Gray Matters: the story of an underrated hue

What’s your favorite color?  No, really, what’s your favorite color?  Don’t over think it, the first one that comes to mind?  Chances are you will pick some cheery, bright shining crimson-y red or a deep seductive blue, maybe even a ripe juicy purple, yea, purple, that’s it.  I’ve been saying my favorite color is Purple for most of my life.  In fact, my best friends could tell you me and the color Purple had an intense love affair for a while that got a little weird, so much so that I had to break up with Purple for a while.  We’re talking my first car was Purple, kind of bat-shit crazy here, can you say stalker?

Point here is, that’s not really my favorite color at all.  I do buy a lot of it and I still am quite fond of the eggplanty, lilac-esque color family, but if I were to look into my heart of hearts of what color I want to wear ALL THE TIME and makes me feel warm, cozy, comfy and special <—needy much?  It’s Gray, sweet, sweet soft Gray.

I’m a pretty upbeat gal, I like happy things, I do, really I do.  If you read those what-does-your -favorite-color-say-about-you articles — which by the way, who is the expert on this?  What do they know any way?  The “personality color experts” would tell me things like:

  • You are neutral about life, often to the point of being indifferent.
  • You prefer a safe, secure and balanced existence and never desire much excitement.  OR
  • You are practical and calm, do not like to attract attention and are simply seeking a contented life.

Umm, nope, nope and NOPE.  That’s not me at all.  In fact, I’m fairly opinionated on things, rarely indifferent, seek out adventure and excitement and finally I’m a Leo for goodness sakes, I LOVE ATTENTION!  I blog.  Enough said.

So now that we are all in agreement that there is no merit whatsoever to this color psychology nonsense, we can move on.  I talk a lot about building a base wardrobe, that is basics centric and preferably season-less – as in, you shouldn’t have to completely put away elements of your wardrobe with the exception of winter outwear, swimsuits and some shorts.  We can talk more about this later.

Gray is your wardrobe’s BFF.  I absolutely believe that there is never too much gray to be had.  I dig it, I really do.  To simply say that gray goes with everything is not doing the concept justice.  Guys, it goes with ANYTHING.  It can be casual like heathered jogger pants, fancy like a sequenced halter, flirty like a wool blended fit ‘n flare skirt, sporty like a baseball jersey and serious like a elbow patched blazer.

grayedout

YEARS ago I had these sexy little heather grey shootie/booties with a chunky wedged heel, before (sh)booties were everywhere and I L.O.V.E.D.’ed them sooo much.  They went with everything obviously and one day, they just up and disappeared.  Like, gone.  My gut tells me a certain young babysitter may have made off with them after a complimenting them one evening out.  I still miss them, dearly.  Gray footwear, particularly boots are in like mad this winter and for good reason.  They go with EVERYTHING.  Also, dresses, sophisticated, serious with a fun edgy side, you really can’t go wrong with gray.

grayallthethings

My five year old daughter, who is quite fashionable actually, rolled her eyes at me recently when I picked out a simple heather grey pocket tee for her to wear.  HER favorite color is pink and purple and all things bright, as it should be.  I told her, listen, honey, gray goes with everything.  I picked up something fuchsia and held it up to the shirt and said, “See! look at how well that goes with bright colors!”  A few minutes later she came downstairs with the grey shirt on, fuchsia shorts and purple knee socks with ankle boots.  I was impressed.  She looked and me and said “Come on, Ma, gray goes with EVERYTHING!”  I shed a quiet, proud tear.  Yes, dear, it does.

Now.  If you are going to invest in some of the season’s hottest depressing color, here are my picks in no particular order:

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SHOP this post:

Tunic Sweater 

Flannel Fit-and-Flare Skirt

Circus by Sam Edelman

and for the love of all that is sale-worthy, do not pay full price, all major brands have ridiculous sales, on the regular, so sign up for email notifications (get your discount for doing so) and actually pay attention to that Promotions tab in your Gmail account and shop sales!

P.S.  I also L.O.V.E. anything Lou & Grey as well as Grey’s Anatomy, sooo yea.

In the spirit of #grayallthethings tell me your favorite gray/grey go-to item in your wardrobe or share this post on social media with the hashtag #grayallthethings.

For your pinning pleasure…http://pinterest.com/JDbandtheb/grey-matters/

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Posted in Fall/Winter 2014, Footwear, I Want it NOW, Uncategorized, Wardrobe Staples | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

{JD’s Picks} Banana Republic St. Pat’s Sale!

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, B&theB’ers!

Let’s get down to business…Banana Republic is having a St. Paddy‘s Day sale {Code: BRLUCKY/40% off online & in-stores}, so I took a gander and I windows shopped (get it?), and drooled and then got sad because I’m on a major spending hiatus, so I will live vicariously through my blog, as bloggers tend to do.  Sooo, my lovelies, put down your green beer, pick up your smartphone and throw these gorgeous spring must-haves in your virtual shopping cart, just hurry, sale ends at midnight tonight! (3/17)

{photo credits:  Banana Republic}

SHOP this post:

Roll-Up City Chino

Flared Trench

Parkside Satchel {in EMERALD green and already on SALE!!!}

Caitlin Pump

Ribbed Sweater Jacket

Chambray Shirtdress

Heritage Distressed Ankle Jean

Sloan Pencil Skirt

Navy Stripe Ponte Flounce Dress

Ashbury Exotic Tote

Posted in I Want it NOW, Sales, Spring 2014, Wardrobe Staples | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sick of Skinnies? How to Wear – Wide Leg Pants

It could be this outrageously snowy and frigid winter or the constriction courtesy of my extra blizzard-fluff, but I’m feeling pretty over my skinny jeans right now.  I was fed up after two, yes TWO, rounds of returns on these drool-worthy vegan leather & ponte cropped skinnies and did something crrrrrrr-azy.  I bought some sun worshiping, summer craving, soft and light, wear anywhere with anything WIDE LEG linen pants.  I can’t even explain how excited I am about this.  I was admittedly a late-adopter to the skinny jeans trend, and make no mistake, they’re not going anywhere.  Once I started, I couldn’t stop and I think I know why.  It’s really all about pant-length and SHOES.  Once I discovered that I didn’t have to hem tapered or skinny pants, I felt so freeeeeeeeee and then came the real reason for my skinny-pants addiction….Boots.  I could wear any boots, any height, any style and they would just work, and work well, and look amazing.  So, I will never, ever, ever give up my skinny pants, because I will never give up my boots, nope nope nope.

There’s more.  I have probably owned at least 10 pairs of billowy, giant legged, wide linen pants in the past 15 years.  I had a pair in every color and I rocked them with EVERYTHING.  I let them drag on the ground on the regular with an I-don’t-care-that-my-pants-are-on-the-ground attitude.  Also, I think I may have just donated my last lingering pair that I had not worn in probably 8 years.  The thing is, they really did go out of style and while the high-waisted version is back and incredible, the styles I had were just so…aughts.

Now that they’re back in my life I need to think about how to wear them again.  I can’t really get away with the laissez faire style wrecklessness of my 20’s, so I’ll do the mature thing and blog about it.

(photo credits:  Loft; Harpers Bazaar; Nordstrom; WilyWiley; Hautelook)

Some wide-legged pondering:

  1. Hem Hem Hem.  Unless you’re over 5’7 or happened upon a Petite version, you will probably have to hem these suckers and that’s okay.  The choices are:  let them be long and pair with heels and wedges or hem and add a ballet flat or gladiator sandal.  Rule of thumb for heels is you want the material to rest on the top of your toes with your shoes on.  Avoid the ankle bone sweeping too short look, it will cut off your leg line and make you look like you have somebody else’s pants on or just a bad seamstress.  When wearing with flats, it’s not bad to have the back and sides sweep the ground, but you do not want to be tripping on your pants or putting holes in them.
  2. Tuck in and wear a belt.  Another fashion guideline, what is fitted on top, should be loose on bottom, fitted on bottom, loose on top.  Nothing over-sized on top with wide leg pants, and heavens please do not over-hippify by wearing a floral, flowy or peasant top.  While wide leg pants are obviously very loose from the knee down, they should actually be fitted in the waist, hip and upper thigh.  You want your blouse to hit no longer than the natural hip and it can even be fun to wear a natural waist skimming cropped jacket with wide legs as well.  If you have something slightly longer or loose, tuck it in the front and wear with a belt.  Stick with solid colors and structured styles with little embellishment.  This is a very slimming look and compliments all body shapes.
  3. Play with Patterns.  I’m in love with the playful patterns in this spring’s fashions.  They scream cool, edgy, fun and most of all pants-envy.  Easy to dress up for dinner with statement jewelry and heels or the Saturday farmer’s market with a simple tank and flats.  Keep it simple and solid up top and just watch the compliments fly in with these eye catchers.
  4. Do Denim.  You just can’t go wrong with denim and the 70’s inspired high-waisted wide leg denim is just.so.perfect.  When I wear these (and have straight through the aughts) I just hear the Bee Gees playing in my head and I can’t be stopped.  Instant confidence and they look real nice on the derriere too.
  5. Say Yes to Jumpers.  Don’t want to worry about what top to wear or how to coordinate patterns with solids?  Easy peasy…just go for a onesie!  In all seriousness I love me a grown-up onesie and these fresh jumper wide leg styles in denim and fresh, vibrant colors or patterns are your answer.  The PERFECT (and sexy) summer date night outfit or throw on with a cardigan or blazer in the cooler months.

Just for fun, wedges, espadrilles and heels that are wide-leg friendly…

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(photo credits:  Nordstrom, Piperlime, DSW)

Follow my How to Wear – Wide Leg Pants board for more style inspiration.  Until next time! ~JD

Are you ready to branch out from skinnies this spring and summer?  Tell me how you wear your wide leg pants or ask a question!

Posted in I Want it NOW, Spring 2014, Summer 2014, Wardrobe Staples | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

7 things that just have to be said about last night’s Oscars

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No doubt that today you will scroll past or through a ga-thousand opinion write-ups of the best and worst dressed of last night’s 86th Academy Awards.  I’ll save you another repeat of the same lists.  Instead, here are some noteworthy … Continue reading

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Will the REAL 2014 VS Swim Catalog Mom Buyer’s Guide Please Stand Up?

A recent blog post entitled “The 2014 VS Swim Catalog:  A Mom’s Buying Guide” surfaced recently and went viral almost immediately (at least in my circle of moms).  I probably saw it 3 or 4 times from different sources in one day.  I didn’t click on it the first time or the second time for that matter.  I already knew what it was going to say by the preface from my friends “This is effing hilarious!” and “For my mom friends out there that would need a laugh today!”  Then I finally caved, I read it.  Turns out, I didn’t need to, it was exactly what I expected.  The anti-guide for Mom swimsuit shopping dripping with sarcasm and humor (it was indeed funny) and laced with skinny-shaming and lots of self-deprecating language (not so funny).  I don’t intend for this blog to serve as a platform for my personal grand-standing, however, since we’re talking about fashion and confidence and self-value (and I was planning a swimwear series anyways), I’d be missing an opportunity if we didn’t discuss.

I don’t get the VS catalog anymore for whatever reason, not sure why, just don’t.  I don’t shop at VS often, but it has less to do with their swimwear and more to do with the fact that I’m simply not their target market anymore.  [As a note:  If women are wondering why they keep getting the catalog, I’d ask your husbands (eh hem).]  I digress.

There’s one thing I do know about the catalog itself, is that I wouldn’t want my 5 year old daughter flipping through it.  I will give the blogger one major accolade and that is that the overall imagery is well, let’s just say there’s a lot going on.  If my daughter picks up a magazine of mine in our house, it will be Real Simple, or a JCrew catalogs (that now have a Crewcuts section) or perhaps the Athleta Swimwear catalog where appropriately-aged women are in tasteful, flattering suits and their bodies are strong, athletic and perpetuate what I’m trying to show her by example make women beautiful.  See, I don’t take issue with the blogger’s perspective that VS is exclusding us (30-something Moms types) in their marketing efforts, they are, and why should they?  Just as Chico’s isn’t pandering to the 18-25 demographic, VS can do what they please with their catalogs and their pouty-lipped busty supermodels.

I cover up more at 33 than I did at 23, and that’s my choice.  Like most women, there are parts of my body I’m comfortable with and parts I’m not so comfortable with.  The truth of it is I like more of me NOW than I did in my 20’s.  Therein lies the problem, why do we spend all of our 20’s (and probably teen years) hating ourselves?  Not much changes in our 30’s except perspective, and oh how it changes.  Our challenge, Moms, is to prevent this from happening to our daughters.  Hide the VS catalogs, or better yet unsubscribe, unless you enjoy the bi-annual snark-filled analysis of how you couldn’t or WOULDN’T wear any of this crap.  Donate them to your husband for his super-secret stash.  Just don’t let your daughters hear you talking about these women (or any women for that matter).  They shouldn’t distinguish between using kind words to talk about their fluffier friends than their skinnier friends, or perhaps the ones who develop earlier than others, or later than others.  All of this hateful or hate-filled, hate-inspired, self-shaming language seeps into the next generations, where do you think we got it?  The change starts with us.

Let’s get back to fashion shall we?  I picked out some styles that us Moms or non-Moms or just regular ladies who like to leave a little to mystery at the pool, can and SHOULD wear this season.  Enjoy and BE NICE.

  • The Monokini is my newest swimwear love.  Cutouts in general are everywhere since last year (Spring 2013) and I snagged an adorable and well-fitting space dye monokini from Athleta.  All summer, I felt covered and supported, yet trendy and even sexy, gasp!  I love this one from VS, it’s full of fun with the one-strap, belted embellishment and cut-outs, in a simple classic black as to not have too much going on.
  • Color block is not going anywhere.  This VS anyBODY figure flattering black and white color block strapless is a classic that is an investment piece for summers to come.
  • I’m obsessed with 80’s inspired flounce and we don’t even have to be 17 with flat abs to rock it!  No, you’re not going to catch me on a playdate at the park in a flounced crop, but I love how VS used it in a conservative mild cut-out monokini here.  You’ll have to call the compliment police at the Y pool wearing this one!
  • The VS 2014 catalog just introduced me to my newest CRUSH, the Long Line Bikini.  I say crush not love, because I don’t do bare tummy (my personal choice), but if I did and I will strongly BEG my non-scarred tummy friends to run not walk to get this style for this summer.   VS has done several versions of the long line and I think it’s both adorable and figure flattering with tons of different top styles from halter to ruffled bandeau.

In summation, love your body ladies, show it off how you want, just please don’t judge others for doing just that.  Kisses!  ~JD

Current Special from Victoria’s Secret:

  • Add qualifying items totaling $100 or more to your shopping bag.
  • Enter offer code SPRING14 at checkout.
  • Discount will be deducted after code is applied.
  • Valid through 11:59pm PST March 6, 2014.

If you like what you saw, please share this post.  More love, less shame, y’all!  Also, follow my  Rock the One Piece board on Pinterest.

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The {New} Basics (Part 1)

The goal for any well-stocked, easy-outfit-grabbing-yet-still-fashionable closet is to have a strong foundation of the BASICS.  Ideally, you should be able to grab any one or several of these wardrobe staples and combine to form the perfect (and time defying) outfit.  Did I mention, in a hurry?  We don’t have TIMMMMME to style ourselves every morning!  I promise you this, stick to these basics and it will be much MUCH easier to get dressed every day.  I decided to split this post into two parts after I realized I’d never get it out to you guys if I kept going.

Without further ado, I give you Part 1, The {New} Basics for your wardrobe.

A few notes from JD about these pieces:

  1. Feminine details added to *any* basic whether it be tanks, tees, blouses or slacks really up your game.  By “Femme” I mean, lace, buttons in unexpected places, ruching that accentuates your frame, tasteful bows, properly placed peplum (tba post on peplum) and ladylike embellishments.
  2. Sleeveless blouses and tanks are PLENTIFUL on clearance sales, so stock up when they’re clearing out.  Wardrobe work-horses year round, wear with a statement necklace and linen pants in the Summer and top with a Blazer and jeans (and boots) in cooler weather.
  3. There’s a reason why nautical inspired horizontal stripes just simply won’t die.  A timeless classic that is worth investing in all aspects, footwear, outerwear, bags and dresses.  Keep the styles classic and you will never regret welcoming stripes in your life.
  4. When shopping for a boyfriend-style jean, forgo the overly-distressed and embroidery or hardware embellishments.  These jeans are designed to be dressed up (with color-pop pumps or tribal booties) or down (fashion tennies and a basic tee).  Don’t back yourself into a corner with an over styled basic.  You want these to go with everything, as they are designed to do.  Branch out from “blue” denim.  This style looks fabulous with a color pop, black, pin stripe and even classic white.
  5. Do not fear a bold pattern or eye popping color for your outfit topping blazer or structured jacket.  Typical rules for “basics” do not apply here.  You want this to be your outfit’s “wow” factor, so don’t be shy, experiment with embellishments on this wardrobe staple.
  6. Button down shirts in soft brushed materials are everywhere this Spring, dive deep into this trend.  Invest in quality materials (look at stitching and structure) and keep the style simple and relaxed.  Another staple that you could have in every color, with polka dots, vertical stripes and flowery details and still wouldn’t have too many.  These shirts are coming in lightweight fabrics that will take you through the rest of the Winter with chunky sweaters and boots all the way through Summer with white structured shorts or boyfriend chinos.  Another wardrobe work-horse.

This was so much fun to put together, I can’t wait to bring you Part 2 of The {New} Basics!

Already have these styles in your closet?  Share with us how you wear them and inspire other B&theB’ers creativity!  Mwah, JD.

Posted in I Want it NOW, Spring 2014, Wardrobe Staples | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

{2} Must Have Flats for Spring (from 2 new-on-the-scene designers)

Spring?  Yes, I said Spring, dagnamnit!  While most of us get pounded by snowstorm after snowstorm, and record breaking totals, I can sit and daydream about Spring, and shoes, and sandals and warm breezy air and mojitos…..Gah!  Back to reality, go with me on this one.  These two designers go under the category of tried, true & ‘JD Tested.’  I won’t always have physically bought and worn most of what I talk about on B&theB, however, this time, I’ve taken these puppies for more than one walk around the block.  Let’s start, shall we?

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Posted in Footwear, I Want it NOW, JD Tested, Spring 2014 | Tagged , , , , , | 1 Comment

This is Me meeting You.

{JD's Fam}

{JD’s Fam}

photo:  Jacqueline Anne Photography

I’m JD.  Well actually those are my initials and once upon a time my friend and coworker called me that and I liked it.  So for all things B&theB, I’m JD, k?  I’m just a regular lady, a Mom, a Wife, a Friend, a Sister, a Daughter.  I work full time, and share all my home-maker duties with my partner and husband, who is my rock.  I have two kids that give me boundless joy, headaches, yogurt and snot stains and a smidge of an alochol problem (jokes!).  I’m a little country, a little rock ‘n roll and a little crazy-town.  Hop on board, it’s a ride you won’t regret.

Style.  Function.  Fashion.  Confidence.  That’s the premise.  I look around me, I see real people, busy, real people.  I see very little use for $1000 stilettos and (real) brushed suede.  Who doesn’t want to look good?  Feeeeel good?  Exude confidence and express their style?  Nobody, that’s who.  Inner beauty is achieved not by how thick your wallet is or your stylish zip code, but anywhere, in the suburbs, among the burp cloths, meal plans, laundry piles, carpools and birthday party planning.  With the right basic elements and some personality-filled flair, we can say something about who we are, inside and out.  We can tell the World how to treat us, and how not to treat us.

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