Red Carpet Rundown – The Emmys 2022

It was the best of the carpet and it was the worst of the carpet. But the best for me were few and far between and there were no wows that made me gasp, but there were plenty of gasps of horror. Ill fitting, strange cutouts and a plethora of tulle. And, if I may make a general observation, were a large group of hair stylists on strike? Where was the shine, the bounce, the curls? I saw lots of severe middle parts, slicked backed wet looking updos and many who looked like their electricity went out and they had to air dry their hair. Read on for my review and then let me know what you loved and who you wish would fire their stylist.

Full disclosure…my red carpet reviews are done for fun and entertainment. As a personal stylist I believe that style and fashion are personal. To me, the best dressed person in any room is always the one who is the happiest in what they are wearing. I don’t envy any of these women having to find a dress and walk the gauntlet while having their photo taken. It takes me 27 tries just to get a selfie I like. So these are just my humble opinions. And the best part about an opinion is there is no right and no wrong. Fashion is a form of art and is subjective, like it has been said many times beauty is in the eye of the beholder.

Tu-Tu Much

It’s like a fluffy macaroon came to life and decided to be a dress. I don’t think any of these shades, or shapes are that flattering. The one on the left particular brings back vibes from the SNL Lawrence Welk Show skits, minus the tiny hands. If I had Hannah Waddingham’s (from Ted Lasso) killer collarbones and arms I would have thrown on a strapless black column gown and called it a day. She’s just so gorgeous as is so I’d keep it simple. Please excuse my rudimentary cut and paste but you get the idea.

But there was one person who totally nailed the tulle overload and that was Lizzo. Lizzo shows up, every damn time, and makes it known that she is here. This confection works on her – she can carry it because she is a performer and it perfectly matched her Emmy award. Plus a key to making this style work on her is the length – keeping it short and showing off her legs prevents her from drowning in the dress. The train comes around almost a fan club of tulle following her. And her updo is adorable and also signed a non-compete clause with the dress.

Swiss Cheese

I get that cutouts have been a thing but these “holes” look out of place. Like the designers were on Project Runway and were given not quite enough fabric but Tim Gunn told them to “make it work.” In my opinion none of these work. But given Julia Garner’s exquisite work on Ozark I would be terrified to tell her that to her beautiful face. Maybe the diamond cutout was a nod to the riverboat casino from Ozark, so she kind of looks like a playing card? I can just imagine someone trying to put her character Ruth in this dress and Ruth would be all like “ I don’t know sh*t about f**ck, but I know this dress is f**cking ugly!” If you know Ozark you know, if no t please excuse my/Ruth’s language.

There were some less awkward cutouts, in the design of the keyhole cutout. While this trend pops up every few years it can be tricky when it comes to cleavage. Some want to show it off and some want to show off their sternum. I think it totally depends on the person who is wearing the dress to see which way works. We usually don’t think of Amy Poehler showing off the girls so I’m kinda on the fence here. However, if it had been done in a softer, lighter color, I think it would have worked better. See my not so suave swap below. I also just think the color swap works better on both ladies with their skin and hair.

Mad Max, clothing designer.

I don’t get these. They are very Met Gala couture and not user friendly. I kind of feel like the black dress is staring at me and that the zipper is mouth. I’m kinda afraid of it. Come to think of it, the “eyes” are making me thinking of the Marty cleanup robot from the Giant grocery stores, and he makes me angry.

The gold blob monster clearly looks like it is slowly killing Sarah Niles from Ted Lasso which is a shame because I really like her character. It also kinda reminds me of those dolls we had when we little that you literally snapped the dress onto. Again, no winner here and no swap can fix these.

Choo-Choo Trains

These trains should have been derailed. Just imagine cutting them off of these dresses and they would look so much better. Although I still can’t get behind Kerry Washington’s black sheer hose.

Kinda like a train these capes were equally confusing and felt unnecessary to the dress. I was so nervous someone would step on them and accidentally choke these lovely women. And again, with the hair that looks like their hair stylist called out sick on Connie Britton, and she has great hair – like really, really good hair. Like the kind of hair you save pictures of and show your hair stylist.

Heavy Metals and Light Nudes

Sorry, that sounds like a description for an awful porno movie. But there were shades of bronze, gunmetal and beige that showed up and to me they all kinda worked but not really. Like if it was a pass/fail grade they passed, but there were some tailoring issues that bugged me.

Christina Ricci wins this face off because hair and makeup are perfectly in sync with the vibe of the dress. I just wish it fit a little bit better without the side boob, and I do have some questions about the matching clutch. Lily James decided to “center part it and forget it” when it came to her hair and I just feel the proportions of this dress are way off, making her bottom half look so much larger than her top half.

So when I say nude I wasn’t kidding. These dresses leave very little to the imagination – I see you boy short undies! But the bra was clearly (literally clearly) left behind. Maybe I’m being too modest but in this case I actually think the sheer view up top takes away from the design of these delicate dresses.

Swoop there it is!

I love a good drape…of fabric. With the right fabric it can do so much on a figure and yet stay so simple. It has an effortless type of look even though there is total precision to the placement of fabric. There was a lot of this dramatic type of swoop draping going on last night and I was totally here for it. These drapings below were all done right because the fabric was kept simple and they kept the focus on the actress wearing the gown. The only suggestion I would have made as a stylist was to shorten the sleeves for both Molly Shannon and Jean Smart. I think showing a twinge of wrist bone would have opened up their arms and the overall look just a bit. Overall I’d say this is close to a 3 way tie, especially because these tv veterans all clearly had their hair and makeup people on lockdown.

Close Encounters

I love both of these dresses, but, I think a swap would look better. And Reese’s hair feels a bit too severe with the darker eye makeup and the dark dress. I think it’s been a while since we have seen Reese in red but I would have loved to see her rock this one shoulder number with her hair worn a little loose and wavy. And don’t get me wrong, Kaitlyn Dever and her figure are wearing the hell out this red gown, but color wise I would have loved to see these navy sparkly number paired back to her elegant auburn updo. And my apologies for the photo editing making them look like the Bratz bobblehead dolls.

Winner Winner Chicken Dinner

Now my personal awards for best dressed.

Mariska Hargitay…I’ll have what she’s having. Hair, makeup, jewels and take a peek at those ankle wrap stilettos. She looks amazing without over serving all her bits and pieces. Also notice the subtle draping over her lower hips and up to her waistline, flattering her figure. It’s really, really, good.

Amanda Seyfried was able to pull off this slicked back part because she is a blonde and it softens it. Her makeup echos the purple and pink of her dress and warms up what could have been a tough color to pull off. Her designer clearly got the group discount on tulle but used it so sparingly in a soft pink that you have to look twice to see it.

And then there is Zendaya. I have to include two photos of her so this gracious gown can fully be appreciated. I am a total sucker for classic, old-school Hollywood glamour, and this dress from none other than Valentino had me hook, line, and sinker. Zendaya and her stylist Law Roach have been around the block and they clearly understand the assignment. Zendaya was just 14 years old when she starred in Disney’s Shake It Up. Since then she is moved into deeper, grittier more adult roles. She is now 26 years old and while she could have pretty much worn anything and looked great, the fact that she chose this mature design shows that she is here to play and here to win, which she did last night. Jewelry? It’s a choker done right, which is not easy to do. And that hair? Amazing. Makeup? So bare and yet so done. Oh and the dress has pockets!!! I’d be running around all night, sticking my hands in and out of the dress and shouting “look! It has pockets!” And that, my friends, is just one of many reasons why Zendaya is there wearing that dress and not me.

Your Stylist Doesn’t Like You

And last but not least let say a moment of silence for these dresses that should be burned. I don’t even know where to start.

Kaley Cuoco is such a cutie, so why would she have her hair do that to her face? The severe abuse of pink tulle has me wondering if this was a full length gown and then the stylist grabbed the scissors . The flowers seem to be doing their best impression of the Monkeypox virus. Just no.

Sarah Paulson. What…is…happening? There’s an electric fence dog collar, a top stolen from the Star Trek archives, and a skirt that resembles the underside of a portabella mushroom. I would know, given that Kennett Square, where I live, is the Mushroom Capital of the World. Facts. The belt was not necessary, none of it was. I feel like if she starts to speak she may say “take me to your leader.” Maybe someone should check on Sarah and make sure she wasn’t, in fact, inhabited by an alien. This gown is custom Louis Vuitton and I think Sarah should trade it in for a few handbags.

So that’s a wrap! Congratulations to all the nominees and the winners. And in the famous words of Ricky Bobby from Talladega Nights…”If you ain’t first you last.” Kidding! Thanks again for reading!

Suzie

Running a Marathon While Holding Your Breath

I have exactly 22 minutes left in season 5 of stranger things. I have 13 pages left in The Hotel Nantucket . I’m not ready to finish them. Not yet. If I finish I am faced with a sense of loss. If I finish them I then have to focus on other things, things that I might not really want to think about.

A lovely friend, teacher, and fellow hockey mom told me that in her mind August feels like a month of Sundays (Thanks Amy T.). I totally get it. In August it’s so hot, things are slower, but yet there is this sense of impending chaos, a.k.a. September. School supplies have been on display in the stores for a couple of weeks now. I am already seeing the faux hand-painted “It’s Fall Y’all” signs on display at TJ Maxx and Target. While I am sick of the oppressive heat I also want to take one of those grinning obnoxious pumpkins and hurl it at Father Time. Please slow down. Please.

May and June were absolutely crazy. Our daughter graduated from high school and we had parties to go, lots and lots of parties. And a party to host. Don’t get me wrong, I am incredibly grateful that our daughter and my super awkward self had so many friends and family to celebrate with. But, from the standpoint of a true introvert, it was exhausting. My social cues completely failed me. There were times when someone would say something very simple like “Hi, How are you?”, and I would respond with a string of words like “Covid stinks, college is expensive, I’m hot, I need more wine and do you think mermaids are real?” Okay, maybe not that last sentence, but maybe I did say that after a glass of wine and running out of how to articulate adult small talk. In my mind everyone else looks and acts polished, elegant and like functioning adults. I’m in the corner sitting on the floor petting their dog. I felt exhausted. For an introvert it truly felt like running a marathon while holding your breathe. I seriously couldn’t figure out how to exhale and relax into the moment.

I don’t know if there could be a “What To Expect When You Are Expecting” College age edition. My friend Jenny mentioned to me how there was nothing mentioned when you read all those baby books about how to handle your heart breaking off in a piece and living somewhere else without you. The ironic part is that means we did a good job. People always say our job is to teach them to leave the nest and fly, that going away for college is a rite of passage and we should be so proud and so excited for them. Yes, of course I am proud of our daughter. I am excited for her. But my selfish inner child is sad and resisting change. I’ve burst into tears more times than I care to admit at the strangest of places (yes, the grocery store). Change can knock you over like a heavy wave in the ocean. You are left a little off balance and questioning whether to head back to the beach or stand tall and keep going.

In the midst of all this change almost every woman I know, both clients and friends, is having a wardrobe identity crisis. Covid and quarantine changed us, permanently. We can’t go back to the way things were before, not totally. We feel different. Our jobs and lifestyles are different. Self-care during the crazy time of Covid meant comfort. Comfort food, comfort movies, comfort clothes. It reminds me of how after you have a baby you are so sick of your maternity clothes but sadly, what no one tells you in the What to Expect book, is that you don’t get to go home and put on your newlywed party pants. Nope, you still need your maternity clothes for a little while, because, even though you birthed a tiny human, your stomach still looks and feels like a leftover ballon 3 days after a birthday party. Oh and everything still hurts, there are still cramps and bloating and no amount of Spanx is going to feel good after you’ve already been uncomfortable for 9 months.

So, much like us having to wean off, (pun intended), maternity clothing, we have been trying to wean off Covid clothing, and it ain’t easy. I tried to wear heels to a girls night out and my feet literally cried out loud in protest. They have seen and felt the joys of comfort and cool sneakers and they won’t be seduced by just any stiletto. So we are stuck. Stuck staring at a closet with pencil skirts, high heels, jeans that are too tight, and formal wear that feels way too fussy. And yet, at the same time, they are mixed messages all over social media from influencers and fashionistas showing us how we should be wearing 4 inch heels in Tuscany with an oversize straw hat and a $500 sundress, while carrying a handmade yet designer straw bag filled with fresh picked lavender. Yeah, that’s a no go because it’s beautiful but it’s not reality.

Travel was back in a big way this year and I helped clients plan their outfits and get packed up to places like Miami, Iceland and Ireland and tons of other locations. Some trips were for business and some were for fun. Everyone I worked with was overwhelmed and a bit lost. Instagram and Facebook make everything look so picture perfect but the reality of real life is very different. Sneakers and comfortable sandals were the starting point for building most of my clients outfits because, much like postpartum wear, we are in no mood to be uncomfortable. Emotionally we are all still a bit fragile and yes, self-care still means that comfort rules out over looking like a runway model. We aren’t yet ready to sacrifice how something feels versus how it looks, and I don’t know if we every will nor should we be.

I have also been re-examining my wardrobe and my own style. It’s changing. It’s more casual. I’m getting used to the idea of being okay with that. For so long I thought I had to look a certain way to justify my job title. As I have grown older I know that what I am wearing is not indicative of how I can help my client. The biggest way I can help my client is to be authentic. Only when I am truly authentic can I convince them that whatever truly makes them happy will be the outfit that looks best on them. Confidence and comfort have always been that x-factor that some women have when they walk in a room. These are the women that we always say things about like “Oh she can wear anything and look good. She just has natural effortless style.” Take a closer look. More often than not it’s not really about her clothes. We could put on the exact same outfit that woman is wearing and it will not have the same effect. It comes down to feeling good about yourself, and that’s not always easy. Recently I was shopping with my daughter at Aerie for her to get some clothing to go back to school. I ended up buying flared leggings for myself because they looked so soft and comfy. I was also terrified someone would card me and kick me out of the store for being too old. Seriously, at what point or age do we become too worried that we are “too old” for a store? Gap Kids, yes. Aerie, no, trust me, it’s okay and you are allowed and they won’t kick you out.

As I uncomfortably move through these Sundays in August I am going to try really hard to remind myself that we have to embrace the right here and right now. I have to look at my wardrobe and ask what items work for me RIGHT NOW? What items fit me RIGHT NOW? What items feel good to put on RIGHT NOW? Although I will reluctantly read the last few pages of my book, and sadly watch the last half hour of Stranger Things, I will try really hard to open myself to what’s next. I can’t go back. I can’t reread the book for the first time. I can’t hug my daughter before she walks out the door for school every day. But I know there will be so many new books to read, new shows to watch, and new experiences to share with my kids. I recently edited out two trash bags of clothes. Pajamas that are itchy, jeans that are too small, heels that are too tall and multiple pairs of leggings that I pass over every time because they are three comfy ones that I will always grab instead. The best part is less clutter. The second best part is the unknown of new things I can buy and bring into my wardrobe that will “fit” me RIGHT NOW. And, by the way, I am wearing these leggings right now and I have to tell you they are everything I hoped they would be and more. These are leggings without that compression feeling that leaves you with indigestion after your morning Starbucks because they are bisecting your abdomen with too much tummy control. Check out the contoured waistband that moves with you instead of bisecting your lower belly. Bonus…they are 30% off right now.

Thanks for reading, and many hugs to any of you mommas getting ready to send your kiddos off to college, all of you mommas who have already sent kids off to college and beyond and given me priceless advice, and the young mommas who are just trying to keep the cheerios off the floor and get a good night’s sleep. It takes all of us chatting open and honestly with each other to grow through the changes. Cheers to new memories!

OFFLINE By Aerie Real Me High Waisted Crossover Flare Legging

May- Hem

I was on the phone with my friend Erin this morning and we were both venting about feeling very overwhelmed with all the activities scheduled in May and June. She gets all the credit for this term because she said it so simply, that May always feels like mayhem. Add in the simple, yet time consuming decision of shopping for what to wear to graduations, events, and parties, and the month of May may just put some of us over the edge. Kind of like today when I ran into this psycho stalker in the grocery store. You know how sometimes it’s not the big things that set you off, but rather the irritating little things? One day I am going to drop kick this roving robot.

Not today, Marty, not in the mood.

May used to mean Spring flowers, time for fresh new beginnings, and a clean house with open widows. Now it means pollen and procrastination. Everyone is sneezing from allergies (…or is it Covid?) and walking around in a Clariton fog. Mother Nature is being stubborn and keeps going back to her abusive ex-boyfriend wind and rain, so everytime we put our sweaters away she says, “Wait a minute…not so fast.” And even though my to-do list is a mile long I still find myself wasting time by reading up on the Johnny Depp and Amber Heard trial. I don’t really care about them but sometimes getting sucked into someone’s else’s stuff is a mind numbing distraction from all the stuff I need to do. It’s all there right in front of me and yet I just keep stumbling when I start.

Time is almost up for those of us with seniors in high school and I am filled with conflicted emotions. On one hand it is definitely time, the signs are all there that our kids are ready to go and that’s a good thing. On the other hand the next thing you know I find myself sniffing the Dreft laundry detergent in the grocery store and crying over the memories of freshly washed onesies.

Lots of Dreft was being used in those days.

There almost isn’t enough time to be sad because May feels so busy. There is prom and graduation parties to be planned and none of that comes easily or inexpensively. Go ahead and guess what it costs for a girl to get not just one prom dress, but a graduation dress, a graduation party dress, a senior dinner dance dress and dresses to wear to all the parties they are going to. Don’t forget to add in hair, makeup, nails and probably tanning. And do you know how hard it is to find oversized balloon numbers that say 2022 that are in stock to and ready to ship? They should open grad themed stores just like they do around Halloween. You know all those Halloween Adventure Stores that randomly pop up and then just as quickly disappear? Yeah, we need those.

So if you are like me and your brain is starting to hurt I thought it may help if I threw together a few ideas for graduation dresses for us, the moms. And the aunts, the grandmoms, the sisters, the cousins, etc. Basically if you are a girl and you need a dress I found something for almost everyone in range of styles and colors. All Remember, you will probably be having your picture taken more than you are used to, most likely in front of some detailed photo banner wall backdrop that one of those super crafty moms saw on Pinterest and rebuilt out of reclaimed wood. When getting your photo taken remember that bright colors look good and make us look less pasty, but by all means if black is your feel slim, trim power color than definitely wear it! When wearing prints, they tend to show up on photos better when they are bigger and bolder, too small and they can look blurry in a photo. And yes florals are big this year, and keep in mind they hide a multitude of sins, including Covid wine bellies (Hi, that’s me), and anything you may drop onto your lap, or sit in, while you attend your 3rd picnic of the day.

I’ve combed thr

Click HERE to shop all my dress picks.

Click HERE to shop all my dress picks.

Also important is I added a section where you can shop wraps, jackets and cardigans. Depending when and where your ceremony is it could be 90 degrees and then 45 and raining, all in the course of 2 hours. It’s good to have something reliable to throw on or leave in your car as your party hop. And don’t listen to trends or in or out, a classic denim jacket ALWAYS works as does a pashmina/wrap. Classic wraps can be found in any color and can be overnighted from Amazon. You can also choose a printed one to throw over a solid dress for an easy way to step up something that may feel like it needs a little something extra. I first saw this scarf below in a client’s closet and and it literally went with like 10 things she owned. It’s available from No. 109 shop in Kennett Square. And yes, they ship to you if you aren’t local.

Click HERE to shop all my jacket and wrap picks.

Speaking of hopping your feet are going to hurt. You will be doing a lot of walking and a lot of standing, and some of it may be on grass. So skip the stilettos and opt for a wedge, block heel, or a flat sandal to avoid aerating your neighbor’s lawn. You can go basic with a beige color sandal that will pretty much match anything all summer, or you can make a statement with a bright accent color as seen below.

Click HERE to shop all my picks for shoes.

Oh and don’t forget the waterproof mascara. Whether they are over watching your baby get that diploma, or when you look at your bank account after that first college tuition payment, you will probably be shedding some tears. And if you are standing near me at a party and you smell the faint scent of baby Dreft detergent well know you’ll know why, I probably caved and bought it for myself and my memories. And if I am sniffing and sneezing I swear it’s just allergies. I also feel compelled to shout that out loud any time I am in public and I sneeze. No one asks but they all stare so I awkwardly announce it – anyone else do this???

So grab a cocktail or a cup of coffee and your credit card. Shop all my recommendations here and then you know there is 1 less thing you can cross off your list! Happy Spring and Thanks for reading!

Suzie

Red Carpet Review

It has been an eternity since I had the opportunity to give you a recap and personal review of The Red Carpet. If you haven’t read one of my posts before please keep in mind that this is just a fun review and not meant to upset anyone or induce anyone getting up from their seats and getting upset (I’m talking about you Will Smith and unfortunately everyone is talking about you today). I think everyone is entitled to their own opinion about fashion and there is no right or wrong, this is just my opinion. I think everyone who steps foot onto that carpet is brave just for showing up. If that was me I think I’d try a dig a hole and crawl through it if I had view all the styles and looks. I view fashion as a work of art and a form of expression. It can be a bit of escapist fantasy to enjoy seeing beautifully made gowns in an industry that has certainly seen it’s share of struggles lately. So that being said I’ll review some of the trends that were on the carpet, as well as some of my favorite looks and some of the looks that maybe should have been left alone.

Red on the Red Carpet

So much red last night! In ruffles, and gowns and even on a tux. Red is a standout color and says “Look at me!!” It’s bold and self-assured and best worn with a ton of confidence. Normally I’m a huge fan of Tracee Ellis Ross but last night I was so nervous for her nipples. Everything up top was so close to falling out and it just felt a bit too much like they ran out of fabric. It’s a shame because I love the length of the dress and adored her red stiletto heels.

In my mind I just kept thinking how great it could be if it was a classic strapless instead of those wide set minnie mouse ears. See my hack job of an altered photo below.

Rosie Perez looked old Hollywood glam with that deep side part with the wave and the classic red lip. She is a petite powerhouse and this gown fit her well. Her curves were on display but I felt confident they were being carried securely. My only stress was the fear that someone was going to step on that very long train and strangle her. I think the dress would have been just as lovely without it.

Then we have the classic beauty, Jennifer Garner. This was of course gorgeous but there is a part of me that would love to see her experiment with just a bit more of an edgier style. She wasn’t nominated and was there as a presenter so I get her going the safe route but I’m just dying to see her try something a bit unexpected and have fun with it.

When I first saw Ariana DeBose’s 3 piece look I wasn’t quite sure. It had such similar lines to the dress that I wondered if it was from the design house. (It wasn’t though, Tracee’s was from Carolina Herrera and Ariana’s is from Valentino) But as I kept seeing her I started to love the look more and more. It seemed to fit her personality and when she was presented with a rice krispie treat during an interview she showed us how it would fit into her pocket. Then I was sold. Snack pockets in her pants? That’s a win. Seriously though her hair and makeup and simple diamond necklace all came together perfectly and the real lock for me on this look was the dramatic cape that she still had fun with. The cape elevated the whole look for me from a night out look to award winner look.

Pretty In Pink

While red is loud and bold the popular shade of pink on last night’s carpet was a pale light shade of pink. It reads as soft and romantic and is subtle. Keeping it simple and classic last night was the always stylish Zoe Kravitz. I mean, it’s physically impossible not to exude constant cool girl vibes when your mom is Lisa Bonet and your dad is Lenny Kravitz. Since Zoe already has that edge I love that she went so soft with this column dress with the bow. She has Audrey Hepburn vibes on full flow, even down to the short bangs and updo and I think it works on her. Just wish I found a picture where she looked a little more happy.

Also in pink was this lacey number on Lily James. This dress is classic Versace in every way – the slit, the fit (like a glove), and the bra cut of the top. It veers dangerously close to feeling a bit like bridal night lingerie but the platform heels remind us she is in a gown.

And not to spoil the surprise but here is my favorite look of the night. Mila Kunis in Zuhair Murad was perfection. Her eye makeup was stunning, her hair was perfect and this dress fit her so well. It was the first time for me that she looked like a mature movie star versus her usual laid back guy’s girl kinda vibe, which, to be clear, also works on her. But it was fun to see her glam it up with a bit of Catherine Zeta Jones feel. I think this shade complimented her perfectly and the whole look was grown up glamourous.

Back in Black

We can always expect to see black gowns on the red carpet. They feel sexy, chic and sultry and are usually a safe bet. It’s also an easy way to go more bold with design since the classic of black can keep a look more grounded. Rita Moreno is 90 years old and she outworked women in the 20s last night. That sculptural shoulder ruffle was a statement and so was her feather hat. She looked like she was having fun and her dress reflected that. Oh and take note of the shoes, she is wear flats! Turns out you don’t have to sprain an ankle to walk the red carpet.

Maddie Ziegler went big for her strapless black dress and I think it worked pretty well but I would have liked to see it without all that extra fluff. She’s young, she’s only 19, so I think I would have preferred a slightly more sleek version of this dress or even something a little shorter. And maybe her hair down, or, if she was going to wear it up, make it more modern by doing something more sleek instead of the wispies down the side and from the back which just felt a little sloppy. Maybe I’m just jealous thinking of all the fun things I could wear if I was 19! But I did love the jewelry and thought it was a good changeup from the traditional bright diamonds.

Vanessa Hudgens wore her black dress with one of the trends that we are continuing to see from this past year with the side cutouts I loved the pop of emerald in her necklace but I really would have liked to see her hair down. I feel like when a dress has sharp cuts of tailored lines it’s nice to see a contrast with something less severe with the hair. I also would have liked to have hemmed the dress a few more inches and show off a pair of killer heels.

Prettiest Use of Purple

These are two very different dresses but both of them made me swoon. The detail of the lilac Miu Miu dress on Demi Singleton was exquisite. The detail was of the beaded flowers was so beautifully and the length was perfect as it didn’t overwhelm Demi, who, by the way, is only 15 years old. Even at her young age she carried this gown with complete grace.

I think it’s got to be a delicate choose on what to wear when you are just a regular person but you are married to a movie star. I’m sure there’s a slight feeling of not wanting to overdo it compared to an actress that is a nominee, but, at the same time, it’s the freakin Oscars and you want to look glam. Kathryn Boyd is the wife of Josh Brolin and I am completely in love with her purple boho beach girl chic look in Etro. Her hair matches the feel of the dress where everything just this effortless look like she just got in from a beach in Bali a few hours ago. Definitely one of my favorites.

Umm…can you make me my own color?

If you are Nicole Kidman and working with Armani then yes, your wish is their command. The story goes that Nicole saw this dress but requested this custom shade of pale blue (I know it reads a bit purple/grayish in the photos). This dress is definitely couture and even if you don’t love the style you have to admit that only Nicole Kidman can carry off this type of dress like a runway model. She’s been doing this way too long and rarely makes me a mistake, mostly because she always look so confident in her choices. My favorite part of this dress was the beading on the train, such a beautiful detail.

Can you match my dress to my hair?

I wanted to love Jessica Chastain’s look because I like her so much but the bottom of the dress ruined it for me. The ombre sequins felt fun and unexpected and I was kinda okay with the Rainbow Bright nod but the bottom of the gown felt way too much like Mrs. Howell’s pajamas on Gilligan’s Island. The dress had enough going on and when you are a redhead that beautiful color feels like an extra accessory. She is so beautiful that I felt like it was too much noise and a classic case of wear you notice the dress before the person, and she is too talented for that.

I didn’t hear much about this look today, and maybe it’s because she changed during her hostess duties, but wow I thought Regina Hall totally looked gorgeous in this monochromatic look. Here hair, skin, and dress all were on the same page, and Damn it was a good chapter! By keeping the whole look tonal the focus was on her totally perfect hair and makeup which danced in complete sync with the dress. The soft color lets you totally appreciate the gorgeous layers and lines of her custom Vera Wang gown and I am so here for it.

Are you looking at my boobs?

Yes, it’s now come to this. Boobs as accessories. We already covered (or should I say what wasn’t covered) in Tracee Ellis Ross’s dress but here are a couple of others that really went for it. Venus Williams is fierce but felt the need to remind us of her femininity with this U-shaped front opening on her gown. I thought the dress was stunning, it has a bit of a mermaid cut to the skirt and her hair was super glam. But you don’t see all that because it’s literally distracting that the silver border looks like it is barely holding in all her bits and pieces. In fact, there was a slight mishap caught on Twitter where she did have a bit of one of the girls wanting to come out and play and you can see her holding her arm over her chest until she could tell that girl it wasn’t her match.

Slaying in Sequins

When Lupita Nyong’o came onto the red carpet some years ago she set the stage by being a star in the fashion department. She never phones it in and she always shows up. This year was no exception in her gold and floral sequined Prada gown. Her updo matched the texture of the dress, which included an exaggerated metallic fringe that felt like mini applause that followed her.

Also showing how a simple sequin skirt can completely kill it on the red carpet was Zendaya, who has become one of the actresses we love to see on the red carpet. She’s always up for something just a bit different and has the confidence to pull it off. Wearing a custom cropped shirt and skirt by Valentino, she gave a nod to the white button down worn from The Gap that Sharon Stone famously wore some years ago. Her look is flawless and the updo lets us focus on the cut of the shirt. I’m also obsessing over the stacks of Bulgari Viper bracelets that give it just the right amount of edge.

Speaking of Menswear…

There were lots of looks outside the usually black tux box this year. From all pink to all red, to velvet and patterns, this was probably one of the most expressive years for the men. While I am all up for expression there is one that I didn’t like. Timothee Chalamet forgot his shirt. Don’t get me wrong, I love the sequin blazer and I would love to borrow it for myself, but I just didn’t feel this was the right venue. Call me a traditionalist but I think this look would have been better at The Met Gala or The Grammys. I guess to me he is an actor, not a rock star, so I’m not getting the whole “I’m too sexy for my shirt” vibe via 90’s band Right Said Fred. Although, he does the the skin tone to be the next Edward in Twilight.

One more that didn’t work for me was Daniel Kaluuya’s satin tux. I feel like this would be worn by the maitre d at a Disney World Little Mermaid themed restaurant.

For me best dressed male goes to Jason Momoa. With men it’s all about the tailoring and it’s no easy feet to get this guy into a well fitting tux. I believe he said it was custom made for him in London. Although he is naturally the kind of guy who stands out with his hair and size and his overall vibe, I like that he kept it simple and classic for this event. Oh and take note of his black satin scrunchie on his wrist for his ponytail…”Stars! They’re just like us!”…as I have gotten dressed up before and forgot to take my ever present pony-tail holder off of my wrist.

Wanna Trade?

Sometimes I see a dress I love but just not on that person. I would have loved to have Julianne Hough and Kirsten Dunst swap dresses. See my chopped up photo redo below. And yes, I realize I made their heads too big for their bodies but photo editing is not my thing and this was the best I could do.

I like big trains and I cannot lie.

Megan Thee Stallion dropped the bougie and ratchet and kept the classy with her custom Gaurav Gupta metallic blue gown with ruffles for days. It was glamorous and gorgeous and just the right amount of train. Her sleek updo complimented the look perfectly.

On the other hand sometimes a train should be stopped in its tracks. Forgive me Will but what is going on with Jada’s look? Is it an exploding can of Spinach? Or is it inspired by the caterpillar in Alice in Wonderland? Again, maybe for The Met Gala which is known for dresses that women literally can’t sit in and delivering a shock and awe factor. She is tiny and beautiful and this dress looks like it is going to eat her alive. My second to least favorite.

Another look that left me super confused was Maggie Gyllenhaal’s gown by Schiaparelli. I respect that this gown is considered “haute couture” but I can’t get over the strange gold accents. It reminds me too much of those oversized hooks I always see in the bins of the sale room at Anthropologie. They look interesting at first but then I think, would I really want that on my wall? Definitely not on my dress. It would be so tempting to hang my purse on it if I ran into her in the ladies room.

And now, for my least favorite look of the night. Kristen Stewart can literally wear anything she wants from Chanel, and yet she chose to wear this. Does she look cool and badass? Sure, for a photoshoot, for a night out, for a runway. But for the Oscar’s? Even though I didn’t like Maggie or Jada’s dresses I can at least appreciate that the effort was put it to pull off a dramatic look for the Oscars. This just feels like Kristen gave up and said Eff it. Many fashionistas loved this punk look and what may be the first time we saw shorts on the red carpet but I just felt like it was a waste of a moment. She can do so much better and I feel like she was acting like a rebellious child and stomping her feet with this look.

I think this would have been great for the after-parties but I didn’t like it at all for the Red Carpet. Conversely, I loved what she wore to the after-parties and would have loved to see her swap these two looks. Her I think her hair looks sexy instead of sloppy and the lack of jewelry lets the dress totally stand out and show off those amazing metallic cuffs. Its beautiful on her and I think would have been so much better on the red carpet. But again, that’s the best part about fashion. It’s subjective. It’s in the eye of the beholder. And, in the end, everyone looks their best when they wear something that they love. Opinions are just different views and everyone is entitled to their own. No matter what I think I always celebrate fashion and the expression of personal style. The best accessory anyone can ever wear is a genuine smile.

So let’s hear your opinion! Who did you love? Who did I miss? Let me know as I could talk about this stuff for days on end and love discussing it!

Thanks for reading!

Suzie

Scorched Earth

Photo by Vlad Bagacian on Pexels.com

Definition of scorched-earth 1: relating to or being a military policy involving deliberate and usually widespread destruction of property and resources (such as housing and factories) so that an invading enemy cannot use them. via

MerriamWebster.com

I once arrived at a client appointment and upon entering her home I for a second thought that she had been robbed. Her calm and welcoming demeanor told me otherwise as she greeted me warmly as she has done several times before. But this was pre botox so my face clearly said what is going on when I saw that all of her family room furniture, sans the television, had clearly been given evacuation orders and had left the building. The tv sat awkwardly alone on the floor of the family room, looking like that friend that passes out at a part and then wakes up and wonders where everyone went. My client immediately read the the confusion on my face and said “Yeah, it’s time. I wanted to redo this room for some time now and keeping the old couch and chairs and rug was not motivating me enough to take the necessary steps to move forward. So, I figured I would get rid of all the things I no longer want and in order to make room for me to see and to take action on those things I do want. I needed clarity.” While this sounds brilliant on the surface I pointed out that she has elementary age twins and a husband and family that is very into watching all things sports on tv. Golf, football, tennis, baseball, if it’s televised they are watching it together as a family. “Oh, yes, we’ve been watching it on the floor or dragging in chairs from the kitchen to watch the tv.” Isn’t that uncomfortable I asked? “Of course”, she said, and just then I realized that was precisely the point.

Change is uncomfortable. The familiar, good or bad, is easy. We pick to stick with the problems we know rather than risk getting involved with something else unknown with possibly a whole new set of problems. The key word there is risk. We could try something new and it could be great and solve all of our problems and we could think why oh why did I not do this sooner, or we could try something new and think, yep, that’s that old adage about people always thinking the grass is greener, why couldn’t I have just stayed with what I know, problems and all. You see in taking out all her existing family room furniture this client was forcing herself to make a decision. And forcing herself to live without any furniture for a time being meant two things. One, no one will die for having to sit on the floor to watch tv, and two, she can more clearly envision what she wants. She didn’t feel the panic of having to run out and buy the first thing she saw just to provide a seating solution. In making her family and herself a bit uncomfortable she was the able to feel comfortable taking her time and getting exactly what she wanted to put into that space. Similar to watching a sports game when a player has the puck, or the ball, and the other team is closing in but you see a look of confidence on that player’s face. Sometimes you hear someone in the crowd say “You got time!” and they know it, they dribble the ball, they handle the puck, they contemplate their next move. They have time to think and make a decision that they are sure about. I know decorating is not an athletic game but there is something to be said in terms of relating to timing before you take your shot. If you can afford to take your time you have a better chance of getting it right.

When we fall back on what is comfortable and what is familiar we never give the new things a chance. We stifle growth. As silly as it sounds it was that extreme lack of having any furniture in the room that helped this client observe her family and their life and contemplate what type of furniture and layout would make sense for them. And of course, like most things, I can relate this back to your closet. When you keep hold of something that no longer serves you it breeds resentment. How many times have you held on to a pair of jeans that were too tight, too long, too short or just too something, only to try them on again for the 8th time and then get more and more irritated each time you try them on and then take them off. It’s annoying. Your annoyed at them but it gets displaced to feelings of :”If I was thinner, younger, had a better butt, had a smaller but, ate less cheese, worked out more….this wouldn’t be happening.” This is where I have to stop you.

Stop. It’s not your fault. You can blame the clothes. It’s okay. Let’s face it, there are more of them than there of us so why are we settling when there is oh so many fish in the see that we can wear?! Because we wear what is familiar. We wear what is comfortable, not just physically on our bodies but comfortable in our minds. Our brain does not like to shake things up, we take mental comfort and security in wearing what we have always worn. But we change, all the time. Expecting a pair of jeans from 3 seasons ago to fit the body and mindset we are in right now is problematic. Listen, after I had my breast reduction I thought that I would magically be able to wear all of my clothes that we too small up top and everything would look great. Turns out when you change your proportions and the silhouette of your shape that it’s not that easy I’ve been fighting this realization because it’s sad. It’s sad that there are clothes in my closet that just won’t look right on my body ever again. And yet, here I was, all summer, trying them on and taking them off and hanging them back up in my closet. This is nonsense. It was scary but I only felt justified to go out shopping for new clothes after I got rid of lots of my existing clothes and saw lots of empty hangers staring back at me. It also helped me focus on what is working for my shape so I knew what to look for more of. High waisted flat front pants are no longer my friend. At one time the proportions of my chest made it so that my waist looked smaller by default. Now a higher waist makes me look like Winnie the Pooh from the side. Suddenly my waistline was larger than my bustline so I needed to adapt to an entirely new way of dressing my shape.

So what’s so scary about an empty closet, besides the obvious fear of really looking like Winnie the Pooh and having no pants at all to wear? It’s that overwhelming feeling that takes over when we think about having to make the decisions. There is an excellent quote by a famous organizer, Barbara Hemphill that says that “Clutter is postponed decisions.” All those clothes cluttering up your closet are items that you have yet to make a decision on. The decision sounds as simple as keep or toss but it’s all those nagging questions that sneak up in the back of our brain creating a traffic jam in our decision making process. Quick decisions like “This sweater is itchy, it needs to go” get sidetracked with a train of thoughts that are careening out of control…”Maybe I just need to find the right thing to wear under so it’s not itchy, I like the pattern and the color so maybe I’ll just wear it for a short time rather than something all day, this sweater was expensive and from a good designer, maybe my sister will want this and I can keep it in here until I see her next”…and so on and so on. Next thing you know we are paralyzed and walk away.

I”m here to tell you it’s time. Take all that “furniture” out of your closet that doesn’t work. Only leave in what does work. When you do this you can clearly see what is missing. You can make constructive observations based on what exists right in front of you. Keep a list going, it will help you to make smart choices when shopping and to fill in the blanks. It may take some time and it will take some financial investment but keep your eye on the prize. And I’m not gonna lie, it can be scary. Letting go of all things that aren’t “you” anymore means we have to face the questions of just who we want to be right now, and what if we just don’t know? I don’t have a signature style. More than once I’ve thought about taking a lighter to my entire wardrobe (not really but figuratively) and forcing myself to start over. That’s a lot of work. I don’t always know exactly who I am right now as far as my style, but, what I do know is that I don’t have the exact same style as I did five years ago and I will probably have a different style five years from now. Life is about change and about evolving. Imagine yourself opening up the doors of your closet and seeing it clean, organized and only containing what you love and fits YOU, for the life and the body you have RIGHT NOW. And remember less is more. There is no need to fill up all of that empty space and refill every empty hanger. You got this.

Want some help?

I’m here to help you conquer the clutter in your closet. It’s a 4 week course for 1 hour a week where I will walk a small group of people through the closet clean-out process step by step, tackling different areas each week. There will be homework and things you can do on your own time but I will be there live every week to help talk you through the decision making process. It’s time to take back your closet. I’m only accepting a limited number so please send your name and contact information to me via text if you are interested in the details. The course will start on Monday, November 1st, at 7pm, and will continue every Monday at 7 through November 22nd. This course will be interactive in nature as it will work like a zoom call. You can interact as little or as much as you’d like and there will be no pressure to share any personal information with me or with the group. Total price for all 4 sessions will be $149 for the 4 hours.

Emptying the Nest

I’ve always thought about whether or not it is better to know that it’s the last time you do something, or to be left blissfully unaware. There are some situations where we know it’s the last time and although that can feel like an opportunity to make the most of something it also feels likes heaps of pressure. I’m not necessarily referring to the big milestone type events in our lives, I’m talking about the everyday little things, the simple everyday situations, especially the ones that change as we get older. The very last time you read your child a book before bed. The last time you helped your grandmother set the table. The last time your mom or dad tucked you into your bed. Your child won’t ask you to pick them up and then say “Make this one count because I’m getting bigger and you won’t be able to pick me up or carry me anymore!” And what if they did? What if when they are whining and crying and you are exhausted but they whisper in your ear that this will be the very last time they would ask you to pick them up? What if we knew it was the last time we did something and we altered it in some way? It’s this gentle flow of routine that makes these common everyday interactions feel like they are slipping through our fingers without us even realizing it.

If we knew it was the last we might change the narrative, accidentally messing up the very memory we are trying so hard to savor. Have you ever had a store or restaurant you love suddenly close? You didn’t know the last time you were there was the last time. Would you have ordered something different? Would you have stayed longer than usual? Regret is a crappy and confusing feeling because we are regretting something we didn’t do, or that maybe we did do, but we have no crystal ball to tell us how the outcome would be different. Life is not a “Choose Your Own Adventure Book.” I loved those books but I compulsively had to read through every option, never satisfied with sticking with the one I chose. I recently asked my husband about these books and he said he loved reading them but he was the type of person who picked his choice and moved on, never looking back at the other options. I looked at him as if he was a complete freak and he could not believe I would take the time to read through all the other scenarios. Worth noting, this is how my husband lives his life. He makes his decisions confidently and moves on, never looking back. Meanwhile I am that person that will agonize over the menu when we go out to eat. Even if I like what I chose when the food arrives I am still that weirdo that looks around at other peoples’ entrees and think “Maybe I should have had the omelet.”

Of course I overthink and over analyze more than just my breakfast choices. I can get caught up making too big of a deal about the significance everyday things. The last school lunch I packed, the last time we played hide and seek, the last time they were in a stroller. When singled out these moments aren’t that special on their own, it’s the frequency we do them that creates the threads we use to weave a quilt of our life story, into a quilt that is never really finished. Even in the end of our lives the memories and routines we created will continue to be woven into our children’s lives and all of those around us. In the what I never thought of as profound words of that famous song from Semisonic, the one that was always played at the end of the night in bar when I was in my 20s, “Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end.” We are so very lucky to be able to keep that quilt going, the different patches and colors representing no distinct pattern but rather a reflection of how complicated our lives can be.

My parents are getting ready to sell their beach house. For a myriad of reasons it’s the right time, and as much as it hurts and feels sad I know in my gut that this is the time. Usually we stumble in there in waves of kids and dogs and all different times. We leave the same way, double checking that beds are made, towels are washed and the dog hair cleaned up. But even when we are there it’s a whirlwind of people coming and going, racing to get into the shower first, rinsing the sand off from our toes, and running back out the door to the next thing. Sports schedules, teenagers that want to see their friends, and work obligations have made it hard for us to all be there at the same time and to be present in the moment. This past labor day weekend was a little different. My sister and I gathered our kids on the stairs that we have run up and down for the last 15 years. We’ve never taken a photo of the cousins on the steps. This time we did. It was bittersweet. They are getting older and so are we. We had 15 years to make this an annual photo and yet this is our first and our last time. This is an example of one of those of one of those times where I was grateful to have control of the narrative, to know that it was the last time they would all be sitting there together at the end of the summer, to be present in the moment. Because I knew this I savored it, I appreciated it, capturing it with a photo in a night where normally we would all be running around in different directions. It was special and we felt it, and I felt gratitude for the memories we made that can’t ever be sold. My godmother Nina put it perfectly when she said it’s time to make new memories.

I’m well aware that with these last times will come a whole new slew of firsts. Just like moving out of home there is that first sleep in your new home. The first time you drop you take your drop your child off at college. I know I am supposed to look forward to this my this one is a toughie. This is our daughter’s senior year of high school. It’s filled with lots of conscious “lasts”, the last first day of high school, the last time she drives with her brother to school (she probably won’t miss that one too much! ), the last time she comes home from school after a tough day and I am physically standing there to give her a hug. I’m not the first person to have a child leave home for college and I’m not the last, but damn it hurts. It’s like pulling off a bandaid very, very, slowly. You have a whole year to think about it and with it the pressure of trying to make this year everything you want it to be remembered as. I have found myself in T.J. Maxx looking at various sizes, colors and materials of decorative pumpkins and getting ready to buy all of them to suddenly make my house have the best damn fall ever. Our daughter loves fall and when the house is decorated for each season. And I am one of those moms who still has Christmas pine soap in the powder room and forgets to change the wreath on the door. I don’t rotate out pumpkins for ghosts for nutcrackers and then for hearts and then bunnies for each season. I so appreciate it in other people’s homes but I just never have put the effort into my own. And now, here I am, with 17 years under my belt to have the opportunity to decorate for Fall and I suddenly decide that I want to spend hundreds of dollars on seasonal decor to try and create some perfect happy home memory for my daughter’s last fall at home. It’s ridiculous and insane and yet I am consumed with making this the best year of her life. It’s also impossible.

Plus the bandaid is starting to get pulled, just as it should. If you have ever been pregnant you remember that ninth month and the cruel fact that although you should be getting tons of sleep before the baby arrives, you are helplessly up almost every hour with a bladder reduced the size of a grape under the pressure of an anvil. It only occurred to me much later after my children were born that this is actually nature’s way of preparing us for getting up throughout the night at all hours and learning how to go back to sleep in less than 1 minute anywhere at anytime. It’s a crash course in how to function without a solid 8 hours and it’s exactly why when our children are older we look at a new mom and think “Oh My Goodness, that looks exhausting and I could never do that again.” We were being groomed, getting prepared, we weren’t just nesting the baby nursery we were nesting ourselves physically and mentally.

One of my best friends warned me about this slow bandaid pull, saying it actually helps the leaving to not feel so abrupt. It happened quickly to me these past few months. Our daughter got her license, and then a job, and then school started and then she got a second job. Suddenly she was not home for these potentially perfect family dinners I was imagining us having and I found myself adjusting to the fact that she was around the house a lot less. If she wasn’t working she was in her room doing homework or going out with her friends, all normal stuff. Part of me wanted to sit on the floor of her room and just stare at her while she did her homework and even though I’m weird enough to try, it’s not happening. I can’t stop working and living my normal life just to make myself available whenever she is free. She’s becoming an adult, her own person and I think that’s what’s so bittersweet. We have finally gotten through a lot of that teenage bickering and she’s become like a best friend. She’s someone I prefer to hang out with over lots of other people and there’s an ease to being around each other. She’s smart, interesting and funny. I’m loving watching her come into her own as she creates this life at work and with friends that is independent of us at home. I really like her company and now she will be leaving.

I know this is what we are supposed to do. I’ve read all the grown and flown and I’ve heard all the wonderful things that I get to look forward to her as she starts into adulthood. But’s it’s hard and I’m sad. I have no control over what memories she has of growing up in our home. I can buy every damn pumpkin out there this year and it won’t change that she will probably remember I had a surplus of Christmas soap. I can hope that that memory will make her smile and laugh. I can’t change the past or rewrite the narrative or dwell on regrets. I can be present. I can listen. I can try and make this memorable for me but I can’t rebuild the nest, I can only make sure she has all she needs to fly. The nest will still be here and it always will.

Behind The Curtain.

People love reality shows or a good look at anything behind the scenes, but how close do we really want to look? Are we prepared for what we may not want to see?

I freaking love Hallmark channel movies. This is new for me and a crush that deepened into a serious relationship over quarantine. It’s not that they have incredible acting and plot twists (no offense to the actors and/or the writers), most stories are variations on the same theme. Big city guy/girl goes home to save parents farm/store/business and runs into small town guy or girl who is their opposite but sparks fly and they go to cute small town places and on cute small town dates with cute small town people. Everyone is the right level attractive, not too flashy or perfect and there’s always a beautiful dance, wedding, dinner or something with a dreamy outdoor setting where everyone looks the part and wears cute outfits. It’s like Dr. Seuss looking down on Whoville except I’m drawn to it more than I am repulsed by it. The thing is when watching these shows I have no desire to go behind the doors and into all the homes shown, physically or figuratively. I don’t want to know that the waitress in the small town diner with the cute friendly smile goes home to a disheveled trailer outside of town and cries herself to sleep because she can’t pay her bills. Or that the handsome local farmer actually is a functioning alcoholic who has several DUIs and that’s why he’s always walking into town. If I wanted to know or see or that I could have watched reruns of Desperate Housewives on Wisteria lane or turned on a soap opera.

The simple happy storyline of a Hallmark movie, as cheesy and predictable as it may be, is kind of like my favorite Iced Lite Latte from Dunkin Donuts. I know what to expect from each of these things and this brings me some level of comfort, event a feeling of control. But this is also why I don’t look up the exact ingredients of my Dunkin latte. I am choosing to live in an ignorant bliss, I don’t want to watch how it’s made, who is making it, or know exactly what is in it. I don’t want to know what’s in it because what if it’s bad for me? Obviously whatever is in there is not great for me and again I am actively choosing to live in denial. What if they guy making it has a terrible drippy nose and dirt under his fingernails? This would ruin it for me and then I’d have to search all over again for the comfort drink that I can buy while wearing my pajamas and and no questions asked. My brain is not prepared, at this point in 2020, to do the work that would be needed to find “the drink” or “the thing” that starts my day off on a note of comfort and control. And yes, of course, I realize tea at home would be the obvious better choice, but again, lazy habits take a while to die.

There’s a certain degree to our own lives that is behind a curtain. It’s not always under our control who gets to see behind that curtain but people go to various lengths to protect what they project in front of said curtain. What you put out there for other people to see and what other people perceive collide at a busy intersection. You have some control over what you present but ultimately the other person is going to choose to see and believe whatever they want. You cannot control their emotions or their thoughts, no matter how hard you try. And as the perceiver we have choices as to what color glasses we want to wear. Rose colored glasses mean less pain, more positivity, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. When we choose to see the good then we feel good and in turn we do then do good , completing the cycle of feeling good. The trouble happens when we unexpectedly pull back that curtain or lose our rose colored glasses.

Recently there was a person I was following online through a business connection. I loved this entrepreneur’s attitude and their advice about running a business. Their energy and positive posts were contagious and created a huge shift in my mind and my attitude. Then one day I dug too deep trying to find out more about this person. While their words and their advice are genuine they weren’t living the life that I pictured them living. Let me be very clear, at no time did this person deceive anyone, this background information just wasn’t something that this person addressed or discussed. This extra information I discovered just didn’t fit in with the picture that I had painted in my own mind. I was really disappointed, even a little mad at first. But it also had nothing to do with their job. This background information that didn’t fit with my own personal narrative in no way should have had any effect in this person’s business message, the very message that gave me the kick in the backside that I so very much needed. So what exactly was my problem? How this person lived their life outside of their business message was not part of the package they were “selling” so why was I making it so important?

Have you ever heard someone who met their idol and was disappointed? Or that famous athlete or you looked up and then discovered his personal life is not what you thought (I’m talking about you Tiger Woods). At no point in time did Tiger Woods go on camera and state that he was a monogamous loyal husband but to the general public that ideal family life was implied. He was busy endorsing Nike, Gatorade and tons of other brands based on his talent, a talent at golf that is undebatable. And yet I was so mad when I found out about his affairs. It was like he had a responsibility to be living a life of Eden off camera with his wife and kids and I wasn’t able to separate his personal issues from his professional accomplishments. Again, his problem, not mine. He never implied a perfect family life, yet we all decided to paint the picture that we wanted to see.

I think thats why people go to different lengths to determine what they want to present and what they want to hide. And yet I love to tell people I am an open book, and I pretty much am. I will show you pictures of my own closet when it’s messy, I share my own feelings of doubt, and am known for keeping things real. I take a lot of pride in that but in reality it comes from a place of control. See I’d rather invite you into the castle in the land of oz and show you how it’s just me behind the curtain than ever, ever have someone else do it for me, when I’m not ready. I may be open and real but make no mistake I am still controlling just how real I get. We all know those people who, when you compliment them on something in their home, they are the first to point out the knick in the wall, or the crack on the ceiling. I am one of those people. Why do we do this? Control? Relatability? Fear of looking fake if people compliment you on a beautiful home but we want to beat them to the punch in case they discover there are flaws?

And yet there are other people who won’t even let you near the Kingdom of Oz. They will send flying monkeys and whatever else it takes to make sure you only see what they want them to see. Both of these scenarios sound opposite but truly they are two sides of the same coin.

The ones that interest me are the ones who do their thing and don’t feel like it’s lying to not give you the whole picture. They just choose to let you decide. It’s a lack of control because it says I will put out there what I want and it’s your choice to admire Oz from affair, walk into the castle and be amazed and then see the curtain and decide to let it be or be, in your mind, let down. But at the end of the day thats on you, no them.

Which brings me full circle to fashion. What do you want to say and how do you want to say it? Are you the wolf in sheep’s clothing but you are okay with that? Are you refusing to “play the game” of having to wear or look a certain way you think other’s want to see you?

It can be both and all of the scenarios above. The point is that it’s up to you and that you should at least consider that the options are there. There is no correct answer. There is only who you are and I can pretty much bet that your level of disclosure, much like your level of confidence, will continue to ebb and flow over time.

I have been fortunate to be exceptionally busy in my business right now, something I would not have predicted during a pandemic. This year has given us the rare gift of time. Whether or not we wanted it 2020 forced us to pull back the curtain on ourselves. It forced us to look in the mirror, and I’m talking about those hideously well lit and magnified mirrors in a hotel bathroom. What we choose to see and what we choose to do with that knowledge is up to each of us. Again, no judgement, no right and no wrong. This year also took away any control we thought we had over our lives. Our health, our daily routines, our finances, all of it feels out of our control. But you know what we do have control over? What we wear.

As trivial as it may seem to some what we wear gives us an enormous sense of control. How we present ourselves to others isn’t always indicative of what is on the inside, which is way our outfit is similar to a costume, a suit of armor really. The “curtain” we choose to put on ourselves is powerful. I can put on a black blazer, white crisp button down shirt and a classic pearl necklace to portray a CEO on a zoom call for a top investment call. I can also put on a colorful hand-knit scarf over a floral dress to discuss art to an online group. Now imagine exchanging the script for both of these individuals. Imagine wearing medical scrubs for an online conference with your child’s teacher. You could be a janitor or a surgeon but what would that teacher perceive if they knew nothing about you? How would you feel if you were on a zoom call with students but you were wearing a hooded sweatshirt and you were the teacher? Our clothes don’t have to define who we are on the inside, but they do have the ability to empower how we present ourselves on the outside. How you choose to match up what is seen in front of the curtain to what is behind it is up to you, most of the time. There are times it can stripped away when we aren’t ready. It can feel make us feel vulnerable and exposed. True beauty on the inside and on the outside is earned with age and experience. With age and experience we gain grace and confidence. And nothing is more stunning on a woman than when she is standing tall, head held high, shoulders back, completely comfortable in her own skin. That is style, the kind that is uniquely yours. Cherish it.

Thanks for reading this deeper dive into personal styling. My monthly email newsletter is my shopping and styling update while the blog will remain my place to empty out all the weird stuff in my brain.

This is the Land of Confusion

Definition of twenty-twenty hindsight: (via Merriam Webster Dictionary)

The full knowledge and complete understanding that one has about an event only after it has happened. Example :With 20/20 hindsight we now see where our strategy went wrong.

Think of an animal that is usually considered harmless, something common like a dog. Most of the time they are happy creatures who go about their day. But what happens when they are cornered? What happens when they feel fear? Their survival instincts kick in to fight and protect themselves. This does not make them inherently mean or violent creatures. This just means they are defending themselves the best they know how against what they perceive as fear. Even if we are the ones who have cornered them and we don’t understand their fear, or we don’t even see it, the point is that they feel it and they feel a need to act out to protect themselves.


I don’t believe that humans are inherently mean or enjoy being mean. And just like the family dog, what once was a seemingly nice mom or dad next door can show serious wrath when they feel provoked. Again, being provoked is a matter of perception, just like fear. So when someone feels fear they are going to kick into fight or flight mode. What causes fear? Uncertainty, loss of control, confusion, the unknown. What are people fearing for right now? So. Many. Things.

When it comes to our kids there is fear of them getting sick. There is fear of them bringing sickness into our homes and spreading it to those nearest and dearest. There is fear of a virus which we know so little about, with facts and science and studies changing daily, if not hourly. We have a right to feel scared of something we don’t understand . There is little to no control, save for practicing perceived safety measures. There is even less navigation for the future – where is this going and how long will it be here. Then there are fears of succumbing to fear. Do we want to let fear of our kid’s physical health outweigh our fears for their mental and emotional health? What are the effects of being isolated and being on a screen for hours a day? Not just the short term of glazed eyes and blurry vision but long-term burnout and a deficiencies in social skills. Take away sports and there’s even more fear when we see our kids laying around and not learning and improving on a sport or activity that means so much to them. A fear that restrictions to their activities, their academics, and their athletics will cause negative impact on their futures.

Both of these fears are correct. There is no study to prove or disprove either one because fears are rarely based on fact. They are raw emotions. And what it comes to our kids that is the rawest form of survival instinct emotion we posses. Ever heard of a mom being able to suddenly lift a car to rescue her child? That’s super-human raw fear acting out for survival. Ever heard of a parent lashing out on social media about their kids state of mental health and well-being being damaged by not having in-person school? How about another parent lashing out equally about their kid getting ill or spreading an illness to a loved one, a teacher or even a stranger for that matter? BOTH of these are out of fear and both can look really mean and really ugly when we feel we are fighting for our kids. Fear can bring out the best in people but it can also bring out the worst. Corona, Covid-19 and all of its noise has made us so freakin angry. We can’t punch, kick or scream at the virus so it seams that everyone is taking it out on anything and everything else they can. Fear can move us forward and it can get things done but it can also tear us down.

Looking back on the beginning of all of this I now realize how our great big pause was too good to be true. We all needed a pause, but we didn’t necessarily need a full stop. With a pause we got the chance to slow down, to reflect, and for some of us to spend time at home with our family. We craved a reset, talked about not returning to normal because we all knew that wasn’t good for us. For most of us our normal was too fast, too much, too loud. But you can’t hit reset without losing some information. Ever tried to fix your computer or phone with a reset? The first warning is that you may lose some stored information. This could be a good thing and bad thing. Starting over, going back to factory settings can mean erasing some things to make room for new things. It can mean a fresh start but it’s not always a clean start. And to change we have to look back at the past, we have to confront the ugly stuff and decide if we want to walk backward and fix it or go forward and start anew. Not everyone thinks or feels the same so we are all going to choose differently. There are many types of emotions and one of the strongest is fear. Emotions cloud things up and muddy the waters because our emotions fight with our brains and our bodies. They start as whispers but end as shouts. They are super hard to ignore.

Change is not easy and the Universe just may fight us on it. Like a psycho ex the he universe says “Hey, wait a minute, it’s not going to be that easy to forget about me.” It’s going to pull a Carrie Underwood in the Before He Cheats video and start smashing your windows and slashing your tires. It’s going to spread rumors as whispers and scream false facts. You can change mascots and statues and names but if you aren’t changing your attitude and your beliefs nothing really changes underneath the surface of what we can see.

For more music analogy; if 2020 was an album it would be Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill, angry, raw and in your face. It could also be described by the Genesis song that was released way back in 1986, whose lyrics are spot on for where we are today.

Lyrics
I must have dreamed a thousand dreams
Been haunted by a million screams
But I can hear the marching feet
They’re moving into the street
Now, did you read the news today?
They say the danger has gone away
But I can see the fire’s still alight
They’re burning into the night
There’s too many men, too many people
Making too many problems
And there’s not much love to go around
Can’t you see this is the land of confusion?
This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in
Oh, Superman, where are you now?
When every thing’s gone wrong somehow?
Men of steel, these men of power
I’m losing control by the hour
This is the time, this is the place
So we look for the future
But there’s not much love to go around
Tell me why this is the land of confusion
This is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth living in
I remember long ago
When the sun was shining
And all the stars were bright all through the night
In the wake up this madness, as I held you tight
So long ago
I won’t be coming home tonight
My generation will put it right
We’re not just making promises
That we know we’ll never keep
There’s too many men, too many people
Making too many problems
And there’s not much love to go around
Can’t you see this is the land of confusion?
Now, this is the world we live in
And these are the hands we’re given
Use them and let’s start trying
To make it a place worth fighting for
This is the world we live in
And these are the names we’re given
Stand up and let’s start showing
Just where our lives are going to

If you were a child of the 80s like myself I’m sure you remember the video which was totally unique in the time in that it was full of handmade puppets of dozens of famous faces. I guess you could say things were simpler back then in some ways but I think that’s because I was a kid so my entire universe was really just about me and my immediate family. Now having my own family I’m still sometimes in denial that I’m supposed to be the adult in the household, or at least one of them. Being an adult is not fun. It’s hard. Making decisions about who my kids can see and where they can go and how they should learn? Even harder.

This post obviously has nothing to do with fashion and getting dressed. That topic is overwhelming to think about as I struggle with how important it is to get dressed and how not important things like designer shoes seem during a world wide pandemic. I have always based my business on being genuine to my clients. Right now it’s hard to talk about trends and shopping when everything feels like we are in some kind of holding pattern. It’s like we are all just waiting for someone to tell us what to do but as soon they do we feel upset because there is no answer that fully feels right. I feel like when you hit pause on your tv and it stays there so long that eventually it times out and turns off the program. I’m burning out on all of the information and even more on the emotions. This fear has people acting out and they are mean. It makes me sad but it’s hard to blame anyone for their behavior because we truly don’t know what each and every family is dealing with behind their closed doors. We are all drained, we are all anxious, we are all scared for each of our own reasons.

I don’t know what the rest of this year looks like, but I’m prepared to put blinders on if it continues to look this ugly. It may sound selfish but it’s my form of self-defense. My brain and my mental health can’t handle the negativity. My kids are frustrated enough so I am going to do what I can to stay some form of steady for them. That may mean not as much social media, not as much talk of politics and probably very little news. I don’t blame any parent for advocating for their kids because I know we all want we think is best for our kids. But being caught in a crossfire is something that I am fortunate enough right now to excuse myself from. Wake me up in 2021, when hopefully there is a viral spread of kindness throughout the world. Even if it starts really, really slow I really hope it can spread. Let’s throw a side effect of forgiveness in there while we are at. I think we all need it.

Thank you so much for reading, if you are still here! And please don’t hesitate to reach out and connect. I’m feeling all the feels too and there is no judgement on my part. I know I always feel better if I can get it out. And in the meantime I am going to take out my anger by letting my dog chew up a stuffed version of Marty the Robot that stalks us around our local grocery store and declares spills out loud. I have a deep disdain for him and so I’ve chose to direct my anger here. It’s very satisfying to watch our dog rip it apart.

*Insider Tip –

If you want to know what is happening on the runways of the world and what will eventually trickle down into your local J.Crew, then you need to read this article in the New York Times. It’s an excellent piece about the collapse of parts of the fashion industry, even you don’t think you have any interest in that type of thing normally. But it showcases the ripple effect of business and what we wear and why we wear it. You can read that article by clicking HERE https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2020/08/06/magazine/fashion-sweatpants.html.

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