Velvet Score

A few years ago, J.Crew’s tall assortment put this year’s to shame. It did not help that the collections from 2008 to 2013 were chock full with my favorite styles, fabrics, and colors: hacking jackets, tipped blazers, tweed sets, matchstick pants in 36 inch inseams…herringbone, madras, seersucker, corduroy…acid brights, pastels, jewel tones. I stand by those years being under the golden influence of Jenna Lyons.

Back then you could get a velvet, tweed, corduroy, or wool blazer in tall and in a variety of colors. I am glad I took advantage – orange hacking jacket, the wool schoolboy blazer in pearl gray, navy, cobalt, and cherry red, pink tweed skirt suit – and my only regret was not adding more to my collection.

I do not love that the Parke blazer succeeded the Rhodes blazer, which succeeded the Schoolboy blazer. The closest thing left is the Legacy blazer and it is unfortunately not available in tall. The Parke blazer is a paired down, minimalistic blazer and it just is not as extra as one could hope. One neutral button replaced the two brass buttons. The third small pocket is wiped from the blazer. I was not even impressed with the lining; rolling up the cuff any one in my collection of blazers exposes a perfectly preppy striped lining.

This past year is the first year in series of a few that any non-suit blazer was available in tall; albeit not in my favorite cut. I got over it and ordered the Parke in the most vivid color available. An acid shade of mustard yellow this blazer is not, but desperate times call for desperate measures and this muted rose shade will have to do until J.Crew gets it’s balls back.

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Sartorial Sustainability Sunday: Stories from the Past Two Weeks

last week…

This week, a round up of articles regarding sustainability in style:

Twice Baked Potato // @2souschefs

“Last month when we visited my parents, my mother insisted that we make our meatloaf dish. As the meatloaf is Joe’s recipe, it was my job to make the side dishes to compliment the meal. Along with my father’s favorite side dish, roasted cauliflower, I made twice baked potatoes. My father, always the sceptic, poked his fork at the potato and made a concerned face. After his first bite you could tell by his expression that he approved. He approved so much so he ate one more with his dinner and then proceeded to eat the leftovers for lunch the next day. With this I can say, it will be easier to decide what to make for the family the next time I am home. With three large potatoes this recipe will be enough to serve six as a side.

Color coordination is not our strong suit as a new household. Whenever we go to my parents, we are always impressed by my mother’s sense of style and having everything from her microwave to spoon holder a matching shade of bold red. Something we aspire to someday, but her Le Creuset serving platter is something on our short list to upgrade our home serving needs.” – Andi

Ingredients

  • 3 large russet potatoes

  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter (optional)

  • 1/4 cup heavy cream

  • 2 tablespoons sour cream

  • 1/2 bunch of scallions – sliced

  • 1/2 cup shredded cheddar

Directions

  1.  Set the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. On a baking sheet sprinkle a light layer of kosher salt.

  2. Poke the russet potatoes with a fork; this will ensure even cooking of the potatoes.

  3. Bake the potatoes in the oven for an hour and thirty minutes. Once the potatoes are done (you will be able to pierce them with a knife), pull the potatoes from the oven and let them cool for ten minutes.

  4. Cut all the potatoes in half and scoop out the inside of the potatoes into a bowl, saving the hollowed-out skin of the potato.

  5. Add the cream, the optional butter, sour cream, and scallions to the potatoes in the bowl. Add salt and pepper to the mix. Stir until incorporated.

  6. Put the potato shells on a baking sheet. Scoop the potato mixture into the shells evenly. Top with cheddar cheese.

  7. Put the potatoes back into the oven for about fifteen minutes.

  8. Switch the oven to the broiler setting for about five minutes or until the potatoes are a beautiful golden-brown color. Pull from the oven and allow to cool.

With Her, Part II

for part I…

Last week, I wrote about a bright pink suit reminiscent of season three Samantha Jones power dressing. I would love to break out that acid hibiscus shade, especially as the fiber content is a non-synthetic blend. Lately, I have been much more cognizant of polyester crepe masquerading as upscale wool crepe. Brands attempting to con consumers into purchasing something that is not nearly as high end as the former would lead the latter to believe just leaves a bad taste in my mouth. Silver lining: reviewing the fiber content tag has been the most effective way of turning myself off from shopping during the moratoriums of 2018 and 2019.

Like the acid pink suit, this one is also 95 percent wool with five percent spandex. Would you please scope out this vibrant periwinkle shade? If it does not say, “I mean business,” then I don’t know what. This color is available in the trouser pant, cropped pant, and pencil skirt and all of them, as well as the coordinating blazer, were produced and currently in stock in tall. #andtheangelssang

Like I said last week, and two years ago, when presented the option, one should purchase all of the options suit options available: skirt, dress, blazer, pant, etc. We spend most of our life at the office (just me? sure does feel like it), so we may as well look put together and chic af while there. Wearing a well fitted suit speaks to the competency of the person wearing it and yet it is one of the easiest ensembles to put together. Yes people, this means bringing all of the pieces to a tailor for fit customization. Upfront costs in procuring the suit and making the necessary adjustments will pay off dividends.

 

blazer // full length trouser pants // skirt // cropped pant

Wavy Navy

All too often I forget that standard length clothing brands can work on a taller frame. I do not pay attention to brands that cater to different lengths enough. This year I set out on being more open minded when it comes to trying new brands and new styles.

I decided to try Duffield Lane. The brand sent me two dresses. The verdict? I should have shopped there earlier. This first dress is called the Sheffield and I was sold on the white trim on the wavy hem and the three quarters sleeves. (Also, it is available in mini me versions.) Though it was the shorter of two dresses, I did not find it especially revealing especially for the forthcoming warmer spring weather. The fabric is stretchy, but certainly not flimsy or as thick as ponte knit.

With shorter dresses, I tend to wear a flat shoe. It is the oldest proportion trick in the book and conversely why I always wear heels with pencil skirts and other long hemline skirts and dresses. Typically, I would wear the Sheffield dress with a pair of Jack Rogers or my navy Tory Burch Minnie flats, but I went with my lower height navy wedges.

Second to the Sheffield dress is my trench coat. This is an item that I could not sacrifice length. Before finding a trench coat that was made in tall, I just never loved any style that I tried. While my trench coat is no longer available in tall, several other trench coats including three tall ones. You are welcome.

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Shopping Moratorium 2019 | 49/316

I skipped all online shopping this week.

I did brick and mortar shopping over the weekend. My husband and I ran out of our go-to lavender body wash. In lieu of ordering a replacement reinforcement bottle, he picked up some questionable Old Spice Nomad body wash. For the past week I have smelled like a man. The body wash has a strong scent and it is not particularly sensitive to the skin. I had to buy a replacement.

I have been trying to use cleaner products. Lush seemed like a great place to start. Though more expensive than my typical pick, I purchased the Plum Rain along with the Scrub Scrub Scrub body scrub. Both smell great and both are vegan.

I splurged on the bougie candle. I love the vanilla blueberry scent and because it is so dang expensive, I only splurge on one once every so often. I think the last one I bought was this time last year. Just let me live, okay?

shower gel // shower scrub // candle

Sartorial Sustainability Sunday: Must-Listen Podcasts

last week…

For the past six months, I been a subscriber to the Glossy podcasts. Each of these podcasts last thirty minutes and have a heavy hitter guest from the retail, brand, or tech sectors. Usually some sort of combination of the above. Per the website:

The Glossy Podcast is a half-hour, no-holds-barred conversation about how technology is transforming the fashion, luxury and beauty industries with the people making change happen in the space. Featured guests discuss the challenges of navigating an increasingly complex digital environment.

This past week, the Glossy hosted Anthony Marino from ThredUp. As someone who has frequently shopped ThredUp, I was interested in his insights and the future of the company. I enjoyed it so much that I dug into the Glossy podcast archives and found the podcasts for two competitors of ThredUp: Poshmark and TheRealReal. Tracy Sun represented Poshmark and Rati Levesque represented TheRealReal. I highly recommend listening not only to these podcast episodes, but also the originating episodes circa 2016.

These companies speak to sustainability as they contribute to the secondary market, which is an embodiment of the reuse principle of the environmental sustainability trifecta. Reduce, reuse, recycle – remember?

With Her, Part I

Don’t you just love a pant suit? There is no other better way to express you mean business than a monochrome head-to-toe lewk. Black, navy, and gray suits are tired. I said it. I meant it. I am not taking it back. While I could get down with a pinstripe or a glen plaid on a suit of one of those colors, I think it is more of a power move to pick a suit in a iconoclastic shade.

As I stated prior, two years ago to be exact, I think that when one invests in a suit, one should purchase every coordinating piece in order to maximize options. Buy both the double button and the single button version of the blazer! Buy the pencil skirt! Buy the cropped pant and the full-length trouser pant! Buy the dress! One could make enough combinations for an entire week with the above pieces. It is the ultimate in uniform dressing.

In that same post from two years ago, I also bitched about the use of excessive synthetic fabrics for suiting. Of anything hanging in one’s closet, suiting should be made with the chicest fibers. This suit qualifies as such. With the exception of its lining, this suit is nearly entirely lightweight wool.

All three of the linked suit pieces are available in either tall or long. I am not sure why the brand does not go universal with the sizing vernacular but rest assured that if they are proportionate on my 6′-2″, the pieces will work on nearly any tall gal. How often are you able to find a statement pink suit in tall sizing? Oh wait, never, otherwise I would already have it in my closet.

While the pants are marked down, sub-$100, the blazer is full price and a bit of an investment.

set

blazer // cropped pants // full length trouser pants (not shown)

Generals Tso Chicken // @2souschefs

“Cravings are hell. Even the most dedicated clean eater experiences cravings for something that strays from their plan. The desire to enjoy an entire pint of ice cream in a single sitting, a big slice of pizza from the local delivery place, or a loaded bacon cheeseburger is inherent in everyone. The biggest pitfall for the two of us is Chinese takeout. So when the latest craving hit, I challenged myself to make a General Tso Chicken dish that hit all the spots to satisfy the cravings and to make it a healthier option to not distract us from our goal of a lighter lifestyle. 

Some of the most obvious changes necessary are the frying of the chicken and the vegetables that, generally, are lacking every time we get our takeout container. We swapped out the unknown cut of chicken from the restaurant for a protein packed chicken breast and added shiitake mushrooms, green peppers, and a generous amount of broccoli to the mix. We swapped out the rice for soba noodles. The thin, spaghetti-like buckwheat noodle has a great taste that usually goes into soups, but are versatile enough to go into non-broth-based dishes and they can be found at almost every grocer. Healthier, yes. Delicious, absolutely.

This recipe serves four for dinner.

A quality cutting board will last a lifetime if properly cared for and will make your life in the kitchen that much more enjoyable. We bought our wooden cutting board as a wedding gift to ourselves and it has lasted eight years. Lots of space for you and your knife to work. Just make sure you have a damp cloth underneath it to prevent it from slipping around while you are cutting.” – Joe 

Ingredients

  • 1.5 lbs boneless, skinless chicken breast – large diced
  • 1 medium yellow onion – medium diced
  • 2 clove garlic – minced
  • 1 green bell pepper – seeded, medium diced
  • 1 large crown broccoli – cut into bite sized florets
  • 8 shiitake mushroom caps – stem removed, sliced
  • 0.25 cup General Tso Sauce
  • 3 tablespoon tamari
  • 1 tablespoon Thai sweet chili sauce
  • 1/3 pack soba noodles

Directions

  1. In a large skillet set to medium high heat, add two tablespoon of organic olive oil and the chicken.
  2. Cook the chicken until golden brown. Remove from the pan and place on a paper towel lined plate.
  3. In a 3-quart sauce pot, bring salted water to a boil. Once boiling, add the soba noodles and cook until soft (for about five minutes) or as per package directions.
  4. Once the noodles are cooked, drain and toss with olive oil to coat.
  5. Turn the heat on the skillet to medium and add all the vegetables to the pan. Continue to cook the veggies until soft and translucent.
  6. Add the chicken back to the skillet and add all the liquid ingredients, bring to a simmer.
  7. Plate the noodles into a bowl and the chicken and veggies over the top.

Don’t Book Back // Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by @hollymadison

last read…

Over the past two weeks, I read Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison while on the elliptical. Thinspiration, amirite?

Y’all, that was actually a sarcastic remark. Throughout the book, Holly discusses the body dysmorphia she experienced. As someone who thought she was chubby, circa 2002 (it has been awhile, people), at 6’2″ and 145, I identified.

Holly Madison gets in some zingers. I laughed out loud when she mentioned that the ever notorious Hugh Hefner’s bedroom suite looked like a set of Hoarders or as she put it, “Whore-ders.” I love that wordplay.

She discussed how diligently HMH documented his life by way of scrapbooking. “He was so fastidious about his public image and about having every moment in his life documented and recorded in a way that showed his life the way he wanted it shown.” Upon reading this, I thought of oh, so many bloggers who only show the parts of their life that is essentially everyone else’s highlight reel. Vintage scrapbooking sounds a lot like contemporary Instagram-ing, right?

When there is a story that feels super one-sided, I get suspicious. I wanted to believe that all of the tea that she was spilling was true, but save for Bridget Marquardt, she did not have many positive memories of anyone. I would have liked to purchase the seasons of Girls Next Door and trace her narrative from the book with that of the television show for further context. Unfortunately, the Girls Next Door is not available on iTunes, Netflix, or Hulu.

Would I read it again? Yes. Holly Madison’s book was juicy as eff and though I felt slightly suspicious of how she painted herself and others, I loved her end message. What was it? You will have to read it to find out.

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Down the Rabbit Hole: Curious Adventures and Cautionary Tales of a Former Playboy Bunny by Holly Madison