No, I'm not AWOL.  Merely missing-in-action, since there's been a ton of action on another front.  As I mentioned in a previous post, Mr. Darcy and I are launching a product that we think is seriously cool.  We hope you will as well and since we're now only 4 weeks from the launch date, it's been Crunch Time for a while.

The project is something my husband has been marinating for about 20 years.  When he first told me about it while we were dating, I got excited as well.  The right time to pursue it finally came last year and we both committed to making it happen, which meant that several other things (including much loved hobby blogs) had to take a back seat.  That won't always be the case, but bear with me if posts in the coming weeks are still a bit sporadic.

Today, I thought I'd start showcasing my skinny wardrobe.  Since I had to replace almost my entire wardrobe, many folks have asked about what I bought and how I went about it. So here are the nuts and bolts of it all.
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L: a.n.a Popover top (I got the coral/pink striped one, but there wasn't a picture) R: Anthropologie Jump Seat shirt
  1. Purge vs Tailor: As I dropped sizes (many sizes!) I pulled from my closet those clothes that didn't fit anymore. I was NOT keeping them in the back "in case I got fat again." I sorted the vast majority of them into the Purge pile. Since I'm a health coach for the program I used to lose weight, I sent all those clothes to various clients who needed those sizes. A little gift to help them on their own weight loss journeys.  I kept only irreplaceable favorites in the Tailor pile.  I also kept a few skirts that I knew would be possible to take in 4 to 6 sizes.
  2. Shopping Lists: I keep two lists: a) missing wardrobe staples that need finding, such as "dark jeans, black pants, fitted navy blazer, cocktail dress, etc." and b) wardrobe items I already have, such as "coral dress, black cardigan, black dress, etc." The second list helps me not to repeat buy and also has notes of things I'm looking for to accessorize.  Thanks to my smartphone technology, when I find an item on the first list, I can easily move it to the second and make quick notes as necessary.
  3. Hunt, don't Hurry: I love the thrill of the chase AND I don't like paying full price if I don't have too. I find great satisfaction in finding a fantastic pair of jeans on sale, or stalking sample sale sites for those awesome won't-find-it-anywhere-else deals & steals.  I hate buying something in a rush and regretting it later.
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L: Boden Jersey Top (so flattering!) R: Ann Taylor Loft Cowl Neck top
As I showcase my items I'm grouping them by style, not in the order of how I purchased them.
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L & R: LL Bean Double L elbow sleeve rib knit tees
One of my greatest shopping challenges is deprogramming my brain from the dressing-a-large-body rules I had to follow for so many years.  One of the first steps I took was to purchase a couple of things with horizontal stripes.  It was scary! But I love them.  Hadn't worn horizontal stripes in a good 20 years. I pair the above navy stripe tee with a great white wrap skirt I got at a market in Park City. Love it.
 
 
Carmen asked how I would style my circle skirt besides the black cardigan I pictured it with in the last post. In fact, I don't wear the skirt with the cardigan I pictured anymore. I have a much more fitted, v-neck sweater in a thin, sleek knit that goes perfect with it. The cardigan is too big on me and a little too slouchy.
As I talked about in this Fashion Architecture post about proportion, I need to teeter-totter all the fullness on the bottom. 
  • Fitted tops - I love it with a slim white button down! The perfect showcase for bright necklaces and brooches. (And I'll always roll up the sleeves.) The black and white pattern make it ideal for nearly any solid colored top. Tops with a little whimsy (like the pink top with the bow) are also a nice compliment.
  • Jewelry with some pop - the boldness and volume of the skirt call for the same in the accessories. Delicate necklaces or bracelets would get lost. But nothing too overwhelming either, I myself don't want to get lost in a noisy ensemble.
  • Structured bags - I didn't picture any here, but I'll pair it with structured bags. Slouchy hobo bags with a bohemian feel just don't complement the style.
  • When I make a circle skirt in a solid color, I'll follow these same fit guidelines but add pattern to the top. 
Carmen also asked if I thought it would look good on a short-waisted body type.  I myself am pretty short-waisted, and I have read in various style books that skirts like this won't flatter us but I think they're wrong. I feel it depends more on the thickness of your waist rather than it's height in relation to the ribs.  Pairing a circle skirt with a similarly colored top will keep the line long, as opposed to cutting you in half.
Hope that helps! Thanks for the great question, Carmen!
 
 
Hello friends, fans, lurkers and looky-loos!
It's been... well, it's been a little while since my Thanksgiving post.  I hope everyone had a wonderfully Merry Christmas (We did! Traveled to AZ and the girls did pretty well.), a happy and fun New Year celebration (Thanks to good friends of ours we rocked a living room strobe light dance party!), and is enjoying the new year so far.

I took a little break from blogging so my husband and I could concentrate on a project we've been working on.  I'm so excited to announce it soon! Pins & needles, people. It's seriously awesome.  Until then, however, I have a lot to catch up on.  I went back through my zillion nearly-finished blog posts, and decided to just start somewhere. 

In October I posted about the Circle Skirt Sew-along I participated in.  But I never got around to sharing the actual shots of my skirt.  So that's where my post-holiday return to blogging begins.

Behold - my first circle skirt!

I have adored the retro silhouette of a circle skirt for as long as I can remember. But it wasn't until I lost some serious girth that I could pull it off.  Above, I'm showing it with my red patent leather Brian Atwood peep toes that were my -20 pound reward.

I wanted a winter weight skirt, since it was turning into chilly fall when I made the skirt. I chose a wool-blend houndstooth and it is SERIOUSLY hefty.  It was easy to sew though, because it's not a dense weave, just heavy material, if that makes sense.

As you can see below, the material is reversible, so I used the white "teeth" for the waistband and the black "teeth" for the body of the skirt.
It's perfect with my black dress boots.
It spins and swishes so lover-ly!
All these photos were taken without the petticoat underneath, because it wasn't complete.
If you want to make your own, you can follow the tutorial I linked to above.  I used several techniques I never had before; a lapped zipper, (my first zipper at all!), an overlapping waistband, and horsehair braid to shape the hem.
I already have material for several more spring/summer skirts. I foresee that lighter material being loads easier to work with but this was still totally worth it.
 
 
In my Stylish Renovation post two days ago I shared the amazing beautifulness that is my new wood floor.  Sigh.  We wake up every day, see the floor and say, "That is a DANG good lookin' floor!" We love it.  Each night this week we've said, "Goodnight, beautiful floor."
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As you read in that post, I escaped to the Nordstrom Anniversary sale with my girls.  Mr. Darcy and I couldn't decide whose job would be harder; helping put in a new floor or wrangling three toddlers in a crowded department store.  In the end, the Summit men were so efficient my husband mostly watched the floor materialize before his eyes so the harder job was mine. That's what Chupa-Chups sent from Grandpa are for!
Before I show you what the sale brought us, I must give you a little back story. When we saw the movie Inception, Mr. Darcy and I kept saying, "That's a great shirt!" any time Tom Hardy (Eames) appeared on screen. They just had a little somethin' somethin' and I've been on a major hunt for Eames-like shirts ever since.
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I found about 10 but took my favorite 2.


Zagiri dark brown shirt with really cool side paneling.  This fits much more trimly than shown on this model, which is good.

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Thomas Dean Stripe shirt.  This is much more vibrant than the picture shows. It has a really great mix of oranges, blues and grays.

As for me, I beelined straight for the boots.  As I mentioned last fall in The Boots Zip, a whole new world of shoes opened up to me with my weight loss.  My now trim calves have found utopia in a world I could only watch from the sidelines in the past.  I alternated between the two pair of boots I bought last year nearly every day of fall, winter and spring. I've added two darlings to the family.  
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Cole Haan "Jalisa" black dress boots. 
Black dress boots were at the top of my list. I love that these do not have a leather wrapped heel, which gets destroyed so easily. I've put them on 10 times since last Friday.
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Vince Camuto "Bilco" over-the-knee boot in this gorgeous brandy color.
The sales guy said, "Look, you can fold them down too." No way! I love them at their full height. They hit right at the middle of my knee cap so there's no Puss-in-Boots vibe. These boots fit so great around the ankle. My size had to be shipped to me and they arrived an hour ago. I'm  wearing them right now. They're awesome. They have three rows of mini studs up the back that you can see in this picture of the Coal color. 
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Next on the shopping list is two new pair of skinny jeans to tuck into these lovelies. I shrunk out of the ones I bought last year. I knew I would; they were only an interim size so I had grabbed a pair on sale at Old Navy. Turned out to be hud. Stretched out the instant I bent my knees. Looking back now, I wore them so often and was so infuriated by them, I'd have been much better off investing a little more in higher quality.

It's mopping day. I get to give my new floor some love. And the girls have a couple friends coming over so I better take my boots off before my feet start sweating.  Sigh.  I'm sure I'll wake up every day, see the boots and say, "Those are DANG good lookin' boots!" Each night I'll say, "Goodnight, beautiful boots." Or maybe I'll just go ahead and wear them to do the mopping. They sound so fierce on my new floor.
 
 
Last week I got to accompany my health coach Amber to speak to a large group (about 500) of teachers about our healthy weight loss program.  In my pre-married-with-kids career life, large conferences were part of my regular routine so it was a lot of fun to briefly revisit that era.  Mom's out there know, breaks like this don't crop up often so I jumped at the request to go and cashed in some airline miles for my ticket.

It's about time I started showcasing the pieces I'm buying to rebuild my new skinny wardrobe, so here's what I wore the day of the conference.
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Loft cowl neck top - aqua (much deeper color in real life)
I accessorized the top with a really cool necklace that coordinates so great. I picked it up in Park City for my -15 pound reward. It has about 15 strands of tiny turquoise colored beads, anchored by a big dark wooden clasp. It's a substantial statement necklace and I dig it.
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Loft stretch cotton pencil skirt - black
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White House Black Market slingback oxfords (I also have these Double Diamond fishnets, but didn't wear them. Too muggy in Michigan!)
On the plane and to the BBQ that evening, I wore this:
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Loft tiered striped tank
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Banana Republic light short sleeve cardigan
I wore dark boot cut jeans and dark orange Nine West strappy sandals with gold accents that coordinated awesome with the orange striped tank. Tiffany blue polish on my toes that was hidden by the b/w slingbacks so I wasn't too matchy-matchy with my blue top, but went awesome when I switched to the orange outfit.
UPDATE! The above cardigan is the one I talked about in this Sucker Moment post.

I accessorized with a gold teardrop beaded necklace and large white Venice lace earrings that I DIY'd after seeing these in an Anthropologie catalog.
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Unfortunately, my 6:55 am flight out of Detroit was canceled (plane wouldn't boot up) which made me miss my connection in Chicago to Salt Lake City. After 13 hours hanging around the Detroit airport, I finally got a flight out. But it was delayed (weather) so I missed my rebooked connection to SLC and had to spend the night in Chicago. I was rebooked on an 8 am flight to SLC, but at 5 am I received an automated call that THAT flight had been canceled (couldn't crew it). I went to the airport anyway- ready to lay waste to O'Hare airport - and the American Airlines ticket counter agent got me on the next United flight to SLC.  I finally made it home Friday afternoon.  Fun stuff! I certainly didn't intend for my travel outfit to be put through it's paces, but it was a trooper and kept me looking put together, instead of crazed and exhausted like I felt.