In Which I Act My Age

by Erin on October 14, 2009


Hanna Andersson Skirt

I am, for the first time that I can REMEMBER, not wearing ANYTHING that I made today. For reals, and srsly. I am not sure how this happened, but I blame this skirt above. I was so excited to see a knit skirt with POCKETS that I hit "Buy" before I realized that, since I only make dresses and skirts, BUYING a skirt would mean that I would be venturing out of the house in clothing made entirely by OTHER PEOPLE.

Which I did today, and yet the sky didn't fall.

Although the skirt is really comfortable (and remember, I sit on a giant exercise ball instead of a chair, so my skirts must allow for at least some movement) the pockets are a bit shallow for my taste. And of course, it's a KNIT skirt, so if you put lumpy things in them they aren't swallowed in folds and folds of fabric, so lumpy things stay lumpy. (I transferred my pedometer and phone to the pockets of my cardigan.)

I do think it's slightly boring, as clothes go. It could be because I'm wearing (with the black skirt) a dark gray t-shirt, heather gray cardigan (with pockets!), knee-high socks with an abstract black-and-gray argyle pattern, and black penny loafers. This is my own fault; I could have worn a bright yellow cardigan and pink t-shirt, with yellow-and-pink socks (this is not a thought experiment; I have such items in my closet). The nice thing is that I am wearing a very pretty gray pearl-and-chain necklace that my mother gave me years ago and that I hardly ever wear (because when you're leaving the house in stripes/camo/huge florals/very bright geometric patterns jewelry seems a little beside the point).

This particular combo is making me feel strangely grown-up; Hanna Andersson clothes are very nice but they are definitely Mom Clothes. The next stop on this train is, of course, Eileen Fisher. (I actually like Eileen Fisher, and as soon as my hair stops futzing around and goes completely gray like I want it to I will probably save up my pennies — Eileen Fisher is expensive! — and start wearing more Eileen Fisher.)

Weirdly, though, even though I'm wearing all gray and black, I feel tremendously conspicuous. If you're wearing a bright-orange dress printed with anvils (just as a thought experiment; I don't actually have a bright-orange dress printed with anvils … yet) you obviously don't give a damn about what people think about your clothes, so any judgments roll right off you. If you're wearing a tasteful black skirt, gray cashmere cardigan, and pearls, well … see what I mean? There will be twenty other women on the street wearing the same thing today, and I am definitely NOT in the top ten percent of women who can do this look right. It seems odd to feel more conspicuous in a tasteful knit skirt than in orange-and-anvils, but obviously orange-and-anvils is my comfort zone, and that's all there is to it.

To sum up: it's a nice skirt. I like it. Next time I'll wear it with bright colors. Also, I need an orange dress printed with anvils.

{ 37 comments… read them below or add one }

the guilty party October 14, 2009 at 11:50 am

I actually have a very similar skirt. I wear it with Converse trainers or my doc Martins and band t-shirts. I also know exactly what you mean about feeling more conspicuous in clothes like this. I live in a university town, so all over the place you see girls wearing very short denim skirts, or eighties vintage, or emo-bright combinations with wet-look leggings (euch). When I wear my grey skirt I always think people look at me as though Im going to hand them a pamphlet about prohibition.

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Becky October 14, 2009 at 11:53 am

Sounds like you are very classy today. I am in sweats because it is an at-home, cold, rainy, Wisconsin day.How do you like the ball-chair? My husband has been using one. He is a computer programer and sits all day.

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Anonymous October 14, 2009 at 12:09 pm

I love this skirt. I also know what you mean about feeling funny wearing something made by someone else! I rarely buy anything ready made, except for play clothes and things that are truly too tailored for me to attempt! Not that I wear much tailored anymore!But this skirt is awesome – I think I could make one just like it…

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Ann V. October 14, 2009 at 12:12 pm

Oddly, Im wearing mostly gray today, too. Maybe its the weather. Im wearing a nice blackish denim skirt from Talbots (with a little stretch), a gray stretch shirt (V-neck to show off the ladies), patterned black tights (from Hanna Andersson – there you go!) and my red and black cowboy boots (which really add pizazz to anything gray).I think the boots and the tights make the outfit stand out.

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Julia October 14, 2009 at 12:26 pm

Who knew a black knit skirt could cause such self-examination? :)

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Rachel October 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm

Im sure you looked quite beautiful today and just arent sure because its out of your comfort zone.

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Packrat October 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Cute skirt. I understand about feeling conspicuous. If I wear anything other than jeans (and a top of course), I feel like I stick out like a sore thumb. Im wearing all navy today. Blah.

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Pattern Junkie October 14, 2009 at 12:39 pm

Whos going to Spoonflower the orange anvil fabric? Because I think we all NEED that. Im picturing a shirtdress with contrast lapels and cuffs. Of eggs sunny side up, perhaps.

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xstpenguin October 14, 2009 at 12:46 pm

Trying out a *new* comfort zone- to-be maybe. I always felt most conspicuous if my taste happened to coincide with a fashion trend.Looking forward to the anvil dress.You have a cashmere cardigan with POCKETS!?Cheers,AJ

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Erin October 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Becky — I *love* the ball-chair. Been using one for ten years now!AJ — The cashmere cardigan with pockets is courtesy of last years End of Season sale at Lands End. I guess no one wanted one but me …

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Anonymous October 14, 2009 at 1:03 pm

Hey…wait a minute! IM wearing a tasteful black skirt, grey cardigan and pearls.

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SanAntonio Sue October 14, 2009 at 1:46 pm

I sympathize completely! I went to a weeklong workshop last week and wore entirely ready-made. Felt like I was in disguise all week.

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Sheila / Out of the Ashes Collectibles October 14, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Living where the sun is still shining hotly (Yuma, AZ) I am wearing a white blue flowered sundress rhinestoned flip flops. If only it was cool enough to wear black or gray wool or knit!

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Cookie October 14, 2009 at 2:56 pm

I like that skirt! Very versatile.I sent my sister a similarly simple, pearl grey, 2-piece ensemble by Ann Taylor that had absolutely no ornamentation. When she balked in her usual Boho way, I said it would be perfect to have in the back of her closet in case she was ever called on to testify in court.Shed have none of it.

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the reluctant sewist October 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Now I want a skirt with an anvil print, and enough guts to actually leave the house with it on.

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the reluctant sewist October 14, 2009 at 3:12 pm

Now I want a skirt with an anvil print, and enough guts to actually leave the house with it on.

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bani October 14, 2009 at 3:19 pm

So Eileen Fisher is like Gudrun Sjdn for you yankees, except more expensive, I take it? I think it sounds appealing. I have a soft spot for bohemian wear… Id haft to say that my comfort zone ideally is more monochrome than orange anvils, but Im not a purist when it comes to comfort zones…

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Nadine October 14, 2009 at 5:16 pm

I wish you did daily outfit pictures, Erin.

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shellebelle October 14, 2009 at 6:14 pm

Acme Fashions: for when you absolutely NEED a orange dress printed with anvils…all I can think of is what Wile E. Coyotes mom would have wornOr me. :)

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badmommy October 14, 2009 at 10:42 pm

I love my hanna anderssons. I have to say. I own a few pieces and they are comfy and appropriate and as moms-clothes as my CUV is a mom-car. But Im a mom, so Im fine with it.My bigger secret guilty pleasure is I buy the playdresses and reverse stripe tights in a 160 cm for me. I have two (one pink and one purple polka dot). I look like an overgrown toddler. And I dont care.

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Theresa October 14, 2009 at 11:01 pm

I love grey. I am always drawn to the grey fabrics in the store. I wear a lot of grey, black and pinstriped pencil skirts. Also love white/black polka dots. Even though I wear a lot of grey, black and brown, I always have somethin stand out on with it…like red shoes, a zebra print belt, a huge colorful necklace, a hot pink blouse…I never dress in style. I just try to dress for my body and my coloring. I would describe my look as retro-goth-chic.

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Jan October 15, 2009 at 12:30 am

I may adopt I look like an overgrown toddler and I dont care as my new motto. Kids clothes are so much more fun than grown-ups clothes. I will be on the lookout for the orange anvil print you design and have printed at Spoonflower, Erin. (Ill vote for it, too!)

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Leslie October 15, 2009 at 6:39 am

I agree….an outfit picture of the day is called for!I have always been more comfortable in tailored dress clothes than I am in casual ones. I worked in a funeral home for 20 years and always felt right in anything made by Tahari or Kasper.Now that Im a stay-at-home Mom, my wardrobe is much more colorful but my rolls always show :)

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Karin (the Mrs.) October 15, 2009 at 7:11 am

Now I want to make an orange dress with anvils too…

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Theresa October 15, 2009 at 8:46 am

Orange anvil dress for all!

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Zoltar Panaflex October 15, 2009 at 6:45 pm

You can find Eileen Fisher at the Nordstrom Rack at spectacular discounts. I bought 10 different pieces in the last year at at least 65% off retail, and up to 85% off.Hardly any of my clothes are ornamented, but I do wear a lot of jewelry!

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Theresa October 15, 2009 at 8:55 pm

In the interest of full disclosure…I wore a light grey store bought dress today.

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dulcet October 15, 2009 at 10:31 pm

Im with you on the hair. Mines been showing bits of white since before I was 30. Id like it to just go completely white. Itd make a nice contrast to my face that everyone says looks not old enough to have a teenager.

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propriatress October 16, 2009 at 11:46 am

yes you do reach a point in life in which you decide you no longer want to dress like a clown. or not. some ladies and men have an inner bozo that takes them to the grave. I like to mix it up …but never stray too far from Gorey or Addams family (which is like daily wear for the dead, I suppose)

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Marjie October 16, 2009 at 12:41 pm

In Which I Act My AgeYou must have been channeling Pooh, since it was the 83rd anniversary of the publication of the first book.And for Friday, the 16th, Happy Dictionary Day, so decreed because it is Noah Websters birthday.

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Anonymous October 16, 2009 at 1:54 pm

Dear Erin, your sensible skirt got me thinking. I spent most of my teens and twenties dressing older than my age. Now in my thirties, and having become a mum, Im desperate for some fun with my clothes. So, while shopping around online for my second pair of leggings (ever!), I found these cooky alphabet thights (is it pantyhose in US?). I thought they would be great to de-frump any black skirt and might appeal to the linguist in you! http://www.asos.com/House-Of-Holland-For-Pretty-Polly/House-Of-Holland-For-Pretty-Polly-Alphabet-Tights/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=720434SearchQuery=leggingssh=0pge=1pgesize=200sort=-1clr=BlueAnd, you could still wear your grey cardigan and perl necklace, if you wanted.Iglika

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Jamie October 16, 2009 at 3:49 pm

I totally relate to this- I personally feel a lot less conspicuous in a bright blue frog-print sundress or velvet corset top and leather skirt than I do in a t-shirt and jeans- maybe its because in the former clothes, I feel completely comfortable and like myself, while jeans and t-shirt make me feel desperately awkward.

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Anonymous October 17, 2009 at 5:08 am

Dear Erin, your sensible skirt got me thinking. I spent most of my teens and twenties dressing older than my age. Now in my thirties, and having become a mum, Im desperate for some fun with my clothes. So, while shopping around online for my second pair of leggings (ever!), I found these kooky alphabet thights (is it pantyhose in US?). I thought they would be great to de-frump any black skirt and might appeal to the linguist in you! http://www.asos.com/House-Of-Holland-For-Pretty-Polly/House-Of-Holland-For-Pretty-Polly-Alphabet-Tights/Prod/pgeproduct.aspx?iid=720434SearchQuery=leggingssh=0pge=1pgesize=200sort=-1clr=BlueAnd, you could still wear your grey cardigan and perl necklace, if you wanted.Iglika

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Bella Bliss October 17, 2009 at 8:28 pm

I love the way suits look, but when I wear one, I love like Im playing dress up. Thats a great skirt. Id applique something from a t-skirt on the corner. Hmmm…

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Lizzie October 18, 2009 at 10:48 am

Your comment on Eileen Fisher made me chuckle. Recently Ive found several pieces at my local thrift, was amazed at the great fabrics and nice construction. So Ive bought a few, thinking I could always redonate. Well surprise! Ive enjoyed wearing them. I just have to get the silver-haired Birks-wearing model out of my head before leaving the house!

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minya, warrior seamstress October 18, 2009 at 11:50 am

Cookie, mention to your sis that its always good to have something to wear to a funeral in ones closet. One of my recent purchases was a pair of orange camouflage cargo pants, but not to wear. Simplicity 2597 makes a bag out of a pair of adult-sized cargo pants. I found while laying cutting out the pieces that I wouldnt have enough fabric if I went below a juniors size 7. Now I need an anvil print for the lining.

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Kathleen C. October 19, 2009 at 7:28 am

I realize that you may already know about, or own, this fabric but The Fabric fairy has crossword puzzle fabric…http://www.thefabricfairy.com/index.php/retail/catalogsearch/result/?q=crossword

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