Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Ode to Michelle Obama: the Fashionista Edition

In honor of Michelle Obama's fabulous red Inaugural ball gown, I thought I'd bring you the Fashionista addition. (I don't care if you don't like the president or his politics, you have to appreciate a First Lady who knows how to dress herself this well.)

I am by no means a fashionista. I've never particularly cared that much what was in style; I just always wanted to look hot/gorgeous/stunning/choose you favorite adjective.  I realized at a certain point that I have a "look" and it works for me, and I'd rather look good and like me than "in style" and slightly-not-quite-right.

I am at my pre-pregnancy weight. I am not, however, at my pre-pregnancy size. Everything is a little softer and looser.  When I lie on my side, my stomach curls up next to me like a little puppy.* Thanks to the Divorce Diet I actually got down to my pre-high school weight, but I've given up on trying to maintain it.  here's why; at 115 pounds I looked damn fine in clothes, but I looked like I was 60 without them.  My body wrinkled and sagged in inappropriate ways.  And I still had a tummy.  When I am at 130, my skin is filled in and although I am softer and slightly rounder, my wrinkles are only age appropriate. And I still have a tummy, but with some meat on my hips it looks less like a tumor.  I think.

Also, I have always had big boobs. I started wearing a bra at 9.  Actually, I wanted to wear a bra sooner, but my mother insisted I couldn't wear a bra until I had a reason to wear a bra, defined as "you can wear a bra when they jiggle when you walk."  That lucky day came in fourth grade.  When I got down to 115, they deflated. They inverted when I lied down.  They did all sorts of things that you never want to see your boobs do.  Putting that 15 pounds back on re-inflated them.

One benefit of single-motherdom is having great arms. In this way Michelle Obama and I are alike. Lugging kids around is awesome for toning muscles as well as throwing out backs. Sadly, now that my boys are getting too big to lug, I shall probably be relegated to the bye-bye arms crowd, unless I exercise.

I hope that gives you the proper mental image of me for our Fashionista Edition. Oh, I left out my hair's personality. I often suspect it of going out binge drinking or sky-diving when I am not looking. It truly has a mind of its own, and the rules of gravity don't seem to affect it.

When I was first divorced, my wardrobe needed a de-frump-ification. It wasn't that I had let myself go, exactly, it was more that my ex had let me go.  I didn't work, he controlled the money, and my outfit budget was nonexistent, as well as my budget for regular haircuts.  A normal woman would have used her Power of Insist to occasionally get a beauty tune-up, but I merely used my Insist to occasionally shower. If you think this is bad, imagine having a 2 1/2 year old and a 4 month old baby and a husband who wouldn't watch them both at the same time so you could shower. You will see that showering becomes a luxury and can really make you feel very lovely and special instead of old and greasy.  I digress.

When I was newly single, I had the good fortune of having a friend with much better budget and sense of fashion donate a bunch of clothes to my cause.  She also opened her closet to me for borrowing privileges when I went on an ill-fated trip to California.  The trip was a disaster but damn, I looked good!

Clothing suddenly seemed incredibly important, and through the generosity of aforementioned friend, GoodWill, and Target, I soon had a wardrobe to be proud of, including light-up pink flip flops. I kid you not.  They rock.

I colored my hair in interesting, creative colors and got a cute haircut that I could manage in the 10 minutes my children allotted me in the bathroom. And then I was given Christmas money.

Alleluia! Alleluia! (Cue light shining down from above, providing soft, glowly light that hides my wrinkles.)

Christmas money is one of the bestest things ever, because then you have the fun of shopping anywhere you want to.  I was introduced to Etsy.com by a friend who posts things she's drooling over on Facebook, and I spent quite a lot of free hours surfing, devouring, and dreaming of things on Etsy. If you haven't been to www.etsy.com you must. I buy everything there. If you have $10 or less, there's still interesting things to buy, plus you are supporting people working out of their homes.

As I said before, I'm not exactly Twiggy, but I could pull off 1950's pinup pretty well, seeing as women were allowed to have curves and thighs and bellies and things soft and feminine. The creator of the fit-and-flare dress should be showered with kisses, even tongue kisses maybe.

After hours of perusing impractical dresses, I purchased this dress from a woman who primarily sold bridesmaids dresses (I went with the smaller winter beanie for this look, because it covers my crazy hair so nicely.):

I explained that I had no occasion to wear it, so it didn't matter how long it took her to make it. I just wanted one fabulous dress in case I ever had a fabulous occasion.  Let me tell you, it is fabulous.  And a custom made dress doesn't stretch and pucker over your stomach, and your boobs don't fall out the top. Neither does it bag unbecomingly if you, like me, do not have enough derrière to match your top. I actually wore it once, and I felt perfect. I didn't care if I was over dressed or underdressed, because I knew I was perfect.  If you want your own perfect dress, you can get one here: http://www.bombshellbridal.com/Design-Your-Own.php

(I say actually wore it, because although I like to drool over and occasionally purchase dresses, my mom-life doesn't offer up many occasions to wear them.  A Smart Girl would purchase fabulous jeans and practical shirts that make them look like Marilyn Monroe. I never said I was smart.

The other perfect item I own is a perfect bathing suit:
Do you see how  the 1950's  look is brilliant? All flaws are carefully hidden, yet it is not frumpy.
(No, that is not me. I have a daily affirmation: Just For Today, I will not post  a picture of me in a bathing suit, even with a cartoon head.)

Image credit: http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/marilyn-swimsuit-in-red.html 

And, by the way, http://www.pinupgirlclothing.com/ has many, many fabulous items in sizes extra-small to 2XL. If you have birthday money and want to buy one signature item, I would start there.

My third, drool-worthy site is www.modcloth.com. There's an annoying pop-up when you go there, but you can just X it out. The bonus is that if you buy from them they send you cute buttons for free.

You will notice that both items are red and purchased prior to the First Lady's red dress last night, just for the record. I won't say who is copying whom, but….

OK, OK, I know how ridiculous that sounds. Scrap that. We are fooling no one.

One last note about GoodWill shopping: It is always worth it to try on the clothes first, because often times they have been donated for a reason that is not apparent until you try it on. Conversely, I once heard of someone getting crabs from trying on GoodWill clothing at the store.  I tend to buy, wash, then try on and if it doesn't work, not be too sad.  Hmm, guess I ended that blog on a skeezie bug-related note. Sorry!

Oh, and if you were wondering about the asterisk from above, here is its mate, finally:

*Note: I did not craft this line. I stole it from an old coworker I haven't seen in years and years, and whom I'm sure would not want to be quoted in any way associated with this fashionista blog.


  1. I LOVED your blog!! As the creator of the red dress, this has made my night, week, month and possibly year! I am so happy that something I made has made You so happy, OMG! Glad to hear that you have your life on such a good track and that things are so much better. We really do live in the everyday don't we, and it really is the little things that matter most...life is just pretty much mostly the details. Anyway loved your writing, loved the style, honesty and allll of it!! Thanks so much for the heads up and sending it my way. I hope you have many more occasions (or non-occasions!) to wear your dress, and I'm pretty sure you have a lucky couple of boys :) Take care, have fun, and...You go Girl!! Jan

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