Are you like me and find yourself turning to seasonal uniforms, fashion-wise? My cold-weather go-to outfit is a black turtleneck with boots and jeans. Boring but classic, I guess. As temperatures start rising, the turtlenecks get folded up and the boots get cleaned and stored and it’s time for capri pants. I remember 10 years ago or so when capris went mainstream again, invoking days of Grace Kelly/Jackie Kennedy sophistication instead of the dowdy and baggy gardening attire they’d become in the past couple decades. “I could never wear these new capris,” I remember saying then. “They’re only for young girls with good legs.” Today, of course, young girls with good legs wear short shorts and us moms and grandmoms gratefully have made capris our No. 1 summer basic. I love how they’re cool and comfortable but still allow me to sit and bend and move around without fear of … well, exposure. Unlike shorts, you know. But capris are not trouble-free. The problem is finding ones that fit and flatter your legs as well as your middle. Not easy. If the leg openings work, chances are the waistband won’t. And vice versa. And if you find the perfect fit, it’ll be in lime green or electric turquoise blue or some other tropical color that in the store you can talk yourself into thinking you’ll wear all summer but really you wear them only once to the neighbor’s cookout and then never again. That’s why I felt as if I’d hit the jackpot when I recently found two perfect pairs of capris. I had been on the lookout because my only wearable pair of denim capris — hand-me-ups from one of my daughters — had moved from the “wear only at home” category to the “wear only when doing yard work” category. And you can’t get through summer in Alabama without denim capris. Luckily, I scored at Belk’s with a pair of dark denim (Ralph) Lauren Jeans Co. The rise is high enough to prevent muffin tops but low enough not to be matronly. The other pair is a lightweight denim from Gap. It’s a Limited Edition with a lower waistband and slash pockets that I’ll take out and sew shut for a smoother line. So I’m all set — except today it’s sort of cool and rainy and makes me think I need boots and turtlenecks again.
When my two now-20-something-year-old daughters were younger, Old Navy was Clothing Central. We could find whatever we needed there for all three of us: School clothes, T-shirts and shorts for summer, jeans, jackets and even work basics for my office. Lately though, I’ve been disappointed. I don’t know if we’ve changed or Old Navy has, but I’ve walked out empty-handed most times I’ve gone in recently — if I even went in. With grandson Capt. Adorable’s arrival almost 13 months ago, however, Old Navy has regained its top spot for family fashion. I bypass everything else and head straight back to the baby-boy corner, where shirts and shorts like these are off the cute-0-meter. And cheap. In size 12-18 months, each of these pieces was about $12. I think Capt. Adorable’s going to be the best-dressed toddler at the playground. And of course, on my way out of the baby-boy section, I just happened to spy these blouses for me. Perfect! They’re lightweight and fitted just like I want button-up blouses to be and they give winter-weary closets some of that cheerful color warm-up we’re all craving right now. At $25 each, they come in literally a rainbow of shades. Hard to choose — I may have to go back for more. Check them out also at http://oldnavy.gap.com/.
Welcome to day No. 4 of A Week of Spring. Before I became a grandma to a darling baby boy, I thought little girls’ clothes were the cutest. Not so! Little boys are right up there fashion-wise, especially when it comes to spring style. I absolutely adore these pink and green madras shorts with the pink grasshopper-print polo shirt and the blue and brown board shorts paired with the colorful T-shirts, all in size 18-24 months from Baby Gap. I can’t wait until it’s warm enough for my 1-year-old grandson, Capt. Adorable, to run around in these. He is going to rock the playground. Come back tomorrow for day no. 5 in A Week of Spring.
Oh, Michelle! Thank you for being such a class act in representing American women as you accompany your husband to London for the G20 summit meetings. You understand that in your position image is so important and you wore your favorite creative and entrepreneural American fashion designers — Isabel Toledo and Jason Wu — and fresh and springlike sparkles and mint green from classic icon J. Crew. You have been graceful and gracious, respectful and confident, strong and kind. You combine high-style with American frugality and your own sense of playfulness. You embody the best of what we want to be — what we imagine we ourselves could be … if only. You inspire and motivate. We have only one question: Can we go shopping with you?
Oh, yes — come to mama! Never mind that a recent Facebook quiz pegged me as classic ballet-flat-wearing. (Read “boring.”) When I saw these shoes at our local mall earlier this week, I had the classic symptoms of shoe lust: Sweaty palms, increased heart rate, rapid breathing. Or maybe that was from the burrito I’d just eaten. Doesn’t matter. I fell in love with almost every pair of these totally inappropriate and probably wildly uncomfortable shoes. And actually, I believe I had a pair exactly like the bright and shiny pink pumps about 20 years ago — didn’t we all? Sadly, common sense prevailed and I moved on empty-handed. But I can’t get those purple python platforms out of my head. And those brown strappy sandals. And the animal-print pumps. So take that, stupid classic-ballet-flats Facebook quiz.
I usually am so happy to see the Anthropologie e-mails in my inbox. I love Anthropolgie, especially in the spring, when everything is fresh and cheerful and colorful and pretty. So all I can say today is, “Why, Anthropologie? Why? At a time when everybody’s counting pennies and sales are dropping and people want feminine and sweet and classic, why oh why are you featuring the horror of harem pants on your site?” Or am I missing something? Is this the fashion wave of the future? I know that harem pants were the darling of the spring fashion shows this past September, but I so thought we had all agreed that that was just designers having fun and we normal regular people knew better. And, besides, haven’t we done harem pants already? And weren’t they disasters every time? So why, oh why, are we trying again???
It’s almost 70 degrees here in Alabama this afternoon. Sun shining. Blue sky. Even though it’s deceptive and temporary, you do sort of feel that spring may be coming after all. Good thing I grabbed these sandals at TJ Maxx this past week, ’cause once the weather starts to warm up the cute sandals go fast. Summer ’08 was rough on my sandal collection — my most treasured black and my favorite brown pairs had to go. And it was time, I admit, but still sad. And scary, too, as in, “I wonder if I’ll be able to replace them?” Since I’m picky about sandals — no flip-flopping sounds (I like only my flip-flops to flip-flop), no sounds of any kind and comfort, comfort, comfort (cuteness goes without saying) — it’s hard to find what I want. Luckily, TJ’s was there for me yet again, solving a fashion problem at a super price. Of course, sometimes shoes do turn on you and what you thought would be the perfect pair turn out not to be after all, but I have high hopes for these. We’ll see.
Surprise! I found Michelle Obama lurking in my closet. Okay, not her, really, but this pink wool coat-and-dress I’d bought two or three four or five years ago from a clearance rack at a local department store that since has been consumed by a larger department store. I don’t remember how much it was but I do remember thinking it was a great deal for two pieces. My two practically-grown daughters, however, were horrified that I’d even brought it home. After I looked at it more critically, I saw their point that maybe perhaps it was too Queen Mum in a scented-handkerchief grandmotherly sort of way. However, after the First Lady’s gorgeously stunning lemongrass wool-lace outfit on inaugural day, I’m thinking that maybe my somewhat sparkly pink version isn’t so bad. But would people think I was copying her if I wore it as is to church this morning? Maybe I should break the pieces up, say, by hearing the coat with a soft pink turtleneck and pants. I could also put a turtleneck under the sleeveless sheath dress, or maybe a white collared blouse, and belt the dress. Hmm … some exciting potential here … like anything is possible …
After yesterday’s inaugural, everyone seems ready for the new and the fresh. And what place is more fun to start that in your closet? I know, I know — we’re still paying off winter’s bills and there’s plenty of cold and blustery weather to come, but at www.anthropologie.com, spring has sprung. I especially love the “Winter’s Building Blocks — From the Ground Up” feature at the Web site, which details several wear now/wear later outfits with a cute sort of architecture theme. This pretty cardigan paired with a luscious sherbert-colored blouse and neutral skirt looks very Michelle Obama to me.
With the ceremonies out of the way in a couple hours, tonight we’ll be watching the inauguration balls and catching glimpses of Obama style, the formal version. The gold coat and dress Michelle Obama is wearing today is gorgeous and I can’t wait to see her gown. But at least here in the South, shopping for spring prom dresses as already started as moms and daughters hit the stores on these cold and dreary winter days — sharing dressing-room space with June brides and bridesmaids. With two dress-up-loving daughters, I’ve had many seasons of formal shopping — some more successful than other. My advice? Wear comfortable clothes, have water and aspirin with you and bring plenty of Kleenex. If this store window in downtown Florence, Alabama, in any indication, simple and elegant gowns in jewel tones are going to be popular this year — I love how the colors glowed in the night lighting. It’ll be interesting to see if any inaugural trends show up at prom. Stay tuned!