Sunday, January 30, 2011

~here....taste this....

fun dress

What a week!  I went to a Fitness Seminar in Atlanta and learned sooooo much!  I had no computer access and honestly, even if I had; sometimes you just need a break, eh? 

I don’t believe that, regarding style, there is such a thing as bad taste.  I believe that, for the most part, if you love it, wear it.  Taste is personal.  Who’s to say one person’s taste is fabulous and another’s is horrible?  I’ve seen clothes on women that I really didn’t like, but they loved them.  Neither of us is wrong; we’re just different.  It’s the danger sometimes of relying on the opinions of others.

 Sometimes we substitute someone else’s taste for our own.  There have been times in my life where I trusted my aunt’s or my mom’s or my friend’s preferences more than my own.  I’m pleased to say that I’m moving beyond that now and while I can revel with them in their own fashions, I can also stand firmly by my own sartorial choices.

With this dress……I had a great time adding some color to my life!  Of course, it’s thrifted and I feel like a million dollah bill!

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

~I break with thee.....

short pants1

Dear Half Pants,

You are SUCH a tease!  When I first saw you, I thought, “Hmmmmm, How inn-TER-esting!”  You were so different.  So unique.  So unlike anything that had come into my life before.  So then of course, I had to try you on.  The hips, the legs….PERFECTION!  The waist….SHEER TORTURE….  But I was not to be deterred.  I realize that anything worth having is worth a little work.  And you, dear half pants, I felt sure, would be worth the work.

I snipped away at your constricting, impossibly small waistband.  I added the necessary elastic.  Our first moments together were spent modifying you and trying you on until I thought  I had made the perfect adjustments.  Awww half pants, I just couldn’t wait to wear you.  I knew you were something special.  I just KNEW we were meant to be together for a loooong time; sharing special moments, making memories and basking together in the spotlight that we were MADE for.

I styled you wonderfully for our first date.  It was SUPPOSED to be special.  It was SUPPOSED to be the first of many.  But YOU!  You turned on me!  You slowly squeezed me.  This was no lover’s embrace.  NO!  This was boa constrictor-slow please let me die-how quick can I get these suckers off-that’s okay, I’ll wear these dusty overalls right out of this thrift store-please make it END-forget the blindfold and just kick the stool out from under me already-she was murdered by her pants-I think I may have a tree sized tumor growing out of my stomach, I didn’t realize that I could be vertically cut in half PAIN! SERIOUSLY!  Are you KIDDING me?!?!?!  I thought we meant something to each other! 

Well guess what!  You wanna piece of me?!?!  BRING IT!  I’m yure HUCKLEBERRY!  Have fun at the LAND FILL BUDDY!   I hope some big maingie possum sneaks up on you and uses you as his fancy new bathroom!  We could have been something, but you and your short crotch and shrunken waistband ruined everything.   In short……I think I truly HATE you!  Half Pants…..I BREAK WITH THEE!  I bid thee ADIEU and may God have mercy on your soul!


SHOES:  Gift

HALF PANTS:  Satan’s child

Sunday, January 23, 2011

~do I have the right ad-DRESS?


There is a wonderful story behind this dress.  I love shopping at the Hospice Thrift Store.  It’s close to my work; has tons of vintage things AND my mom and grandfather were both on Hospice and they were so great to my family when we needed them.  SO, the other day, I’m in there looking through the dresses and my eye catches this particular dress.  I grab it and hold it up……”Oh CRAP!  This is the same one that keeps catching my eye and it’s just. too. small!”  The vintagey elegance draws me in every time!  It’s a vintage size 10 which means surely it’s not going to fit; but I’ve been seeing it in there for weeks and every time, I’m drawn to the fabric and this fantastic print.

On this particular day, I had a little more time to spare so I though, what the hay?  I’ll try it on and the fabric is so great; maybe there’s something I could do with it anyway.  In the dressing room, I slip it on and I can’t tell you my shock!  It fit like a GLOVE!  Like it was MADE for my body!!!  It’s one of those moments where you know, “I’m not leaving here without this!”  I mean, we BELONG together… ramma lamma dot ding da ding da bop (think closing number in Grease)!  It’s as if this dress and I are like a classic duo ranking among the famous duos in history.  Bogie and Bacall.  Peanutbutter and Chocolate.  Regret and alcohol.  You know….we were just meant to be together.  Nuff said.

As far as the styling, I’m all over the place when it comes to hemlines.  Sometimes I like them shorter, sometimes right at the knee.  Sometimes they’re great midcalf (Louis Vuitton has some of the prettiest skirts and dresses this length) and as shown on my last post, sometimes almost to the floor.  This dress was just so pretty that I didn’t want to cut anything off.  I thought the length was PERFECT and wearing it; I felt like a very chic secretary from the 40s! 
Again, it’s all thrifted except for my necklace.  That was my mom’s…it’s tons of little crystal cut black onyx beads threaded on a long string.  LOVE LOVE LOVE it!

Oh, and by the's been so cold and creepy here and has done a number on my lips!  I looked at that last picture and thought, "EWWWW!  My lips look BAD!"  But for the furtherance of my commitment to keeping it real, there you are.  Feel free to use this picture to discipline errant children or unruly'll scare them straight! 

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

~in my eighties.....




So this isn’t so much a post about fashions of the eighties as it is “What an octogenarian would wear”.  Seriously, I realize that I’m one small fabric square away from having no skin at all visible.  I started to get a little concerned when Laura Ingalls called and said, “Hey Serene, ya wanna loosen up a bit?  Geez!  What are you?  PIONEER GIRL?”  So I post this with the full understanding that my followship among eighty year old fashion bloggers is momentarily going to go through the roof.

But all this skin covering got me thinking about how much modesty plays in my fashion choices and the choices of other style-o-philes.  It’s not something that I mention often, but for ten years I was a fundamental Baptist and did not wear pants or any dress above (or even AT) my knee.  I wasn’t a child; I was an adult that made this choice for myself.  This outfit would have fit right in.  When I first started wearing pants and basically WHATEVER I wanted again, it felt so strange.  First off, I was scared I’d get in trouble!  With who?  I don’t know.  Secondly, it felt like everyone was looking at me. They weren’t, but I just felt that way.  Imagine TEN YEARS having such a narrow choice of wardrobe….it was liberating when I let go of these restrictions; even with my own aforementioned angsts.

I’ve always been modest by nature.  The thought of losing my top in public will send me into palpitations!  Working at a gym, I’ve seen women have accidental wardrobe malfunctions.  My best friend almost lost her top in Group Power one evening!  I. WOULD. DIE!!!!  If it ever happened to me; I’m gone!  The only thing left of me there would be a vague remembrance of a woman who used to work there who had one boob slip and then was never seen or heard from again.  A recurring theme of many a nightmare of mine centers around public (I almost had a type-o there….talk about a Freudian slip!) nudity.  So maybe that’s why it was easy for me to pick up that very stringent religious lifestyle.

Now, I enjoy wearing whatever I want with no guilt or concern that my God does not love me or that He’s up there in Heaven shaking his head in disappointment.  But modesty STILL plays a part in my wardrobe choices.  It’s just one of those things like background music.  I’m not acutely aware of it; but it’s just a part of my esthetic.  I see other fashion bloggers wearing some really short skirts and looking beautiful in them.  The strange thing is; I can look at THEM and the question of modesty never enters my mind.  But when I see something along the same lines on me; I feel absolutely UNDRESSED! 

My outfit in this post is actually me coming a long way from where I was even though it’s actually full circle.  The difference is that NOW I wear it because I love how it looks and I love how I feel in it.  Tomorrow, I may wear my skinny jeans and boots; or perhaps my short disco dress!  But whatever I choose, I’ll be comfortable in what I’m choosing to expose or not expose.  I’m glad that I’ve allowed myself to risk looking like the long lost Wilder sister because I like an outfit.  A few years ago, I would have avoided it because it reminded me too much of those restrictions that I adhered to for so long.

On a side note, I would recommend the book The Shack to anyone who feels “restricted” by God or who sees God as The Big Judge in the Sky ready to put down the gavel as soon as you step out of line.  It changed my life.  In more ways than one, because it's also one of the first things that brought my husband and I together.  He saw me reading it when I was working the front desk at the gym, and I loaned it to him when I was done.  He loved it as much as I did!   It’s a novel, but puts things in such wonderfully clear perspective.  I appreciate anyone who’s read this far and allowed me to wax a little spiritual.  I try to keep my blog focused on fashion; but hey, it’s mine right?

Would love to hear from any of you if modesty comes into play at all in your fashion choices.

By the way, it's all thrifted!

Friday, January 14, 2011

~Friend Friday...A method to the madness

This week's Friend Friday dissects how we (fashion bloggers) put together our outfits.  I wish I could say that I  am very organized and give a link to a spreadsheet or something that I use; but alas, I'm not that good!  Here's what I've come up with:

1.  How do you determine what you will wear on any given day?

It really depends alot on the weather.  I've been missing my heels because of the snow and junk on the ground.  I can wear what I want to work; so for the most part, I don't think about "appropriateness".  It's all about what I'm feeling good in that day.

2.  Do you plan outfits out in advance for a whole week, month, weekend?

Absolutely!  Then I have an accordion folder organized by day of the month.  On the last day of the previous month, I take pictures of outfits for every day of the next month.  Then I file it in the corresponding day in the aforementioned file.  I also include pictures of alternate "inclement weather" outfits.   ******We now return you back to the REAL Serene as we leave "dream sequence" Serene*****  I don't plan further than the next day.  And then, it's not so much a plan as it is an idea........a "mental suggestion" if you will.

UPDATE:  I was joking about the folder thing....I guess my sarcasm doesn't translate into the blog.  Please don't think for a minute that I plan out my outfits to this degree.  I truly don't plan further than the next day.
3.  Do you have any specific way of tracking outfits and items already worn so you don't repeat?

Wouldn't that be a great idea?!  Honestly, I have to reign in my passion for clothes and all the pretties sometime.  I have the mental self admonition, "Hey Serene!  You're not stinkin' Anna Wintour!  You see any paparrazzi?  No?  Alright then!  Pick out an outfit already; put your clothes on and MOVE ON OUT!!"  Fortunately for that little voice in my head, I'm very obedient!

4.  How do you discover new combinations of items in your closet? (Trial try-ons? Hanging items together?)

Actually, I find that when I come home from work and am changing clothes.....that's the perfect time to try on different things.  I try to look in my closet and think of something outrageous (which is usually NOT, but I'm always trying to get myself out of a "rules" mentality when it comes to my wardrobe); and then try it on.  To be quite honest, shoes always trip me up (no pun intended).  I seem to have a mental block that I have to have JUST THE RIGHT PAIR of shoes for each outfit.  Which is CRAZY!  Meg in Another Day to Dress Up is great at creating wonderful outfits and she seems to favor one particular pair of Frye shoes to wear with everything.  So, I try to remind myself to loosen up.  You can probably tell by now, I'm in my head ALOT!

5.  To streamline the process for 2011 what is one new thing you can do to cut down your dressing time?

But I don't WANT to cut it down!  I love the whole grooming process!  My dream would be to have my own dressing room in my home (probably never going to happen; but wouldn't that be FABULOUS?!).  I remember when I was in High School getting ready for Friday and Saturday night dates.  The music would be on.  I'd be dancing in between picking out clothes.  There would be much perfume and make up remnants in the air.  It's such a girly time!  Why would I want to shorten that?  In fact, I'm looking for ways to have more time to do every morning feel like a teen girl getting ready for a first date!

Hey girlies!  Friend Friday is the brainchild of Katy at Modly definitely be sure to check her out and sign up!  It's soooooo easy and a great way to meet other sweet bloggers.  A bonus:  Katy is so kind and helpful.  Truly a blogger's blogger. 

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

~you are my sunshine

It’s as if my wardrobe and I have fallen in love all over again!  Just about every time I open my closet, a skirt or a top calls out to me.  It says, “Serene, I LOVE you!  I want to adorn you and cover you with my lovely fabulousness!”  And I say rather coyly, “Oh just STOP!  You little flirts!  How can I choose just one or two of you?”  Like a fickle school girl, I just can’t settle on one!

This skirt is one of the newest additions to my clothes harem.  When I spotted it across a crowded thrift store….I was immediately enchanted with it florally charm.  I swear, I think I even saw it slowly sway on the hanger in my direction!  I headed toot sweet in it’s direction, swooping it in my arms.  There we stood, in the middle of the store but it was as if it was just the two of us.  I’ll stop the world and melt with you my darling skirt!  But first.  I’m gonna have to cut ya!   A lot of ya!   Love hurts baby!  Haven’t you heard?

And they lived happily ever after!

SKIRT:  Vintage, Thrifted and shortened (feeling like such a hussy showing all this leg lately!)
JACKET & BOOTS:  Had for years (Penny’s & Spiegel respectively)
NECKLACE:  Actually a thrifted vintage belt

Monday, January 10, 2011

~It's a man's world.....

First of all……disclaimer……..these pictures were taken at the absolute very end of my day.  I had gone to work, hit the thrift store, grocery shopped, and picked up one of my kids at the bus stop.  I feel like I should be swinging a frying pan singing, “I can bring home the bacon!  Fry it up in a pan!  And never never never let you FO-GET YOU”RE THA MAN…….Cause I’m a WOOOOOOOMAN!  ENJOLI!!”  I’m completely advertising my age here and younger readers are now scratching their heads thinking, “What the HECK is she talking about and what’s an ENJOLI?”  But I said all that to say, it was a rough wonderful day and I look a bit (okay, more than a bit) harried in these pictures.
But harried or not, I stinking LOVE this outfit!  If I do a end of the year wrap up with my favorite looks of 2011, this one will definitely be on the list.  The stiletto heels, the necktie with a touch of silver glitter thread running through it, the wrap sweater……it ALL worked.  This is just sooooo me!  And if I can take a quick time out for some soapbox time; I have to tell you, the best part of this outfit is thrifted.  If there are any of you out there who have not hit the thrift stores in your area, I’m asking you, “What are you waiting for?”  There are treasures to be had! 
PANTS:  Hand me down from my aunt
SWEATER:  H&M and had forever
BELT:  Husband’s

Sunday, January 9, 2011

~Just because I'm wearing a blanket......

doesn’t mean I’m crazy!  Here’s the story behind this look.  Monday morning I come home from the gym (I’ve been working out at 4:30am lately) and went to wake my daughter up.  This HUGE scarf, which belongs to me, was hanging on the back of her door.  No problem!  I take it with me downstairs and just started playing with it. 
I read a story one time about Kay Francis, the old clothes horse, film star. 


She’s one of my all time favorites!  Her style is classic, elegant and timeless.  The story, as told by New Yorker, Charlie Baskerville, goes that the two of them took a summer trip to Paris (circa 1920s).  According to Baskerville, “That summer she had no wardrobe, and neither of us had much money.  But she took a paisley –gray, black, and white – Persian shawl and had it made into an evening wrap.  Whenever we were going to any swell place, she would put the paisley wrap over her gown, and she was a knockout.  She carried herself beautifully; her hair was as short as mine, and she wore no jewelry.  Only lipstick.  No eye shadow or anything; she didn’t need it.  People were stampeded by this creature.  They thought she was a maharani on the loose.” 
I love that story!  It’s always stuck with me that it really doesn’t take a lot to look great; simply a great piece.  I thought of that when I wrapped this baby around me.  Given to me by a good friend and never worn, I found that this was a great way to wear it and it’s supremely versatile!


How I did it:
This is a huge rectangular wrap.  I started to wrap it like I would wrap a towel around me.  Instead of wrapping it all the way around, I brought both ends to the front and then tied them behind my neck.  Then I wrapped what was hanging in front and belted it with a secure belt.  Added a short jacket and there you go!  I’ve got a look!  I think it’s one of those things that people either love or are completely confused by.  When I wasn’t looking at it, I would think, “Does this really look as good as I think it does?”.  But then every time I went to the restroom and walked by a full length mirror, I thought, “YUP!  I really do love it!”
Next, I think I’ll try it as a skirt.  I played around with it and really liked the look.  The moral of this story is that you don’t need a lot of money to have a dramatic fabulous look.  I achieved it with a gifted shawl and thrifted jacket and am definitely channeling my inner Kay Francis!

Image source

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Thrilled to be one of IFB's Links A' La Mode!

I know I've said it enough times to officially be redundant; but one of the things that I really love about blogging is being amongst a group of women who "get" me.  Women who see style as their art and an important creative outlet.  I'm fortunate to have some absolutely wonderful "face to face" friends who have amazing personal style; so it's not like I show up to work to coworkers puzzled looks on their faces and shaking their heads.  But, amongst fashion bloggers, I feel such a kinship.  Like, if we never meet face to face, it's okay, because we share a passion that transcends being in each other's presence. 

Because I have such affection for my fellow style bloggers, I'm THRILLED to have my post on the difference in fashion choices and influences women of today have as opposed to women of the last century, chosen as one of IFB's Links A' La Mode.  I know I'm in the company of alot of fabulousness!  So please, check out this weeks picks and soak in the FABULOUS!

links a la mode

In With The New

Edited by: The Sunday Best

It's funny how an arbitrary measurement like time can cause us to reassess our lives, make long lists of promises, and end up overpaying for bad parties filled with depressed people staring into their drinks. Just me? Let's start the year off right with a collection of links bursting with new year-y goodness.

Links à la Mode: January 6th


Shopbop Boot Sale: S.Weitzman, Dolce Vita, Ash, S.Edelman, T.Burch, J.Campbell, Minnetonka, Loeffler, Hunter, UGG, Frye

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Girly Girly Rock.....Part Deux

Girly Girl Part Deux.  When last we saw Serene, she was showing us a little leg by MacGyvering a long skirt into a above the knee dress.  Today, she does a lot of cover-up for a completely different look.   Serene, however, was in the throes of a dilemma:  should she pair her skirt with boots or clogs.  Hmmmm….the easy slip-onyness of clogs vs the tough girl look of boots.  While lesser women would have surely cracked under the pressure; Serene boldly chose the clogs to wear to work.  Secure in her choice, she strutted her way into the gym not feeling the ground beneath her wooden clad feet.  Sitting at her desk, looking down at her over exposed leg, it hit Serene like Jean Nate on a Dancing Queen!  She chose poorly.  It pains this narrator to report that the boots would have been the better choice.  After an evening of grieving the loss of a  booted day; Serene awoke the next day to take on her  next style challenge!
NEXT!  on Girly Girl Rock………Serene ponders the bigger issues in life.  How DO you solve a problem like Maria?  Why couldn’t Burgess Meredith just find another pair of glasses when he broke them in the Twilight Zone?  Why do Jacob and Edward even LIKE Bella?  Stay tuned!
CLOGS:  Coach
*Used the pin and draped the front of skirt over and pinned up.
**Collar worn over sweater is vintage.  Cut off a cowl neck sweater that belonged to my mom.  Really wasn't feeling the sweater, but LOVED the collar; so just snipped it right off and now can be worn over all kinds of things!  Cool, eh?