Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Thrift Shop Fur

One of the biggest trends this winter has been the Big Fluffy Furry Coat--faux fur in most collections, but the real thing is getting more play as spring approaches.  It's a bold, playful look, especially in bright colors and prints and fabulous textures, and it can be remarkably versatile.  I love a statement piece that elevates basics to showstopping heights...though as a Spoonie, I sometimes have reservations about faux fur.  It is typically made of polyester, and while outerwear is one of the few places I feel okay making an exception to the no-poly rule, a big furry coat that does not breathe can be tricky for Spoonies whose body temperatures fly all over the place.  You definitely don't want to arrive at your destination glamorous and showstopping but very, very DAMP.  Choosing a coat that leaves some of your neck exposed, and that can be worn open for ventilation and still look fabulous, will go a long way toward keeping you glam.

My own interpretation of the trend started years ago when I found a classic piece for a few dollars at a local thrift store: a persian lamb evening coat with a mink collar and bracelet sleeves.  The texture was intoxicating, the workmanship was divine, and I HAD to have it.  I tried, and tried, and tried to wear it over the years, but it just felt like a costume.  It was sooooooooo vintage, and not in the right way.  Late last year, our puppy chewed on the mink collar, and I discovered that it was just hand-tacked in place.  I snipped the connecting threads, and suddenly I had a divine, timeless, gorgeous coat.  

The moral of the story here is that you can't be too much in awe of a special piece of vintage or designer clothing--if it's not working for you, and you're not wearing it, whether the issue is style or fit or comfort, never be afraid to have something altered or get rid of it altogether.  We are all guilty of keeping "aspirational" clothes--things that sit in our closets and remind us that if we were just BETTER (thinner, fitter, stronger, braver, more social, more professional) we could wear them.  You do NOT need to change for the sake of your clothes.  They are there to serve you, the beautiful, fabulous you that ALREADY exists.

The purse is also a thrift shop find--and while most fashion blogs avoid one-of-a-kind vintage and thrifted pieces because readers can't duplicate the look exactly, I think Spoonie Style is really all about taking the simple, comfortable basics that are reliably Spoonie friendly and making them our own with fantastic, highly personal accessories.  In that spirit, I'm including links to Etsy Treasuries of items similar in look or spirit to the vintage pieces featured in my posts.  Etsy is an AMAZING online resource for unique vintage and handmade items and possibly my single most-loved shopping destination.  You can view ALL my Etsy Treasuries (and there will be more every week) by searching "Spoonie Style" on the Treasuries page HERE:

Get The Look:

Etsy Treasury of fab Persian Lamb coats and jackets 

Etsy Treasury of Box Purses and Cage Bags

Watch from Mini In The Box

Necklace, Walmart, in stores only.

Friday, January 23, 2015

The (Very) Luxe Duster

The Luxe Duster (Hello Instant Glamor!)

Dusters have really come into their own as a staple this winter, in every possible variety from a basic elongated cardigan to something as fabulous as, well, THIS beaded burnout velvet number from Soft Surroundings.  I LOVE the juxtaposition of the intense glamour over jeans.  It has the attitude of the sequins-for-day trend without being itchy and painful, and the silk and rayon blend velvet is irresistibly soft to the touch and just intoxicating to wrap yourself in.  It flows like a dream.

Even better, for a really formal occasion--a wedding, black-tie night on a cruise, a gala, this is a piece that elevates your little black dress or even a simple pair of flowing pants into a showstopping look with complete comfort and ease.  You can swan around among all the women cinched into gowns and five-inch heels and complicated hair, and be ABSOLUTELY as comfy as lounging around the house and still incredibly fabulous.  The burnout portion is actually fairly sheer, so you get coverage without completely sacrificing sex appeal, too. 

This is more of an investment piece than a lot of what I feature on Spoonie Style, but it's a piece with legs--you'll wear this more than a half dozen panic-purchased polyester cocktail dresses you "HAD" to buy for a dressy event, and you'll enjoy it more, too....and it will save your life when you don't have the spoons to "do up" the glam factor--throw it over almost anything and it replaces piles of jewelry and makeup and hair.

Soft Surroundings is a great place to find unusual, highly embellished statement pieces.  They have a good plus-size selection but the fit on their tops tends to cater to a proportionally smaller bust, regardless of size.

Friday, January 16, 2015

Wardrobe Must-Have--the Stretchy Little Black Dress

The Little Black Stretchy Dress, Styled for a dressy dinner or a wedding.

I look very "done up" and elegant here, but what I'm actually wearing is a one piece dress that falls straight from the shoulders like a nightgown, and flat morroccan slippers, meant for around the house.  That's the beauty of Spoonie Style dressing--minimal compromise of comfort  (yes, I AM wearing a bra) with a maximum payoff of style.    
Dress by Jessica London--on clearance for 19.99 right now!  It runs big, especially in the hips, so size down unless you have a dramatic pear shape.  Then rock it and be proud!  Necklace by Walmart ($10).  Shoes thrifted.

I am NOT one to come up with a big list of rules for what to wear--I think anything can be a wardrobe stable as long as you feel fabulous in it, BUT I do make an exception for the little black dress....and for Spoonies, a Little Black STRETCHY Dress is a real lifesaver.  An ideal simple black dress can take you to a dressy dinner, a funeral, a court appearance, even a job interview, with just a careful change of accessories.

A dress in a soft, stretchy fabric, that doesn't bind at the waist or anywhere else is a must-have for every Spoonie.  It's like a nightgown-comfy piece you can wear anywhere and look totally chic doing it, and the ways to style it are ENDLESS and go waaaaaay past dressing-up events like the four listed above.  I'll be featuring the Little Black Dress and ways to style it as a regular weekly item on the blog, so stay tuned.

You want a dress in a simple cut and a dense enough knit fabric that it won't pill or cling after a few washings, and it should be a NON-POLYESTER fabric.  Polyester has come a long way, and microfiber knits are heavenly soft, but and the end of the day, it's still made of plastic.  For a Spoonie, the ziploc-bag effect can be more than a little unpleasant--with chronic rashes, random sweating and chills from medications or hormones, chafing,...well, you get the idea.  Stick to fabrics that breathe.

Link Zone:


Necklace out of stock online.  Check your local store, or, similar here:

Wait...What's a Spoonie?

"Spoonie" is a term for a person living with a chronic illness, especially an "invisible" illness.  The term itself came from a great essay by Christine Miserandino called "The Spoon Theory" (read the whole thing here:  Essentially, it's a story about how she explained her own invisible illness to a friend by gathering all the spoons from the tables around them in a diner, handing them to her, and then asking her to describe her typical morning routine.  Then, for each task in that routine, she had to hand over some spoons, depending on difficulty for a person with lupus.  Showers cost a lot of spoons...the heat and reaching a bending can be touch.  An hour for hair and makeup?  That's a whole PILE of spoons!  Making breakfast and cleaning up afterward...also spoon-intense.  Before the friend had even made it out the door on her hypothetical day, she was down to just one spoon.  Spoons have become our measurements of strength, of energy, even of stubborness, drive, and devotion, because sometimes that's all that's propping us up. 

A Spoonie has to ration those things...every tiny decision of our day hinges on how many spoons we've got.  It is a precarious balancing act.  We learn to prioritize, to simplify, even to cut corners.  AND...I'm here to help.  You don't have to give up being fabulous because you're short on spoons. 

Welcome to the Spoonie Style--Not Just Cute Pajamas BLOG!

If you're a Spoonie, you know that choosing what to wear can be fraught with peril! We all have the list of no-no's: no cinched waists; no underwires; no high heels; no polyester. Nothing tight, nothing itchy, nothing with a lot of buttons or fastenings. Nothing that needs dry cleaning or hand washing or special underwear or good posture! Living in pajamas can be a tempting alternative, but WE DESERVE BETTER. YOU deserve to be gorgeous and stylish and look like a million bucks, even if you feel like about a dollar and a half. Spoonie Style is a place to celebrate what we CAN have.

I hope you'll join me as every week I feature stories about spoonie-friendly clothes, beauty products, tips and tricks for making the most of your spoons, and features on my favorite "non-traditional" fashion role modes and activists in the body-positivity movement.  I'm so excited to begin this journey with you.