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Well dang, it’s my FAVORITE time of the year.  Right now.  The end of Daylight Savings Time.  That blissful extra hour…what a gift.  OK, yeah, I know, I know, it’ll get darker sooner now as the weeks roll by, but you know what?  I don’t care.  It’s all a cycle shifting back and forth.  For now, I’ll savor this extra hour.  What are YOU going to do with YOURS?

I started a new job back in late September and I would say this is one of the biggest job changes I’ve made yet in my (gasp) 25 years in the workforce.  A new industry for me, a major shift away from contracting/consulting to full-time permanent employment…and a new commute.  Yep, I’m working in downtown Seattle proper again.  Haven’t done that since 1997 and I didn’t realize how much I missed it to be honest.  Sure, I’m getting up about an hour and a half earlier than I used to to catch a bus, but I wake up now with a (tired) smile on my face.  I’m working downtown again, everyone!!

And that means a big shift in my wardrobe too.  Not necessarily due to the downtown change, but mostly because of the company I work for now.  There is a little more of an old school, formal dress code.  As in jeans only on Fridays…and they better be nice ones.  So my intentionally ripped “destroyed” denim sits idle in my closet now.  And the “nice” denim I have is slowly becoming too big and baggy from this past year’s weight loss. 

So here’s a nice problem to have…new body, new job, new commute…and new style, however it will evolve!  It’s been a little hard on the wallet I must say…but SO much fun.

Let’s start with dresses….yes, DRESSES.  Hell, I haven’t worn a dress in years, and certainly not to work in eons.

Vince dressHere’s a fabulous surprise find…a dress by Vince!  Ahhh, Vince can do no wrong in my book…wonderful, snuggly cashmere sweaters I’ve enjoyed for years.  I found this dress at Nordstrom a few weeks ago and fell in love with it (although I was prepared not to like it).  The space-dyed knit front is lined so it’s not see-through, and the rest of the dress is a dark charcoal grey with a fun shirt tail hem on the sides.  It has a back zipper, side pockets and really nice piping detail on the sleeves.  And super comfortable…bonus!  I love this with black tights and boots.  Gotta love getting dressed in 10 seconds, especially when you’re getting up earlier in the morning!

Ted Baker dressAnd dress #2…this one is by Ted Baker, a designer I had not heard of before!  He’s done menswear for some time and now has branched into women’s clothing – very nice.  My Mom spotted this dress on a recent shopping trip and boy did she nail it!  This dress is both gorgeous and comfortable.  The fabric is embossed with a very subtle reptile print.  Classy with an edge.  And there is a bold, exposed zipper in the back, so once again you’re dressed in seconds.  I love the fit and flare swing of the skirt – makes me feel so feminine and pretty when I wear it!  I love it with black tights and boots for the fall weather.

Theory skirtI just recently purchased this skirt too – I found it on that shopping trip with my Mom and later had to go online and scoop it up – this is by Theory (one of my favorite clothing brands).  It’s a beautiful poly/wool blend, and I love the knife pleating…so classic and kinda retro, don’t you think?  I will wear this three seasons of the year for sure.  Once again with black tights…and for shoes I tried some black patent leather high-heeled penny loafers.  Fun!

SM BootsAnd speaking of shoes, I’ve made a few shifts there too.  I literally live in denim and high heels.  Now that jeans are limited to Fridays and weekends for me, and that I’m walking a few blocks downtown to and from the bus stop and my building, high heels aren’t the fastest way to get around.  Wow, for so many years I walked a few steps from a parking lot to where I worked, so heels weren’t a problem.  Or even really out there platforms.  Well, usually not…but check out that post from last year for a good laugh.  These boots are by Steve Madden.  I bought them last year and they pretty much sat unworn in my closet.  I’m so glad I hung onto them.  I probably wear them 2-3 times a week now.  The cut is nice and wide, so my nearly C-width feet and toes aren’t pinched, and the low heel is perfect for getting around comfortably.  Don’t like the moto-inspired details?  If you’re wearing pants or jeans it really doesn’t show too much.  My new workplace is a lot more conservative, but these are absolutely fine and not too casual.

Theory pantsAnd help…I need pants, big time!  My eye zooms in on jeans whenever I shop or browse catalogues, but I’ve gotta invest in work-appropriate attire now.  No jeans except Fridays combined with a 50 lb weight loss means starting from scratch pretty much!

Theory saves the day with these wonderful wool and poly blend slacks.  They’re lightweight enough to wear year ’round and go with literally anything.  A nice change from my typical black pants choice.  These weren’t cheap by a longshot, but I justify that with them being a classic style I can wear all the time.  Sold.

Sorel bootsAnd, it’s Seattle so we’re all about not so great weather.  I really notice this now that I’m spending more time outside waiting for a bus or walking to my building or enjoying a walk on my lunch break.  We don’t let the weather get in our way around here!  And I wanted some practical but not too granola-looking rubber boots for rainy days and puddles.  Nice enough to not have to bring another pair of shoes to the office to change into.  And I think I found exactly what I was looking for with these Sorel boots.  I LOVE the pop of orange on the heel, don’t you?  These are cut wide enough for my feet and so comfy I wore them all day at work last Friday.  Truly unexpectedly comfortable!  Nice job, Sorel.

Asics sneakersI also noticed my running/walking shoes getting a little worn on the inside, so it was time to get another pair to alternate with.  Now that I’m into my second year of improved fitness and nutrition habits, I was looking for shoes I can wear for runs and walks when it gets darker a little earlier this time of the year.  Asics are a perfect cut for my wide feet which are blessed with high arches and major supination.  That means your feet roll outward rather than inward as you walk, by the way. Apparently I supinate pretty severely according to the nice people at the running store near my house.  Go big or go home, right?  That’s also why I love these shoes.  They have reflective gel for nighttime walks and the bright yellow is anything but subtle.  No need to hide!

I also picked up a new black umbrella which has some reflective tape around the outside edges.  You might think it’s funny that I live in Seattle and didn’t have a decent umbrella prior to now, but ’tis the truth and not super unusual actually.  Around here our rains aren’t typically the torrential kind of downpours you might have in other parts of the country.  Rather, our light rain or spitty drizzle is pretty easy to dodge or tolerate when making a dash from your car to your house or the store, say.  Now that I have more outside walking as part of my new routine an umbrella is essential.  I found one that folds up nice and small and is easy to throw into my purse.  At the drugstore of all places.  We’ll see how long it lasts.

I see a lot of crossbody and messenger-style bags downtown, on both men and women.  I can see how freeing it is to be, well, hands-free!  So I thought I’d branch out from my typical crook of the arm purses and find something crossbody myself.

MKors crossbodyThis is a pony-hair camo-style crossbody bag by MICHAEL Michael Kors.  And the picture doesn’t do it justice I must say.  It’s about 9″ by 7″ with a 24″ strap drop. And wow, it’s gorgeous!  This is a fun change from my usual black, dark brown and grey bag collection.  The camo is a fun twist without being over the top trendy.  And it’s so nice being a smaller size to where this style of bag fits comfortably across my body.

I’ve also rediscovered the joy of a nice trench coat.  Mine is a classic black knee-length by Nine West, and it’s old enough to where I couldn’t even find it online.  I guess Nine West is no longer in the apparel business?  Wow, I’ve got a collector’s item.  Maybe someday I will invest in an iconic Burberry trench, but for now this one is perfect.  It could be 15 years old, who knows.  But the style is timeless and it still looks great, not worn out.  It sat for years unworn in my closet actually after I gained weight.

I’m so glad I hung onto it.