Thursday, April 16, 2015

Spring Essentials

I hope the change in tone here isn't too incoherent after yesterday's serious post, but I wanted to connect with the spring style linkup that Anne and Shea are hosting, which is about "spring essentials" this week.

Last week I shared the clothing items that I've carried over from my winter capsule to my spring one. So this week I'll show some of the elements that make my outfits these days feel quintessentially spring. My spring essentials are --

Breton stripes

navy/white tee | light blue/white tee with eyelet trim

Floral prints, of course

tulip-print skirt | gray floral skirt
navy cardi with embroidered flowers | voile infinity scarf

Lots of navy

gingham button-up | cabled v-neck
dark-wash jeans | argyle cardi

Contrasted with coral

ombre scarf | ladybug socks

Green footwear, for wet or dry days

wellies | green suede flats

And my beloved red peep-toe clogs!

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

On symmetry, yet again

I've written a couple of times before about symmetry at this time of year, so I guess it's clear by now that's what April means to me. In any case, symmetry was definitely on my mind as I worked out my April contribution to "Styling the Seasons," a monthly project hosted by Katy of Apartment Apothecary and Charlotte of Lotts and Lots.

Every year around Easter time I display these wooden pysanky eggs that belonged to my husband's grandmother in this glass bowl that belonged to my grandmother. For me there's a kind of comfort in having a few things that I arrange in the same way year after year: symmetry across time and, in this case, a connection across generations, too.

This year I realized that the designs on the pysanky eggs, a traditional craft from Eastern Europe and the Ukraine, echo the motifs on this Mexican bird-shaped planter (birds themselves also being a design often found on pysanky eggs), and on a couple of other Mexican vases I've picked up at thrift stores. I love these sorts of connections between folk art motifs from different parts of the world: symmetry across space, here.

Then, there's a more abstract kind of symmetry to April. I grew up in a strongly Christian household, and while I'm not a practicing Christian now I find that the faith's stories and archetypes, like the bittersweet symmetry of death-and-rebirth, are still deeply rooted in my psyche.

I've seen those symmetries echoed in my own life as well; for example, a few years ago my husband's father passed away while I was traveling to Arizona for my grandfather's memorial service. This was over Easter weekend, even.

I thought about this history, and I thought about how cut flowers, for all their beauty, are also incredibly evanescent -- especially the sorts of tulips and daffodils that I brought home throughout March. (This is particularly so in my home: I'm pressed for time and probably a little lazy to boot, so my vases tend to spend more time displaying wilting flowers than fresh ones.)

And so in addition to those ephemeral flowers, this month my dining room sideboard gets a hardy succulent as a kind of bulwark against impermanence. Maybe it's these layers of meaning, maybe it's the crazy zebra stripes on the plant, or maybe it's the funny skeptical expression on the bird's face, but this little scene makes me smile every time I pass by it.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

On Spring Transitions

Anne and Shea are running a spring style linkup every Tuesday this month so I thought this week's iteration would be a good opportunity to start to share a little bit about my spring capsule wardrobe.

This week's prompt is about spring transitions -- that is, how we're wearing items from our winter wardrobes in new ways for spring.

My spring capsule contains 17 items carried over from my winter capsule. Here they are:

black skirt leggings | gray skinny jeans | mid-wash skinny jeans
mid-wash bootcut jeans | black merino knit straight skirt | black jersey dress
gray tunic sweater | gray scoopneck layering sweater | ivory scoopneck layering sweater
ivory Aran cardi | gray shawl-collar cardi | ballet-pink cardi
camel shawl-collar cardi | gray tall boots | black ballet flats
black ankle boots | tan clogs

Here in Seattle, we tend to have mild, rainy winters followed by cool, wet springs. Or to put it another way, the really pretty much the same in spring as it is in winter. Okay, yes, I'm exaggerating a little bit (and this past winter was an unusually warm one, which is probably obscuring the seasonal difference in my mind). But in general, because of my lizard-bloodedness I'm likely to be wearing layers and warm sweaters on most days until...oh, the end of May or so.

In fact, that's one of the reasons the capsule wardrobe approach appeals to me. By varying my color palette during the cooler seasons, winking items in and out of my active wardrobe, I can create a sense of seasonal transition and variety even though I'm wearing pretty much the same outfit formulas for 9 or 10 months straight. So right now, rather than figuring out how to transition items from my winter wardrobe for warmer weather, I'm experimenting with putting items in a different context to make them feel new.

That's the theory anyway, and I have to say that so far I'm having fun playing with this. Here are a few examples:

First, my goes-with-just-about-everything Aran cardigan. In winter:

gray tall boots | gray skinny jeans | lavender cashmere tee | ivory Aran cardi
Russian silver earrings | abalone ring | photo-print scarf
And in spring, an almost identical formula, but feels like a different season to me:

gray tall boots | gray skinny jeans | eyelet-trim Breton tee
ivory Aran Cardi | voile infinity scarf
Here's another common Aran cardigan formula, this time with blue jeans and clogs. Winter version:

tan clogs | medium-wash skinny jeans | fuchsia layering sweater | ivory Aran cardi
agate ring | abalone ring | garnet earrings | teacup-print scarf
And the spring iteration:

red peep-toe clogs | medium-wash skinny jeans | Breton tee
ivory Aran cardi | ladybug socks :-) | coral ombre scarf

My black skirted leggings are a go-to weekend piece for me almost year-round. Here's how I wore them in winter:

black casual tall boots | black skirted leggings | fuchsia layering tee | burgundy long cardi
wedding rings necklace | pink pearl drop earrings | abalone ring
And here's how I'm wearing them in spring:

black ankle boots | black skirted leggings | gray scoopneck layering tee | navy argyle cardi
gray pearl earrings | green stone ring | silver salmon ring | coral ombre scarf
Finally, my black jersey dress remains a comfortable but presentable standby that I often turn to when I have work meetings outside the house. Here's how I wore it to meet with some editors back in January:

black dressy tall boots | black tights | black jersey dress | fair isle cardi
black/silver bangle | agate ring | blue stone earrings
And here's how I wore it to a conference just yesterday:

black ankle boots | black tights | black jersey dress
lavender cardi | butterfly hoop earrings | braided metal bracelet