A New Leaf

comments: 23

PalepinkclusterhatsideAlas, I did not go to the bookstore yesterday, and I'm kind of glad I didn't because so many more book recommendations came in yesterday afternoon. Not that I could ever read all of them, but I do want to look through everything and make myself a list. Something about the book Julie & Julia that I found so fascinating was how she just started cooking, this recipe, then this one, next this one. No thinking about what to make, which would be best, blah blah blah, just page 1, page 2, page 3. Part of the project was about starting at the beginning, and proceeding on to the end, not thinking about why, or what would come out of it, or what it all meant, etc., etc. Of course, something wonderful did come out of it, but that wasn't why she did it, that wasn't why she continued to do it, or so it seemed to me. It was important just to do it, and surrender to the process. One summer I set myself to task to read only books about Italy. It was great. I read Under the Tuscan Sun, and A Soldier of the Great War, and Italian Neighbors, and Friends Along the Way and it was great, mostly because I didn't have to think about what to read next. There is relief in getting with the program, even if it's self-imposed. I'm thinking it might be good for me to get a list together of books that both sound good to me and don't sound good to me (I'll never tell which are which!) and setting myself to task to make it through by the end of the summer, just to see what happens, if anything.

Pinkvelvethat These hats are vintage, from my collection. I sell them at Ella Posie, most of the time; they come and go. One will be in a local wedding magazine somtime soon, I think, but I can't remember which one (which hat, not magazine). I was photographing these at home yesterday for a customer who lives in Italy, where great style abounds down every tiny, crumbly lane. I'll never forget trying to cross a huge street on my way to class every morning and seeing the working girls in mini skirts and heels on their mopeds at 8 a.m. Now that is dedication to style. When I look at these hats, and think about someone actually wearing them, I wonder where they were going. Like this one. Where on earth was she going where this would've been appropriate? Is there anywhere left to go that would warrant such a frothy topper? If so, can I please be invited?

PinkleafhatI seriously, seriously need to rethink my style. Instead of to the bookstore yesterday, I went clothes shopping. I usually go twice a year, spring and fall. I do a blitz. I get everything I need at once, and then I really don't go again until six months later. My goal this spring and summer is to actually get dressed in real clothes every day. To spend more than four minutes getting dressed. It's the dilemma of the work-at-homers, I swear. The things I'll allow myself to leave the house in are absolutely appalling. They wouldn't even let me into Italy with my current wardrobe. I'd be stopped at the border and my suitcases tossed in the trash. They'd send me back to the U.S. with my Big Gulp and my terrycloth sweatpants forever. So, from now on, every day, real clothes without elastic waistbands, and 50 sit-ups. And while I'm at it, 50 leg-lifts, each side. And stretching. Every. Day. And then I'll flop into bed and read.


Oh come on now, I'm sure you look wonderfully adorable in your sexy terry sweatpants! Very chic :)

Hi Alicia,
I read your blog daily, but haven't posted a comment until now. I'm very familiar with your style conundrum. A couple of years ago I found a Yahoo! Group called French_Chic and it's amazing! There's a lot of debate about on the site about European style vs. North American style and I've found the women belonging to the site to be lovely, intelligent and from very diverse backgrounds. Anyway, I love your blog, I love your website & if I can ever manage to snap something up before everything is sold out, I'm sure I'll love your creations too!

Oh my God, I was so into clothes as a teenager, I don't know what went wrong! Lately, it's been a lot of sweats for me too, except for the days (like today) when I actually get dressed. Which isn't saying much since dressed for me is in a pair of Levi's.

The way I figure, at least I'm out of my jammies...(even though I dream about lazying the day in them...)

These hats are wonderful! Well since we don't seem to get invited to the right parties, maybe we just create our own occassions... Throw a tea-party for your friends (hats and gloves required), wear one to work (I bet everyone will comment and smile) go grocery shopping with one on, (smiles again) I for one will salute you and join in your parade!

I love your idea of reading on a theme. Usually, titles or book covers have a great deal to do with my choices (I usually get 7-10 books every library visit). If not looking for specific authors, the titles and covers call to me.

This year I started a blog just for my reading and have enjoyed reviewing my books each month.

You constantly amaze me, Dear One, with the variety of sweet topics you drop on us like sprinkles of sugar. I love the ever-multiplying book list! And I love that your Posts never go away. I often look back to find favorite words or photographs that I enjoy over and over.

I have the same problem--especially since I work at home. Sometimes it's too much trouble to actually put on the tights, boots & skirt when I don't have anywhere to go! If I've gone to all the trouble I sure want someone to see my outfit!

I've been meaning to take up the apron wearing idea you had. I have a design in mind that would look very cute over jeans or a jean skirt. I can just see myself on my scooter, wearing an apron, black leather jacket & helmet. You'll never see me on it in a mini skirt and heels though! That's just crazy!

Okay, well you're still talking about book recommendations, so I can't resist. "A Time to Be Born" by Dawn Powell and "The Good People of New York" by Thisbe Nissen. They're both about New Yorkers, the first set during the 1940s - very glam NY and the second during the 1980s. I really enjoyed The Good People of New York. The characters are so raw and she switches narrators like a pro. If you do read them, you'll have to tell me what you think.

I would hate to admit how often I find myself with leopard slippers, nightgown and furry robe at noon and wonder how in the world I've already closed a deal, posted to blog, made twelve phone calls...ok, I'm with you. Dressed. Every. Day. And maybe I'll throw in a few sit-ups and leg lifts (just don't count on it).

Interesting how our obsession with clothes can weaken as we get (ahem) older.

I've realised that even with a good choice of options in my wardrobe I'm wearing the same three identical pairs of bootleg pants over and over with the six black boatneck 3/4 sleeve Ts and three identical pairs of black ballet flats (obviously not all at the same time)I call it "Stealth Dressing" and know I'll fit in almost anywear.

(Pun intended?)

That truly sounds like a plan. I admit, I'm not much of a clothes shopper. I do not enjoy it like a lot of women do. You must show us your spring wardrobe.

I agree with the wardrobe thing. Not that I was ever very "stylish", but I took much more care over my outward appearance when I was a teenager. I think for me, it has some to do with having limited (financial) resources. When I get ANY spare cash (which isn't very often at all), I usually spend it on something for our home. Since I've had two children in the last four years, I have had to buy a couple of the basics-jeans and (ahem) bras and such-to fit my ever changing proportions. So, I don't really buy those "just because", frilly little outfits. Maybe I've become too practical as a wife and mom.

I think one reason we aren't as focused on our appearances as teenagers is that we have ALOT more responsibilities and LOTS of other things take priority. Really. When you're a teen, there isn't much else to spend $$ on. Also, as a teen you're figuring out who you are (right. like I've got it all figured out now.)... and your appearance has alot to do with that (at least you think it does at the time)... Of course, none of this excuses staying in my robe 'til noon. :) excuses, excuses.:P

I´m from Sweden and I really love your blog.
This summer I will be dreaming about the lovely hat you make...
I´ll be back!

lately, every time I try to find something new to wear, I end up fleeing in horror from the nouveau-80s offerings out there. once was enough! maybe next season my stylistic time will come. meanwhile, I just doggedly rotate through variants on the black tee + pants uniform & think longingly of the days of late pregnancy when I wore pajama pants everywhere, with a sense of complete entitlement.

I love these hats - i'm starting to collect them to. I'm getting married in July and will be wearing one that is just gorgeous. I have a small collection but growing, thanks so much for posting yours!

haha! Tell me about it... maybe we need to start a "works from home wardrobe" support group. ;)

I love this: "They wouldn't even let me into Italy with my current wardrobe. I'd be stopped at the border and my suitcases tossed in the trash." ~ What a crack up! You're too funny! :D

Ya know I would wear one around the house just to feel pretty! I think they are gorgeous and if they make you happy to make them, even though most people don't have places to wear them too ( even though we should! I would love it if people got more dressed up for events!) you should make them anyways! whew! run-on sentence:->

Those vintage hats are stunning!!
I have the oppostie problem - I cant do casual clothing!!! you will never ever see me in tracksuit pants!
I love 'people watching' as it gives me so much inspiration! the style in Italy is amazing isnt it?
i recently did a colour confidence workshop and now that I know what colours suit me Im so keen to shop for some new things!!

Where in Italy did you live? I remember when I flew here (with a stop in Milan!) I was overwhelmed by how beautiful the women are here. But then I really started looking and they aren't all neccesarily beautiful; its the way they dress and the way they carry themselves. I love people watching here. The fashion is great but I'm not so sure I would wear a lot of it. Especially the shoes. How they walk in stilettos on cobblestone streets is beyond me! I would break my neck!
Its hard to change the way you dress everyday. It really takes thought. I'm a stay at home mom so I understand. I try to dress really pretty a few times a week. It boosts my confidence and my husband really enjoys it. (I like compliments a lot!!!) Even my son looks at me differently. There are plenty of comfy clothes that look great too. I bought a pair of gaucho pants from UO (onsale for like $7) and they look nice but feel like jammies. I also try to get outfit ideas from catalogs like Anthropologie, love them not their prices.
Sorry for the novel I wrote you!!!

Dear Little Cutie Pie,

You are a ray of shining hope on a gloomy day.
You are a blushing bride in white.
You are pretty with elastic pants and old-no-real-clothes!
You are the apple of anyone's eye!
Just put on one of these hats and come to France!
You write it well and the smile you bring is the best crown around!

Beautiful hats and wonderful goals. I bet that you look totally perfect and don't need to change a single thing, but if it makes you feel better and puts a smile on your face then it is certainly worth it! all my best!!

Your hat collection would work beautifully with my blue dress collection which, incidentally, I was occasionally to be found wearing when I worked from home, though god forbid the electric guy came to check the meter!

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About Alicia Paulson


My name is Alicia Paulson
and I love to make things. I live with my husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon, and design sewing, embroidery, knitting, and crochet patterns. See more about me at aliciapaulson.com