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Wardrobe Palette

· Constraints are oddly freeing ·

wardrobe close palette color daily outfit blog whatiwore2day

Peek inside my closet and you’ll find it’s mostly a cohesive blend of colors. My color palette is neutrals, red, turquoise, olive, pink, neon yellow, and denim. I love how this facilitates dressing, saves money, and simplifies shopping.


In 2014, I made the decision to restrict my wardrobe to a specific color palette: neutrals (black, brown, gray, white, navy), red, turquoise, olive, and denim. Previously, I embraced the entire rainbow. While I loved the variety, it began to make dressing overly complicated and expensive. (I had to have a red purse for red shoes and purple shoes for a purple purse, etc.) By restricting the colors in my closet, I have created a cohesive, mix and match wardrobe.


Rainbow Kasmira

The transformation didn’t happen overnight. There was no purge to eliminate items that did not meet the restrictions. Instead, I simply stopped buying things that didn’t meet my specifications. During periodic closet cleanouts, those items outside my palette had to meet an extra burden of proof to stay in my wardrobe. Four years later, my closet is nearly transformed.

Along the way, I did find that I really liked the extra punch I got from pink (all shades) and yellow (neon), so I added them to my palette. (You might have noticed the big pink tassel earrings I bought on our Disney trip last October.) Those colors may not seem like they “go” with the other shades, but I make them work.


I can’t give up pink pants or this neon yellow bag!

The changes were pretty small, with a big impact. Purple is gone. True green is gone. Orange is (mostly) gone. I’m left with the colors I’ve chosen.

When I get dressed, I now only have to consider how shapes will interact and whether a particular pattern mix will be just too crazy. Occasionally, mixing black and navy still gives me fits. For the most part, I like all the colors together and have accessories in all the required shades. (I think I finally found a pair of red earrings that I like. Strangely, that has been a challenge!) I don’t worry about colors clashing and that makes it easier to get dressed.


I managed to overcome my aversion to mixing black and navy in this outfit.

I’ve saved money because I don’t need to have as many items in my wardrobe. No garment is orphaned because “nothing goes” with it. I automatically deselect items in the “wrong” color when shopping and save myself from making an unwise purchase.

In fact, shopping is overall simpler. Because I like to shop thrift and consignment stores, selecting by color is key to sorting through the melange. I’m not overwhelmed by the variety when I am only focusing on my core palette.

I find the limited palette to be liberating. It’s easy to get dressed and shop. Pattern mixes are effortless. I now have the time to spend on bigger issues, like wondering how often other people wash their hair and whether my dog is happy.

Not the Least Interesting Thing About You

MMLafleur rant

You’ve seen the Facebook ad: “Your clothes should be the least interesting thing about you.” Clicking the link takes you to MM.LaFleur an online store for women’s career wear. I have no objection to the company and its goods, just this advertising phrase. It’s misogynistic, homogenizing, and outdated.

We’ve finally entered an era when women can dress as women as work. We aren’t forced to wear ill-fitting copies of men’s business attire. We aren’t faking a male build with enormous shoulder pads. If we like, we can wear bright colors, floral prints, and ruffles. Unlike most of the animal kingdom, female humans are the flashy sex. Looking interesting, whether that’s our cosmetics, our movements or our clothing is a gender norm. Taking an attitude of our “clothes should be the least interesting thing” about us is a step backwards. It means denying our femininity and pretending we are small, ill-proportioned men.

This is the age of self-expression. We express ourselves on line. We express ourselves with the choices we make from the global marketplace. We express ourselves with our clothing. We have left homogeneity behind and embraced differences and diversity. A female workforce clad only identical ivory blouses and black pants brings to mind a workforce of drones in some dystopian film. We are not a homogenous people. Why would we dress like it?

Finally, our appearance is our brand. To market ourselves to employers, to customers or to management, we must stand out from the crowd. Our appearance is an opportunity to advertise our inner selves. I’m creative. I’m analytical. I’m a team-player. I’m a leader. This is the visual era. Our image is on Linked-In, Facebook, and Instagram. That image must reflect who we are if we wish to be considered for opportunities. I’m interesting and so are my outfits.

My dress is my choice, whether I choose to exercise it or not. I object to being told it should be the least interesting thing about me. It is an expression of my femininity, my uniqueness, and my brand.

My Name Is

kasmira meaning name whatiwore2day

…Kasmira. I blog under my actual name. If I had it to do all over again, I might use a pseudonym, for privacy and safety reasons, but that ship has sailed.

I was my parent’s firstborn, in the mid-70’s, and they liked Star Trek. In fact, they liked it so much that they intended to name me Mira, after Lt. Mira Romaine in The Lights of Zetar episode. However, before the big day arrived, they found Kasmira in a book of baby names and liked that better, Star Trek or not.

According to that much thumbed book of names, Kasmira means “commands peace.” I’ve found similar definitions on the internet and have also found the opposite meaning, “destroyer of peace,” listed. In some places, Kasmira is defined as “demands peace.” As I grow older, I find that I seek peace more and more often. I retreat to nature or the lullaby of Apple’s Spa Radio when the world becomes too chaotic. I’ve chosen a career path that allows me uninterrupted hours at home, with the burble of two fountains, endless cups of tea, and always a furry animal to cuddle. I prefer to think that my name means “lover of peace.”

Most people assume that my name is Indian because of its similarity to the word Kashmir. However, that tattered book of names (and the always reliable internet) list the name’s origin as Slavic. That narrows down the name’s location of origin to anywhere in Eastern Europe.

Kasmira is a big name to live up to. I remember the disappointment of my high school guidance counselor upon meeting me. “I thought you’d be Indian,” she said. I was a let-down with my blue eyes, blond hair, and freckles.

Maybe it’s the name that inspired me to find my own path after becoming an adult. I was definitely weird as a kid (mostly due to growing up in a cult), but I got a lot weirder as an adult. I pursued interests because I was curious, not because my friends did it. I started ballet, I hunted mushrooms, I lived out of my car, I joined the Marine Corps. And finally, I started a style blog.

I don’t think people are disappointed anymore when they meet me. And I’ve found my peace.

This post is an updated version of My Name Is, originally published 10/10/2010 at http://whatiwore2day.blogspot.com/2010/10/my-name-is.html

Jackson’s Jam

· Water soothes his troubled soul ·

border collie dog stand up paddleboard sup pup whatiwore2day

Jackson is an odd border collie. He’s chunky with short legs. He’s clumsy and still can’t get up on the bed without a stool. His favorite activities are sleeping and eating. He loves to run with me on the other end of his leash, but defaults to loafing around if not stimulated.


He completely lacks that border collie drive. He doesn’t want to herd or fetch or even play more than a few seconds of tug-of-war. Only after a long struggle have we managed to interest him in a ball, and then only if it’s bounced off the ground or a wall.


He has troubled interactions with people and other dogs. He went through a phase of snapping at Beefy for moving him when asleep and me for putting my head too close to him. The bad behavior culminated in his biting another dog owner in the stomach. He’s improved since then and even cuddles, head-to-head, but I don’t trust him not to nip the hand or ankle of a passerby. His dog-on-dog aggression began with puberty and manifested itself at daycare. We were eventually asked to leave daycare (and agility classes), due to his lunging and snapping. With the help of a trainer, he now tolerates other dogs when he’s on leash but cannot be loose or unsupervised.


Jasper is the complete opposite. He loves to play – whether on his own or retrieving toys we throw. He has good manners around dogs and people. He’s very active. He’s my agility dog.


Jackson had me stumped. He’s not an agility dog. He’s not a ball dog. He’s not a frisbee dog. He’s not even a dog dog. His only real interests seemed to be begging and being brushed. Now, I know he’s a water dog!


Thanks to his double coat and layer of fat, he’s always been a great floater and swimmer. Unlike Jasper, who runs from the hose, Jackson loves to snap at the water as I give the plants a drink. As a puppy, he had the terrible habit of emptying the water dish with his paws. I saw a trend, so I took a chance and introduced him to a new sport: paddleboarding.


Ideally, to train your SUP pup, you should introduce the dog to the board slowly. First, have it in the house. Then reward him for investigating it. Next, reward him for being on it. Take the board outside and repeat. Take the board to the water and repeat. Reward the dog for staying on the board with you. And, finally, after a few weeks of this, shove off and paddle with your dog. I rent my boards, so that wasn’t an option. I just strapped on his doggie life vest, packed a baggie of chicken, and went for it.


He was a natural! He didn’t dump me once. He walked around the board. He tried the front. He tried the back. He tried the middle (and fell asleep). Jackson took one dip when tempted by geese, but otherwise stayed on the board while underway. He even figured out how to balance and drink from the river as we paddled.


Paddle boarding speaks to all his strengths. His stout body and low center of gravity give him easy balance. His love of loafing is perfect for a long paddle. And his dislike of other dogs and people keeps him firmly bonded to me and the board.


I’m so pleased to have found Jackson’s jam. I run both dogs, but felt bad leaving Jackson behind when taking Jasper to his weekly agility lessons. Now, I can incorporate weekly paddle board sessions with my chunky monkey. Jackson’s job is WATER!

Layer It

layer black white navy green vest flannel buffalo plaid check stripe pattern mix ootd

Brrrr . . . it’s cold outside! Even in Sacramento, we’re reaching for our long underwear and puffy coats. Layers are a must at this time of year, but they don’t have to be a drag. Done right, layers will keep you toasty and add interest to your ensemble. Layering adds color and texture to an outfit. Layering can change your silhouette. Layering can make an awkward piece work. And, of course, it can keep you warm.

I’ve pulled together a few of my guiding principles when it comes to layering.


Highlight the Best (and Hide the Rest)
It seems everyone has some clothing item in their closet that would be just right except that it’s too short, it doesn’t fasten properly, it has an ink-stain, etc. Layering is a perfect way to highlight the parts of that garment that you like, and hide those you don’t. For example, I “made” the silk top pictured above by cutting it from a dress that didn’t fit my hips. I love the pattern and fabric, but the bottom is ragged and awkward with the original side zip. By layering it under a dress, I get to show off the pattern and color I like so much and cover my hack job.


Keep it Legal
As much as you may love your decolletage or legs, sometimes, it isn’t appropriate to have them exposed. Layers to the rescue! I hide the cleavage of deep, v-neck dresses (like the, honestly too small, wrap dress above) with a collared shirt beneath and make miniskirts less scandalous with thick leggings.


Short over Long, Small over Large
Traditionally, one thinks of layering so that the outer piece is the largest (e.g. longest arms, longest length, etc.) But if you want to show off that bottom layer, think of putting short over long and small over large. I wore a longer (and longer-sleeved) dress as a slip under an itty bitty silk wrap dress for both modesty and interest. Consider a short sleeved jacket over a longer sleeved top or dress. It may not be your first instinct, but it looks fresh.


Do the Vest Thing
I’m a vest fan from way back. When I worked in a corporate setting, a suiting vest was my favorite way to formalize an outfit as simple as a skirt and blouse. Nowadays, I’m obsessed with denim vests. Whatever your vest type, they are perfect to define the waist and even hide any midsection awkwardness. A cropped vest, fastened over an otherwise somewhat shapeless outfit, is my favorite way to create the illusion of legs for days.


Great Lays
Some pieces are better for layering than others. My favorite layering items are lace blouses, collared shirts, and sleeveless dresses. I love lace tops. They add dimension when worn over a dress and modesty when worn under. Collared shirts can be worn as a lightweight jacket or worn underneath another layer with just the collar and cuffs exposed. Sleeveless dresses are especially versatile. They can be worn a la carte for summer and with a turtleneck, thick tights, and boots for winter.


Dress over Jeans?
This has been a fringe trend for the past ten years. Layering skinny jeans under a short dress is the “safest” way to do this trend. Anything bulkier and longer verges on lagenlook. The effect should be similar to a tunic over leggings, only a bit more structured. I plan on using this layering trick (albeit with skinny trousers) to wear my shorter dresses to teach and speak. I bought a pair of black, Sloan pants from Banana Republic just for this purpose.


Watch your Waistline
When piling on the layers you can easily end up looking like the Michelin Man. To avoid over-bulking, keep an eye on your waistline. Where on your waistline do your layers hit? Do they compete or do they complement one another? Be sure that you keep some definition. If you wear a boxy top and a baggy bottom, add a belt or leave some space between the two items so that you don’t lose your shape. Sometimes buttoning or unbuttoning your top layer can help define your waist.

As always, have fun! If you’re new to layering, try it with casual outfits before you wear a layered confection out to dinner with your future in-laws. Only by experimenting will you come up with novel combinations. You’ll find that your wardrobe seems much bigger, rather than smaller, as you find ways to wear things that have long sat neglected. You’ll have hits and you’ll have misses, but you will also be learning what works for you and your clothing inventory. If anyone gives you grief, tell them you’re just being practical – you wanted to be prepared for any climate eventuality!

This post is an updated version of Layer It, originally published 10/5/2007 at whatiwore2day.blogspot.com/2007/10/layer-it.html

How This Blog Has Changed My Life


Pretty grand title, huh? Well, it’s true; I’m a different person than I was when I started this blog, ten years ago. I’ve changed in lots of the little ways you’d expect: I’m more conscious of trends, I visit thrift stores more often, I dress more creatively and I shop more than before WIW2D. The biggest change I’ve seen, though, has been in my attitude towards others’ dress. I’m much more accepting of other people’s style choices than I used to be.

I used to delight in the criticism of other people’s clothing. My favorite part of What Not to Wear was the snarky comments Stacy and Clinton made about the “before” wardrobe. In the checkout line, I’d flip directly to the back of Glamour magazine and the infamous “black bar” page. Next, I’d grab a tabloid off the rack and see what witty things the rag had to say about badly dressed celebrities. Throughout the day, I’d note what other people were wearing and I’d think: too tight, too short, too loud, too tacky, too sloppy, too wild. I constantly judged what others were wearing and usually found them lacking.

There’s nothing like living in a glass house to teach one not to throw rocks.

The nasty comments started in the forums. I’d notice traffic coming to my blog from a message board and check out the thread. For every nice comment (if there were any!), I’d find ten hurtful remarks. Then, “anonymous” started leaving cruel comments directly on my blog. I was cut to the quick. Each unkind remark left me with a hollow feeling in my chest, a hitch in my throat, and a buzzing in my head. I’m not confrontational, so I did not engage the commenters, but I was busily justifying myself in my head and venting to my friends. I felt victimized and misunderstood. I contemplated giving up the blog on more than one occasion.

One day, it all just clicked and I realized that every time I judged others harshly, I was behaving exactly like the trolls. Even if my thoughts were left unshared, I was ashamed to be associated with them. I changed my attitude.

Instead of curling my lip in disgust at a woman’s outfit, I’d imagine what the offender was thinking when she got dressed. Was she in a hurry to get her child off to school? Does she dress to identify herself with a particular subculture? Is she expressing her mood with her dress? I also found things to admire in outfits that I would have previously snubbed. What a great pair of shoes! Look how she picked up that particular shade of green in multiple places. And, the number one attitude-changer of all, I admire her confidence!

Confidence is just what I gained from this exercise. As I accepted others around me and their fashion choices, I became bolder with my own. The new confidence inspired me to wear what I want, without worrying about whether it “went” or was too dressy or impractical. I adopted a more carefree attitude about my appearance. Why not take a risk today? I can play it safe tomorrow. Fuck the detractors. They only WISH they had the courage to try this.

There are always going to be nasty people in the world and they are probably always going to say nasty things, but I feel better in knowing that there is one less. I admit, the world would be a boring place if we were all winners and no one was better than anyone else (a la Harrison Bergeron), but maybe we could all cut each other some slack when it comes to style. There are so many ways we can express ourselves through our clothing. I’d like nothing better than to watch the parade go by and appreciate your choices.

This post is an updated version of How This Blog Has Changed My Life, originally published 3/24/2010 at whatiwore2day.blogspot.com. I still need to remind myself, even more than six years later, to be kind, empathetic, and understanding.

How to Look Old

I’m so pleased to be in my fifth decade, because, if you haven’t heard, old is the new young! It’s the granny chic zeitgeist. 20-year-olds are so passé. And while you might fool people with your silver hair and cat eye glasses and smile lines at a quick glance, the real secret to looking old is attitude. As an old person, myself, I’ve got some tips for you:

Say “No” More. Once you’re old, you’ve done it all and you’ve found that most of it is not worth doing. Anytime you’re asked to do something new, say, “No.” Usually, if it’s new, it’s going to be uncomfortable and old age is all about comfort! Don’t waste your few, remaining, precious years on a new experience that might be a waste of time. Thai food? Too spicy. Ballroom dancing? You tried that once and you sucked. Befriend the neighbor? She’s crazy and has too many cats. Rest, content, that you are wise enough to know what you like.

Show Me Your Grump Face. The movie is Grumpy Old Men. Not Cheerful Old Men. Cultivate a sourpuss attitude. Begin with the weather on the morning news. Is the forecast sunny? Complain about the drought. Is rain predicted? Now the roads are going to be a mess. Continue this attitude through the day. If your neighbor brings you freshly baked, chocolate-chip cookies, accept them with a scowl and mention that you’d prefer brownies. The glass is half empty, people!

Trust No One. It’s true: everyone is out to get you. And it’s personal. The kid that littered in your yard did it just to piss you off. The a-hole that tailgated you in heavy traffic doesn’t like your bumper sticker. The man that cut in front of you in line thinks he’s better than you. The surest way to suss out the hostiles is to answer every question with a question. When the clerk at the grocery store asks, “Did you find everything you were looking for today,” answer, suspiciously, with “Why do you ask?” Because what he probably means is: “Do you really need a bag of clearance Halloween candy, Terra chips, and a box of wine, you big fat drunk? Did you have trouble finding the SlimFast and the AA meeting?” Confrontation will usually get to the true, nasty, intention of others’ actions.

Sure, you can try for “old” by wearing the same hairstyle and clothes you wore in highschool, but you’re just a poseur unless you incorporate age into your mental state. Wrinkles and saggy eyelids aren’t enough. Joie de vivre will out you as a young person, every time. No one will believe you’re old when you spend the evenings pushing your boundaries and the weekends making new friends. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m off practice my cranky face in the mirror. Gotta work on those frown lines!

Add Color to Your Wardrobe

When I lived in Cincinnati, Londyn and I got together once or twice a month. We inevitably ended up dishing on fashion – what we liked, what we wanted, what we bought, and what other people said to us about the clothes we wore. Oddly enough, we both heard a similar comment from our coworkers (and we worked at different companies): “You wear so much color!” One could interpret the comment a couple different ways. It could mean, “My God, are you color blind? My eyes are bleeding.” Or it could mean, “I wish I could introduce more color into my wardrobe.” I prefer the latter. There is nothing wrong with an all black wardrobe, but if you are interested in raising your color quotient, these are a few of my color mantras.


Black and white accented with hot pink

Punch It Up. The simplest way to add color to a neutral wardrobe is to add a single, bright accent color. Adding red shoes to a black and white outfit is probably the first example that comes to mind. Don’t feel limited to red though. Try hot pink, instead, with black and white. Add bright turquoise to browns. Carry a purple bag with your all gray outfit. If you find a color you love, buy many accessories in that color. Then, sprinkle them liberally through your neutral outfits.


Red and green are opposites, but choosing an olive green keeps the outfit from looking Christmas-y

Opposites Attract. The surest way to create a “get noticed” color combo is to wear opposing colors from the color wheel. However, I’d stay away from purely primary mixes (like red/green), and, instead, mix tomato and olive or persimmon and turquoise. Pairing opposites looks fresh, bold, and fun.


Pastel perfection

Watch Your Saturation. Nope, this isn’t an admonition against drunk dressing. (Heck, a little wine may be just what you need to get your inspiration on.) Saturation refers to the intensity of the color. Ever read about jewel tones or pastels being the season’s “look”? These are colloquial terms that refer to saturation. A pulled together look consists of color combinations that are matched in saturation. Hot pink looks great with leaf green (at least I think so), while pale pink looks better with light green or even soft gray. You can mix colors that may one may not normally think of as “going together” (like yellow and purple), if you keep the saturation the same (mustard and amethyst). While you can create a unique look by mixing saturation, it’s an advanced skill.


Pink shirt, pink dress, pink shoes!

Be Matchy-Matchy. Or not. If you’re wearing your hot pink dress, should you wear your hot pink shoes? I say, “Go for it!” (And I have.) It isn’t the most sophisticated look, but it’s fun and will garner you attention. But you don’t need to be overly color coordinated. If you pay any attention to the In Style spreads, you’ll notice that while the whole outfit goes together, it isn’t entirely color matched. For example, adding red pumps to an outfit mostly in shades of blue and neutrals is unexpected and sophisticated (check out this example from Londyn). If you don’t want to match, don’t, but try not to add more than one “unmatched” color into the mix and be sure to Watch Your Saturation.


Leopard print (and a patterned handbag) bridge black and brown

Black and Brown Go Together. And so do black and navy. I don’t recommend wearing just a navy dress and black shoes, but if you throw a matching black belt and perhaps a black purse into the mix, the look is chic. The key is to mix these colors as if you meant to do it, not as if you got dressed in the dark. I find this trick especially useful to incorporate navy items into my wardrobe. I already own black and brown footwear. Who wants to maintain navy as well? By incorporating black into my navy ensembles, I don’t need navy pumps. If you’re feeling gun-shy about combining black and brown, try using leopard print as a bridging piece, as pictured above.

Are you ready to add color to your wardrobe? I’ve recapped some of the above advice and grouped it by difficulty.

Beginner. The beginner has a wardrobe of mostly neutrals (black, brown, gray, white). Pick your favorite color and use that as your guide to purchasing colorful items. Add one colorful piece to a neutral outfit to Punch It Up. Be Matchy Matchy. People will think your style is sharp!

Intermediate. Pair opposite colors, but Watch Your Saturation. Try incorporating two colors (other than neutrals) into an outfit. Add an accessory in a third color to be not Matchy Matchy. You’ll hear the words “chic” and “sophisticated” used to describe you by folks at the water cooler.

Advanced. Mix black and brown or black and navy. Mix saturations. Wear an outfit composed of three or more colors (but don’t turn into Rainbow Brite). You’ll notice people giving you double and third takes as they struggle to digest your outfit. Some people won’t get it, but true fashionistas will.


Turquoise and mint and persimmon, oh my!

Most importantly have fun and wear your colors proudly. You can carry almost anything off with the right attitude. If you are truly happy with a wardrobe of neutrals, don’t change. But if you’re longing for more color in your life, don’t think it’s only for those “fashion-y” people. Wear what you love, and others will love it too.

This post is an updated version of Color Yourself Happy, originally published 9/9/2007 at http://whatiwore2day.blogspot.com.

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Email Kasmira at kasmira@kasmirakit.com