When Bad Things Happen to Good Sweaters

This looks like a cute and perfectly basically simple purple sweater, doesn’t it? It’s from Cynthia Rowley, known for her free-spirited ladylike style, and Younger Daughter grabbed it with delight as we were picking through a TJ Maxx clearance rack. The front of this sweater looks as if it’s saying, “Put me on with a pair of jeans and killer boots and let’s have a great Sunday afternoon just kickin’ around.” It’s casually cool, which pretty much describes Younger Daughter. She was grinning as she placed her find in our cart. But then she picked the sweater back up, looking puzzled. Because she’d gotten a good look at the back, which looks as if it’s saying, “I used to be a super hero entitled to full-cape privileges but then got demoted to merely super assistant. Plus, my back is cold.”

Always optimistic, however, Younger Daughter tried the schizophrenic sweater on and and it fit perfectly. Always willing to ruin new clothes by trying to rework them attempt alterations on my own, I offered to take it home and attack it with scissors fix it. Some careful trimming made it more wearable. But now when I watch Ms. Rowley on “24 Hour Catwalk,” I’m just sort of thinking, “Really, Cynthia? You don’t like that designer’s pink feathered-and-satin top with the velvet bows? Because I’ve seen what you do like, and honestly, I wouldn’t be so quick to judge.” And speaking of “24 Hour Catwalk,” can we somehow A) buy hairbrushes for Ms. Rowley and Alexa Chung — and demonstrate how to use them and B) ask Ms. Chung to please maybe wear clothes that fit and have some relevance to what normal 21st-century women actually wear — or, if not, to stop talking about designers creating clothes that fit and have some relevance to what normal 21st-century women actually wear. Two-facedness Schizophrenia apparently is rampant.

Pirates Don’t Wear Pink Flowers

As much as I adore 3-year-old grandson Capt. Adorable’s  wardrobe — cute cargo shorts, precious polos, oh-so-adorable blue jeans — I think that having a baby-girl granddaughter to dress up in clothes such as these would be fun, too.  I mean, who else but a granddaughter can you talk  into wearing bright-pink flowers, yellow kitty cats and a riotous mixture of vintage-style prints? With ruffles? The Captain does have long gorgeous blond curls and he has put on my boots and clomped around the house, but he draws the line at pink flowers and yellow kitty cats. And, admittedly, he likes my boots because he then goes around brandishing a pretend sword and muttering “arrrr” in a spot-onl Jack Sparrow imitation. He would not be interested at all in these darling outfits by The Whimzy Barn I found at the Green Market arts and crafts show in Corinth, Miss., that’s held every month in historic downtown.  Check it out — it’s a great place to shop for young pirates as well as sweet little girls.

P.S. This is a great discussion in light of the controversy surrounding the pink-toenail-polish J Crew ad. Look, we all know that there isn’t a mom around who hasn’t at least thought about “prettying-up” her little boy. In the ad photo (which is a real mom and her child), it’s obvious that the mom and her son love each other and are having a great time. Why this strikes fear into some people’s hearts, I have no idea.

Shopping for late summer/early fall

The air’s a little cooler, the shops are a little fuller, the clothes are a little cuter … what’s a girl to do but add to her wardrobe?

And if you’re my husband, stop reading right now. There’s nothing here for you to see. Nothing at all.

Is he gone? Okay – here’s the report on some early fall shopping I did around the Shoals in the last couple days.

A comfy knit Lily dress in cool fall colors.

A comfy knit Lily dress in cool fall colors.

First, a new boutique called Lynda’s Loft is open on Woodward Avenue in Muscle Shoals, Mondays-Saturdays from 9:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. (4 p.m. on Saturdays). It’s owned by two friends named Lynda/Linda and has been open a week or so — and most of Muscle Shoals has gone to visit. You’ll find Kenzie separates, Lily dresses (like the one I bought, pictured left), embellished T-shirts and It jeans (which are about $75) as well as Alabama/Auburn wear, chunky bead jewelry, handbags and a line of bath and skin products. 

A cute coffee-themed long-sleeved T-shirt and cardigan. Who could resist? Not me!

A cute coffee-themed long-sleeved T-shirt and cardigan. Who could resist? Not me!

Prices were moderate — not scary at all. I especially liked that there were neutral basics of skirts, linen jackets and white button-down blouses — perfect for mixing-and-matching a stylish coordinated work wardrobe.

 

Then, today I went to Audie Mescal in Tuscumbia. Leslie Cassady, the owner of this upscale yet affordable boutique, does such a super job of finding creative and wearable pieces — and she knows how to put them together.

Three tops for early fall.

Three tops for early fall.

She sells Kenzie, Velvet and other fun lines as well as jewelry, shoes and under pieces (I just can’t say “underwear” in public!) I bought three versatile tops that will perk up my work-at-home wardrobe of jeans but I can still wear them with nicer skirts and pants for church and dressing up. The Velvet green with navy-gray embroidery is a thick knit that will also be great for next spring with white pants. The Kenzie black T-shirt with a big button at the neckline looks tres sophisticated with a simple five-year-old knit black skirt I’ve got. (I threw that “five-year-old” part in in case my husband’s still reading — See how frugal I am, dear???) And I can’t wait to wear the Ivy Jane silky scarf-print top with jeans — it seems very French to me, although all I know about France is they smoke a lot there and don’t like Americans. I also bought an adorable dip-dyed brown puffed-sleeve Kenzie dress with neckline embellishment.

I love this Kenzie dress!

I love this Kenzie dress!

When I first tried it on, I put it in the “no” pile since it was a little short. But I loved it, and Leslie suggested pairing it with opaque tights and a lightweight long-sleeved T-shirt for fall. Bingo! Thanks, Leslie, for helping me spend my money! I don’t know why this style dress as well as the pullover Lily I got at Lynda’s works for me — usually non-stick-skinny women like me need more structure in dresses, such as those with higher waists that sort of skim over my ample bottom half. But sometimes loosely-shaped styles fit well and disguise lumps and bumps, so I hit the jackpot here with these two. It works that way sometimes — I’ve got a couple of knit black pullover dresses with ruching along the waists that do a great job of hiding trouble spots, although on hangers they don’t look as if they’d be flattering at all. Bottom line (sorry for the pun): Always try on. You never know what will work.