Monday, August 30, 2010

forever in blue jeans

Okay, so she's in Paris. Regardless, this look is 100 percent all-American.

Like many women I know, I'm a die-hard t-shirt and jean wearer. What used to be considered "slumming it" has in the past couple decades become the quintessential day-to-day uniform. In my view, the look can be done as either fashion pyjamas, or, with the right accessories, dressed up for week day. Many a day I've shuffled into work with a modified t-shirt and jeans ensemble, girled up with heels and nice jewelry, or a classic blazer.

I'll be perfectly honest: I need another t-shirt and another pair of jeans like I need a hole in the head, or another pair of red shoes. I am always on the lookout, however, for renewed classics: updated cuts, different colors, better fits, better mousetraps. Plus, we bitches have the intention to take on a $50 outfit fashion project, so this is a good first $50 project.

I have no earthly idea what has inspired me to go looking for the perfect slouchy grey t-shirt. Maybe it's because my work wardrobe is nicely filled out while my weekend couture is seriously lacking. Perhaps it helps that so many shops are catering to this unreasonable need for new denim—here for instance is Anthropologie's "Denim Decoder" with its million be-jeansed looks. It doesn't hurt that I love taking on fashion projects, especially low-risk, low-budget ones like this. I have, for example, a long-term project that involves $30 dresses. You'd be amazed how many great dresses are out there for this guilt-free price point . . . I'll save that for another blog post.

Back to me and the unsatisfied itch and my unreasonable criteria: I want, for no good reason, the perfect slouchy grey t-shirt. I'd like a pair of perfect slouchy boyfriend jeans to go with them, but I'm not willing to pay full price for either. And when I say Perfect, I mean it: my closet is too full to put in any ill-fitting clothes. And by "not full price," I mean sale—inexpensive, but good value. The $50 price point for the outfit means I don't have to explain anything to my spouse, and we don't have to eat hot dogs.

Lots of shops I notice put the word "perfect" on their lines, so I wanted try this out to see if it really meets my standards. Does putting "perfect" on the label help me cull the herd, or does it just irritate me?

Inexpensive being my most difficult criteria, I dragged my unwilling children to me for a shopping trip to the first least common denominator shop I could think of: Old Navy.

Old Navy perfect tee

Oh how you vex me, Old Navy. This "perfect" tee looked perfect on the shelf, except that it was too slim around my big ol' arms, and a bit too blousy in the torso. Not to mention the color I was really after (the perfect shade of heather grey) was not to be found in my size anywhere in the store. I was almost willing to settle for the next best perfect color (hot pink), however, it was also not on sale. That's three in the "no" column (bad fit, wrong color, not on sale), which meant no Old Navy "perfect" t-shirt for me.

Old Navy Weekend Jean

I love pre-abused jeans. These look perfect, don't they? And at a price point of $25 on sale, they sure sounded perfect, too. Had they actually had my size I might now own a pair. Sadly, they only had one pair of the Weekend Jeans in the store, and it might have fit one of my daughters. Or not. Old Navy is kind of funny that way.

Disappointed, my only option was to keep moving up the food chain to the next best thing: the Gap, which hasn't occurred to me in a very long time. But of course I should go to the Gap for t-shirts and jeans. It's what they do best! One thing the Gap have always done in the history of being the Gap is t-shirts and jeans. And khakis. But I'm not shopping for khakis . . .

Off I went, dragging my restless young-uns on a field trip to Gap World. I promise kiddies, it will be fun! And what should greet my wandering eye at the door (after it grazed the navy wool blazers and herringbone vests)?

Gap legging jean with ankle zippers

These are not what I was looking for. They're not slouchy, they're not beat up. And yet, suddenly, I'm willing to change my goal look because (like most Gap products) these fit me. Perfectly. However, they're $69.00—kind of pricey for my project. Even so, I know from experience that the Gap is also consistent with sales: all things new eventually go on sale. Plus, the nice saleslady gave me a coupon for 40 percent off any full-priced item purchased on Wednesdays in September.

Oh. Yeah.

I almost can see my way to these because I have nothing "quite" like them in my wardrobe, and a 40 percent off sale would certainly seal the deal for me. So, while the jeans are one in the Hell Yes column and two in the not-so-fast, that means no jeans for me until next coupon day. Pout.

Gap made up for their lack of cheap denim by having perfect tees on the sale rack.

Gap Jersey v-neck tee

Gap really does not mess around with their t-shirts. Their "perfect" tees do not disappoint. I can remember a time, many eons ago, when their idea of "perfect" was not mine, but lately, they seem to stay in my closet until I kill them by wearing them to death.

I found two v-neck sun-kissed slouchy t-shirts on the sale rack in my size for $10 apiece. Perfect fit? Check. Sale price? checkity check. Perfect color? Oh yeah check me out!

I want to hate you, Gap, and your stupid perfect fitting jeans, but I cannot.

Mom, WE'RE already wearing the perfect t-shirts. When can we go for ice cream?

I know for a fact that I can spend more money on a t-shirt, and some day I'd sure like to try one of those fancy 3 Dot $40 jobs. But do I need to? Not today, when I can get instant satisfaction for $10. Okay, so it took a couple of shopping trips. But I'm all about the thrill of the hunt, me.

The jeans thing, however, is still dissatisfying. There are two Wednesdays that have to pass before I can use that coupon, and I still have no perfect jeans. So on up the food chain I go. To BCBG.

Yes, BCBG is considerably up the food chain, but my unreasonable requirement includes Perfect Fit, and in my experience, they deliver. Also, if I shop online (since I know my size), I don't have to torture my children with further trips to shopping world. They have to finish their homework, after all.

BCBG Gina Boyfriend Denim

I like nothing about these. I don't like the color, the distressing seems artificial, and the cut? The cut makes her look short, although they are on sale for $74. Woo hoo. Maybe they're better in person, when I can cuff them and slouch them—but not at that price.

BCBG distressed denim cropped

Hello, what's this! They look fitted, but not ridiculous; not too tight to be cuffed, distressed but not absurdly so, and I know my BCBG, so I have a pretty good idea of what these will look like.

Even better? They're on sale for $49 with, get this, an extra 30 percent off!

SOLD, baybee!

So that's a $10 tee-shirt plus a $35 pair of jeans - coming in pretty safely under $50. We'll try and make the next $50 project a little more challenging...

So, tell the bitches: who makes YOUR perfect t-shirt and jeans?

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Key Cargo

Oh, summer, I love it so. The bone-soothing heat, my garden abundant with bloom, the trill and swoop of hummingbirds and bees, evenings lounging in the cooling shade of the front porch while burgers and sweet corn sizzle on the grill. I love working up a lathery sweat during a mid-morning run and then dousing the flames with the icy jolt of a swim. I love the extended twilight lit evenings and the acrid scent of pine and sage in the early a.m. walks with the dogs. I love just about everything, in fact, about summer.

Except, dressing for it.

Sure, flirty skirts and silky jersey dresses will float my boat for a while, but it doesn't take long for me to get tired of what is basically an endless parade of tee shirts and sandals and sweat. Eventually, I start longing for the feel of cashmere and wool and leather against my skin.

Because I was cruising on the grogginess that comes from two day's worth of sleep-deprivation, I spent this weekend doing little else than surfing the sofa with a Housewives of New Jersey marathon and dreaming about my fall wardrobe. And, in that dreaming, decided that one of the key pieces I simply must have this season is a pair of skinny-legged cargo pants.

Why? I have no idea. That's like questioning the existence of the universe or why Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie are still together in spite of her obvious bat shit craziness and seeming inability to to quit draping her body in caftans every time she steps out in public. There is no logical reason for these things; one simply has to trust that they just are.

I do dig the "respect my authoritah" vibe she's got going on with the sunglasses, though.


Off to the 'net I went to investigate, with the plan to scout said items out in person on Monday.

The first pair I came across were these, from Macy's:

wow, she looks awesome from the waist down!

Good cut, good color, great price, but when I put them on, I discovered to my dismay that the rise was way too high. Because I am long in the body with a teensy waist and big-ass hips, I must be outfitted in a relatively low rise pant. Otherwise, I look like I've been caught stealing a watermelon, like Mischa here.

Mischa, Mischa, Mischa. Though art such a fair lass.
Whyfore then doth thou insist on making thyself look like utter crap?

Next, I skeddadled on over to Anthropologie. Yes, yes, I know we Bitches bitch often and bitch loudly about the endlessly twee, sometimes way-the-hell-overpriced, and oftentimes weirdly-fitting offerings of Anthropologie. And yesterday's visit didn't disappoint, as witness this terribly pretty dress by Moulinette Soeurs, which I just HAD to try on because, seriously, it would look totally awesome with my DKNY Travis Bickle jacket, some textured hose, and black booties.

...and it's exactly the right shade of Disney-barf print!

Alas, the thing is built for a freakin' linebacker, with a cavernous gape at the bodice and a skirt so tight, I'd have to go up two sizes to make it fit and then spend a gazillion dollars to have my tailor take in the top. For 150 bucks? Not. Worth. The effort.

Neither is this seemingly lovely confection called the Thousand and One Ways Wrap, but which requires waaaaay too much fussing and adjusting for something that, in the end, is just a sweater vest.

How about a thousand and one 'no's?

However, let me sidetrack a bit to tell you that this Dreamy Drape Dress IS all that and a bag of chips. Unfortunately, I need another jersey draped dress like I need a hole in my head, so I just walked away. Yes, I did.

Rest assured, however; I WILL be stalking this beauty on Le eBay.

So, where was I? Oh, yes. Cargoes. I went into Anthropologie to try on CARGOES.

Le sigh. I miss M.A.S.H.

First up, these J Brand Houlihan Cargos. Perfection on the bod. On the wallet? Not so much. Two hundred eighty smackers for a pair of pants? Not only is that bank-account endangering, it's also downright dumb.

These Pachacuti's were likewise very flattering (my ass actually looked, for once, like a proper runner's ass), and the price was right, but the crop fell in a weird spot at my ankle that wasn't about to work with either booties or flats.

Ass-cargos...What a concept!

Double le sigh. Looks like I was running out of options. Thankfully, however, I am easily distracted by all manner of objects and that distraction came along in the nick of time.

These Pilcro stretch cord leggings in a totally of-the-moment inky blue-grey hue and thin wale corduroy fit more like a pair of super skinny jeans and boast just the right rise for my bod to boot. The best thing about them is that they offer the slimming effect of a regular jersey legging, but with a much more substantial fabric, so that I don't have to worry about constantly tugging my tunic over my ass to cover panty lines.

These are ass-tastic!

Yes, readers, I bought them.

Soon, soon, my pretty little leggings, I'll introduce you to my suede over-the-knee boots, cashmere sweaters, school boy blazers, and vintage leopard print scarves. And all will be right with Moi's fashion world once again.

Of course, I know they're not cargoes. But they'll do until the right pair come along . . .

So, tell the bitches, what is your one (or, okay, two or three) wardrobe must-haves for fall?

Monday, August 16, 2010

jonesing out loud

Now that the days are getting a little shorter, it's time for a young girl's fancy to turn to other, more practical things. Like getting awesome deals at end-of-summer sales, and drooling over fall collections.

Bitches are always looking to update or improve on the wardrobe classics. This might or might not explain why Pirate has three pairs of red shoes in the shoe closet right now. If you, too, are looking to update, replace, or freshen up your classics, 6pm is having a sale right now on BCBGeneration items.

...and if I didn't already have 3 pair, I might have 4.

For example, those shoes are $20. Right now.

No, we are not getting paid to tell you this. Yes, there are some killer sales. I'm not kidding. Go see already!

Karen Millen has started teasing us with some fall things that Pirate will be putting on the wish list. Like this tailored jacket.
Yes I know it's a motorcycle jacket - but LOOK at it!

Karen Millen also managed to put two of Pirate's favourite things into one gorgeous item. Behold, the awesomeness that is the Draped Military Cardi.

Draped and Military - that's like putting peanut butter with chocolate. Or cherry with coke.

In fact, Moi is hugging herself silly that the military trend into which she dipped her toes last fall/winter, continues into this one. However, if only she would learn to save her pesos for one, maybe two seasonal purchases and not fritter away money here and there throughout the year on SALES, she would now be the proud owner of this lovely number, also from Karen Millen's Fall/Winter 2010 Modern Military line.

This dress certainly DOES leave one wondering just what in the heck Karen Millen does in her free time. Ah-hem.

Moi is also slavering over these here hammered silk "combat" pants, or in Brit parlance, trousers.

I hear London Calling, don't you?

At the totally opposite end of the spectrum, Moi is also Jonesing for something furry, like this faux coyote vest by Michael Kors:

Oh hush. 'Round here, they're varmints.

And she would definitely buy into Ralph Lauren's whole 2010 "Bohemian Romance" line hook, line, and sinker, if only she weren't broke, broker, and brokest.

Floaty silks and lush velvets and scrumptious cashmere, oh my!

However, since Pirate really only sees the appeal of Ralph Lauren's pants, she is instead cruising the jCrew website—trying hard not to take advantage of the extra 30 percent off sale plus free shipping over $150.

It may be 90 degrees out, but I'm sure eventually it's going to get chilly again.

As with the shoes, there is always room in the wardrobe for another cardi. Or ruffled top. Or shiny, be-ribboned necklace-y thingee.

Monday, August 2, 2010

proof that I am not a tomboy

Moi and I have been lusting over a certain pair of shoes, and I have finally bit the bullet. I own these bad girls.

When first I saw them, I admit I was overwhelmed by the proportions: that's a big-ass platform. Next to all the other shoes at the shoe store, these are enormous. They are also 100% girl: peep-toe, hot red, and a stiletto that could injure an intruder, should it be necessary to defend oneself.

On the plus side, the proportion of that platform means these big girls are way comfortable. They look like they should be excruciating, and they are not.

Hey, she's 8. She's doing her best.
Setting: Needs a good clean. Anyway.
T-shirt: Hanes
Skirt: BCBG
Necklace: Anthropologie
Shoes: Jessica Simpson "Astor"

FYI, they also look great next to a pair of cycling shoes.