Bargain Birthday Dress!
It has been a while since I did a fashion post. This bargain buy was a treat after a very long work week. I found it in Nordstrom’s Rack for $17. It is a Maggy London dress so they normally retail at around $120. I have paired them with my favorite BOC lime flower sandals and the foxes’ mermaid. We have a video of the puppies carrying the mermaid in their mouths.
I wore it for a pre-birthday dinner with Teddy and my friend. On my actual birthday it was over 100 degrees so it was too hot to wear it. Teddy and I also celebrated our 36th wedding anniversary, the day before my birthday. We didn’t know each other very well when we married in haste, so I thought if we married the day before my birthday he would never forget my birthday. Teddy never forgets anything but Bunny does…
Our 36th wedding anniversary
We spent our anniversary in a historic little town just north of us. Teddy loves antiquing so I just follow him around…he also loves ballet. Who knew? As far as I know, he is out of the closet.
Birthday girl at Lake Conroe
On my birthday we tried a new restaurant on Lake Conroe. There is a real haze in the air from Saharan dust which some weird weather has brought to Texas. We managed to stay outside despite the blistering heat. Then we went home to collapse in the air conditioning!.
Stained glass window on rooftop of Mayo Hotel
My biggest surprise in Tulsa was the abundance of fabulous Art Deco architecture. It was known as the “Terra Cotta City” in the late 1920s which coincided with an oil boom. My grandfather, Raymond, was born on the Chickasaw Nation, Purcell, Oklahoma in 1899 or 1900 and eventually ended up in San Bernardino in California (where he married Juanita), following various boom towns. I love to imagine what life was like for both my sets of grandparents, marrying in the 20s and 30s when society was changing dramatically in terms of style and habits. Irish Nana Kathleen married in a short and daring coffee colored chiffon dress with a matching cloche hat. I kept it until recently when I passed it on to a younger cousin.
Elevators in Philcade Building
Window display in the lobby of the Philcade Building
Display of Chrome
The Philcade building had a T shaped lobby lined with shops. There are few shops now but you can still browse the window displays. It was designed by architect Leon Senter for oil magnate Waite Phillips. His brothers formed the Phillips Petroleum company. Teddy is an oilman (geologist) and we have survived three major slumps. We used to joke that the 66 in Phillips 66 stood for the amount of geologists they ‘lost’ in a year…it’s not quite as funny as it used to be. Heck, yes it is!
Rooftop of the Mayo Hotel at sunset
Sunset view of the Arkansas River from rooftop Tulsa
Teddy and I had some lovely sunset drinks on the rooftop bar of the Mayo Hotel built in 1925 and designed by architect George Winkler. It has been wonderfully restored with many of the original features kept intact; from stained glass to ceramic tiles in the coffee shop.
Original tiles in the coffee shop of Mayo Hotel
Teddy and I were in a local restaurant when he pointed out the hostess. At first I thought he was just pointing out her cute Star Wars top knots but it was her dress that he liked. In 34 years, I don’t think I can every remember him making a comment like that… “It would suit you”, he said.
I assessed the pretty blonde girl, in her mid twenties, wearing it and wondered if it would suit me. Before we left, I asked her where she got it. She was delighted to tell me that she purchased it at Target and there were still a few left. We went straight to Target and one was waiting for me. Ta da!!
It still looks much better on her but it’s cute and my husband loves it. I am wearing it with creamy pink Sketchers lace cork wedge sandals and pink dangling earrings (all on sale over the last couple of years). The dress was $25 from a limited range – might be on sale today!!
You might be wondering about the new hair also… After a week, I couldn’t stand looking at myself in the mirror with red hair – see this blog. Everyone loved it but I didn’t recognize myself in the mirror. My real hair is silvery gray at the top and dark gray at the back and my complexion has changed also. I had already made an appointment with a new recommended colorist to intensify the red but I removed it with Color Oops and dyed it dark blonde.
The first attempt was too dark, despite being a blonde tone (my hair is a mystery to colorists). I said I wanted it lighter so she used a new technique on me that she learned from her Danish mentor. She mixed up bleach and used her hands to sponge it through the ends. I LOVE it! It is exactly the type of highlighting I have always wanted and it will be easier to maintain.
More El Paso tales to follow…
Red hair for autumn
Teddy could tell something was amiss. I kept talking about how my hairdresser could cut my hair so that I could grow it long again… Then I asked his opinion which elicited a frustrated sigh. On Friday I woke up and decided to go red. It took three dyes and a sore head, but I did it. First I chose a light red which made my hair go the color of a Biscotti – meh. Then I dyed it dark auburn but it was very intense and too dark for my skin color. Finally I added a dark blonde and went to the hairdresser today to cut it into the color. Although I am proficient in dying my hair, red hair is difficult and by sheer luck the blonde and red worked well together, like unintended highlights. In a week or so, I am going to have it professionally dyed and then will touch up the roots myself.
I am wearing black and gold dangling earrings and my 13 year old boots.
While I was at the hairdresser, I went to my favorite thrift shop. What do you think of my blue and black bargain dresses. The longer one was $10 (originally nearer $100) and the tunic was just $4.30 (with an over 55 discount) – I am not proud! I even got my husband an almost new red check shirt for $4 and change.
This is a full picture of the turquoise blue/black dress, which is knee length. I have hematite and turquoise jewelry and my black stilettos which I can only wear when imbibing…I have been known to dance all night and wake up the next morning thinking I have stumps for feet.
I love lacy tights!
On Friday night I was meeting friends and Teddy to celebrate a birthday. Nobody knew about the change in hair color but I would say it is a 90% success. Teddy loves it and friends commented that it seems to suit my skin tone better. It is fun to wear darker eye makeup for the winter and look somewhat Hispanic, for a change.
Bunny and Teddy at the birthday party. He looks like the cat who got the cream…
I had no idea that Charleston was a honeymoon destination but when I saw this couple at Charleston Market, I thought, “Awwww, how sweet they look”. The local style was reminiscent of Reese Witherspoon’s preppy clothing line and very different from Texas. I felt a bit under-dressed… The Charleston Market was wonderful with endless vendors selling everything from local artwork and food, featuring the famous Sweetgrass baskets. I admired them and the work put into them but was on a budget.
Horse and Carriage in the French Quarter
Seeing the horses and carriages helped me envision what Charleston might have been like in times past. The traffic was relatively light in the historic area and it seemed as though the carriages were given priority. It is fun to hear the clip-clop on cobblestones.
This building intrigued me. At first I thought it was derelict and when I looked closely realized that it had been renovated in this way. It was admirable but I am not sure if I liked it. Shabby chic is a fashion that has passed me by. I am perfectly fine with architecture or furniture that is naturally old but not made to look that way. At the very least, the building made me think about it so perhaps it achieved it’s aim.
By contrast, I loved this renovated brick building. I guess you can’t please everyone! Below is yet another church the Circular Congregational Church which dates back to the 1600s. I loved the simplicity of it – it welcomed Scots Presbyterians and French Huguenots amongst others. Below is a sad little French grave of an infant son.
Circular Congregational Church
I am wearing a black and cream top from Old Navy (circa $20) with last season’s linen pants (Lou and Grey). The pants were elasticated at the bottom, harem style, but I took it out, as one leg was always up and the other down – not the sophisticated look I was going for. 🙂 I am wearing suede espadrilles from last year with my mother in law’s black antique hematite necklace.
New knitted and lined chevron dress shorts from Ross (circa $9) with last season’s lightweight knitted silver sweater. Black high heeled Crocs from last season.
Previous black and ivory top with Tommy Bahama’s lined linen skirt with ruffles. Cream high heeled Crocs – incredibly comfortable and light.
Previous chevron shorts with plain black v-neck t-shirt from Old Navy (circa $8). Black studded leather flat sandals from JC Penney and turtle pendant – a gift from friends who were living in Trinidad and Tobago.
It drives me to distraction that US stores have separate Junior and Adult women sections. I am 4 years away from age 60 (a senior citizen…) but we can all wear the same clothes in the less expensive stores. I like to mix them with some more expensive items like the Tommy Bahama’s skirt which was a much loved indulgence from a couple of years ago. My hair is a little blonder for summer and shorter. All the shoes were bought on sale from DSW, Amazon or JC Penney. Makeup and nail lacquer in muted neutral tones. I wear Laura Mercier’s tinted moisturizer in the summer with some bronzer, blusher and illuminator to enhance my slight tan
I bought these shorts at J Crew this year and everywhere I go people ask where I got them from, including staff in their competitor’s stores. J Crew haven’t paid me for this although a little gift card would be kindly accepted…(methinks that might not happen after they read to the end). They are beautifully soft and comfortable for our humid heat. The navy ones have silver embroidery and the white has gold embroidery so they sparkle in the light.
I do have a bone to pick with J Crew’s advertising. They regularly send me a catalog and, to be fair, the models range in age but they are incredibly thin. This is a very outdated way to sell clothes and the strange thing is that their clothing is not just for skinny people. In real life I am a small petite size but I had to take the extra small shorts and even considered the extra extra small pair. Are fashion stores taking us for fools? I know we have a problem with obesity in the Western and developing world – I was obese for many years. It took years of changing not just my eating habits but also my mindset. Like many other obese people I struggled to both see how overweight I was and could easily be deluded into thinking I had lost weight if the clothing size went down.
On my recent road trip I tried on two dresses by the same manufacturer, both of which fitted me. One was extra extra small and the other a size 6 (normally I take a 4/6 US size) – how on earth are we supposed to know what size to try on? I just eye-ball clothing now and have my clothes altered to fit me properly. The gold t-shirt (also J Crew) was very long and hid the lovely embroidery on the shorts, so I had it shortened. Curiously, as I look at the photographs I still think I look fat despite my objective mind telling me that I am slim. Just a tiny bit of body dysmorphia that comes free with my diagnosis and that statement is not written lightly despite the humor. Despite all my criticism, I love my shorts and I am sure they would sell just as well with regular models (age 55) like me!