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.

Oh how I love pyjamas

Oh how I love pyjamas

I had this grand idea that I was going to write about the most perfect pair of jeans, but then something happened. I caught the flu. I have chills, I have fever rushes, I cough a lot, I sneeze a lot, my head hurts, I have zero energy. Needless to say, I’ve spent the last four days in my pyjamas.

Today I am wearing my Space Pyjamas from Asos Curve. I had to have them after watching Peter Dinklage do his “Space Pants” skit with Gwen Stefani on SNL. Even now, just thinking about that skit, I am giggling.

“Look at my pants with the eyes in your face/my legs are covered in outer space/SPACE PANTS!”

 

I adore my Space Pyjamas. They are soft and cozy, which is exactly what I need when I am feeling pretty icky. My skin feels pretty sensitive due to the fever rushes, so it’s nice to have pyjamas that feel cool and soft. And right now, these pyjamas are making me feel like all is right in the world, even when there is so much that is just….WRONG.

Space GIF - Find & Share on GIPHY

But, seriously, my favourite part of the day, even when I am feeling well, is when I come home from work and put on my loungewear (which is simply my pyjamas).  As soon as my pyjamas are on, I know I can relax, read a book, take it easy. And it usually means I am not planning on leaving the apartment for the rest of the evening. Ahhh.

So right now, when I have barely been outside the house, it’s imperative that I have the coziest of pyjamas. And right now, my Space Pyjamas are fitting the bill.

Do you have a favourite pair of PJs?

 

Batting 1000

Batting 1000

1113998_1346967573593_full It appears as though the popularity of makeup only seems to be growing recently, and particularly in my home as my girls embed themselves in the dreaded teens. They’ve launched a makeup revolution and dragged me with them. And why not – makeup is fun, it’s transformative and it requires skill and practice to perfect. It can change not just the way you look but the way you feel, even the way you view your surroundings. I’ve recently become obsessed with false eyelashes. I’m blaming my girls—let’s go with that. When I look out from underneath long, luxurious lashes I see a rose-colored world before me. I’m inspired to seek out beauty and loveliness wherever I can. And bat my lashes, there is definitely a lot of batting going on.

 

Makeup and beauty are related, but I don’t want to conflate the two—they aren’t synonymous. Beauty has different meanings across cultures, over different time periods, even from one individual to the next. Makeup, although a tool to achieve certain beauty standards, holds its own place. If you think of beauty as a city, makeup is a building in one neighborhood of that city, perhaps an adorable two-floor walk up with bay windows and excellent lighting. Using makeup is just an incredibly personal act. Anyone who does or has done it, probably remembers with a certain amount of warm, happy sentiment, learning to apply and wear it, and, like a tattoo or a keepsake, a particular beauty product carries with it an immediate recollection of certain feelings and experiences.

 

Our attitude about makeup and beauty changes over the course of our own lives. What we may have loved about makeup in our teens and twenties, the fact that it makes you look older, more mature or more rebellious, is no longer something that appeals to us. But the intensely personal nature of makeup, the fact that it markedly changes how we look and feel, affects our level of confidence, and how much or how little to wear is such an individualized choice, that it infuses each tube of lipstick, fluffy brush and eyeshadow pot with a deeply touching degree of meaning.

 

 

In my upcoming contemporary release, Positively Pippa, the heroine is a girly-girl, who loves makeup, fashion and everything flirty, frilly and fun. She is based on TLC’s Stacy London (host of What Not To Wear and Love, Lust or Run.) Her appreciation for aesthetics has in part inspired me to experiment with makeup. When I apply false lashes, which is by no means an easy feat and requires a steady hand and a delicate approach with the glue (that crap gets everywhere), I can’t help but think of Pippa and my time with her. When I brought her to life in the book, she appeared at my side as an exciting, bubbly BFF, inspiring me to push my boundaries and explore new parts of myself. From this point forward, whenever I put on, or even see, a pair of jaunty eyelashes in their little purple box, I’ll think of Pippa and her affect on me. The way she exhorts her “clients” to be the best version of themselves.

 

Famous makeup-fan Tammy Faye Baker is known for saying “Honey, I am going to my grave with my eyelashes and my makeup on.” That’s a woman who knows who she is! The way you feel and think about makeup, your relationship to it, defines who you are in so many ways. Your makeup is a narrative of your own individual, unique truth. At the end of the day when you take off your makeup and lashes, make sure that you’ve written the story you want to tell, because that’s all that matters.

 

sarahsig

 

 

 

‘Tis the Season to Sparkle!

‘Tis the Season to Sparkle!

warm-wishes-for-the-holiday-season

 

Red and green may dominate this time of year, but the holiday season also encourages one other element.

Whether subtle shimmering like the sun shining off fresh snow, or a sea of sequins that screams party, now is definitely the time to pull your sparkly pieces out of your closet.

It’s all about celebrating. Think about your holiday party or ringing in the new year. A sprinkling of sparkles makes it even more festive.

dressshoesscarf

And let’s not forget that plenty of makeup and nail polishes come in glittery shades too!

facenails

 

If you’re worried that you might be overdoing it, take comfort in the words of fashion icon Iris Apfel:

“More is more, and less is a bore.” 😀

May your days be Merry and Bright (and Sparkly),
Susan-Sig
Let’s get our Christmas Sweaters on

Let’s get our Christmas Sweaters on

By Carrie Elks

Well folks, it’s that time of year.

December 1st has finally arrived, which means there’s no escaping the holiday madness. Trees are up, lights are flashing, and the Christmas sweaters are being taken out of mothballs and pulled over our heads.

I confess, I do have a Christmas sweater. Here in the UK it’s a staple part of many people’s wardrobes. There’s even a ‘wear a Christmas Sweater for Charity day’, so only the meanest Scrooges among us refuse to look stupid in wool.

Here’s me. Cool huh?

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One of my favourite things is seeing families wearing Christmas Sweaters. Especially if they send you a card with them wearing it. Something like this would work. See how happy those kids are?

1000 Images About Family Christmas Photo Ideas On Pinterest - Best Resume Collection

Now this is a blog about romance, so you may be wondering how looking stupid fits in with falling in love. Well, I have two words for you. Mark Darcy. Phwoar. (Okay, that’s three. But who’s counting?)

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The first time he meets Bridget Jones, he’s wearing a ridiculous sweater, but somehow she falls for him anyway. And isn’t that what romance is all about? Loving the guy whether he’s wearing a silly sweater or a fabulous six pack (sigh). Because really, it’s what’s inside that counts.

And in case, like me, you really want to see the scene again, here’s Bridget and Mark’s first meeting.

 

Whatever you’re wearing this December, I hope you rock it.

Carrie Pink

That Minimal, Criminal, Sinful LBD

That Minimal, Criminal, Sinful LBD

While surfing the internet looking for a topic for today’s blog I happened across this:

Now even I know that no matter what her shape, size, or age, every woman needs this all important garment in her closet. This isn’t just a dress. This is a statement. It needs to be you.

Beautiful young woman in black dress

Find that shape, length, and exposure you’re comfortable in, but keep it on the daring side. Little means little.  A side slit, a little cleavage, or some lace can make a big difference. And make sure it highlights your best assests.

Believe me, every guy, straight or gay, notices a woman in an LBD on one level or another. So shop, shop, shop until you find the right one, because a mistake here can be disastrous.

punk screaming in theatrical mode

Once you’ve found the right dress, you are not done. No way.

Female bag, shoes and accessories isolated on white

It’s now all about the accessories. Bag or clutch, sunglasses, jewelry, and those all important shoes. Accessories are the frame to that perfect picture. Just enough to enhance without taking away from the artistry of the dress and that amazing woman within.

So…have you got one? Do you own it?

 

Sophisticated woman holds a blank tablet computer.

Oh, girl! I like how you accessorize.

So is there a guy equivalent to the LBD? Let me know in the comments below.

I may need to go shopping.

Steve