Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Learn to dress appropriately!

I need a wardrobe makeover.

OK, so that statements seems strange coming from me.  Especially coming from the person who has given out much styling advice (whether solicited or not) over the years.  But, here is my dilemma.  In my past NYC corporate life, I generally stayed true to ‘a’ look – navy or gray suits with open collar French cuffed shirts in the summer and gray wool suits or black wool trousers and cashmere sweaters for the winter.  It was not the splashy point of view, but for the conservative retail organization in which I was a part of it was practical. 

After sporting that for years, I now find myself with a closet full of dark suits, dress shirts and sweaters which do me little good down here on the farm.  Outside of my blog time, I’m in my office alone, working on my other business which is consulting.  So, between all the hedges and gates and the fact that unless I’m traveling or have a scheduled appointment no one sees me. (except my partner and for some strange reason he seems un-phased or either slightly amused by most of my wardrobe choices). 

My office (which is in a constant state of design morphing) is in a snazzy little second floor apartment at the back of our farm.  It’s so removed from the road and the main house and has its own driveway, even the UPS guy can’t seem to find it.  If I wanted to I could get up every morning, throw on a pair of boxers and a wife beater and head out the door and no one would even know (and you know I have done just that on more than one occasion).  However, I’m trying to do better.  This is a lifestyle blog I’m writing, and I don’t expect you to picture me typing away in front of a roaring fire in a smoking jacket, but you do deserve a better image than the one I’m currently working. 

Part of the problem was last year when I left the corporate world I realized that other than a few pair of jeans and some weekend ‘garden’ tee shirts, I did not have the appropriate clothes to wear for ‘work at home’.  And since I did not know what path my future career life would take (and still don’t for that matter) I saw no need in running out and spending cash on new country attire.  So, I decided to do as Tim Gunn would say “make it work” with what I have. 

The day I realized I was in trouble was when I found myself standing under the front veranda with a garden hose spraying the nesting mud swallows away from the front columns.  I was wearing a wrinkled Calvin Klein gray and black dress shirt, cut off sweat pants and a pair of brown Gucci suede loafers.  The worst part was that I even had a fleeting ‘little Edie’ moment that this was truly a revolutionary outfit. 

This summer I went through my white or blue dress shirt worn un-tucked over a sarong and flip-flops stage.  It was sort of East meets West.  And I actually have to admit I really like this look.  It is comfortable, but it does require a wardrobe change if I have to go out – say to the local market or the old guy’s hardware store.  I do not think the town folk here in ‘no where’ Georgia would appreciate the thought I had put into the concept!

It’s hot here.  So jeans and such are just not the thing during most of the year.  The only shorts available are for old men or the camouflage Old Navy & Gap uniform that every gay man was wearing and is now the uniform of every man. 

I need to find something else.  I thinking it’s time to bring back seersucker, maybe with white V-neck tees, converse tennis shoes, and striped canvas belts. 

WOW.  There you go I just solved my own problem – at least through October.

While writing this posting, I remembered that a very talented young friend of mine named Lizzy is designing the women’s line for Steven Alan.  I have never paid much attention to the line or their stores before, since casual was really not in my wardrobe vocabulary.  But, recently I looked at the website and their 2010 summer men’s line is pretty much what I described above, plus a lot of great plaid and checks.  It’s hipped up traditional.   I like the look.

I need to see what they are doing for the Fall and Winter months.  I do own a smoking jacket.  A friend of mine purchased a smoking jacket from Neiman Marcus as a Christmas present for her husband.  Unfortunately they divorced before the holiday and I inherited the jacket.  I was 25 and it was not really age appropriate at the time.  However, I’ve held on to it and if for some reason this Steven Alan thing doesn’t work for me, I have the smoking jacket as a fall back plan! 

Images are from the Steven Alan collection and lookbooks.  Visit their site at

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