Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Print power

Cardigan: Target
Top: American Eagle
Skirt: Boden
Tights: Target
Wedges: Shoe Carnival

I'm loving tights season, obviously. I'm also loving finding tights in more colours--I think this outfit is tied together by this particular hue of purple on my legs, and I love it.

Originally I was planning to wear a blue t-shirt with this skirt/tights but my mother vetoed that idea. Running low on ideas and time, I dug through my closet and stumbled upon this cardigan, which is nicely detailed at the shoulder but not overwhelming. Awesome that it matches the tights, too!

I love cardigans but I feel like there are times where I'm almost too reliant on them to pull an outfit together or cover something. It's definitely something I need to work on, though part of the problem is that a lot of my tops are not quite appropriate for work without a cardigan (eg. tight fitting, no sleeves). It's become a crutch in some way.

Is there any item you rely on to help you style your outfits?

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Quite trim

Cardigan: ???
Skirt: Boden
Tights: Target
Wedges: Shoe Carnival
Necklace: gift from mom
Tractor in the back: Husqvarna

I have been stalling in terms of fashion, so good thing two skirts I recently ordered from Boden came in the mail!

Admittedly, when my mom saw this skirt and said "what will you wear it with?", I came up short. I love this lined, wool blend skirt because it has the colour and detail I love. The problem with colour and detail is that it can be very hard to combine with other pieces. I originally planned to wear a gray top and brown belt with this skirt, but the temperature forced me to incorporate tights and the gray top went out, replaced my this cardigan. Despite it being acrylic (oh synthetics), it is incredibly soft and very, very warm.

You can see from this picture how sizable my upper arms are. Women, for some reason, feel the need to ask themselves the question "if there's one body part you would change, what would it be?" and my answer has always, always been my arms. It is impossible to find a suit that fits in my arms and my torso; it doesn't help that I have a longer torso and shorter legs, but the circumference of my upper arms always compounds the issues. Winter coats are for layering, unless you're me, in which case you freeze anyway because you can only fit a tshirt into the sleeves with your arms. What I wouldn't give to real life photoshop my arms into something normal--I feel that even compared with the rest of my body, my arms are abnormally large. Most frustrating is that it is partly muscle--one of my hobbies, curling, involves a lot of upper body strength, and my triceps are quite strong.

But I'm not complaining! I just wish it was easier to tone and erase my arm size.

My shoes are ridiculously loud, especially on the linoleum floor of my work building, but I don't care. For something with a heel (even a 1 1/2" heel), they are wicked comfortable. I once wore them to the store and fell flat on my face when I misstepped in them, but I still wear them!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Seeing spots

Necklace: Anthropologie
Cardigan: American Eagle
Dress: Ann Taylor
Belt: Target
Tights: Walmart
Flats: Banana Republic

I recently made the decision not to look in the mirror after putting on my outfit. It's only ever lead to doubt and trouble for me, so without considering the ramifications of mixing stripes and spots I went to work.

I have to admit that I wasn't expecting to be eyed up and down when I stopped by the grocery for my morning chocolate milk. Did I have something on me? Was my skirt tucked into my tights? Had I pulled a Bridget Jones? (Wouldn't be the first time.) The looks continued into work, and finally I asked one of my coworkers what was wrong with my outfit. She said that nothing was wrong and in fact, everything was right. I was pleased to find that I didn't have bird poop on my dress, but still wasn't sure about the outfit.

Eventually I was convinced, and went about the rest of the day pretty pleased. This dress is one of the more expensive pieces of clothing I own, but it's worth every penny--it fits like a charm, is comfortable and classic, and the gradient at the bottom of the skirt is an added surprise. The only thing I'd change is to have it pinch in a touch at the waist, but obviously with this outfit it's unnecessary!

Do you have any doubt about what you wear? How do you deal with it?

Thursday, November 11, 2010

An ode to Mondrian

First of all, happy Veteran's Day! Hug a veteran today.

Cardigan: Target
Dress: Anthro
Belt: Target
Tights: Target
Wedges: Shoe Carnival

Second, have you ever seen this painting?

You have now!
I'm an avid art fan, and though De Stijl isn't my favourite school of art, one has to respect Piet Mondrian and how he revolutionized art.

I bought this orange dress from Anthropologie at the end of the summer when it hit the sale rack--originally I wanted the gray version of the dress, but it was sold out so I dove for the orange. It was great while it was still warm out, but since fall rolled around it's been hard to incorporate the dress into my wardrobe.

Mondrian to the rescue! At a certain point the two thoughts "there's no white" and "there's a lot less colour than this in Mondrian's paintings" crossed my mind, but there comes a time where one just has to make the move! I'll admit that not looking in the mirror before going to work helped me remain optimistic about my style choice--and I received a number of comments (not necessarily compliments!) about what I wore to work. My favourite was "on anyone else it would look stupid, but because it's you it's a pass". No matter what people thought when they saw my fashion choice, I'm really pleased with the final product. I may not necessarily make this colour combination a permanent installment in my rotation, it may become an exhibit.

Do you ever mix colours in an unexpected way? How do you make it work?

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

One-eyed one-horned flying purple people eater

Monday is usually a bad day.

Cardigan: Target
Tank: Anthro
Skirt: JCPenney
Tights: Target
Boots: Target

I have huge legs. I've always had difficulty finding tall boots that fit all the way around my calves, and as such rarely wear them. Until now! I found these boots at Target for $35 and they're worth every penny, even though I had to wear a size bigger than I normally wear to get the calves to fit. Wearing socks fixes the problem. I even bought a second pair in tan, because they're so comfortable and flattering.

Purple's a colour I've shied away from for a long time, especially because my dad is a huge Clemson fan. Anytime purple appears, he automatically thinks there is a Clemson-related situation going down. This time I think I avoided the Clemson consideration. Mixing black and brown is also something I ignored for a long time because it's considered such a faux pas around these parts, much like wearing white after Labor Day and having a boyfriend shorter than you. I think with this outfit I also avoided looking weird, though I hear mixing neutrals isn't a bad thing.

Are there any colour combos you tend to avoid? Why?

An introduction.

This feels weird, to start a fashion blog, but maybe this can pave the way for others.

I'm a 24 year old lady living in the Southern United States, and I work in a library. I horseback ride, curl and read a lot (for work and for pleasure). I live with my parents, like so many my age currently do. I tell myself it's because I can help care for the 13 acre farm we live on, but it's really because I don't have enough money to live on my own.

Beyond the basics: I am also 5'10 and a size 18. That's embarrassing to admit, but it's kind of essential to my style woes and triumphs. My body is one of those weird hybrid mixes between straight sizes and plus sizes--my chest is miles from filling out a plus size blazer, but my arms prohibit me from wearing average size jackets which no stretch. My waist is a size smaller than my hips. Pants somehow always seem to shrink, no matter what I do. My body is weird and as such, my wardrobe and I have always been at odds.

For a long time--from maybe 6th grade, when I started becoming overly conscious of my body, to my final year of college--my body was plastered with the same outfit: jeans and a t-shirt. If we were all lucky, I'd dig a sweater or long sleeve shirt out of my closet. A college hoody also rotated in and out, depending on the weather. Threadless became my best friend in college, and I had two drawers filled with tees.

I was predictable, but couldn't break out of my routine. I was afraid of the comments I'd garner and the attention I'd receive. I was also heavily ashamed of my body, from my acne to my giant feet, and I didn't want to draw any more attention to myself than absolutely necessary. Ironic that I spent so much time in college working behind the house in the theatre department. Medicine for my skin helped me feel less embarrassed about that (though I had to just get over the big feet thing), but I still hid behind t-shirts of every colour and sign. I did break out a skirt or two, but carrying a lot of my weight in my lower half meant that my thighs rubbed together and chafed. Painful and uncomfortable, and the last thing you want is for your style to make you uncomfortable.

After graduating, I moped around looking for a job and wearing more t-shirts. Finally, I found the job that led me to my current job--and soon I was no longer allowed to wear tees on a daily basis! I was heartbroken and dazed and most of all, totally inept at putting together an outfit involving an actual shirt. For a while I simply put on a couple t-shirts like this with some pants and hoped no one would notice. Eventually, though, I started to feel underdressed and realized that I was indeed an adult and I needed to dress like one.

So very slowly, I started buying skirts and nice(r) shirts. One of my best friends introduced me to the miracle of Spanx, which helped my thighs problem. She also introduced me to my first bra fitting, and after that my confidence rocketed. I learned to walk in heels, despite my being 5'10, because I finally learned that being 5'10 is NOT a reason to only wear flats. My wardrobe expanded and my dad knocked out half a wall so I could access my entire closet. I bought more shoes, dresses, pretty tops.

Now, I'm at a point where I have enough clothing to start putting it together in a variety of ways. I'm tripped up a lot by colour combinations and pattern mixing and lengths and heights of sleeves and skirts and pants and heels. I'm hoping that by chronicling what I wear, and having an archive of my outfits, I can better see where everything fits and what works with what. Sometimes I pull together a great look, sometimes it's a wreck. Then I go back and start all over. I just hope that this blog serves as a voice for all the random-bodied dressers in the world who want to learn to dress with style.

Why, particularly, Animated Cardigan? My AIM screen name (how sentimental!) is animatedcardigan, and it never really meant anything. It just sounded good at the time. But here now, it's pretty descriptive of my style: animated and with cardigans. How foreshadow-y of myself! We'll see what happens, and at the very least, there are some hilarious outfits to be had.