An Object Of Desire: Chic, Packable, Sun Hat

Sun. Ahhhhhh.

Followed immediately by, “Yikes! My skin!” I’m going to propose that one thing to spend on is a sun hat you actually like to wear. Made of raffia, extremely comfortable, complete with a little neoprene buffer inside on the front of the headband to stave off itching. The infinitesimal luxuries of life.

Packable Sun Hat, Brimmed Straw Hat

Helen Kaminksi, via Nordstrom. I got mine in Kauai, where I wore it ever so happily every day.

Of course, there’s always our friend Target too. Choices are good, in moderation, just like sunlight.

When A Brand Surprises

Last week I posted some ideas for fancy dresses under $250, at A Practical Wedding. And of course Sky’s The Limit, Net-a-Porter Let Me At It is easy, at least in our imaginations.

But if you’ve got a real event coming up, you might want some other options. You might want lavish, but at less cost than a small car.

Mother of the Bride, Over 50, Long

Enter Teri Jon. Their slogan is “The perfect dress at the right price and the right size.” Sold often in the Special Occasion salon at Saks Fifth Avenue. When their representative first contacted me about working together, I confess the fashionista in me cocked an eyebrow. But when I looked at their goods, I was surprised.

While the brand may not scream glamor, the clothes do. Or at least they speak in dulcet tones of sophistication with a soupçon of comfort. And the company is working to modernize the brand, just as we, their customers, are doing for the stereotypes of 40 and 50+ women.


Their representative and I worked out an arrangement in which they loaned me a couple of dresses to show you. I get to play at dress up, Teri Jon gets to meet my fantastic readers, and one of you will win a gold dress. Yes, Teri Jon are hosting generous giveaway complete with our usual story-telling.

I thought I’d emulate the traditional lady pose here, hand often on sofa, in front of a painting. Of course, in place of Schumacher-covered splendor and a family portrait we have Pottery Barn’s Pearce sofa and Lily Stockman’s Her Favorite Time Of Day.  Never mind, fancy dress is 50% imagination. The silver lace number above allows room for my non-imaginary midsection.


I didn’t want to take it off. Couldn’t decide if my princess name is Marguerite or Katrina. Worn with crystal-toed Jimmy Choos, gold family bracelet and antique Swedish chandelier earrings, brown-pink Armani lipstick, and a crown braid. Braids are all the rage, and many blowout places will do them for less than the traditional updo. Plus they survive a sleep or two.


Teri Jon also offers cocktail dresses. This one, in a silk gazar, cried out for 40s styling. Hey, the crown braid still works! Just switch out the muted pink lip for a bright red by MAC, and presto change-o Kiss Me Sailor! Earrings by Vicente Agor, and Tan-go ankle strap Mary Janes by Valentino, via Nordstrom.


I pulled an old velvet coat out of the closet. Old as in I bought it in London in 1979. Yes it has some gnarly shoulder pads. Jaeger. Another brand due for modernization, but I digress.




And finally, the dress Teri Jon is giving away. Since it will be yours, I traded the living room for a blank canvas. The land of off-white backgrounds, doors that lead we don’t know where, and Internet cabling. Also known as the Back Hall. Remember I told you my house needs painting? Yup.

The dress, however, shines. I’m wearing Beladora earrings, a gold chain necklace wrapped twice around my wrist because I liked the way the end of it dangled free, and blue-green beaded René Caovilla slingbacks bought for my brother’s wedding. I also added NARS bronzer. The dress insisted.


You can see that even when I’m not holding The Sideways Pose That Slimmed Goliath, the built-in taffeta-sash creates a nice shape.


The lace is interesting, almost chrysanthemum-patterned.


The sequins throw a pattern of light wherever you walk. Notice the glints on the wall, like domestic fireflies. You bring your own red carpet lighting.


The dress comes in sizes 2-18 and is made of polyester and nylon. The giveaway is open in this case only to US readers. Winner will be announced Monday, March 24th.

So please tell us a story of the first time you wore a long dress. You can define “first time” loosely. For me, the tale involves a Houston debutante party. One of the straps of my chiffon halter dress was apparently a little loose, as I danced briefly in a full Janet Jackson. Not to be repeated. Luckily all the dresses here stay put.

Do tell.


No compensation was received for this post. Beladora now sponsors Privilege with an ad in the sidebar. Affiliate links included may generate commissions.
Self-funded hair by Yajaira at Halo, a local salon found here.

Ines de le Fressange Collaboration at UNIQLO

Ines Fressange for UNIQLO

Today marks the US debut of the collaboration between Ines de la Fressange and UNIQLO.  The former model. and soon to be fashion maven has put her name to a collection of something like 30 pieces. Chinos, cotton lawn button fronts, tees. Hello. And that little number she’s thrown on so fetchingly above might be the “workman” jacket I’ve been looking for. Unfortunately, by 6:32am PDT today, it had sold out. I’ll be making a pilgrimage to the San Francisco store this week. Coming soon to a multi-story box with rainbow staircase near you.

I had never been one for style icons, until I retired and was free to dress however I pleased. Absent constraints, it’s helpful to have a guidepost. And Ines, I propose, is the Sturdy Gal par excellence, albeit taller, thinner, and more Française than most of us.

For other thoughts on the collection, try That’s Not My Age, and Silk Path Diary. If you’ve bought anything yourself, I’d love to hear your assessment.

The Lark Finds Mattress Help, Or, Saturday Morning at 8:55am

I am now and have always been a morning person.

I love what happens when I wake. While I might not actually throw my covers off, jump out of bed, and bound across the floor, I could. The back of my mind hums happily,”Well isn’t THIS great!”

In the morning everything seems possible. No, that’s not it. More like I don’t mind whatever might be impossible. Whatever is, it’s the best. I experience small details as exquisite.

By 3pm or so things change. Worry creeps in. An unsettled feeling, as though my parents might leave me with a mean babysitter. As though I might get lost in the library stacks. As though I might fail to meet someone’s expectations – I don’t know whose.

We don’t have to talk about that now.

I wonder how it feels for you owls. You know they use the term “owl” for night-lovers, right? No. I don’t mean vampires. I mean regular honest to god eat-a-sandwich-with-cheese people. We day types are “larks.” Owls, if your well-being grows throughout the day, how on earth do you ever go to bed?

Here’s an anecdote, maybe useful for larks and owls both.

A couple of years ago I suffered from anxiety waking. It could last more than an hour. Actual tossing, actual turning, misery. Morning people live for a good night’s rest. It’s like balsamic vinegar on strawberries, or salt on caramel. The sweet grows sweeter. I even go to bed at night a tad hungry, so as to enjoy my breakfast as much as possible.

Something had to be done.

So, first, I stopped drinking more than 1 glass of wine a day. That helped. Then I stopped working. That helped too.

But one more thing. I had always preferred a hard bed, until I spent a night at my sister’s. She had long ago made the switch to memory foam.

Fireworks. Albeit all dark, all blue in the dreams of night. I slept without waking for the first time in years.

We didn’t change out everything here at home, immediately. New mattresses are expensive, and I didn’t know if Significant Husband would take to the new feel. One step at a time. We found a memory foam topper at Costco for minimal cost. If we were doing a research study we’d say the sleep data from my sister’s house has been replicated. High fives all around.

One caution, this particular material off-gasses for close to 2 months. Best left in the garage or an empty room, until the chemical smell dissipates. Then rise, and shine. Even shining is better with sleep.

I still wonder, what makes someone a lark versus an owl? But for now I’m going to sit here in my glorious chair and listen to the exquisite birds chirping. Then I might go outside and prune my beautiful hedge and watch the dew shine on the dark leaves of my dear rose bushes. After all, this feeling won’t last forever.

An Object Of Desire: Velvet Blazers

So, if you’re going to wend your way through the world in jeans, tees, and sneakers, you just might dread the Full On Schlump. What to do? You’ve got several tools, but a jacket is one of the best.  Humor me here. If moto jackets can called “cutting edge,” we might think of the blazer as a screwdriver. Valuable, but requiring the perfect size to function well.

Which makes velvet blazers a Phillips, you never have one when you need it. Pause for cymbals. With that, we will cease to torture metaphors and move on to actual fashion. How do you guys feel about a velvet blazer? I’m in covet mode. A great way to play 60s/70s/80s vibe without huge bold prints or outrageous silhouettes. As perfect for nippy East Coast and Midwestern spring days, as for California’s cool summer nights.

Besides, even net-à-porter says this is the season of the trophy jacket.

I love this red one from Zadig & Voltaire, via Farfetch. Those covered buttons. With GAP boyfriend jeans and a pale blue tee? Chandelier earrings? Yes? Would also totally work over a little dress.


Or this from Alexander McQueen. In bottle green/where you have you been?/fit to be seen. Brings on the poesy, yes? An ode to Edwardian sleeve puffs.


Good news is, velvet blazers come in budget versions, in plus sizes, in many colors. Anyone can swashbuckle. Click the arrows and cue the whistling, because really, anyone can.


A Most Astonishing Sale At The Outnet

The clearance sale is on at the Outnet. Amazing deals. As in 80% off. I now own this, to wear with white jeans in the summer.


Silk satin, $85 down from $425. I just hope that really is a blueish tone in the pattern. If not, I’ll give it to my mom who looks great in peach.

Thanks to Grechen for the heads up. She aalways knows the best deals on the best stuff and you should follow her if you do not already. BTW, she says this sale sells out quickly.

Who says I can’t enable a good impulse buy now and again?


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A Practical Wedding’s Mother of the Bride (or Groom) Dress Roundup

Here are some ideas for Mother of the Bride or Groom dresses, under $250. Quite promising, I’d say.

A million thanks to Meg and her crew at APW. Always a pleasure to visit.

LPC is at A Practical Wedding Today

Today I’m over a A Practical Wedding. This morning, you’ll find photos from my wedding. This afternoon, I heard from a little bird, might bring my choices for Mother of the Bride dresses. In the under $25o category. If my intelligence is correct, I’ll post that link too, when it’s up.

And yes, Significant Husband is anonymous on purpose. Thank you for your understanding.

Saturday Morning at 8:17am

Thinking this morning about Malaysian Airlines Flight MH370. I suppose there’s still a very slight chance of survivors, but my thoughts go out to all those with loved ones on board.


Wearing Color That Doesn’t Pop, With Your Neutrals


In the continued quest for Polished Tomboy getups, I’m mixing old and new. I’m also building outfits based on neutrals, livening them up just a bit with color. Subtle color that would refuse to pop even if given free tickets to a Beyonce concert. In this case, I relied on new sneakers in a deep (and not too yellow) forest green suede.

And my ankles. Cover the ankles in this outfit and all hope of polish is lost.

Old pieces include: a scratchy but useful Michael Kors peacoat from Costco; gray tee from Old Navy, Etro man’s scarf from Neiman Marcus via my inimitable brother.


You’ll notice a blur, above. Tomboys like to move. They also like to get down to basics, winding up at some point in just jeans, tee, and sneakers. That’s why they wear dangly earrings as often as possible, if they are aiming for polish. These by Vicente Agore,


Gray braid courtesy a couple of decades, hair salon fatigue, and an ineradicable attraction to the subversive.


Above, Citizens of Humanity Boyfriend Jeans, and a pair of green suede Supergas, via Barneys. You will see in the Privilege-Go-Round detail, the edges are pinked. Pinked, my friends.


The earrings I bought, in the wedding aesthetic  frenzy of Must Wear That And Only That, for my rehearsal dinner. But the gods were forgiving of fools, and I now find them very useful. “Polished” Optical Quartz, indeed.

Here are some links so we can be twins. Hey, even subversives want friends. Where the items are too old to be available, I’ve included comparables. One thing, before we go. If I were to do it again I’d invest in a good, soft, part cashmere peacoat. The occasionally itchy back of my neck would like me much better.