Maximize Your Options

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Definitely not for the office, but is this gorgeous or what? Love the cut-out back of the top and incredible draping on the hem of the skirt. Photo from lookbook.nu

In an effort to make the brutal Texas heat work for me this summer, especially while I’m working, I decided I needed to figure out the whole maxi thing. I’ve said it multiple times but I’ll mention once more: in general I find the maxi dress does not get the respect it deserves. Yours might be very cute from the front, but if you aren’t carefully selecting your undergarments and checking the ahem-rear view in the mirror before you leave the house, you might just be looking, well, less than fabulous from behind.

Paranoia aside, I decided it was time. My short dresses make me really happy but about a third of them are inappropriate to wear to the office, and once in the AC, I’m often cold. The maxi seems a great compromise, though not one to be over-utilized. I hereby vow to “max” it out at two per week.

I hit up the clearance section at Urban and scooped up three for 10 to 20 bucks apiece. I figured if I hated them, I could part with them at this price better than the $150 of the one I’d been lusting after at Bloomie’s. (Side note: Yes, this blogger has a serious addiction to Bloomingdales and she blames it on her mother. In Texas, a lack of the traditional department store matters not, because there is a Bloomie’s outlet about five miles from her home. This causes about 89.7% of the arguments she has with her fiance).

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Hunzy loved this one because unlike a lot of maxis, it shows the bod.

I rocked Josh’s favorite of the three, a form-fitting gray number with white splatter-paint print, to brunch on Sunday. Sitting outside in the 97 degree heat and eating eggs in a maxi made me want to run into the middle of the street and strip it off while guzzling a gallon of ice-cold Diet Coke. That will not be happening again.

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This tie dye number is extra loose and comfy; I wore it to our ballroom dance class on Sunday so Josh and I can get used to not stepping all over my dress on the big day!

And then Monday morning, I donned a soft chiffon style with a racerback and sweeping skirt to the office. I paired it with those gold bow sandals that seem to work their way into nearly every outfit these days. Not only was I comfy and cool on the walk from my car to the building, and vice versa, but in the frigid AC of the office, I did not need a cardigan. Bonus points go to the maxi for the fact that I did not have to shave my legs. But in case you were wondering, I not only laundered all of my nude thongs and strapless bras on Sunday night, I also inspected my rear-view in every mirror in our apartment before venturing out. A girl’s got to consider herself from every angle, after all.

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Monday’s dress, Pins and Needles Breezy chiffon maxi from Urban, on sale from $69 for 19$… hurry, they are running out of sizes! urbanoutfitters.com

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Matchers Anonymous

WTA Tour Pre-Wimbledon Party - Arrivals

maria sharapova rocking mixed metals on the red carpet

I recently told a friend that she belongs in Matchers Anonymous, because she suggested going out on a Saturday evening without her wedding and engagement rings–she didn’t want the metal to “clash” with her gold-tone bangle. Ok. We have a situation here!

I actually hate to “match.” I believe that the elements of an outfit should relate to and/or complement each other but matching perfectly is just an unnecessary waste of time in my life. I like surprising details, whimsical bursts of color or pattern that throw the outfit from the predictable into the unique. I don’t try to dress weird, in fact much of my stuff is pretty “trendy” or classic. But I love combining things in interesting ways. Even my bridesmaids are wearing all different styles and colors of dresses. Our groomsmen’s ties bring in yet another color… and the list goes on. But away from the wedding and back to real life, I find asymmetry and a bit of power clashing — or at least a lack of matchy-matchy, quite appealing.

Navy and black? Bring it on. Even before that was the cool thing, I always did it. Do brown shoes require a brown bag? Um. Do they require brown eyes?? I mean, come on. Just wear what looks good together, what bounces off each other. I am not saying one should walk into one’s closet and just throw together any random assembly of items and leave the house… but I do think that matching to a fault can wind up leaving you looking cartoonish and ridiculous.

Case in point: today’s nail color. Now, many of you know that I paint my nails most nights. Last night, coming off a weekend in Miami, I craved bright, girly color. I ended up with a combination of Essie’s Play Date (a bold purple), and Pink Parka (a neon pink). This morning when I was getting ready, feet still swollen from some combination of wine, sleep deprivation, air travel, and possibly shellfish, I was in a pickle.

You see, the high in Dallas today was 90 degrees. That kind of limits one’s ankle-and-foot concealing possibilities. The only solution I could find was to wear a maxi dress, but as you know, I only own one. And as chance would have it, it’s purple and pink. Like my freaking nails. In order to mix things up, I threw on a navy cardigan, but the only flat shoes that my puffy feet would fit into are… you guessed it!

Lavender flats with pale pink Gucci G’s on the toe. So from head, to toe, to the tips of my little fingers… I am a pink and purple mess. Whatever. This outfit is comfortable, chic enough for a fairly slow day at work, and easy to prop my swollen little feet up in. My options were limited and I did what I had to do.

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Of course, you might not be surprised that this morning, when my buddy who has yet to actually join Matchers Anonymous met me by the water cooler, her first words were, “Ooh, your nails match your dress. Love it!”

Legging Lovers Anonymous

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About a year and a half ago, I was temping at a not-so-hot fashion company in New York City, where the theme of the clothes is overpriced hooker wear and the office wardrobe for all was head-to-toe black. I worked the front reception desk during fashion week while emaciated, nasal-toned Jersey Girls who typically did nothing more than that shot nasty glances on their way out the door en route to appointments and shows. They felt extraordinarily superior. Whatever.

I was a confident 26-year-old who had chosen to leave my high-stress PR job in order to free up time for writing, ruminating and just living. It was my choice to temp around NYC at various fashion brands while I looked for something permanent that I loved. But when bitchy fashion girls take it up a notch from scoffing to actually talking sh*t, it can hurt.

When I heard two of them in the bathroom one day talking about my outfit, I nearly died! I was wearing a long-sleeved silk tunic from Joie with black leggings and a pair of Cole Haan black booties. I actually kind of felt cute that morning.

“I can’t believe she’s wearing leggings to work. Ew!”

“Yeah, leggings are so totally over.”

We had to wear head-to-toe black every single. I have plenty of black, but you try it without whipping out a pair of leggings from time! I was sad. I did not wear leggings again to that job, and these days I tend to only wear them on the weekends.

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This is the fun material of the top I’m wearing today. Those metallic threads are sewn right into the fabric!

Recently, I’ve lost about ten pounds. This morning, feeling narrower than I have in a while, I decided to sport an oversized glittery French Connection top to work. My black pants are at the dry cleaner, and jeans just didn’t seem to work. I slipped on some leggings, thinking, “I’ll throw a black mini over these.” But you know what? With the addition of shiny gray flats and some chunky jewelry, I actually loved the look.

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… and these are today’s leggings, which Urban still carries. So I know I’m not alone! BDG high waisted leggings, urbanoutfitters.com.

Those bitchy fashion girls can laugh all they want, but on this particularly gray day in the great state of Texas, I’m miles away from their nasty stares. And hey, I bet I look a lot cuter in my leggings than they do in their overpriced hooker dresses. Fin.

Pressing Pause on your Dreams

Sometimes I look at this blog on days when writing just doesn’t seem to be a possibility. I want to add something, but I can’t do it. When I’m on assignment for a website or magazine, I can always turn it out. The writing is good, it’s on time, and it brings in the money. But with my own personal, precious blog, I do experience a bit of writer’s block from time to time. Mostly it’s just a sense of worry. Will the words be silly? Will they matter to the readers? Is anyone reading this anyway?

Recently I was turned down for a freelance writing project I wanted very badly. It was a sad day in Jensyville. I read and re-read the writing sample I had submitted many times. I knew it was good. It just wasn’t the right voice for the publication. These are the types of setbacks that everyone goes through, but I was very angry with myself. Why didn’t I get it right? Had I not paid enough attention to the specifics of the assignment? Would I ever be able to elevate my voice to tackle items aimed at a different audience? Should that even be a goal?

Le Grand Sigh. These are tough questions. I don’t have all the answers yet and I don’t know if I ever will. But when you hear no, the knee-jerk reaction can sometimes be to stop trying. I wallowed in my grief over the lost assignment for a few days, and admittedly abandoned this blog. I just felt down, and didn’t see the point. I put everything on pause.

But then I remembered what an old professor at Middlebury once told me:

“If you want to be a great writer, you must write.”

And so that is what I will do.

The thing is, finding success as a writer is one of those things that I believe I will be working at for a very long time indeed. It won’t end when I lose interest in lip gloss, celebrities, or bridal magazines. (Though I doubt I will ever lose interest in those things!) It will be my life’s work and I am okay with that. In fact, I am great with that.

You must work through obstacles, whether big-picture anxieties or simple cat-on-keyboard roadblocks.

Wouldn’t you know that a mere week after suffering the loss of this potential opportunity, another one came along, and I got it? I have a wonderful, challenging, exciting new project on the horizon and I am so pleased.

Friends, the only person who has a true, limitless, unwavering interest in your personal and professional success is you. If you let yourself down, who else is there to fix it? So, if you want to be writer, you must write. Whatever it is that you want, you must do it. Do not press pause on your dreams, now, tomorrow, or ever.

A Long Time Coming

She might have warned against too many accessories, but even Coco loved to drip in jewels...

Not only have I let you down, my faithful readers, but I have let myself down, too. The rush and constant excitement of freelance writing paired with a full-time job has become a truly fun but never-ending cycle that allows little time for personal rumination and other simple pleasures. I have made the firm decision to NEVER wait this long again to update Sparkles & Fun and I hope I have not lost your love and attention!

For today, a quick trend note that I hope you’ll all enjoy. In working at Tiffany & Co and finding myself purchasing a ton of baubles recently, I find that sometimes it can be extraordinarily satisfying to wear too many pieces of jewelry. Yes, I must apologize posthumously to Coco Chanel who advised that a lady should always remove one thing before heading out the door. I proudly admit that more often than not, I’m adding something rather than subtracting. Elsa Peretti open hearts, Tiffany keys, double hearts, charms, Return to Tiffany… more sterling than one can imagine wanting floats from everywhere possible. Oh, and lest we forget the rings…

The moral is, my cherubs, you can never hold too firmly to the rules. What one person deems unseemly or declasse could just be your next fashion moment, so try to enjoy, indulge, and be merry this season.

xxx Jensy

Light as a Feather

Today is a very proud day for me and for my esteemed colleagues at new online ‘zine, Feather. We have been working tirelessly for the past couple of months to get all the different bits and pieces ready for our excited readers. The magazine will explore themes that matter to girls our age–from the college-bound to the career woman in her early 30’s. Basically, it’s a survival guide for today’s young woman.

We cover everything from fashion and beauty to relationship drama and finances. I’ve already learned so much from the other Feather girls, and I hope you will too. Please check out the site and contact any or all of the editors with your feedback and questions. I hope you enjoy reading it as much as we’ve enjoyed creating it, and that you are excited, as we are are, to watch this project continue to grow and evolve.

Thank you, dolls, for supporting me in everything I do! More to come! xxxJensy

PS. In other news, my amazing boyfriend has set me up with a new email address. You can now reach me on jensy@sparklesnfun.com. Yay!

 

The Midi Length… What do we Think?

The day job requires me to wear skirts that are not too short. And as many of you know, I have always reigned supreme as the chick with the shortest hemline in the room. Hmm. Not to be dramatic, but this is a problem. Luckily, today’s trends are forgiving, and I’m falling more and more in love with the not-too-skanky, not-too-dowdy midi-length skirt. With a funky tight and a cute pump, it might just be as sexy as my old look. Or, almost.

A pop of orangey-red is fun and youthful, but the shape keeps this one demure. "Brenda" skirt, needsupplyco.com, $38

No shame in this sweet, easy-to-wear pencil skirt from T Tahari. Bloomingdales.com, $69.50

I nabbed this "merlot" pleated knee-length skirt at American Apparel this morning. americanapparel.com, $54

Breakfast (or at least lunch) at Tiffany’s

Monday was my very first day at the new day job, and I certainly know why Audrey decided to go to Tiffany every time she had a case of the “mean reds.” Suffice it to say that the way I have designed the newest chapter in my sparkly life is extremely fulfilling; work all day with wonderful people at the most glamorous retailer in Manhattan (the world?), and come home at night to write, write, write.

Yes, I am a lucky girl indeed. Not very much to say for this evening, other than that Jensy has landed on her (stilettoed) feet. And I encourage you all, my sweets, to truly listen to yourselves above the rest. Only you can make the choice to make you happy. And being surrounded by glitter and smiles on Fifth certainly doesn’t hurt.

Fashion Week Begins!

Friends, it is that glittering and wonderful time of year once more. I was reminded of this last night as I passed the editor-only launch for the Missoni for Target pop-up store across from Bryant Park, for which I sadly did not receive an invite this season. I reminded myself, though, that just like everyone else, I will be able to shop the new looks online starting September 13th, or when the pop-up opens to the public tonight at 6 pm (that is, if they have any goods left!).

One of hundreds of amazing looks from Missoni for Target

Other fun things on deck for tonight’s Fashion’s Night Out:

QVC‘s annual 25 to Watch party at the Suspenders Building (428 Broadway at Howard Street). Celeb arrivals and live coverage start at 9 pm EST. Red carpet starlets will include more Kardashians than you can handle, super-model-cum-jewelry designer Heidi Klum, and Anna Wintour herself.

Calypso is doing a champagne and shopping party offering guests 20% off loot, artisan truffles, and live performances at both their SoHo and meatpacking locations.

Bloomingdale’s promises celebrity appearances and great shopping at the Flagship on 59th street.

And Barneys will donate 10% of profits from FNO sales to September 11th causes. Not to mention that the utterly fabulous Linda Rodin will be celebrating her famed Olio Lusso downstairs in the cosmetics department. Stop by for fashion and beauty!

That’s just a few highlights. Check out the official website here for more ideas. Have fun and happy shopping!

Moving Forward

Friends, today is officially my last day at the “day job.” A bit terrified, mostly excited, I am embarking on a new journey and I wanted to share this development with you.

Today, a step back from the fashion and the beauty for a moment to talk about the fun. It can be very difficult being a twenty-something in this crazy city. Cabs are expensive and the subways are hot and packed. The best and most exciting products, the finest foods and most delicious wines are tempting you from shop and restaurant windows at every turn. You can’t afford most of it, but you stop and splurge when and where you can. People can be unreliable. “Friends” can have motives that you might not discover right away. Life can be taxing and hectic and a little scary at times. But this is the time to have fun.

I reached a point at which I felt I could give no more to my day job; I knew that I had goals within reach that deserved my focus. Right now, I am fortunate enough to be surrounded by people who care and want only the best things for me. This is the time to take a leap. I am excited to hone my skills, discover new things, and start really believing in me. Thank you all for sticking with me on this crazy journey, and stay tuned for updates on what is next for Jensy. I can guarantee it will be fun… and sparkly!