Oh my goodness. Back in the beginning of August I felt certain that I would quickly get back into the blogging groove – in between carrying around my new grandson and putting the touches on our new apartment. It didn’t happen.
Instead I spent my time with my daughter and grandson, fiddling around with apartment decor (and driving my husband mad), and exercising. Oh yeah – and looking at ALL the clothes in my closet and wondering when I would ever wear them again. I dressed up once or twice and even threw a few things up on Instagram. But that wasit!
I am still pondering the “dressing up” question. The non-work world – and even the work world – are super casual and my extensive wardrobe is definitely NOT. What to do? And what is really true to who I am today?
Oh, and by the way, who AM I truly today? I now can see how easy it is to simply drift into retirement. Since I am in a new city, I don’t have any friends to distract me – just the aforementioned daughter, grandson, and husband. I run a few errands, undertake a leisurely exercise session, catch up on blogs and world news, maybe help out my daughter for a bit and…the day is gone. Two months into retirement and I can clearly see how this might be my destiny unless I decide otherwise. I have friends who’ve become artists, fiction writers, and even yogis after retirement. How did they manage to become someone new, I wonder?
The future of the blog is related to how I answer that question for myself. This I DO know. I’ll be back soon to muse a little further on that question – and to share a little fashion with you.
For the past five weeks, I have basically been living out of a growing stack of suitcases and shopping bags. I started out with items suitable for a weekend out of town and then, through a series of mishaps and adventures, never went home. My husband was very nice about sending me a few additional items of clothing that I wanted and I managed to order a few things by mail (so many good sales!). But here’s the big news: I barely thought about how I was dressed or whether I had on make up or cute shoes. I mostly wore active wear and sneakers and occasionally put on casual pants and sandals.
I know that you are curious about how I felt about all this. First of all there were several mitigating circumstances that were preoccupying me:
The arrival of my first grandchild – a beautiful baby boy – at the moment it is more fun changing his diaper than putting together a new outfit. And it makes no sense to change a diaper in good clothes, right? And, of course, baby’s parents have received SO many baby clothes that I cannot even shop for new baby clothes yet!
A bad fall in my daughter’s bathtub (no bathmat!) that kept me sitting on a couch for two weeks while I recovered.
Pretty hot summer weather and the absence of the right clothes for this weather – frankly workout clothes have been the coolest way to dress. Plus I didn’t belong to a gym for this period of time and walking everywhere was my exercise outlet.
A lot of time spent packing up my daughter and son in law’s apartment for their move South – what would you wear for such a project?
Plus my re-retirement started in this five-week period and I was supporting my husband long distance as he packed all our worldly good for a 2500-mile move to the Southeast.
I have missed dressing up and even wearing heels. After all, that is part of who I am and that will probably never change. But I tried to give myself permission to cede personal control as I moved around from someone else’s home to an Airbnb, and then hotels. Emotionally and personally, I am not sure how I feel at the moment, but I’ll try to address that in one more non-outfit post later this week. Then both my husband and my worldly goods will arrive and I’ll be in my own – albeit brand new – home again!
I became a grandmother for the first time yesterday and, of course, I am gobsmacked with adoration for this little boy. I’m sure I’ll have more to say about this experience once I recover from my current delirium!
Since Two Take On Style is a mother-daughter collaboration, we’re going to take a short break to adjust to these new circumstances. Rest assured that we’ll be back very soon!
I know my readers aren’t necessarily in the same boat as I am right now, but I’m hoping everyone can learn a bit from my experience. I’ll have little to say about fashion per se today – hope that works for you!
In about a week I will be retiring for the second time. The immediate future will be very busy because Kate and her husband are having a baby (you can follow her progress on Instagram) in a few weeks and moving a few weeks after that AND R and I are moving 2500 miles from the Bay Area to Knoxville, TN.
Yes, I am stepping off a cliff. No, I don’t know what the future will look like. R has been retired for a few years and he has been quick to find a million projects to keep him, and more particularly, his brain occupied. In short, he cannot understand why I choose the expression “stepping off a cliff” to describe how I feel at the moment.
Maybe this is the way I should feel – stepping away from a career that I never envisioned in the first place and in which I had way more success than I ever thought possible. I’m still the same person as before, but just one stripped of my professional credentials and accomplishments. It doesn’t bother me that others will categorize me as old because I retired – I dealt with that shock when I first used my Medicare card! But it is more that I call fall in the “former”/”ex” category.
I’ve taken an inventory of who I am today and I am determined to focus on the positive dimensions of the inventory spreadsheet and maybe that’s all I need to do until we get through the baby birthing, the packing and the move. I also have a written list of things I want to do in this new stage of life and I can keep adding to that over the next two months.
So for now I am this: humorous, curious, intelligent, grateful, pretty good partner and wife, lucky all my life, pretty good mom, fit and determined to remain so, well-dressed, interested in the world, travel and many, many topics, organized, full of love, a Quaker in my core values, a lover of beauty, gardens, man made beauty and art. That’s what I’ll hang onto until all these life changes have happened.
P.S. AND the whole process of change has taken a different slat because I took a bad fall last Friday at my daughter’s house. I fell on and hurt my right hip and won’t know for a few days what will be required to get better. Until then, I’m basically immobile and useless. This definitely was NOT the plan.
I am pretty sure I had a pair of denim culottes or gauchos when I was in my 20s. I wasn’t much of a hippie back then, but nothing could keep me from a culotte trend. Here I am again lusting after denim culottes once again. I actually think that denim culottes represent a fresher and cooler way to wear denim in warmer weather; skinny jeans and boyfriend jeans can get pretty hot even if they are cropped. But culottes are looser and much cooler as I see it.
I’ve been scoping out denim culottes for a while now and I discern a couple of style options:
Light or dark denim – I think I prefer the darker denim since it is more slimming and looks more sophisticated. Lighter denim just looks like “Coachella” style to me.
Wide or Narrow Leg – I vote for wide leg; otherwise the culottes just look like longer jeans that have been cut to the culotte length. The wide leg also makes one’s waist and hips look smaller – always good in my book. And, by the way, virtually all the denim culottes I’ve seen are high-waisted!
Finished hem or distressed hem – Here I haven’t yet decided but I might lean towards the distressed because it’s a little more trendy and looks so chic with sandal heels!
Jumpsuit or Pants – I have seen some very cute denim culotte jumpsuits – sort of a grown up version of denim overalls. Throw on a tee under the jumpsuit and one looks together but not like they are trying too hard. However the right culotte denim jumpsuits are hard to find!
Long or Short – No discussion here. Culottes that end just below the knee look dated no matter what they’re made off.
Anyway, want to join me on the denim culotte bandwagon? Here are some of my favorites!
We HAVE to confess. We each have an item of clothing with which we are, perhaps, unnaturally obsessed. Our obsessions do not mean that we wear these items more than others. But, somehow, whenever we acquire something new to wear, we rush to see if it “goes” with our wardrobe obsessions.
We don’t claim to know why we feel this way, but maybe you can figure it out when you read our stories.
Jeanne: Several years ago I bought this incredibly cute, inexpensive skirt from GAP (similar). Sort of a pencil skirt with a base layer that I can only describe as gray sweatshirt material overlaid with olive green/khaki lace. So odd/unusual, right? Talk about a combo that was hard to combine with other items: gray and khaki? A khaki color that changed with the light? Yet it was from this weird combo of colors that my obsession grew. Every time I bought something even remotely connected to olive/khaki or gray, I judged its worthiness based on whether it would go with this skirt. Olive turtleneck tunic – check, olive print blouse – check, camo pullover – check. I cannot tell you how many things I tried to pair with this skirt. The number of times I actually wear the skirt is secondary to the number of times I THINK about this skirt.
Kate: Mom bought a sweater coat at Anthropologie two years ago on sale – gray, red, and white mixed together with an uneven hem (here’s another striped option). There was a reason this sweater was on sale: a great pattern, but hard to easily mix with anything besides black pants and a pair of jeans. Last year she got tired of trying to make up ensembles with this sweater and she passed it along to me. Now I obsess about what will “go” with this sweater just like Mom does with her skirt!
Maybe we are – mother and daughter – simply too fastidious about things like this. Jeanne admits to worrying about matching the colors in her clothes, and Kate is a contemporary young woman who enjoys mixing up colors. But even she recognizes this obsession in herself!
What do YOU think? Are you obsessed with certain items in your wardrobe like we are? Below are some items that would in all likelihood trigger a similar obsession for us all!
As 2015 draws to a close, we want to thank you again for following our blog and enjoying fashion and style as much as we do! We’re closing out the year by sharing with you our most popular posts from the past 12 months. Enjoy, have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and we’ll be back on January 4.
I thought I’d share a few of my new favorite blogs today. And, just because I’m talking about a few here today, that doesn’t mean there aren’t many others I read and enjoy. Take a look at our blog for a comprehensive list of our favorite sites.
Back to the topic at hand. My favorite bloggers of a certain age have one of two characteristics: a distinctive “voice” and/or a distinctive “look”. Here are the ones I’m particularly enjoying right now:
Style Nudge – Cherie has a wonderful look in every post. She inspires me to try vintage instead of retail. And she has fabulous style – an age-defying combo of the old and the new. She also appears to be as obsessed with shoes as I am!
Anna’s Island Style – Anna has an interesting “voice” – an authentic, humor- laced approach that makes me want to visit her tiny island. Plus she, too, finds amazing vintage items and combines them to create looks that always make me think twice about my own looks.
Passage des perles – It turns out that I like a number of Canadian bloggers and Duchesse is one of those. She has been blogging for almost ten years and I can’t believe I just found her. She has a knowledgeable, interesting “voice” and I love her posts.
Materfamilias Writes – I’ve been reading Materfamilias’ posts for a while now. She is a wonderful, thoughtful writer about her life and life experiences. Her posts about her life post-retirement are touch points for me. Oh, and she talks about her wardrobe sometimes as well!
AllWays in Fashion – Michelle blogs from Houston and her blog is sublime in my opinion. She writes with a humorous edge – sardonic perhaps – about various fashion-related topics.
Bag and a Beret – I want to be Melanie. That’s all I have to say. Check her out!
Today we are celebrating the third anniversary of the day we started this blog. In many ways, it is amazing that we are still here throwing our pictures and comments onto the vast highway of the internets. Because a lot has changed since we wrote our first post:
Well, fashion to start with. Three years ago it was all skinny pants all the time. Today some of us are wearing bell bottoms. Who knew?
Jeanne has retired and un-retired.
Kate’s job went from a traditional office setting to working from home (in comfy workout clothes).
Jeanne’s hair got shorter and MUCH blonder. Actually Kate’s did too!
We both moved to new homes – and Jeanne to a new city.
Kate drastically pared down her wardrobe while Jeanne’s wardrobe may have gotten bigger.
We both added Instagram to our lives and we’ve grown to love it.
Jeanne has evolved into the face of the blog while Kate has continued as the mostly-behind-the-scenes technical expert.
Most importantly, we’ve made many new friends in the blogosphere – we’re talking about YOU, our gentle readers. Thank you – whether you just found us yesterday or you’ve been following us since the beginning. We started out doing this for ourselves and ended up doing this for each and every one of you. Happy anniversary to all of us!
What a great film, right? I thought this was an apt title for today’s blog post for several reasons that I’ll explain in the coming paragraphs.
First of all, Kate and I will truly be lost in translation over the next few weeks since we’ll be busy trying to understand the native tongue in Norway. My husband and I have been planning to go for a number of months and now it’s turned out that Kate can join us for a week of our visit. We are going to TRULY go on vacation and put the blog on hiatus until we return. You can still follow us both on Instagram while we’re away: janj913gmailcom and kabrobinson. We’ll be back after September 28th.
Now onto the other “lost in translation” topic. Friends, I have two topics where I JUST DON’T GET IT anymore.
New York Fashion Week – I am just so over the hype around this. We’ve been buried in interesting “street style” and reviews of fashion shows….or even just pics of fashion shows. I can never remember any trends or fabulous dresses I’ve seen. In fact, none of this couture fashion makes an impression until I see it on an actual person – in Bazaar or on some celebrity blog. It’s depressing, but it simply feels like a week of celebrity photo ops and I don’t care! “Lost in translation” to me!
Secondly, why must bloggers instantly start writing about fall/winter fashion in the third week of August? Aren’t we all still wearing summer clothes and maybe even anticipating a weekend at the beach? I just don’t get it. For those of us who show readers “what we wore”, it makes no sense at all. I say, live your blogger life where your readers are: still figuring out how to dress for hot weather.
Hmmm, maybe all this simply indicates that I NEED a vacation, but I don’t think so. At the same time, by the time I return the London/Paris shows will be over and some bloggers will be wearing fall/winter clothes that the weather actually requires. See you then!