My Mad Skills As A Personal Fashion Stylist: But NOT My Dream Job, I Guess…

what-not-to-wearI had visions of becoming another Stacy London of What Not To Wear — without the signature silvery streak, of course, but with snappy repartee and a fast paced shopping excursion highlighting all of the essentials.

I’d help my clients build a wardrobe of neutral staples combined with pops of color, figure flattering visual interest, texture, sparkle, animal print, completer pieces, awesome shoes, and scarves to draw attention away from the hips and up to the the face.

I had an epiphany.

Sometimes things that theoretically seem like a great idea and plausible do NOT  always turn out that way in the real world.

I so wish y’all could have been with me; you’d be the ghost-like apparitions following us around the shops.

Here I am at my age (just never you mind about what it is) still grabbing at parachutes, searching for a career path, a niche, a calling, a vocation.

It’s been suggested by some that I should combine my love of shopping and fashion and become a stylist to help others who don’t have my innate good taste and eye for color, texture, and style. All kidding aside, my Hello Kitty obsesh is only a teensy weensy anomaly, not representative of what’s contained in my closet(s).

You know, shopping but for others with OPM (other people’s money) and stuff like that.

I kinda have a dilettantish background for it; I worked at San Diego‘s Old Globe Theatre in the costume department, I’ve sewn my own clothes for years, read all the fash mags, and spend hours and hours and hours shopping and drooling over finely crafted designer wear. Sigh.

In fact, I had serious thoughts of starting my own clothing company. I registered the name and acquired the patterns and though it kinda never went anywhere beyond the concept stage, it’s still viable. ***If anyone wants to partner, email me.

Anyhow, here’s the backstory:  I was getting my glasses adjusted last week at the same place we’ve gone to for about fifteen years. There was some convo with the owner who was asked to accompany her guitar teacher at a gig in Rancho Santa Fe (very ritzy part of San Diego) and she declined because she had nothing appropriate to wear.

One of her employees said, “Hey, you should ask Rosebud to shop with you, she’s a fashionista.”

One thing led to another and I learned that she hadn’t shopped for clothes in at least two years. TWO YEARS. Yeah, I know. Can you believe it? The poor thing. She needed me.

With a public declaration that I would be her personal stylist, our mission was to acquire a variety of clothing to wear for musical gigs in several different venues from upscale to casual.

We arranged to shop for a solid five-hour block.

Focused. Determined. Goal-oriented.

She picked me up here at Casa de Enchanted Seashells and we were off to The Forum in La Costa. I wanted her to feel the textures and colors and variety at Anthropologie, not necessarily to buy a lot of clothing there, but to arouse her senses and try on a lot of things outside her comfort zone.

Her current comfort zone seems to be heavily dependent upon beige t-shirts and beige cargo pants.

OY, the horror. I’m shvitzing just thinking about it.

If only I really were Stacy London, I would have happily tossed them in the trash can!

All my research tells me that It’s important to get to know your client and her personal taste, in order to help her to look her best. Trying on clothes is critical! Just because something looks good/bad on the hanger, you’ll never know if it works unless you try it on.

I had to force her to see beyond the initial like/dislike of something that’s just hanging on a rack.

We found a couple of JBrand skinny jeans at Anthro, along with several casual ethnic-inspired tops, and then we were off to Nordstrom Outlet in San Marcos. In addition to clothing, they have an amazing selection of footwear.

I selected two different styles of boots, two pairs of flats: one casual, one dressy, and two pairs of not-very-high heels.

She’s pretty open to trying new things and expanding her fashion choices (beyond beige, thank goodness)  but she’s not a girl who wears dresses or skirts with ease.

Because she needed to portray class and elegance especially for her upscale gigs,  I chose a Calvin Klein black blazer and matching tuxedo trousers as wardrobe staples.

I paired several blouses with the blazer/trousers, including a beautiful turquoise, green, blue swirly graphic design with a self-tie for visual interest, and an appropriate silk animal print.

Unfortunately, we were in such a time crunching whirlwind, I wasn’t able to take pics of the outfits.

What I learned about myself is that I’m REALLY good at this personal stylist stuff; I’m always helping everyone in dressing rooms who need advice — I’m not shy about offering my opinions, THAT’S for sure…

But…

I’ll let you in on a little secret…

I HATE SHOPPING WHEN IT’S NOT FOR ME.

Hate it. HATE IT.

This little Princess wants it all to be about her. Yes, I’m speaking in third person — it’s what I DO when I’m trying to really get my point across.

My arms are crossed and I’m stamping my little foot and yes, my lower lip is jutting out just like you thought it would be.

PRINCESS WAS SAD.

As I (back to first person) was perusing the racks for appropriate clothing to dress my client, my gaze wandered longingly to shoes and dresses and sparkly things that I wanted to caress and lovingly scoop up in my arms and run off to the dressing rooms…but this was not like going shopping with a friend where you each try on outfits and then come together for independent reviews of yea or nay.

I was being paid to SERVE someone else’s needs.

ME NO LIKE.

NO CAN DO.

Obviously NOT my dream job.

I was a very sad Princess Rosebud. I guess it’s not in the stars for me to be a personal stylist.

Yes, it was a success for HER but I came away empty-handed and depressed.

Black blazer and pencil skirt

This is not me; the suit is being tailored for my short arms and legs.

Guess what I did?

I bet it’s not too difficult to figure me out.

I went back to Nord a couple of days later and tried on clothes and shoes to my heart’s content.

I came away with an awesome black Calvin Klein blazer and matching pencil skirt (to replace an outfit I had previously returned to White House Black Market.)

And you know what?

NOW I’m happy. 🙂

And PRINCESS is happy, too 🙂

P.S. Anyone want to go shopping with me?

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Cats and Shoes, Cats IN Shoes

My research has concluded that there’s no better reason for the invention of the internet than cats and shoes.

Sparkly pearl encrusted shoes. Heaven.

Pearl shoes

The perfect black patent leather heel.  Every girl should have a pair.

louboutin-black-leather-high-heels

If you HAVE to wear flats, Chanel will do.

CH01 ºì

Tea and crumpets, anyone?

teacupshoes

Seashells. Of course.

seashellshoes

Climbing the glass ceiling or diving into a fashion abyss?

ladder shoes

KITTENS, KITTENS, KITTENS!

kittens

Cute-Kitten-kittens-16096759-1280-800

Cats IN shoes!

Cats-in-shoes13cats in crocs

And our own darling girl. We miss her so much!

This is my beloved Bandit (deceased) who allowed us to share her sofa-sometimes.

When The Tugboat Man’s Away, Princess Rosebud Will Play…Err…Shop

Yes, I’m referring once again to retail therapy, the practice and art of fervently slapping down the old plastic on the counter — because I’m still searching for the perfect wedge and –just becuz. Who says you need a reason?

And because it’s prolly time for a less than totes cray rant about not killing animals, am I right?

Deep breath — keeping it light and fluffy, shopping is the perfect antidote to crazytime.

After Pilates, I scurried down the road to Nordstrom Outlet in San Marcos. It’s as if my car knew the way without any direction from me.

And yay for me! I came close to finding that elusive perfect wedge. Very close. 
And check out that silly Chanel photo bomb. Always trying to upstage everyone!
(Nord 
obvs designed the bag for me, “shopping genius”.  I mean, “Duh”. Look how the arrow points directly to moi.)

nordstrom bag

BTW, don’t you HATE it when stores change the layout that you have come to rely on, to trust?

I SO do, and I was a bit discombobulated when I walked into Nord and discovered that the jewelry had moved, the workout clothes weren’t where they should have been –but thank goodness, SHOES stayed solid and safe –aisles and aisles, rows upon rows — of wedges, heels, flats — repeat it like a mantra–wedges, heels, flats. Sigh…

Nordstrom shoe aisle

I have a certain modus operandi upon entering this store. I want to go to the shoes soooo bad, but I force myself to take a circuitous route to have a little delayed gratification.

Lots and lots of jewelry and sparkly stuff, but nothing caught my eye.

On to the scarves and I found two that needed to come home with me. Coincidentally, they both feature a butterfly motif. Too cute!

butterflyscarf2

butterflyscarf

I could wait no longer. Pushing a couple of little kids out of the way (shouldn’t they all be in school by now??) I immediately grabbed about four pairs of shoes and tried them on.

Just like Goldilocks, it was a no to all of them but these sweet little Cole Haan strappy platform wood wedges. Cole Haan always has the greatest fit, light as a feather, and the  zipper is totes adorbs, don’t you agree? They’re fire engine red (pic came out a bit light) and CLOSE to achieving perfection, but not quite there. The wedge is wood, not cork, but the comfort factor makes up for that little problem. They were a bit pricey even at the outlet — originally  $228.00, on sale for $119.00. I think I’ll wear them a lot with skinny jeans or maybe I’ll take them back, I always leave that option open.

Cole Haan wedgesThe two new scarves will join my huge collection of scarves.

I fold all of the silk ones.
They have their own special chest of drawers.

scarf drawer collection

Hanging scarves is a great way to display them, too.
My tugboat man doesn’t think so,
but his opinion doesn’t really count, ya know what I’m sayin’?.

scarf hanging collection

A Fashionista Rejuvenation

Try this simple embellishment for any new or old sweater.

This is the easiest-in-the-world DIY project. Trust me.

I bought a plain white sweater at Target but I needed to jazz it up a bit Princess Rosebud-style ‘cos it was just a tad too dull and ordinary for a Princess, ya know?

I stripped off (and saved) the plain buttons
AND just noticed the uneven ribbing on the bottom.
Ya get what ya pay for, right?

sewing button

…and replaced them with inexpensive sparkly rhinestone ones.
I added a special bead button at the bottom for a little extra texture and shine.

sewing button1

Some of the button holes were a bit larger than the new buttons;
all it took was a few stitches to make it fit nice and snug.
sewing button2

The finished product, although not a very good pic.
Do you have any idea how hard it is to photograph white?
Quite the challenge for a non-pro to capture the sparkle, too…

sweaterbuttons

 

sweaterbuttons2Now I have a sweater worthy of fashionista royalty.
I hope you can find a tired old sweater in your closet and bring it back to life, too!

A Visit to Anthropologie and a Body Image Confession

**Read all the way to the end for the confession part.

Day Eight of my tugboat man’s departure and the retail therapy withdrawals kicked in this morning in a major way.

It was that old familiar itch. I knew I’d have to satisfy my habit — after the gym,  I headed over to The Forum in La Costa. There’s no better way to satisfy a craving than with Anthropologie‘s overpriced and overhyped goods.

I might be a shopaholic, but I’m a pragmatic one…

In keeping with the nautical theme started with my Hermès  “La Rose des Vents” scarf, I discovered this amazing summer dress. I HAD TO HAVE IT.  Had to. Not even up for discussion.

This little darlin’ was comin’ home with me. I’ll wear it for my captain’s next welcome home, whenever that is, that is.

anthroanchorThis Windward Halter Dress is playfully adorned with schooners, anchors, and ships’ wheels in a lovely vintage-feeling pique fabric.

It manages to convey sweet and sexy at the same time. I was especially drawn to the  assymetically pleated bodice; a nice bit of design and technique.

Originally priced $148.00 — it was on sale for $99.00. I was warned that it runs large, so I tried on a size two and a size zero. Everyone agreed that the size two fit a little better all around, so I grabbed it.**

I’ll pair it with either a white blazer or a red silk and cashmere sweater from Barney’s, depending upon the weather and the occasion. I think this ensemble needs simple accessories: a strand of pearls and pearl stud earrings.

The dress is the star of this show, don’t you agree?

anchordress

I have espadrilles, but I’ll probably choose these
Chinese Laundry straw shoes with a little sparkle instead of the nude heels.
Totes adorbs, right?

Chinese Laundry shoes

**CONFESSION:
On a personal note, I bet I can guess what you’re thinking…I already know I have body image issues — I fully admit to it and embrace it. It’s just who I am, probably because of all the years of ballet. I refuse to buy any clothes larger than size two. The only way I’ll really be happy is in a DOUBLE ZERO like Victoria Beckham. I don’t want any therapy; I don’t want to change — it’s one of my little quirks and eccentricities. I’ve learned to love myself for it and deal with it. Don’t tell me how skinny I look; I won’t believe you anyway. And yes, I do eat–I’m not anorexic or anything (or I’d be a lot thinner!)

Confessions of a Shopaholic

By way of my beautiful-as-a-movie star BFF Cowboys and Crossbones, I got tagged for Confessions of a Shopaholic which is totally and absolutely cool!

Who doesn’t know that I LOVE to shop? Anyone?

It doesn’t matter if it’s a thrift store, consignment shop, TJ Maxx, Ross Dress for Less, Target, or ChanelI love the process of shopping.

I love the colors;  I love to run my fingers through the racks and feel the texture of the fabrics. I can eyeball silk and cashmere from across the room.

Ahh yes, it’s time for another session of retail therapy.

Do you consider yourself a shopaholic?
No. Ha ha. Of course the answer is YES! I will shout it from the rooftops–I’m proud to be a shopaholic!

How would you classify your style?
Sparkles to sweat pants. It depends on what mood I’m in. For example, the launch of my little boat Princess Rosebud called for a nautical theme.Nautical attire

Cozy bedtime attire for sweet Hello Kitty dreams.

hello kitty pajamas and slippers

Or a sexy evening in vintage Valentino at home with the Captain…

vintage Valentino dress

What store can you not leave without buying something from?
I can’t leave Target without buying something. Marshalls and TJ Maxx too. Uh, and then there’s Anthropologie, and H&M. Ummm, the sale rack at Barneys. J. Crew. Geez, I guess I don’t leave many stores empty handed. Sorry, tugboat man!

Where do you find your best deals?
The Barneys outlet, sales racks everywhere, my secret consignment shop.

What designer are you willing to splurge on?
CHANEL CHANEL CHANEL. Chanel GST Black box

Can you hear the angels singing? Isn't it brills?

Can you hear the angels singing? Isn’t it brills?

Do you have a go-to shopping outfit?
It’s usually an all day event; sometimes I dress in skinny jeans and flat boots, and sometimes I dress like I came from the gym which I most likely did. As long as I have my Chanel, I’m a happy girl.

What is your guilty pleasure?
Shoes. Boots. Designer vintage. Jewelry. Diamonds. Opals. All jewelry. Everything is my guilty pleasure. That’s why I feel guilty! Seashells, too.

Via Spiga and Steve Madden (and ChaCha)
Black Boots

Lanvin and Jimmy Choo

Jimmy Choo and Lanvin

What is the one piece of clothing you can’t live without?
Besides my Chanel, I’d choose my skinny jeans from Anthropologie. Well, all of them if I’m being perfectly honest. I love all my clothes! Especially this Missoni sweater with those skinny jeans from Anthro.
missoni

Who is your style icon?
Don’t judge me, but it’s Blair from Gossip Girl and Hepburn and Erica from All My Children. I said not to judge me! Oh, and I love Stacey London.

These are my tugboat captain wife’s confessions.
Now it’s your turn.
TAG–YOU’RE IT!
These are the questions for you to copy and paste.

TheFurFiles
Rarasaur
Simply Stacia
Chewylicious
CalliesMariner 

Do you consider yourself a shopaholic?

How would you classify your style?

What store can you not leave without buying something from?

Where do you find your best deals?

What designer are you willing to splurge on?

Do you have a go-to shopping outfit?

What is your guilty pleasure?!

What is the one piece of clothing you can’t live without?

Who is your style icon?

In Which Princess Rosebud Embarks Upon a Magical Journey

mermaid “TO THE SEA…TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO THE SEA!

It always has been intended that a proper christening and the accompanying ceremony ensures good fortune to the lady and her crew throughout the life of the vessel.

Please join us for the (virtual) christening of our New Haven rowing dory. Champagne and hors d’ouvres will be served.

My tugboat man spent his six weeks home (between surf sessions) restoring a neglected and dilapidated vessel who just needed a little love to sparkle and shine.
(Don’t we all…)

This New Haven rowing dory benefited from a much needed facelift. He sanded and sanded and sanded every day, patched holes, went to Home Depot–alone, thank goodness–and constructed new railings (or whatever they’re called.) And varnished.boatbefore boat during restoration

Why yellow? Hubs chose the color because it’s one of his favorites (it’s our kitchen color, too)  and because he says it’s an appropriate choice for this type of boat. He saved the best part for me; declaring that every girl should have a boat named after her…paintedboatnoname

What’s her name? Here’s a hint…
princess rosebud in the sand

The makeover is complete…THE FINAL REVEAL!

bestpicboat
mermaidboat

We took her out for a splash–a sea trial–in the lagoon that’s about three blocks from our house. I won’t even try to pretend that I did any rowing, but I did pack a nice lunch. He insisted that I remove the little mermaid (look closely and you’ll see that she’s wearing pearls, too) but if I find a really cool figurehead in an antique shop, he’ll mount it on the prow.

(I’m laughing–I said mount–I’m really never gonna grow up!)

Here I am in an appropriately nautical outfit: Joe’s skinny jeans, striped shirt from Banana Republic, and a cashmere/silk sweater from Barney’s. I took off my Captain mandated life vest for the pic. Check out my nautical Hello Kitty hat hkhatand the string of pearls. I’ll be the first to say it–hair’s gone a bit frizzy, oh well, everything can’t be perfect all the time. I used a new conditioner from Chi–one I won’t be using again, that’s for sure. Ignore the hair, those are Chanel sunglasses, beeyotches!

meonboat

Our lagoon and a very weird sky…

beautifullagoon

My wonderful captain rowed us to a secluded beach for our romantic picnic. I’ll NEVER tell where it is!

boatonbeach

The seagull who ran off with part of our lunch.seagullateourfood

My hero! He didn’t dress for the part like I did, but then, he did all the work, and I just had to sit there and look pretty.my rowing captain

A white egret in the marshwhiteegretlagoon

Raccoon prints!raccoonprintlagoon

Coyote prints!coyoteprintlagoon

At sundown we invited our neighbors over for a christening party.
I found Princesa champagne! Very appropriate, no?
partytable2

meatchristening

Hi, wish you all could have joined us!

We read this as everyone gathered around (and yes, I made everyone follow the script, raise their glasses, and toast ME!)

“For thousands of years, we have gone to sea. We have crafted vessels to carry us and we have called them by name. These ships will nurture and care for us through perilous seas, and so we affectionately call them “she.” To them we toast, and ask to celebrate Princess Rosebud.” “TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO PRINCESS ROSEBUD!”

Everybody takes a sip.

“The moods of the sea are many, from tranquil to violent. We ask that this vessel be given the strength to carry on. She is strong and will keep out the pressures of the sea.” Again the glasses are raised, and the assemblage shouts, “TO THE SEA…TO THE SAILORS OF OLD…TO THE SEA!”

Everybody takes another sip.

“Today we come to name this lady, Princess Rosebud,  and send her to sea to be cared for, and to care for her family. We ask the sailors of old and the mood of the sea to accept Princess Rosebud as her name, to help her through her passages, and allow her to return with her crew safely. ” Again with the raising of the glasses, “TO THE SEA…TO THE SAILORS BEFORE US…TO PRINCESS ROSEBUD!”

A last, long sip by all.

Finally, we sprinkled a few drops of  champagne over the bow to appease King Neptune, and laid a branch of green leaves on the deck to ensure safe returns.boatwithcandle

And thus ends another day in the life of Princess Rosebud.

Guurrrlllz, please tell Anne Hathaway to cover her lady parts!

hathaway malfunction

OOPSY DAISY

I guess my life’s not so bad. I haven’t done an Anne Hathaway or a Brit-ney. Ever. My lady parts haven’t ever been introduced to the world that way. Not yet, anyway. I even had a c-section; no human being has even luged down that tunnel. But who knows what I’ll do to get more blog or Twitter followers!  Seriously, Anne, gurllfriend.  Please wear undies or keep your legs together–or both. Pull-eaze. Have you ever done the “look in the mirror” thing to get in touch with your femaleness? Ick.

Actually, it was a disaster coming and going. I thought Rachael Zoe was her stylist. Was Rach too busy at QVC to care about that important deet? Who put that parachute on her back? It was a Tom Ford gown and he designed the bondage shoes, too. They say he used vegan leather. Are you telling me a poor carrot or a poor eggplant died so Anne could have a pair of shoes?

anne hathaways dress

parachute or backpac

planets alignedSo…you might remember a while back when all the planets were aligned for me and I got the vintage Valentino and that handbag, and I was skipping through my days throwing a little enchanted fairy dust to the right and to the left, la la la. Well, it all came to a crashing halt.

 

That’ll be on tomorrow’s installment of Enchanted Confessions. Stay tuned–

 

A lost opportunity, a huge regret, a haunting feeling

During one of my healing retail therapy sessions in the shoe aisle at Nordstrom, an older (and by older, I mean WAY older than me, like late sixties) well groomed beautifully dressed lady was sitting nearby trying on a pair of boots. She had a scarf around her neck that you could tell simply by looking that it was woven of the highest quality cashmere. She had a lovely air of grace and elegance. I think it was that regal essence that reminded me of my mom. She owned that quality too, always dressed head to toe with class.  The woman looked so together that I couldn’t keep from sneaking glances at her while I too tried on boots. I’d been looking for a pair of flat riding boots that fit snugly but weren’t too high, which is a tall order. (ha ha). I’ve never been accused of dressing elegantly. Sexy, flamboyant, stylish, wild even–but never Lilly Van der Woodsen Upper East Side elegant. Lilly van der woodsenHere’s an example of me getting dressed… If one pearl necklace is good, a dozen is better! A ring for every finger, well, why not? We have ten of them, isn’t that what they’re for? And aren’t our arms just begging to be filled with every bangle and charm bracelet in the jewelry box?

My mom would shake her head and say, “Princess Rosebud, haven’t you heard the old saying, less is more?” My response to her was, “Haven’t YOU heard of my saying, more is better?”

So I’m sitting there and this lovely woman is sitting there and she turns to me and says softly, matter-of-factly,

“My husband died last week.”

What do you do when a stranger opens up that way? What do you do? I said,

“I am so very sorry for your loss.”

She continued,

“We had been married for fifty years. I don’t know what to do with myself so I shop all day. I can’t bear to be home alone without him.”

If anyone could empathize with that philosophy, it would be me. Not that I’ve lost my life partner, but when my darling thirteen-year-old kitty died, I felt the same way. I left the house early in the morning and stayed away ’til dark, wandering around the shopping centers like a lost soul. I couldn’t bear to open the front door and know that I’d never again see her face at the top of the stairs greeting me. I couldn’t bear to sleep in our bed and never again feel her jump up and scratch at the covers to join me, nestled against my body, so I slept on the sofa until the captain came back. What made it even more difficult to bear was that it happened while he was out to sea, and I was the one who was unanchored, aimlessly drifting. I totes understood the poor lady’s pain.

“He made every day worth living.”

I asked her if she had family in the area to help her with her sadness, and she shook her head. It was on the tip of my tongue to invite her to join me for a cup of coffee when when my cell rang. It was my son. He needed me to run to the post office before it closed and send him a book he had accidentally left behind the previous week.

As I walked away, I touched her gently on the shoulder and told her once again how sorry I was for her loss and I hoped she’d be all right.

I really, really regret not getting her name and telephone number so that we could meet at a coffee shop or simply make sure she’s OK. I have a feeling she might not be. I do have that feeling. I’ve never seen her again.

For the most part, women are a truly and deeply caring and nurturing community. I dropped the ball that day and it haunts me.  It haunts me.

VINTAGE VALENTINO FIND, y’all

The universe is dropping some love on me today, that’s for sure. Ommmm. After the gym, I stopped at my secret source consignment shop…somewhere in SoCal…I’ll never tell. But I bet DIL knows which one I went to. OMFG, first I spied the red polka dots (and I’m a sucker for polka dots), and then I looked at the label. Vintage Valentino-fur reals. Then I looked at the price. $40. Forty dollars, are you serious??? Finally I tried it on, and it fits. It’s too good to be true! It’s two pieces. The dress is a sort of a halter top, but very intricate. The top is a snug fit with a flowy skirt, enough to hug the curves but not to make anyone think you’re trying to hide a big belly or some of that good old menopause paunch. The long-sleeved coat is absolutely stunning with handmade fabric buttons. It’s silk, of course, and that famous Valentino red. So well made, it puts my Target outfits to shame. Now I have the perfect outfit to wear for the captain’s arrival! Check out the label–I was telling the truth.