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Life of Colleen

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·· This blog has moved
·· Mrs. Peel...
·· Continued wardrobe meanderings
·· Happy Friday!
·· Happy Monday!
·· They all end up doing Elvis
·· More wardrobe meanderings
·· Further wardrobe meanderings
·· Should strapless be scary?
·· Happy Saturday!

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This blog has moved
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-04-24 at 6:58 PM (Pacific)

This blog is now located at http://lifeofcolleen.blogspot.com/.
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Mrs. Peel...
posted by Colleen Shirazi at 9:48 AM (Pacific)

The Pretenders - "Don't Get Me Wrong" (1986)

...we're needed.

This might actually be my favorite Pretenders' song...not because it's the acme of their work--which would likely be 1980's Mystery Achievement--but, just because.

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Continued wardrobe meanderings
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-04-03 at 10:45 PM (Pacific)

kimono print scarf

This scarf caught my eye...because it reminded me of a kimono I owned when I was a kid. My father had taken my sister and me on a trip to New York City in 1974. I "remember" the year because we saw The Little Prince at the Radio City Music Hall. I was a bit disappointed, having read the book, but back to the kimono...we went to Chinatown. My sister chose a far more sophisticated design, but my kimono was this same bright blue. The scarf even features a chrysanthemum pattern.

Wound up buying the pink and cream version:

kimono print scarf

I'm sentimental, but not to the point of acquiring something I can't use. Hmm. The image doesn't quite capture the pink scarf's delicate beauty.

This is from Fashion for Nerds, and I'd been meaning to try these techniques. The pink scarf is sufficiently long for technique #1, if you wrap the scarf only once. You get a somewhat different effect: less scarf-piling in front, longer tails--but it works. Love the tutorial btw.

pleated skirt

This image, likewise, is not very good. The charm of this skirt lies within its multitude of tiny pleats, and the untucked-in top obscures this. I have the black version, and they crank out new colors every year...which I like.

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Happy Friday!
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-04-02 at 10:43 PM (Pacific)

Hermmm...the week went by quickly, eh?

Thought this was interesting.

strappy black sandals

I tried these shoes...was rather disappointed. Had been going for an Alcoa Building effect:

alcoa building

Dunno, something architectural, line-wise. But the shoes were not really comfortable on my feet. The girder effect was okay; perhaps not as spectacular as I'd hoped. Shoes have to be comfortable. I've decided to return them.

On a cheerier note...

anchor print skirt

I like this skirt. It's an odd piece to own; a touch too long to be fashionable, though I like the high-waisted effect. What sold me was the anchor and rope pattern:

anchor print skirt detail

When did I last see such a design? thirty years ago? Were I not a total 'tard with a sewing machine, this skirt is the fanciful item I'd make myself. Some day I do intend to take up sewing. It makes too much sense not to.

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Happy Monday!
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-03-29 at 10:02 PM (Pacific)

Strapless update:

strapless bra

This, strangely, did not fit. Only on the tightest setting did I see any real results, meaning it did not fit. A bra should fit perfectly at the loosest setting, otherwise it'll become useless as it stretches out with wear. Oh well. I could have gone down a band size on this same model, but it was also a bit on the thin side (albeit constructed of beautiful lace, even the back), so I've opted to exchange for this--at a smaller band size (knock wood):

strapless bra

I realize I'm winding down, wardrobe-development-wise. The short version is I'd never planned to have an endless wardrobe. It's a lovely thought, but not what I'm after; more is not always more.

That said, I still have a text file :D with the odd thing listed on it. I've done that for quite a while...when something catches my eye, I add it to the list. Or I'm thinking, if I bought x, I'd be able to wear y, in z number of ways. z can possibly justify the cost of x...or not. Do I need a brown sweater? Love this one, in the picture anyway:

brown cardigan

But is there anything in my current wardrobe I can't wear, without buying something like it? Mmmmm...don't know yet. It looks useful. I have it in my text file, but it's not a priority.

These, on the other hand...

strappy black sandals

...should be useful right away. They're reasonably priced, but the greater consideration is whether they'll last. A $50 pair of shoes that wears out after a year is not a bargain. I didn't want heeled sandals...small heels might have done, but I need to be able to walk. I wanted something formal enough for work (business casual), must be stockings-compatible, yet also suitable for the weekend without stockings or socks.

I'm a bit cautious about the ankle strap...if you've ever worn stockings with ankle-strap shoes, the two don't mix. Eventually the strap wears out that part of the stocking. But in this design, it seems at least some of the stress would be born by the straps coming down from the front of the ankle strap. It's worth a shot.

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They all end up doing Elvis
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-03-19 at 8:30 PM (Pacific)

Queen - Crazy Little Thing Called Love (1979)

Originally, I was going to dig up a video of an old "Underalls" ad for this post. Not because I ever owned a pair, but because it all seems so esoteric now. However, it is Friday.

This thing called love
I just can't handle it
This thing called love
I must get round to it
I ain't ready
Crazy little thing called love

What I was looking for was simple: a pair of tights, or stockings, with a cotton top and nylon legs. Is it so difficult? I like cotton tights, but the weather has changed; the ones I have feel too heavy now. And I loathe anything pantyhose-shaped that's all nylon.

cotton and nylon tights

Aha! I have one of these on order. Not only a cotton top, but also cotton toes. Seems quite useful...only comes in black though.

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More wardrobe meanderings
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-03-16 at 9:26 PM (Pacific)

polka dot sailor dress

Dress...I adore you.

I know this style is old school, but a navy blue dress with a conservative-ish print...anywhere from knee to calf length, with anything from no sleeves, to 3/4 sleeves...is actually quite useful. Even better if it doesn't require ironing. The fabric should be lightweight, but not flimsy.

I'm beginning to think this:

short camisole

...is better than this:

stretch camisole

I love the idea of a stretchy camisole that stays up at the neck, and stays down at the hem...but the original camisole just seems like so much fabric. If only they made a regular-length "ShamWow of camisoles" camisole.

And, the short version comes in only black or white. The long cami boasts 46 colors, for crying in a bucket.

I realize I've never gotten around to linking to other fashion blogs.

Partly because I don't see my blog as a fashion blog. I'm too lazy to take those nifty outfit-a-day pics, I don't bother listing where I got anything; in fact I post things I never got anyway. Moreover, this used to function as more of a beauty blog, and, before that, a personal meaningless blog. I've been blogging since the late 1990's iirc. This won't remain a fashion blog.

And partly it's too much work to do much else with this blog beyond porting it from its current, soon-to-be-deprecated FTP format.

But I do read other fashion blogs. In fact I've been a bit amazed at how many of them there are now...good ones.

I started out reading Fashion for Nerds, for obvious reasons (pretty sure I googled "fashion for nerds"). :)

From there, I began to follow academichic, which features a team of "Three feminist PhD candidates at a Midwest university, on a crusade against the ill-fitting polyester suit of academic yore."

Ah...that's it. I've been slowly trying the links on Fashion For Nerds' sidebar.

I read J.Crew blogs, but not religiously (I don't shop 'Crew enough to do so). They're incredibly useful, given how many 'Crew items are offered only online or in catalogs, and for the 'Crew Final Sale.

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Further wardrobe meanderings
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-03-15 at 12:01 AM (Pacific)

jcrew jackie shell in pearl

The above J.Crew Jackie Shell is on my wishlist. I have the Jackie cardigan:

jcrew jackie cardigan in pearl

At first I'd the notion of doing the twinset thing, but a twinset is kind of useless for my purposes. A nice idea, but far more striking when done in an unusual color, so the perfect match of the two pieces jumps out at you.

My Jackie cardigan is in the "Pearl" color pictured...it's next to the ideal item for our San Francisco Bay Area climate, once we shed the current chill and launch into what we call spring and summer. Typically the day begins cold...even in summer, I wear a leather jacket in the morning. Soon enough it morphs into something almost sweating hot, but then I work in an air-conditioned building where you can't open a window. A cardigan is necessary, but the psychological coolness of an off-white layer, preferably with 3/4 or bracelet sleeves, means hardly ever having to "put on and take off."

However, a Pearl twinset just doesn't seem thrilling enough to warrant the purchase of the shell. How it ended up on my wishlist is it looks terribly useful in its own right. An off-white shell (like the cardigan, less headache than white-white) would coordinate with just about any skirt, pants, cardigan or jacket. Wouldn't need ironing, isn't low-cut nor sheer, just wash and hang to dry.

The sole annoying factor: the shells aren't available in stores, which makes no logical sense. Wouldn't they sell more shells, were they stocked alongside the matching cardigans? (I'm not even sure what size to get, plus there's the morbid shipping charge.)

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Should strapless be scary?
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-03-14 at 7:32 PM (Pacific)

strapless bra

I'm...still working on the basics. It's just that the basics, for women, tend to be complicated.

Take your strapless bra. If you're built small, it may have never been a big deal. You get a bra with the silicone squiggles inside, and call it a day.

If support is a greater issue, there is nothing more intimidating than straplessness. You're thinking, if I bend over, is this thing going to pop? Or will it gradually slide down into a state of non-existence?

Yet, logic dictates that a good strapless should work as well as a regular bra. The dynamics are a bit different: you'd need a tighter band, along with the silicone squiggles. The band should not be too narrow. The one I'm contemplating (above) has two rows of hooks; three would be ideal, probably, but I'll settle for two if the rest of it works as well as they say.

The cup size has to be big enough...I read somewhere to go down one band size and up one cup size. Which actually should not be necessary, as the strapless manufacturer should adjust the sizes accordingly...I'm just saying.

This model features removable straps, so you can also do wide-set, racerback, or halter straps.


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Happy Saturday!
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-03-13 at 9:00 PM (Pacific)

International Women's Day - Iranian Embassy - Ottawa, Canada March 8th 2010 (Pt. 1)

I got the skirt.

printed skirt

Mmmmm...even nicer than in the pic. I'd envisioned it as a "slap it on, it's Friday" thing, but it's actually formal enough to wear during the week.

The fabric is thicker than it appears; it's rayon but feels more like a fairly substantial cotton knit. The side "ruffle" is comprised of two pieces of cloth sewn together, engineered to fall as if it were a ruffle. The skirt is lined, with two pockets...and even the sides are interesting. The fabric is not lined up to match perfectly, but it doesn't have to be, because the pattern flows as if the sides were in fact lined up. In real life, the print is even more sprightly, as if some mad artist had scrawled it in a fit of passion.

Because the skirt is not flared (nor is it tight), you could conceivably cover the top part of it with a cardigan or pullover sweater, if you wanted a subtler effect.

All in all...sweet.

harlow silk chemise top

This is so cute!

Like the J. Crew Black Blossom Nico Skirt--based on the image alone, not something I'd normally consider. But, in person, the deep blue version of this is to die for.

The other colors...the pinky-red one was cheesy-looking, like bad lingerie. The lime green and orange versions...hm...not bad, particularly the orange. But the blue was dead-on; looked truly vintage, what with the antiqued lace and deep blue crinkly-ish silk. It reminded me of a vintage silk bed jacket I had when I was a teenager.

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Wardrobe meanderings
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-03-08 at 10:04 PM (Pacific)

Why so many wardrobe posts? It is finite, you know. Once you have developed a skill, you move on.

In the meantime...

heart printed skirt

Ever wish you were twenty-two again? I can admit I don't, most of the time. It would be the ideal age for this jaunty heart-printed skirt. But when you're actually twenty-two, you don't have the money to spend on frivolity.

horse print dress

Likewise...this dress is printed with little colored horses. Yup, horses. Way pretty, but again, a tad too youthful for me.


I wonder if this thing works? It's touted as the ShamWow of camisoles (sorry, I seem to have ShamWow on my mind lately)--one size fits size 0 to 24. Supposedly it won't creep down, nor will it ride up. But...is it shapewear? Shapewear is 21st-century for "girdle"? Hm. I'd like to find out.


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Someday, your prints will come; other wardrobe thoughts
posted by Colleen Shirazi 2010-03-06 at 4:18 PM (Pacific)

printed skirt

Yeah, send me to the pun-itentiary. groans

I couldn't resist this skirt. It's not the same as the stripes:

striped skirt

...nor the graph-paper print I've been turning over in my mind. Yet there is something graphical about it...and it's relatively long (20"). The sole concern I have is, it's rayon, which might be prone to wrinkles. But it couldn't be worse than linen, right? I have a linen skirt I love. It tends to get squashed, and I don't care.

When I embarked upon this working-wardrobe journey, I wasn't planning on buying a lot of skirts. Old school thought revolves around suits or dresses...but then this is based on the notion that working women are either executives (suits) or secretaries (dresses). Either you have a secretary, or you are a secretary.

I've found skirts more versatile than either. The same skirt can keep going, with any number of blouses, cardigans, pullovers, even a nice tee shirt; shoes or boots, stockings or tights. A good skirt can sort of span the seasons. I don't buy trendy skirts such as bubble or maxi, or anything I wouldn't want to wear five years from now (okay, I'm cheap).

I can admit I've been a bit mesmerized by the J.Crew website. It's not that the clothes are...different, in the obvious sense. They're not; in fact they're formulaic, classical if you will. They offer virtually the same clothes year after year.

What's eye-popping is, you'll be tooling along on the site, wondering just how many tissue tanks it is humanly possible to create, or cursing the 'Crew for not producing more non-dryclean items, then you'll suddenly bump into this:

socks with skirt

Hold the phone! I don't mean the skirt (which is gorgeous). What the heck is she wearing, if it's not little socks and sensible oxfords? with this smashing silk skirt and office-friendly white top?

I love you, J.Crew! erm...it's not that I want to wear little socks, it's the idea of pushing the envelope.

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