Archive for the ‘Sneaky Friday’ Category

Lizzi’s Look of the Day


(Erika/Mom) We think spring is finally here. At least this week. Temperatures actually reached 60 a couple of days and the mood around here is decidedly brighter. Lizzi put together an outfit that celebrates the hint of warmth yet acknowledges that winter is not quite gone.

Lizzi found a great pair of cropped pants a few weeks ago at our new favorite store, Rosana in Princeton. She paired them with a black shirt from Old Navy and ballet flats. Wrapped around her neck is the lucky scarf I actually found on the ground (our first post!) last winter. It’s a gorgeous striped cashmere that I took to the cleaners and has been a soft staple for us all winter long. Her headband was a Christmas gift.


I Hate My Wardrobe


dreary closet

(Erika/Mom) A few mornings back, I shivered into my attic closet and couldn’t find anything I wanted to wear. All of a sudden I hated everything. This is not characteristic of me; normally I am cheerful and optimistic about my chances of wearing something that looks decent without labeling me as a “mom in mom pants” or worse yet, a slob.

The all-too-familiar patterns of all-too-well-worn shirts and blouses hung tiredly in their places. Limp cable-knit sweaters melted together with blended-fiber turtlenecks and miscellaneous cardigans. Two pairs of jeans folded neatly among some decidedly high-waisted mom pants that Lizzi begs me not to wear. So I wear my jeans a lot. I spent months looking for slim black pants that didn’t give me a muffin-top belly; never found ’em. Most of my dresses are from the mid- to late 1990s–classics or has-beens, depending on your mood.

So we all get the problem–or do we? I’ve been thinking about this quite deeply, and decided that in my case, it’s not about having anything decent to wear. It’s more about laziness and under-utilizing observation and experimentation. Most of us evaluate our wardrobe in the morning, which isn’t always the best time for creativity. Rows of clothes are scanned quickly and our eye picks up the same things over and over again. Anyone who shops like this is bound to leave the store disappointed. My mother shops like this and it drives me nuts. How can you find something unless you really look for it? Clothing will not come out and curtsy to you. You gotta dig, man.

Same thing with our own closets. Digging a little deeper, I discovered (or re-discovered) a few things that have great potential, worn right. Take this blouse, for example:

I've had this lacy blouse for longer than I care to admit. It's from The Limited and is still in great shape.

I've had this lacy blouse for longer than I care to admit. It's from The Limited and is still in great shape.

By itself, it’s pretty blah. But if I take the time to pair it up with another shirt and some interesting accessories, it really takes on a new life. The first set is the blouse over a Macys v-neck tank and a long necklace doubled over:

This combo is much better, I think. With some acid-washed jeans and shoes other than mom-clogs I could hold my head up.

This combo is much better, I think. With some acid-washed jeans and shoes other than mom-clogs I could hold my head up.

Going one step further, I fished out an old Cabi belt that I bought in 2005. I never wear it, but it’s actually really pretty. (Lizzi, tell me if I’m delusional here.) Anyway, adding the sparkling belt with a really soft scarf in an incredible shade of blue, I came up with this:

It's possible...for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage...a Cinderella transformation of my old blouse.

It's possible...for a plain yellow pumpkin to become a golden carriage...a Cinderella transformation of my old blouse.

So what do you think Lizzi?

(Lizzi/Daughter) Mom, I think you should stop wearing your clogs and start wearing your awesome belts!

I do agree that a lot of your clothes are a little bit old, but if you dress things up like you did to that blouse, you’ll be the most fashionable mom on the block (even though you already are…). Even though it’s easier for me to always have new things because I’m still growing, on most days, I’ll look at my clothes and totally hate what I see. I think we all have those days.

A better way for me to pick out my clothes is to do it the night before, when I’m not so groggy. I also like to ask Mom for help because she always thinks of things to pair together that I would never think of.

The other day, I really hated how small my wardrobe was compared to my friends’ and asked my mom for help. She told me to pair a gray sweater vest with a striped sweater, which I thought would look really odd, but it ended up being my favorite outfit of the week.

A great accessory to add to your wardrobe is a belt. Belts can either accessorize your pants or your top. The best place to put your belt is at your waist, like mom did. You can belt anything from cardigans to loose tunics (think medieval!)

Like this:
belted cardigan and tunic

Mom and I are going to try and feature more “reality” posts with our own clothes, so excuse us while we go tidy up our closets.

Sneaky Friday: Lizzi’s Look of the Day


Lizzi Look of the Day Oct 23 2009

This was actually yesterday. The NJ weather has been very fine this week so Lizzi is wearing skirts while the sun shines. Her outfit is a Forever 21 skirt that I love–full, in a B/W pattern. Top is a basic magenta T-shirt from Target. Tights in eggplant, shoes bought in Paris :), and a long necklace (borrowed from me) complete the look.

Mutton Dressed as Lamb


Sharon Tate in miniskirt(Erika/Mom) Anyone who understands this sheepish phrase is most likely over 40. They are also going to understand the agony that plays out in the closet, as they finger their favorite miniskirt and wonder if they can “get away” with wearing it one more season. Not because it’s torn or out of fashion or has a baby spit-up stain right in front…but simply because they’re too old.

Since the Twiggy era, miniskirts have remained a surprisingly strong trend; waning maybe a bit in the late 70s as the romantic, flowy sheer-dress-over-lining reached its zenith (although I could have been seriously out of touch). But always, the miniskirt has been understood as the domain of the very young. Although we’ve done away with corsets, bustles, and neck-to-ankle swimsuits, women are still expected to cover their knees after 40.

My friend Mary Beth Williams, in a recent article, ponders the age-old question of “how old is too old for short skirts?” She points to a survey in the Daily Mail, which says that the accepted maximum age for wearing a miniskirt has climbed from 36 in 2000 to 40 today. “There’s a vast expanse of leg between throw-in-the-towel midcalf and hello-sailor butt grazing — surely there’s a place for everyone,” says Mary Beth.

Vast expanse–too much real estate perhaps? Personally, I think my legs have aged well and my husband thinks so, too. But I find it harder and harder to feel right in a miniskirt as time goes on. My body is thicker–there is less definition between waist and hips. Mary Beth and many others in my age group are still very slim and of course they could wear Shop Rite market bags with tube tops and still look fantastic. So there’s the critical issue of weight and body shape.

Am I nuthin but mutton?

Am I nuthin but mutton?

Sadly, there’s another part of our anatomy that you would think was completely irrelevant to a miniskirt, but isn’t: our faces. I may look in the mirror on a good day and see the exact features of myself at 20. (Other days not so much.) But it is impossible to completely disguise an aging face and while many observe that middle-aged women attempting to “dress” young will look okay from the legs to the neck, their aging faces will reveal all. With the exception of Jane Seymour, Sophia Loren and my eternally youthful cousin Laila (who’s 70), the human face is an unyielding age barometer. Miniskirts and timeworn faces are very difficult to blend successfully.

Searching for opinions and images for this post, I came across a blog called Jess in the City. The blogger (Jessica De Vault with the Fayetteville Observer) was discussing clubwear for women over 40 and how often a woman comes across even older than she is by dressing too young. Her summary at the end was pretty good:

“Wearing a mini-skirt (or any other super-revealing, teen-inspired garment) over the age of 40 looks like you’re trying too hard, even if you do have a great body. But embracing your age always looks sexy.”

I think I can embrace my age okay. Hell, I’ve advertised it to the world in our blog name. So I’ll keep on keepin on, wearing an occasional miniskirt when I feel like it, especially with a stupendous pair of tights and some amazing boots. And I’ll embrace my age with whatever outfit matches it best.

Sneaky Friday: Broadway Edition

Greene Street Consignment in Princeton and Lambertville NJ

Greene Street Consignment in Princeton and Lambertville NJ

(Lizzi/Daughter) I was invited to go to NYC to see Wicked with my friend. The night I went to sleep over at her house, I asked Mom to help me pick out what to wear. I had not a thing to wear. So, I had an idea to wear one of her shirts as a dress, and it turned out to be a good idea, because I found a satin top that I thought would work well as a shirt. So I turned it around and wore it backwards, tucked into a pair of black pin-striped shorts and a black velvet cardigan to cover the droopy armpits that were too big. I have to say, it looked pretty good.

broadway outfit picture 1

top, bought at Greene Street consignment shop, Banana Republic; shorts, bought at Pac Sun, Hurley; cardigan, bought at Greene Street consignment shop, Betsey Johnson

broadway outfit picture 2

broadway outfit picture 3

You can see that the back of the shirt is really the front.

Oh, and by the way, the play was great, I highly recommend it to anyone who loves a good musical.

(Erika/Mom) This satin cami is an absolutely gorgeous shade of ruby. I bought it last spring at Greene Street Consignment in Lambertville. Lizzi was in one of her “everything I have is OLD” rants and I tried to help her with suggestions. Some of the suggestions were dismissed with an inimitable stare that oozes the words “you’ve GOT to be kidding;” but I made one or two hints that garnered a bit more interest. We brought several of my shirts out for consideration. The trick is to hide the fact that it is several sizes too large, which Lizzi did by wearing it backwards and topping it with a Betsey Johnson velour cardigan (also my size!).

The shop in Lambertville is fantastic; we’ve gone several times and spent a couple of hours in there scouring the racks and trying stuff on. I spotted a great little plaid purse a few months ago that in a rare fit of frugality I bypassed. I’m still regretting it. Lizzi has been to the Princeton store a few times, and doesn’t think it has the same wealth of choices. We were informed by our informed neighbor that you have to “know when to go.” Things move fast in Princeton. For now, we’ll stick to our lesser-known jewel in Lambertville.

Sneaky Friday


I'm a sucker for ruffles, even on shorts.

I'm a sucker for ruffles, even on shorts.

(Erika/Mom) It’s a hot spring Friday. Time of year when I start blowing the dust off my shorts and notice how sad they look. Yuk. They’re either too short and wrinkle at the crossroads, or resemble something an over-the-hill hiphop mom would wear when, to quote Violet in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” she “doesn’t care HOW she looks!”

Shorts are one of many things I cannot sneak out of Lizzi’s closet. She, of course, looks cute in any shorts she wears. My birthday is tomorrow and mom sent me $100. Maybe I should splurge on a couple of pairs of new shorts! Let’s see, fabric, length, wrinkle factor, pattern, compatibility with pale legs…lots of things to consider.

Love the scarf belt!

Love the scarf belt!

These shorts are very nice–classy, flattering, good length. Are they too boring? I’m not sure. Personally I think the silk scarf belt adds a lot of oomph.

Skort from Athleta

Skort from Athleta

We used to call these culottes, but no matter. Skorts are a great way to show off legs and camouflage other body flaws. I really like this colorful pair (set?) from Athleta. Actually for an athletic wear catalog, that company has lots of really great pieces.

Plaid still thrills me from my preppy days

Plaid still thrills me from my preppy days

I can see this pair of plaid shorts with a really pretty tank or soft T-shirt. I bet they are flattering and can go summer-dressy or backyard-margarita casual. My husband came home from a business trip with a similar pair–really strange coincidence. We have to make sure we don’t turn into a couple who wears matching clothes. Then it’s all over.

So Lizzi, what do you think?

(Lizzi/Daughter) Yes, Mom. I know you want something that’s not tight or too short or anything like that because you’re a mom… but seriously. The last two pairs are the worst and I wouldn’t even consider them if I were you.

The skort: Maybe for a tennis match, you can wear it. For everyday, though… you might look a bit like you are trying to be young. Not like 20 years old young. Let’s try more like… 5 years old.

Doesn’t this skort from The Children’s Place look a bit like the one above? From Athleta?

If you want an cute, flirty but inexpensive skirt… try something more like this:

This skirt from the Gap is $39.50 and also comes in Ruffle Pink, Bright Claret, Celestial Blue, Navy, Green, and True Black Knit. Unlike the skort from Athletica it is





The plaid shorts: I’m not sure what they remind me of. A little 8 year old skater boy? Or a 60 year old hiker…? Sorry, mom… but let’s go for these:

These shorts from J.Crew are plaid… and bermuda just like the ones from Athleta, but they are actually feminine and good for any Spring/Summer occasion whether it is sports or having lunch with your friends. They are also pretty versatile and have much better and brighter colors than the others. Oh, and they are on sale for $49.99

But, I do have to say that the first pair of shorts (the khaki ones witht he pink belt) are a very good choice.

And for Sneaky Friday: I stole my mom’s earring (no picture available at the moment).

Oh and BTW, happy birthday, Mom!

Sneaky Weekend


Lizzi snuck this out of my closet on Friday

(Erika/Mom) Friday got away from us before we could sneak in a Sneaky Friday post. But it was a weekend full of lendings and borrowings. It started with a delicate silver necklace I picked up at PacSun last summer. I tend to forget I have it, but Lizzi pulled it out of my closet Friday morning and wore it with a very casual outfit of shorts and tank top. It looked good! I really like it against black, so that it is not overwhelmed by too much pattern or color. I photographed it on a houndstooth-covered chair (I LOVE houndstooth), but it sort of contradicts what I just said about too much pattern.

my charm bracelet from high school
my charm bracelet from high school

As for me, I borrowed something from my past. I’ve had this charm bracelet since high school. Some of the charms were given to me by my grandmother, who passed away many years ago. Lizzi’s eyes lit up when she saw that I was wearing it. “Where did you get that?” she said. She used to play with it in church years ago, but doesn’t remember. There are so many different variations on charm jewelry now–it’s a genre that keeps coming back, again and again. When you think about it, charm jewelry is like a snapshot of your personality. I’m not a songleader anymore of course, but it’s part of me, somewhere. And I love films and theatre, even if I don’t sing and dance in musicals anymore. Thus, the thespian comedy/tragedy masks. Sure brings me back.