Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Thursday, September 23, 2010, Day 266, LAST DAY!

Well here we are at last. You didn’t think it could go on forever, did you? Not even I have that many clothes. I finish here with probably the most gorgeous dress I own and have ever worn. I found it out shopping with Rachel in Aspen in February of last year when we walked into a J. Mendel* store just for fun. Luckily, the salesclerk announced they were having a seventy (70!) percent off sale on select items.** On said sale rack was this lovely number which happened to fit perfectly. I knew right then I would wear it to our Holiday Party that year and it became my first outfit of the evening. It was only later I found the Chie Mihara suede pumps (see March 2) in exactly the same shade of purple.

I am standing in front of a portrait painted by the illustrious Robert Russell (see April 24). We were going for a Singer Sargent vibe when he took the photograph that he based the painting on in this very room with me wearing this very dress. I imagined myself as some aristocratic woman from long ago surveying the fields and thinking, “This is my land!” We took some other photographs with me in other dresses, but in the end chose this one for the portrait and I’m glad we did.

I had a wonderful time posing for the photographs appearing in this blog and would like to thank my three most frequent photographers: Gary, Elodie and Graydon. Without them and other friends and family, this project would not be possible. I thank them profusely for their patience and their willingness to “take one more” because the first fifteen shots "really sucked."

I had an excellent time documenting the art we are blessed to live with in our home. It was so much fun to record and, in many instances, research facts about the various artists and pieces in our collection. I feel like I know so much more about the beautiful things that surround us every day. This project also forced me to keep a diary of sorts, something that I’ve always wanted to do, but never seem to have done. At least most of 2010 is documented here should a biographer ever come calling.

So, did I wear it all? Well, no, not exactly. I would estimate I wore 98.5% of the agreed upon items (see “rules,” January 1) in my closet. What I didn’t wear include a couple of never-worn dresses I have set aside for this year’s MOCA gala (gold Tadashi Shoji) and for this year’s Holiday Party (red Michael Kors) – I like when I have something “new” to wear to a big event -- and a few tops and blouses (this was bound to happen as I knew going in I have more tops than bottoms). Overall, though, I’d say I came pretty close and am pleased with the results. I never expected this project to go on this long. If you recall, my original estimate was 100 days or just over three months. And while I didn’t quite triple that, I did match the number of days it takes to gestate a human baby (see so you could say I gave birth to my closet.

As you all know, I absolutely loved writing this blog and I learned many things. First (and most obvious), I have a lot of pretty clothes that I hadn’t been wearing. So many things, dresses in particular, I would pass by on a daily basis thinking, “Oh that’s much too special to wear today,” or “I’m not really ‘doing anything,’” or “Why bother; no one will see me.” This proved to be wrong thinking for at least two reasons: 1) If the money is spent and it’s hanging in my closet, who cares if only I see it? What am I "saving" it for? I could get hit by a bus tomorrow and then what? 2) You never know who you are going to run into during the average day or who will unexpectedly stop by the house. On more than one occasion I breathed a sigh of relief that I wasn’t wearing anything with holes or a stain down the front.

Speaking of holes and stains, this project also forced me to take a hard look at all of my clothes and repair and clean the ones in need. It was a boon for my local dry cleaner (Village Cleaners up near Gelson’s) and my local tailor (Nancy’s Alterations in the El Camino Shopping Center). Now everything in my closet is repaired, hemmed and freshly cleaned, eliminating any excuse not to wear something because it needs a trip to the cleaners or to the tailor.

Taking a photo of me each day in each outfit also forced me to face reality about which items were really not flattering on me. I think we all have a tendency to have an image in our head about how we look in certain clothes, but as they say, pictures don’t lie (although they do seem to add a few pounds). Seeing certain things on film and how they truly look on me allowed me to give them new homes with people who hopefully look better in them and I have a nice bag of donations for Casa Pacifica***.

Finally, I found out necessity really is the mother of invention as proved by the creative combinations I came up with in my final weeks, determined as I was to wear as many things as possible. I will definitely repeat some of these new looks and incorporate all the lessons I have learned. It’s been a grand 266 days and part of me will sorely miss this blog. The other parts are ready to go shopping!

*J. Mendel is more of a museum to me than a shop. The clothes are exquisite and the prices match the efforts put into each garment.

**I also was able to avoid sales tax since there is no J. Mendel shop in California and I had it shipped.

***People assume Casa Pacific focuses on small children and they donate clothes accordingly. Actually Casa Pacifica offers temporary housing and services to many teenagers who are adult-sized and in need of clothes just as much as the little ones.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Wednesday, September 22, 2010, Day 265

Last year I was invited to read Tarot cards at Rachel and Gillian’s Halloween party so I decided to dress up like a fortune teller.* I headed over to Hidden Treasures** one day with Rachel and walked in expecting to piece together a decent costume, but I never expected to find such PERFECT pieces. In one room I found this dazzling skirt, in another, the golden shrug. I found the head scarf and coin-jingling wrap around my waist in a trunk beside the front door and for under a hundred dollars, I had the best looking gypsy costume I have ever seen. I have loaned it out to a friend, but will hold onto it always just in case the mood strikes to dress up like a gypsy again.

I am sitting under another piece by Eric Johnson (see June 8). In the background is a collection of pool cues including two that Barry used to use.

I predict there will be an end to this blog very soon!

*I had Gary dress up like Zorro and we made quite the dashing couple.

**Hidden Treasures is a great little second hand store run from inside an old house in the middle of Topanga Canyon. It really is a “hidden treasure” for Halloween costumes.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Tuesday, September 21, 2010, Day 264

Here is the Chanel dress I bought on sale in Waikiki. Ironically, it is made from very heavy fabric that drapes well and so was probably not a popular dress in that tropical climate. It is such a classic and tailored so well that I can picture myself wearing it until my final days. I think I will buy some long ropes of pearls to wear with it at holiday gatherings and formal winter functions.

My wonderful husband came home this evening safe and sound. We put the kids to bed and then dined on take out from Blue Table (see September 15) while he told me of his adventures on the Rouge River.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Monday, September 20, 2010, 263

Elodie took this picture of me on the swing set in our backyard. I remember when we first had it installed over seven years ago. The kids used to swing in the little green “bucket” swing you can see off in the far right. Then they used that yellow and blue double swing for awhile. Now they are big kids and love to swing as high as they can. The structure to my right is known as “Graydon’s fort.” It’s only fair since Elodie has her own little house nearby (see May 12). Attached to it are a climbing rope ladder, a regular slide, a tire swing, some monkey bars and what the kids used to refer as “the dark slide,” which is a covered curved slide (it is dark inside when you slide down it).

I am wearing a pretty little dress by Chan Luu I mostly use as a cover up over a bathing suit (I’m also wearing a striped maillot by Petit Bateau, but you can’t see it in the picture). Today the weather was absolutely gorgeous. Gary comes home tomorrow - yay!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Sunday, September 19, 2010, Day 262

I am so proud of my gorgeous niece Mackenzie for organizing this walk for the Lungevity Foundation. Her grandmother (Barry’s mom) died of Lung Cancer about a year and a half ago so it is an organization close to her (and her whole family's) heart. I just can’t get over what a beauty she has become, inside and out.

The 3.5 mile walk was around Lake Merrit in Oakland.* Elodie had a great time hanging out with her cousin (Mackenzie’s sister, my niece) Kellie and afterward we all (including Karen, Jim and Mackenzie’s boyfriend Tyler) went out to lunch.

I am wearing a pair of James Perse shorts and a James Perse long sleeve tee under my Lungevity t-shirt. Elodie and I went back home later in the evening and picked up Graydon from Hunter’s house. Gary won’t be home until Tuesday and we miss him very much.

*Despite having graduated from Mills College (also in Oakland), this was my first time at, and certainly around, the lake.

Saturday, September 18, 2010, Day 261

Gary left on a rafting trip this morning with a bunch of guys so I decided to take Elodie to San Francisco so we can participate in my niece Mackenzie’s charity event tomorrow morning (Graydon elected to stay at his cousin Hunter’s house overnight). My girl took this picture of me outside one of our favorite places in San Francisco, Nick’s Crispy Tacos, where we enjoyed excellent Mexican food for dinner.

I am wearing a Clu tank underneath a coat by Alexander Wang I bought at Magnolia in Calabasas. The jeans are Citizen For Humanity and were a birthday present from Rachel.

After dinner, Elodie and I walked back to our apartment in the mild evening weather and watched a “Cats 101” marathon on Animal Planet.

Friday, September 17, 2010, Day 260

One of the most amazing things about this project is how I have always had something to wear for most any occasion. And I never really planned out what to wear more than for a few special events coming up in the future – my choices really unfolded organically, from one day to the next, depending on where I was going and what I felt like wearing. For instance, here I am in the final week (yes, hard to believe, but the end is nigh), without much hanging in my closet unworn year to date, and yet I manage to pull out the perfect thing to wear tonight. Mind you, I was lucky tonight involved our friend Gisela hosting a backyard birthday party for her son and hiring the Game Coach (see January 23) as entertainment. I am pictured here playing Guitar Hero with my favorite guitarist, Gary Simons.

I am wearing a pair of Citizen For Humanity denim shorts I bought at Principessa in Venice while shopping with Rachel and a Fendi blouse I bought at Brown’s in London. I love playing Guitar Hero and Rockband (I am always the singer) and left with a bit of a hoarse throat.