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*

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Postcard: Seeing Seattle

The skyline of Seattle, Washington at dusk. In...

I made my annual business trip to Seattle. This is the first time in four years that the weather was truly rainy and grey. All the other trips have been filled with green scenery and sunshine; a little misty but never rain. Imagine my surprise to have the reality of Seattle touch my personal experience. Fortunately, I was indoors most of the trip attending a convention.

In spite of the cooler temperatures I loved my five days in the city. On the one and only clear sunny but wet day, I had a bounce in my step and a smile on my face as I walked the two short blocks to a local eatery, 13 Coins, for a meal with a friend I haven’t seen in over a decade.

13 Coins had floor to ceiling studded brown leather booths. It made me think of dining cars in old train movies. There were alcove tables where couples could sit rubbing elbows on the same side of the table watching passersby.

The ambience gave us a stately privacy to catch up over a fabulous breakfast. Sorry I forgot to take pictures. But if you ever make it to Seattle, I encourage you to put 13 Coins on your food tour.

But wait there’s more tales of fine dining…

Usually when I travel for work, my cohort and I hit the local Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse for the purpose of a perfectly cooked filet mignon. This time we abandoned our own tradition and ventured a try at a new steakhouse:  The Capital Grille. Yummy!

I won’t compare the two restaurants . They’re both delicious. It just depends on the kind of delicious you want on any given day.

My favorites from the meal were the cream corn with bacon (to die for) and the coconut creme pie (heavenly). My travel companion’s vote would be for their lobster mac and cheese.

If you don’t have The Capital Grille near you, put it on your list to experience in your travels.

But rich food isn’t all that Seattle has to offer. This city is vibrant and alive; always awake. As we left the grille, we were amazed by the number of people roaming the city streets. People who seemed to be window shopping in the city’s thriving downtown area without any concern for the late hour.

Picturesque hotels and bright neon lights which were just as busy as the foot traffic. The highways were congested as residents made their way to adventures unknown to us. It’s this hustle and bustle that has us committing to tacking on extra days during our next visit so we have time to sight see, hit the tourist traps, and experience Seattle leisurely.

We had lunch in our hotel the last day before heading to our final business stop. The best part was the tomato bisque in an asymmetric bowl. After which we packed up the car and headed to the gorgeous Suncadia Resort, an hour or so outside of the city. Breathtaking landscape … Snowcapped mountains … Autumn colors touching the trees. Pictures don’t do it justice.

We arrived late for our presentation due to snow. Thankfully, our clients were gracious; inviting us to stay the night. But we’re Michigan girls so we know how to handle driving through snow; our first snow event of the year. And despite our love for the Seattle NW area, we were ready to get home to family and friends. So we caught our red eye flight and left the dynamic city behind.

Tell me your Seattle stories. Or, give me the names of some other Seattle restaurants to try. My travel partner is a foodie and up for new places.

So long Seattle, see you next year … I’ll be ready for a new escapade.