Friday, March 12, 2010

Yes, It's What's On the Outside that Counts

First of all, following the lead of so many others, I started a secondary blog for selling clothes.  It's Heidi G - From My Closet.  As I say in my sub-header: "Because the post office is closet than the consignment shop."  (It really is.)  Browse all you want.  I'll still list on the JCA Weekly Exchange and Polyvore, but this will have more than just J Crew-wear.  And I'll be adding to it regularly.

Secondly - my Public Service Announcement for the Day/Week/Month/Year:

Clean out your dryer lint - the lint screen and the outtake hose!  My neighbor across the street had her dryer catch on fire earlier this week.  Not a fun experience at all.  Fortunately everyone is ok.  Which brings me to my next point - don't turn on your washer/dryer/dishwasher and leave the house...unless you are 100% sure that everything will be perfect.  This will be a definite mindset change for me!!

Enough lecturing...and back to regularly scheduled blogging...

How much time do we waste on just the clothes, yu know, the shirt/sweater/pants without stopping to consider the outer and the under and the with?  I'm certainly not going to pretend to be an expert on the underpinnings to put with an outfit (that's why we have Cleo's blog, Trousseau Adventures).  But I am pretty comfortable talking about the "outer" and the "with" least as it relates to my style.

Sometimes it is really is all about the outerwear and accessories.  Remember in Silence of the Lambs when Hannibal Lechter made the comment to Clarice about "your good bag and your cheap shoes"? 

We do love our clothes...but if you're throwing on a crappy coat or cruddy shoes, it will ruin the whole look.  And when it's cold, rainy, snowy, or just not 75 degrees outside, most of what others see is your outerwear and accessories.

To illustrate here on the left. First picture: Before, perfectly fine, simple, standard type of outfit for me (I do adore this Cambridge cable turtle!) Second picture: After, with sunglasses, trench, & bag.  C'est plus chic, non? (then again, didn't we learn that from Jackie O, Audrey, Grace, et al?)

Starting with the outerwear...How many coats do you have?  How many do you wear?  How many are actually flattering on you?  Which ones improve your outfit instead of actually competing with it? 

I do try to make sure my outerwear at least works with my outfit for the day - if not actually taking my look up a notch.  In fact, if all I'm going to be doing is running errands, it's easy to just slip on a plain, simple (i.e., typical me) outfit, but add a coat that is either bright/happy/cheery as the focal point of the outfit - yes that would be the Winnie coat - or in warmer temps, the green Gap corduroy coat I wore today.  Conversely, I find that my charcoal gray heather hooded car coat from Bloomies 10 years ago (aka my pregnancy coat), adds wonderful texture to ensembles.  It all depends on mood.  And weather.  But you don't have to spend a fortune on coats.  It's something to work on over time.  And the way sales happen so soon in the hardly ever have to pay full price, unless it's something that you are just *dying* over.  But the great thing about coats is that when you talk CPW (cost per wear), you get a lot of value for your money because you were them so often.

The quickest way add luxury to an outfit is with a big, cozy scarf.  Even if it's not super cold outside, a generous but lightweight scarf always chics up a look.  And if you're always cold like me, it keeps you warm!!  This is not a wardrobe item that has to cost much.  If you want to lay out a ton of cash, be my guest.  I won't judge.  But you really don't need to.  Most malls have that kiosk in the middle where they sell the pashminas rather inexpensively.  And just about every store, or at least the ones I go to, has a wide selection of scarves, wraps, etc.  The beauty of the scarf is that it comes in so many different colors, textures, fabrics, patterns - you are sure to find something that's right for you.  One of my favorites is a damask hot pink wrap that I got from Old Navy about 5 or 6 years ago for $10 on mega-sale.  I'd say the CPW of that one is down to pennies, or at least dimes.  And the light gray cashmere wrap I got from Banana Republic right after Christmas for $30?  Definitely under a dollar per wear and dropping rapidly.  Of course, you don't always need one with a turtleneck like I have here.

Shoes?  Bags?  Hats?  Sunglasses? Oy, I could go on for a while...but it's been a crazy busy week, and I'm done. Good night all! No, I'm not going to bed quite this early, but will be pretty soon. So I will probably try to catch up on blog reading until my eyelids close...

Polyvore from March 2:
3/2/10 by HeidiGblog featuring J Crew


Suburban Princess said...

I own more coats than I should admit! But I love them all!

Kathy said...

I subscribe to your fashion philosophy! Lots of coats in every color, sunglasses in black and tortoise, and a good bag to match the good shoes. Winter dressing is so easy!

JCAUNCMom said...

Wonderful post, oh fashionable one. :-) I really do agree philosophically with every word!

I got very lucky and was able to score a yellow "outlet" J. Crew Winnie from another JCA after I messed around and let the retail version sell out in my size while I waited for an online sale. And oh how I have loooooooved that little coat, Heidi. Such a bright and cheery piece, and not too heavy. But I must confess that I'm generally lacking in the outerwear ownership department -- too many years of living in Atlanta where, for most of the year, ANY coat or jacket or wrap is going to feel like one layer too many way very quickly. On the other hand, I give very few pieces of outerwear away because I buy carefully and they sure don't get worn out! I still have the first good cashmere coat I ever purchased. I was fresh out of law school (back when T. Rex and pterodactyls still roamed the earth) and thinking I needed a classy professional-looking coat. So I went to Saks and bought a true classic full-length wrap coat, in deep navy blue, butter-soft cashmere with the most luscious satin lining. If I remember correctly it was about $450 -- a true fortune for me at the time -- and I'm sure it probably took me about six or eight months to pay off the charge account. But wow, what a wonderful coat it's been, and it's still just as beautiful and timeless!

kendra said...

I love the white bag-- where from?

Cleo said...

Informative and fun post, Heidi. Thanks for the shout out, BTW.

Well, you probably know that i start from the inside out because it's important to me how i feel about what i'm wearing that no one sees. Call it a psychological boost. But yes, totally agree that the outside is visible and the outwear and accessories chosen can influence the elegance of an outfit.

I actually love coats and jackets and was suffering in that department until a few years ago. My first serious coat was an Italian shearling car length coat -- very cosy. Then, i needed a business coat and continued from there, scarfs, gloves, etc. I do like my coat or jacket to match in color tone what i'm wearing. And i simply adore hats, especially cloches.

Where i probably need the most help is handbags. I don't know, i like them, but i simply don't care about them that much. They seem bothersome on my shoulders, and i typically buy only the basic colors (yeah, like folks that don't concern themselves with underclothes :) ) and the same style - hobo.

On the dryer: Totally true about potential for fire. I had the ducts, including the dryer ducts inside to the exhaust vent cover existing the house, cleaned a couple of years ago. (It's probably time to have the dryer ducts cleaned again.) I also replaced the dryer outtake hose with a metallic one. Made such a difference in my clothes drying time. Did you know i just love talking about laundry? :)

DrDrama said...

I agree with you about the coats. My "pregnancy" coat which was a quilted oversized black puffer jacket that eventually became one of my favorite coats too! Your ensemble in the second picture is very chic! I feel the same way about scarves. They are multipurpose and great for traveling.

Awakening my Wardrobe said...

You are spot on with both topics in this post. My friend left her dryer on while out, and the house burnt down. Thank you for the reminder, I'll be checking my dryer today.

I don't always take a moment to finish a look from "head to toe" on the outside but your post gives a great visual reminder that it is worth taking the extra 2 minutes to pull it all together. I think that your good sense of proportion with the trench, hand bag size, and pant leg width also add to the over all success of your outerwear look. I also like the first pic because it has a simple, polished look that that I also subscribe to.
I recently got the Lady Day coat in spiced wine on sale and was a bit uncertain about the color and fitted look. I was pleasantly surprised at how good I feel when I wore it, as it takes any outfit up a notch with little effort, even jeans and a tee. (FYI)For us tall gals, the tall size fits well, even with my long torso (and the sleeves are really long).

Sweet Tea in Seattle said...

super cute Heidi - I love the chic sunglass pic :)
thanks for the dryer reminder -- my mom has always said to never start the dryer and leave the house!

ashley said...

i have a whole closet full of outerwear!! every color, and style you can think of!!! in black for example, i have a lightweight black coat, heavy black coat, black puffer, black long puffer, and even a lightweight black regular jacket! im obsessed!!!

btw, love that handbag!! where is it from?!

Pamela said...

I'm so guilty of leaving the dryer running while I'm gone and I always get nervous about it. Funny though, I won't do it with a dishwasher. My friend who is a firefighter always tells me not to do that! Great reminder.

I totally agree about having good outwear. You can throw a nice coat over the simplest thing and it takes it up a notch.

snaphappy said...

I heard about T's fire! I am going to get someone to clean my ducts this week, when I get back from my trip.

Having seen you regularly in cold weather, I have to say you do always look so put-together with your outerwear! I tend to go with function over form, but with some careful shopping, I could have both. As always, an fashion-inspiring post, my friend!

Anonymous said...

I have a coat for every season, I tend to lean towards function living in Canada we have a range of temperatures to dress for, from very cold to hot and humid, so it is my excuse to have lots of coats.

Thanks for tip on the dryer I have to remember that when I move to the house.

NoJCrewinJapan said...

Looooooove the bag and the trench. So Jealous!

Anonymous said...

OMG Heidi, you look so chic!
Love the glasses!

Summerilla said...

Okay dryer fire story scary. I seriously have an OCD obsession with fires and I rarely leave anything plugged in or running when we leave. The BF always laughs at me when I run around unplugging things when we leave but I'm so scared of fires.

Hello beautiful! You look amazing in these pictures, so gorgeous and chic.

post-fab princess said...

Great post! I concur, 100%. My fave accessory is a pair of sunglasses - I *instantly* feel chic and cute when I put sunglasses on. I wish I could wear them indoors, all day. Jack Nicholson-style.


HeidiG said...

About the bag...this is my famous $2 Ann Taylor bag. I got it a few years ago - it was on sale for half price, they were having 30% F&F, I had 2 $20 reward certificates, and I was returning a sweater that I got as a birthday present - all of which meant that to get the purse, originally prices at $200, I literally handed the cashier 2 $1 bills. And therefore, it will always be...The. Best. Purse. Ever....

Suburban Princess - I know what you mean - right now the small coat closet reins me in!

Kathy - You do rock some pretty luxe accessories yourself, lady. I still covet your navy Quincy. Although I did just get the Ryder hobo in shadow so it's close. :)

JCAUNCMom - That Saks cashmere coat sounds just dreamy... (and quite frankly, I'm sure it's much better made than most things in the stores today!)

kendra - thank you!

Cleo - did not realize you were such a laundry fan. and it's nice to know that there actually *is* a weak link in your wardrobe. purses, huh?

DrDrama - thank you! Yes, scarves are so fun - I just picked up two for way cheap today at Gap. happy!!

Awakening My Wardrobe - I am definitely scared straight about the leaving on the dryer issue! That Lady Day coat sounds fab. And what a gorgeous color, too. Thanks for the info - I've never tried it, but sounds like I should check it out next fall!

Sweet Tea in Seattle - thank you!

ashley - a whole closet full of black outerwear? well, that's easy!

Pamela - that's funny - you'll do it with the dryer not the dishwasher!

snaphappy - thank you! happy to outerwear shop (or anything shop) with you anytime!! :)

casual-crew - you all really are the coat queens in CA!

NoJCrewinJapan & Rosa in DC - thank you!

Summerilla - thank you! and now you can tell BF my neighbor's story when he makes fun.

PFP - I know, wouldn't it be great if we could get away with wearing sunglasses 24/7? I wouldn't need eye makeup anymore!!

gigiofca said...

I love your photo illustration of your point. Awesome! You look smashing.

Thanks for the tip about the dryer. I never leave with it on, but now I'll be quadruply sure not to do so.

Peggy said...

somehow I missed this post - love the classic look! You look great! I need a trench