The Ball’s About to Drop

Are you loving the fresh feeling of a new year that begins in just a matter of hours? I am because I’ve just about met the goals I told you about last week.

(1) completely reorganizing our kitchen, thanks to an article in the January issue of Real Simple that motivated me to lug the ricecooker we never use up to the attic on Christmas Eve; Done! (Even our Christmas decorations are packed away.)

(2) writing a roundup for Kurvendiskussionen of all the New York City bra fitting options I’ve tried (I promised it to her last April and really, really, really don’t want to enter the New Year without having finished it); and As of this moment, I have 5 hours and 35 minutes to complete this. It WILL be finished, and you’ll be seeing a link to it in a reading roundup soon.

(3) emailing former customers to see if they’d like me to add a French blue shirt in their size to the production order I placed last week. How about you? If you order one of my shirts in the new French blue by January 2 (before my sewing contractor begins cutting the fabric), you can receive $20 off when you enter the code FRENCHBLUENEWYEAR at checkout.  Done!

Have a wonderful New Year’s Eve, everyone!

Off the Cuff

Can you tell I’m having a hard time with clever titles while Off the Rack is on hiatus? Leah is enjoying time with her family this week, and I hope you are as well. She’ll be back in the new year with reviews of her new Biu Biu dress and Cleo by Panache bra.

In the meantime, has anyone ever tried Lilyette bras? I discovered that they go up to an American G cup when I clicked the Macy’s lingerie sale ad that you see on the far low right of this blog. At a little over $20 each after the discount, plus free shipping, they’re worth a try–if only for a quick review before I return them. If you decide to try them as well, please click through from this blog and I’ll get a nominal commission. Here’s what I’m ordering:

I realize this is a minimizer (boo!), but it reminds me of that cute Fantasie bra with buttons at the center gore that I can’t remember the name of right now.

This one actually looks promising . . . it’s a 3-part cup and doesn’t claim to minimize.

Finally, I don’t have ANY hopes for this one, but curiosity forces me to try it and compare it to the others. The single review on the Macy’s site says, “This bra crushed me even though it was the right size”.

I’m also slipping a Wacoal Alluring in black into my shopping basket because it’s a sure thing for me, even though I only get free shipping on it.

Here’s another site where I’ve been procrastinating from my end-of-year goals: Land’s End. This basic little knit dress is just $20!! And one of the biggest criticisms in the reviews is that it’s baggy on top. Yes, please! If it’s too baggy, I may use it for a blog post about alterations. It’s the kind of dress I’ve really been wanting more of this past week–easy to wear and accessorize.

I’ve added several other items to my basket. I see two possible outcomes from this order: (1) “Wow! Land’s End is better than I remembered it!” or (2) “Wow. Land’s End is just as unflattering as I remembered it.” I’ll keep you posted. (By the way, there’s no commission for me if you click through to their website from Hourglassy.)

Happy Birthday Thoughts via Diana Vreeland

Giving myself a pedicure this morning brought to mind a Diana Vreeland story that has saved you and me from my original idea of trying to come up with 47 thoughts to share on my 47th birthday. According to a model in the documentary The Eye Must Travel, Vreeland insisted that even if you’re wearing closed shoes and boots, your toes should be polished–it makes a difference in how you carry yourself. Since I was in the middle of my November OOTD challenge when I saw the documentary, of course I applied it to my own situation–even if you’re working from home all day and no one will see you, you should be dressed to go out–it makes a difference in how you carry yourself. (Of course, I love that Vreeland was usually in her bathrobe until noon.)

It’s not the actual pedicure or clothing that matters, but the principle of valuing ourselves. For some of us, a pedicure makes no difference, but a beautiful bra and matching underwear do. What hidden self-care routines do you engage in that help you to value yourself during the day? If you can’t think of any, perhaps the new year would be a good time to decide to try something.

From the documentary itself, I found no direct applications to the challenges of being big-boobed. After all, Vreeland came of age during the Jazz Age, idolized Russian ballerinas and is credited with discovering Twiggy. If anything, she presided over the flat-chested fashion legacy that is the bane of our shopping existence, but I find it impossible to hold anything against her after learning more about her. Her own mother would say to her, “It’s too bad you have such a beautiful sister and you’re so incredibly ugly.” Vreeland later said that “Reed [Vreeland’s husband] made me feel beautiful no matter what my mother made me think.”  Vreeland’s own unique looks must have caused her to value the original in others. For example, when she featured Barbra Streissand in Vogue, she highlighted Streisand’s profile.

As one interviewee put it, Vreeland “made an asset of peoples’ faults,” and Diane Von Furstenburg said, “She saw things in people before they even saw it themselves.”

If you were to see the documentary, you might be struck, as I was, by Vreeland’s refusal to acknowledge negative or sad things in her life. She even wore white to her husband’s funeral. This is why I take her perspective with a huge dose of salt, but her original views and expressions can’t help but buoy a person up. For a better idea of what I mean, check out Into the Gloss’s collection of 50 Vreeland quotes or Fashion’s Most Wanted’s favorite Vreeland sayings. I dare you to choose just one favorite.

Actually, it’s quite appropriate to bring Vreeland up on my birthday and after last week’s post on aging. She reminds me of reader Jame’s aunt that she described in the comments to that post:

I want to be like my aunt when I am heading into elderly years. She’ll be turning 70 next month and still has so much fun. Taking ballroom dancing, telling me what movies to see, going to shows. And staying active.

Vreeland used to tell her son, “Timmy, I’d love to introduce you to all my friends on the West Coast — but they’re all so young!” It makes sense that she also said, “I have a terrible time remembering exactly when my birthday is. Age is totally boring….” Age itself may be boring, but Vreeland reminds us that being alive is absolutely wonderful.

Relishing the Final Week of 2012

I hope you had a beautiful Christmas yesterday. Now that the anticipation and excitement of the day is over, I’m enjoying the opportunity to focus on what I want to finish before the new year begins. It may or may not involve a post on Hourglassy tomorrow–I haven’t made up my mind yet–but it does involve:

(1) completely reorganizing our kitchen, thanks to an article in the January issue of Real Simple that motivated me to lug the ricecooker we never use up to the attic on Christmas Eve;

(2) writing a roundup for Kurvendiskussionen of all the New York City bra fitting options I’ve tried (I promised it to her last April and really, really, really don’t want to enter the New Year without having finished it); and

(3) emailing former customers to see if they’d like me to add a French blue shirt in their size to the production order I placed last week. How about you? If you order one of my shirts in the new French blue by January 2 (before my sewing contractor begins cutting the fabric), you can receive $20 off when you enter the code FRENCHBLUENEWYEAR at checkout.

What would you like to finish in this space between Christmas and New Year’s?