Saturday, November 15, 2008

Tighten Your Belt

  Last night, I was heading to another of Ted's opening night parties  and I had nothing to wear! 
Okay, I have plenty to wear but I was in one of those moods.  You know the feeling.  Flipping through my dresses, I didn't feel like wearing something I'd worn before.  I mean, who wants to show up on in the same outfit more than once?  On the other hand, now is not the time to be spending money on new clothes.
It was obviously time to experiment with putting things together in a new way.   So many things have come back in style (the thrifter's dream!) but what items from days of yore can be reworked and what should we let fade into nostalgia?
I worked for a wardrobe supervisor at college one summer and I remember her talking about the 60's retro revival at the time.  "If you were able to wear it the first time around, you're too old to wear it when it comes back in style."  Doris did teach me how to sew a professional hem, God rest her soul, but I beg to differ on her style advice.  You just have to know what you can get away with.

shoulder pads
too much matchy matchy
pure polyester, unless the print and style are just too hard to resist...

skinny jeans
cuffed or cropped boots
tall boots (no square heels or toes), high heel or low heel
large geometric earrings
multiple bracelets
oversized movie star sunglasses
costume jewelry
leggings and legwarmers (not for the faint at heart, and even harder to pull off if you're over thirty)
oversized sweaters
pencil skirts
tab collar or tie sash collar flowing blouses, look for gathers at the yoke and sleeves
oversized belts

Yes, the belt is back!  And it's a great way to add a fresh look to wardrobe staples.  It's a hard one for me to get used to again, especially since low rise jeans have put the emphasis away from the real waist for so long.  It feels strange to have something cinched around my middle and I can't help but feel I'm breaking up the line.   You know, the line you try to create, the illusion of the hourglass...  But I'm branching out! Patent leather is a great look this fall and sometimes I'll even layer two belts, one over the other.  If I don't feel like I have the perfect belt, I'll throw on three at a time and knot them instead of buckle them.  It gives a great layered look with boots. Even a scarf can act as a belt, tied on like an obie or a cummerbund.  Give it a try.   Go ahead tighten your belt!  
So the outfit I wore last night (pictured above) consisted of things I already had in my closet: 
brown leather boots I found at Beacon's Closet in Williamsburg for 25 dollars
a grey wool and spandex pencil skirt that I took in on the sides for 8 dollars
(try it on inside out and pin, undo the hem and waistband if needed, then sew and re-hem)
a violet 80's blouse that I darted in the waist, front and back, and shortened the long sleeves to the cap sleeves for 5 dollars
vintage necklace and bracelet from Love Saves the Day in the Village for 8 dollars
Grandma's earrings
a long brown wool trench that I found at the, you guessed it, Salvation Army Coat Sale for 30 dollars
a big brown belt, cinched tight, of course, from Salvation Army for 2 dollars

A stylish new outfit to wear to Ted's opening night party:  Seventy Eight Dollars.
Getting the chance to be inspired by my husband's acting once again:  Priceless.  


  1. Well, as usual, you looked fantastic! I know the feeling about belts and the waistline...I'm gonna have to try it now. Really love the blog. And the pix.

  2. Thanks, Addlepates!
    I mean, don't get me wrong. We still have the option of wearing belts loosely slung over the hip. But the tightly cinched belt can make even one of your husband's dress shirts, not buttoned but overlapped and with the sleeves pushed up, into a stylish new look, maybe with wide-legged trousers.
    Thanks for reading!

  3. Maybe we should have a recycling party, where we bring our discards, sort of a free sample sale. Given the economy, I'd be fine to bring about 30 or 40 black things that are shoved into my drawers and unlikely ever to leave the house on my body.

  4. I say YES to a recycling party! My friend Garrett calls them Bitch and Swaps... I have some great items from such gatherings where everyone brings clothes they're tired of and a large pile of free clothes to choose from is soon formed in the middle of the room. Then it's dive in and try on! Sybil has some nice, stylish clothes, black or not! Who wants to host it? I'm there!

  5. I wish shoulder pads would die. Thank you for mentioning that they are done for. And you looked FABULOUS what a great outfit. I too like the wide belt. Hopefully when I get my waist back....hey and how about a blog topic on the subject of belts. I have a lot of old ones. wondering what to do with them...that is besides give them to you.


Leave a comment
or email Leenya at leenya.rideout.totherescue
with a style or budget dilemma to find out,
What Would Leenya Do?