For a while now I've been wanting to post de-frumping tips on Fridays but I haven't hit upon a suitable title. Anti-frump Friday?  Frump-free Fridays?  Nothing is grabbing me yet but here's a little tip all the same.
A few months into the chaos called "newborn twins" I realized I was beginning to count the months, not merely the weeks or days, that I'd spent in schlumpy clothes.  I discussed it in a post about why I blog back in September.  As my babies have been turning into bonafide toddlers (how is that possible?)  I was noticing that it was still awfully easy to stay in my workout clothes, long after the workout was done. That I was reaching for the lounge pants instead of any of my other, just-as-comfortable, better-looking clothes. 
The thought process was that I didn't want to dirty my nicer duds, to spread kid-schmatza on clothes I wanted to "keep nice." 
But I ALWAYS feel better about myself on days I "get dressed."  When I catch my reflection in the mirror and I see the pulled-together wife and mom instead of the drained and dragging one.  I ALWAYS accomplish more because that little happy feeling that comes from looking good radiates through my whole day. 

But I also get grouchy if a top I particularly like gets creamed, literally, by the kids.

So as I began pulling out my nicer clothes more frequently, I also started regularly employing a handy little schmatza-deflecting device.  My apron.
 
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Now you may have planned to first employ a daily apron at this stage of your life.

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But there's not a darn thing wrong with channeling your inner Donna Reed!

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flirtyaprons.com


This is how I tap into mine. 

And I grant you, there are occasions when I wish I had put on a Hazmat suit to deal with certain messes.  But no clothing has been damaged beyond what a little washing can't take care of.

The days of saying, "I'll be able to dress nice again when the kids are older." are long gone.

A simple Google of "retro aprons" yields untold numbers of options.
The following are just a drop in the bucket.
And none of these apron designers have any clue who I am.
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jessiesteele.com


Jessie Steele aprons are adorable.

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jessiesteele.com


I can see this one during the Thanksgiving and Christmas seasons.  It's even called "Mrs. Claus."

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daisyshoppe.com


These with the cute lapels are also feminine and fun!

Whether your bent runs to the the straight-laced bistro style or an over the top cupcake and ruffle adorned frill-fest, just grab yourself an apron and end the excuses for truly getting dressed each day.
 
 
There is a lot more fall/winter fashion discussion in the works, but I thought it would be fun on this Monday to do a little perusing in one of my favorite catalogs. Last year we had fun looking at customized cupcake cars and this year's catalog is a bit of a retrospective.
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2010 marks the 50th anniversary of the extraordinary His & Hers gifts that Stanley Marcus challenged his team to devise every year. 

The first out-of-the-ordinary gifts offered were his and hers airplanes. And there is such a lot of amusement to be had within the pages of this year's book!
(click the book to view the catalog)

  • In 1964 you could get a pair of camel's flown in for $100,000
  • In 1976 a pair of buffalo calves for $11,750
  • In 1983 a pair of Shar-Pei puppies for $7750
  • In 2010 there's a gorgeous Alexander McQueen dress for $5,135.  There's definitely something wrong with the price of that dress!
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A few of the options this year?  You can get His/Hers MetroShip Luxury Houseboats for $250,000.

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A Tory Burch Family Chariot Trike for $4500!

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A Gingerbread Playhouse that's actually edible for $15,000 from Dylan's Candy Bar.  That's Ralph Lauren's daughter.

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Or maybe for a cool $1,500,000 you'd prefer Dale Chihuly to transform your pool into a work of art? 
I adore Chihuly's glass sculptures. The symphony hall in our city has a bright red one that's fantastic.

 
 
The flip side of yesterday's feminine coin is of course, menswear!
I've always been a fan of suits for women (we can use the individual pieces much easier than our male counterparts!) but that's not the only way to interpret the "trend." 
As with the full skirts - I don't think menswear ever really goes out of style.
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Antonio Berardi


One of the easiest way to incorporate menswear is with tailored details. 
Think sharp shoulders and lapels. 
Straight lines.

This would be great with a lace camisole!

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Balmain


Keep the fit close (not baggy) to prevent looking like you raided your husbands closet.
And a boxy shape never really flattered anyone.

Although stealing his white shirt or his belt to "tie" around your waist is fine! For a great translation of this trend try your best jeans with one of your husbands white shirts under a fitted vest and a great pair of heels.  Or, if the shirt is quite large on you, leave it unbuttoned and wear it like a wrap shirt over an embellished camisole (belt firmly or tuck it in to keep the shirt from coming unwrapped and flapping free.)

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Loewe


It's easy to bring a little menswear to your wardrobe with your outerwear. 

I love that they kept the model's hair and heels feminine. I'm not a fan of looking too androgynous. Slicked back hair, manly shoes, and no makeup just doesn't work for me.  But wearing oxfords with a cute plaid skirt would be brilliant!

Combining the masculine and feminine elements makes the look. 
Lace with pinstripes.
Sharp tailoring with a soft blouse. 
A full suit with a sparkly clutch.

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This isn't the first time fashion has resurrected Annie Hall and it won't be the last.
Have fun with it!
 
 
We're back to our regularly scheduled programming - discussing the Fall Trends!  Here are the promised designer takes on the full skirts. Be prepared to be bombarded with lots of inspirational photos!
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Louis Vuitton

There were tons of iterations on the fall runways but my favorite was Louis Vuitton. 

Marc Jacobs' interpretation didn't just call to me but grabbed me and said, "Wear me. Looooove me."


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Louis Vuitton


He did wonderful, wearable plaids.  I adore plaid.
And his shoes were so fantastic! (We'll be talking about the fall shoes next week.)



As I mentioned in my post last week about full skirts I already have, I'll be making a few circle skirts and plaid is most definitely on the list.

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Louis Vuitton


And the brilliant man translated the full skirt into LEATHER! That is sumptuous creamy leather you're looking at. How fantastic is that?

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LouisVuitton


Here's another leather stunner. 

And those gloves!  I did not buy a pair of opera length gloves from Talbots last year and I still regret it. 

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Louis Vuitton


How about a menswear pinstripe?  Love it!

And I REALLY love the handbags. 
I always choose structured bags over slouchy/Hobo-style bags.

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Important style notes!
1.  The full skirt should NOT hit above the knee.  That would translate to prom.

2.  The waist should hit at your waist, not sit low on your hips, otherwise you'll lose the whole hour-glass effect.

3.  Keep the top slim fitting to balance the fullness on the bottom. Remember - fashion is a matter of proportions.

4.  The full skirt can be worn loose or given a little structure and extra fullness with a crinoline/petticoat.  Don't fear the crinoline!

5.  If you're over 50, pair the skirt with a modern top, shoes and accessories to avoid the "Poor thing, she's living in the past." look.  A plain, fitted t-shirt, denim jacket or shrunken blazer will work perfect.


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Prada


A few other offerings.  From Prada.
The full skirt can be part of a dress as well!

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Paul Smith


From Paul Smith. 
Love the sheer overlay!  My toddlers would destroy it but I still love it!

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Luisa Beccaria


From Luisa Beccaria.
The skirt can be tiered for a little more fun.

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And lest you think this trend is "new", here are just a few shots from Donna Karan's SPRING 2008 and this years resort show. 
She had lots of wonderful full skirts two years ago!
Like I said last week, for anyone wanting to dress classic and feminine, the full skirt never goes out of style.

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Donna Karan


I really love the extra wide waistbands!

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Graphic prints work well even with all the volume.

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Donna Karan


Velvet!!

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Another graphic print with a lovely lacy top.  Fabulous styling.

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Donna Karan


Love the ethereal touch from the sheer material.  I am envisioning a sheer skirt like this over a contrasting layer.

Hope you enjoyed that look at some lovely femininity!  And I hope you give the full skirts a fair shake.  Try one and you just might fall in love like I did.
 
 
I know I forecasted a look at designer takes on the full-skirt trend but today is my five year anniversary and I'm off to have a fantastic day with the love of my life.
Thank you for marrying me, Mr. Darcy!
Thank you for making me a wife and mother. For our three beautiful daughters who shriek,"Daddy! Daddy! Daddy!" the moment they hear the garage door.
For always making me smile, and laugh, and cry (in the best way!)
To be able to spend eternity with my best friend is gift never to be squandered.

Here's a little peek at what we were doing 5 years ago at this same time.
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This is the first picture of me I've ever posted!
 
 
Hi ho! Chief Frump Fighter here, reporting to you from the land of "CL" - as in My Closet! Back today with another scintillating piece on how I personally am styling the fall trends. Here's my report on the Camel-color Trend.   Today, we're talking about full skirts!
Isn't it interesting how financial difficulties always seem to turn the styles back to classic, feminine silhouettes?  It makes sense.  When people are really watching where their pennies are going they naturally want to invest in timeless pieces that they'll get a lot of use out of. 
That, and the fact that Mad Men has put every designer and every consumer in a retro mood!!  And while I was born in the correct technological era, I definitely missed the correct fashion era by about 50 years. I love me some 40's and 50's fashion.
So... bring on the skirts!! 
Full- and pencil skirts are ultra current right now, though for the modest dresser I don't think either ever goes out of style. 
Displayed in all their glory on my cushy chair-and-a-half I present - my skirts.
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Nearly all were bought ages ago.  Some are more full than others.  In the back from L-R is the more springy set, although I really like a white/pastel skirt with black boots in winter.
  • Talbots pink/white striped seersucker wrap with lovely floral embroidery
  • Ecolissimo wrap I scored at a street fair in Park City a month or two ago
  • Tribu floral
  • United Colors of Benetton with inverted pleats and beaded waistband. (This is the first white skirt I ever bought. I had been on the hunt for years for "the perfect white skirt" and finally found it in a Benetton in Poland while vacationing there with my family.)
In the middle L-R are -
  • Ann Taylor Loft floral. With the black accents around the flowers this looks great with my black boots and black fitted cardigan.
  • Max & Co.floral wrap skirt. It looks like a strapless dress in this pic but it has these really cool long laces that wrap around the waist numerous times. It's really full and I love the wide waistband.
  • Anne Klein polka-dot skirt that my mom shrunk out of and I quickly stole. It is super light cotton voile and has a black lining underneath.  I love pairing this with a black top and red heels or a red top and black heels.
In the foreground L-R are -
  • White House/Black Market embroidered and sequined. This skirt always makes me want to dance. I was wearing this skirt the first time my future-husband and I sat next to each other at church.
  • Carmen Marc Valvo STUNNING ivory pleated piece of beautiful. Another steal from my mom and she scored it Saks Off Fifth. She's a smart woman and bought two - one in a smaller size that she shrunk into. Heaven bless that store. I'm just a few more workouts away from fitting into this skirt and I'm drooling over the outfits to come!
  • Sunny Taylor black embroidered that is impossible to see in the picture. The applique is very "Eastern European" to me, which also makes it fit nicely with the "global" trend going on right now.  I think that's a stupid name for a trend but essentially it means incorporating some element of fashion from a different part of the world than you live.  I won't be sporting a full kimono but an obi belt is definitely on my list to buy or DIY.  Probably a version in leather. And I will be pulling out my gorgeous German Christmas dress again this year.  It weighs a ton but it's so fun!
  • And not pictured is the embroidered suede skirt from the last Styling the Fall Trends post.
I also plan on sewing a circle skirt or two. I have some fabric I love and am hoping it will be enough for one.  The extremely talented seamstress Casey put up a vintage pattern on on her site after making this skirt.  And the always talented Dana posted a modern version tutorial with an easy elastic waistband.  I'll be trying both! Maybe the vintage version in a heavier houndstooth for fall/winter and the elastic waist version in something light and swirly for spring/summer.
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Lest I forget - and speaking of retro - this little dilly of a dress found it's way to me a couple of weeks ago.  Sigh! How's that for a full skirt?  I won the Flour Clothing giveaway from Cardigan Empire and I don't think a faster order was ever placed. I just need to tweak my crinoline a bit, find the perfect yellow belt and I'm in business!
Although my navy blue wide military belt will also add a nice edge to such a dainty, girly dress.  We'll have to see!

We'll look at some designer takes on the full skirt tomorrow.  In the mean time, I'd love to know what you think of them?  Are they can't-live-without-ems in your wardrobe or can't-ever-see-myself-in-ems?
 
 
Whew!  It's been a busy week and my style blogging has suffered.  There's a plethora of information coming your way in the next few days but since we ticked over into October over the weekend, there's something very important we need to attend to.
The Holiday Sweater Oath.
Or more aptly put, the ANTI-Holiday Sweater Oath.
So click the ugly sweater below and take the pledge!!
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Holiday Sweater Oath