Friday, May 1, 2015

Won't Somebody Think Of The Children!

My 40th birthday is next week. It's not something I've been thinking about much lately because I've had better things to think about. Mostly it's been big work projects, but also big art projects, plenty of music, a full-fledged social revolution, and that Star Wars trailer, amirite!

Anyway, now I'm thinking about it a lot, or more specifically I'm thinking about the one and only gift I want for my birthday: I want to raise $4,000 for the Homeless Children's Network.

It's kind of ironic really. I'm not what you'd call a child enthusiast. You know those people on the street who stop you to ask for charitable donations, the "do you have a minute to stop the destruction of the Earth" people. Yeah, so one day one of those people asked me, "do you love children?", and I said, "I don't think you want me to answer that."

However, I have a few teacher friends who've shared stories with me about what happens to their students who lose their homes, and those stories broke my cold, dead heart. Kids who did great, got good grades, had good attendance, and played well with others suddenly were failing academically, acting antisocial and violent towards their peers and teachers, self-harming, or disappearing from school all together. My teacher friends would get the rundown from a school counselor or social worker, or sometimes from the kids themselves: their mom moved them and their siblings into a domestic violence shelter; they were evicted from their home and were living in the car with their dad; they were kicked out of their home because of their addiction and had nowhere to go. These kids were often living with traumatic circumstances to begin with, but the trauma of homelessness was so strong as to lead them away from the stability and opportunities at school.

I found out about the Homeless Children's Network because I happen to have a bunch of friends on the board. As soon as I understood what the HCN offers to homeless kids and their families, it was crystal clear to me how important their services are. HCN provides counseling, substance abuse treatment, parenting skills, and other services vital to breaking the cycle of homelessness. When a child is only ever taught violence, poverty, and instability, that child will become an adult who only knows violence, poverty, and instability, and a parent who in turn teaches their children violence, poverty, and instability. HCN not only helps individual kids and families, but is a piece of the solution for all homelessness.

So, my birthday wish is to help the HCN out, and I need you to help me do that. I'm going to run the HCN's 5K fundraiser on Sunday, May 3, and I would love it if you would sponsor me. I've already received a ton of donations, and with deep gratitude give a hearty thank you to everyone who's donated so far. I know we can raise more, though. Whatever amount we give, it'll be put to excellent use serving homeless kids, so in that we can't fail.

But c'mon, now. It's my birthday. Let's raise some real money here. And if you're not a kid enthusiast, either, whatever. Do it for me - click here to donate.

Thursday, March 19, 2015

TBT: Endless Summer

I find it unnecessary and even kind of obnoxious when bloggers apologize for long absences. Especially when they go on and on about whatever-dog-ate-my-homework business kept them from posting, I'm like, yeah I don't give a damn; life happens, my feelings aren't hurt, get the hell on with it already. 

However, I am going to tell you about what kept me from posting the ol' I'm Wearing Your Clothes for so long, because it is awesome: My professional gift wrapping business, Ace Gift Wrapping Service, killed it this holiday season. Starting in October we got slammed with business. We wrapped so many gifts, there wasn't time for anything except wrapping wrapping wrapping. It was brilliant, totally derailed several other projects, but rightfully so, because wrapping gifts is the best. And that's why I'm Wearing Your Clothes went off the radar for a while, and I'm not damn sorry. 

I'm sure now you're asking, "but Sig, Christmas was three months ago. What happened since then?" Yes, about that. You see, I was- GOOD LORD LOOK OVER THERE! 

Anyway, what was I saying? Oh yes, this outfit. I really liked this one. It's from last summer solstice. Today, March 19, 2015, is hot and sunny in Oakland. I'm wearing sandals. Last summer solstice, not so much, which is why I wore over-the-knee, bought-new boots. The over-the-knee socks were also new, and are the "heat generating" kind from Uniqlo. Whether or not they actually generate heat I don't know, but the marketing gets me right in the cold little extremities, so I have several garments from that line.

The dress is a hand-me-down gift, and is made of supernaturally soft fabric. The coat was street-scored from a neighbor's give-away pile, and I hope the neighbor sees me wearing it and thinks "the circle of life is complete." 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Penultimate Dispatch From The #UCC

Kayla and Lori's Ultimate Closet Challenge wrapped up over a week ago, but since I joined late, I went a couple few days extra. It wasn't all that much of a challenge, I admit. I have a lot of clothes, like a lot a lot, so I was never at a loss for something to put on.

I assumed going into this exercise I'd come out glowing with the wisdom that less is more, austerity is beautiful, and that I should consume less. None of that happened. I found joy digging into the unworn. Most the items I decided to get rid of I still at least like. I love my overstuffed walk-in closet, and anyway I don't even consume much to begin with.

But how can I have all these clothes if I don't consume much. The reason: I never get rid of anything. I am a clothing dam. I am clothing-retentive. I keep items for decades. About, oh, I'd say a year ago, I gave away a jacket I'd had but hadn't worn for many years, and I still think about that jacket and wonder if I'd wear it if I had it. I don't let go well.

Sometimes it pays off. Take, for example this nameplate bracelet – not an article of clothing, sure, but an accessory, so it counts. My grandmother gave it to me when I was in my teens. At the time, I never wore gold, plus I hated being called by my full first name, Sigrid. Most pouty, belligerent teens like me would've thrown this thing right out, but I'm fatally sentimental – I could never get rid of a present from gramma – and I was aware, albeit abstractly, over time my tastes would change and it was possible someday I'd want to wear it.

The day arrived. It was about three weeks ago. I put the bracelet on and was like, yes, it is time. I've been wearing it pretty regularly since, so much so it's already getting scratched and dinged. I'm ready to let that happen, though. Gramma would want it that way.

Surprisingly, these  overalls are not ancient and historical. I wore way more than my fair share of overalls in the 90s, wore them so much they disintegrated. After a long stretch of overall-free living, I picked these up from a friend's give-away pile. They've spent most their tenure with me in the closet, but I pulled them out for the UCC and wore them to repot a lemon tree, just like a legit farmer. I'm keeping them.

Also keeping the white shorts. When I found them in a give-away pile, they had an unattractive stain. I brought them home and was in the midst of soaking them in truly horrifying amounts of bleach, as I do, when I noticed the fiber content: organic cotton and hemp blend. "You're not organic anymore," I said. They're kind of grungy here because I'd just worn them camping. I mean, white shorts. How do you keep them clean other than horrifying bleachings? This is why I've only worn them once before this and am still skeptical going forward, but I'm going to try.

I'm confused about the grey and black striped pants. They're from a clothing exchange, and I really dig them a ton, but they're too big. They weren't before; it seems I've lost some girth. The last time I wore them was in the very first I'm Wearing Your Clothes, so now I'm sentimental about that, too. What to do. Take them in maybe? I don't know.

I am giving away the hoody-tshirt and corduroy pocket skirt. I like them both, I really do. I've had the skirt for ages, bought it new at one of those seconds/samples/damaged goods shops. I used to wear it a lot, and still appreciate it's apron-like qualities. I realized while wearing it to a client's, though, I'd be better off with an actual apron. Hm, maybe I'll turn it in to one.

Speaking of alterations, I've decided that's all this vintage dress needs. I mean look at it, it's fantastic. It was a hand-me-down from a much bustier friend. This dress fits me like a glove, and when I put it on, I wonder, how did she ever fit her rack in this thing? Maybe that's why it's mine now. Anyway, it's great, fits great, always has, but I don't like the buttons on the shoulders or the boring white piping at the arm holes and neck. I'm keeping it, but those bits have got to go.

Now will ya take a look a these three bad asses. Ok, I pulled these out was when I was deeply convinced the UCC would teach me minimalism. I decided it's absurd for one woman to own three vintage floor length tropical halter dresses, especially since I don't wear them that often. The orange one – her name is Pele, after the Volcano Goddess – was made by my aunt in 1972 and is a family heirloom, so she's not going anywhere. The pink and purple one I bought at a thrift store in Hawaii, where it was also made – hell, I was probably the first person to bring it to the mainland, which is amazing, so I can't get rid of it. That leaves the middle one, which is homemade though I found it at a thrift shop. But look at that fabric; it's the greatest pattern in life! No way I can get rid of it. The pink one has the least compelling fabric, so maybe it should be the one to go.

But then maybe this whole foundation of reason is stupid. I mean, will my life or even just my closet be perceptibly transformed if I own two vintage floor length tropical halter dresses instead of three? Is that going to make the damnedest little difference? Unlikely. But if I apply that logic to all my clothes, I'll never get rid of anything. So I don't know about this. Pele is practically family, so she's staying, but what about the other two? Going, staying? Help me out here people. 

Monday, September 15, 2014

Too Big, Too Small: Kayla & Lori's Ultimate Closet Challenge Continues

#UCC Day 12: Burnout

I'm having an almost impossible time writing less than one-million words about this skirt. There is just so very much to say about it, my struggle with skirts in general, my relationship with my legs, the legitimacy of the colors gray and black, bringing home clothes that are the wrong size, etc, etc. I'm like Proust over here. 

But I'm deleting all that and will just say these few thing: 
  • I was genuinely excited to be reunited with this skirt. I forgot it existed. I'm sorry, skirt. I will never burry you under the other skirts ever again. 
  • It was originally a couple sizes too big, but I took it in. Ta-dah!
  • There's zero way to tell from the photo, but it and the shirt are both burnout prints.
  • It's from a thrift store. The shirt (it has pockets!) is a hand-me-down, the sandals consignment, and the necklace, which is from Japan and has two tiny bunnies snuggling each other on it, was a gift. 
  • I'm kind of in love with this outfit and want to wear it every day. I'm seeing it with leggings and boots for the cold times, AMIRITE?

#UCC Days 13 & 14: Red Is The New Orange

The bullet points are working for me today. LET'S PROCEED WITH THE BULLET POINTS! 
  • Oranger is my friends' band. I love them so so much. They were the sound of the turn of the century! They are now defunct but it's my understanding they'll do a reunion show if you ask them really really nicely. 
  • I have one other Oranger tshirt, and it's a baby-t. For the love of all things good in the universe, may the baby-t trend never ever EVER come back around. Baby-ts were a bad idea then and they're a worse idea now. Nonetheless, I'm not getting rid of that other shirt. I'm too sentimental. 
  • I'm not getting rid of this shirt, either. Sure, it's too small in the shoulders and maybe everywhere else, but they're an awesome band and the shirt's red and says Oranger in psychedelic letters, so KEEPER!
  • The reason this shirt is too small is all the mediums were gone and my friend gave it to me anyway so what was I going to do, say no? C'mon now. 
  • The shorts are thrift store, the shoes–organic vegan Tom's, because of course I have organic vegan Tom's–were bought new but they sure as hell aren't new now. You can't see it but they're thrashed. 
  • Not only did I wear this shirt off and on for two days, I also slept in it, because I was camping over the weekend and that's what you do when you're camping. I should have taken this photo out in the woods I now realize, but I wasn't thinking about fashion at the time, I was thinking about trees. 

#UCC Day 15: Speaking Of Too Small Shirts...

I had full knowledge this shirt was too small when I bought it but I bought it anyway because I liked it so much. I tell myself I'll stop doing this stupid wrong size clothes thing, and then I keep doing it. But put together with the right layers, it works. Right? Or maybe the giantness of my glasses distracts from the tininess of the shirt. Whatever, anyway, I'm ready to part with this one despite still liking it because duh, it's too damn small. I got it at a buy-sell-trade shop, the jeans are hand-me-down, the tank-top and shoes were bought new. 

The bird and branch on the shirt are embroidered, by the way. Once again it's impossible to see the magnificent detailing of my fine, wrong-sized garments. 

Speaking Of Impossible To See Details...

I've had this blog here on blogger for many years now, but since I've been doing I'm Wearing Your Clothes, the horribly poor photo quality has really come to aggravate me. I spend minutes–minutes!–setting up my shots and editing my photos, and then I upload them and they all look horrible. 

Today, finally, I found the setting to make them less horrible. And I'm very glad. For a while there, I thought I might have to move to Tumblr. I hope you notice the difference–I have–but if you have any other tips for really making photos on blogger look nice, please let me know. 

Thursday, September 11, 2014

#UCC: Laugh Now, Cry Later

Now that I'm back from my bicoastal ramblings and reunited with my beloved closet, I've jumped right into Kayla and Lori's Ultimate Closet Challenge, aka the #UCC, already a week and some days in progress. As Kayla and Lori explain
For every day of September, [we] have challenged each other to wear at least one thing we haven't worn (old shoes, new jewelry, retired yoga pants, crazy hat etc...) in a while.
A) To remind us that we can never complain that we don't have a stitch to wear
B) To look at our items in a new way and recognize why we don't need more
C) to weed out what we actually don't use or need anymore - and then to DONATE accordingly. If we have wonderful items we're not using, we're giving them to a charity like Dress for Success Worldwide - West. 
Surprise! I'm way into this. And I can combine it with I'm Wearing Your Clothes. Bonus! 

So here's Day 10 of the #UCC, or My First Day Back To Not Living Out Of A Suitcase

The shirt I have maybe worn once since finding it in a give-away pile across the street from my house. I want to want this shirt. It has subtle metallic sparkles in it! And it's long and slim and fits my torso nicely. And yet, I just can't get into it, maybe because I don't have anything good to wear under it; I don't know if I'm doing it any favors wearing it with the bought-new, bright yellow tank top here. So despite liking the shirt--and liking this outfit overall--it's going away. Bye, shirt. 

The turquoise pants--once again, my phone's camera made them look way bluer and less green than they really are--are from a clothing exchange. The bracelets were bought new, are fair trade, and are made of sustainably harvested wood and alpaca wool, so you know I sleep real good at night. The shoes are kind of a funny story. I had impulsively picked up a cheap pair of knock-off Tom's at Target because they were metallic silver. Metallic silver, people. Irresistible. Except unlike real Tom's which are stupefyingly comfortable, the knock-offs hurt my feet so much, I had to buy other shoes to make it through the day. My feet would have been bloody stumps by the time I got home if I hadn't. True story. Anyway, these stripy flats are the emergency replacement shoes. 

#UCC Day 11, or I Got Out Of Bed, What More Do You Want From Me

I started feeling a bit under the weather yesterday afternoon. It was my first full day back after three weeks of travel including rides in five different airplanes. I had breathed so, so many other people's air. I took some Airborne and a nap and blah blah fast forward to this morning. I woke up before dawn still feeling lousy. I took some ibuprofen and washed it down with more Airborne, but it wasn't until the sound of the blender almost made me cry I finally acknowledged I was having a migraine, too. I popped an imitrex, went back to bed, and didn't get up till late afternoon. 

All this is a very long and whiny way of saying, I didn't want to get dressed today and obviously I should get a medal for doing so. I have a trick though, a coping mechanism, because despite loving clothes so much, I actually feel this way pretty often. And the trick is, wearing a knit dress and leggings feels the same as wearing pajamas but folks think it looks way nicer and put-together. Suckers! 

I got this Trina Turk dress at a buy-sell-trade place. Did I mention it's a Trina Turk? I love Trina Turk. Her clothes are pretty expensive, so I was stoked to score this on the cheap, but I haven't worn it in a while. Crazy thing was, I put the dress on this afternoon and suddenly it struck me: it's way too big for me. Was it always that way? I don't think so. It is a size 0 after all. It's made of a very stretchy modal jersey, so maybe it's just stretched out? Regardless, I put a belt on to try to make it look less slouchy, but also just getting out of bed was a chore so who the hell cares. I'm dressed, dammit.

I still haven't decided if I'll keep the dress. It is very comfy--it is basically just a big tshirt--and have I mentioned it's a Trina Turk? Still, I don't want to look like an idiot wearing a dress the wrong size. I don't know, help me out here: should it stay or should it go? 

The belt is also from a buy-sell-trade shop, the leggings were bought new, as were the gold sandals which I got for a Halloween costume and then fell in love with. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Wedding Guest Dress

Tonight's edition of I'm Wearing Your Clothes is dedicated to my friend Emily for two reasons. First, she loves these posts, which thrills me to no end and for which I am so grateful. Second, I snapped this pic shortly after her wedding; this is the outfit I wore to it. 

As it happens, I also wore it to two other weddings, including one a mere 24 hours before hers. That night, I'd turned to a friend and said, "I already wore this to one wedding this summer and tomorrow I'm going to wear it to another."

"Don't worry," he said, "no one's going to notice." 

"They will when I blab about it all over the internet." 

The dress is from a clothing exchange. As is typical for my phone's camera, the turquoise bits in the abstract floral patern appear blue. Please use your imagination. The sandals are from a consignment shop, and if you're following along closely you'll notice these are my go-to sandals right now. They're shockingly light weight and comfortable, and the heel gives the impression I'm dressed up but ha ha jokes on you, I can't even feel the heel. The necklace is handmade by me. What's that? You'd like to see a close up? Well ok! 

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Good Bye, West Coast

Greetings from—and farewell to—Portland, Oregon. After a week of canoeing, camping, and friending, I'm heading east for familiying, weddingsing, and lots and lots of driving. 

Speaking of driving, this outfit was supposed to be for a few last social calls but thanks to oversleeping and traffic, it was pretty much just a sitting in the car to the airport outfit. Moments after snapping this pic, I changed into yoga pants and a sweatshirt and boarded my red-eye to Boston. The shirt is from a buy-sell-trade shop, and the pants and sandals are from a consignment shop. They are all now safely stowed under the seat in front of me.