Do you ever dress poorly... on purpose?

Today I am still feeling a bit "meh," so I dressed in all my new favorites: white BB shirt, ink blue F21 blazer (making its maiden voyage), striped Hudsons, dalmatian boots, and new J. Crew trench. It perked me up a bit and gave me a reason to get up...

But on the way to work, I wondered if I should have worn beige and pastels instead, so that I'd look more how I feel. I'm not talking about faking illness or anything nefarious - I mean an outfit that says, "Please, don't ask me to save the world today." Out of order. Wet paint. Protected by man-eating guard dog. Do not touch.

On the one hand, this wouldn't make me feel better. But some gentle handling would be appreciated. Not to say that anyone is playing rough... just a wandering thought about what kinds of reactions our clothes might command from others.


J. Crew Icon Trench in Burnt Caramel

I came home feeling sick today, but I thought I'd snap these pics before I got undressed and went in for a nap. Please excuse the sicky-face... Hank graciously lent himself as a second model to save the photo shoot. I had a heckofa time getting this package, but I'll fill that in to my USPS thread later.

Quickie review is that it's almost exactly like the Madewell trench, but subtly upgraded in almost every way. Real lining, better tailoring in the back (not as flat as the Talbots, but much better than the Madewell), a couple inches longer, better drape of the fabric (IMO, possibly because of the lining). It photographs to about the same color as the Madewell, but IRL it is a little more brown and less yellow-based than that one. It feels a little narrower in the shoulders but doesn't pull over the bust, even with my thick, cable knit sweater underneath.

I feel like it's a good length for warmer weather, and I think I like how it goes with the dress here. What say you?


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Update with possible time-saving info: US Postal Service FAIL

My J. Crew trench was supposed to get here today. It DID get here today, but then it left again.

Tracking says "notice left." I don't have a notice, and I had it sent to my business. I was here. Many people were here - why would they leave a notice?

I called 800-ASK USPS, and they said it was at my local post office - but of course had no idea what went wrong. OK. I called the local office to see if they had it. No answer. For several calls.

At lunch, I DROVE to the local post office. They didn't have it. "If you really want it, come back at 9am," they said. Or I could come back at 5pm today. I have to work. Could I come back at noon? Nope, they would try to redeliver it by then. But if they redeliver it, wouldn't they just leave a notice? Again? To a building FULL of people who could easily sign for it? Yes, so if I want it I should come at 9am. No, they had no idea why the driver couldn't just deliver it where it was addressed.


I ended up writing a letter authorizing them to hold the package there until lunchtime tomorrow (my idea). I wrote down the teller's name. So that means another fun trip to and from USPS during the height of BH traffic - and another day's wait for my item.

No offense to any postal workers out there - I know for a fact that they do not all function like this. I'm just very unhappy at the moment. >:^(


To cut to the chase, everything I was told and instructed to do initially was completely wrong.

1) 800 ASK USPS had informed me that my package was at my local branch location. I've already said this was untrue, but what I learned was that ASK USPS operators are not even postal employees - they are a contracted answering service, and they basically have no access to real information and have no way of knowing how the postal service works. Don't count on them for anything related to your deliveries.

2) The associate I initially spoke with told me that I could come back and pick up my package with my driver's license. This was also untrue. The post office will not release anything unless the name *and* address match -- so unless you have your work address on your ID, you'll be completely up the creek without a paddle if you receive a delivery attempt notice at work.

3) This associate also told me that the driver would be bringing my package back to the branch location, and that I could pick it up either at 5pm that day, or 9am the next day. Well, even if they would have released the package to me with my ID, my package would not have come back to the branch. Apparently, "notice left" is some secret USPS code that really means "will be delivered tomorrow" in the event that your company is set up with something called a "call service," which creates different rules for how the mail is distributed from the branch.


"notice left" tracking status
no notice received
business delivery address
the business is probably using call service, and it will probably show up tomorrow.

4) However, no one at the post office will make this deductive leap. I asked repeatedly if there was any possible reason that the delivery was held up on my end (is there a signature needed? was it addressed incorrectly? did I need to wait outside for the truck?), but call service wasn't brought up until my 3rd interaction with USPS - even though they know your tracking info, address, the fact that the destination is a business, and everything, tellers have no way to see if a delivery is affected by call service. Which leads me to the next revelation:

5) I was told that it is the customer's responsibility to tell the postal worker if a workplace uses a call service. The people who actually live and breathe delivery issues every day cannot be expected to know anything about how deliveries function. You, as someone who does not work around mail, are expected to know everything about how your mail is handled, so don't blame the tellers for your own ignorance.

6) Everything is the customer's fault. USPS has no way of knowing anything and cannot be held responsible for any information they give you. No one ever apologized for the wrong information I was given, and I was told that "It wasn't her fault, because you didn't tell her it was a call service."

Seriously, with traffic, parking, and waiting lines, I wasted hours trying to get my package - not even counting the complaint letter I wrote for the manager of the branch - and no one had an ounce of sympathy. They all continued to defend the misinformation that was given and pass the buck to ASK USPS and me.

I've used USPS to ship al of my Ebay items for over 8 years, and I've never received this kind of treatment, but this is definitely enough to make me look into other options.


WIW: Black (and White) Riders

I've had these pants forever, but hadn't worn them lately. Although they are military-inspired, they are much more "dress uniform" than "combat fatigues," which is what I usually go for. They had me a bit stumped. The army green shirt seemed to bring it back to the battlefield, while the gold-button cardi seems to at once echo the military styling and soften it (or so I hope).

#2 is a close up of my valiant steed - finally, an UWP statement ring! $3 at the Paramount (heh, "mount") swap meet.

#3 is the way I used to wear these pants.

#4 is yesterday's WIW, just a variation on an outfit I'd worn recently.


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Talbot's Madison Trench

Pardon the glowing demon eyes in my pics...

My first "dressy work trench" contender was waiting for me when I came home today - sooner than expected. I hurriedly unboxed it and threw it on over my work pants.

The color is very pretty and really does remind me of grenadine, its namesake. I noticed the nice, heavy-ish buttons and buckles straight away. The button holes are all very solid, stitching is nice. The fabric feels fairly luxurious - it is softer than the Madewell I tried, without the paper-like quality. The shoulders and back are nicely slimmed for a more sleek look. The sleeves are lined in silky fabric for comfort over long sleeves. It definitely feels more luxurious than either the Madewell or the Scottvest (winner of my travel trench challenge) because of the fabric, construction, and "hardware."

I did notice a couple of drawbacks. Although the sleeves are lined, the rest of the body is not. Once you zip out the quilted liner, you are up against the shell fabric. Talbots has also decided where everyone's waist ought to be and put a horizontal seam there, which makes the coat feel a little high-waisted and small, even though I have plenty of room in the body, shoulders, hips, etc (and I sized down based on Parsley's review of this coat). Since this coat hits mid-thigh on the model, I thought it would surely be longer on an almost-petite like me, but it actually falls shorter than my Scottvest by about an inch, maybe a bit more. It would also need to be waterproofed.

Although I love the color, the clean shaping of the back, and the zip-out liner, the short length and high waist mean it does not feel dressy enough to keep. Parsley actually called this one dead on when I PMed her, predicting that it would fit a lot like my Scottvest trench - it does! But that means it's not different enough to earn a place in ye olde closet.

The dressy coat search should continue tomorrow (fingers crossed... it's only coming from San Francisco!), with the arrival of the J. Crew Icon in Burnt Caramel.

ETA: comparison photo of the Talbots vs. the "secret agent" coat (waving at Rita).


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Spring Travel Capsule: Italian Edition

I was very taken with Steph's recent link to The Vivienne Files' post on packing for uncertain weather - so much so that I couldn't wait to try out the exercise with the items currently waiting in my suitcase. The forecast for Italy in Spring is changing daily so, each day, I figure I need to have options for 70-degree sun to 40-something-degree rain).

Here's how it all seemed to work out: I have 9 "looks," which could get me through as little as three days, depending on the weather and how much it fluctuates between morning and evening. The long sleeve tees are my version of lightweight cardigans, since I don't really own any of those. I also have a puffer coat and three more colors of thermal (not pictured, as they are already folded and packed up, borrowed from fab MaryK), some fleece-lined tights, and a super-fun, citron Totes umbrella (Angie-recommended and scored for $8 at TJ Maxx!). I think it's pretty decent for a single carryon suitcase and a 9-day trip.

The one thing that still niggles at me is whether or not I need to carry all the cold-weather items with me throughout the day. We won't be coming back to the hotel for pit stops, so it could be pretty cold at times. However, the sweater-thermal-scarf-hat bundle is a little more than I'd like to carry for ten-odd hours at a time. I hope we will be able to get on the internet and at least determine the expected lows and chances of rain!

Am I missing anything? Am I bringing too much? Do I need a bigger day bag to haul my warmies about?

One-Dollar Wonders
Gray layering tee
Jade green l/s tee
Gray striped F21 sweater dress
Navy F21 turtleneck sweater dress ($0.50)
Citron l/s tee ($0.50)

Honorable Mention
Destroyed Hudson Jeans - ~$2.50 via Goodwill Clearance Center
Teal scarf - free with purchase via Foreign Exchange
Red fishtail anorak - via ON clearance

Scottvest paprika trench
Dr. Martens Marcie boots - via Shoebuy
Apepazza boots - via Amazon
Guess daredevil jeans - via Guess 10 million years ago
Red scarf (gift)


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WIW: Warming Up with Rust, Turquoise and Citron

It doesn't *quite* feel like Spring in SoCal, what with the rain, wind, and lingering cold - but we're kind of sick of dark Winter clothes.

#1 is a variation of what I wore to visit MaryK and borrow her warmies - I wore my Scottvest trench to test it in the rain, but I later swapped out for this Three Dots hoodie, because it seemed to go better with the Heed hi-low hem sweater.

#2 is for work today. These J. Crew cords are inexplicably tighter than the brown ones from Friday, even though they are the same size. I'm wearing them anyway as a reminder to be good!

One-Dollar Wonders
Citron Top
Turquoise Bag (free via clothing swap party)
Three Dots Hoodie

Honorable Mention
Map Bag - $5
Cat Ring - $5 via Melrose Swap Meet

Heed Sweater
Apepazza Boots - via Amazon
Boutique 9 tan boots - via Piperlime clearance
AT gray sweater - via AT clearance
J. Crew Matchstick Cords - via outlet mall


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OT: New Bemular Album - with Rae songwriting debut & wedding video!

After about nine months of work, Bemular has just finished our new album, and it's available for download! I've been informed that the best price is at CD Baby, but we are also on Itunes and Amazon, in case you have gift cards or promo codes or whatever.

This album is extra special, featuring "Fumigation," written, recorded, and sung by yours truly. Even if you don't download, you can hear a clip of me groovin.' DH also wrote the title track for me for our wedding. <3

video here:

Please check it out if you have a spare moment - I'm really proud of my song, which is something I never thought I'd say years ago.


Sunshine on a Rainy Day

Forecast suggests some rain might happen today, so guess what came out to play? Yup, it's the Scottvest trench, in all its washed-in-vinegar-solution-for-colorfastness glory. The relaxed fit feels a little casual, but it IS casual Friday.

I debated on whether to wear this top half tucked or loose, but I went with loose in the end. And miracle of miracles, I now fit back into these J. Crew cords, which had taunted me not long ago! Nothing like an impending vacation to inspire some lost poundage, I guess. If you think I ought to go back and tuck the top, please let me know!


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NOW STYLED: Look what came from Zapotee! Gallery Memory trench review

No time to change or style an outfit; I had to drop what I was holding and put this on (don't worry, it was a purse - not a baby or anything)!

The color is SOOOO beautiful! The Gallery sizing chart was way off, though. According to that, this should have been snug on me, and it is roomy in the shoulders (ETA: about 1.5 inches wide on either shoulder) and bust. It is not that noticeable when I tie up the waist, but I wouldn't be able to wear it open, I don't think. I'm thinking the length would work with pants and above the knee skirts, so imagine that instead of the midi.

What do you think? Keep or ebay?

Added some styled pics. Y'know, I was leaning toward reselling it, but it doesn't look as big in the pictures as it feels... perhaps I need to adjust.

3- open, as-is
4 - tied in front
5 - belt cinched in back
6 - open with belt cinched in back
7 - with pencil skirt
8 - unposed, hair back to show shoulders clearly
9 - with purple Hunter wellies from swap meet :)


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