the show, and I admit I semi-mocked him by saying, "Its not a costume party!". Or is it? If it were a Stones concert would I want to wear a bunch of black eyeliner and a rock concert t-shirt? Is that just as odd? Does it make me a rocker (um, no), or do I just fit in with the crowd. Which sometimes I don't feel like doing either. Its a little like being told what to do, and I am not one for that.
I grew up in Montana, I own a western style belt, cowboy boots that are broken in (read: beer has been spilled on them), and I have a cowboy shirt etc. It just seems super silly to dress like that but I guess that is what people do. I just don't want to. We all do it, dress a part depending on what we are doing or where we are going, even if we don't realize it. Have you ever dressed a little more conservatively for a night out with some mellower folks or grabbed a crazier shirt for a fun crowd of people? I bet you have. How different is that from dressing "appropriately". Like for a teacher conference or client meeting. My husband swears if he has on a suit or at least dress pants etc he gets treated with much more respect in a store or restaurant than if he has on his jeans. And no one wants to be the person who forgot its cocktail attire at a party so I guess standing out and fitting in both have their moments.
I think wearing what you love gives you confidence, and if that is a rock t-shirt to a country concert than more power to you (or in this case, me). I went downtown today, feeling guilty for not helping my husband out with his clothing dilemma, after all, men have attire issues as well, and bought him a western shirt. Then I went by the Levi's store to see if I could talk myself into something that didn't seem like such a costume. I came out with a pair of new Levi's, but they are blue/black plaid skinnies. I wonder if they will go with my cowboy boots.......

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

spring in your step

I have loved shoes since I was a little girl, but frankly, I don't know any woman that doesn't. I know they are out there, they just are not in my world. And plenty of men I know are shoe lovers, but none to the intensity of we women. My first pair of "fancy" shoes were purchased for me by my mother for my First Communion. They were white patent leather bucks with a chunky heel and a gold chain across the top of the shoe. I thought they were the most fabulous things I had ever seen and I put them on with my shorts when we got home and ran from house to house in my neighborhood knocking on doors and showing everyone their beauty. (I would love it if a kid did that to me, now that I am an adult!) I also had a pair of pink Ked tennis shoes that I named "The Pinkies". I don't know why I gave my shoes a name, but I wore them until they fell apart and my big toe popped out the top. There was also a pair of saddle shoes I loved in first grade which I called clodhoppers (what is with the naming of the shoes?). Ah, yes, my glamorous beginnings of shoe obsession.
I have been watching the spring styles come in and am happy to say that last years purchases are still very relevant. The gladiator sandal is still around with a slight twist--and is fabulous fun in both a flat and rocking high heels. The beautiful cage shoe is one of my favorites--do not be afraid of this--it is such a fun trend that can transform your outfit. I love the denim shoe trend and just purchased a pair of denim ankle collar flats that will be a summer favorite. Leather ruffles, zippers, chains, flowers--there doesn't seem to be a plain shoe in sight. And make sure you have your wedges in both a cork or raffia, and a nude--they look great with denim or dresses and also make your legs look super long. Plus, they require no Ibuprofen for a days (or nights) wear! Yes!
My favorite shoes have to be my steel grey platform peep toes by Christian Louboutin, they are sky high and super comfortable at the same time. I covet the beautiful shoes made by Mr. Louboutin, Jimmy Choo, Chanel and Manolo Blahnik, and take good care of each pair I own, but I also think there is nothing like a trip to DSW for the cheap thrill. I think summer shoes are something that you shouldn't spend a ton of money on unless its a classic, like a ballet flat, and at DSW you can get spring fever without guilt. Just think carefully so you don't go home with some crazy shoe you'll never wear just because it was on sale. I almost did that today.
Take your winter boots to Johnny's Shoes in Ballard for a end of the season polish and store them away for now. You will be glad they are all cleaned up when you pull them out next fall. With all that room you have since you have cleaned your closet for the new season (right?) you now can put some spring in your step! Happy Shopping!

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

spring cleaning

I dream of a walk in closet. You know the one, with the fabulous tufted sofa in it you can lounge on with a glass of wine while you contemplate which dress to wear to that great party. The clothes are perfectly lined up, by color of course, in neat rows, not a wire hanger in sight. Shoes in boxes with their photos attached so you don't forget where your friends are, drawers with neatly folded lingerie. Yes, we all can have dreams. I had a nearly perfect closet once, minus the fab sofa and walk in part, but awesome none the less. My husband actually designed it from and we had custom doors made the length of the wall with glass knobs. It was wonderful when it was done, and then we moved almost immediately afterwards.
Ok, fast forward until today. At a party on Friday I was discussing with another woman how I was expertly avoiding this giant task of cleaning my tiny 1920's closet out and storing all my winter clothes. Its a huge project I do twice a year (spring and fall) and it is great because I do purge, take things to consignment, and make a little cash and a little room. Its to be avoided because it makes a huge mess and takes days and days. I avoid it for awhile. Like right now.
We have family coming this weekend, however, and I must get it together. Anyway, at this party I was told of the fabulous black velvet slim hangers they sell at Costco in boxes of 50 and how they don't wreck your clothes, they help fit lots more clothes in your closet and the velvet means nothing falls off the hanger. I zoomed out yesterday, avoided buying a Costco hotdog and eighteen or so "bargains" I didn't need, and have been at it ever since. Hoorah! The closet looks so organized and I can see what I own! I have a pile for Goodwill and a pile for Show Pony, a great store in Fremont that takes your well cared for consignment pieces.
Now, if I could only fit a sofa in there...........

Monday, April 19, 2010

work it out

I am fairly new, well, by about five years I guess, in the workout wardrobe area. It is something that can quickly take over a closet, and drawers, as one adds workout gear by season into the mix, together with spinning shoes, running gear, gym bags, headgear, iPod attachments, yoga mats, hand weights--wow, why am I not more goddess like with all this stuff in my life! I started with one pair of Champion black workout pants purchased from Target and over time have turned into a complete Lululemon addict. I justify this by the fact that I do, in fact, work out frequently (and don't wear it all day long most of the time......see previous blog) and the Target pants from long ago are long gone.
Its true, you don't have to spend a ton to get healthy--just get outside and get moving--although the most important thing you do is to get the right footgear. I am no expert in this area, but after hitting the gym in completely ancient shoes I developed major knee problems, which disappeared when I replace them with a new pair. Case and point for me!
My husband embarked on a new healthy path just about a year ago and has lost 40 lbs and counting. He is dedicated and his success has made me very proud. I am also secretly (or maybe not so secretly since I am blogging abut this online) frustrated and maybe a bit envious of his results since I have been hard at this for a few years now and I think if the only way I am gong to lose 40 lbs is to lose a limb. Well, fortunately I don't have that amount haunting me anyhow, and I am happy for a healthy spouse and I think we both are a good example for our children. Just 10. That's all I am asking for. 10 little pounds.

Ok, back to a cheerier topic--workout gear and all the great choices. As I mentioned before, Lululemon is my very favorite both for pants, jackets, and tops. I heart them. The quality is amazing--if you care for them correctly they will look like brand new forever. The jacket styles are flattering to all body types, the colors and styles of pants & tops are fun and hip and comfortable. Prices can be a little steep but there are constantly pieces going on sale and I heard a rumor that there is an outlet store up North. This Canadian company gets my vote for best all around gear. Lucy is another great place for workout gear and they have a great helpful staff that can get you set up. If you want to stay more budget minded pop into the above two to check the sale racks, and then continue your bargain hunt at Macy's which has Puma & Nike, or even Fred Meyer carries Addidas and more. And the Nike store downtown is definitely a fun visit that will get you motivated.

Motivation. For me, it is a certain high school reunion around the corner, the thought of a swimsuit, and the happiness I feel when I feel strong. Fitting in your jeans doesn't hurt either. I have a group of girlfriends who are very dedicated to exercise and good health and they completely inspire me to keep at it--thank you girls. My sister ran the LA Marathon last year--I was amazed by her strength. Its spring and its Monday, get started on something that will make you a better you--and leave the baggy sweats for garage cleaning day.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

pour l'amour de Paris

Don't be fooled by the title of my blog, my French is terrible. I am just feeling nostalgic since it was a year ago today that my husband and I embarked on a ten day trip to Paris. I took French lessons for awhile last year at Alliance Francaise de Seattle in anticipation of the trip, and completely tortured my classmates with my amazingly bad French. Our kind and patient instructor was encouraging, but alas, after one person told me that my attempts reminded her of being back in high school French class, I knew it was not meant to be. I was able to read it better than I could speak it, the people of Paris appreciated a person making the effort, and the trip was truly amazing.
One of the things I did was keep notes on my iPhone of all the fashion trends that I saw as we walked the streets, sat at cafes, and, of course, shopped. I decided to revisit the notes and see what has arrived here in Seattle in the past year, or, perhaps, been here already. The weather last April was similar to Seattle in the spring, there were some rainy colder days, and some glorious sunny days as well. That being said, in the footwear department there were still lots of boots on the feet of Parisians, mostly black and lots of them sky high, or motorcycle. Ballet flats were also everywhere, which is no surprise, and Converse tennis shoes were EVERYWHERE!! All colors, on all ages--young to old--sold on the streets and in high end stores. Everywhere you looked people were sporting them. Skinny jeans were on men and women, or a very slim cut darker jean. Leggings with dresses, shorts with tights underneath, huge black handbags were carried by many a city girl as well. Lots of hats, dresses with tiered ruffles and shorter coats with a pouf hemline and the sash tied with a one bow loop. And lots and lots of purple, in all hues.
And of course, scarves, scarves, scarves. After a trip to Hermes where I purchased my first (very small) scarf--I asked for their book on how to tie a scarf many ways. I had read in a Paris travel book that they don't offer these little treasures but will give one to you if you ask when you purchase something. It was three people deep to even get to the scarves but I did manage to find a lovely one and also received a small Hermes box that contained the coveted scarf tying secrets--on a deck of cards. And yes, it takes more than a deck of cards to emulate the style of our friends from France, but it felt like a treasure nonetheless.
My conclusion is that you just have to look at a jCrew catalog to know that many of these trends have made their way to us over the past year. And I think we have always been a Converse town, but the choices are much more extensive--sparkly silver Converse anyone? As for my love of Paris--I am continuing to follow its fascinating and fabulous street fashion via the Internet for now, but I think I just may need to make another trip soon--in the name of revoir friends! lisa

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

who needs romeo when we have juliet....

I met Juliet Roger when my husband and I bought her house. Little did I know that from this real estate transaction I would gain not only a great home, but a collection of beautiful jewelry and a lovely friend. Although I think the title, "jewelry designer" gets tossed around just a bit too often, Juliet is the real deal. Her designs have many personalities--simple and elegant, edgy and fun, totally on trend and ahead of it as well. Using precious and semi-precious gems--this is one bling I cannot seem to get enough of! I get the most compliments on it of any jewelry I wear and I have given her pieces as gifts countless times. Its a birthday tradition between my girlfriends! Her jewelry has been featured in InStyle, Seattle Bride, Lucky, Real Simple and other mags that are in the know. It is also sold at Via C at Nordstrom and several boutiques around Seattle, but a trip to her Seattle studio is one of my favorite stops. And you know what they say about jewelry and handbags.....they always fit.
Stop by Juliet's studio from 12 to 5 pm on Friday, April 16, 2010, to celebrate her 10 year anniversary, check out her new spring line, get in on some special prices on pieces normally never on sale (they don't really need to be--they are so cool they fly out the door). Details: Juliet's Studio, 150 Prospect Street, Seattle, 98109, 206-282-3300. Happy shopping girls.

jacket required

Another rainy day here in the Seattle area had a few of us talking this morning about spring coats, or lack thereof. Its a time of year where a heavier jacket or even raincoat of a darker color look just a little off. Not being a fan of the fleece wear that is around the city, I decided to embark on a search for a few more fashionable options.
The double breasted trench is on the must have lists again and I think everyone needs one. You can replace the belt that comes with the coat with a wide belt from your closet--it gives it that extra pop that makes it your own. Try a patent one with a square buckle in a fun color if your coat is classic black, gray or tan. Also, look for a shorter version, meaning above the knee so you don't look like Professor Clouseou or (gasp) frumpy. Burberry, known for their classic trench, has a zillion great styles that are fabulous and chic--knotted epaulette shoulders, satin, tiered layers, and a very fun short version. Trenches come in great colors too--get a yellow one or go for a leopard version, just get one in your closet.
The shopping website ShopStyle is one of my favorites when I am looking for a certain thing and want to check out my options. This helpful and fun site shows you whatever you are looking for and then connects you to the webiste where you can purchase. It includes sale versions of said coveted item as well. Love it!
Motorcycle jackets were big in the fall and are continuing to dominate the spring look. I have found a white leather one that I deemed not too 'Michael Jackson" and it is like butter, but is faux leather. I have a cropped black leather one I throw over everything, dresses and tshirts alike. The military jacket and the boyfriend blazer are also two of my favorites right now. I have been wearing a black and white fringed scarf I bought at H&M nonstop with all of my jackets and it adds warmth and style. Its all in the details.
Last but not least, the jean jacket and sleeveless jean vest are everywhere, although I am not currently wild about the later, I will keep you posted. I need to think about it and so far I am My collarless jean jacket by paper denim & cloth I purchased five years ago has stood the test of time & still looks fitted and a little edgy, which is maybe a good reason to not go cropped on the jean jacket.
Military, trench, boyfriend blazer, leather, motorcycle jacket--with all those great options--some for style, some for style and warmth--walk away from the fleece ladies and have some fun! xo lisa

Monday, April 12, 2010

I heart denim

I recently did a reality check clean out of all my denim, which I was embarrassed to say, is quite a collection! Two piles were made--the too tight will ruin my day pile, and the they fit right now and love pile. The pile deemed to the sidelines for now had pairs I love and have not given up hope on so they went on the bottom shelf. I know this is not just a pipe dream because I have successfully fit back into pairs before and six days a week at the gym better show something pretty soon for gods sake. Anyway, someone told me that a woman she was having dinner with recently said she was so "over denim" and she was never wearing it again. I thought that was hilarious! I mean, really? I do agree that sometimes people need to know when to wear jeans and when to maybe throw on a little dress or something fun instead, but this is really not the right time to be "over" denim. The denim trend is everywhere--and its being embraced by all sorts of designers, from one end of the spectrum to the other. Manolo Blahnik has a slingback, a ballet flat, and a suede thong sandal--all in denim for spring. Chanel has several beautiful denim bags, plus there are denim jumpsuits, dresses, shorts, leggings, I even saw a True Religion denim bikini at Nordstrom--(which means Target probably has one too--they seem to always follow up). I just purchased the JBrand denim legging with zippers at the ankle and love them. Great color and stretch. I know it has that kind of 80's feel to it, but it is on trend with an oversized white shirt or nautical stripe dolman tshirt.
Jeans can also be tricky, and there are a million different companies making them, so its a bit of a job to find what works for you, but be open minded and take the time to try on all kinds. Some brands cut in at the waist, some of them stretch quite a bit as they are worn through the day, some are made for sticks and some for curvier chicks. Go to a place where they have a big selection--I like Mercer in UVillage because they are very knowledgeable on how each brand fits and will patiently bring you tons of styles and brands until you find the right fit. Try not to get hung up on size. I have quite a range of sizes depending on the make. For me, Rock and Republic are fab but I need to buy bigger, Joes Jeans and JBrand fit me true to size, and I have to go up again with with True Religion. Who cares, as long as they fit great.
So, get a dark denim for dressier looks, skinny jeans (yes, everyone can wear them--just wear them right!), boyfriend jeans (remember a more fitted top with that looser fit), and something cropped for spring. Don't be over denim, be all over it!

Friday, April 9, 2010

the art of the deal

Last night I went to the opening party of a new boutique here in the city. It had some fun things and the owner of the shop also owns a mens and women's store next door. It would have been more fun if I had actually shopped, but I was prohibited by the hesitation of a "membership" where you coughed up $500.00 to be privy to deep discounts on regular merchandise, 50% to 70% off. And the 500 bucks is really like a grand of spending money. What's not to like, right? Its not that the lovely Alice & Olivia tops and Joes Jeans weren't tempting me, because they were. I just couldn't quite pony it up and I am not sure why. This trend in shopping memberships is popping up everywhere. You can buy a yearly card to receive things like 15% off regular merchandise for a year for anywhere from $30 dollars on up. Its exclusive, right? Or not. I guess my hesitation lies in the merchandise is not unique or plentiful enough for me, and that is just a personal thing. I have done it in the past and ended up doing that dreaded thing we all do--buying because its on sale. If I make myself ask, "Would I buy it at full price I love it so much", most of the time I'd have to say no. Plus I have ended up buying the same things over and over (see "uniform" in previous blog) just because it was such a deal. And since my friends and I all go to this shop, we all end up with the same stuff. That does not appeal either. Granted, I have used my past "membership" to buy some really great wardrobe pieces that I may not have spent the money on otherwise.
My email box fills each morning with greetings from the likes of ideeli, Gilt Groupe, Haute Look, Daily Candy and other fun, free shopping websites where there are deep discounts on designer items, furnishings, etc. You have to be quick to jump on things, like as in the minute it starts if you see a line you love. I have an iPhone app from Gilt Groupe that I can order right from my phone after I am alerted that the starting gun has gone off (oh yeah!) Ordering things from time to time, like my new Torn lizard print tee that arrived yesterday, make me feel like I am mixing it up, adding new & unique pieces, and still getting a sweet deal.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Welcome To The Neighborhood!

Welcome to my blog, west fulton street. I am ready to move the writing in my head to an actual blog, and look forward to talking about things that I love--clothes, watching street fashion, people in my world showing their sense of style, and a little of my opinion on the art of getting dressed.
I live in Seattle, where I love the fact that we have actual seasons. Its an opportunity for freshening up your closet with the changing weather and being a layering kind of girl, adding and subtracting things with the change of season (or my mood). At one time I played with the idea of becoming a closet organizer, an idea that faded as I continued to trash my own closet looking for that one favorite tee or missing scarf. After I was hit on the head by a falling boot box while dealing with my pint size 1920's closet for the millionth time--well, I gave that idea the boot itself. (Sorry, Kari. But, look, now I am doing this! :)
the uniform
Admit it. You have one. And it says something about you, whether you have it on daily or its your go-to. Is it workout clothes and a baseball hat, (whether you are on your way to Pilates or you are trying to motivate to do something--and I am sorry but it is my least favorite--get dressed people!!!), a Michael Stars t-shirt in a different color every day, or a gray sweater & jeans (ok, that might be me--but not daily). Its that comfort zone kind of dressing that is good because it makes you feel good, and its bad because you don't ever change it up. Someone asked my Mom once, that if she could have her hair be any color in the world, why on earth would she choose gray? Since being chastised for eyeing yet one more gray Vince sweater, that I didn't buy, by the way, I am vowing to make it fun more often. Be a little less gray.
shop the closet?
Last week I thought if I got one more email or pick up one more magazine with a "must have list" for spring I was going to scream, when I realized, I think I have most of the must haves floating about, I just didn't realize it. If you have been paying attention the last few years, you probably already have flats (even the now pointed toe one is back again). And wedges have been prominent for the past few years, and as my wise friend Kelly says, "Everything looks better with a wedge." And she is right. Spring scarf? Check. Shorts? If you purchased a winter pair in a seasonless fabric like I did from Anthropologie, then you can move them right into spring paired with a feminine top & tights or no tights. And again the flats or wedge.
That being said, I admit I love to shop. I love vintage jewelry & handbags, new shoes, a beautifully cut coat. It changes me. It makes me feel different to look different and I love that.
Well, that is all for today. I just wanted to start my blog. Mission accomplished for today. Hope to see you around the neighborhood. I'll be the one in that just a bit too big leopard coat. xo