Torrid Shades Of Grey

Torrid Shades Of Grey

I've been wearing a lot of white this Summer, but I think my favorite neutral is grey. Dove grey to be specific. So in putting together another outfit for the "Accessorize My Outfit with boticca.com" challenge I chose a predominantly grey palette.

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A Bright Idea

Hmm, I'm not so sure. Let's see what you think.

VMTS1

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VMTSbling

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In keeping with this month's theme this is definitely way outside of my comfort zone. The plum floral print is actually a shirt dress. It's from Express and I purchased it last year during the grand reopening of Opry Mills Mall for $17. It's 100% polyester, very unstructured, and too short - all three things I generally avoid. If I'm honest this is a "what was I thinking?" moment. Initially my intention was to wear it over a pair of pants for 40+style's fashion challenge. That was an epic fail of a look. It made me appear even shorter and rounder than I am.

On to Plan B, which is what you're seeing here. I tucked the dress into this royal blue Briggs New York pencil skirt from Ross. The colors work well together and the floral print is large but not overwhelming, but I'm not entirely convinced the shapes are complimentary. It is better sitting than standing, which is a blessing because I maneuvered through ThriftSmart in my chair. Minimal bling here; both the crystal cuff and Medic Alert bracelet were made for me by my friend Charisse. The white Not Rated oxfords are from last Summer but remain among my favorite warm weather shoes.

What do you think? Does this dress work or does it need to be evicted from my closet?

Waiting to hear from all of you lovely ladies at Visible Monday and Monday Mingle.

Second Hand Rose

This week is dedicated to hands in general and second hands in particular. The second hands of time, the second chances for a hand in Orthopaedic Therapy, and "second-hand" in its most traditional sense.

SHREseated

SHREstanding

SHRdetail

SHREjewelry

SHREshoes

I thought it would be fitting to visit Opry Mills Mall in an almost entirely thrifted outfit. Continuing with the theme of stepping out of my comfort zone I'm mixing patterns and sporting a Mandarin jacket to boot. It's a Member Ladies High Fashion (no, I've never heard of them either). I picked it up at Music City Thrift a few weeks ago and my husband thought it would look too "costumey", but I think I've proven him wrong. I paired it with this black and white mandarin collared tunic, also thrifted, no label. Both have a subtle floral pattern in approximately the same scale, which shouldn't work, but somehow does. The jeans are Nine West and also thrifted. They also happen to be my favorite pair.

The only items in the picture that aren't thrifted are the jewelry, which is from Stein Mart and my wonderfully talented friend Charisse, the argyle socks from Target, and the shoes. They seemed appropriate to the rest of the outfit and were purchased at Payless in the very same mall.

Sadly, the Mercedes I'm posing with is not mine. However, it does a good job of showing how short and petite I really am. I doubt my feet would reach the pedals. I can hardly wait for that thrilling moment when I start to shrink even further.

Playing in Patti's sandbox again for Visible Monday and Bon Bon Rose Girls for Monday Mingle.

Goodnight Moon

I'm not referring to the bedtime story.

I'm fed up with ill-fitting, unflattering jeans that are prone to exposing more than I ever intended them to. I don't mind being called "cheeky" but I don't want the nickname to be a literal comment.

You know what I'm talking about. If you have to constantly tug on your jeans because they are migrating South without taking you with them. If you're perpetually shifting in your seat in a desperate attempt to cover your ass; literally. If your pants only feel like they're pulled all the way up when you're sporting a camel toe. If you can't take a full breath without your gut spilling out of your waistband. If the prospect of bending down to pick something up off of the floor is more terrifying than a shower in prison. If you can identify with any of these statements it's time for you to admit that you're no longer the teenager most jeans are built for and marketed towards. It's time to step away from the low-rise, ladies.

For me this has been a long time coming. I thought that some significant weight loss and getting fit would resolve all my denim dilemmas. But the fact is that because I'm in my 50's my body will always be rounder and less toned than when I was 30. When I walk with my crutches I don't want to stop every 20 feet and pull my jeans up, and when I'm wheeling around I don't want to back up so far in my seat that I back out of my britches.

So I went through my closet and donated every girly, junior, low-rise, too tight in the rear, too loose in the gut pair of jeans I owned. That left very few pairs - too few by Nashville standards. At the very least I wanted to acquire a crisp, white pair and a dark wash companion.

A quick trip to the thrift stores was a waste of time. The next step up the clothing chain yielded a white and dark wash, Michael Kors and DKNY respectively. Unfortunately they didn't fit any better than the ones I had just discarded. My last resort was the Opry Mills outlet mall. I had bought jeans from some of the major names like Old Navy and Gap before. I felt confident I could just waltz in and get what I came for.

Wrong.

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The jeans that had served me well were a thing of the past. The styles that worked for me had either been discontinued or redesigned - to sit even lower on the body! Mid-rise or even natural waisted cuts seemed to have disappeared.

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You can't really see it but every Calvin Klein style in the photo above says it sits "below the waist". Now, none of us want to wear the dreaded "Mom jean" but every style I came across barely covered my assets. Okay, I had clearly outgrown the well-known brands. Time to think outside the box.

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I had never shopped at Chico's before. I thought them to be too "old" for my taste and too pricey. But the sign above pulled me into their store, and a trip to their fitting room won me over.

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Finally, denim for grown-ups! No fading, acid-washing, whiskering, or distressing. No body parts suffocated, sausage encased, muffin topped, or mooned over. Just classy jeans in a contemporary cut that fit!

They need to be hemmed, of course, even the "short" length tends to be too long for me. As far as price goes, they were buy one, get one 50% off, which made them comparable to the Gap and several other stores in the mall. I couldn't resist and promptly snatched up a white pair as well.

Goodnight, moon. Go back to the night sky where you belong. Mine will stay stylishly encased in the indigo of my new jeans.

Maxx-i-Mart-Shalling

Yes, I know it's not a real word, but it's how I save big bucks on new clothes.

Forget about the mall with it's pricey department stores. Unless I'm having a Cinderella Moment I'm not paying full price for anything I find in a major mall. The real savings are to be had in places like TJ Maxx, Marshalls, Stein Mart, and outlet malls. Of course, it's still important to be choosy because even at discount prices it's easy to break the bank. Having said that, let me show you a few recent examples of my most notable acquisitions from the outlet stores.

Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App
Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App

Let's go clockwise and start with the fuchsia print blouson dress. I bought it in May during the grand reopening of Opry Mills Outlet Mall at Express. It was already on their clearance rack at $29.99 but with the added mall promos I got it for an additional $8 off. The white dress is Solitaire by Ravikhosra from Marshall's. I wanted a lace dress and tried on several at different stores, some of them much more than I wanted to spend, but none of them were flattering. This one has more of a flare in the skirt, was a better fit all around, and at $24.99 was too good to resist. Next we have a lovely Max Studio french navy top on seasonal clearance at TJ Maxx for a whopping $6.99. Because I'm petite I'll wear it loosely belted over leggings or a pencil skirt. Last, but not least, this gorgeous empire waisted Live and Let Live multi-colored top was $11.99 from Stein Mart's clearance rack. I am admittedly biased towards that store and may do an entire post about them in the future. So let's see, by my calculations the total for all four items comes to $65.96. I don't know about you but I think that's perfectly respectable in terms of the bang-for-your-buck factor. Oh, and the bottoms in the last picture will be part of our next destination. Aren't you just dying to know where I got them? Find any great bargains like these lately you'd like to share with us?

That Cinderella Moment

Every Spashionista wants to have that Cinderella moment, the one where the handsome prince places the glass slipper on her foot and it's a perfect fit. I've had that moment, complete with handsome prince, every time I visit my friend Matthew Bretherick's shoe store. As you can see from the photo I'm a frequent visitor. Everything you see below has served me better than a coach and footman ever could - and these definitely did not turn into a pumpkin and mice after midnight.

Matty is currently the manager of a Shi by Journeys store at the Galleria Mall in Franklin, Tn, but we met several years ago while he was managing the Shi at the Opry Mills Mall. In an outlet mall filled with bargain shoe stores how do you get customers to bypass them and buy from you? How do you see to it that your store is always busy and your profits up? How do you go from managing an outlet mall store to managing the one Nashville's upper-crust and their stylists frequent?

The answer is deceptively simple. Treat your customers as if they are the most important person on the planet, because if you're in sales they are. Of course, Matty is not just a terrific salesman, he is also one of the most generous, open-hearted people I know. It doesn't matter to him that I'm old enough to be his mother and in a wheelchair, we are thick as thieves.

The ritual is always the same. We hug and catch up on life for a few minutes then Matty disappears into the back. He returns carrying many shoeboxes filled with styles he thinks I will like and can wear.  After my third or so visit not only does he remember my shoe size and favorite color, he knows my left foot is wider so it's the one I favor when trying on shoes to check for good fit. He also understands my feet don't work well in barely-there flats and I can't wear sandals or impossibly high heels - but those grey ankle boots pictured above are a dream to wear. If he doesn't have my size in a color I want he'll check for fit with a different color and have the ones I want shipped to my house. The red Frye boots are an example, and that's important to me because I find it especially difficult to find boots that fit properly. I paid full price for those boots four years ago and have never regretted it. I'd say the photo represents a  near 50-50 split of full-priced and sale-priced footwear.

There's the infamous white oxfords from Fashion Friday: American and Proud! and Red, White and Blue.

So what's the big deal? If you're a Spashionista and are lucky enough to find a Matty to help you find shoes that are not only stylish but fit you properly you are investing in clothing that works well and goes a long way towards making you look great with very little effort. If you live anywhere near Franklin, Tn it's worth you while to go see the real Matty (but, be warned, only I get to call him "Matty". You have to call him Matthew. If you call him "Matt" his Mother will not be pleased!). If not, let me know if you've found someone in your life that has proven to be your fashion angel.