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Sick Day

I stayed up all night coughing a layer off my lungs. Good times.

Today my husband went for a hike with his best friend, and I am trying to purify the home. Laundry, change the sheets, sterilize the bathroom, a quick run of the vacuum (after watching Project Runway, of course!).

White terry robe from Land’s End. The BEST bathrobe ever! So sturdy and warm and cozy (be warned – they run large). Under it is a black ROOR tee-shirt belonginf to my husband. On the bottom is a pair of my husband’s boxers from Banana Republic. On my feet are these hideous ankle socks my mom bought me for the 4th of July – red and white stripes with a blue square of stars on the top of the foot.

Shop My Closet – On Poshmark!

WardrobeOxygen on PoshmarkI’ve been saying for a while that I needed to get off my tuchus and sell all the clothes I don’t currently wear. While I may clean out my closet I do have a dirty secret… I have bins and bags full of clothes in my attic (and there were a couple full contractor bags in my home office). I regularly donate career wear to a charity and have Freecycled and donated all my maternity clothes and clothes that are in “well loved” condition, but the nicer stuff I’ve been holding on to.

No more. All this clothing is doing no one favors being boxed and bagged up in my attic. A couple weekends ago, my best friend came over and for eight hours we dug through three bags. All pieces were photographed, packed up, labeled, and ready to ship. While I have used eBay and a Shop My Closet blog in the past, this time I decided to use Poshmark. My friend Alyson has raved about it for a long time and many of you have told me you use it with great success. It seemed simpler than eBay too.

For the past two weeks I have been using Poshmark and I have become as big of a fan as my friend Alyson! It’s an app-based program; while you can visit Poshmark on your computer, to buy and sell you need to do it on your phone. As a seller, I think this makes the process uber easy – my pictures are already on my phone so I can easily upload them, write a quick description, and even answer questions and negotiate counteroffers. I’ve found the customers to be more… reasonable than on eBay. You’re not usually expected to offer 5,000 measurements for a $6 LOFT tee, people are super friendly and quick to share and comment, and while I have had a couple ridiculous counter offers (no, I will not sell that NWT original retail still in the store $250 item for $15), in general it has been a friendly and painless experience.

Tips for Selling on Poshmark by Wardrobe OxygenA couple of you saw on social media that I was on Poshmark and have joined to buy and sell. If you’re interested, if you use this link and code PMZYS you’ll get $5 off your first order and I too will receive a $5 credit (find me, I am wardrobeoxygen).  There’s no auction or bidding, you can counter-offer and some sellers (myself included) offer  “bundling” where you can purchase multiple pieces from a seller at one time and save on shipping ($4.99/order).  If you’re interested in selling on Poshmark, here’s what I’ve learned so far:

  • Be Honest.  Like other selling sites, Poshmark has a rating system.  Buyers can give you up to five stars for orders.  It’s not worth it to ruin your reputation by trying to pass off replicas, lie about the condition of a garment, or its original price.
  • Provide Details.  Is it an XL but fits more like a L?  How did you style it?  If you recall the original style name or number or even color name, include it.  While Poshmark won’t let you write a novel, you can offer quite a lot of information.  The more details you provide, the more likely the item will sell and the more likely the buyer will get what she expected and leave you a favorable rating.
  • Take Good Photos.  I use my iPhone 6s and take the pictures in natural light near a window.  For Christmas I got this dress form; it’s not high quality (in fact I cracked the base the day my friend and I were on a Poshmark selling spree and it’s now held together with packing tape) but it gives a better idea of how an item will fit than lying a sweater on your bed or floor.  If you have a photo of you wearing the item, include that too.  I also search the internet for stock photos of the item.  A mix of all three is a great way to get an item sold.  Poshmark lets you upload four photos per item with the first photo being your cover photo.  I’ve found the most successful cover photos are those with me wearing the piece.  If you don’t have a photographer taking your picture in items for a blog, a mirror selfie in a well-lit room is still good (and you can cut off your head in the photo if you wish to be anonymous).
  • Stock Up on Free Priority Mailers.  Your post office has Priority Mail Tyvek envelopes and boxes for free; these are perfect for shipping out your orders.  Included in the cut Poshmark takes from your sales (20%, or $2.95 if the item sells for $5 or less) is a shipping label.  When you make a sale, Poshmark emails you this Priority Mail label.  You can order shipping bags and boxes from for free but know it takes up to two weeks to receive your order.  If you have a post office nearby, grab a few to get your sales going.
  • Take Care with your Sales.  I fold nicely, wrap in tissue, tie with a bit of curling ribbon, and carefully slip into the box or bag.  I got a pack of cheap tissue paper; you only need 1-2 pieces per order.  The curling ribbon I purchased when I attended a baby shower where all presents were to be wrapped in blue.  That yet-to-be-born baby is now 5 and as you see in the photo above, there’s still plenty left even though every shower and birthday present since the shower had turquoise ribbon on it.  I bought some rolls of packing tape, and because I’m a dork like that, ordered some cheapy business cards from VistaPrint (this is a referral link that will give you $10 off your first order) that thank the buyer for her order, have my name and my Poshmark address on them.  The overall cost is minimal, but it makes the experience much nicer for the recipient.
  • Raise Your Rates.  Poshmarkers LOVE to counter-offer.  Consider this when making your prices.  It’s worth it to up the price a few dollars to be ready for a counter-offer (if you accept a counter-offer the item sells immediately to that individual).  Also, if you have stagnant items that don’t want to sell, you can then lower the price without too much heartache.  A plus to lowering the rate is anyone who “liked” the piece will end up receiving reduced shipping.
  • Be Quick with Communication.  If someone asks for additional details or makes a counter-offer, be polite and reply within 24 hours.  Since Poshmark is on your phone, it’s easy to quickly type in a response and move on with your day.
  • Follow the Rules.  Don’t accept sales through PayPal or offline.  Don’t try to sell used makeup or clutter Poshmark with items they don’t allow to be sold on their app (home goods, electronics, health and wellness products, used underwear and makeup).  Don’t label something a blouse when in fact it’s one of those belly wrap things that spam social media.  And don’t call something Chanel-esque or like Louis Vuitton – that’s a trademark violation and such names can only be used if the item is legitimately from that brand.
  • Be Part of the Community.  Share other people’s sales (I only share that which I actually like), follow other accounts, leave comments and reply to comments.  Poshmark is very social, and by being part of the community you’ll get a larger audience to see your closet, resulting in faster and more sales!

Are you on Poshmark?  I’d love to hear your experiences and feel free to share your closet in the comments!

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Dress – Eliza J (no longer available – similar. Also recently saw this dress at Ross for around $20)
Belt Another Line c/o Nordstrom Rack
Shoes – Nine West (no longer available – similar)

I miss my closet! It SUCKS trying to figure out what to wear every morning from a crowded rolling rack in my home office, with pieces monkey-hung six down. I have no clue what I own, I don’t have a mirror nearby, and I just get overwhelmed. Today they were to come and start repairing the roof, but it’s raining off and on, will be doing such for the rest of the week so I fear repairs will be delayed.

Not to be Negative Nelly all over this post, but the sound of rain falling on a tarp covering a huge hole in your roof is not pleasant. It made getting to sleep and staying asleep very difficult last night. I have been trying to stay positive about this whole experience (no one was hurt, little material damage, yadda yadda) but it’s starting to get to me. While it really isn’t a big deal (again, no one was hurt and my house is still liveable), it reminds me of when I was on bedrest for pregnancy. Everyone asks a ton of questions, constantly bringing it up, and they keep sharing their horror stories of missed water damage destroying a home, second hurricanes coming, etc. which just stresses me out more. I can’t wait until this is all over and done with (and note to all, if your friend is on bedrest while pregnant, don’t tell her stories of HELLP, placenta previa and abruption, and early labor and forced C-sections. Just bring her magazines and snacks and come by to say hi.).

This weekend I started feeling under the weather on Saturday night, by Sunday early evening I was full-blown sick. Chills, body aches, sinuses freaking out, eyes hurting, fever. Sunday Emerson woke with the same thing I had so we were sicky poos together all day on yesterday. Today I am better, though still sniffling and feeling grody. While Emerson’s nose is running like a faucet and she is pretty low-key, she too seems to be feeling better today.

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As you can see from the picture, it’s sunny out again. Still warm, no need for a coat!

Sort of ran late today. Woke up at 5:30 for yoga, did the quick shower, the contacts, the brushing and flossing of the teeth and application of a bit of Suave Professionals Healthy Curls mousse. Then the yoga instructor called to say she was sick and cancelling. I decided to get back into bed, snuggle with the hubby and enjoy an extra hour of snoozing.

The alarm went off, I hit snooze…. must have hit it five times. Hair had completely dried and was a frizz-ball. Company potluck today and i didn’t make anything. Suddenly in a tizzy. I curled what I could on my head, used some Biosilk to tame other pieces, ended up curling almost the whole head to make it look less Bon Jovi circa 1988 and more now. I thought it turned out okay, but these pictures make it look a bit like Leif Garrett back in the day and still frizzy. It is still frizzy – I ran to the grocery to get some pasta salad from the deli for the potluck, came back to the office and my hair is a ball of fuzz. I resorted to rubbing some hand cream (Philosophy’s Lemonade) on my hands and then over my hair ( I feel like a Sunsilk ad!). And WOAH does my forehead look big! i need a haircut STAT!

Outfit is tissue-weight merino v-neck from J. Crew in Black Cherry, white ribbed tank also from J. Crew, Curvy Bootcut jeans from Gap, teal suede wedges from Seychelles, silver dangle earrings, cuff and then my pocket watch necklace from Ann Taylor Loft.

Makeup is L’Oreal True Match foundation in C3 and concealer in C1-3, Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint, Nars blush in Orgasm, Sally Hansen Diamond Lipgloss in Champagne Toast, Revlon ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral, L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in Black.

Oooh and a coworker who usually works at the client site was in the office today and noticed I lost weight! The first comment outside this blog! He said I looked as though I lost 20 lbs! Not quite, but THANKS!!!!


In the morning, I ran to get my hair cut and colored in the nearby town, and then run a few errands. Olive ribbed tank from J. Crew, white ribbed tank from Old Navy, Joe’s Jeans in “Provacateur,” brown stacked flops from J. Crew, silver hoops from The Icing, silver cuff.

Hair was brushed out but on the second day; blew the bangs straight.

Makeup was Body Shop bronzing powder in Light as face color, Max Factor Lash Perfection mascara on curled lashes, Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow.

Kathleen did her magic – all I told her is that I wanted to go darker and that I wanted heavier bangs. I trust her, and was not disappointed. Choppy layers that can work straight, wavy or curly, fun sideswept bangs, and a very rich multi-tonal color of dark brown that looks closer to what I was born with.

Got home and had to dash to get dressed. Friday night I had a friend over so I didn’t have time to play dress-up and figure out my theater outfit. Thank you soooo much to everyone who wrote in suggestions, you guys are awesome and have good ideas! For the one who suggested my Old Navy dress… I completely forgot about it. I had set to wear my black cashmere tank from Banana Republic and my orange-red shantung full skirt also from Banana (seen here), but when I saw how spiffy and sleek my husband looked (flat front gray tropical wool trousers from J. Crew, white tailored shirt from some brand sold at Mens Wearhouse, black blazer from… J. crew? Not sure…, black slip-on sleek shoes from Ecco) I decided my outfit may look a bit like a costume. I tried a few different skirts, but settled on the black matte jersey dress from Old Navy, my red stone necklace, my leopard peep-toe heels from BCBgirls,silver hoops from The Icing, and silver cuff natch. :-)

Didn’t have to do my hair since it was done by Kathleen my talented stylist. She used the Pureology line on me, and swears by it for protecting color. I bought the shampoo and conditioner and once I can wash my hair (was told to go as long as humanely possible without washing) I will be using it and let you k now how it is.

Same makeup as earlier, just a re-touch of the bronzing powder, a bit of Smashbox Soft Lights in Tint on my cheekbones, a medium line of Maybelline Ultra Liner in black on the top lash line, a quick swipe of Maybelline Great Lash waterproof mascara in black over existing mascara, Body Shop Lip and Cheek Tint with Revlon Super Lustrous Lip Gloss in Pink Afterglow over it.

We took the Metro and it was not even a block to the little restaurant (I don’t know if there are even 20 tables in the place). The menu seemed different from the one online and the only entrees that were vegetarian were spaghetti with tomato sauce (yawn) and a risotto with corn and truffle shavings. My husband and I chose the risotto, we shared a bottle of Pinot Grigio (not sure the label, our friend chose the wine) and had a nice, yet not inspiring or overwhelmingly unique meal. We then walked not even three blacks to the Kennedy Center where my friend and I sidestepped grates in our heels (she too wore a black sheath and heels) while the men tromped over everything and got there in time to marvel at the acre-sized curtains in the lobby and get a cocktail in the Terrace Bar prior to the performance.

The performance was great! As I said, I had never seen The Phantom of the Opera other than the movie. Back story – 1992, for Christmas I got my first boom box with a CD player in it, and with it two CDs – Les Miserables and Phantom of the Opera. For several months until I got my high school arsenal of REM, Depeche Mode, Pearl Jam and Nirvana, I listened solely to these two soundtracks. Come 2007, I am silently singing along to this performance and even a tear came down my cheek at finally seeing live what I had in my head 15 years ago. I think also seeing Shakespeare in Love the night prior made the theater experience that more intense.

Our friends live in Virginia and parked at the theater; it was a gorgeous night and declined their offer to drive us to the Metro and decided to hoof it. All in all a lovely evening!

Contest: Tolani Scarf from

jessica alba tolani scarfTo celebrate me coming back to work and to blogging, I have a great contest for you readers!

One of you can win a Tolani scarf that has been seen on the likes of Jessica Alba (pictured), Sienna Miller, Vanessa Minnillo (pictured), Halle Berry and Mary-Kate Olsen.

The Tolani scarf is courtesy of, an awesome site that sells hip women’s designer clothing from the likes of Black Halo, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Diane Von Fürstenberg and Vera Wang Lavender Label.

I am so excited, because you KNOW I love scarves, and these beauts from Tolani are fabulous!

vanessa minnillo tolani scarfHow to enter:
Send an email to with the word “TOLANI” in the subject.
In the body of the email, please provide your name and mailing address (I promise these addresses will only go to me – except for the winner, and will be deleted once the contest is over). Winner will be chosen by random.

Contest ends Friday, March 20th, 2009 at midnight ET. Winner will be contacted by email. Scarf will be mailed out from Sorry international readers, but the contest is only open to those in the United States.

Get to know
Facebook (friend “shop chickdowntown” and/or become a fan of the chickdowntown page)
Twitter (
YouTube ( or

Good luck!


These pictures are at the end of the day. It was a rough day. I am still sick, and I had to fly out to visit a client in another state. Worked six hours, then flew, then finally got to my hotel. Had a fever. Didn’t want to look pretty. Didn’t care. JUST. WANTED. SLEEP.

Gray CBGB tee shirt covered by charcoal shetland v-neck sweater from L.L. Bean that originally belonged to my father. Straight bootcut jeans from Gap that are a bit too big. Black boots from Enzo, silver medium hoops and cuff, turquoise pashmina as scarf/airplane blanket. Hair was finger combed, but not touched otherwise. No makeup. My face hurts, my scalp hurts and I just need to sleep and heal.

My Wardrobe Today – Tuesday

Black poncho – c/o Goddis Knitwear
White tank – Caslon
JeansSofia Boot c/o Lucky Brand
BootsMiss Sixty “Jaiden”
Bracelets – eBay, boutique in Rehoboth Beach
Bag – Banana Republic (no longer available – similar)

Back to work! I went on Friday but it totally wore me out and I think made me sick again. However yesterday other than a horrible cough, I am feeling good. I still wanted to be comfortable, so I went pretty casual. I just got this poncho from Goddis and I adore it – it’s like curling up in a cozy throw but looking chic! And these jeans from Lucky Brand are so comfortable – they are full of stretch, lightweight, and really hold their shape throughout the day!

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Thursday: Real Life

Sweater: Hinge | Tee: Old Navy | Jeggings: Old Navy (similar) | Boots: DUO (similar)

I read recently on a forum that people are finding fashion blogs to become more and more false, more like catalogs. Perfectly airbrushed girls skipping through leaves drinking lattes and wearing Karen Walker sunglasses. Where’s the outfits people really wear to the grocery store, on Casual Friday, when sick?

Well here you go folks, this is what a fashion blogger wears when she has the flu yet still has to go to work. I am drugged up, hydrated, full of vitamin C and in the office even so I feel like death. And this is what I am wearing. Comfy tee shirt (yeah, I now have 6 of these tee shirts), jeggings that are so old and soft they feel like knit leggings, flat boots, and the coziest most comforting sweater in my wardrobe.  And yes, I wore this same sweater almost all day yesterday when at home, wrapped up in an afghan watching Ricki Lake and coughing my head off.

Tuesday I came to work and hardly brushed my hair or washed my face and felt and looked awful. Every time I bumped into a coworker they took a double-take, I looked so dreadful and not me. I knew I had to be at work today even though I feel worse today than Tuesday so I made some effort – I curled my hair in large sections and did my makeup. It’s amazing how much better I feel knowing I don’t look as horrible as I feel.

Many blogs show real life – what we wear to work, to the market, and when we are sick.  Not every blog is an airbrushed faux reality, you just need to dig a little deeper into the blogosphere and you can find us women in grandma sweaters and faded black jeans, sniffling through a day at the office.

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Thursday and Friday

Thursday I started the day okay but by mid-day I was super duper sick. So sick my director commanded me to head home and heal up. I left around 1:30pm. Friday I could hardly get out of bed to email my team that I was calling out. My whole body ached, I had the sniffles, sneezes, coughs, wheezes and whines. And not really and meds available for me to take. I drank lots of orange juice, water, tea and vegetable broth and slept a ton; by evening I felt around 80% back to normal.

Anyway, back to Thursday’s attire. I only have two bras that currently fit and both were dirty so I had to figure out a top that wouldn’t show my pregnancy quad-boob. On top of that, I am fitting comfortably into my leftover size 14 trousers but I really don’t have many left. My Essential jeans from The Gap still fit, but having anything that heavy of fabric pressed against my stomach right now makes me feel a bit nauseous. I am not maternity clothes size, but I am definitely a different shape and can’t deal with anything rubbing against my stomach. So expect to see these two pairs of black pants quite a lot the next several weeks! :)

Ann Taylor: green silk blouse, black triacetate suiting trousers, gold hoops
J. Crew: Gold necklace
Mossimo: Black leather thong heels

Washed and conditioned
Matrix Contouring Milk
Scrunched and dried with dryer and diffuser

Cover Girl: Smoothers tinted moisturizer in Light/Medium, LashBlast waterproof mascara in Black
Maybelline: Brow powder in Dark Brown
Cargo: Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife
Philosophy: The Supernatural color correctors in Light
Benefit: Her Glossiness in Next Question Please
Revlon: ColorStay shadow quad in neutral Khakis – Olive on lid and along lash lines
Burberry London

The Flu

Yep folks, I got the flu.  Luckily I think I have the old-school version, not the N1H1.  So no tummy issues, but I do look like the Before part of a NyQuill commercial.

I started feeling off last Thursday.  Friday I was coughing at work and feeling a bit weak.  Not a great thing as that I was leaving for Charleston, SC the next day to officiate and attend a good friend’s wedding.

I woke at 3am for my 7am flight and by time I got off the plane at Charleston airport, I was sick.  I thought I would be okay – just that post-flight ickiness.  My sister picked me up (she had driven down the night prior) and we went to the hotel.  I changed, freshened up and went to meet the bride and groom to be and other friends for brunch.  I had to leave brunch early because I was feeling so ill.

I spent most of my Charleston weekend cooped up in my hotel room.  I got through the rehearsal, but ended up arriving late and leaving the rehearsal dinner early.  The next day I doped up enough on B6, Oscillococcinum and Motrin to be able to perform the ceremony and attend the reception without wanting to curl up into the fetal position.  I will have to visit Charleston again so I can see more than the interior of the Holiday Inn on Calhoun and the pharmacy aisle of the Harris Teeter!

Anyway, no real pictures of me but I did have some fabulous outfits.

Flight down: Dark Long & Lean jeans from Gap, black ribbed tank, my fuzzy gray cardigan from Kenzie, black city boots, silver jewelry and my ivory pashmina.

Brunch: Navy jersey dress from Soprano, silver flops from Havanias, silver jewlery.  It was a casual place (Poogan’s Porch).  I brought my black belt and black patent T-straps to dress it up but the flip flops were actually more appropriate for the event.
Rehearsal: Same outfit.  I was so sick, I came home from the brunch, took off the flip flops and my earrings and crashed right into the bed.  I woke up, brushed my teeth, washed my face, put on some mascara and Burt’s Bees tinted lip balm in Fig and headed out in my sick funk.  This is me sitting on the front porch of the hotel waiting for my friends to pick me up and take me to the rehearsal.
Rehearsal Dinner: I took a very hot shower and some cold medicine and thought I was feeling better so I wore my black feather print dress from Muse (I took a picture of me in it last week but it’s on my work computer), black patent T-straps from Softt, black patent clutch from Ann Taylor Loft and silver hoops and cuff.  I looked cute, but the good feeling didn’t last.  I was hot and stiff and achy and out of it.  So out of it, I walked up the stairs to the restaurant lobby where the restrooms were and passed some college kids on benches waiting for a table. I heard them say, “damn, she’s trashed!”  I didn’t at the time think they meant me until I returned and carefully maneuvered the stairs and they clapped when I got to the bottom.  It did make me giggle, though it also made me want to go back and cough on them. 😉
No picture of the FANTASTIC dress (I will be rocking the heck out of it this winter!), but here I am with my sister upon arriving at the rehearsal dinner before I felt as though I was going to die…

Breakfast: We had reservations at High Cotton and I knew I had to eat something that day so I took a hot shower and went.  I wore my red print dress from Max Studio with the black patent belt from Ann Taylor and my black patent T-straps.  The place was quite lovely, but I was still feeling poor so we made the meal short and went to Harris Teeter to stock up on drugs and Gatorade for me.  I then spent the rest of the day sleeping so I could be in decent shape for the wedding.

Wedding: I wore my black Calvin Klein maxi dress that I wore for my friend Shelly’s wedding, gold sandals from Lands End, all of my gold bangles, some gold dangly earrings and a black pashmina.  Hair was messy/curly, smoky eyes.  I wore the pashmina for the ceremony, pinned behind me so it worked like a shrug.  I took it off for the reception.

Trip home: I rode home with my sister in her car.  I was not feeling cute nor looking cute.  Wore a dark red nursing tank from Bravado so I could easily pump while on the road, my Gap jeans from the flight down, and my Kenzie cardigan.  The Havanias flip flops rounded out the sick girl look.

So I left Saturday morning, came home Monday night and have been sick ever since.  I have not been to work.  I hope to be well enough to properly work from home tomorrow, but my brain is really fuzzy, I am dizzy, achy, and exhausted from coughing.

Thursday: Pleats and Peplum

Top: Ann Taylor
Skirt: Nordstrom (similar)
Shoes: Miss Sixty (similar)
Bracelet and Necklace: c/o Lydell NYC

The whole family has been sick the past couple of days – I left work early on Tuesday and yesterday my husband and I spent almost the whole day sleeping and drinking tea to recover (my mom watches Emerson on Wednesdays). I don’t feel 100% but knew I had to get back to work; I decided to wear a fun outfit to psych myself into getting out of my pajamas. I just received this gorgeous bracelet and necklace set from Lydell NYC yesterday and felt it would be best showcased with an all-black ensemble.

This skirt is something I bought during the Nordstrom Anniversary Sale but when I got it, it just felt wrong. Due to being sick and stressed out lately, I have lost some weight and now the skirt fits much better – one more item crossed off the fantasy closet wish list! Can’t wait to wear it this fall and winter with chunky sweaters and tights.

And I just HAD to share this picture of my little superstar.  While I looked a bit ridiculous in the photo cracking up at her posing, she totally killed it.  Sashay Shaunte, Emerson!

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So it’s not the beer, I think I am actually sick. I had the hardest time sleeping, I felt fevered. Sneezing, coughing, body aches along with the tummy issues. Good times. By this morning the last thing I wanted to do was look human and head to work. My peer at work is out so i knew it was very important to go in. Took some Advil and prayed for the best.

As I have mentioned on my other blog, I never feel that there is a justified reason to look like ass in public. Yes I am sick and feel miserable and will be spending a good portion of the day either holding my head or visiting the head, but that doesn’t mean i can wear flannel PJ’s and a scrunchie to work.

Black stretchy v-neck sweater from Banana Republic. Off-white stretch denim skirt with tan stitching from Ann Taylor Loft. Necklace of seaglass and silver wire. Silver hoops and cuff bracelet. Beaded thongs from Seychelles on my feet.

Hair is dirty. I should have taken a shower but I didn’t have the time or energy. I jsut used a round brush on it with the dryer to remove the bends from sleeping on it.

Makeup was a necessity. Bare Minerals foundation, Physician’s Formula Magical Mosaics bronzer, Body Shop’s Sheer Lipcolor in Sheer Caramel, Revlon’s ColorStay quad in Neutral – ivory on the brow bone and inner corners of the eyes, khaki on the lid, brown along the lash line. L’Oreal Voluminous mascara in black on curled lashes.

Whew, I am exhausted! I want my bed! Seven hours to go….

Seasonless Black Trousers

A pair of black trousers in a seasonless fabric is a necessity to any woman’s wardrobe. What deems a fabric “seasonless?” This means the pants are not wool, they are not cotton. They are most likely a blend of fabrics, usually a good portion synthetic. Ann Taylor has a seasonless fabric they call Triacetate. Express’ seasonless fabric is called Microtwill. J.Crew (and many other brands) calls their version Gabardine. All different fabrics, all seasonless. Maintains it’s shape, often has a bit of stretch, has a slight texture or sheen (great for dressing up and dressing down!), and sort of blends into the background. Not only should these tousers be seasonless, they should be eventless (if that is a word). You want trousers that can go from work to a happy hour to a cocktail party to an interview, to a night club. What cut achieves this? A bootcut leg, not tight, but not Palazzo pants (those pants that look like a skirt on each leg). A tab waist if often a good choice. You never need to worry about a belt, it lies flat under fitted, untucked shirts, yet looks smart with a tucked in oxford. Due to a tab-wait trouser having a wider waistband, it is less likely to cut into the torso, creating a spare tire above the waistline. Very flattering on women with hips, bellies, rears, or straight shapes.

These trousers should not have front pockets. I do not care what your body shape is, front pockets ruin a smooth line and make trousers look more casual and less versatile. These pockets often bow out, wrinkle under the tousers, and look messy. They can make Kate Moss look like Kathy Bates. Back pockets are okay, as long as they are small besom pockets, and not patch pockets (again, detroy the versatility and make the trouser more dated and casual).

Examples of good trousers:

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Yes, I said these trousers should be black, but I chose a lighter color so you could see the detail. The bootcut leg adds a modern look to the pant, elongates and slims the leg. This is an example of a tab waist. See how it is a wider waistband, less likely to cut into the middle. The lack of pleats, seaming and pockets in the front minimizes a belly and gives a smooth line. The strong crease down the front elongates the leg and gives a long, lean look. See how you could see these pants with an oxford and matching blazer with pumps for work, a beaded camisole and pointy toed heels for a night club, a cotton v-neck sweater sweater and some boots for a jaunt to the mall. These pants are from Ann Taylor, and are a cotton/rayon/spandex blend (rayon gives it the seasonless fabric, strech gives it the smooth fit wear after wear).

Here is a great example from Lane Bryant:

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These pants are a seasonless nylon/rayon/spandex blend. They are cut just below the waist (reduces the look of tummy bulge), have a bootcut leg, and smooth lower torso. These pants would look great with strappy heels, a beaded shell and matching jacket for a cocktail party, or a merino turtleneck and some crocodile pointy boots for lunch with the girls. At the time of writing this, these trousers are on sale for $20, regularly $45. You really can find stylish classic pieces for a steal at your local mall. I cannot stress this point enough.

The point is that with the right black trousers, you can dress for almost any event. I have black trousers I purchased five years ago, and still wear weekly. They do not have to cost a lot, most of the trousers I buy on sale and get for less than $50.00. Do keep in mind that though a bargain is always great, black trousers is one thing you do not want to look cheap. They will be worn more than most anything else in your wardrobe, so don’t settle for a chintzy fabric with a cheap sheen, a pair that wrinkles easily, isn’t lined, isn’t the right length, the right cut, the right anything. I do believe in buying in bulk. If you find the trousers of your dreams, you may wish to invest in a second pair in black, and possibly a third pair in another versatile color (gray, brown, tan, white). Consider this especially if you buy the matching suit jacket. I purchased a pair of amazing trousers and the matching jacket at Ann Taylor four years ago. I often wore the trousers without the jacket. One day my dog jumped up to greet me as I returned home from work, his claw got caught in the fabric and ended up snagging and tearing the thigh of these coveted trousers. Ann Taylor no longer makes pieces in this same fabric, so I have a lovely well-fitting jacket and no trousers to match. Since then, I always buy two pairs of pants for every suit jacket, allowing one pair for every day wear, and one pair to preserve to wear with the jacket or for special occasions.

As for care of these pants. I will let you know ahead of time that often these pants say “Dry Clean Only.” I DESPISE spending money on dry cleaning. I end up taking my clothes to the cleaners and forget to pick them up for two weeks. Most of the knits and sweaters I purchase I ignore this “Dry Clean Only” label and wash in Woolite on the gentle cycle of my machine and hang to dry. I have tried this with trousers, and rarely have had good luck. They end up wrinkled, losing that nice front crease and long line. They look cheaper, they often get tighter, the legs shorter (often leaving the lining the same length, which is NOT a good look!), the threads weaken, leaving the potential for an embarrassment the next time you sit down. I have a stain remover I actually purchased in the lingerie department of a department store. I spot treat with that or a Shout! Wipe (always have 5 or 6 in my purse – available at your grocery store in the detergent aisle) and then take them to the local discount dry cleaners. Every so often, they get a better cleaning at the higher end dry cleaners. This may seem like a pain, especially if you have children, a busy schedule, a tight budget. I must tell you this is an investment. If you take care of your clothes correctly, they will take care of you in return, looking gorgeous and lasting for years. Though it may be more appealing to buy all clothing that can take a tumble in the washer and dryer, you lose that polished look, that classic look, the look that shows you care what you look like and others should as well. If you can’t go beyond Tumble Dry Low, you will have a hard time following the closet rules of this book.

Outlet Mall Shopping

Yesterday I visited a major outlet mall in my area. Over a mile of stores – some with great bargains, some with great piles of crap. There have been many stories about discount stores – how some of the product is not on sale, the clothes are made specifically for the outlet and are not the same quality that the brand name usually delivers, etc. After all that, you find designer duds for less, when is it worthwhile to spend, when should a bargain be passed by?

If it doesn’t fit well for $300, still doesn’t fit well for $150 and even for $65, don’t buy it. Just because it’s a great bargain does not make the fit any better. Shoes that are too tight or too big, jackets that pull at the back, pants that would be lovely if you just lost 15 lbs., no matter the bargain these items should just stay on the rack.

If the jacket’s sleeves are too long, the skirt’s hem at an awkward length, the shoulders a bit too big, these things can be altered easily by a tailor. You must be in love with the piece and find multiple places and ways to wear it to justify the tailor expense. I found a cream silk linen suit at a discount store – the suit fit perfectly except for a broken zipper and too long of sleeves and legs. I bought the suit for $65, regularly $350, and for $40 had the zipper and hems all modified. I have worn the suit to work, to religious events and as separates for three years. That purchase was worth the added tailoring expense.

Often times the items at the discount store are there because they are leftover from last season. When it comes to classic pieces like suits, dresses and knits, this is not a problem. A blue merino v-neck is lovely almost every year, and more lovely when 50% off. The problem comes with the trendy p[pieces.

If Lindsay, Mischa, Nicole or Chloe was wearing it last spring, it’s a good chance that piece is passé now. Pass on the embellished jeans, the metallic leather bags, the rainbow-hued sunglasses and most other accessories. Just because it’s on sale does not mean it is a good buy. When it comes to scouring outlets, your best deals are the ones that will last through more than one season. Sweaters, suits, outerwear, cocktail dresses, leather goods and most shoes are great bargains if you find quality and value in the same item.

Name Brands
Just because you found a pair of Manolo Blahniks for $100 at the Saks Fifth Avenue outlet does not mean they need to be purchased. Do they fit your current style? Are they comfortable? Are they current or classic?

We have all seen the label whores – those women with a Coach purse, Jimmy Choo shoes that JLo wore last year, Baby Phat jeans, a Bebe tee with the rhinestone logo, Chanel sunglasses and a Pucci scarf in her hair. These items weren’t bought for the quality or the style. They were bought because a stranger could spot the brand a mile away. She looks trashy, obvious and victimized by fashion. None of these are appealing. Labels do not suddenly make you well dressed or well liked.

If you can find a Furla bag for 40% off and it suits your style as well as lifestyle – then go for it. If you are buying a bag purely because it’s Prada and you don’t like the style, size or fabric… well you have become a label whore.

Don’t buy that jacket just because it’s designer. Pretend that it is an unknown label – do you still like it? Do you still find it attractive and necessary? If not, put it back on the rack. That goes for ill-fitting designer duds, last season’s “It Bag,” obvious logo advertising (if it’s that obvious, it will be that obvious from last season – not worth your time or money) and damaged designer goods.

Damaged Goods
Many discount retailers sell the irregulars from a label. Some irregulars can barely be seen by the naked eye – may be an incorrect dye lot or the wrong buttons sewn on a jacket. Some may work in your favor – pants cut too short or sleeves that are too long or too narrow. Often times these stores received the garments that were damaged in production, transit or through many jaunts to the fitting room. Broken zippers, missing buttons, fabric snags are all defects that can easily be repaired or covered up if the price and style is right. However there are other defects that are not worth the purchase, no matter how low the price. Runs in nylon, stains, button holes at the wrong height, linings that do not align with the trouser, two pieces stitched together from two different dye lots. Even if it is Versace, it will look like Gallo Clothing on you if it is this defective.

Buying in Bulk
I used to be a huge fan of buying in bulk – find a tee shirt you love, buy it in eight colors and three of white and black. Flattering trousers? Buy one in every color. I then found that my wardrobe was like one big uniform… one big boring uniform. Mixing basics with fun pieces offers versatility, ease but individual style.

At outlet malls, buying in bulk is a good idea. Yesterday I was at the Banana Republic outlet and found high quality stretchy tees in tons of colors – $9.99 each. I bought one in black, one in white, one in gray and one in red. These shirts can be worn with jeans on weekends, with a little skirt for happy hour with the girls or under a suit for work. I found a great pair of wool trousers at Off Fifth, bought them in brown, gray and black. They were so standard and fit so amazingly well (and were only $39.99 each) that it was worthwhile to buy every color I liked. I knew with my work and lifestyle I would find regular use for such trousers. Another time I found a pair of really cute studded pointy heels from NYLA. They were 75% off and tres cute. I decided to buy them in hot pink, ivory and black, thinking that if they fit well, they would get much use. I was imagining sparkly tops and designer jeans with the ivory, a sexy power suit with the black, and envisioned an outfit a la Carrie Bradshaw for the pink. I took them all home, have worn the pink ones multiple times, and have barely touched the other two. I don’t wear designer jeans with sparkly tops on a regular basis, and don’t own a single chic black power suit. Those two shoes have barely seen the light of day. Consider your current lifestyle when considering to buy in bulk – items that look too familiar may not be worn and too many of the same thing may make them all too boring to regularly wear. Also, if you don’t wear red patent stilettos now, you probably won’t after purchasing a pair.

In conclusion, don’t buy just because of a label, or just because of an amazing price. Less money for an item is still money, and money should be spent carefully. Be willing to take the time to find quality purchases, not pick up every shiny bauble that sort of resembles what Gwen or Jessica wore last Spring. Fashion is not about the specific item, but the allover look. A Louis Vuitton bag or a pair of Chanel sunglasses will not make you a fashionista, the pairing with appropriate and complimentary pieces is what takes you from being a label whore or a fashion victim to fashionista status.

Tuesday – Stripes and Floral

Sweater – Only Mine (similar)
Skirt – Talbots (similar)
PumpsMichael Kors “Flex”
Bag HOBO “Dove”
Necklace – c/o Ann Taylor (similar)
BangleLauren Ralph Lauren
Lipstick NARS “Heatwave”

This weather has been crazy – one day it’s 80 degrees, the next day it’s 45. I figured this sort of combination would cover both bases, and I thought it would be fun to do an unexpected mix of patterns. This outfit makes me realize I could use another pair of black leather heels – some that have a platform and a higher heel for these seem a bit demure. I tried these heels with it but the leopard was just too much.

Yesterday I was home sick – it was like allergy overload, but I think it’s more of a cold/bug for Emerson had it last week and my sister had it this weekend. While I am still sniffly and sneezy and congested today, at least my brain is functioning again!

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What I Wore and a Giveaway – Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design

Shirt: c/o Foxcroft | Jeans: Gap | Shoes: Halogen (similar) | Necklace: c/o Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design | Watch: Citizen c/o WatchCo | Bag: Brahmin (similar)

Accessories can transform the most basic wardrobe staples and make pieces a cohesive outfit. I just received this necklace from Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design and while it is BEGGING to be styled with an LBD for the holidays or worn with a beautiful silk blouse, I thought it could really make a statement with a simple white shirt and dark jeans. I haven’t carried my Brahmin bag in a while, and I thought the bright blue really made the emerald necklace pop!


If you like this necklace and the other beautiful pieces I have featured from Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design, well today’s your lucky day! One Wardrobe Oxygen reader will win a $100 store credit to Ruth Barzel Jewelry Design!

Ruth Barzel makes all her unique pieces in the United States and is a local-yokel to me.  Not only that, she’s an awesome human being!  While I love the Emerald Quartz Nugget Statement Necklace I’m wearing here, I also love wearing her Blue Quartz Pendant Necklace and wear her Mixed Metal Chain Bracelet on a weekly basis. Ruth has offered all Wardrobe Oxygen readers 20% off her entire store, just use code OXYGEN20.  This discount will be in effect until the end of November, 2013.

How to Enter:
Please use the Rafflecopter form below to enter. This contest is open to both US and international readers. Contest ends November 30, 2013 at midnight ET.

a Rafflecopter giveaway
As a reminder, if you can’t wait for the giveaway to end and want to get yourself some jewelry from Ruth Barzel, use the code OXYGEN20 at checkout for 20% off your order!

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Wow, ignore the big piece of hair across my face – I didn’t even feel that there! Goodness! But do say hi to Ruckus who HAD to be in the room with me while taking the picture – he was sad to be without us for six days and won’t leave my side now. :)

Well I thought I missed it but seems as though I caught the Roo Flu.

Roo Flu: The illness one catches after the four-day festivities at Bonnaroo, usually brought on by dust, dehydration, lack of sleep, too much time in the sun and being intoxicated. Made popular in 2007 from the major dust from TN’s summer drought, but a yearly occurrence for many festival goers.

I spent the entire festival sober, took many naps, made full use of eye masks and ear plugs at night, drank tons of water and took my allergy meds. However my husband started sniffling and popping Sudafed on the ride home and yesterday he hardly left the bed he was so sick. He also went to visit his Godson the day before we left for Bonnaroo and he plus his parents were all sick. Today I woke up with a scratchy throat and a few sniffles but otherwise fine. Then this afternoon during a conference call it hit me like a Mack truck. I am now coughing, sneezing, sniffling and all over feeling like poop. I kept having to mute my line so I could hack up a lung. oh so professional. Ugh. So anyway, my wardrobe today!

Old Navy: Black tape yard sweater tee with empire waist
Ann Taylor Loft: Tan tweedy looking trousers; gold hoops
Ralph Lauren: Gold bangle
Mossimo: Black leather thong heels
Beach boutique in Rehoboth Beach: Faux tortoise shell necklace

Next day
Straightened with Croc wet-to-dry flat iron
Bangs held back with two bobby pins

Cover Girl: Smoothers tinted moisturizer in Light/Medium; LashBlast waterproof mascara in Black
Maybelline: Brow powder in Dark Brown
Body Shop: Eye color in Taupe; Brow & lash gel in Clear
Revlon: ColorStay shadow quad in Neutral Khakis – Chocolate in crease and along lash line
Benefit: Her Glossiness in Next Question Please
Philosophy: The Supernatural color correctors in Light
Cargo: Matte BeachBlush in Tenerife
Shu Eumura: Lash Curler
Burberry London

Weekend Recap…

Saturday started with a family get-together with my husband’s relatives. At his Aunt’s house, buffet brunch, Secret Santa and small talk. (I’m the one in the black top)

The black merino turtleneck from Ann Taylor that I wore to the holiday party on the 17th. Gray Tahari suiting trousers – part of a suit. My black Enzo pointy boots. Silver hoops and cuff.

I wasn’t feeling very well. Subtle makeup – taupe shadow, mascara, some blush to not look so pekkid. Sheer coral lipgloss from Goldie. Bad hair day.

Later that day i switched to some olive cargos from Old Navy and a gray cintage CBGC tee shirt to run some errands and veg out at the house.

Christmas Day. I was feeling quite under the weather and it hurt to put on clothing. I donned my brown merino v-neck from the Gap, a pair of Gap low rise bootcut jeans in a vintage wash, sneakers. Wore two strands of orange glass beads and a double strand of mini wood beads. Single gold bangle. Taupe shadow with some brown around the lash line and in the crease. Lip balm.

I know this is a positively hideous picture. I was sick, I had just woken up, I was bickering with my mom and my husband had a camera in my face. Nice sick-girl hair, eh? You can at least see a strap from my new Christmas purse!

Monday I didn’t do much other than hit the gym and drive my sister back to the city. Black yoga pants and berry colored tee (both from Target), coral hooded pullover in a heavyweight terry/canvas fabric from Old Navy and my Adidas sneaks.

No picture because I forgot my camera at work. Blue merino v-neck from J. Crew. Ivory sueded cotton trousers from Ann Taylor iron with a front crease. Silver hoops, silver cuff and silver pendant. Black pointy boots.

Taupe shadow, thin line of black liner, black mascara. Berry lipliner from The Body Shop covered with a lipgloss called “ten” that came in a pack of four from Target (“Santa” put it in my stocking). Warmer out – just wore my turquoise pashmina for a cover-up.

Will be back to normal on tomorrow with pics. I work today, tomorrow and half of Thursday, and then a long weekend a tthe beach with my buds! I’ll be sure to take pics while I am there, but I won’t be posting until after the New Year.

Friday – Flippy Printed Skirt

Jacket ASOS
Sweater – Banana Republic (similar)
Necklace – Ann Taylor (similar)
Skirt Vince Camuto
Booties – Miss Sixty (similar)
Silver cuff (similar)
Bag HOBO “Dove”

Emerson is sick. Last night she told me her mouth hurt and pointed to the roof of her mouth. It looked okay, but she was sniffly. Throughout the night she was miserable, having nightmares, crying, snoring, sniffling, coughing. This morning it was painful waking her for he didn’t seem to get restful sleep until around 4am, and well Mommy and Daddy had as restless of sleep as she. So this morning I literally grabbed random stuff from my closet, threw my hair in a topknot and headed to work without much thought.

I wish I looked more carefully, because I don’t like this skirt. It’s too short, it feels cheap on, and it was a poor choice for this crazy windy day. It’s just not my style, and I should have examined my look more carefully before ripping off the tags. This skirt will most likely be swapped or sold… eh you live and you learn. Now I am off to get myself a very big cup of coffee…

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