Monday, October 26, 2009

Searching for the Elusive Navy Flat Shoe

Part II of today's posting. :-)

It's autumn, and for my wardrobe color palette that means I'm on a quest for some new navy shoes.  I need driving mocs/loafers for my usual "uniform" of cords, tee and sweater, and I need some ballet flats for my skinny lil' toothpick jeans.  As much as I really hate to say this, I am finding over time that many of my Crew ballet flats aren't very comfortable.  Do y'all find this??  It's especially true of some of the stiffer patent leathers (e.g., metallic guava and peacock Salinas), which I love... until I wear them for a while.  Could be I am needing to size up a 1/2 size -- I may try that -- but I'm feeling a little burned and so am looking elsewhere for this fall.  And I'm not looking to spend $$$ on anything -- $$ or better yet $ would be wonderful for my clothing budget!

Wow, are there some cutie pie shoes out there in the $ to $$ price range, from basics on up. I'm with our friend Sweet Tea in Seattle on this:  I love  I also have a close personal one-on-one relationship with  I've even been invited to join  Oo-la-la. :-)

I Polyvored a few candidates, of course including some juicy little items that aren't navy -- aren't even blue at all! -- but look so luscious.  I especially like the idea of the little evergreen-colored Calvin Klein suede ballet flat with some of that gorgeous new forest-green stuff at JC.

Here are the mocs & loafers:
It's Autumn -- New Navy Mocs & Loafers Needed!
It's Autumn -- New Navy Mocs & Loafers Needed! by JCAUNCMom on

And here are a few from the SO many beautiful ballet flats out there:

Whatcha think, JCA's?


A Visit Home from Blues Boy

Good morning JCA's!

I've been searching for navy blue flats (ballet and moc-style) and in my next post want to report on a few interesting possibilities (Heidi, oh Heidi, are you listening, GF?) -- but first lemme tell y'all why you're looking at an especially happy JCAUNCMom today!

(1) The weather's (finally) beautiful and dry here and

(2) WAY more important, Mr. J'Mom and I had the absolute delight of a nice long-weekend visit home from our almost-20-year-old DS#2!!!

Since his older brother Journey Boy has a blogosphere name, let's name DS#2 more descriptively.  How about "Blues Boy", in honor of his startlingly blue eyes and his love for all things "Carolina Blue"?  Sneak peek at the big blue eyes and the face I love so much:

Blues Boy blew into town last Wednesday night for UNC's fall break and brought with him an adorable suitemate, along with a huge dose of clutter and stinky giant shoes and noise and laughter.  The most fantastic manly aromas drifted out of Blues Boy's shades-drawn-vampire-in-residence bedroom, our guest room (shades also drawn -- vampire number two in temporary residence) and my usually-pristine-these-days bathrooms, which for four days stayed all delightfully steamed up and messy with wet towels on the floor and the lingering scents of Old Spice deodorant (BB's favorite) and some pleasant girl-enticing cologne.  I spent the whole weekend wearing a big silly grin.  The boys packed just about every Atlanta activity possible into their 3 1/2 days here.  Lots of college kids seemed to be on break or just in town this weekend, so Blues Boy got to introduce many of his high school "posse" to Cute Suitemate.  Saturday night a big crew piled into our house for ping pong, pool and roasting s'mores, marshmallows and banana boats over our little copper fire pit.  Hubby and I spent the evening in the living room watching shows we'd TIVO'd, answering the front door, happily getting big hugs and hearing life-at-college tales, and listening to the chatter and belly laughs coming from the back yard.  Heaven heaven heaven!!!

Today the boys are back at college, and in the ATL our house is quiet, order is restored, and our little old dog is zonked in a state of delighted exhaustion.  This must be a bit like what Cinderella felt like at 12:10 a.m.  Dinner tonight will be on a much smaller scale, and the doorbell won't ring to interrupt our evening.  These aren't bad things at all -- don't get me wrong.  Life in an Empty Nest is sweet in many ways, and I do enjoy the order and peacefulness.  But I don't think anything will ever send our happiness rating soaring more than having our children, their friends, and someday their wives and children home to visit.  It's the definition of pure joy.  If we could bottle that feeling, creating world peace would be a piece of cake. :-)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Passing This Along: Deal on NWT Navy Winnie Stadium Jacket, Size 6

Hey folks,

I'm just running my usual recreational searches on eBay this lazy afternoon while DH "watches football" (meaning, of course, naps), and I ran across an auction by a seller who always offers discount deals on NWT JC stuff.  Today's auction is for a size 6 NWT Winnie Stadium Jacket from this fall season's collection, in NAVY (the auction photo is yellow, but read the auction text) -- Buy It Now price is $160 or bid starting at $140.

FYI, I tried this jacket on IRL and it runs a bit roomy, IMHO. I'm almost always an 8 in my JC jackets and coats, and the 6 was fine.

Buyer beware, of course.  If you're hesitant I'd ask the seller some questions.  I have no clue how he manages this pricing, but I bought one item from this seller before and had no problems at all.  If the merchandise is counterfeit I sure couldn't tell it.

Here's the link:  Winnie Stadium Jacket eBay Auction

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Journey Boy Checks In

Happy dreary Saturday, friends!

Once again, I'm looking around my fair Southern city and my cheerful, busy neighborhood today and wondering when we all got picked up Dorothy-style and dropped over the rainbow into the Pacific Northwest.  It is raw, wet, and unseasonably cold -- again -- and there are no bikes, trikes, Big Wheels or skateboards afoot outside.  We're all hunkered down.

It's been like this now for weeks with few breaks, and I find myself (a) sending big mental hugs to my JCA friends who really ARE in the Pacific Northwest -- and other areas where this is ordinary October weather -- and (b) having to search harder and harder for mood pick-me-uppers. But today I got a great one when I logged into my e-mail with my first cup of coffee:  an e-mail (the first of the trip) from our wonderful DS#1, a/k/a Journey Boy, with pictures!

If you don't know who and what I'm talking about, before you read on I suggest you peek back at my post from mid-September about my son's then-impending departure on his dream trip.  He's a month in, with about six weeks to go, and he's as happy as a pig in the mud, I'm tellin' ya. Today's e-mail was brisk and jaunty, and his pictures reflect that same delighted attitude.  He and his traveling buddy "Moose" (the non-dredlocked guy in the blue shirt in the first picture below -- Moose is so nicknamed because he was born in Canada) are loving what Journey Boy calls "life in the Champagne Beauty" --- their name for the champagne-colored 2007 Dodge Grand Caravan that they're calling home. In the first month of their trip they've camped, climbed, hiked, visited friends and family and generally cavorted their genial way thru the Carolinas, the Virginias, New Jersey and New York, Kentucky, the Badlands and Black Hills of South Dakota, Grand Tetons National Park, Nevada (with a stop in Reno to mail home a box of clothes that, although fresh from the laundromat, smelled magically like my boy!), Salt Lake City, and parts of California, where last week they met up with two other buddies who will be with them for the remainder of their trip.

 Journey Boy (left) and Moose.

Journey Boy in his climbing harness.

The Badlands in South Dakota.

Sunrise, somewhere early in their trip -- this one wasn't labeled.  But wow.

Moose (left) and JB.  With George Washington. (Mount Rushmore -- look carefully at the background.  This is your "Where's Waldo?" picture of the day. )

  I can't look at this picture without grinning and without thinking about Willie Nelson's classic lyrics:

On the road again, 
Goin’ places that I’ve never been. 
Seein’ things that I may never see again,
And I can’t wait to get on the road again.
On the road again,
Like a band of gypsies we go down the highway. 
We’re the best of friends,
Insisting that the world keep turning our way.
And our way is
On the road again.

JB does his bouldering thing.

The Black Hills of South Dakota.  D'ya see those granite peaks (probably "the Needles" but we're not certain) in the background?  I'm betting that my son did a bit of dangling there.

Here's my boy in the burgundy sweatshirt, just getting started on the ascent of a bouldering "problem" (that's kinda like "route" or "as-yet unconquered piece of giant rockface" to the rest of us non-climbers).  He's standing in front of Moose and I think that's their other two pals Nate and Tommy who are watching.

As his brother would say, Sweeeeeet.

I can't say that the worry and anxiety I wore so heavily when I wrote that September post have miraculously vanished, girls.  They're still there and I think about my dear faraway child constantly.  But I've managed with surprising success to back-burner almost all thoughts of him dangling 40 feet up, driving at 2:00 a.m., camping with nearby bears (and without what I would personally consider adequately waterproof boots, but then I'm kinda wussy about that kind of thing).

And the reason I'm able to back-burner these scary, worrisome visions is really simple: There is not a doubt in my mind that he has never been quite so contented -- and he's generally a contented person, so I'm saying a lot here. Last week he called for a quick chat while he stood outside a laundromat waiting for his clothes to dry.  He told me that one night, after a nice day hike, he and Moose had camped on the shore of a lake in Grand Tetons National Park.  He had woken up at dawn feeling really cold and unable to go back to sleep.  So he'd opened the tent flap, intending to make a fire and start some coffee, and he'd discovered an overnight snowfall.  Instead of making the fire right away, he bundled up, tiptoed out of the tent and sat, alone, on the shore watching the sun come up over the mountains, listening to the trickle of water and the sounds of birds and little woodland creatures awakening.  Later in the morning he and Moose hiked back out thru all that fresh fluffy stuff.  A few pictures from that lovely day:

Moose, enjoying the same view his traveling pal had enjoyed earlier in the morning.

 Brrr. But again, wow.

No matter how cold your face may be, you just cannot contain a grin that comes all the way up from your frozen toes.

I listened to the joy in his voice as he shared this experience so vividly with me, and I wanted to cheer and cry all at the same time.  And I asked him if he was reaping from this trip everything he'd hoped he'd discover and gain. This was his answer:  "Well, Mom, you know, I'd say yeah, actually.  I would say I definitely feel.... (long pause as he pondered the right word choice) ... Expanded. Know what I mean?"

I sure do.  Awesome.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Sad news for me means good news for one of you!

Hi everyone!

It's been another rainy, dreary week here, and I've found myself wondering how our pal Sweet Tea in Seattle stands so MUCH rainy weather.  STIS, you're my hero, girl.  Enough already here.  Bring me some autumn sunshine!

I thought I had a bit of autumn sunshine earlier this week when my Shimmer Paisley Lawn Dress arrived safe and sound.  What a beauty this dress is IRL!  The fabric is so light, floaty and soft, and the print is the most gorgeous paisley mix of muted fall-like colors. It looks fantastic with a cardi -- especially one of the delicate chiffon-trimmed ones like last year's Tartines -- and all of the colors in the glazed pecan-honey glaze-burnished olive family work.  Ditto for any skinny belt that you might want to play with.

I got the 8, and it was perfect thru the bust so I know the 6 would have been too tight there. Unfortunately, pretty much everywhere else it fit me poorly.  I'm simply too short to wear it -- at least to wear it in a size that accommodates the meno-boobs. :-)  The bodice was too long (making the beautiful neckline droop), the shirred waist hit me above my waistline at a weird "nothing" place, and the full skirt (even as I imagined it hemmed shorter) just did nothing at all for my short little legs.  Oh well.  This wasn't a big surprise to me since I know my body type, but a gal can hope, ya know.

I actually let the dress hang in my closet for a whole day and then tried it on again.  Nothing miraculous happened overnight -- shockeroo -- and it still looked frumpy and dumpy.  Not at all like it looked (which was:  fan-freakin'-tastic) on Dina or on RatsonParade. And check out ROP's lovely Polyvore set.

So glaydies, who'd like to give this truly fabulous and sold-out piece a home?  I will sell it for exactly what I paid plus your choice of shipping.  I paid FP ($150) plus $12 sales tax (interesting -- it came from a store in South Florida) and free shipping, so my total was $162.  You pick the shipper and I'll send it anyway you like.  I've got a PayPal account so paying will be real simple.

If you're interested, give me a shout.

Monday, October 12, 2009

Starting a new blog -- please stop by! :-)

Glaydies (what DOES that mean, Gigi -- it just sounds so cute),

I'm launching a new blog today and you're invited to visit and bring friends.  It's called "500 Characters Max" and it's going to be the place where I finally stop talking about being a writer and start learning to be a writer.  I'm going to post bits and pieces of things I've written or am working on, and I hope you'll give me your honest feedback.

This of course does NOT mean that I'm abandoning "Crewsing Thru My 50's".  I will continue to post about my J. Crew addiction (threatened by the overflow of ruffles right now, but hanging in there), tips and tricks from my adventures in the rag trade, my workout addiction and whatever else randomly amuses me about being (alarmingly) old enough to have adult children.  And you know I'll keep reading your blogs every day.

If I ever figure out how to do it, I'll even post some IRL pics of my OOTD.

Stay tuned, and come see me over at the new blog.  Happy October rollout, JCA's!

Thursday, October 8, 2009

A Miracle Story: Using My New "White Card"

Just thought I'd pass this along, lovelies --

After seeing Dina's post today about finding the beautiful Shimmer Paisley Lawn Dress which I've been kicking myself for not ordering, I decided on impulse to try out the phone number on my new "VIP" White Card, which I was surprised and delighted to receive yesterday from my new close personal friend Mickey D.  I figured it was a nothing-to-lose situation -- why not see if my very own dedicated Personal Shopper could find the dress for me?

So I called and talked to my friendly guy Paul and I put him on the chase.  He asked -- and he honest to goodness sounded nervous and apologetic -- if it would be alright with me if he took a few hours to look into this, seeing as how the West Coast stores were hours from even being open yet and thus he couldn't call them.  Good grief.  How demanding can these customer service divas BE? :-)  He promised to e-mail me later today with a report on his progress.

Y'all, five minutes later I got an e-mail from him saying that he found the dress for me and it's being sent to me today with SHIPPING FOR FREE.  Holy cow.  Apparently mine's coming from an East Coast or Central Time Zone store, because none of the other stores would have been taking Paul's (I'm sure quite frantic) call yet.

The moral of this tale is that it's most definitely worth making a phone call to the "find it for me" hotline if you're coveting this dress.  Paul commented that while it's been a hot item, the inventory's still showing a little availability in "most sizes" somewhere in the country.

I ordered the dress in the larger of my two JC upper-body sizes (6 and 8) because the always-smart Dina nailed it with this sage advice:  "I would rather take in than squeeze in..."  This dress would be an especially easy take-in alteration because it's got a center back seam and zipper with a shirred waist.  Whther or not I don't have to take it in, I'll definitely have to hem it, we know that for sure.  Remember, students, short shins = knee length is an uuuuuuuuggggggggggly look.

And even hemmed, there's a good chance that this style may not work on me, Miss Shortest-Waisted-Preemie of 1955.  But it's such a cute and versatile dress (and in my best color palette, too) that I figured it's worth a shot.

If it doesn't do a thing for me, I'll sell it to one of y'all for $ for $ what I paid JC for it, okie dokie? :-)

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Tips & Tricks: For Short-Waisted and Long-Waisted Girls

Hey everyone!

I've gotten several requests over the past couple of weeks to share more of the tips and tricks I learned in my years as a clothes peddler.  I thought I'd start by recapping for y'all a real basic:  Short-Waisted versus Long-Waisted.

You all know by now that I'm a short-shinned, long-thighed girl.  I didn't figure that out til I was almost 30.  And at the same time I discovered that I am short-waisted. Yeah, I know, you're thinking "Is she kidding me? How could she not KNOW she was short-waisted??"  After all, we see it in the mirror our whole lives; we know this small detail about our physique, right?  I'm here to tell ya, not necessarily.  I'll tell you my little story, but if you'd prefer to skip ahead to tips and tricks, scroll down.  You won't hurt my feelings one bit! 
I am boyishly shaped.  I've got no waist, I have broad shoulders and I have long skinny legs -- think: a narrow rectangle on Popsicle sticks -- and I seem taller and longer than I really am.  I think I've mentioned that people always describe me as "around five foot six or so", when in fact I'm five foot four.  My mother looked at my shape, considered the fact that I needed pants "long in the stride" (a fact which, incidentally, is totally unrelated), and simply concluded -- and told me -- that I was long-waisted.  My relatives backed her up -- at every family event I heard "Look how long you're getting, for heaven's sake!"  And I believed my people. When I was fresh out of law school I read every article I could find on how to dress for being long-waisted, and I followed that advice with great care, trying my best to look mature and elegant in front of the infuriating older, male trial judges who regarded me with such condescending, toying amusement.  (There's a topic for another post, girls. Stay tuned.)

I'd been practicing for about a year when an older woman lawyer invited me to go shopping with her to a "home trunk show."  This was, in fact, my introduction to the line of clothes that I'd one day sell.  It was also my introduction to understanding the proportions of my body correctly.  The "consultant" who was hosting us pulled just a couple of fabulous items for me to try on, saying "This is just for size and style so I can make some notes about you for the future!!"  And as I tried on clothes, she educated me, tactfully but firmly, about what I should be wearing, and why.  She was spot-on in her advice, and I figured out real fast that I'd been wearing almost everything completely wrong, from colors to shapes to proportions.

The very first misconception that she exploded was my firm belief that I was long-waisted.  I am, in fact, ridiculously short-waisted, and I have a very narrow natural waist which just aggravates the "short-waisted effect".  As I found out, whether you're long-waisted or short-waisted has nothing to do with the shape of your torso; it has everything to do with the length of your torso relative to the lower half of you.  It's another one of those simple measure-and-compare facts, girls, like your leg proportions.

Wanna see for yourself what you truly are?  You will need your trusty measuring tape, a mirror, a piece of paper and a pen. 
  • Measure from the top of your head to your natural waist (**more in a moment on how to find that). 
  • Now measure from your natural waist to the floor. 
  • If you're longer on the top than on the bottom, you're long-waisted.  If you're shorter on top than on the bottom, you're short-waisted.  It's that simple.
**Finding your true natural waist is kinda fun, because you may discover that it's not where you thought it was or that it's not nearly as wide as you thought it was.   Here's how to do it:
  • Place your thumb into your armpit on the same side of the body and gently slide your thumb down in a straight line along your side until you can just barely tuck your thumbnail underneath the edge of your bottom rib.  To find the right spot to stop, it may help if you lean slightly in the other direction, as if you were s-t-r-e-t-c-h-i-n-g your torso.  Once you find your bottom rib and get your thumb into position, stand upright again, keeping your thumb firmly where it is.
  • Now gently trail your index finger from the same hand downwards away from your thumb. Stop moving your index finger as soon as you begin to feel even the tiniest trace of a curve outwards in your body's shape.
  • Look in the mirror at the visual distance between your thumb and your index finger. That gap that you see between thumb and index finger is your entire natural waist!
  • Now carefully pull your hand away from your side, keeping your index finger and thumb in exactly the same positions, and plant your hand down onto the piece of paper, marking where your thumb and index finger landed.  Measure the distance between those two points.  This is the width of your natural waist.  A distance of 1" to 1.25" is typical of someone short-waisted. 
So what do you DO with this interesting info? Well, you can change the way you look in your clothes in subtle but very flattering ways by deploying a few tricks of the trade. This is another one of those "fix the proportion visually" situations, as is choosing your skirt length.

If you're short-waisted:
Your torso is shorter than your lower half, so your natural waist will tend to look like it rides high.  To correct your body's upper half/lower half proportions, you're going to want to visually lengthen your torso and pull your observer's eye down so that your waist appears to be lower on your body.   A few short-waisted girl tricks:
  • Match your belt color to the color of your top. The visual effect is that you add the width of your belt to the length of your torso -- i.e., if your belt's an inch wide, your torso looks an inch longer.
  • Wear your belt as if it were a waist bracelet instead of wearing it as if it were holding up your pants or skirt. When you put on your belt, hook it one hole looser than snug. This little trick makes your belt buckle hang just a teeny bit forward and down, so that the visual silhouette of your belt is a gentle "V" instead of a horizontal line around you. Your waist appears lower on your body.  
  • Following that same reasoning, avoid wide belts unless they're contoured belts (C-shaped). Contoured belts tend to hang a little lower in front naturally. :-)
  • Avoid tucking in your tops when possible.  If you want or need to tuck in, make sure you're tucked in smoothly -- you don't want waist bunching -- and be sure to apply the "waist bracelet" belt trick.
  • Be careful with short cardis or short jackets.   I know they're cute and I break my own rules to wear them, too.  But they can visually cut you in half.  Best if they're matched or blended closely to the color of your pants or skirt.  It also helps to wear a longer shirt/cami/tank/sweater and let it hang out from underneath.
  • Longer cardis or jackets (v-necks especially) are a short-waisted girl's friends.  Leave them open or unbelted.  This is a perfect quick fix for the disproportion between your top and your bottom halves. 
If you're long-waisted:
Your torso is longer than your lower half, so your natural waist will tend to look like it rides low.   To correct your body's upper half/lower half proportions, you're going to want to visually shorten your torso and pull your observer's eye up so that your waist appears to be higher on your body.   A few long-waisted girl tricks:
  • Match your belt color to the color of your bottoms.  You don't want the extra inch of torso that would be created by matching the belt to your top.
  • Wear your belt snug.  Unlike your short-waisted friends, you don't want to let your belt droop at all -- you want your waist to appear as high as possible.
  • Following that same reasoning, wide belts are best worn cinched on you, and you can wear a straight, wide belt.
  • Tucked-in tops and empire-waisted tops are good options for you.  If you wear a long top, try belting it in the middle.
  • Be careful with long cardis or jackets.  You don't need to add length to your upper half, so if you're jonesing to wear a long 'n lean topper, belt it in the middle.  
  • Short cardis or jackets can be a long-waisted girl's very best options, as long as you make sure they hit you right at or just slightly below your natural waist.  A cardi or jacket that's too short will hit you above your natural waist and make you look like your clothes have shrunk! 
And if you're that rare woman whose upper and lower halves are pretty evenly proportioned:
Well, I hate ya, but that's beside the point. :-)  All you need to do is follow two simple rules:
  • Since you don't have to choose clothes that will help to correct a disproportion, you should choose your clothes to highlight whatever you feel is your best body feature.
  • Wear fitted (different from tight) clothes.  Don't wear baggy clothes -- they'll distort your lovely proportions.
I hope you'll find this helpful, Crewsers!  See you tomorrow -- I am off to have a glass of wine and study the FS section of the Crewniverse before dinner.  Just in case I've missed any short-waisted girl gems.