What not to wear: Seattle edition

I just returned–well, a couple hours ago now–from an outing to the mall. Me, the mall. Yes. This rare occurrence usually only happens when I have some occasion I’ve decided I need an outfit for, like the Christmas party that made me realize I had nothing nicer than a three-year-old granny-style dress I (sadly) wore to a friend’s wedding. It had been a June wedding, and I couldn’t find a thing that year that would look any nicer on me.

This trip was also motivated by an event, actually. In just under two weeks, we’ll be heading up to Toronto for the IRA show–International Reading Association, that is–and I wanted to find something a little nicer than last year’s pants and the tops that I’d bought pre-grad school. Nice as they are, they’re starting to fray.

The problem is that I never seem to be able to find good clothes consistently. I’ll make good finds, and then I’ll have a string of wasting money on clothes that seem okay when trying them on, or I’ll buy them out of desperation to just have something so I can go home. I have a closet full of clothes I wore once but never wore again because they didn’t fit right after one washing or I’d forgotten to sit down while trying something on, or any number of other silly mistakes. Then there’s the whole question of whether a color is right for me, or a cut, etc.

We’d been talking about What Not to Wear at work and I joked that I should have them come do me, but that I wanted Trinny and Susannah, not Stacy and Clinton (I just prefer the British one, for a number of reasons I won’t enumerate). But who has the money to spend what they give their people? ($5000 for the U.S. show, £2000 for the U.K.)

Coworker Shelly to the rescue! She has a WHOLE lot more fashion sense than I do, and also just plain knows how to shop. She’s Trinny and Susannah in the clearance racks, and knows how to be stylish on a budget (but also a little bit Stacy and Clinton in holding firm!). She and my other coworker Nina and I made an evening of it, and I think it’s the first time in years I’ve actually had fun while shopping. She also insisted that I must allow myself to get cute shoes, and she helped me go beyond my boring basic black or brown loafers. I even came home with a skirt and a shirt, and I’m going back tomorrow to pick up a few more things I’d left on hold (they’re cheaper tomorrow!).

So if you see me at IRA, you’ll know I have Shelly to thank for all that style.

The reason I tell you all this is because not only is Shelly amazing with fashion–she’s an author, too. Her book, Confessions of a Part Time Sorceress, comes out in September. If you’re a girl who’s ever played D&D, or who has ever thought perhaps playing D&D wasn’t for you, either way this book is for you. I personally never played a game of D&D until starting this job–had lots of friends who were gamers, but I didn’t understand it. This book is for the girl I once was two years ago (which was the time I started playing in our department’s weekly Eberron game–and it’s been such a blast!) and it’s for the girl I’ve become, 9th level monk about to take a vow of poverty and all (who still has to ask, “can I do this…?” so it’s not like I’ve become an expert). It’s not a Mirrorstone book, but it’s very teen friendly, too! Funny, observant, and all sorts of other adjectives that I can’t think of this early in the morning. Her alter ego, Astrid Bellagio, has a MySpace page where she keeps
a blog of her latest adventures and distractions in the game. Go check it out!