Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Happy feelin's in the air....

Dress:  Thrifted Vintage,  Belt & necklace: Thrifted, Shoes:  Belk via Gift

My daughter and me

Just a happy little post today.....because this dress makes me happy!  Normally I like to wear it with a funky pair of heels, but as we were going Black Friday Shopping, circumstances necessitated flats.  I think I'm going to be on the look out for some sleek leather flats.

The collage of pictures is the product of my daughter photographing me on continuous shoot!  You should have seen the ones I deleted!!!

In honor of happy, go out and wear your favorite dress today!  Then if you want, send me a picture and I'll do a post next week of everyone in their favorite dress!  Big love to you all!   Group hug everyone!

Lyrics from:  Happy Feelings by Frankie Beverly and Maze


Thursday, November 24, 2011

Fit in.....Don't BLEND in!

Top:  Hanes (men), Scarf:  gift, Skirt:  J Jill Thrifted, Boots:  Spiegel (had for 10 years or so!)

A few weeks ago, due to our recent move; our youngest son started a new school that (unlike his former high school) didn't require uniforms.  So, of course, this warranted a shopping trip and presented the question, "What's everyone wearing?"

While he was explaining to me WHAT exactly he was looking for, D would say, "I don't want to wear the EXACT same thing everyone else is wearing; but I don't want to stick out either."  Which prompted me to pop out a jewel of wisdom, "In other words you want to FIT in, not BLEND in!"

Fitting or Blending?
I think that's how most of us approach our sartorial choices.  We want to be appropriate for the situation, but we don't want to blend into the crowd like a modern day Stepford wife.  I loathe the thought of wearing the "uniform" that everyone else is wearing.  I think that's why my mind is taking me to the idea of a signature style.  Because it's situation appropriate; but it's uniquely me.  

Trends, in my opinion, are boring.  Because they don't speak to WHO the wearer is.  They say, "I want to look like everyone else."  Personal style says, "I want to look like me".  Signature style says, "When you see this, you think of me!"

Blogger Signatures
Think about it...what do you think of when you think of Sacramento?  SKIRTS!
Bella?  Heart shaped sun glasses!
Shey?  To the knee full skirts!
Paula and Vanessa?  LOTS of color!

These women have such distinct signatures that, though I've never met any of them in person, I can walk through a store and see a garment and think of one of them.  Their signature has left that much of an impression.

What's ONE style item that you're drawn to over and over?


NUETP: The allure of red nail polish

NUETP:  Never Under Estimate The Power

Red Nail Polish

I looked down at my nails yesterday after I painted them a nice fire engine red and thought, "You know, I don't think I need ANY other color nail polish!  This color pretty much NAILS it!"  I know what you're thinking...Serene, did you REALLY mean to pun in your self talk and the answer is YES!  With all the talking to myself I do, I like to keep myself amused!

But I'm also very serious about the red nails!  I gave about 10 different colors of nail polish to my daughter and had no second thoughts whatsoever.  I know I'm really on this "signature" kick right now, but there is something so appealing to me about being so completely pared down to those things you love that to wear anything else would just be superfluous.

I remember my grandmother ALWAYS wore white opalescent nail polish.  She didn't even buy any other color.  She knew what she liked and just stuck with it!   And THAT was her signature.  Lucille Ball wore red dragon lady nails endlessly and I've always adored that look.  THAT was her signature!  My mom kept her nails long and oval.  Her color of choice?  Always something in a peachy mauve.  I think she had about 6  different bottles of nail polish, really just all versions of the same color.  THAT was HER signature!  I love that!

So why red?  Well, wearing red nail polish makes me feel so feminine and pretty.  There's also a touch of glamour to it and it makes an outfit look so polished!  (There I go again!  Fun with puns!)  Along with the nail polish I also tried to tone down the too bright red lipstick that I have and I really am feeling the results.  I  lined my lips lightly, put on the red gloss, blotted and then ran a mauve over the top of one lip and rubbed my lips together.  It really toned down the brightness of the red gloss.  So there's my little tip for the day:  when a lip color doesn't work like you wanted, combine it with another and see if that gives you more of the tone you're looking for!

I hope you all had a FABULOUS Thanksgiving!  I'm so thankful to God for all He's brought into my life!  Even the circumstances that have felt painful at the time have been used by Him to bring some beautiful things about!  And I'm thankful for you, reading this.  Much love to you all!

Disclaimer:  In the last picture (black and white), I'm NOT blowing a kiss.  I was trying to show off my nail color.  I'm not quite THAT much of a diva!!


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Signature Style: Culling the Inspiration

All thrifted

I find that there is an apparent sartorial gap between what I like and what I'll actually wear.  For instance, I really really like the cropped pleated trousers with heels.   Reality?  When I've tried that on, I feel like the biggest DOOBER in the world.  In case you're wondering what a "doober" is, the best definition is something like this...


      NOT a look or feeling that I'm going for.   I WILL take that fruity drink though!

What I want to feel like is HER! 


 A little bit over the top....dramatic.....yet very elegant.  Yup!  Old Hollywood glamour!  THAT'S what I'm talkin' about!  Okay, so it may be too much for running to Starbucks, but once again, I'm after a FEELING. If I can't look like I just left Mr. DeMille at the Hollywood Cantina, I can at least FEEL like it!

Closing the Gap

So, there's still this gap between "I REALLY like that!" and "I could sooooo WORK that look!"; because ownership is key, right?  And in order to "own" a look, we have to feel good in it, NOT just like the way someone else looks in it.
Here are some ways that I'm funneling all the looks that inspire me into elements that I can actually use in my wardrobe.  So many styles catch my eye and my fancy, but realistically, for my own sake, those need to be edited into what becomes "Serene style".

1.  Look for the common thread.  It hit me as I was reading comments and looking over my last post, "Hey wait, they all have belts on!"  BINGO!  Personally, I love belts and what's even better?  They love me back!  Obviously belts play a major part of my signature style!

2.  Try EVERYTHING and then be honest.  As I mentioned earlier, I LOVED the cropped trousers and heels on just about everyone I've seen wearing them.  Especially The Style Sample....

This girl has AMAZING style!  
But they don't look like that on me.  We have different bodies and silhouettes.  So now when I see this look, I can say, "TOO cute!" and then just move on.  No room on my mental inspiration board for "tried and found untrue" styles!

3.  Pinpoint what's captivating you.  What is it, ultimately, that I'm really feeling about the look above AND the pics from my previous post? 

Answer:  Long lines.  Flow is elegant to me.  It doesn't mean it has to be monochromatic, but I like to take in an entire look and not be distracted by pieces of it.  That's what really draws me to all these looks.

As a style-ophile, I find inspiration EVERYWHERE!  But to get to my signature, culling these inspirations is crucial. 

 What's the common thread of looks that you're drawn to?

BTW, Pam at Over50feeling40 has talked about how she shops to create her signature "Pam" style and she uses The Foundational Five.  It's a list of five criteria that an item must meet before she allows it into her closet.  Brilliant! 


Sunday, November 20, 2011

You know it's hard to be yourself, free yourself, to see yourself

All Thrifted

Top:  Yard Sale, no name, Skirt:  Vintage Suede via Yard Sale, Shoes:  Franco Sarto via TJ Maxx, Necklace:  Self-made

I'm always moving toward a signature style.  I love the whole idea of signature style...a style, a way of dressing that is uniquely yours.  Marlene Dietrich sported trousers.  Coco Chanel had her boucle suits.  
Jackie Onassis wore pearls with everything!  They had SIGNATURES and it punctuated their looks.

As I move toward my signature style, I find that the wall I keep running into is that I really like so MANY very different looks!  I mean POLAR opposite looks!  Take a look a some recent shots that I've come across that I just adore but there seems to be not a THING in common one with another.

1.  Source   2.  Source    3.  Source

I love the sleek black lines in the first look; the feminine girliness in the second and the midi length and heels in the last.  

So how does one take inspiration and keep it from turning into emulation?  How do we funnel everything that we really like and funnel it into a signature aesthetic?  I've got some ideas for myself, my closet and you guys in the next post!  I'm excited about creating my signature style and I'd LOVE to hear what your signature is.  

Do you have even have one and is it even an issue for you?

OH!  Don't forget Visible Monday over at Not Dead Yet Style!  Make yourself visible!

Post Title Lyrics:  Make you crazy by Brett Dennen


Friday, November 18, 2011

"This place is warm without a care..."

Taken by my Sweet Baby on our anniversary!

If we were all in a room, I'd give everyone of you a BIG hug!  Simply put, I've missed you!  So, where have I been?  Why the blogging hiatus?  Well a few reasons:

Made a MAJOR move!  

We moved a couple of weeks ago from a small town to a BIG city!  Same state but completely different.  I went from a town in which we had to drive 30-45 minutes just to visit a Starbucks in a grocery store to living in an "urban village" setting with Starbucks right below our balcony!!    My husband expressed the magnitude of this change best when he pointed out that we moved from a county with a population of about 63,000 people to a county of 900,000!  That being said, I really love it here!  Leaving a town that has meant a lot to me over the past 7 1/2 years was emotionally gut wrenching....I think I cried every day for two weeks.  Not that it was a sad move, it was just difficult to move away from so many people that I love so much!    Our final Sunday at church, I just wanted to curl up in the fetal position on a pew!!  But oh how rich with friendships my life is!!

Needed a break.....

One thing I absolutely DON'T want to do is just fill empty space.....not in my life, not in my closet, not in my conversation and not on my blog.  I want my posts to have substance, not merely be a bookmark until my next decent post.  I had to step back and just STOP TALKING (if you know me at all, you know this just is NOT easy for me.  I am a non recovering talker!!) until I had something meaningful to say.  Now I realize that often what one considers meaningful another may consider dribble; but at the very least I'D like to believe what I'm posting is meaningful.  Does this make sense?  So!  Head cleared.  Break taken.  Feeling more focused.

"Super-size that Inspiration and give me a side of fries with that please!"

Do you ever feel COMPLETELY uninspired?  I mean like where you think, "DANG!  I don't have an original idea in my head!"  Well, I was definitely at that point.  Or maybe the opposite was true...maybe I was OVER inspired.  Looking at endless blogs and magazines and just loving it all.....some mornings would find me standing in front of my closet scratching my head with a deer in the headlights look on my face.  It's like being a confident and avid reader and suddenly looking at a book and feeling illiterate!  Wait, I know I know how to read, but why aren't these letters forming words?!?!   I guess in a nutshell, my issue was that being over inspired left me UNinspired; so I had to find my inspiration again.  

And I think I have.....as I'm sitting here in Starbucks (Hello!!! Who AM I?!?!), drinking my coffee and listening to This Christmas by Donnie Hathaway, I have a big smile on my face which to onlookers may seem like a psychotic grin!!  But that's okay...I'm feeling cute, feeling the music and feeling nothing but love for all the wonderful people in my life!  


Post title lyrics:  Someday by Sugar Ray