Monday, February 19, 2018

The Best Bathing Suits

The worst part of the summer season is having to try on bathing suits. Let's face it, none of us have the model body we'd like to have and well, when we put on a swim suit, all our flaws, our lumps, our untoned flesh, well, it's all out there.  We can run and hide in jeans and sweats but not in a swim suit.

Shopping for the perfect suit is a chore, but I do it in the confines of my own home.  Why present yourself to the world when you don't have to?

There are many stores out there that will let you order suits, ship them for free and ship them back for free. I did this a few years ago and bought the perfect suit at J Crew. I should have bought several but alas, my mistake.

One secret - learn what styles look good on you and stick with it.  I only wear a one-piece suit these days and backside coverage is important.

Net a Porter
There are some interesting suits on Net-a-Porter with free shipping and great customer service.  Once you shop here you'll understand.

I love this navy suit. This style is very forgiving and I love the back!



This suit is a little pricey but oh so cute!


If you can wear black and white, this DVF suit is so cute:





J Crew
I've had my eye on this suit which comes in navy or red and love the back.  I'd prefer straps but this one is so cute and different.  The horizontal top is my style.


This is the suit I have seen so far that I like the best for my body type although I am not in love with the colors. Navy is the best choice but I wish it came in some prettier colors. This may not work on someone with a large bust.


I love the color of this suit and the bow on the shoulder. I wonder if this would be comfortable.  But it's very pretty.


If you prefer a classic tank this one is adorable in the black and white check.

(Tank)

This suit has a love it or hate it review on the J Crew web site the color below is not to my liking but the white one with black ties or the navy one is really cute. Worth a try.
Tory Burch
Tory Burch suits are well-made and classic in styling but they can be expensive so I try to shop her on sale. This gingham suit comes in red or navy.  Very cute!


Trina Turk
Love the bright colors of Trina Turk's suits.  This one is so cute and I love the back of it.




I love all of these suits.  Don't wait until spring to shop as the good ones sell out quickly.  Happy hunting!  May you find the perfect suit.

Sunday, February 18, 2018

Dressing for the Races

It's late February but it's not too late to plan for spring events like going to the races.  Whether you are planning a trip to Keeneland in April (yes) or even better, a trip to the Derby, or just a Derby party, give yourself plenty of time to find that special outfit.

I prefer to wear dresses unless the weather is horrible, then I revert to a Barbour Jacket and an Hermes scarf.  Luckily, the weather has been great for all of my trips to Keeneland so far.  But that coat fetish comes in handy as I almost always need a coat.

This gingham dress from Brooks Brothers is so classic and cute. It comes also in pale pink.  I'd pair it with a navy tweed coat and a pop of color with an Hermes scarf.


Add an Hermes scarf (buy from Poshmark) - a great source for gently used or even new Hermes scarves for a fraction of the price.

(Hermes Scarf)

Add a feminine coat just in case:

 (Coat)

(Coat)

If you are a Medium, you might want to consider this new coat (with tags) for a bargain on Poshmark.  I love this look!


I also like this floral dropped waist dress which screams spring. It can also be paired with the navy coat for a more finished look. Those shoes are awful. This one needs the right hat too.



 Add this straw boater for a more finished look:

Or this one:


Sara Campbell dresses are so cute and I adore this cute black dress with a white collar. This would also work well for weddings and graduations.  Love the collar, the silk, the texture.



Saturday, February 17, 2018

Winter Wardrobe Bargains

While I want to think spring there are still some winter bargains out there and who doesn't love a bargain? I've been stalking a few stores, waiting for a few more price drops and while sometimes the sizes are limited, these deals are too good to pass up.

I've had my eye on this dress since the holidays and was tempted to buy it for next winter now that's it's an additional 25 percent off but sadly the sizes are going like hot cakes. 100 percent wool, lined, classic, not too short, now $118.


Another dress worth buying now and saving for a winter party, this floral jacquard sheath is now $111 (from $298) and offers another well-made classic styled dress that you can wear for years. the back dips down into a slight "v" which dresses it up a bit more. But less is more with this dress which is why I love it.  Why they paired this lovely dress with those shoes is a mystery.


This is the cutest holiday dress and if this style fits your body type there's no reason not to buy now and save this for next season, also from Brooks Brothers. This is from their Red Fleece collection.

Another classic from Brooks Brothers. This cotton shift has been drastically reduced and will be perfect for spring. 

If you are willing to gamble on a final sale item, this blue linen dress will be perfect for spring. Now $89.40 reduced from $300.  It's worth taking a chance and having the dress tailored to fit at that price. And what's up with those shoes?


It's getting difficult to find wool turtlenecks and this one is reduced drastically.  These are staples of my winter wardrobe.


Another classic wool dress to save for the holidays.


This navy dress will be perfect for spring and fall.  This is Audrey Hepburn.  Love it!!!!


These Sorel boots have been reduced to around $50 if you wear a smaller size. I had been stalking these but my size is now sold out.  Great deal right now at J Crew.




I bought this sweater for my mother for Christmas and now it is greatly reduced, about 75 percent.  I loved it then and I still love it.  It's cotton so it can be a spring staple as well as for fall and early winter.  


I added this lovely sweater to my winter wardrobe and it's so much nicer in real life.  A wardrobe staple for sure.  The winter bargains at Talbots continue to amaze, and everything is now 75% off or more. Shop the sale here.

And all Ann Taylor sale styles are an extra 50 percent off. Full-priced items are 40 percent off. Love this cute black dress!

This navy embellished sweater will be a great addition to my winter wardrobe for 2018 and 2019.  Navy is the new black!  It's greatly reduced at Ann Taylor.


Happy Shopping.  Remember, the more you shop the more you save!

Friday, February 16, 2018

The Death of the Horse Show

There's been a lot of banter in recent years about the dwindling attendance at horse shows across the country except at the upper levels of the sport.  The Winter Equestrian Festival (WEF, Palm Beach) is booming.  Upperville (in Virginia) hits new numbers every year.  Devon is still as popular as ever.  The Hampton Classic (on tony Long Island around Labor Day) gets more sponsors every year. So while the upper end of the sport continues to do well (where generally money is no object for anyone in attendance) the rest of the sport is suffering.  Horse shows appear to be dying a slow and painful death in many parts of the country.


So why is this happening?  The easy answer is cost.  Many can't afford to dump $1000 a weekend at a horse show.  The governing bodies of the sport (USEF and the USHJA) have no appreciation for the cost of owning a horse and horse showing.  When you attend these shows you spend a lot of money before your horse ever hits the show grounds:  office fees, EMT fees, drug testing fees, Zone fees, and facility fees (yes, in some cases, borrowed from our friends in health care).  It's mind boggling and the lists seem to grow every year. 


The entry fees for horse shows even at the lower levels seem to increase every year. Then there are braiders' fees (don't get me started about why it costs $60 to braid a horse's mane for one day) for rated shows which can easily top a few hundred dollars  for a show.  So for most of us, just the sheer cost of attending, braiding, shipping, trainer fees, hotels, meals, gas money, well, it is a significant expense.  

The local shows too are suffering attendance flight.  Every year the numbers seem to fall for many divisions - often the 3'0 and 3'3 hunter divisions, while "beginner novice" and "pre-beginner novice" (and no, I am not making this stuff up - these divisions do exist) seem to have enough entries to fill even though I question why kids jumping 6 inch jumps are "prepared" to horse show. We started at 2'6 or 3'0 (dependent on pony size - small or large) when I was coming along - you either mastered 2'6 or 3'0 and showed or you stayed home.  But that's another story.



But I think there is more going on here than just the exorbitant cost because we often find a way to do the things we love - we drive older cars, shop at Goodwill, eat Ramen Noodles.  There are ways to cut corners and save money in the long run so there's the money to horse show.  So for those that really want to do it, they tend to find a way.

Time is an issue. Owning, riding and competing horses is an all-consuming sport.  It takes huge amounts of time to travel to the barn, to lesson, to ride and to show.  You have to be able to do it frequently. Riding is not something you can conquer well without a significant time commitment and I personally think many are not willing to make that commitment today. I rode four to five days a week as a child. There is just no substitute for this.  You can't run track, play soccer, hockey, swim, etc. and ride and ride well unless you are an incredibly gifted rider. And even then, riding uses a set of muscles not used for other sports.  You have to want to do it.


The suburban sprawl of America has changed our landscape so that there are fewer and fewer facilities available especially if you live in a metropolitan area.  It may take an hour or more to get to a barn to ride. This also has taken it's toll on the number of horse shows - there are fewer of them because there are fewer facilities to host them. 

As a rider, owner, competitor, I think it is important that we support our local circuits with our time or our money or both. Volunteer to help at shows if you can't compete.  Attend the annual awards' banquets.  It all makes a difference.  One day this may all be gone and it may happen sooner than we all think!

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Bargain Belgians

Belgians are a staple of my wardrobe (and I'd love to own them in every color) but they are expensive.  Every now and then a good copy will pop up, although no one has been able to make them as comfortable as the original.  Talbots had a model last season.  J Crew currently has a very cute mule version (it's one of the better knock-offs I've seen) as well as a full shoe model. Colors are limited and I am waiting for a sale but if you love the Belgian look but not the price, then this might be a good option.


The loafers look a bit pointy-toed but they are cute. Check out the website for more colors.


Happy Valentine's Day!!!!

Tuesday, February 13, 2018

Draper Gucci

My self-imposed February freeze (not buying any clothing or accessories) is getting more difficult by the day.  I have not shopped Draper James (Reese Witherspoon's brand) but her clothes seem to be getting cuter by the day.  This is so Gucci-esque to me, at a fraction of the price.  Is this not too cute for words?  And many sizes are sold out.


This sweater is equally cute and not sold out, yet.





Love it all, ya'll.
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