Love Is Love When It Alteration Finds

Shakespeare was wrong.

No conversation about renewal and graceful adaptation would be complete without discussing the most important element of any successful wardrobe. Clothes that have been altered to fit your body like a glove. If you don't have a good seamstress you're missing out on the difference between looking good and looking great. For someone like me who is short, round, and physically limited a tailor is indispensable.

Need proof? I often need to have long sleeves shortened on coats and jackets, even if they are Petite. My grey Petite Jessica Simpson coat in Where's That Groundhog? has had the sleeves shortened by a considerable 5". Here it is before the alteration.

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So has the green jacket in Cerebral Palsy Awareness Month. I have trouble doing up buttoned cuffs so I had them removed to make it easier for me to wear.

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And this trench coat in Fashion Friday: #23 had to have 8" of sleeve shortened and the cuff reconstructed. I challenge you to see any flaw in the alteration.

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Then there are the pants that need hemming, the button-down and V-necked tops that need sewing up so I don't "burst" out of them. If I posted a picture of every garment my seamstress has made a perfect fit we'd be here all day. Instead, I'll post this one and tell you about this very special lady.

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Meet Ann Rich, proud owner of Rich's Alterations on the outskirts of Ashland City. She's been instrumental in insuring my clothes suit my particularly hard-to-fit shape for a number of years now. She knows exactly what to do to make any garment fit me like a glove.

I have yet to walk into her shop and find her relaxing with nothing to do. Although there are always lots of garments stacked up behind her counter waiting to be altered Ann always makes time to talk to me. This little wisp of a lady is smart, witty, and no-nonsense - just what I like in other people.  Every time I come in she tells me a story from her past or shares some of her views about the world that confirm my assessment.

The 81 year old has seen her share of hardships. She lost her husband years ago to pancreatic cancer and is a cancer survivor herself. But there have been lots of high points in Ann's life as well. Fourteen years ago her grandson helped her secure the space that is her shop. Those are his shirts to my right waiting to be tailored. "John's picky about how he wears his shirts," she confessed. "He brought me one that fits him just right and he wants the rest fixed up just like that one."

Have you figured out who her grandson is yet? That poster over her right shoulder with the gold record is a clue. Ann's grandson is one half of the country music duo Big & Rich. The rest of her shop walls are covered in Big & Rich swag and autographed pictures of other country music stars. What's really endearing is he helped her get into business before he made it big.  That's how much he loves his Grandmother. That's really saying something.

I owe him a debt of gratitude for it. Now I know if I find a piece I really love that doesn't quite fit chances are Ann Rich can make it look like it was made for me. She enjoys her life and her work, and she likes me because I'm "so colorful".

Rich's Design & Alterations is located at 1100 N Main St  in Ashland City, Tn. Her number is 615 792-1234.

Do you have a tailor you go to regularly to have your clothes altered? If not, why not?

Fashion Friday: The Play's The Thing

With any luck, sometime this weekend I will be attending a performance of my favorite  Shakespearean play, MacBeth, by the Nashville Shakespeare Festival. Who could resist playing dress up to watch the Scottish power couple's witty repartee?

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Admittedly, this outfit is as over-the-top as Lady MacBeth's soliloquy - very Rachel Zoe meets Ziggy Stardust. I'm not even going to bother posting prices for this outfit. Chances are good you can't afford these labels. But you can afford a good, straight-legged pair of red wool trousers like the ones pictured. Pair it with a black sequined sweater. If you can't find one, sequined tanks are everywhere. Buy a black one and wear it over a black sweater. Just make sure the necklines coordinate with each other. Don't have a white feathered stole handy? Go for a cape or faux fur jacket. A coat would ruin the proportions here so stick with shorter outerwear.

To further gild this lily take note of the strong, graphic bangle. This one is Marc by Marc Jacobs but any chunky, funky bracelet will do. The same goes for the Unsigned bead and rhinestone choker. I chose to stick with red in honor of Mrs Mac, which is why I selected these fabulous Blink Silass ruby ankle boots. They are very similar to my leopard wedge Sugar boots from Shi, and at $70 are the least expensive items in this outfit. Add a little textural interest with a black lace clutch like this one by Dolce & Gabbana. You can ride around in your crimson carriage in royal style!

If you're good next week I may post what I plan to wear, weather permitting, if I go. It won't be this flashy, I promise you it won't be low-key, either!

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

Fashion Friday: Sugar Coat-ed

Got the winter doldrums? Then cure them with a stroll in the park and a pop of color.

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Winter wardrobes are all too often as dreary as the weather. The antidote is strategic use of color. Unlike last week's Fashion Friday, this week a little color goes a long way.

Start with the basics, black jeggings and a white cowl neck merino wool sweater. Both can be had very affordably from a multitude of places. The black microfleece gloves from dorothyperkins.com are only $5. The boots are Timberland Authentics Teddy fleece  fold-downs. They're warm and easy to walk in and list for $88 on zappos.com. The hobo bag is a black multi diamond stud for $40 from newlook.com.

Now for a little color. Who could resist this Planet Ruby Port pea coat in - what else - purple? It sells for $95 at johnlewis.com. How about a Hollister Co winter scarf in emerald, 2013's color of the year?  It'll set you back $30. Finally, the chevron crew socks from Target are only $8. You're all set to brave the elements in style with your Nova Cruiser Deluxe walker.

Spashionistas Wanted

The outfits that I put together for Fashion Friday are based on my BODS profile. Sure, some of the items I use are beyond my price range but I’m certain I can find reasonable equivalents within my budget. I would love the opportunity to put some together for you for the next installment of Fashion Friday. If you’re interested email me with your BODS profile and we’ll make it happen!

2013: Shop Smart, Stay Fit, Get Noticed, Be Fabulous

These are my personal resolutions for 2013.

Sick of the "r" word already? You'd be in good company. Statistics show that by January 20th 92% of us will have abandoned our lofty aspirations to settle for another year of disappointment.  The main reason being that most people set impossibly lofty goals for themselves, which does little more that sabotage any chance they may have of succeeding.

The goals I set for myself in 2013 are nothing more than a continuation of what I started in 2012. The only difference being I now have my readers to hold me accountable.

This year more than ever I'm going to be very choosy, and hopefully savvy, about what I buy. I did a little post-holiday shopping and managed to score several tanks and tunics at 60-80% off, including several in 2013's color of the year, emerald green.  I also found some great and distinctive looking summer converse lo-tops for 50% off.  I'll show you my purhases as the weather permits my wearing them. But my best find by far is pictured below.

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When you see a sign that says, "Final, Final, Final Clearance" you don't just walk away from it! I got a pair of fisherman's cable ivory boot socks, two pairs of violet knee socks, and one pair of raspberry tights for $8. The tights are control top so I can work towards my "stay fit" resolution - which we'll talk about later this month - every time I put them on (which will be a 20 minute aerobic workout).

There is a world of difference between being resolute and being perfect. Perhaps this is why people give up on resolutions so easily. They either expect perfection from themselves or from the circumstances around them. I have news for you. You aren't perfect, and the road to seeing your resolutions through to fruition isn't, either. In the end it all comes down to what you're willing to do; your resolve to resolve your own problems. However, just because you have to do the heavy lifting doesn't mean you have to do it without a spotter. I'm committed to lending my support and encouragement to any of you that need it. All you have to do is ask.

What are you going to accomplish in 2013, and how can I help?

'Tis The Season

For shopping intelligently and giving generously. Let's talk about some great deals and perfect presents.Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App As you know I did venture out on Black Friday. I have a definite plan - to hit several discount stores and head straight to their clearance racks. Aside from the already great deals on Black Friday offers, clearance racks are great place to shop on that day. Retailers are anxious to get rid of their clearance stock to make room for seasonal clothing. Stein Mart's clearance rack yielded a Calvin Klein oxblood studded tank from one of these racks for $5. I also bought a pink leatherette jacket that was on sale for 40% off, making its final price $22. I raided the clearance racks in several other stores and found a black studded tank and a solid pink tank for $7 and $5 respectively. I also found a wool blend black, gray and pink sweater for under $20. When it was all said and done I had five items of clothing for under 70 dollars. Not a bad day's haul. Uploaded from the Photobucket Android App Over the years I have taken good care of my clothes. Even before the flood thinned out my wardrobe  I have been good about gifting or donating garments that no longer fit me. Rarely do I hang on to an item for sentimental reasons but, as I was going through my closet about a month ago, I came across the first leather jacket I ever owned.  A beautiful red jacket from Petite Sophisticates, it has been with me for the better part of 10 years. Alas, the jacket is a Medium and my bust can no longer be accommodated by anything that small. Nobody within my circles of friends was small enough to wear it, but I hung onto it hoping to find a perfect new owner for it. Then I remembered my new adopted "Little Sister" Glenda Watson Hyatt. Like me, she is petite, has Cerebral Palsy, and she lives in Canada so she would get many opportunities to wear the jacket. On a whim I asked her if I could send it to her. She consented and the jacket is a perfect fit on her. It made me feel great to see a wonderful jacket being appreciated all over again by someone new. Glenda

She rocks it well, don't you think? More importantly, she makes me so happy I hung onto it, because it's obvious the universe meant for her to have it. Giving, especially on this level, from one friend to another, is every bit as gratifying as receiving.

Have you hung onto something valuable just for it's own sake? Is it time to find a dear friend, or make a new one, to give it to?

Santa Baby

Yes, I'm going there! But this one needs a bit of personal backstory.

This blog is only the latest in a series of subjects I have pursued over the years. Before I started Spashionista Report I was involved with the longest running guitar podcast called Six String Bliss. I became a member of their community because my husband was featured on one of their episodes for his boutique pickups. I stayed because they're an incredibly nice community of guitar players. I ended up being their "Bliss Army General", closing out each show with a listener-submitted song and co-hosting a theme oriented album podcast twice a year.

I've always been a frustrated musician - my palsied hands just won't allow me to play an instrument consistently well. Not long after joining the SSB community I became friends with recording wiz Jan Buchholz who introduced me to a program called Reason by Propellerhead. It allows you to modify MIDI files or actually draw in notes voiced by different instruments of your choosing. I could finally make music!

So I did. for about 5 years I contributed to the Six String Bliss albums that I also produced. Not every track made the album, and Santa Baby is one that I did all by myself and reserved to play for the week of Black Friday/CyberMonday. Hubby compiled the video for me - he's very good at that. I know it's over-the-top-campy but I hope you enjoy it.

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Now get back to your holiday sales. I scored ridiculously well on Black Friday. What about you? Did you brave the crowds or stay home to shop online?