Thursday, August 27, 2015

Continuing to Bloom

Yet More Floral Print--Thursday, 8/27/15

The primary components of this Reverse Inspiration are floral top, pink/purple cardigan, and black A-line skirt.


My version has bright orange flats and a lion charm necklace (which I can kind of understand that she skipped over in dressing for her more conservative workplace).  (Yep, a photo that predates my new camera.)

Black/orange/lavender floral tank (Kohls), $1.49/wear
Black skirt (thrifted, Axcess), $2.50/wear
*Light purple t-shirt knit cardigan (thrifted, Macy's), $5.00/wear+
Orange lion charm necklace (thrifted), $1.43/wear
Orange flats (Payless), $2.50/wear

Outfit total: $12.92/wear

This is another cardigan with tight sleeves, perfect for wearing with a sleeveless top but of somewhat limited applicability as the weather cools down.

The Julia butterfly loves orange and black, but wonders why how I could have missed the obvious pairing with green and yellow.  Maybe next time.

In other news...I missed the 4 month mark on the Work the Wardrobe Challenge by about a week, so it's time for another update of my progress.

The Challenge is 33% of the way done.  How am I doing with wearing all my items?

Here are my stats by narrower categories:

 Owned  Worn %
Dresses 28 11 39%
Tops 181 95 52%
Sweaters 36 8 22%
Cardigans 60 34 57%
Jackets 47 20 43%
Vests 12 3 25%
Skirts 55 41 75%
Pants 30 18 60%
Shoes 40 35 88%
Boots 10 5 50%
Scarves 54 23 43%
Necklaces 60 45 75%
Tights 6 4 67%
Leggings 7 2 29%
Total 627 345 55%
By broader categories:

 Owned  Worn %
Tops 245 114 47%
Toppers 119 57 48%
Bottoms 113 70 62%
Footwear 50 40 80%
Accessories 114 68 60%
Hosiery 13 6 46%

I'm actually feeling pretty good about this. I am comfortably over 33% for all the broad categories (even tops, always a concern due to the sheer overwhelming number of them I have). For the narrower categories, the places where I'm under 33% (sweaters, vests, leggings) are not surprising since they are mostly fall/winter garments and it's been spring/summer so far. Dresses, scarves, and jackets--the other 3 lowest categories--also skew fall/winter for me, but there I'm still over the 33% mark. Of course things will get trickier soon, as the warm/"bare leg" season ends and we settle in for a long period of cool-to-nose-freezing weather to take me through the end of the Challenge in April.

But in even more important news...Tomorrow is the Lagomorphapalooza at the state fair!  (They don't call it that, but they should.)  Prepare yourself for the return of the Daily Rabbit on FB!

Wednesday, August 26, 2015

Working the Faded Floral T

Something Irresistible-ish--Wednesday, 8/26/15

I've complained about the premature fading on the back of my Eddie Bauer floral T before, and it continues to be a source of irritation...but not enough for me to get rid of it quite yet.  My feelings about this shirt are ambivalent--it sparks joy (from the front) and annoyance (from the back).  I decided to wear it with the back covered up to see if the joy-to-annoyance ratio was in the desirable range.

Our Reverse Inspiration photo features a bright summery outfit, in which I feel confident that all garments are in top notch condition.  Her pink cardigan has nothing to hide.


My pink cardigan is what makes this outfit wearable at all.  But what can I say, I still love that bold floral design.  And with this skirt in the exact same shade of beige/light brown, the combination almost looks like a dress with a pattern on the top.

Light brown linen skirt (thrifted, Ann Taylor), $1.00/wear
Beige graphic T with lavender/peach flowers (Eddie Bauer), $5.00/wear+
Pink/beige shrug (thrifted, 212 New York), $2.50/wear+
Orchid flats by Born, $2.50/wear
Purple gumdrop necklace (Target), $4.46/wear+

Outfit total: $15.46/wear

I have even determined that I can make the top work in cooler weather by wearing it with the bright pink/coral/beige tweed jacket that I bought this summer.  So despite its major flaw, I expect to keep this floral graphic T in my wardrobe for a while longer.

When I put on my cardigan, the tags on the inside (one for the brand and an especially long and stiff one for the other information) scratched the back of my neck terribly.  About one minute with a seam ripper later, and ahhhhh, the delightful feel of tag-free clothing.  (The top, like almost all knit tops I've bought in recent years, does not have a tag at the neckline.)

More prairie flowers for your enjoyment.  This is a nice blend of black-eyed susans and some type of thistle (the purple ones).

(Did you recognize "something irresistible-ish" as a quote from The Muppet Movie?  I think I'm satisfied with my wear-under-another-layer floral graphic T and am not waiting for something better to come along.  Although I wouldn't turn it down if it did.)

In other news....Tam is encouraging me to try a Reverse Inspiration of an outfit I wore in a photo taken in about 1992 or 1993 at college.  I'm feeling quite daunted at the prospect of getting anywhere near the territory of high-waisted tapered leg jeans in a pale blue color.  This challenge will take some thought.

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Sharp Floral

Non-Interview Version--Tuesday, 8/25/15

Focal item: Black/beige/grey short-sleeved floral blouse

I thought this combination of black skirt, white blazer, and dark floral blouse was very smart.  I decided to use my standby interview blouse (and black suit skirt) in my rendition of this outfit.


My blazer was an old-fashioned one that I got at Goodwill instead of a sharp modern collarless one (no doubt purchased at much, much greater expense), but I still liked the final result and felt that it was a pretty good version of this idea.

Black/beige/grey short-sleeved floral blouse (Kohls), $4.00/wear+
White blazer (thrifted, Liz Claiborne), $0.83/wear (!!!)
Black pencil skirt (thrifted, Calvin Klein), $2.50/wear
Grey pearl pendant necklace (Macy's)+
Light grey wedges by BCBGeneration, $8.75/wear

Outfit total: $16.08/wear

I'm thinking that with the end of summer upon us (and thus the wearable period for this very summery blazer coming to a close), I would like to start shopping for a new "winter white" blazer, in a more modern shape, that could be worn for longer periods of the year.  I think this would be even more useful than the "winter white" skirt that I was talking about yesterday, for at least two reasons.  First, in many situations, my light grey pencil skirt can substitute for a white skirt.  Second, I would get more use out of a topper piece that can be worn over dresses, skirts, or pants than a skirt (and I wear a lot of dark/bright dresses, skirts, and pants that would benefit from the pop of white).  If I start looking now, perhaps I will be able to find a replacement skirt and/or blazer by the time the Work the Wardrobe Challenge wraps up (or restarts????) in April.

I'm happy to finally be able to photograph my blazer outfits without it riding up all funny from holding my arms up high.  (And you will enjoy seeing my nice red sofa in these photographs all the time, too.)

Unfortunately I am running out of photographs from our vacation last month, but here is another queen butterfly among flowers shot.  I like the smattering of white dots along the edge of the wings.  That never goes out of style.

In other news...When my parents visited recently, my mom brought me a bunch of advanced reader's editions/uncorrected proofs of books they were getting rid of at the library, so I've been enjoying a sort of hodge-podge lately.  I just finished reading Vanessa and Her Sister (who is Virginia Woolf, back when she was Virginia Stephen), which I found to be a very entertaining and engrossing book.  (The story is told mostly through journal entries by Vanessa.  The Virginia portrayed is equal parts brilliant, insane, and creepily possessive about her sister.  I enjoyed this take on the character.) 

At the very end of the book, the author gives us brief paragraphs describing what happens to the characters after the events described therein.  It mentions that Virginia Woolf and her husband founded Hogarth Press, named after the house they lived in.  When I finished reading that and the next page or so left in the book, I picked up another book, If I Fall, If I Die.  I opened to the first page and lo and behold, the publisher was...yes, Hogarth, now an imprint of Random House Books.  A Baader-Meinhof synchronicity! 

Monday, August 24, 2015

Summer to Fall Transition

And a New Camera--Monday, 8/24/15

When I saw these inspiration photos pairing a green sweater with a white skirt, I thought that would make a great seasonal transition outfit...or an outfit for a cool-ish summer day.  Today was that day (expected high 67F).

Inspiration #1 features a dark sweater, a skirt, and patterned flats.


Inspiration #2 adds a long gold necklace to the green-white mix.


This weekend I took outfit photos with my new camera for the first time!  Although it was rather extremely frustrating to figure it out at first, Robert and I got my camera set up on the tripod and my cell phone set up to act as a remote shutter release.  (Going into remote mode switches the view from the camera to my phone, so I can see what the photo will look like--convenient, no?)  While my photos are not fantastic (well, as you can see, I'm doing this in my living room instead of in a scenic environment with great natural light), I think they are better than with my old little camera, and it's a lot easier for me to do.  I don't have to hold both arms over my head in an odd and shake-prone position--hooray!

Anyway, here's my version of this outfit, another "forest animal" kind of combination.

*Dark green pullover sweater (thrifted, Kohls), $5.00/wear+
White pleated skirt (thrifted, Chaps), $1.00/wear (!!!)
Leopard flats (Nordstrom), $5.00/wear
Gold tassel necklace (Kohls), $2.86/wear

Outfit total: $13.86/wear

It was even easier for me to do the top-down selfie with my new setup, but I need to work on making my shoes more obvious/prominent in the photos.

This weekend I also tried out my camera on the gang of delinquents frequenting our balcony bird seed supply.  Is my photography improving with the new camera?  The front bird looks skeptical but willing to consider the possibility.

In other news...About halfway through the day, I suddenly noticed the faint ghost of the lunchtime guacamole encounter just over 1 year ago.  Now that I've seen it, I can't unsee it, even though it is so so so very light.  This stain, barely perceptible as it might be, definitely does not spark joy.  I think it's time to retire this skirt to the great resting place in the sky ground.  I enjoyed the fit, comfort, and appearance of this skirt, and I the $1/wear was money well spent. 

I have been thinking about getting a "winter white" skirt in a non-lightweight-cotton fabrication that I could wear in other seasons than the short summer in Coldville.  Now that I have no white skirt at all, I have all the more reason to keep an eye out.

Another day, another couple of little breakthroughs in my current data visualization project at work.  After spending last Friday trying (and finally succeeding) in getting the data to come through correctly, I was able to make some visible progress today.  (More visible than that guacamole stain, certainly.)

Sunday, August 23, 2015

A Sartorial Disturbance in the Force

Not Very Good--Sunday, 8/23/15

Focal item:  beige/white/coral floral skirt

This is another outfit that turned out quite different from my original idea.

You see, in a moment of insanity, I'd purchased a strange cardigan that, well, reminded me of a Jedi costume.  See what I mean?  The wide sleeves, the tie at the waist. 

Ann Taylor has much to answer for

Now, I don't do any Star Wars cosplay [and you know, if I did, I would totally be Han Solo, wearing a normal long-sleeved shirt and a vest anyway--who would you be?], so the applicability of such a garment to my life might seem minimal to you, but I somehow convinced myself that I could make it work in my daily wardrobe.

In this belief, I was mistaken.

I tried wearing it with a full skirt and a long T-shirt tucked in, and it was so, so wrong.  This combination caused a strong disturbance in the Force noticeable to individuals with only the teensiest bit of Force-sensitivity.  Yoda is going to be pissed at me for a long time because this colossal disruption biased the sentinels' testing of potential initiates and lead to dozens of Jedi younglings being admitted to the Academy who do not genuinely have the potential to develop even rudimentary control over the Force.  He's not a dude who likes his time wasted in this manner.

Created on

I did not photograph this horror for fear that the image would foster the emergence of Dark Jedi who make the Sith seem like extremely benevolent Boy Scouts.  I do not want this on my conscience.

So I put away the Jedi Cardigan of Doom for Goodwill donation, untucked my shirt, and put on a normal t-shirt knit cardigan and a sparkly scarf.

And behold, an outfit that is entirely Force-neutral. 

Coral short-sleeved T (Target), $2.33/wear+
Beige/white/coral floral skirt (thrifted, Target), $1.67/wear+
Cream knit cardigan (Kohls), $1.33/wear
White polka dot scarf (Target), $7.12/wear
Gold captoe flats by Anne Klein, $1.08/wear

Outfit total: $13.53/wear

I'm glad that I wore this skirt in a way that was notably different from the last time, even though there are some commonalities (the same shoes, a coral top).  This time I matched the gold on the shoes to the gold polka dots on the scarf instead of gold buttons on the top.  It's the little things.  Me, they please me. Yeesssssss.

In other news...It's been a busy weekend for me with Work the Wardrobe planning because we have only about 6-8 weeks of bare leg weather left until the onset of autumn in earnest.  And since the WtW Challenge ends in mid-April, I cannot count on any bare leg weather between autumn and the end of the Challenge.  So I've been organizing and prioritizing bare leg outfits (i.e., skirts without tights and pants with gold/etc. flats that I will never wear with socks) to wear.  For some of my items, this is the last chance to wear them before the end of the challenge.

I now have outfits planned and photographed for the next 2 weeks!  (I wanted to get ahead by a week because next weekend is all about editing and prepping state fair rabbit photos.  It is going to be insane.)  And I have another 4 weeks worth of detailed outfit ideas organized.

I also spent some time doing preliminary outfit idea generation for the fall and winter months, using my WtW Challenge spreadsheet to help me figure out what items in my wardrobe I haven't yet worn. 

Because of the way I count outfits as I put them together, I estimate that I have about 80-90 outfits left to plan from scratch before the end of the Challenge. 

Here are the counts of items that have not yet made it into any of my planned outfits:

Long-sleeved tops/shirts: 31
Cardigans: 14
Pullover sweaters: 8
Jackets/blazers: 5
Vests: 8
Scarves: 11
Necklaces: 10

I was a bit worried that I'd have more tops/shirts left to use than I had outfits left to design, but I'm actually in really good shape.  Even if I wore the tops/shirts and pullover sweaters separately, that gives me 45 tops to incorporate into 80-90 outfits.  (I have planned outfits for all the dresses now.)

Of course, some of the outfits I plan on paper don't work out when I try to put specific items together (see: Jedi Nightmare outfit), so I end up switching out some of the items or starting over with a different idea altogether.  But I'm feeling good about the margin for error that the 45 tops to 80-90 outfits gives me.

So that was my weekend, living at the intersection of fashion and data geekdom.  How did you spend yours?

Saturday, August 22, 2015


The Shoes--Saturday, 8/22/15

This is one of my favorite outfits from Alecz lately.  Houndstooth + mint + purple = so cute.


I didn't have the items to reproduce this excellent business casual look, but it did give me an idea of how to get my purple shrug into the Work the Wardrobe game in a weekend ensemble.

Black exercise tank (Kohls)
Purple shrug (Target), $5.00/wear+
Black and white striped skirt (thrifted, Target), $0.42/wear
Aqua infinity scarf (Target), $3.90/wear
Brushstroke flats (Payless), $3.33/wear

Outfit total: $12.65/wear

I didn't like the aqua quite as much as the mint with the purple, but it was fine--and purple aqua, and black are all represented in my brushstroke flats, so that made for a nice tie-it-together-while-mixing-it-up addition to the outfit.

And here is a random photo of my iced tea station in the kitchen.  Buying an iced tea machine has completely rocked my world, people.  Perfect iced tea, every day.  It is one of the simple pleasures (one might even say joys) of life.  Perhaps the only downside to it is that I have grown so accustomed to drinking (decaf) iced tea every day as my primary beverage that I cannot bear the idea of forgoing it so I can walk to my office (a jug of iced tea is too heavy for me to carry that distance).  And it's really a stretch to call that a downside.

I must give some credit where it's due, though--Dunn Bros. sells a delicious English breakfast/Earl Grey (caffeinated) iced tea blend that is so good, I used to stop by the place a couple blocks from my old Snow City apartment about once a week for it.  At first, they were selling refills for 25c, but then they stopped, so that a refill was another $4 or whatever.  That was madness and I refused to pay it.  So $20 for an iced tea maker later and I can now have my own delightful and decaffeinated iced tea blend every day.

I have trained Robert so well at making my iced tea that now, on the rare occasions I make it for myself, I am like, Um, how many of which tea bags do I use again?  (Thanks, Robert!)

In other news...All week I've been seeing this message when I pin something to Pinterest.  Come on, guys, you can do better, right?  Right!

Today is super windy, and we are under a tornado watch.  The wind blew the cover off our grill and knocked down the bird feeder a little while ago.  It's gotten quite cloudy and dark outside, so I'm waiting for the rain to start any time.

Friday, August 21, 2015

Friday Flower

But Maybe Not Showers--Friday, 8/21/15

I love the blouse this woman is wearing in her Reverse Inspiration outfit.  Add jeans and red shoes and you're done.


This is the navy floral top that I had wanted to wear with my striped blazer but the Target sleeves defeated me.  So I decided to wear it on its own.  I know it must seem like I do not realize you can wear a shirt without a cardigan, vest, blazer, scarf and/or necklace, but once in a while, I remind myself of this.

Navy/red/teal popover blouse (thrifted, Old Navy), $1.33/wear+
Bootcut jeans (thrifted, Target), $0.56/wear
Red buckle flats by Me Too, $3.57/wear+

Outfit total: $5.46/wear

I love the vibrant floral pattern and colors of this top, so I'm glad it worked out for me to wear it alone with denim (despite how well it works with a multitude of colors).

Speaking of a multitude of colors, I am happy that my living room has plenty of space for me to put up two drying racks (to hold my rainbow array of washed clothing) next to the bar without them getting at all in the way.  This is also mega convenient because the laundry closet is in the living room as well.

In other news...OK, how amazing is this dress sewn from fabric whose pattern is an image of the Carina Nebula?  It's almost enough to make me want to sew a Colette Myrtle dress of my own.  Almost.  How would I ever pick just one rabbit fabric?  That's also going to be pricey.  Maybe the combination of indecision, cheapness, and laziness will keep me from doing it, but man...that's a nice looking dress.  Also, I really like the Colette sizes their patterns in recognizable modern store-bought sizes and make this pattern available for sizes XS-3X!  The traditional big-name pattern makers typically have separate (limited and inferior) patterns for plus-sizes.

I just placed an order on ThredUp, hoping to get a fancy dress for Robert's mom's evening/cocktail wedding.  I wasn't super-excited about wearing a black dress (the ones they had that I liked were black, not surprisingly) because I don't need another black dress.  However, if I can get one for $20 on ThredUp then I can spend the $100+ I saved from buying a fancy dress in another color to buy things I will actually wear more than once.  And yes, I checked and basically every expert on the Internet says it's perfectly fine to wear a festive black dress to a wedding, particularly an evening one.  I'm thinking gold shoes, a big sparkly necklace, and a fancy/pretty clutch. 

At work today I solved a problem that no one had figured out yet in our new reporting tool.  I'm not thrilled with my solution because it limits the way my visualization can look, but fuck yeah, I'm counting it as a victory.