“How about that one?”
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
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’
would appreciate the thought I had put into the concept! Georgia
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 http://www.stevenalan.com/|
Monday, September 20, 2010
The place was completely empty. For a while we had the village to ourselves and were able to explore each original plantation house, county courthouse and merchant building at our leisure - until the old people showed up!
The village wench had told us they were expecting a tour bus of about 65 ‘seniors’. She did not seem particularly excited.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
so I may miss an issue or two but generally I keep up until a particular title
goes out of print.
More recently I had been trying to control the magazines as to not allow them to pile up around the house, but it was getting out of control. Preparing for the renovation, we knew we were going to have to move out of the main house so we built a guest house. Today, I use it as my studio and office, which includes a dedicated space to my collection.
Even though they are reasonably housed, I still try to justify holding on to them and honestly there just is no reason.
My habit was to turn down pages of any article or feature that I liked. So I now have a fifteen foot long by nine feet high wall of blog material!
Get ready. Because I will be posting the best of the best.
Here are a few random rooms from some fairly recent Elle Decor and Met Home issues that fit the A.J.Barnes mood.
Monday, September 13, 2010
Last weekend we were cleaning up and cutting back what was left of the summer vegetables in the garden. We had been ignoring it over the last couple of weeks. Between the dog days of summer and a month of consecutive 95+ degrees without much rain, most of this year's garden had seen better days. But, on Saturday I noticed the basil. Where did that come from? In late spring I had bought a flat of left over small plants at a framers market and filled in one of the vegetable beds. They got lost in the mists of all the summer vegetables, but now with the garden fading the basil rules. Well it ruled until I chopped most of it down and made pesto and tarts!
As soon as I can get the Parnter to write some things down, I will post the recipes for both of these and some of our other savory morsels.
Wednesday, September 8, 2010
But, she has stumbled on an opportunity to buy a 1920's original Tudor in one of the oldest and most prestigious Dallas neighborhoods. The house has great bones, but its dark and needs to be updated. She and her husband are not the heavy dark wood types - they are really the more painted white wood, bowl of green apples, fabulous artwork types. Not to mention that the last time the house was updated was in the 1980's so not only is it dark, but the wall to wall carpet match the fringed drapes that match the sofa that match the wall paper. So, the challenge is how to bring this fantastic house into the present while respecting its authenticity?
While rummaging through ideas for her, I remembered a book I picked up five or six years ago. The Private House by Rose Tarlow. It's the perfect look for this house. Although the book never admits it, but much of the content is based on one estate in Beverly Hills. The original house was built by film magnet Jack Warner. Movie Mogul David Geffen bought the house and commissioned Tarlow to do the complete renovation. It took eight years before Geffen moved into the house.
In June's issue of Elle Decor it listed her as one of their 'Masters of Designs' and said of her style..."smart modern furniture, handsome antiques with a well oiled patina, and strong sense of emotion and mood" and called Private House required reading.
I love how she mixes pieces into a seemingly effortless design. Here are some images from the book.
I hope my friend gets the job. I would love to work on her house.