Wake Up and Face Your Closet

It’s that time again.

Yes, that time. Time to decide what I’m going to wear to work tomorrow.

Much as I love clothing, I hate this part of my day. I mean, I can barely make it through one day, and before that day is out you want me to start planning for the next? Whatever happened to living in the moment, people?

Tocky the rolling alarm clock

Waking up is hard to do. So I bought Tocky, the alarm clock that rolls around so you have to get out of bed and chase it around the room. My cat isn’t a fan. Photo courtesy of Brookstone.

When I had a job where I started work at 4 a.m. (yes, you read that right), picking out the next day’s outfit was part of the pre-bed routine. I laid out everything, down to my, um… everything. That way I could sleep as late as possible and get dressed on autopilot.

Now, though, I tend to put off this task until I am showered and standing in front of my closet bemoaning the fact that I have nothing to wear. An early-morning denim crisis, if you will. Sometimes I even lie in bed an extra few minutes, telling myself that I’m mentally reviewing the contents of my closet and deciding what to wear. This tends to work not that well.

However, when I pick out my clothes the night before, I find it shaves a much-needed five to seven minutes off my morning routine. I’ve even—don’t laugh—looked for Lifehacker articles on how to buy time in the morning, but I haven’t found much of use.

I’m curious– is there anyone else out there who loves clothes but loathes having to decide what to wear every day? Do you choose your outfit the night before, or wait for inspiration to strike in the a.m.? Do you, god help me, put together a week’s worth of outfits on Sunday?

Okay, you write, while I get into bed and maybe think about what I’m wearing tomorrow. Or not.

All About Timing for this Year’s Nordstrom Anniversary Sale

I could be forgiven for lusting after these Frye boots at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, no?

I could be forgiven for lusting after these Frye boots at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale, no?

In shopping, as in love, timing is everything. Being a perpetual hermit and curmudgeon, I don’t feel much qualified to talk about the second these days, but shopping—now that’s a topic on which I can easily discourse.

That’s why I feel okay coming clean about this: I’m not planning on shopping the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale this year. I know I know, who are you and what have you done with our esteemed blogstress?

Believe me, I’m plenty tempted. In case you don’t know, the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale is the sale that puts all others to shame, the one that makes other sales say “I admit defeat, I can’t compete.” For the Anniversary Sale, Nordstrom puts the latest fall clothes and shoes (and boots! Oh, boots…) on sale at 30 percent off for about a month. When the sale is over, the clothes shoot up to regular price. Last year I bought almost all my fall work clothes at the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale.

Still, here’s where the timing issue comes in. It happens that I’m going on vacation next week. Not just any vacation, mind you, but an overseas one, to celebrate a milestone birthday the figure of which shall not be named. Where am I going? Surely you think Paris and Milan are the logical choices. But no.

Here’s a hint: It’s the land of Oscar Wilde and William Butler Yeats and James Joyce and Samuel Beckett and Colm Toibin and Colum McCann and U2 and the Pogues, who were only like one of my favorite bands in high school. And I know that when I’m there all the temptations of the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale will recede and I’ll want instead to be spending money on wool sweaters made from famed local sheep, and the like. So this year, I took advantage of the Anniversary Sale by, um, restocking my lingerie drawers and called it a day.

One of you is gong to make me a mighty nice scarf. Or sweater. Or both.

One of you is gong to make me a mighty nice scarf. Or sweater. Or both.

However, Nordstrom more than senses my internal struggle. See, when I last checked Facebook, not only was there a sponsored post from Nordstrom, but through the magic of cookies (or some other technology that, if I understood, would mean I’d have the kind of job where I wouldn’t have to think twice about buying a new pair of Fryes), but the post showed the very boots I’ve been jonesing for, and reminded me that time is indeed slipping away. “The Anniversary sale,” it said “only comes once a year.”

Meantime, here are my top picks from the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale:

*Mackage wool and leather asymmetrical coat
*Tahari black A-line dress
*Michael Kors pencil dress

Wedge Sandals and (not) Rethinking my Priorities

I hate to admit it, but it turns out I’m more shallow than I thought. Here’s what happened:

I was on my way to meet the lovely AA, who, p.s., can rock a denim skort like nobody’s business, and I was running late. We were on our way to my favorite brunch spot on Smith Street, where I already knew I’d be ordering the pancakes.

Skirt

My cute Lolë skirt. I was wearing it with a shirt, though.

I parked my car with two minutes to

spare, but was a solid six-minute walk away. Since one of my resolutions for 2013 was to be more timely, I broke into a jog. I haven’t been working out much, so it felt good, which I was noticing just as my ankle gave way under my cute little wedge sandal (despite the fact that they’re Clarks) and, well, there’s no good way to say this. I wiped out.

People stopped (this was in direct contrast to the time three years ago when I lost my shirtbalance and rolled like halfway down Ocean Parkway and no one cast as much as a glance in my direction). I stood up, and what do you think is the first thing I asked? Yep. “Did I tear anything?”

Now, by “anything” I meant my cute peach-colored Lilla P. cross-over top that I just bought at my most favorite of sample sales, and my adorbs grey and peach striped skirt by a sporty brand called Lolë from REI (if you think camping stores are not good places to buy cute skirts, rethink)– both of which I’d worn only two or three times. One of the good Samaritans looked down at my leg, and I could tell what she was thinking: “You didn’t tear your skirt, but you tore a hunk of skin off your knee.” Yes, but did I tear my shirt? My skirt? A nice man sipping an iced coffee said “Uh, no, but I think you’re pretty banged up.”

Clarks sandals

The culprit

With a goose egg forming on my knee and blood running down my leg, I breathed a sigh of relief. I thought back to that Ocean Parkway rolling incident from a few years back. I’d torn the knee of my favorite jeans. Even after the attention of an expert seamstress, you could see the stitches, so I’d demoted the jeans from going-out-to-a-nice-wine-bar-jeans to going-to-trader-joe’s-jeans.

AA reaffirmed that my clothes were intact, but was a bit alarmed at the state of my leg. However, some Bandaids, Neosporin, an ice pack, some pancakes, and a nice mimosa later, I felt a lot better. I have my priorities, after all.

 

Pajamas and Staying Warm Through Hurricane Sandy

Mom and I bought matching puffin pajama pants on a trip to Maine one summer.

Holing up in my apartment to ride out Hurricane Sandy in Brooklyn, wearing a hoodie and a pair of puffin-print pajama bottoms I bought in Maine, I found myself thinking about the things we wear when we want to cozy up.

I went through a phase a few years ago when I was really into Nick & Nora for Target flannel pajamas. I had pink ones with coffee cups and a pair with elephants wearing striped scarves and hats (yeah, I don’t know either). I had ones with snow globes, and ones with penguins. I thought of the Beverly Cleary story I’d loved as a child, in which Ramona wants to hold onto that tucked-into-bed feeling all day, so she wears her flannel pajamas to school under her clothes; with all those layers on, hilarity ensues. Hunting around to write this post, I found pajamas with pictures of wine bottles, owls, cupcakes, and high-heeled shoes. And, of course, more than plenty with pictures of cats in all shapes and sizes.

Pajamas for people who love shoes, by the brand PJ Salvage. Are there pajamas for people who love pajamas? That would be quite meta.

Why do grown women want to wear cute printed pajamas? Do we, like Ramona the Pest, want to hang on to a little piece of childhood and be transported back to a simpler time?

What do you wear when you want to feel secure, when you’re settling in to spend an entire day inside while the world howls—literally—outside your window? Sweats? Yoga pants? Your college sweatshirt? Kitty-cat pajamas? Let me know.

It seems especially important to feel—and stay—safe and warm this week. New York and New Jersey are reporting multiple storm-related deaths. As I write this there is a building on fire in Queens;  NYU’s hospital is being evacuated; hundreds of thousands of customers are without power.  Wear whatever you’d like, as long as you stay safe.

Building a Wardrobe for Life

An article in this month’s More magazine struck a chord with me. More‘s tagline is “for women of style and substance,” which I take to be marketing code for “women in their forties who are smart and look good for their age.” Since I will be one of those women in a few short months, I’ve started reading the magazine with some regularity.

In this piece the author, Jennifer Braunschweiger, forces herself to consider every last item in her closet. “If I put it on, and then take it off, I have to give it away…If I wear it to work and feel uncomfortable, out it goes as well.” (You can see a slideshow of Braunschweiger’s closet project in More magazine online, but the essay is only available in the hard-copy magazine, and it’s worth a read.)

She continues, “a closet isn’t a museum or an archive. It should be a simple storehouse of clothes that reflect who I am today and that I can wear to work tomorrow. .. Letting go of clothing is letting go of who I used to be.”

Closet as Archive

That’s true, but for me there’s something more. The truth is, and I say this without meaning to sound like the world’s biggest Debbie Downer, but I have had little success to date in building the things most women my age have. Through many missteps for which I take full responsibility, a couple strokes of bad luck, and a select few cases of good old-fashioned getting screwed over, I haven’t as yet succeeded in building a lucrative, flourishing career or a family of my own.

But a wardrobe? Now that, I have managed to build.

Don’t get me wrong. I have managed to grow as a person these last years and I’ve certainly had some successes.  But the truth is that one of the few very tangible things I have to show from my last 10 years is my wardrobe. If I dismantle it blouse by sweater by skirt, what do I have to show for the last decade? Continue reading

Make Mine a Double: Gap Men’s Khakis and Jameson

A Boston Globe article this past weekend about stores enticing shopping-phobic men through their doors by offering whiskey and other manly perks reminded me of this one time back when I lived in Phoenix. I was out doing some shopping when I saw a sign in the window of the Gap.

It read: “Try on a pair of men’s khakis, get $10 off any purchase!”

I approached a salesgirl. “So can I try on a pair of men’s khaki’s and get the $10 discount?” I was all set to wage a sartorial feminism campaign a la Gloria Steinem. “Gap gives better discounts to men! I’d call the corporate offices first thing Monday morning.

Jameson Irish Whiskey Bottle Shot GreenBut the salesgirl shrugged. “Yeah, of course. We can’t offer a discount to men and not to women. That would probably be illegal or something.” Continue reading

Crisis in Denim Contemplates Letting Herself Go

Lately, I’ve been thinking about letting myself, well…how shall I say it?

Amy's Bread Pink Frosted Cake

I would eat an entire one of these in one sitting, if I could just bring myself not to care about fitting into super-cute clothes. It’s delicious. Plus, it’s pink, like my blog. Photo courtesy of Amy’s Bread.

I’ve been thinking about letting myself go. Really go to seed. As in, drop that Abs Attack! class and let my only exercise be the walk from the couch to the freezer for a gallon of Edy’s Slow Churned (Light ice cream ceases to be “light” when you eat one dozen servings over the course of as many hours, bee-tee-dubs.).

I mean, here I am, pushing middle age. Single. We all know it’s right about now that gravity really starts to gain the upper hand anyway, so why not let gravity do its thing (exert its saggy forces on my body), while I do my thing (eat a tub of ice cream the size of my head all in one sitting)? I’d never have to have a denim crisis when my cropped Paige jeans felt snug. Instead, I’d just pull on my fave elastic-waist jeans.

Well, here’s my reason: Continue reading

White SLAP Watch Me Silly

I’m pretty certain that the day I decide to wear a fabulous off-white sundress will be the day I spill a quadruple venti nine-pump mocha (with skim milk, of course) all over myself. Needless to say, I have tended to shy away from the white-jeans trend, I have only one white blouse, and I don’t even own a classic white t-shirt. I did wear a fancy white dress on one fateful day, but I can’t say as that turned out real well.

White SLAP Watch

The white SLAP Watch I bought Mom. I want one tooooo….Photo courtesy of Amazon.com.

However, inexplicably, I have become a hugundous fan of white watches. In fact, as soon as one caught my eye, I started noticing them on wrists all across the city. Then, around that time, Mom announced that she wanted a white SLAP Watch.

Permit me just a moment to explain. Last year, Mom and I discovered SLAP watches in a little boutique in Maine. We each bought the all-black one with the all-black face, no numbers, and orange hands. I love mine, especially since I’m a sucker for solid neutrals with just a smattering of color.  If you don’t look too closely, it looks like a watch I might have purchased at the MOMA Design Store. Mom got into the whole mix and match faces and bands thing which is one of SLAP’s hallmarks, so I bought Mom a white SLAP watch.

Now I want one (insert super-annoying whiney voice here) and am searching for the slightly Continue reading

Sartorial Literary Moment: Molly Ringwald’s New Novel

I’m just going to put it out there: I own the deluxe “Everything’s Duckie” edition of the 1986 Molly Ringwald movie Pretty in Pink. It is, I would say, in my list of top five—no, make that top three—favorite movies of all time. So it’s with tremendous interest that I see that Molly Ringwald has a written a novel.

I need you now, like I needed you then…

Now, I’m fully aware that of the Molly Ringwald oeuvre, Pretty in Pink was probably not the most popular. To a lot of 80s teens, the redhead will always be Claire Standish, the rich girl who pouts her way through detention in The Breakfast Club. For most, I think she was the overlooked Samantha Baker, whose parents forget her birthday in Sixteen Candles.

But to me she was—and will always remain (high five if you get my reference here)—Andie Walsh in Pretty in Pink. Continue reading

Part Purse, Part Jewelry, Part…. Weapon?

At some point in our lives, we’ve all had to make an appearance at some fancy event where there was someone that for whatever reason we wanted to punch. We haven’t acted on this because we are not violent people, and also because in prison you don’t get days off to go to Nordstrom, which makes doing time very unappealing.

A purse that doubles as a piece of jewelry that doubles as a weapon.

However, this handbag I saw the other night while browsing in Loehmann’s may make the temptation hard to resist. See, I found this evening bag that was designed to be carried not by a strap or handles, but by a knuckleduster. That’s right, the clasp was made of one of those rings with multiple loops that slips over three or four fingers at once and binds them together.

Now, I love rings, but the knuckleduster is not a trend I much care for. I’ve seen some more delicate designs that look interesting in the display case, but the idea of wearing something that limits my dexterity makes me anxious.

However, if you like that style of jewelry, this handbag is definitely for you. It’s perfect if you’re at a cocktail party and you want to hold your glass of wine with one hand and, um, punch someone with the other. Or you could just put the weapon bag down and use that hand to grab yourself another drink. You’ll feel much better.