Clothes to match your mood

Clothes to match your mood

If you google color theory or the psychology of color, you’ll find tons of articles on the subject, from how companies choose colors for brands, to how a color palette can influence a room, and how you can enhance or improve your mood simply by changing your hue. I’m a total nerd when it comes to things like this, and today is my day to chat about clothes so come along while I geek out. Color psychology is the study of hues as a determinant of human behavior, but more than one expert and researcher has stated that color preference is highly subjective, so while the below colors and emotions are connected, that may not be your experience, and your association with specific colors may vary.

But that being said, let’s play anyway. 🙂

Here’s a list I’ve created from searching various sources:

If you need a boost of confidence, say if you’re giving a presentation, wear red. It demands attention. It’s also good for motivation, and feeling strong and grounded. Purple, the color of royalty, can give you a feeling of power as well, and confidence, and some suggest feelings of worthiness. If you’re stressed and need to feel calm, choose blue. Green also works for tranquility. Yellow is sunshine and happiness. Bright pink is playful and optimistic. Pale pink is romantic and compassionate. Orange is warmth and ambition. Black for elegance and authority. Gray is stable, but can also be depressing. White is innocence and freshness. But remember, just as different experts can have differing opinions on what each color represents (and, you guys, there so are), your feeling on a color may be completely different than what is listed. While color can have an influence on how we feel and act, these effects are subject to personal, cultural, and situational factors.

If I’m feeling sad, I will choose something bright to wear because that does help me feel happier. I’ve designed my office in pale blues and white because calmness and tranquility was definitely missing in my life when I moved into the new space.

I figure that any type of edge helps, right? So if pulling on that bright pink shirt when I need a pick-me-up on a Monday morning, or the yellow raincoat on a drizzly day, or the purple, aqua, and lime green sneakers (they are fabulous!), I’m going to do it.

What are your thought? Do you dress to suit or boost your mood?

Boots on the Ground

Boots on the Ground

I have maybe fifteen pairs of boots. Black, brown, tan, and about a dozen variations of those shades. I like them because they give me a sense of invincibility. They’re weighty, solid and make consequential sounds, no matter what surface they strike. The love affair started when I was in college in Poughkeepsie, New York. My school was populated by over-privileged kids who wanted to look like they were anything but. We wore army surplus coats, plaid shirts and distressed jeans. And boots; always boots. The most popular ones were Doc Martens. But as a budding Black nationalist, I wasn’t down for Docs because they looked too much like jack-boots, which I associated with Nazism.

Instead, I cobbled together my own look with anything but Docs. Cowboy boots, calf-high Frye boots that last a lifetime, and lace-up witch-boots (as I called them). It was a whole look, consistent with my artistic pretensions. My crowd—such as it was—was comprised of a similar tribe. We were sarcastic, and spoke to each other more with significant looks than with words. We were introverted, and thought too much; and thought too much of ourselves. We wore black almost every day, we smoked clove cigarettes, some of us did so-called “party drugs” like E and Special K, and most of us spent our weekends doing lots of weed. I mean, lots of weed.

A guy I knew, who wasn’t a close friend but in the second concentric circle of people I hung with, had a full-fledged marijuana farm in his dorm room, complete with sun lamps, humidifiers and dryers. I think he supplied the entire campus. His last name was Wolf, and he looked like one, so that’s what we called him. He had dark, shoulder-length wavy, tousled hair, dark eyebrows and an unnervingly penetrating stare. He was the kind of guy who was so beautiful, you’d have no trouble believing that he could get away with anything. And for a long time he did.

Someone snitched on him during senior year, and his pot operation was exposed to the college administration. But instead of expelling him, or even turning over to the police what was clearly a major drug operation, all they did was strongly suggest he find accommodations off-campus. And so he did, but he remained a full-time student in otherwise good standing, and even graduated on time with us, the rest of his class. And maybe my overactive imagination is making this part up, but I think I even recall that Wolf graduated with honors.

Somehow in my mind, what happened to (or rather what did not happen) to Wolf became symbolic of those days, those boot days. Rain or shine, spring, summer, fall or winter, I wore boots and I felt like I would live forever and my friends would live forever, and we would do big and amazing things. Bad things wouldn’t happen. Not to us. Just like nothing bad had happened to Wolf when his drug-dealing was discovered.

We would clomp through our world, making consequential, substantial sounds wherever we went, and we would leave a big mark. Wolf is a professional photographer now, and captures stark images which he displays on a blog site full of cryptic posts that lead me to believe he is still regularly smoking. Another friend, this one much closer, is an art dealer in New York City. Yet another is a yoga teacher.

Among us, I am the only one with a more conventional career in the law. I love my work. But I am aware of how the mark I leave is smaller, and more incremental. Ripples, rather than waves. And I no longer wear boots every day.

Dressing My Characters

Dressing My Characters

Hello Everyone!

As this is my first post on the Spice Aisle, allow me to introduce myself. My name is Mika Jolie. I live in New Jersey with my Happy Chaos—my husband and our energizer bunnies (two sons and a fur baby). When I’m not weaving life and romance into evocative tales, you can find me on a hiking adventure, reading, or on Pinterest.

I’m convinced Pinterest is one of the hottest thing on the web, it’s also a useful tool for world building. One of my favorite boards created was for my romantic comedy The Boy Friend

As a writer, I love getting to know my characters. What do they look like? Would my female character wear matchstick jeans and ballet flats? Would she wrapped paisley blue silk scarf around her waist, up over her torso, then tie the ends behind her neck to fashion a halter-style blouse? Maybe she enters her favorite store, runs to the belt rack. A truffle belt catches her attention, the one with the tarnished—almost black—buckle over brass. She loops it into her blue jeans, blue and brown, like waves meetings pebbled shore.

Coriander, my female main character from The Boy Friend wears this black backless jumpsuit in one of the sexiest scenes in the novel.

 

 

See, fun, right?

I do the same thing for my male characters. You can find a few here:

Tattooed Hearts: Forrest Desvareaux Pinterest Board

Need You Now:   Adam Aquilani Pinterest Board

 

Have fun browsing and until next time!

 

XOXO,

Mika 

 

Tying Myself in Knots

Tying Myself in Knots

Winter weather means bundling up against the elements. I’ve just received a blanket scarf as a gift. But, while I want to be warm, I still want to look cool. And I’m hopeless at being creative with how to tie this thing. So, I turned to the experts on youtube and pinterest for the perfect ways to tie a scarf.
You guys, I had no idea there were so many ways to do this! (One graphic I found numbered 40 ways. My head hurts just thinking about that many…). So, as a nod to the holiday season, and the twelve days of Christmas, here are twelve ways to fashionably wear that wrap:
The loop, the bandana, the body wrap, the standard, the cape, the pull-through, an off-the-shoulder wrap, a three-point wrap, the hooded warp, the belted poncho, the throat-warmer, and the mini-cape.

I get cold pretty easily, and will walk around the house with a blanket draped over my shoulders (or in a “borrowed” hoodie from my husband), so this blanket scarf is a nice way to keep warm when I have to leave the writing cave, say at a lunch or coffee date with a fellow writer, when I don’t want to keep my coat on the whole time.

I’m usually a two-layer girl, and sometimes even that isn’t enough, so the huge scarf is a huge help. But I digress…

No matter how you wear it, the most important thing is staying warm and toasty. Layer, layer, layer, and then layer some more.

Dreaming of warmer weather (and, yes, wearing that scarf as a cape),

What do you wear to Thanksgiving dinner?

What do you wear to Thanksgiving dinner?

When I was a kid, I both loved and hated holidays like Thanksgiving and Christmas. I loved getting to see all of my relatives and enjoying all the delicious food they prepared–I come from a family of great cooks, so it’s no wonder I am such a foodie. My aunts and cousins would spend what seemed like weeks preparing for the holidays, baking the most amazing pies and cakes. And then there was all the rest of the food–perfectly roasted turkey, cornbread stuffing, candied yams….oh I could go on. The food was heaven.

Getting dressed to go to dinner was not.

My mom would always pick out the itchiest tights for me to wear with a dress that might look cute but in reality was super uncomfortable. I hated it. I wanted to wear my favourite jeans or a nice sweater, but my mom would make me wear a dress and try to tame my hair into submission.

Even now, when I have to go to office Christmas parties or Thanksgiving dinners at friends’ houses, I have moments of panic. What will I wear? Is it going to itch? Will it pinch where it shouldn’t? Will I have to wear horrible tights that chafe? And then I remind myself that I am an adult and I can wear whatever I want these days to parties and dinners.

 

Yes, I really do have this t-shirt. And I love it. 🙂

So what will I wear to Thanksgiving this year? Well, I live in Sweden and have to work on Thanksgiving since Swedes don’t celebrate the holiday. However, I will celebrate on 2 December with some friends. Luckily, it’s a casual affair for us so I don’t have to get dressed up. I will wear some jeans and a sweater, which will be comfy.

Now for the Christmas party…well, I haven’t decided yet. But I WILL NOT wear a dress. I could wear my favourite ELF t-shirt paired with my fluffy sweater, black velvet leggings and cute flats. My colleagues usually get dressed to the nines. I did the first year, but I was so uncomfortable that I decided that next time I’d wear something fun, festive AND comfortable. I have another ELF t-shirt that has sparkly sleeves. It could make a comeback. 😉

Usually there’s a specific dress code for our office Christmas parties (and I usually ignore it for the sake of comfort). I just don’t see the point of being uncomfortable when I know I will dance and want to have fun.

What about you? Will you wear to your Thanksgiving dinner or Christmas party?

 

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Ode to the Oversized Sweater

Ode to the Oversized Sweater

Not me in the picture, but doesn’t that sweater look divine? (Source: Pinterest)

Ever since I was in grade school, one item of clothing has always been my favorite: the sweater, especially if it was too large and simply felt cozy. Were the sleeves a little too long? Ooh, you’re giving me goosebumps! Did the collar gape a little? Now, we’re talkin’! Was it a men’s sweater instead of a girly sweater? My heart is practically singing!

My mother did all that she could to break my love of too-large sweaters. She’d buy me nice, proper cardigans that fit just so, but I was not interested. They were usually in pastel shades of pink or blue or yellow that made me gag. I wanted black sweaters, or maybe bright red…or white cable-knit or fishermen sweaters. If it smelled like my dad’s cologne, perfect.

When I was in high school, my dad bought a fisherman’s sweater and promptly forgot about it. He wore it once and then, for months, it hung in his closet, abandoned, unloved. I coveted that sweater. I knew it would look perfect with my Under a Blood Red Sky t-shirt, leggings and my favorite pair of scuffed loafers. So I bided my time, waited until my dad bought more new clothes and then liberated that sweater from his closet.

I didn’t want to wear it too soon. That might spur him to remember that the sweater actually belonged to him.

Instead, I waited until the autumn was almost over and we were closing in on Thanksgiving, and then I began wearing that wonderful fisherman’s sweater. It took my dad a few months to realize that I had in fact commandeered his sweater. By that time, he’d bought a cotton crewneck sweater that was more his style and he let me keep the fisherman’s sweater (which I hadn’t planned on returning anyway).

Even now, over thirty years later, I still adore oversized sweaters. I have an old roll-neck sweater from J. Crew that came into my possession via an ex-boyfriend way back in 1990…yeah, I still have it and it still looks good. It’s not as oversized as it used to be as I am fluffier than I used to be, but it still fits. There are one or two holes in it, but I love wearing it at the weekend. It’s soft, it’s cozy and it’s been with me for over twenty years. That’s a quality sweater, I’d say. Now if only J. Crew still sold roll-neck sweaters… but that’s a whole ‘nother kettle of fish. 🙂 Every autumn, I take it out of its storage bag, freshen it up and wear it with my favorite gray t-shirt and jeans or leggings and my sneakers.

I will probably still be wearing oversized sweaters even when I am a pensioner. I just wrapping myself in them. Autumn and winter aren’t the same without them.

What about you? What’s your autumn/winter staple item of clothing?

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Show Your Support

Show Your Support

I received my first Phillies hat when I was six years old. And my first Flyers jersey when I was fourteen. As I write this post, I’m wearing an Eagles T-shirt (having just finished watching them beat the Redskins. A week 1 win, baby — we’re off to a great start!). And, I’ve just purchased a new Flyers hat, in prep for the NHL season which opens on October 4th.

On any given Sunday, any football team can potentially win the game. And on any given Sunday, countless people across the country don hats, shirts, jerseys, and jackets in support of their favorite teams.
There’s nothing like being in a football, baseball, or soccer stadium or a hockey or basketball arena, wearing the same logo as twenty-thousand other people as you all root for the same side. Or pulling on your jersey as you settle in to watch the game at home.
There’s nothing like being on vacation in another city (I once saw someone wearing a Phillies T-shirt in Buffalo, NY) or country (my friend saw someone wearing a Baltimore Ravens jersey in Greece) and seeing someone else wearing a shirt or hat in support of your hometown team. In those moments, it’s completely acceptable to call out a greeting (“Yo, [insert team name]!” works), or give them a high-five. It’s a slice of home, a touch of the familiar that can serve to remind you that you aren’t alone.
But what to do if someone pokes fun at you in your team gear? Like a “They’re not paying you to advertise their logo.” and “You do realize you aren’t ON the team, right?”
To that I say, Oh, Please. And, get over yourself.  And *Insert eye-roll here.* 🙂
Sports bring us together. Sometimes they can be a distraction when other parts of your life are falling apart. (That was true for me.) They’re fun. When you have an appreciation of the game and an affinity for a particular player, wearing the gear is an extension of your support. All of the players (from every sport) say that they love seeing (and hearing) the fans in the stands. They feed off of our energy.
So be loud and wear your gear proudly.
I Love Linen

I Love Linen

I’ve just returned to Stockholm after 10 beautiful days in Palermo, Sicily and I feel like I left summer behind. It’s not that the weather isn’t beautiful in Stockholm–it’s only 6:15 AM as I write this and it’s a sunny, cloud-free day and already closing in 20C (68F for you Americans). 🙂 But when you’ve been spoiled with Sicilian heat and waking up to 26C (79F) in the morning and 30C (86F) by 10AM, a mild Swedish summer morning feels winter has come back.

Before I left for Sicily, I treated myself to a few things to help spiff up my vacation wardrobe…and then I decided to pack light and left most of it at home. I hate heavy suitcases. I limited myself to 5 shirts, 3 pairs of shorts, 1 pair of linen pants, and then the usual amount of undies. My plan was to wash clothes every few days. This is what I usually do when we have an Airbnb rental.

(Photo credit: hm.com)

I ended up picking up two of these linen-blend t-shirts: one in white and another in blue-grey. They were my staples while I was in Palermo. They worked with everything from dressy linen pants to jeans to my favourite faded (and old) olive-green twill shorts from Lands End. Since we were travelling light and the apartment we rented didn’t have a washing machine, it meant a lot of washing things in the kitchen or bathroom sink and hanging on coat hangers out on the balcony to dry.

Both shirts held up well.

I only wish I’d ordered more–now the blue one is sold out. I think I’ll order 2 or 3 more of the white one before it too sells out. These could come in handy when I head to Philly in August–and we know East Coast summers are hot, humid and sticky. I need shirts that can keep me from feeling blech and this one definitely fit the bill while I was in Palermo. 🙂

(Photo credit: hm.com)

I spent most of my time in shorts–the hubster and I are not fashion plates, nor do we really care if everyone else makes themselves look spiffy for la passeggiata–we wanted to be comfortable and relax without having to stress over what to wear. I found these cute linen shorts just a few days before we left for Palermo. At first, I was worried they’d be too short. I will admit that my thighs are nowhere near as firm as they used to be. I don’t count myself as a gym bunny or a fitness girl so thigh gap is not something I give a hoot about. But even back in the day when I still went to the gym 5 days a week, I never had thigh gap and, despite having super-firm legs back then, I hated really short shorts. Well, these were just the right length and–since they’re linen–super comfy on even the hottest days while we were in Sicily.

(Photo credit: hm.com)

The last thing I packed, but never actually wore, was a linen shirtdress.

I’m not someone who wears dresses often–I usually hate wearing them because they either look…wrong on me…or just feel so damned uncomfortable. This one is a joy to wear. I am so glad that H&M (unlike a lot of other brands) realised that we curvy girls like cute shirtdresses too.

True confessions: I ended up not wearing it at all. No, it was not because it didn’t look good on me (it looks great on me! Yay!). I honestly thought I would wear it in the evenings. I had these grand ideas we’d go to a fancy restaurant or three, but we ended up going to more casual restaurants while we were in Palermo, so it was easy to stay in shorts and a t-shirt.

But this dress will NOT go to waste. 🙂

I’ve got a book signing in New York in August, so I think I will wear this dress, another H&M find, while I am there. I have the feeling I will wear it a lot to work now in June and July. It’s so cute. 🙂 It will look great with Chuck Taylors or cute sandals.

I would love to say that my linen obsession has abated…but that would be a lie. I’ve ordered a linen tunic + some linen pants and they’ll be waiting for me in Philly. Someone take my credit card away. 😉

Are you a fan of linen? What’s your favourite go-to outfit for summer vacations?

 

 

 

My closet is chock full of clothes…and I have nothing to wear

My closet is chock full of clothes…and I have nothing to wear

Honestly, this is ridiculous. I am going to a wedding on Saturday morning and I cannot figure out what to wear.

 

I’ve been trying to figure this conundrum out for the last two weeks, but so far I am coming up with nada. Part of the problem is the weather. This year, Swedish spring has been mostly rain-snow-more rain-more snow. The cute little dresses in my closet? Yeah, they won’t do if the wind is a-blowing and there’s snow and hail pelting me. So today during my lunch break, I went to H&M–where I usually find fun things. Did it help? No. All they had for a curvy girl like me was jeans and t-shirts. I thought perhaps I’d find a cute sweater. I’d seen a really nice outfit online, but apparently it’s not available in the shops. I guess I shouldn’t be surprised. Swedish stores have a tendency to pretend that if you are larger than a size 10 or 12, you don’t exist. Or you don’t buy clothes.


But this is my usual conundrum. I have a lot of clothing. I don’t have a lot of things that work for dressy occasions, because most of my friends are already married or living in sin and not interested in getting married and Swedish people don’t generally have these mega-weddings like Americans do. They usually have nice, sensible weddings at the county courthouse or something small and informal. Unless, of course, they are addicted to Bridezilla and then they decided to have a big wedding that becomes insane. But that doesn’t happen very often. They’d much rather splurge on a nice honeymoon or their first house or apartment together.

So after not finding anything interesting there, I went to Lindex. I found a great white dress there–but I can’t wear white to a wedding. I think I may buy that dress anyway. It’s too cute not to be in my closet. I have no clue when I will wear it, but I really, really like it. Maybe I can find a cute pair of Converses to wear with it. Maybe I can convince Tord that we should go to Paris or Rome just so I can wear that dress. I’ll probably spill red wine or gelato on it. I am good at spilling wine. 🙂

But I think a woman who writes about sexy Scandinavian men should have a cute dress or three in her closet, don’t you?

Now if only I would walk in heels. But alas…those days are over since my left knee is still not back to normal.

Ah well, cute sneakers will have to do.

Lindex at least provided me with a pair of lace pants. I am not sure what I will pair them with, but they were cute. There is a top that matches the pants, but I thought it was too short. I like tops that come at least to my mid-hip. I might pair it with a cashmere sweater. That way I will be warm if it’s chilly outside. Or maybe a chiffon tunic with a mohair cardie? I could also pair them with some ballerina flats….or my pink suede trainers. Hmm.

Decisions, decisions.

It would have been awesome to find a top that worked with the pants, but the Clothing Fairy didn’t seem to have enough fairy dust to sprinkle on me today. I shouldn’t complain–at least I found some pants.

I don’t usually wear pink. It’s one of those colors I’ve avoided most of my life. I blame my mom for this–when I was a kid, she used to try to force me to wear pink all the time. She made me wear pink to my senior prom. I still grimace when I remember all that horrible powder pink on that dress….ick. No, that dress was not for me, but my mom loved it and refused to pay for the black dress I wanted. She told everyone I picked out the dress. I didn’t pick it out. I gave up. Every dress I liked, she hated. We’d spent two weeks in prom dress-shopping hell. When the sales assistant showed it to me, I shrugged. I tried it on and had already decided I wasn’t trying anything else on. We bought it. And my mom was over the moon. I was…meh.

But now at the age of 47, my aversion to pink is not as strong. There are still shades of it that give me the heebie-jeebies, but I’ve managed to buy and like two pinkish sweaters recently…and my pink suede trainers.

I think I need to figure out a wedding wardrobe. I should just buy a few pieces that are my “base wardrobe” for wedding season. They can come in handy for those other events that inevitably take place during the summer (engagement parties, baby christenings, etc). I guess that will be my new project for the next few weeks. Making this a reality…or I can always put if off until next summer. 😉

 

 

 

Closet Confusion

Closet Confusion

In January, I decided I haven’t had enough interaction with actual people. I sit in my house, by myself. And truthfully, I was a little bored with my own company. So I opted to go back to work. The day I asked my old boss if I could have my part-time job back, he asked me to start that afternoon. (It’s good to be missed).

Unfortunately, working in public again presented a major dilemma for me. Most of my professional clothes are out of style, and I simply can’t show up wearing my regular work-from-home uniform of pajama pants and a hoodie. There are limits to decency and nobody wants to see my ultra-thin paisley jammie bottoms. It was time to inventory my closet.

Luckily, I’d bought some dressy clothes to attend a few conventions last year. Dresses, pants that weren’t exactly jeans, silky tops and sweaters that still fit (bonus!). And I’d just bought a couple pairs of shoes while visiting my parents (my mom and I turn shoe shopping in a performance art ). So I wasn’t in as bad shape wardrobe-wise as I’d thought. Plus, with the way fashion works, everything old is new again.

So I toddled off to work every day last week, happy to be interacting with people and looking smart. Now, if only my boss hadn’t decided I should be an bookkeeper. Because no amount of fashionable clothes will ever make me love numbers! I majored in Journalism for a reason.

At least, I’m a fabulously dressed numbers-cruncher.