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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Shop My Closet

With the impending move only a couple of weeks away, I decided to sell some of my clothes and shoes. After looking at Threadflip, I decided to go with eBay instead. I wasn't too impressed with Threadflip and the type of items being sold. Plus I think they charge $7 shipping for each item. Ouch. It doesn't cost $7 to ship a skirt, my friends.


So here is a collage of some of the items I'm selling. I have about 30 of the 40 items already listed and will be posting more throughout Tuesday. So how do you find me? My seller ID is "shoehoard."
  1. On the eBay home page, click the Advanced link right next to the big blue Search box.
  2. On the Advanced Search page, in the left pane under Find Items, click By seller.
  3. In the "Enter seller's user ID" box, type shoehoard.
(and there's my technical writing skills for ya!)


Some of my listed items take a little while to show up on eBay. Keep checking back if you don't see something. Also, if you are interested in something from my closet that I haven't listed, ask me about it. I might be willing to part with it.




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Monday, July 30, 2012

MIRROR RORRIM

Doesn't my shirt look like the image from the now defunct show Medium? I love mirror mirror image clothing. I have a skirt from Asos that I haven't shown you yet that is similar. This top sold out quickly online at Zara when they started their semi-annual sale last month. It's pretty cool, but dips wayyy low in the back, hence the tank top underneath. At first I didn't know what I was going to pair the top with. There are so many choices. And when it cools down for a few days in January in Florida (ahhh, loving it), I can pair my Bernard Harvey eggplant colored blazer with it that I snagged for a steal at the thrift store.

This is the Old Navy skirt that you last saw on my Spendid for Less post. I only own this one maxi skirt and I recently bought a maxi dress from Target while shopping for ballet flats with my sister in Tampa over the weekend. Maxi skirts and dresses are very forgiving and flattering for curvy women. You would think they would just enhance problem areas, but they actually smooth out the lumps and bumps.


{Skirt: Old Navy. Buy it here. | Shirt: Zara | Shoes: Juicy Couture via eBay | Necklace: Ann Taylor | Lipstick: MAC Rebel. Buy it here.}
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Friday, July 27, 2012

Green Rain

I originally wasn't going to post today because of the weatherman going into panic mode with impending rain. But after I finished my makeup and looked out the window, I didn't see any rain. The sky did decide to open up on us just as we finished the last picture.

I was also going to rant and rave about the whole Chick-Fil-A thing, but decided this is not the time or place for it. I miss Chick-Fil-A. We don't have them in Connecticut. Everyone is entitled to their opinions and beliefs regarding politics and religion. As long as these beliefs are not preached or thrusted upon me, I'll sit quietly in the corner eating the best chicken sandwich in the US.

So this is another fast fashion dress. I still have quite a few new fast fashion items in my closet. I bought them before I started reading Elizabeth Cline's book. Although I will continue to shop at Zara and J. Crew, I am going to ease up on Forever 21, Gap, and Old Navy. In this economy, it's simply not possible to completely ditch fast fashion. But what is possible is to be cognizant of those who make our clothing and to try to buy USA-made, vintage, and save up for quality.


(Dress: Old Navy | Shoes: Rock & Republic for Kohl's | Necklace: J. Crew | Hair tie: Anthropologie}

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Thursday, July 26, 2012

Life Changes

So sorry I've been MIA for a couple of days. I was actually out of town until late Monday night. Flew down to Florida for a couple of interviews (wore my Vince color block dress and black Zara blazer). I've actually been interviewing down there since mid June. After interviewing with three companies, I was offered a technical writer position.

The next few weeks will be hectic and I may not be able to post every day. Please bare with me while we get settled in Florida. Don't go anywhere. I still have clothes and fashion opinions to share with you. I start my new job in August and will be traveling down there the week prior. Hubby is staying in Connecticut to finish some house projects and will be joining me a few weeks later. It's going to be a couple of months of chaos and excitement, but we are finally going home.


So on to the outfit! I've had this Zara blazer for a couple of months now. Saw it online and then snatched it up after seeing it on Atlantic-Pacific. And the dress is fast fashion from Asos. When I walked outside today, my husband said, 'You look spring-y,' which was the exact same way my co-workers described my outfit. The lipstick is new. Picked it up at MAC in Tampa over the weekend. Quite Barbie doll-ish but I think it works nice with the outfit.


{Dress: Asos | Blazer: Zara | Shoes: J. Crew via eBay. Buy other colors here.  | Lipstick: MAC Impassioned. Buy it here.}
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Monday, July 23, 2012

Strapless Bra

I held off on buying any of the Trina Turk for Banana Republic one-shoulder dresses simply because I have large breasts that need support. I have never been able to find a strapless or convertible bra that works.


Most strapless bras I try either end up sliding down or pushing out from the weight of my breasts. My breasts are simply too heavy and need large straps to hoist them off my knees. In fact, I didn't even wear a strapless bra with my wedding dress. I just made sure to find a dress with some ruching and have it altered as close to my chest as possible.


I'm not even sure what I was searching for on Amazon.com at 3am last weekend. But somehow I came across the Lilyette Strapless Minimizer Bra. So I started to read the reviews. And they were mostly from women who have had the same bad luck with strapless bras as I have. I believe one person described her experience with strapless bras as "shelf boob," where the cups just basically flop forward, providing no support at all.



I normally wear Lilyette bras. I bought seven of the same type of Lilyette bras in all colors. There is some sizing inconsistency in the ones I wear. The white ones seem to fit the best for some reason, while the purple ones sometimes give me boob bubbles. I ordered the Lilyette Strapless Minimizer bra and received it on my doorstep within three days. I tried it on a couple of nights ago and OMG! this bra is amazing. What's the secret to containment? It's like a damn corset! I ordered my normal 36DD and it is tight. It has to be. That's the problem with most strapless bras. How can they hold you up and in if they aren't tight? This bra is specifically made for full figure women. The top lining is that no-slip stuff used in shape wear slips. I don't know how to describe it but it looks like glossy tape. And of course, it does make large breasts look smaller. It really does minimize.

So now I can wear it with my new Trina Turk dresses as well as the Ella dress in Porcelain Paisley that I was eyeing for a month or two on J. Crew. As soon as it went on sale, I snatched it up online. I see so many options opening up for me now that I have the right strapless bra.

(Dress: Trina Turk for Banana Republic. Buy it here on sale.}


{Dress: Trina Turk for Banana Republic. No longer available online.}


{Dress: J. Crew Ella in Porcelain Paisley. Smaller sizes still available online.}


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Friday, July 20, 2012

Interview Attire

The other morning I was thinking about how I show you what to wear to work, but I've never shown you what to wear to an interview. I then received a comment about this dress and the possibility of wearing it to an interview. Perfect timing!


In the 90s there were standard rules for women to follow when dressing for an interview (e.g., blue or black suit, stockings, white button down shirt, etc.). And frankly at that time, it was what worked, especially when interviewing at large corporations. During college, one of my two jobs was working part time at the Career Resource Center at USF. I saw many candidates come in with their burgundy portfolio pad tucked under their blue or black blazers and matching skirt. Shoes were always blue or black. Yawn. In the end, they all looked the same and no one stood out. And I realize it's shallow to judge a candidate by their appearance when in fact you should be looking for fit, personality, and skill set. However, appearance and hygiene are also important. You're looking for the complete package, the diamond in the rough.


I've since managed technical writers and have interviewed more candidates that I ever cared to in most of the companies I've worked for. I've sat in on interviews as an observer as well. Somewhere along the way, I've picked up the keen ability to weed out good candidates from not-so-good ones in a matter of minutes. I'm very aware of, and in tune to, eye gestures, hand movements, and body language. Maybe it's because I have to focus on details in my line of work. Maybe it's just because I'm a sensitive person by nature. Or just common sense. When you start telling toilet jokes at a lunch interview (true story), I'm done with you. Lunch interviews are typically when candidates let down their guard and open up a bit. That's why companies take you to lunch. They want to see if they can get to know the real you in a short amount of time. Will you open up? Will you drop your guard? Do you have a sense of humor? Are you fun, serious, psycho, down-to-earth, indecisive, quiet, etc.? Will you say something inappropriate in a different setting? Lunch interviews should be no different than office interviews. You are still being scrutinized as a potential hire.

So what should you wear then? Slacks, suit, dress, blazer? Yep. All of them. Pile them all on at once. In all seriousness, you need to do some research on the company and the culture before making the decision of what to wear. You may be able to get away with slacks and a button down for a smaller, more casual company. You may be able to get away with my custom designed Carrie Bradshaw goes to Vogue suit I feature below. Because of the funky jacket, I don't tend to wear it to conservative interviews. As hubby put it, "it's a big progressive."

However, regardless of company size or culture, I tend to dress the same for interviews, I would rather be overdressed then regretting my outfit choice. This Vince dress and Zara blazer is my typical interview outfit. Dress, blazer, and heels. I have a lot of great dresses in my closet. Lots of patterns, stripes, great colors, etc. Now is not the time to wear anything wild. Structured blazers are my go tos. So while I don't follow the "blue or black only" rule, I do gravitate toward neutral colors and prefer solids when interviewing.


I have additional challenges that I need to be aware of when interviewing. I have tattoos. Therefore, I will always, always cover my arms in interviews. You never know if the person you are interviewing with will share your love of expressing art on your body or detest your markings. I also am aware of regional differences in tattoo opinions as well. In Florida, it is very common for people to have tattoos. In Connecticut, not so much. When I interviewed with my current position four years ago, I wore a pinstripe suit and a buttoned down shirt. Granted I interviewed in February and slacks kept me warm. I also wore boots to keep my feet warm. It wasn't until a month after working at my current job that I let down my guard and showed my arms. And it was only after my manager's tats were peaking out of his polo shirt that I felt comfortable in doing so.

That brings me to another point - climate. It's summer. It's hot out and suits are just an invitation for sweat. You're already nervous and clammy, do you really want to don a long-sleeve shirt and blazer in 90 degree heat? The dress I have on below is cap sleeve. So I can still stay cool in the heat, throw on my blazer right before I enter the interview, and still maintain a look of professionalism. If you wear a suit, I suggest a short sleeve or sleeveless shirt underneath during the warmer summer months. Just be careful with sleeveless. You never know if you'll need to take off your suit jacket because of office temperatures.

My nails will always be freshly manicured for an interview. I go get the $12 special with a light pink polish. I typically wear my hair down when I interview, but also prefer my faux bun. Don't do a top knot or high ponytail. It's fine for every day, but too trendy and young-looking for interviews. A low neck ponytail with a simple hair tie the color of your hair or a neutral hair barrette is also fine.

I never wear flats to an interview. Always heels (nothing above 3"), always closed-toed, always simple, and typically black or brown. I do worry about the tattoos on my ankles. However they are small and my ankles are not typically what is being focused on in an interview. If I'm feeling particularly sensitive to my ankle tats, I just opt for dark, but sheer hose or slacks. If I'm going to wear slacks, I make sure I have the complete suit with matching blazer. It's too hard to try and coordinate dark pants with a dark blazer. Fabrics vary in color and texture and the mismatch will be obvious and you will look unkempt.

Here are the pants and jacket I ordered online while Ann Taylor is having an extra 40% off.



Lastly, makeup. Keep it neutral. Brown shadow, brown or black liner, nude lips. You want your skills and personality to shine, not your lips.


Oh, and I don't recommend my polka dot dress for interviews. Wear it on the first day of work instead. With a blazer.



{Suit: Custom made from Etsy | Shoes: Bandolino. Buy them here.}
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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Happy Accident

Like my dress? It was free. No, I haven't become an overnight fashion blogger sensation accepting freebies from companies wanting me to showcase their wears. I wish! I ordered this dress from Asos in a size 12. And ended up with the one I'm wearing. Not sure how the mix-up occurred but Asos shipped me the correct dress within two days and I got to keep the mistake. Glad it was at least the correct size.

It's a scratchy faux-linen but doesn't itch too badly (it's lined). However, I quickly realized it's not exactly work friendly. My mysterious lady parts were barely covered when I sat down and I had my work jacket on the entire day to keep from exposing myself. Thank goodness for corner cubicles where I could tuck my legs under for the day. I also stood, rather than sit down and risk exposure, in our daily group meeting.

And thankfully, my husband has returned from his business trip and can once again capture my daily outfits. I made him some banana bread last night as a welcome home gesture. We have a deal with pictures. I make the coffee in the mornings, he shoots the pics. I've never been a coffee drinker and prefer my diet soda for my caffeine fix. We didn't have soda in the house when I was growing up. However I distinctly remember having a Kit-Kat and Diet Pepsi every morning around 11am in my high school physics class. That's when you could still buy sugar in schools. Ahhh, the good 'ol days. Diet soda is my vice and probably always will be.



{Dress: Asos | Shoes: Vera Wang for Kohls. Buy them here. | Necklaces: Old Navy (flower) & J. Crew}


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Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Faux Bun

Let's talk about this dress first before we get into the hair. Do you remember a couple of months ago when J. Crew introduced their cute white and navy polka dot dress? And I believe it was around $150-200? Well this ain't that dress. It's a $40 version from JCP.

"Come see the softer side of S..." Oh wait. That's Sears' slogan. What's JCP's? "Come see the Grecian side of Ellen." No, that's not it either. "Come see we have no more sales or coupons?" Yep. That's it. I believe Donny Deutsch spoke about JCP's new flat pricing structure on the Today show. To paraphrase, he said it was a poorly executed strategy. Personally, I loved getting those $10 off $10 purchase coupons in the mail. That's how I scored these leopard pumps for $6! JCP's flat pricing structure blows in my opinion. In a downed economy where you have shows about extreme couponing, why in the world would a company think eliminating coupons and sales is the smart choice? Ahhh, maybe it's because those higher ups have never had to use coupons for food, clothing, etc. While I'm all for making purchases simple, it was just the wrong time to introduce a flat pricing structure. So bring back the sales and coupons, JCP, before it's too late.

Okay, on to the hair. While I love the top knot look on celebrities and fashion bloggers (albeit it's a bit overdone), I am not able to duplicate the look. I bought the sponge donut but I simply don't have enough hair to pile it all on the top of my head. And while my hair is thick, it's very fine so I would have to bobby pin it down like mad. That's just too much work. So I bought another foam bun maker off eBay. I put my wet hair in a ponytail, slide the small, vertical foam bun maker through the ponytail, pinch it together, roll my ponytail up and forward, and then fold the ends of the bun maker under the bun. Wha-la! Instant ballerina bun. It's not perfect, but it works. I can definitely do a mid to low-level bun, just nothing too high.


{Dress: JCP. Buy it here for $20! | Shoes: J. Crew. Buy them in black or leopard. | Belt: Urban Outfitters. Buy it here. | Necklace: Thrifted}


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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Boucle

I love this top. I got it a couple of months ago at Asos (they even have a matching dress). Although while wearing it at work, I felt a bit exposed (not so much naked, but drafty). I did put a tank top on to take care of being able to see anything through the mesh. There are just so many possibilities as to what I can pair this top with. Today I chose a J. Crew purple pencil skirt (it has little pockets in the back!), but I could have easily paired it with black pants, hot pink shorts, etc.

And I apologize for the pictures for the next couple of days. I'm flying solo as my photographer is on African safari shooting pictures for Time magazine. Okay that's a lie. Hubby is really in Virginia on a business trip.

We had pretty bad thunderstorms yesterday and through the evening so it was very humid this morning and my camera kept fogging up and my hair wanted so badly to curl up but instead decided to be full of frizznizzles the rest of the day. Not to mention it's not easy trying to get back shots with a remote. So bear with me for the next couple of days until my cameraman returns from photographing models in Milan.

Oh and speaking of hair. I have a tip for you with blonde highlights. If your highlights are getting a little brassy (or they didn't lighten up enough at the salon) and the purple shampoos aren't making much of a difference (they only help a tiny bit), a toner works wonders! I get my toner and developer from Sally Beauty Supply. It's really a very simple process and takes 15 minutes.

You'll need one box of Wella Color Charm T18 (also known as 'White Lady') toner, plus a bottle of 20V cream developer. The toner is 1.4oz. You will need to mix the toner with twice as much developer (2.8oz). It's a 1:2 ratio of toner to developer. I use a plastic mixing bowl and apply by brush (I use my kitchen scale to make sure I weigh the proper amount of developer). You could also use a plastic squeeze bottle to help with the measurements. Mix or shake the toner and developer and let it sit for a few minutes. It will turn purple. Apply to your whole head. Really saturate the blonde strands. I leave the toner on for 10-15 minutes, uncovered. Don't worry if it looks like your blonde is turning brown. It's not. The purple is neutralizing the orange/yellow. Shampoo and style as normal and you will have brass-free hair for about a month. I applied toner last night.



{Top: Asos. Buy it here. | Skirt: J. Crew | Shoes: J. Crew. Buy them here. | Bracelet: Marc Jacobs. Buy it here. | Lipstick: Hourglass Fever. Buy it here.}

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Monday, July 16, 2012

Preppy

My new Rock & Republic loafers from Kohl's inspired my look today. And to be honest, I could dress in a tee, blazer, jeans, and loafers every day and feel the most comfortable. I love a preppy look. Hello! I grew up on John Hughes' films. Who didn't want to be the preppy rich kid? Trends were different back then. Clothing was based on designers (Polo, Outback Red, Jordashe, etc.). If you were part of the 'haves,' you were a cool kid and people liked and talked to you. I gravitated toward the preppy kids from wealthy parents who lived in affluent neighborhoods.

I grew up in a modest house, my basic needs were covered, I had clothes to wear and sometimes Santa would bring me those coveted, dark rinse Jordashe jeans that would make me giddy with excitement. But I always envied and wanted what my preppy friends had. They had straight blonde hair, perfect skin, nice (expensive) hand-me-down cars from their parents, etc. I learned at an early age what having money could get you. I worked through high school and college. To me, college was a mean to an end. It was a necessity to gain employment and earn a decent living so that I could buy nice things, dress in fine clothing, drive nice cars, etc. I didn't engage in the typical social experiences of college. I just wanted my degree. I just wanted to start earning money.

Unfortunately, my cost of living and my champagne tastes don't work well together. Credit cards were a downfall in my 20s that I'm still paying for in my 40s. It was and still is an instant means to gaining what I wanted and unfortunately a downfall to a lot of Gen X'ers We're bright, educated, and have a mountain of debt. We're a generation of instant gratification, rather than working and saving for what we want. The Internet, bloggers, magazines, trendsetter,s and keeping up with the Jones' hasn't helped the situation. I talked last week about how I cannot possibly afford to feature a $300 dress a couple times a week as some big fashion bloggers do. While I love looking at (and owning) fine clothing, the fact is that we are still in a economic downturn. And I'm afraid young, impressionable women are going to look at the big bloggers and make the common mistake of instant gratification for which they cannot afford.

Whew. Got a little deep on this post. Can you tell the e-book I'm reading is really making me question and think about our shopping habits? Okay, let's lighten this post up with an outfit, shall we?



{Jacket: Forever 21 | Tee: Lucky Brand (bought at Sam's) | Jeans: Ink & Faded. Buy them here. | Shoes: Rock & Republic. Buy them here. | Hair tie: Anthropologie. Buy them here. | Lipstick: Nars Dragon Girl. Buy it here.}

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