Sunday, October 30, 2011

A Lazy (Wo)man's Non-Committal Halloween Costumes

If you're like me, you may not have invested a whole lot of advance thought and/or preparation into your Halloween costume.  The tough part about this time of year is that a costume is often required (or at least strongly encouraged) if you're planning on socializing this weekend.  What is a procrastinator to do?

Well, I went out for a bit of Halloween revelry last night.

(Candy corn jello shots!  Those of you follow me on Twitter have already seen this.  Recipe here, just pour in shot glasses.)

While out and about, I noticed quite a few easy, last-minute costumes requiring minimal preparation, effort, or supplies.  (If you're interested in something more respectable, check out Jess's costume series here.)  Since there are still a few Halloween party days left, I figured I'd share the inspiration in case you too are homebound for lack of a non-committal costume.

Mary, from There's Something About Mary, post-"hair gel"

All you need to make this one work is some hair gel!

Angry Birds (out of umbrellas and construction paper)

To emulate the angry birds, grab a red, white, green, blue, yellow, or black umbrella.  Cut out the facial features of the birds or pig in construction paper (you just need eyes, beak/nose, and eyebrows).  Open your umbrella and then glue the body parts onto the front/top/center of the umbrella.  That way, the open umbrella looks like an angry bird face.  Bonus points for dressing in the color of your bird/pig/umbrella, but this is not required.

It was cold and rainy in DC last night, so this costume was not only easy but also weather-appropriate!


Attach a lime to a hat.  Wear the hat.  You are sub-lime!  Get it?

Occupy Wall Street

There are a few ways to pull off the Occupy Wall Street ("OWS") class of Halloween costumes in an easy way.  OWS, for those who are in the dark, is meant in part to draw attention to the disparity in wealth between the wealthiest 1% of the world and everyone else.

a)  Go as an OWS protestor.  Wear warm clothes and make an angry cardboard sign.

b)  Go as the other 1%.  Dress in something fancy.

c)  Go as the 1%. . .milk.

(I'm wearing this flannel dress, which is so amazingly comfy that I have lived in it for two weekends in a row.  I'm usually a medium in UO clothes, but I sized up to a large in this dress.  Also, it's a bit too short to wear as a dress, but it's heaven-on-wheels with leggings/jeggings.)

(My sign was pulled from this picture.)  I'd been planning to dress in white (like milk), but it was just too cold and wet outside for my white clothes and the only way I could get myself out the door was if I promised my body that it could wear flannel and jeggings.  Hey, I already said this was the lazy woman's guide.

Also, if you have a gang of friends and a scary number of muppet costumes laying around, you could recreate the Occupy Sesame Street memes floating around the internet:

(Spotted at Dan's Cafe.  Quite an amazing thing to see when you first walk into a bar.)


Wear vintagey, conservative clothes and a cloche of some kind.  Carry a sign or wear a sash proclaiming "Votes for Women"!  Stylish AND politically-minded!

A Dark and Stormy

Wear all black, then pin a cut-out cloud (or lightening bolt) to your shirt.

Wilson from Home Improvement

Carry a board or piece of cardboard drawn on to look like a fence segment.  Wear a khaki hat and whatever else you want.  When someone asks you what the deal is with the board, hold it up to cover half your face.  Brilliant.  One and done.

Happy All Hallows Eve Eve!

Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Funday: Frighteningly Sexy

What is it about Halloween that inspires so many "sexy" costumes for women?  While most male costumes seem either funny or scary, female costumes skew decisively towards the revealing.

My favorite part about shopping for Halloween costumes each year is viewing a fresh crop of Sexy-Gone-Wild outfits.  By this I don't mean the costumes that are particularly titillating, but rather the pieces that make you think, "Really?  Are we calling this sexy now?"

Here are a few of my favorites this year:

1.  Sexy Unsexy Animals

I fail to even see the innuendo here.  Sure, a shark will "eat" you, but they will literally tear you into shreds and devour you.  Moreover, sharks have very sharp teeth and probably smell fishy.  Someone help me on this one?  Or am I over-thinking this and we're just supposed to focus on her butt?

Again, color me confused.  Sexy = spraying a stinky liquid and running away?  Do we have such an accurate a low opinion of one night stands?

2.  Sexy Disturbed Entities

This feels like an affront to the entire Zombie industry.

I think the only thing sexier than painful dismemberment is anything except painful dismemberment.

This costume is called "Anita Sedative."  Get it?  Yes, involuntary sedation of the mentally ill is pun-worthy now.

Who doesn't love a bit of military-sponsored genocide?  What's that you say?  Nobody likes that?  You are correct.  
(Thanks for the joke structure, Tina Fey)

3.  Sexy Food Products
(do men dress up as anything but bananas and beers?)

4.  Miscellaneous Sexy Inanimate Objects

Because there's NOTHING sexier than a 17% interest rate!  She's a grower, not a shower!  ...Wait a minute.

Extra filthy dirty.

Every caption I came up with for this costume was horrifically inappropriate and involved variations of "frigid," "wet," and "orifice."  Mix and match these terms to make your own description and save me the hate mail!

Sure, hook up with her, but you're just going to be horny again an hour later.

Have you spotted any completely off-the-wall "sexy" costumes this year? 

On that note, what are you dressing up as this Halloween?  Anything from the list above?  I think I'll be a sexy roulette table!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

OOTD: Shameless Emulation

Guess who gets triple inspiration points for this outfit?  Yep, that would be Lisa.

1.  Lisa also owns this skirt, and she has totally rocked it on many occasions (see e.g., here and here).

2.  Lisa owns Anthro's "Botanist Heeled Loafers," which are gorgeous (albeit HIGH) and were the impetus behind my getting these shoes from Urban Outfitters (see here).

3.  Lisa paired her gray loafers with her Banana Republic skirt and I LOVED it (see here).

Hence, this outfit.

I've experimented with this Orange + Chartreuse citrus parade before (here) and I love it.  What can I say, bright things make me happy!  The nice thing about this outfit was adding some gray elements to tone down some of the color.

This top was a recent Urban Outfitters sale purchase and I'm extremely happy with it.  Although the crotchet work is delicate, the color is delicious and the details make it feel like a much more expensive top than it is ($30 here!).
In this Outfit:
Anthro Shadowsleeve Cardigan (M)
UO Tikirani Chrocheted Camisole (M) ($30 here)
Banana Republic Skirt
Kate Spade "Lay in Lavender" Bangle (nearly identical here)
Elephant on a Ball Necklace by Miss November Studio via Etsy (here)
Anthro Jellybean Drop Earrings
UO Kimchi Blue Woven Heel Oxfords (9, TTS) ($59 here, only in cognac size 9)
Fossil Watch

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

OOTD: Bursting at the Seams

Weight loss update:  I haven't lost any.  In fact, I think I gained a pound since my post about this subject a few weeks ago.  I'm not really trying...I dunno.  I need to find some motivation somewhere.  Perhaps it's in my closet?

See, this dress has always been a smidge small --- it's a size four when I'm usually a size six --- but it still miraculously, albeit barely, fits me.

Generally, I try to wear clothes that are comfortable, even if I weigh a bit more than I'd like.  I don't think that squeezing into a too-tight clothes is good for your self-esteem.  Geneen Roth has a great observation about this; she says that wearing clothes that are uncomfortably tight has a way of constantly making you feel inadequate in your body.  This mentality isn't good for you.

Regardless, I put this dress on because it's cute.  And it still zips.  And it's good to be gently reminded occasionally of the spectacular collection of pretty things I own IN MY SIZE.

So, you know, I'd kind of like to stay that way.
In this Outfit:
Anthro Blooms Upon Snow Cardigan (M)
Anthro Fifth Form Shift
Naughty Monkey "Walk the Talk" Pumps (9.5) (thrifted!)
Coach Legacy Stripe Ring
Anthro Tinsel Necklace
Anthro After the Rain Earrings
Fossil Watch

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

OOTD: Feedback Loop

I love everything about the way this outfit came about.

First, I saw Laura wear the Great Dots Maxi Dress here many months back.  It looked so cute on her that the dress wound up on my radar.  When it got a second cut down to $40 a few weeks later, I couldn't resist buying it.

Recently, I wore it on my blog here.  After that, in a convenient but unrelated series of posts, the incomparable Kristina J. explored ways in which to wear your maxi skirt/dress in autumn (see e.g. here).  Around that time, fabulous reader Erin sent me a photo of her own styling of this dress for fall.

When I posted this outfit last week, I mentioned feeling as though the dress didn't really translate for work.  However, Kristina and Erin's autumn (and work-appropriate!) interpretations of this dress in turn inspired me to try styling this dress for work following Erin and Kristina's examples

I think having some kind of cropped layer is an almost-surefire way to keep the proportions of the maxi dress in check.  For example, witness how weird this looks:

FYI:  I ended up changing coats.

So, in sum:  Proportions.  Layering.  Make it happen.
In this Outfit:
Anthropologie Great Dots Maxi Dress (6)
J.Crew Haberdashery Shirt
Anthropologie Pullover (S)
Payless Magenta Pumps (9)
Earrings via Gilt
Coach Ring
Bijoux Watch (purchased on a cruise ship)
Necklace (gifted, garage-saled)

PS:  Let me tell you an awesome story about these pumps.  I bought them years ago at Payless and I have loved them.  They're comfy, they're classy, and they're surprisingly versatile.  Sadly, they started falling apart this year, so I planned to get rid of them and replace them with a new pair (was eying these), but I wasn't thrilled with the price tag on the shoes I was finding online.

Then I went thrifting last weekend, and what did I find staring at me on the shoe rack but THESE SAME PAYLESS SHOES in exactly my size and in barely worn condition!  YESSSSS.

These shoes and I are clearly sole-mates!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Use it or Lose it OOTD: Purple People Eaters

Guys, this outfit?

Kind of made me feel like a rockstar.

I guess it's hard to go out on a Saturday night wearing neon green and purple leopard-print shoes and a party dress WITHOUT feeling like a rockstar, but still.  I almost gave up and relegated these shoes exclusively to October 31st, but I'm glad I gave them a shot.

The best part about wearing these shoes for a night out on the town is their awesome peacocking effect.  Everywhere I went, people wanted to talk to me about my shoes.  This was a great filter for people, because the only folks who found these shoes buzz-worthy were exactly the kind of people that you would want to have a random conversation with on the metro, street, or in a bar. 

Even though I went out by myself, these shoes constantly kept me in the action.  A random guy even stopped me on the street just to tell me I was a "stone cold fox."  Who'd have thought these bizarre pumps would be such a confidence-builder?

Use it or Lose it?  I've gotta use them, if only because nobody in their right mind would buy these in my blogsale.  They're not particularly comfortable in the long haul (I think they're made of plastic), but they're perfect for a few hours of fun.  (Bonus:  our party site in Columbia Heights, Meridian Pint, operates free pedicab service on weekends, so I didn't even have to walk the four [sketchy] blocks back to the metro!  WIN!)

Also, I sprung for this book clutch over the weekend in Kate Spade's Friends and Family sale (I also bought an iPhone case and a backup iPhone case because...did I mention I got a new iPhone 4s?!).

I've only gone out with it once, but there was enough room for my cards, my phone, my kindle, my key, and a few small bits of makeup.  I actually loved holding gave me something to do with my hands at the bar when I wasn't holding a drink!

I almost left it behind because (embarrassing admission) I have never read Pride & Prejudice.  I figured maybe I should wait until Kate Spade came out with a clutch in a book I actually loved.  But the sales associate told me a story that sealed the deal:  she loved the book The Great Gatsby, but was underwhelmed with the appearance of Kate Spade's Great Gatsby book clutch.

It made me realize that I should really go with the color scheme and design I loved...and when I held this clutch in the mirror, I let out an audible and totally inadvertent whimper.  It was love.  And for 30% off---and considering the fact that I haven't seen any iterations of this clutch go on sale yet, nor are they any less expensive on eBay---it seemed worth the splurge.

<3 everything about this outfit, basically.

In this Outfit:
Dress via Marshall's
Anthro Shadowsleeve Cardigan (M)
Kate Spade Pride & Prejudice Book Clutch (here)
Anthro High Gloss Belt (M)
Kate Spade "Lay in Lavender" Bangle (similar here)
Necklace via Eastern Market in D.C. (similar here---but be careful, the purple color can stain your skin!)
TUK Pumps
Anthro Earrings
Fossil Watch

Sunday, October 23, 2011

I got an iPhone 4s!

After months of having a crappy pre-paid phone, it's nice to have a smartphone with a REAL web browser, games, and useable features.  In my six months without an iPhone, I realized that I would gladly pay someone $3 a day to have one, so the decision to buy a new one once a few of my paychecks cleared was an easy one.  I've had it for five days and it's been worth the $3 a day!

I'm very unhappy with the battery life, but I'm hoping my rapidly decreasing battery (sometimes I lose as much as 10% in an hour of idle-ness) is the function of a software bug that will be fixed soon.  In the meantime, I'm maximizing my battery-saving settings where possible.  Overall, I'd suggest waiting for the iPhone 5 unless you really cannot abide by your current phone anymore.

Trust me when I say that I could not abide.

As happy as I am with my new toy, this phone has made me somewhat afraid of being the victim of another property crime.  Some of you may have been around in May when I got mugged; I was targeted because I took my iPhone out in front of two bad kids.  Now that I have another snazzy phone, I'm almost afraid to use it for fear of being a repeat victim.  Of course it's important to be careful when taking out an expensive piece of technology, but there's a line between being cautious and missing out on the intended use of your phone for fear of victimization.

I don't know.  Some of you must have snazzy phones, right?  How do you use your smartphone in public?  Do you take it out on the subway?  While walking around?  When do you keep it hidden?

(Want to see something embarrassingly ironic?  Weeks before my phone was stolen, a classmate alerted me to this Gothamist article about careful use of the iPhone.  Recognize the Jewish Girl on her iPhone in the photo??)

At least my cute new Kate Spade iPhone case makes me feel less afraid of the bad people world:

$40 here (30% off with code FALL11FF---only until tonight!)

(PS:  I LOVED your suggestions for alternate uses of my "It's in the Details" Jacket on Friday!  I haven't had time to respond to your comments yet, but I can't wait to experiment a bit with your great styling ideas.)

Friday, October 21, 2011

Use it or Lose it OOTD: It's in the Details Jacket

When I put this jacket in my "Use it or Lose it" Challenge, I did so feeling pretty certain that I would be selling it in short order.  I like for the pieces in my closet to be versatile, and this jacket sadly is not.  Feel free to interrupt me if you believe differently, but it seems to me that this piece really only works with solid colors in a surprisingly limited color palette.

But I got so many compliments on this jacket at work that I'm starting to wonder if I should just hang onto this piece even if it doesn't really pull its weight.

Other possible reasons why people may have been complimenting my jacket:

  • It resembles business attire more than my chartreuse cardigan.
  • It pairs exceptionally well with the Tria Sweater Skirt I wore (nude textured skirt ruffles, meet nude textured jacket).
  • It's unique enough at first glance that your knee-jerk reaction is to compliment it.
  • They were being polite.

It's funny how a few random compliments can make you change your opinion about a piece you'd been previously decided on.  I hope I'm not the only one susceptible to public opinion this way!

This outfit also features my second sweater clip (see the first one here), worn in a more functional way than the first.  As Kayla pointed out the other day, although sweater clips have nice bonus stylings (i.e., collar-to-collar), their real purpose is to keep an open sweater in place on your torso.  I have come to love the versatility of sweater clips, but their intended function is pretty snazzy, too!

Use it or Lose it?  I am begrudgingly keeping this jacket, largely because the public opinion in the office swayed me, and I'm not so desperately short on closet space that I can't spare the hanger (yet).

I did sadly lose these cool iridescent pumps.  I noticed that they were terribly worn at the toes, and I just couldn't justify wearing them in this condition:

R.I.P., Guess pumps.
In this Outfit:
Anthro It's in the Details Jacket (S)
Anthro Bespoke Yoke Tee (XS)
Anthro Tria Sweater Skirt (M)
Sweater Clip via eBay
Guess Pumps
Anthro After the Rain Earrings
Anthro Rock Candy Ring

PS:  Have you checked out the other blogs participating in the Use it or Lose it Challenge?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

OOTD: The Hunted

Maybe I've just been watching too much Walking Dead lately, but this outfit seems to be made up entirely of items that I hunted.

I bought this dress from Roxy's Trade Market, but I first spotted it several months before.  I found it swimming in the sale room, an older piece out of place among newer arrivals.  I didn't realize at the time that it was not only difficult to find but also likely much cheaper than the first-cut price on its tag would suggest.

I passed it up and then regretted it days later, but of course the dress was long gone.  I felt another twinge when I saw an Anthro sales associate wearing the dress (and looking lovely) soon afterwards.  Thus began THE HUNT.  I was almost single-minded in my search for this dress in my size and at a reasonable price.  The thrill of catching it almost matched the joy of stalking it.

This trenchcoat, an old London Fog "maincoat," came from a hunt of a different kind---a jaunt through a thrift store.  The color jumped out at me immediately, and my lust was only enhanced by the fact that: a) it fit; b) it is machine washable; c) it is functional; d) it was less than $20.  Something about the toil of sorting through the lots of useless stuff makes the occasional workable piece seem like a treasure.

That same logic applies to this cardigan, an H&M purchase.  H&M is, for me, a lot like thrift stores in that I must avoid the temptation to buy lots of crappy stuff just because it's reasonably-priced.  Finding a nice piece almost feels more rare at this big chain store than it does at your average thrift store.

Really, we can even throw the shoes and the necklace in the mix, too.  The shoes were acquired largely because of the fervor among Anthro-philes for these heels (although I have since come to absolutely love them on my own), and the necklace was a $10 sale purchase, inspired by the fact that I mercilessly hunt Anthropologie sale rooms.
What is it about the thrill of the shopping hunt that can distort our shopping perceptions?  I really like these items, but I think I'd be largely blind to their faults anyway because of the hunt required to make them mine.

In this Outfit:
Anthro Grasby Gardens Dress (6)
H&M mauve cardigan with floral mesh shoulders (M)
Anthro Anticipation Heels (8.5)
Anthro Frozen Globes Necklace
Anthro hair clips
Earrings from a street vendor
London Fog Maincoat (6)

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

OOTD: The Rise of the Sweater Clip

I can't remember sweater clips ever being an element of style, and now it seems everybody is clamoring for them!  Do you think it's really just one woman who's responsible for the resurgence of the sweater clip?

Image from Handmade Reviews.

I decided to take the plunge over the summer once I realized that cute sweater clips in a wide variety of designs are available on Etsy and eBay at extremely reasonable prices (read: less than $10 on eBay, and on Etsy too).  Frankly, I wasn't sure this trend would work for me, but for $25 for two clips, I was willing to experiment.

I love the way this skirt with its side puckering seems to create fabulous curves!

This one is a win!  Not only is the sweater clip awesome at keeping together open jackets/cardigans (you'll see one of these outfits later), but they are also perfect for adding necklace-like interest where an actual necklace might be awkward.  Function, meet form.  I'm sure you two will be fast friends.

Have you embraced the sweater clip trend yet?  What do you think?  Like maxi-lengths, I am very glad this once-popular trend is back!

(Hey!  If you're interested in winning your own sweater clip, check out Maria's giveaway here.)
In This Outfit:
Calvin Klein Shirt
J.Crew Jackie Cardigan (M)
Anthropologie Made-to-Measure Skirt (6)
BCBG Shoes
J.Crew Factory Cluster Earrings ($15 here)
Sweater Clip via Etsy (VintageEnvy)
Fossil Watch
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