Do Your Clothes Make You Happy? Also Jewelry, Free People and Successful Marketing

Spent a whirlwind three days in Phoenix with family that included two emotional breakdowns (Lizzie, me), three shopping trips (Mom, my brother, my sister in law, my kids, and me, all in various combinations), hundreds of birds, baby quail, and jackalopes (aka Jack-o-lanterns, aka jack rabbits) and several spilled beers (mark, me).

Wouldn’t you just know it? There is a Free People store in a Phoenix mall. Let me just say that after buying two swingy tank tops, a tshirt, a sweatshirt, and a ring, I really didn’t need the trip to Chico’s the next day for the white jacket, bracelet, and earrings! But it was a blast shopping with my mom and daughter at FP, and another huge blast shopping with my sister-in-law, sharing fashion thoughts, getting help from the flamboyant boy who told us about “sheath dressing,” and combining coupons and discounts with gay and reckless abandon.

I’m trying to find links to some of the fun Free People clothes we bought. Do you know how frustrating it is to try to put together a useful blog post when the #*%^*# iPad keeps freezing? I suppose links can come later.

For now, here’s my new sweatshirt. Note the totally asymmetrical hemline. (Paul, never hesitating to show his fashion ignorance – sorry, honey – said, “do you know your sweater is on sideways, or something?” When I answered that it was the style and was supposed to look like that, he paused, then said, “Oh. Looks great.”)

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Also, notice the high tops that I wrote about yesterday.
I bought this shirt, (below) too. Love it! Totally comfy and flattering. It’s the slightest bit see-through, so you can wear a pretty, lacy bra underneath it, or wear it with a tank top.

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I cannot find a link to the sweatshirt I bought anywhere, sorry.

My super-fun and funny sister-in-law and I had a couple of interesting talks about clothes. First we asked our helpful sales boy what is the best way to dress if you want to sort of mask a healthy mid-section. He suggested what he called “sheath dressing,” which is wearing a dress or outfit of all one color, and then adding a splashy jacket or shirt on the top half of the body.

I happened to be wearing a black dress (from Toad & Co.), and he added a white, denim-style jacket, which I just had to buy. I don’t have a picture of the whole outfit but next time I wear it, I’ll take one. But I really liked the look.

We also talked about jewelry. I like to combine chunky with understated. So if I wear a chunky necklace, I’ll wear small earrings like studs or simple hoops. If I wear a bunch of jangling Alex and Ani bangles, I might wear bigger earrings with them, but a smaller necklace. Also, I love shorter necklaces lately, especially when they have two or three strands. I think they elongate the neck or something. Donnette was saying she is bored with her clothes and doesn’t always know how to make her outfits feel fun. I’ve been finding that when I feel that way, jewelry can make a big difference.

So here’s a question: nearly every woman I know who is my age (and their daughters, for that matter) has a bazillion Alex and Ani bracelets. We all mix and match them to an absurd degree. I have ones with my kids’ initials, one that says “laugh,” one with blue beads and another they call a “flapper bracelet,” one with my birthstone, and one with a water lily that is meant to signify strength in times of hardship that a friend gave me when I broke my ankle (and who could have imagined how much that sentiment would be called upon in recent months!). I love to wear just a few or all of them at once. I love the way they jingle. But are they totally over-done, since so many people are wearing them? I feel individualistic because you can choose from so many and make your own statement…but is it really just successful marketing, when something so mass market can feel unique? I remember in seventh grade, when I was living in Virginia, every single girl (I swear! It’s not much of an exaggeration!) had a white sweater with a brightly colored rainbow swooping across the chest. And yes, I bought one, too. But instead of the bright colors, I found one in pastels. Anyway, doesn’t matter much, does it? Wearing them makes me feel happy, and that’s saying a lot.

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