Category Archives: Fashion and Style

“Curly Girl” hair update

Lately I’ve been a little bored with things, like my clothes, jewelry, and hair. I needed to mix things up a bit. I’ve been “culling” my clothes & jewelry and adding a few new things. Last year I tried to grow my hair to two feet just to see if I – solidly in middle age – could. I came close! But now I want change.

I’ve written before about the curly girl method, a way of taking care of anything from wavy to spiral curl hair. The gist of it is to stop using shampoos with sudsy-making chemicals and to condition the hell out of it. Curly hair is dry hair. And – rather than weigh hair down as I used to fear – conditioner in fact brings out the curl.

About a week ago I cut layers into my hair and took a couple inches off the length. This is it today, after leaving in regular conditioner (I’ve been experimenting with mixing conditioner and water in a sprayer and spritzing that thoroughly through my hair as a leave-in). I follow that with hand “scrunching” and air drying. I took these pictures earlier today. I am really liking having my “curly girl” hair again.

Free clothes from the clothing swap

Last March I posted about free clothes I got at a women’s clothing swap. The local yoga studio hosted it and it was welcome to anyone (not just customers/practitioners) and I had an excellent, fruitful time. I really like the idea of women gathering for a swap; the comradery is fun and it’s more personal than simply dropping your unwanted clothes off somewhere (which I still do frequently). At the time the owner said she planned to do it again in September but when September came and went I thought maybe the idea had fallen by the wayside. I’d started putting (nicer) things for another swap aside immediately after the last one and had a full bag.  Happily, the owner advertised on a community Facebook group that another swap was scheduled for this past Friday evening. Since I had plenty of notice, I went through my clothes again and filled another bag to share. I have come to think of my wardrobe as something I both curate and cull.

This swap wasn’t as well-attended as the one in Spring and there weren’t quite so many clothes but I still did very nicely for myself. Here’s my group shot, including a pair of red gloves.

IMG_20191021_084324_kindlephoto-3480127.jpg

 

Here’s a pair of New York & Company low-rise, slim jeans (a brand I’d never buy at full-price), Athleta pants (I’d never heard of the brand but that’s the fun of second-hand clothes be it at a swap, a thrift store or a rummage sale; you see things you might never otherwise), and a pair of linen pants with interesting pocket details at the top and sides.

IMG_20191021_084601_kindlephoto-3621465

 

Here’s a trio of cover-ups. The gorgeous blue/green one is Hard Tail, yet another brand I have never heard (googling shows it to be a fairly expensive US company), the pink/salmon sweater is Banana Republic, and the I’m-not-really-sure-what-color-that-is (tan? charcoal? a shade of green?) sweater is Wind River, another unfamiliar brand.

IMG_20191021_084757_kindlephoto-3693710

 

This little dress is made by Om Zappy, which may have been a funky little store in Seattle – all I found online was Yelp reviews and a website that is no longer. I think I could wear it with tights or over leggings or jeans. I don’t typically wear collared blouses but this New York & Company 7th Avenue blouse looked good on me so I figured I’d try it – that’s the beauty of free.

IMG_20191021_084850_kindlephoto-3719173

 

Lastly, here’s athletic wear.  It’s easy to fall into a trap of wearing dark clothes in winter but I try to make sure I bring in bursts of color. The first is snug on me so I’ll wear it as a top. The middle one is thick and cozy. And I can always use black tank-tops.

IMG_20191021_102207_kindlephoto-4060485

 

 

Morning awards event (Bargain Style)

This past Friday I went to an awards ceremony/breakfast meeting. I was there as a supportive attendee not an award recipient but it still warranted a decent outfit. The morning was cool but temps were going to heat up later and no doubt there’d be (too much) air conditioning inside the venue (I was right on that score). i wanted to dress appropriately for the conservative-leaning environment – no short, tight dresses 😉 – but still look like me.

I have a beautiful red, long-sleeve Asian style top (not sure what the style is called) that I found many years ago at a church rummage sale but have had few occasions to wear. I’m sure I paid only $1 or $2 for it, a great find. When I found the top it had “matching” black pants but they were short & oddly baggy, not matching me at all so I left them behind. I was amazed that the top, labeled R & M Richards by Karen Kwong, fit as well as it did, with long enough sleeves and fabric that didn’t pull too tightly across my back or shoulders; i.e. I could move freely. To add extra warmth I wore a skinny strapped, fitted black tank top underneath (which I took off after the event so I wouldn’t be too hot outside).

The pull-on style pants I matched the top with are Joe Benbasset in medium, which I found at Ross about two years ago for under $10. Made of Rayon, Nylon & Spandex, they are very comfortable and jet black which is perfect. I’ve slightly altered the pants just a bit by hand-sewing at the hips seams because, as medium-rise pull-on pants, they tended to slide down (irritating holy hell out of me). The slight change made them just right  (a size small in these would probably have been too small/short) and now they stay up without tugging.

I initially wanted to wear black sandals to complete the theme – they looked good! – but it was just too cold in the morning so I went with Easy Spirit flat black ankle boots (a thrift find). Black dress shoes would have worked but currently I have none (black Keds i tried didn’t look right – not that I thought they would). September is a tad early for boots but with long pants the “boot” part wouldn’t show anyway.

I didn’t have time to snap morning pictures and later in the day my hair had been subjected to the 70mph highway winds on the ride home with the honoree (we had the windows down). You’ll see I went with the only earrings I own that have a vaguely Eastern style and added two gold butterfly clips above my ear and on the middle of the braid. I promise my hair was more kempt when the day started – I think when you wear a hair style like this it needs to be sharp and crisp, very polished.

 

Labor Day weekend “dressy dress” (Bargain Style)

This past weekend I wanted to dress up for an indoor event. I’ve had this gorgeous Ralph Lauren dress in my closet for awhile, waiting for an occasion.  I bought it some time back at Ross for the shocking price of $3.49 (can I find a bargain or what?!) and had yet to remove the tag.  The just-below-knee length dress fits, flatters, and even has a black lining sewn into the front that gives extra “heft” (and I suspect keeps the dress from clinging and traveling around). Because I was going to be in air conditioning I took along a black cropped, unstructured “jacket” (not sure what this garment is specifically called) that ties in front. The little jacket was a thrift store or rummage find; I no longer remember which but it has served me well. I left it untied but just wanted to show you that “feature”.

 

Apparently this fabulous dress languished at my local Ross for some time if the many reductions are an indication, starting at $50 and ultimately dropping to $3.49 when I lucked into it. I loved the dress on sight and about fell over when I saw the price.

 

Since the dress has plenty going on already so far as the eye-catching design, I went with simple jewelry, these earrings and a ring, both of which I made.

IMG_20190904_140851_kindlephoto-699916

Because I was going to be on my feet a long time (and I’m over shoes that are only about show) I went with these very comfortable Clarks Active Air sandals, another second-hand find. They’re starting to show wear but I figure I can get more use of of them since nobody is going to be looking at them too closely. I’d never buy a pair of shoes like these new – expensive – so I want to hang onto them longer.IMG_20190904_140209

Lastly, I wore my hair in a high ponytail like this one (sorry, didn’t think to take a photo that actual day).

IMG_20190811_074716_kindlephoto-6571284

The end of the (hair) line

I’ve been growing my hair and was curious if I could, as a middle-aged woman, get it to two feet. I’ve noted before that not all long hair on older women is good hair; women’s hair changes with age, often becoming drier and/or breaking instead of growing. Our culture – as do many – says long hair is sexy & feminine so some women hang onto long hair that no longer flatters, whether they’re trying to look as they once did or the man in their life “likes long hair.” I mention all this to say I’m cognizant. I only want long hair if it looks good. These pictures help keep me honest!

UsIng a tape measure, I find that maybe the longest strands are 24″ but really, most of my hair is just shy of that particular marker. And not all of my hair was “along for the ride” so to say since it has layers and also the hair at the crown is different in that it’s a lot lighter than the rest of my hair and moreover, disinclined to grow. The in-the-mirror photos aren’t great but you can see the length more or less. On the left my ponytail is tied at the base of my neck and it’s tied higher up in the right photo.

I took these pictures now because I’m going to trim the ends a bit since I am satisfied with my little hair-growing experiment. It’s not as long as younger years but I didn’t expect that either; I’m not trying to compete with my thirty-year old self (not in this vein anyway). If you wonder how I could accomplish this much growth I have to say that I’m sure a good diet is a factor and also that I use no hair color or heat appliances. Because I’m outside a lot I often wear a hat and/or braid or style my hair in summer so it isn’t so exposed to the sun. (I tried a leave-in hair sunscreen a few years ago and it stunk so much I decided sun-baked hair was preferable.😐) I’ve been using Devacurl products for years, most importantly, One Condition, which I buy when the Amazon price drops to something I can mostly tolerate.