Friday, February 27, 2015

Stitchfix #3 Review

Got my third fix from Stitchfix this week and thought I'd share a few more thoughts.  I shared my last blog post and pictures with my stylist, pinned many examples on the board she sees on Pinterest and gave detailed feedback on my checkout page.  I think all of these things really helped to get a fix that was really great this time around. 

I specifically asked for a white tunic blouse, a black skirt and an neutral cardigan: 
Margaret M Christiana Skirt - Black
R D Style Vivianna Open-Draped Knit Cardigan
Daniel Rainn Minal V-neck 3/4 sleeve Solid Blouse 

Thank you, Amanda.  You rocked this.  

Also in my fix, this cotton voile blouse in navy blue: 
Fun2Fun Aurora Tab-Sleeve Blouse
Mavi Ruxin Boyfriend Jean

This shirt, shown paired with jeans from my first fix, is going to be a favorite. When I first saw it, I thought it would be too small and would just make me feel bad, but it fits beautifully and I like everything about it. It is slimming and cool and a little bit tough.  It's perfect for me. I feel like myself in it. 

Loveappella Tori V-neck Knit Top
Rune Porter Legging
This was almost a complete win, but sadly, this shirt does me no favors. I kind of bitterly hate it in a way that really makes no sense.  I mean, it's an article of clothing, not a terrorist, but  sometimes clothes are weird that way. However, if you buy all the items, you get such a big discount, it was worth it to keep it.  I am shamelessly going to wear it as pajamas. Or, you know...the outfit I roll out of the house in to drop kids off at school and go back home to waste time on the internet.  It's that kind of shirt.  

This fix was the one that tied everything together for me. I can now put together dozens of outfits for any occasion.  I had some fun for the first time in a long time just mixing things together to see what would work.  It might seem shallow in the face of all the things that are happening in the world, 
but a little self-care so that I can take good care of others is a healthy thing.  So far, this service continues to be worth it for me.  That was especially obvious to me as I have now gotten rid of nearly everything I bought for myself to wear post-baby because it didn't fit right, looked bad on me, or has fallen apart.  Confirmation that a little quality over quantity is a good practice. 

So, once again, if you decide you would like to try Stitchfix, consider using my referral code.  

Friday, February 06, 2015

Some Thoughts about Stitchfix

Sartorial kryptonite.

That's how I've been describing myself when it comes to clothing this body.  Because let's face it, dressing a 40 year old, postpartum, nursing mom with teenagers too is a bit of a disaster.  As confident as I am that nursing my baby girl is best, I just can't be the mom who just whips out a boob at a high school football game.  I've pretty much found the whole "nursing wear" market utterly frustrating and difficult to navigate, not to mention the fact that trying on clothes in a store with a car seat and stroller ranks high on the PITA (that's Pain in the A#$) scale. I still love thrift stores, but I just don't have time to sort through clothes like I used to, not to mention the fact that thrift store clothes, like my maternity wear, seem to look at my earth-goddess bottom half (aka the 30 pounds of pina colada ice-cream weight I put on during pregnancy) with a kind of elastic exhaustion...."Please don't say we have to hold that in and up any more...we're just soooo tired."

Long story short, I signed up for Stitchfix.  I needed clothes to appear as if from nowhere. I needed someone to show me what other humans are wearing these days.  I need clothes that are good enough to help me let go of the Target leggings I bought three years ago that have holes in unmentionable places but still "fit."  And when I say fit, I mean I am able to squeeze my body parts into them like sausage casings.  Am I spending what feels like 10 times more than I have ever spent on clothes?  Yes. Yes, I am.  But at 40 you can't wear sweatpants and look "cute" anymore. And you know that if you don't take good care of yourself, nobody else is going to take care of you either.

Stitchfix, if you have just landed on the internet, is a clothing styling service.  A stylist interprets your style, based on a detailed survey, and sends you 5 items of clothing (including accessories if you so desire) based on your needs.  I have received two boxes...or Fixes... so far.   The first one was fantastic:  I got a universally flattering wrap dress, a pair of jeans that actually fit, a faux-leather jacket to help tone down the lactating mommy vibe and two tops that were nursing appropriate.  (The skirt in the picture above?  Maternity.  Please, Amanda, hook me up with a skirt next time. I'm getting desperate.) I would never have picked any of these things out on my own, or in the case of the jeans, I wouldn't have been able to find them and would have given up after trying on the 3rd pair that didn't fit.

The next box was mostly tops, which I needed, because I basically need everything right now.  I am one of the tragic women who does not lose a bit of weight while I am nursing, so investing in clothes right now is not ridiculous.  When I first opened the box and looked at the choices, I literally thought, "NO. No way I'm wearing this."  But then I tried things on and tried to expand my horizons a bit.

First, the leggings.  Expensive leggings seemed silly, but when I put them on, I liked the thick fabric and the fact that it didn't not seem the least bit daunted by my Pina Colada situation.  A thick waistband deals well with the postpartum belly.
The plaid shirt, made of a cotton blend is among my favorites in this Fix for several reasons: it goes with everything I have already. The feminine cut is a relief from the men's shirts I've relied on in the past. And it's cotton, which I highly prefer.

See the open closet door in the background?  Guess what's in there? Twelve cardigan sweaters.  And three flannel shirts.

The navy blue knit top is actually long enough. I like the detail in the back, and though it is not as nursing-friendly as I would prefer, it does just generally feel good to wear.  And that is saying something.

The turquoise top is the perfect cut, but I don't love the color.  But I'm giving it a chance since finding a shirt that is actually long enough is one of my biggest quests.

The patterned top is my least favorite of the group because anything with "bling" makes me feel like I'm wearing Grandmas-on-a-Cruise-wear.  The sleeves were too long as well, but I decided to keep it once I had pared it with a cropped gray sweater I got from a clothing swap with the girls at Vintage.  It helped to contain it a bit for my taste.

I'm still struggling to find my own style again these days, but here's what I'm thinking about Stitchfix right now:  It saves me time, which is really precious right now.  It helps me simplify. I'd rather have a few things that are really right than to keep buying a lot of things from the thrift stores that aren't working for me taking up a lot of real estate in my dresser and closet. And, it gives me a little confidence at a time when I'm trying to be friends with my body even when it a little needier and high-maintenance than usual.

A nice perk is that if you happen to want to try the service too, you can use my referral code and give me a little discount on my next Fix.  You don't even have to keep the clothes if you don't like your Fix in order for me to get the discount.  Here's the code if you would like to help out.

Friday, November 07, 2014

Some Thoughts on 40

I am 40 years old today.

A year ago, I planned to give myself the opportunity to completely freak out about this day.  A year ago, when Robb was out of a job and I was working 16 hours a day to do craft shows to keep us afloat. But that freak-out hardly seems necessary.  I expected to feel like a door was closing behind me at 40, with things that I still wanted to do stuck back there. But with the arrival of the new year, Robb's new job, my red hair and a positive pregnancy test, it seemed that any illusion of my age limiting me completely evaporated.

And I can say pretty confidently that I didn't waste any of my 30s, so no regrets there.

I book-ended the decade with babies.  I suppose it would have been easier on my body to have had the biological baby at the beginning of the decade and adopted at the end, but truly, this was the right path overall. When I think of how much I learned and changed because of Charleigh, how much social awareness she brought to my life, I am so thankful.

In between, those bookends, we started a church.  Which has a similar rate of success with starting a restaurant.  Only it brings in the little element of your soul and spirit and you big thing.

We travelled to places I'd never been:  To Arkansas. Florida. Canada.  San Francisco.  I love traveling and each of the places we went was a gift that can never be taken away from me.

I always loved old things. I always bought old things. But it was in my 30s that I found my groove as a redeemer of old things.  Those simple tile nippers that Robb got me for Mother's Day one year turned into a hobby and then a passion and then a business.  I know now that as a creative, there are no limits and so I can bring my work to the forefront when I need to and even better, I can push it backward in line of priority and focus on more pressing people.

In this past 10 years, I have finally learned how to be with people.  I learned how to really love my husband and my kids. I didn't really know how to do that before.  Sure I had warm feelings toward them and cared for them.  But I had never learned how to dig deep, acknowledge who they really are and who I really am and accept both those things, no matter how it looked.  And that's also how friendship became so much more.  I didn't know how to be a friend in my teens and 20s.  I was too self conscious and too independent.  I didn't know how great it was to just be myself and enjoy other people being themselves, no matter how different they are from me. I'm better at asking for help and I'm also better at taking care of myself. Not in a selfish "me-first" kind of way, but in the healthy "I want to have something to offer my family and my friends, so I'm going to take care of my body and soul" kind of way.  I'll never be perfect at any of those things, but I am not nearly as interested in being perfect anymore.

All that to say, I rocked my 30s.  I'm proud of that decade.  And now I'm looking forward:  in the next ten years, I want to do a good job of loving people...the people I live with, the people I live near, and the people that live far away.  I want to be as healthy as I can be.  I want to be creative more than busy.  I want to be generous more than guarded.  And I want to have fun more than scheduled.   I want to run more 5k's, keep working on myself in therapy, overcome my fear of empty canvases, and generally do things that make the world a better place.  At the end of this decade, I have ten year old. At the end of the next decade I will also have a ten year old.  That much will be the same. I wonder what will be different?