Match Making

Jacket (above): thrifted, originally J. Crew, Skirt: Anthropologie, Blouse: Banana Republic, Cardigan: Ann Taylor, Belt: Banana Republic, Tights: Gap, Cute flower on jacket: Claire's

My aubergine tights matched my aubergine jacket yesterday. This made me supremely happy. Not only because I love serendipitous matching, but because I love the word aubergine. The flower pin also sort of matches the shoes – I was really trying yesterday…

In all seriousness, though, I had a lot of “requirements” for my outfit yesterday, and was rather proud of the result.
1. It had to be warm, since it was chilly!
2. It had to be cute, preferably with a skirt
3. I had to be able to play a drum between my knees for a modern dance class I accompany. (see, I told you being a musician has odd wardrobe requirements!)

What sorts of things do you ask of your wardrobe?

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Oldies but Goodies

Dress: Ann Taylor Loft, Tights: Banana Republic, Boots: Clarks, Belt: Anthropologie, Scarf and Earrings: Ten Thousand Villages

I’ve had this dress forever, and it’s probably one of my favorite wardrobe pieces of all time. I love the fullness of the skirt, the empire waist, the quasi-peasant top, and the long full sleeves. The knit is nice and warm, too, so it’s perfect for this indecisively cold-ish weather.

Purple is also one of my favorite colors, and as you can see I was playing around with different ways to accent it. The yellow of the belt provides its complement, and the scarf and earrings add a little extra pizzazz. The earrings also tie in geometrically with the round belt buckle. I’m not sure if I went overboard with the accessories or not – what do you think? Do you have any old favorites that you love to remix?

Rainy Day Blues (or, in this case, neutrals)

Dress: Anny Taylor, Blazer: Ann Taylor, Tights: Gap, Boots: Clarks

I knew our balmy faux-summer couldn’t last forever, and alas, I was right. Yesterday was grey and cold and generally icky. I didn’t have the heart to try to be springy in my wardrobe choices, especially since my one and only objective was simply to stay warm. My solution was to pull out this sleek but often overlook cowl-neck sweater dress, which I had purchased a year or so ago with the hopes that it would fulfill my need to keep warm and feel professional/snazzy. I tried to add a little extra pizzazz with the aubergine tights. Although you can’t tell from the photo, my final touch was to add a little “spring” to my step with a pair of butterfly earrings from Etsy – see detail shot, below.

Earrings: Etsy

Black and White and Spring All Over

Top: hand-me-down from a friend, Skirt: thrifted, Shoes: Clarks, Necklace: Ann Taylor Loft

Opening disclaimer: my apologies for the quality of the photo; I was experimenting with the self-timer on my camera, and clearly I have a lot to learn :P. However, hopefully this gives you the gist of the outfit…

This Saturday was another one of those gloriously almost-summer days, so of course I had to dress for the occasion! And since Saturday is a work day, I still had to pull off professionalism. I don’t know if you can tell from the photo, but the top has a nice little collar that adds just a hint of “work formal.” The black and white of the skirt also perform a similar function – keeping it work-appropriate but still fun. Since the whole outfit was neutral, this gave me permission to wear my new favorite shoes – pink with frills!

Dressing for Success!

Dress: Ann Taylor, Shoes: Clarks

Being a musician poses some unique wardrobe challenges – making sure you can see the pedals when playing the organ, ensuring that your skirt isn’t too short when playing the piano, making sure shoes aren’t too tall for singing, etc. I think one of the greatest challenges I face, though, is the “audition outfit” when I’m auditioning for operas, choirs, etc. There are several things you have to think about when selecting an outfit: is it flattering? Does it make you stand out? Is it appropriate to the venue? Is it appropriate to the roles you’re auditioning for? And, most important, does it make you feel confident and fabulous? That’s a tall order for one dress! At the moment, this blue silk cocktail dress is my first-choice audition dress – it’s comfortable, easy to move in, and makes me feel great.

The concept of “dressing for the role” (ha!) in an audition is a new question for me, now that I’m auditioning with mezzo repertoire. When I used to sing as a soprano, it was pretty much a given that the arias I’d be taking to an audition would be sung by female characters. However, now that I’m a mezzo, the whole “pants role” issue is a significant one. Many mezzos choose to wear pants for auditions when they perform arias sung by male characters. However, the thought of wearing pants to an audition just makes me feel…weird. I’m such a dress/skirt kind of gal, I’m afraid I would feel under-dressed and unprepared in pants. That being said, in one of my recent auditions, I presented two arias sung by male characters, and sang them in a floor-length dress. It felt really strange. Any advice/suggestions?

One last note about this outfit – I had to commute via train to get to this audition. It was a big concern of mine, since I didn’t want to soil the delicate silk of the dress while using public transit. My solution was this fabulous knee-length coat:

Coat: thrifted

If at first you don’t succeed…

Top: Ann Taylor Loft, Pants: Ann Taylor Loft, Vest: (guess where?) Ann Taylor Loft, Belt: Ann Taylor, Shoes: Clarks, Necklace: Ten Thousand Villages

Today’s post is brought to you by the Spirit of Experimentation. I’m still not sure if it’s creative/cute or multiple-waistline fail (any thoughts from your end?). I think the important thing, though, is that I tried. After all, that’s what this blog is all about, for me at least – doing my best to come up with new and interesting wardrobe combos, and having the courage to try something even if it doesn’t quite work. As one of my roommates said recently, “You know what I love about your style? You try things.” (I think that was on a day with a particularly experimental outfit… :))

So here’s the idea behind the outfit: I hadn’t work the vest in a long time, and wanted to take it out for a spin again. The top matches the vest, but the top is on the short side and sometimes doesn’t stay tucked into pants. Hence, the high-waisted pants. I thought the belt would throw in a fun contrast accent…really not sure if that bit worked. But that’s the theory, anyhow. Hmm.

Frills and Thrills

Top: Ann Taylor Loft, Pants: White House, Black Market (hand-me-down from a friend), Cardigan: Ann Taylor Loft, Shoes: Clarks, Necklace: Gift from Italy

Ok, so there aren’t actually any thrills in this post (unless you consider wearing a dangerously white outfit all day thrilling), but I filled my “frill quota” for the day via the shoes and top. New shoes, I should add – I’m developing a weakness for shoes. This is bad – I am poor.

I should note that I consider this to be one of my “casual” outfits. I only had to work one job today, so it’s kind of my “day off” (technically, I don’t actually have any of those. Gr). Hence I figured I could get away with denim cut-off capris. I usually try to throw in some denim when I have a day like this, since it wouldn’t be appropriate for most of my other jobs. Do you have any day-off favorites?

Dressing for the Job

Top: Banana Republic, Pants: Ann Taylor Loft, Blazer: Ann Taylor, Shoes: Clarks, Necklace: gift from a friend

On Sundays, I always have to wear pants. The reason is simple: I’m a church organist, and you just can’t see those pedals in a voluptuous skirt (and if the skirt is too short, your legs stick to the bench. Awkward.). If it were up to me, I’d always be wearing skirts or dresses, but unfortunately someone designed an instrument that requires a certain dress code. So I must comply.

I added a necklace the mix, as you can see, in an attempt to mix things up jewelry-wise; I usually just stick with a pair of nice earrings. I have trouble with accessories – I have the tendency to either over-do or under-do. What are your opinions on accessories? How do you avoid either of those extremes?

Work and Play

Dress: Ann Taylor, Cardigan: Ann Taylor, Belt: Ann Taylor (notice a pattern?), Shoes: Clarks

Being a musician means that you don’t get to have a “typical work week”, so when everyone else is frolicking in freedom during an evening or weekend, I am probably somewhere working. On Saturday mornings, when the rest of the world gets to sleep in, I work at a community music school (which, don’t get me wrong, can be a fantastically rewarding job!). However, I get the late afternoon and evening off (unless I’m playing a gig), so I have to dress for both work and play time.

Yesterday was no exception, especially since a close friend of mine was visiting from NYC. Since I needed to combine both professionalism and fun, I thought this eyelet dress, with its fun swingy skirt and crisp business-like collar, seemed to straddle both worlds. I tried to use the pumps, cardigan, and belt to add contrasting accents and interest without seeming *too* stuffy and work-like. What are your tricks for combining work and play time?

Formulas and Forecasts

Top: Banana Republic, Skirt: Ann Taylor, Shrug: Ann Taylor Loft, Tights: Lands' Ends, Boots: Clarks

As you can probably tell by comparing my previous post with this one, I have something of a “formula” when it comes to my wardrobe habits: skirt + top + sweater = instant outfit! Don’t worry – I have other formulas, though, so you still have a reason to keep reading :). Do you have a favorite “outfit formula”?

Also, I’ve found lately that I have to keep a close watch on the weather, since it’s been so changeable lately. This particular outfit was designed for upper 50s to low 60s, and succeeded pretty well – the boots and wool skirt kept my legs warm, and the shrug has a high wool fiber content, also making it nice and toasty. We’re supposed to enter the 80s in a few days, though, so be on the look-out for very different combos!