I look for any excuse to wear a hat, they’re so satisfyingly British. Hats are the main reason I want to go to the Kentucky Derby someday, so I was pleased when I heard there would be a Kentucky Derby Party at Mom 2.0 Summit, where I was speaking last week.
Here’s me doing a bang-on impression of my grandmother in my travel hat:
I’m so silent-screen furious.
The hat is technically the remains of one of those giant feather/afro wigs that I got for $10 at the flea market. Here’s what it looked like originally. I flipped it inside out, put a plate down on the middle of it, and cut around to see if I could get out the cute little poof in the center without the whole thing falling apart. It worked.
It’s super lightweight, obviously, and it travels in a tiny cardboard box because the feathers just fluff out when I open the lid. I secure it with little bobby-pin Xs, so I can wear it underneath a chignon, right on top of my head like a fascinator, or over one eye for a more vintage look.
I took photos of my favorite hats from the party, and I wish I’d asked for everyone’s info. If you recognize someone I don’t link to, let me know their name in comments please.
This is Rachel, who runs a toy company (Rachel, I can’t find your card!). She pulled these hydrangeas out of a hotel floral arrangement and just stuck them in her curly hair. What? Hello, genius.
Laura Mayes is my business partner and also one of the founders of Mom 2.0. This is her great-grandmother’s hat, and Laura now lives in her great-grandmother’s house. It’s ok to be jealous of her family hand-me-downs.
I met Kate Nicholson a the first Camp Mighty, and she’s since become a close friend. Kate runs Modern Baby and I’m perpetually asking her where she gets every item of clothing she owns. (This particular evening, she’d borrowed everything she was wearing from Susan Bross, who helps run Camp Mighty and has a nearly identical style to Kate’s.)
This is Stacey Ferguson, founder of the Blogalicious conference for multicultural women in social media, lawyer, and singer for the Black Eyed Peas. (Stacey is the same lady who has been learning American Sign Language on Go Mighty.)
This woman cleverly tucked her business logo in her hatband, newsy style.
Classic. And also? You have a beautiful nose.
I took this of Rebecca before we left our hotel room. She brought it with a bunch of other perfect hats to choose among. This was her grandmother’s, and it’s so well made. I wish I had a shot of the back, it looks like a completely different hat from every angle.
Lindsay Ferrier of Suburban Turmoil saved up for a hat from the queen’s milliner on a recent trip to England. Fancy.
This is Carrie Pacini, the other Mom 2.0 founder. I think this is my favorite shot. I love that her eyes match her hat.
And here we have our winner. Look at this hat, people. I saw it and said, “You’re local.” She concurred. Le sigh. No one travels with hat boxes anymore.
If you like this post, you might also like:
Women’s Belted Cap-Sleeve Knit Dress $25, Perfect Crew Neck Tee $8, The Rockstar Super Skinny Jean $19, Faux Leather Ankle Boots $28, Pop-Color Blazer $40, Softest Sweater Scarf $17, Ankle Strap Flat $25
My closet is out of hand. If your home environment reflects your interior life, apparently a librarian and a go-go dancer are at war in the communal dressing room of my brain.
Fortunately my friend Anna Beth has a system for getting dressed that’s helping me edit things down. She touched on it in her Mighty Closet, but did a whole panel at Camp Mighty outlining how to edit your closet and home. The panel was sponsored by Old Navy, so she chose a bunch of their clothes from this season to illustrate her points. So if you need anything to round your wardrobe out, these are a few of the slides from her presentation. My five favorite tips:
1. Get your classics in place.
This is the part I neglect. You know, the “foundation” part? Once you have basic traditional pieces in place, you have a wardrobe. Stop there, or build, but if you’re having trouble getting dressed, it’s probably because you’re missing some classics. Anna Beth’s are pictured in these slides, but Tim Gunn also has a great wardrobe basics list, and I did a piece on wardrobe classics for The Morning News a while back that’s also a good starting point.
2. “Neutral” isn’t just black.
Classic prints like stripes and polka dots, as well as metallics and animal prints, tend to go with everything and also add a little interest.
3. While you’re building, restrict your palette.
While you’re choosing your basics, decide on a neutral — black, grey, white, navy, beige, brown. This way everything you build on matches everything else. I like navy and slate grey because they go well with each other, gain character as they fade, and make the bright colors I love look more upscale.
4. Enjoy yourself.
This part I have down. I’m an avid thrift store and bargain shopper — so there’s an constant influx of inexpensive, interesting clothes, which I then Gollum until I can’t find the things I actually need. Getting dressed should elevate your mood, but your clothing budget will stretch further if you mostly rely on fun pieces only to punctuate your basics.
5. Embrace the uniform.
Most days, Anna Beth wears some variation on T-shirt, blazer, jeans, scarf, belt, boots, and one piece of accent jewelry. My uniform is usually a dress and some flats with cardigan. Pay attention to the building blocks of the outfit you wear most, and then invest in variations on that theme.
So easy, right? Basics in a neutral color of your choice, add some fun pops as punctuation, and invest in uniform pieces when you get a better feel for your style. Brilliant, Miss Anna Beth.
Photo by JetKat Photo
You’ll find all of Anna Beth’s tips on ABChao.com if you want more info.
And now I have a little piece of nice news. During AB’s Camp Mighty presentation, Old Navy gave each attendee a free pair of jeans and gave us a bunch to donate as well. Go Mighty found out that Larkin Street Youth Services needs both jeans and gift certificates as part of its holiday gift drive for the homeless teens they support. We’re sending certificates for 50 pairs of jeans (thank you Old Navy!), but there’s a whole wish list of simple things they need by December 14.
New clothes are such a confidence booster for everybody. While you’re shopping for yourself, consider throwing a gift certificate or clothes in your cart for the kids and sending them over. And if you do? Please let us know in comments honor-system style, and we’ll enter you to win your own free pair of jeans from Old Navy. Cute stuff for everybody, boom.
I can’t think of Molly Ditmore without picturing her name as an exclamation. MOLLY!
The girl is intrepid.
This photo was taken at Burning Man — which I’ve never attended due to dust, and inhibition.
Molly is less inhibited than me, by a profound margin. But just as fond of costumes. And gin.
We schemed this Mighty Closet for a while because Molly wanted to be back in her favorite clothes after the birth Mabel, whose cheeks cannot be underestimated. I’m teaching her how to say “MOLLY!”
Gaaah! My eyes water with the restraint it takes not to bite her. Hold still you hubbity bundle of perfection! I want to kiss your squealy head!
Now where were we? Before becoming a full-time mama Molly was a couture pattern-maker and seamstress, and before that a writer, editor and PR hustler in Bay Area tech.
Tell us what you’re wearing, sis.
Hi, I’m Molly. (ed: MOLLY!) This jumpsuit is one of my favorite things. It’s on the wavelength of a vintage picnic dress but more modern and urban. I packed it on a trip to New York and had visions of myself walking up Fifth Avenue.
But I couldn’t wear it because no one was home to tie me in.
It’s très chic for sitting in Dolores Park with a large hat or swanning around a pool party in Sonoma. San Francisco summer arrives in late September, so I’m putting this in heavy rotation. Kate Spade sunnies.
I am a fan of bright shoes — bold colors look best against my pale legs. These blue suede sandals from J. Crew have a comfortably low heel.
This is a great day-into-night look. I recently wore this to the playground and then to a Friday Nights at the DeYoung Museum event. For daytime, this is my standard uniform: a short black jacket with the T-shirt plus boots or Keds.
I like a little detailing in my basics. This black Funky Monkey T-shirt with the cut-out shoulders is a nice surprise under a cardigan or jacket. I bought it at the dearly departed Shotwell boutique in downtown San Francisco.
The Hermés scarf was a birthday gift from my husband. The motif at the center is a man and woman wrapped in an embrace.
These scarves are huge and can be tricky to tie (unless you are French and it’s in your DNA). Tying it without looking in a mirror seems to work best for me. The silver cuff bracelet is a souvenir from Cambodia.
The lipstick is Kate Moss for Rimmel London No. 12. I never look at drugstore makeup but there was pretty Kate, luring me in.
This is Moxie, the family dog, blocking your view of my perfect-length J Brand jeans. Fine, Moxie, have at it:
This trompe l’oiel sweater reminds me of the famous Schiaparelli bowknot sweater. Short-sleeve sweaters are great in San Francisco’s nine-months-of-autumn climate. This one came from the cashmere department at Bloomingdale’s, probably the best place to buy an investment-type sweater. Fabric quality seems better than the stuff from lower-end shops (which is likely cat hair judging by the way my eyes react).
I’ve owned this fit ‘n’ flare skirt for at least six years. Floating Shift typewriter key bracelet was purchased at Urban Air Market in Hayes Valley.
The Frye T-strap shoes are also oldies-but-goodies. They are brown suede with a metallic silver coating and they match everything in my closet. I can bike in them, walk in them and dance in them, so they’re as comfortable as 3-inch heels get.
Moxie! Move it.
I made this dress as part of my final line at Apparel Arts’ pattern-making and fashion design program. It’s made from tropical wool which is a dream to sew. French cuffs on the short sleeves are a nod to my favorite womens’ uniforms: 1960s flight attendants and diner waitresses. It gets a lot of play on the ladies-who-lunch circuit.
This dress is obviously retro-inspired so to keep it modern I wear trendy accessories. The gold-tone House of Harlowe 5 Station Necklace from Bell Jar on Valencia Street was such a score. I thought the grey bits were enamel until I wore it and realized it’s inlaid leather.
When I walked out in this Kate Spade dress Maggie said “You must have worn that a hundred times.” No, actually, it’s pretty new. “Well it was worth whatever you paid for it.” Total reinforcement! The moment I tried it on I knew it was a magic dress. Holidays, dinners, weddings… I plan on driving this sucker into the ground. It’s made from a heavy jersey knit fabric and the neckline is crochet.
My grandmother’s pearls are special-occasion jewelry; this dress works equally well with something chunky and modern.
My mother carried this green patent-leather purse as part of her going-away suit from her wedding in 1967. The construction is sturdier than you see on handbags today.
I bought these pumps in Paris after crushing on them through a store window every day for two weeks. They are timeless and a bit weird. The brass hardware brings a tough element that balances out the girlie ensemble.
In other news, Mabel will not stop feeding the dog from her snack cup. It drives me nuts.
But you try getting mad when she looks at you like this.
Come on kid, you’re killing me here.
Happiest shoot on record. In the future, I shall require that all Mighty Closet subjects rent redheaded babies and puppies before I come over. Big thanks to Molly (MOLLY!), and Mabel, and Moxie for making my afternoon.
Did you like that? Check out more from the Mighty Closet.
This post is sponsored by eBay. From the new to the hard to find, when it’s on your mind, it’s on eBay.
Say you want to open a Swiss bank account — number 16 on my Life List. I’ve done some research, and the Swiss government requires you to wear black while carrying at least five passports and a satchel packed with cash.
Right now, I can tell you the license plate numbers of all six cars out front. I know the best place to look for a gun is the cab of the gray truck outside, and at this altitude, I can run flat out for a half mile.
1. Kate Spade Plaza Athenee Chandelier Earrings | 2. ZARA Jacquard Peplum Top | 3. Alice + Olivia Black Leggings (via eBay) | 4. Topshop “Skull” Scarf | 5. Mango Suede Stilettos | 6. Loeffler Randall Jacket in Black (via eBay) | 7. Gold Nixon Women’s Watch (via eBay) | 8. Tory Burch Purse (via eBay) | 9. Ray-Ban Original Wayfarers
OK. We only need 20 more entries in the Tide VIVID White + Bright Rule Breakers of the Week Contest before we can give $500 to Charity Water. Let’s do this.
Joining our ranks is Meg Biram of Mimi+Meg, a new friend who I met in New York at a Sunday Supper. She spent all last weekend at Mighty Summit, and is a very nice person indeed. Or so I thought. It turns out she’s totally ignoring her grandma by offering up more stylish ideas for wearing white after Labor Day. Take that, grandma.
If you haven’t entered the contest yet, please do. Not only does this give you a very good chance to win a $3,000 shopping spree from Tide, but if we get 100 entries, the Mighty team can donate $500 to Charity Water.
We’re rebels, baby. Rebels with a cause.
If you like this post, you might also like:
Whoa! We’re at 80 entries right now in the Tide VIVID White + Bright Rule Breakers of the Week Contest. Just 20 more we can give Charity Water $500 from the Mighty Coffers. Bwahahaha.
And look! Miss Anna Beth Chao is also on board with the plan to subvert Grandma Law and wear white after Labor Day — particularly whilst cycling through the countryside.
If you have a photo of yourself wearing white, please upload it to the Tide contest page on Facebook. Entering gives you a shot at winning a $3,000 shopping spree. (A ludicrously good shot, actually.)
Clean clothes for you, clean water for kids!
Anna Beth is so excited. Me too, Chao.