Slapped Style-less in Seattle

You can imagine, I was looking forward to my trip to Seattle, using airports as my personal social petri-dish. Excited for the first in many planned opportunities to gain creative perspective.

Only the perspective I glimpsed wasn’t flattering. It smacked me in the face hard, laughed, and walked away.

Let me start by telling you, this is not an issue of vanity. Consider it instead an issue of maybe self-value, definitely self-awareness. Really it’s about being all of me and not merely one of my life roles …

I never considered myself frumpy (dare I make an Ugly Betty reference here), but I wasn’t haute couture either. I wasn’t a fashionista or a trendsetter but I would have called myself stylish.

I liked what I liked and stayed in tune with the what’s-hot-what’s-not type of lists, you can find in magazines like Glamour and IN Style, to avoid embarrassing myself much.

People who knew me in my formative years, could probably pick things out and say, “This is something Gail would wear.” I had my favorites within every trend. My style was definitive.

Post kids I said, I wouldn’t be one of “those” women who “let herself go” because their role in life evolved and they added a new title to their resume: mom.

SMACK!

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

The truth is I’m a little less Gail-tastic and a lot more Ugly Betty (this is the best place for this reference). I did the very thing I said I wouldn’t do. I became one of “those” women.

While I still frequent the salon for my hair and nails, leave the house wearing makeup and give off the air of being put together, my wardrobe is lacking.

Here’s what happened in Seattle … I walked through a high-end department store watching my colleague shop and thinking: “I don’t get these trends,” and “I wouldn’t be caught dead in that.”

SLAP!

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

As I touched various items: dresses and skirts, shorts and shoes, scarves and necklaces, I realized I have NO style. Style-less in Seattle.

Strolling through the women’s department, with a dismissive attitude, I systematically wrote off every option. I mean we’re back to parachute pants?

Okay, I found a few things I liked: grey cardigan, kelly-green scarf with bright yellow polka dots, and a hot pink D&G trench coat (not an ensemble people, individual items to weave into my wardrobe). All of which were left adorning their chrome racks.

I was too shocked to impulse buy and sensible enough to forego the buyer’s remorse.

My closet can be divided into two categories: work and not work; nothing in between, neither of which is inspired or gives the sense of “who is Gail Hanson?” and if it does I’m afraid of what story it’s telling.

SMACK!

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

When did this migration from bright creative frippery to functional clothing happen?

Even my shoe lust waned. I started looking for comfortable shoes rather than the type of shoes that aren’t for walking but for showcasing with crossed legs or ankles?

I guess partly, in a world open toed shoes, which I can no longer wear, it’s hard to find a cute closed toe high heel. Shoe shopping is less fun when your options are limited to a quarter of the available selection. But I digress.

Maybe the migration can be attributed to the yo-yo 20 pounds I drop and gain annually. Regardless, my style revelation mortified me.

DOUBLE SMACK!

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

I need an intervention. I am that mom.

Why did What Not To Wear have to choose 2013 as the year to call it quits. I need Stacy and Clinton’s help, desperately. What are their style rules again?

  • Fit the body you have now.
  • Shine, texture, pattern, color.

Dramatic, but I was freaked out to recognize my wardrobe is “safe”. Where were the iconic colors and silhouettes of a daring, zealous woman with wildly imaginative streak?

I said this wasn’t about vanity and it’s not, please understand … There was a time when appearance was priority and I measured all aspects of life by outer beauty, the objects I could put on to mask the virtues I lacked.

In my teens, I wanted to be with the “pretty people”, perfectly coiffed, polished and poised, wearing the latest and greatest, so that everyone would know I was somebody.

A poor measure but often in our teens we want to fit in and to be popular. We don’t want to be laughed at or mocked, our self-esteem wrapped up in the way we look. Appearance gave us a false sense of control.

Shallow and ignorant. I didn’t just want to be with the “pretty people”, I wanted to be one. Sad, I know, judging a book by the cover (I had to have a bookish reference). I was in my twenties when I learned that true beauty comes from the inside out; that the dust cover is a mirror image of what’s inside.

BACK-HANDED SLAP!

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

© 2014 the Jotter’s Joint

Yet, I’m real enough to know that our culture, our world values beauty. It’s an extension of high school that I didn’t anticipate. I acknowledge that to be relevant my style matters.

Although I’ve come back from Seattle a little bruised and battered, I also come back aware. Aware that my style needs an upgrade but it can be unique and trend breaking and appealing.

I need a revival. My style should be reflective of the artsy, bolder, wiser, and sassier self.

*HAND TO FOREHEAD, AH-HA MOMENT*

Advertisements

Burning Bushes

Against grey skies and rain, the trees burn brightly. The rain water darkens the bark to black skeletons. Aflame with colors of red, gold, brown, burgundy and orange. Some still hold on to their greenery. Others are bare having shed all color.

This is autumn for me. Despite the cooler temperatures I love the change in season. It’s so gorgeous it’s distracting. Driving around town, I find myself focusing more on the scenery than on the road. Dangerous. I know.

I am reminded a lot lately of the poem, Nothing Gold Can Stay, by Robert Frost. I am not big on poetry even though it can move me at times. But these familiar lines stay with me because of how I memorized them … Watching the movie The Outsiders more times than I care to count in my youth.

“Nature’s first green is gold,
Her hardest hue to hold.
Her early leaf’s a flower
But only so an hour.
Then leaf subsides to leaf.
So Eden sank to grief,
So dawn goes down today.
Nothing gold can stay.”

Why it makes me think of fall and all that I see around me right now?  I have no idea. But it plays in my head each time I pass trees in the state of transition from summer green to barren winter. I’d love to hear your favorite change in season and what connects you to it. Feel free to share in the comments.

The pictures in this post don’t do justice to what my eyes can see. Trust me when I say it’s weep worthy. Wish you were here to sit in silence, watch and wonder about the beauty of it all.

Signature Color: What Does It Say About Me?

When I was little I was a tomboy. My favorite pastime was climbing trees. Much to my Dad’s chagrin. He ended up cutting all the lower branches off the trees in an attempt to keep me from climbing.

We had eight trees in our front yard. One big one in the back yard along with several smaller fruit trees. Life was good for me.

Despite his efforts, his little girl persevered. Sorry Dad. I learned to shimmy up the tree trunk until I could reach a branch. Then I would climb to my heart’s content.

Then one day … It just ended.

Knowing me now you would never get that I was a tree hugger (literally) in my youth. Now I appreciate the outdoors from a window. I consider camping a stay in a starred hotel.

I’ve turned into a girly girl in some respects. So you won’t be surprised to know that when I left the tree climbing behind that I picked up the color pink as my favorite; as my signature. Kind of like Elle Woods in Legally Blonde. Everything I purchased I wanted to be pink. Clothes. Hair accessories. Jewelry. And eventually, make up.

In elementary school, it was all shades of pink. In junior high, it was light pink. In high school, it was hot pink. But as pink is the sorority color of all things GIRL, it was every where. Every girl had pink. It was overdone. Dare I say, saturated?

And I wanted to be different. I wanted to be the non-conformist, conformist. You know as much as I like to claim that I move to my own beat, I often find that I want to belong all at the same time. LOL!

Apparently, wearing pink represents calmness, relaxation and peace. Whether or not I was any of those things in my Pink Haze, I don’t know. (For those who work with me you may still consider me in a pink phase since my office is decorated in tones of: cotton candy, silver spoon, and chocolate.)

Anyway, my favorite color, now, is:  BURGUNDY. It has been for almost 15 years.

My seven year old still has trouble wrapping his mind around this color choice. He calls it, “a sophisticated pink”.

But burgundy really isn’t pink. Depending on how or where you find it, burgundy is a mixture of red, pink, purple, and brown.

My new color phase ushered in a new era. Burgundy wasn’t as prevalent in the marketplace. At first it was hard to find things in that color.

For a while I would buy burgundy ink refills for my Sensa® and write on pink paper but it just looked like dark red ink. Also, I found some clothing that falls in this bucket of paint color.

Apparently, wearing burgundy represents:  elegance, richness, refinement, and leadership. Whether or not I am those things is for someone else to judge.

My goal right now is to determine if this color is still my signature. I think 15 years per color is a long time. Maybe I need to change it up. I’m still kind of a girly girl but I think I am entering a new phase of life.

What’s your signature color? Remember that imitation is the highest form of flattery. So if I sample your style consider it a compliment.

Maybe I’ll be into shades of orange next … enthusiasm, fascination, happiness, creativity, determination, attraction, success, encouragement, and stimulation … hmmm … stay tuned.