A Woman after Mine Own Heart: Frock around the Clock

Ms. Withey in the Mojave, sporting Laverne (her dress-for-a-year). PS Cute haircut!! :-)

Check out Elizabeth Withey and her one-dress, one-year project: Frock Around the Clock. She's even more hard-core than I (literally the same dress every day for a full year), but we're on similar paths.

This article says her no-shopping policy (similar to my year-long, self-inflicted hiatus from new clothing) marks "her statement against the consumerism and materialism that often permeates [sic] the fabric of our society." As you know, my goals were not so lofty. I just wanted to turn down the roar of the crazy-train chugging through my mind-grapes whenever I contemplated getting dressed. (Seven Things I Learned from Not Shopping for One Year)

Ms. Withey and I agree on this point: "It's kind of thinking the next outfit will make you happy or whatever and it absolutely won't . . . . It's just a never-ending situation. I think people are searching for satisfaction in some regard . . . and it's actually not going to do anything for you in the long-term."

Shine on, simplicity and shine on, Elizabeth Withey! Please follow her journey here: FrockAroundTheClock - an Exercise in Simplification.

 

 

For Menopausal Women Only: Why a Black Golf Skort is My New Best Friend

With apologies to my actual human BFFs, a black golf skort gives me everything I need in a companion. My daily uniform is reliable, super-forgiving and no matter what, it never fails to cover my ass. 

I am warning you. This post is not for the faint-of-heart. If you are squeamish, under the age of 45, or unfamiliar with basic human biology, turn back now.

If, on the other hand, you are surprised every few weeks by a brand-new variation on a hormonal theme, read on. If you are careening toward what Amy Schumer and the girls call our "Last F***able Day," lemme tell you all about my new best pal.

1. A black golf skort is reliable.

As the Stones sing, "What a drag it is getting old." There is so much I love about my later forties (wisdom, perspective, a socially acceptable I-don't-give-a-damn attitude), but every day is a fresh new hell. As if living amongst capricious teenagers and their agitated fathers weren't enough, our bodies keep showing unexpected little chinks in the armor of youth and vitality.

You can count on a good skort. It will make you feel comfortable and supported, without restricting you or pinching your skin. It will support you in more abstract ways, too. It's like an affable girlfriend in your closet, telling you how fantastic you look, helping you put great outfits together. The black skort goes with everything and gets along with everyone. It mingles well, like a great party guest--never drawing attention to itself, making everyone else look fabulous--always appropriate, never flashy.

Because I no longer know what's going to happen with my body, I take comfort in the reliability and consistency of my wardrobe. My period may come at any time, last for any number of days (or even weeks), accompanied by a never-ending host of other bodily delights. My breasts might swell and hurt more than they did when I nursed my babies. Or they may not. I may have searing cramps or migraines or inexplicable crying jags. Or not. Hot-flashes, night-sweats, swollen ankles, numbness in strange places . . . I just never know what each day may bring. I do, however, know what I'm going to wear and how I'm going to look and I really don't worry about that anymore. My good old friend the skort has been quite a comfort during these uncertain times.

2. A black golf skort is super-forgiving.

Not that I'd know personally, but in a black skort, you can spill coffee directly into your lap and not have to change for your meeting. The best golf skorts are made of some space-age gossamer that breathes, dries quickly and is almost impervious to stains. Practically anything you drop will wipe right off (please note: it's not magic--acrylic paints, epoxies and open flame will cause permanent damage). A skort forgives you for being in a hurry or trying to multi-task or for just being a walking disaster. I love that in a friend.

A skort also forgives you and your endocrines for your natural (sometimes, super-natural) variations in size. Many of us at this age fluctuate in the mid-section during the course of a month. The skort--with its cushy elasticity--will never tell. It moves with you, effortlessly accommodating your shape, never judging, never pointing out the obvious. (Honestly, I'd have to gain or lose a good 15 pounds before really needing a new size.)

3. A skort covers your ass, no matter what.

We don't talk about the details, but here's the truth, Ladies: everything leading up to menopause is (quite literally) a bloody mess. Perhaps you've been there yourself; I know I'm not alone. Otherwise, consider this fair warning for what may be ahead. Usually, it happens in some bathroom stall, often at an event at which you are having a perfectly good time. You duck into the ladies' room to freshen-up,  and your evening takes a ghastly turn.

With the efficiency and detachment of an old pro, you clean up what looks awfully like a murder scene. You take a few deep breaths and convince yourself you are not, in fact, hemorrhaging or dying. You consult the electronic period-tracker on your phone to confirm just how unexpected the timing is. You might check in with Dr. Google, too, who assures you clots the size of golf balls are perfectly normal. And then--especially if you are wearing light colors--you start planning your escape, careful to map a route that keeps your backside hidden from public view.

A black skort will not shield you from such nastiness, but it will shield you from total humiliation better than most clothing. First of all, it is black, of course. It is also two layers of fabric, even if you opt to go commando. And in the most dire circumstances, the quick-dry feature of the golf skort might be most important. It may indeed be possible, with sink and electric hand-dryer, to do a quick load of laundry right there on the spot. (Unlikely, I know, but nice to have the option in case the floodgates open right before a big presentation or your kid's graduation ceremony.)

Yes, my buddy the black skort covers my ass in many ways. For modesty (because leggings are not pants) and self-respect (because no one needs to know what horrors we face before we put on a brave smile and face the world) and actual coverage when life gets messy, I can count on the skort to protect me. You can see why I'm a devoted friend and admirer.

How My Wardrobe Taught Me Not to Trust Big Ideas

My experiment began with a pretty Big Idea: maybe if I simplify my closet, I can simplify my life. As I have written about here and there, it worked. The experiment did change me: my reactions to the world, the way I think about myself and my relationships, my feelings about who I am. It changed my bank account and the way I get dressed every day and how I feel about myself when I look in the mirror.

Minimizing my wardrobe has, indeed, made a difference. Getting dressed today takes me 30 seconds instead of 30 minutes. Refusing to think about what I wear has freed space in my brain for thoughts I enjoy much more. Thinking about what I will do instead of how I look makes me happier all the way around.

It was a pretty Big Idea and it created a pretty big impact in my life. But the idea itself didn't make the difference. It was my choice to put on a black skort--no matter how I felt about it--every single day. That's what changed my life. And so,

Three Reasons I Don't Trust "Big Ideas"

1. Big Ideas are nothing compared to little habits. (No idea will change lives unless it is practiced every day.)

2. Inspiration withers without execution. (We all have lots of great ideas--the ones that really count are the ones we manifest.)

3. The difference between having a thought and bringing it to life is like eating the proverbial elephant. We do it "one bite at a time." (Daily, we make choices. We commit to the Big Idea in a million tiny ways.)

 As my friends and I seek peace, balance, and ways to make our time on the planet meaningful (and bearable), I think we tend to seek Big Ideas. When our kids are in trouble, when we're struggling with a relationship or bad habits or how to feel okay amidst all the chaos, we look for Big Ideas. We hope something--a new product, friend, prayer, diet, workout, bit of advice--will make all the difference.

I'm here to tell you, it won't. No Big Idea is worth much at all until we bring it alive with tiny, daily, sometimes simple actions. I asked a lot of my year-long experiment. I wanted simplicity and clarity and peace. I wanted to accept myself and feel confident and happier.

It was a Big, Giant Idea, but I measured my progress in one small way. Every single day, I put a black skort on my body. I followed the rather simple (but oh-so-challenging!) rules I set out for myself, and one danged day (one choice, one outfit, one un-purchased item) at a time, I did the Little Things that made my Big Idea happen. I think a lot of life works this way.

 

Why I May Never Wear Blue Jeans Again

On April 1--because I could--I put on a pair of jeans for the first time in a year.

I strutted around the living room for my husband, did a load of laundry, admired my booty in the full-length mirror, and took them off. I cannot imagine wearing them again. I barely know the girl who once wore jeans every day. 

One of my reasons is practical and rather obvious. And it's enough. It's a great reason not to wear jeans on a regular basis.

The other reason is probably weird and unique to me, but it's at the core of the Skort365 project, why I did it in the first place, and why I'm still wearing a skort today.

Reason One: Jeans Feel Uncomfortable.

I am not going to spend another minute telling you why: if we're honest with ourselves, we all know it's true. Yeah, yeah, yeah, miracle, part-Spandex fabrics and all that . . . whatever.

If I'm wearing denim, there is no way I'm going to feel as comfy as I do in a skort. During my one denim hour on April 1, no way I would have: done my morning stretches, ridden my bike, jumped in a lake, thrown pots on my wheel, or been comfortable, temperature-wise, in whatever weather came my way. When I bent to unload the washing machine, the waistband pinched me in a familiar, annoying way--a pinch I have never, ever felt from a golf skort.

So, no. Nope. Dis-qualified. Jeans are banned from my wardrobe because they are the opposite of the go-everywhere, ready-for-anything, feel-like-I'm-in-my-pajamas SKORT. (Read about why I chose the skort here.)

Reason Two: Jeans Look Amazing.

This was undeniable, and I had a witness. Both my husband and I enjoyed the hour I spent in jeans, from a purely aesthetic perspective. Yup. I looked good. The right pair of jeans can do a lot, and we know it, and that's why we love them: they lift and sculpt your butt, lengthen your legs, suck in your tummy. 

When I put on my best pair of jeans, I immediately started thinking about which boots look best with them. I imagined going out, looking good, rocking the jeans again. And then, almost immediately, I started thinking about: which combinations of tops and jackets might best conquer the muffin-top, which belt might hold without grabbing, which underthings produce the most flattering silhouette from behind. I remembered the power of a hot pair of jeans to turn heads and make me appear younger than my 46 years. UH-OH.

I chose the black skort in an attempt to STOP this conversation in my brain. In the skort, I know I never look amazing--but I trust I always look just fine. I can get dressed in the dark: every top in my closet goes with every bottom. Everything fits and is comfortable. I have not thought about how my clothing feels in a year, and that is freedom. I have also thought less about how I look, and it has changed my perspective on myself and the world.

No pair of jeans--no matter how awesome they make me look--is worth compromising what I have gained. My experiment in simplicity did, in fact, silence a lot of noise in my over-active, over-critical, over-sensitive brain. And it's a silence I treasure much more than how my butt looks when I go to a concert.

For reasons both practical and emotional, then, I'm sticking to the skort and bidding denim a final farewell.

 

The Skort Report: Best Skort for Travel

After ten months of painstaking, daily research--and many, many golf skorts--I have mastered the art of comfortable, convenient, wrinkle-free travel. As I wrote in this post last spring, air-travel has changed, but nothing makes it easier--and more enjoyable--than wearing the black skort. 

[I am (sadly) paid nothing--by nobodynever!--for any of my observations or endorsements. It's a shame, too -- Jamie Sadock should pay my salary. This is enthusiastic endorsement #2 of her products. Because they're that good.]

3. Best for Travel: Jamie Sadock's Zen Pull-On Skort

FORM: Practical and pretty. This skort is stretchy, a little shiny, and totally wrinkle-proof, whether you wear it on your journey or cram it into your carry-on. 

It is so light and comfortable, it's easy to forget you are wearing it at all, which is a feature I most enjoy while sitting for hours at a time. Best of all, this little number falls right into shape when you stand up, keeping you looking fresh and fabulous, no matter how long or eventful your trip becomes. It's actually pretty (and "dressier" than your average athletic bottom)!

FUNCTION: Stretchy and shiny.  Perfect for vacations, especially if you enjoy a good brunch or buffet line: the wide elastic waistband is comfortable and stays put, no matter how much you indulge in local cuisine.

I usually wear a thin pair of leggings underneath for airline travel, because I get a little chilly on planes (also that extra layer makes me feel a little less exposed to the mysteries of public furniture). My beloved zippered pockets allow me to stay somewhat organized as I dash through airports to make my connections.

This skort is made out of some crazy micro-poly material which also happens to be stain-resistant; it is actually slippery to the touch. You can drop your bagel face-down on your lap and the cream cheese will scrape right off. No one will ever know. The black-on-black pattern likewise helps disguise coffee or wine spills. (You are probably not as clumsy or messy as I am, but just in case . . . this is good stuff to keep in mind.)

FASHION I promise you, in this skort no one will know your secrets (how comfortable you really are, how many meals you have spilled, how many hours you've been cooped up in tiny spaces). You will look like a smartly dressed woman in a nicely draped black skirt. The shine factor will also take you into evening, as they say -- paired with a sparkly little black tank, you're ready for a club or a Broadway play or a sumptuous, romantic dinner!

Because it is constructed of space-age fabric, this skort also dries quickly. I think you could conceivably wash it in a public sink, wring it out, dry it with the restroom's hand-dryer. I have not personally tried this--yet--but it seems entirely plausible. Which means, of course, you could wear this baby several days in a row. You'll look right and ready, no matter the occasion (and no matter how filthy your travels become).

FEE: ***This just in!! ON SALE for $45 at www.6pm.com !! *** (Lots of other Jamie Sadock also currently on sale -- go big or go home, Ladies!!) :-)

$95 at Jamie Sadock's online store and other golf retail outlets. Yeah. Expensive, again. The fact is, wearing a skort every day of my life means I am willing to pay for the best I can find . .  and Jamie Sadock is the best skort designer out there. Her garments are fabulous, functional and fashionable. They wear well. In my mind, they are worth the steep cost -- and the Zen Pull-On is no exception, especially for globe-trotting.


Previous Entries in The Skort Report:

Definition of Terms

Best in Show

Best at the Beach

How my summer trip to New York was better because of skort365

The Skort Report: Best Skort for the Beach

After ten months of painstaking, daily research--and many, many golf skorts--I have mastered the art of comfort while playing on the beach.

[If you are a sun-bathing beauty who enjoys the solace and solitude of a lounge chair, this post is not for you. A skort leaves a funny tan line and looks odd amongst teenie-weenie bikinis. If, however, you see every body of water as a chance for Big Fun (like I do), read on . . . .]

I am rather clumsy on dry land, but in the water, as sure and graceful as a mermaid. I enjoy jumping, diving, swimming, boogie- and paddle-boarding, waterskiing and big, wet slides. When I am lucky enough to get to the ocean, I don't waste one minute of daylight lounging on the sand. I'm really only having fun if I am snorkeling, body-surfing, or paddling a kayak. All of which are way, way better in a black skort.

This one is my favorite so far [I am (sadly) paid nothing--by nobodynever!--for any of my observations or endorsements]:

2. Best for the Beach: Athleta's Swagger Skort 

FORM: Short and sweet. It is shorter than my daily skort, and stretchier. This skort is light as a feather, stretchy, and made of cool-to-the-touch micropoly/Spandex. It weighs practically nothing and dries lickity-split. This miracle material also wicks and breathes and performs well in the washing machine, dryer, chlorinated pool and saltwater.  

FUNCTION: Better than a bathing-suit bottom, because no designer I have found makes a tankini with a mid-thigh mesh short. And this, my friends, is vital. In this skort, I get way less sand in my crotch and between my thighs!! THAT is the indelicate but gorgeous truth, Ladies -- the shorts part of the skort is a revolutionary experience on the beach! Can you imagine??

The wide waistband is comfy and stays put (so do those built-in shorts, thanks to the no-pinch silicone leg grips!), and the fully-adjustable drawstring at the waist means you'll feel confident diving into the deep end or riding the roughest wave.

One small zippered pocket keeps a key and ID secure at the small of your back. You shouldn't be swimming with your phone, anyway, so that one little pocket is perfect.

FASHION: Easy-breezy-lemon-sqeezey. The triple ruffles keep it modest, but 'beachy' enough to make me feel like Annette Funicello. I wear it with a nice, coordinating bikini top--a halter is my forever fave--but you could pair it with the top half of any tankini or similar suit. As we see above, this skort comes in plenty of summery color options (although I would never recommend white anything for the water!).

It dries so quickly, you can throw on your flip-flops and a nice top and go right to a nice summer dinner. I have also been wearing mine this winter with substantial, wooly leggings and long boots. Darling!  Truly, 'tis a skort for all seasons.

FEE: $54 at Athleta. Not too shabby, considering the effortless comfort of this beauty allows you to run along the beach, pondering your own personal horizons, without annoying sand or painful rubbing killing the moment.

Other Entries in The Skort Report:

Definition of Terms

Best in Show



The Skort Report: Best in Show

After ten months of painstaking, daily research--and many, many golf skorts--I can tell you with confidence: one skort is better than all the others.

It does not come cheap, but it is worth it. If you want a black skort nice enough to wear with blazers, to business meetings, get this one. If you want a black skort comfortable enough to wear anywhere but also (miraculously) flattering on your figure, get this one. 

I am (sadly) paid nothing--by nobody, never!--for any of my observations. In future installments I will highlight other skorts which serve various functions -- but for my friends who wanted to know which skort to buy, and where, here you go.

If you have only one skort in your closet, it should be this one.

1. BEST IN SHOW: Jamie Sadock's Skinnylicious Skort

FORM: Comfortable and classy. This skort, my friends, is designed with the elegance of the Sistine Chapel. I mean it. It holds me in like Spanx® while being miraculously comfortable--no sucking-in, no ripping off my undergarment at day's end--and yet it flatters as well as any garment I have ever worn. The length is appropriate; the zipper at the hem is slightly sexy; the material is fine enough to enter the boardroom, the classroom, the editing room . . . maybe even the bedroom. 

FUNCTION: Smart and sexy. The inner short hugs the body like workout gear, while the outer skirt falls away in a most appealing shape. This thing is Project-Runway-worthy, folks! It is constructed of some high-tech miracle fabric: stain-resistant breathable; it looks downright expensive, On "fat days," when I have a meeting, when I want to look especially good, when I want be comfy and appropriate all at once -- day after day, I reach for this beautiful skort.

The engineering of the three pockets is deeply satisfying. All on the right side of the body, they are deep enough to hold an iPhone without a terribly unsightly bulge. This is a skort that almost allows me to go without a pocketbook (not quite--because I am a packrat--but close)!

Neat and nimble. My first chance to try a stand-up paddle board--an experience so glorious it changed my life!--occurred while I was wearing this skort. I wanted to practice falling in the water to see how easily I could get up (easy-peasy-lemon-sqeezey!), so I went right into the drink. The skort prevailed. It dried as quickly as a mountaineer's tent and looked gorgeous the rest of the day. 

FASHION: It's gorgeous. This is the skort I have worn to weddings, funerals, and business meetings. The metal zippers are functional but add a kick-ass flair (they have also never stuck or broken, which is a miracle, considering the marathon I have put them through!).

It looks as great with a motorcycle jacket as a tucked-in silk blouse and blazer. With flip-flops at the beach, with pumps, with boots and leg warmers, even with running shoes and on a casual bicycle ride, this skort looks great, fits well and feels good! 

It comes with gold or silver zippers, and I started my year-of-skirts with one of each. I have since purchased two more because I realized I could really have nothing else, ever, in my closet, and be pretty satisfied. (One of the new ones I preserve for "good," the others I wear daily.)

FLAWS: This skort tends to wrinkle--deep, lap creases when I sit for long periods--which bugs me, but I wear it anyway; it still looks okay. The stiffness of the fabric makes it so flattering, the lap creases are a decent trade-off.

I have worn these skorts excessively and they show some wear--the fabric is a little frayed at the seams. The tags are correct: for best results, this skort should be dry-cleaned. The one time I did schlep mine to the cleaner's the results were awesome. It looked brand-new. With normal wear and proper care, this skort should last just fine. I have abused mine and they have performed heroically.

I wish there were pockets on both sides of this well-designed garment. (I believe Ms. Sadock has just released a similar design with more pockets--can't wait to try it.)

FEE: A good skort does not come cheap. All year, this garment cost about $110, and (trust me) it rarely goes on sale anywhere. I have bought all mine at the PGA Tour Superstore, because they have provided excellent service all year. And RIGHT NOW this skort is on sale!! Grab it while you can!!

[For more tips on shopping for the right skort, read this.]