How did I get here?
In January 2011, I visited Robyn in L.A. (I actually just visited Robyn in L.A. again! More on that, and what we did and ate and wore, soon!) My plane left DTW before dawn, and I knew as soon as I touched down we’d want to jump into our adventures. I needed an outfit that would be tolerable for a pitch-black January morning in Detroit, but still wearable for a casual afternoon on the west coast. I also wanted it to be easy for airport security, comfortable on the plane, and pulled together enough to look like I made some effort.
I went with a gray cotton tunic from Old Navy (fall 2009), Old Navy Rockstar skinny jeans (fall 2010), my go-to brown leather belt (Target? American Eagle? I have no idea. I’ve had it since probably 2006) and black flats from Target (2010). Oh, and some sweet shades with a dragonfly rhinestone design that I bought at a gas station in Carlsbad, CA, on my honeymoon (2009). The perfect ensemble for exploring the LACMA courtyard and the La Brea Tar Pits–or so I thought! Let’s look closer:
Where did I go wrong?
This was a crime of execution, rather than concept.
- Top: This top wasn’t quite long enough, and cinching it with the belt only made the problem worse. The result was a too-short flare right on my hips.
- Belt: Sigh. Once again, belts are my nemesis. This belt is meant to go around the hips, so even on the smallest hole it didn’t fit around my waist. But around my hips, it just hung there and didn’t have the effect I wanted. The belt is not super wide, but I think its width contributed to “accidental peplum” effect.
- Wearability: I could make this outfit look right if I stood very still and straight, and rearranged the top and belt exactly the way I wanted them to hang. I guarantee that’s what’s going on in my glamour shot with the prehistoric sloth (or perhaps everyone just looks better on the arm of an extinct mammal). But as soon as I moved around, the belt slipped one way, the shirt slipped another, and everything went awry. Not workable for getting in and out of cars, wandering around, and climbing on statues or art installations.
- Shoes: Are we sensing a theme here? So far these friggin’ “sporty” black flats from Target play a role in every Bad Decision Thursday. I wore these because I thought they’d be easy on and off for airport security, comfortable for walking around, and wearable with all my clothes for the weekend.
How can I make the gray tunic/belt/skinny jeans look work for me?
- I’ve already replaced this top with a different gray tunic/shirtdress (also from Old Navy, spring 2012) that is a bit longer, so it doesn’t hit at that awkward spot on my hips.
- It also has its own built-in tie belt made out of the same fabric as the dress. It succeeds at defining my waist without crunching up the top and forcing it in weird directions. The new top is a bit more formal and a shinier fabric, so unfortunately it doesn’t have the same bohemian feeling that I liked so much in this other top. But it works much better on me.
- When I wear this outfit now, I wear boots. I think on this day I avoided boots because I was trying to pack light, but seven business trips later I know that actually boots can be excellent for air travel. The zipper makes them a breeze at security, and then you can have boots with you on your trip without wasting space in your suitcase.