Mountain Chic

Reflections and observations on culture, food, style and travel

My son begins kindergarten this fall, and this past weekend, we attended an ice cream social for incoming families at his new school.

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{Isabel Marant Étoile sweater, MIH culottes, Christian Louboutin boots, Chloe bag}

 

It snowed nearly 2 feet at our house in the foothills outside Denver, and my son’s school is down from the hills and closer to the city, where there was less snow but where the weather might still be slushy and sloppy.  When I’d first received the invitation for this event, I had envisioned a cute, springy dress with some easy and comfortable slides.  That obviously wasn’t happening – unless I wanted to look ridiculous!

I know there are many parents out there who attend school functions – picnics, open houses, plays – and don’t think twice about what they are wearing.  After all, the focus should be on your kid and his um, education, not your clothes, right?  But I’m the kind of person who debates which sweatshirt I should wear when I’m lounging around the house.  Therefore, when I plan an outfit for a school engagement – especially at a new school where I’m making a first impression on a dozen new people with every visit – I consider my outfit carefully.  I knew I’d be managing ice cream with my son, so I wanted to be comfortable, and not wear anything new or delicate that would cause great distress with a popsicle smear.  I knew the weather would be cool and possibly messy, and we might be walking around outside.  It was on a Sunday afternoon, when fussy apparel doesn’t look appropriate, unless (possibly) you’ve been at church.  However, I wanted to look smart and put together; I wanted to give the function the respect it deserved through my sartorial choices.

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This ensemble seemed to fit the bill for the occasion, and I felt comfortable, warm and classy.  This striped sweater from Isabel Marant Étoile (a more economically priced sister line from Isabel Marant) is a stretchy knit, made from a blend of viscose and polyester, so it’s not super hot, making it perfect for spring or cool summer evenings.  I love stripes and recently grouped together all of my striped items when I organized my closet.  Paired with denim, stripes give a chic Parisian touch to an outfit without a lot of effort.  I purchased these culottes over a year ago, at the very beginning of the culotte trend, and they were actually in my “to sell on Poshmark” pile until a few days before this event, when I realized I’d hopped on the culotte trend so early I felt funny wearing them around and about, but now, as wider pant silhouettes and lengths are taking hold, I feel happy I have this pair and feel like I have a brand new item.  I’d already put away these knee boots for summer, but was secretly happy about the snowy weather so I had one more opportunity to wear these beauties out and about until next year.  Culottes seem like more of a warm weather pant option, but they look so modern and fun with tall boots – an idea to keep in mind when you begin shopping for clothes this fall!

Oh, and the ice cream social?  It was fantastic.  We love our son’s new school and can’t wait for him to start kindergarten there.  He is so excited about it that he slept with the school directory they handed out to us at the party.  He met a few new friends, and so did we.  And even though I’d obsessed over my outfit choice, and was relieved I felt confident, I was happy to see that most of the other moms were dressed in jeans, worn booties, loose sweaters and much-loved down vests.  Just like I don’t judge other people based on what they are wearing, I didn’t honestly think I – or my son – would make friends based on my ridiculously considered outfit.  But we all do what we need to do to feel like we are wearing our “armor” to be our best selves.  And for me, this did it this past Sunday.

 

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A killer rag & bone jacket that is just barely not right for me – available on my Poshmark site.

My new friend, Carissa, is a beauty blogger and recently opened her own Facebook fashion boutique called Violet Joy, where she sells clothing to a closed group (go check it out and request membership – her stuff is amazing and priced so well!).  I met Carissa because our children are in the same class at school; I’d chatted with her in passing and thought she was beautiful and hilarious, but I didn’t know much about her outside of pickups and dropoffs.  When Carissa and I became Facebook friends and I learned about her blog and her business, I was very excited.  Here was someone with my same passions who had applied an entrepreneurial spirit to beauty and fashion and was making money working with what she loved.  After much deliberation, many sleepless nights and endless hours of conversation with my husband about what was best for our family, I had recently decided to not seek another job in the education field in the near future.  This left me with the question: what next?  I knew I loved beauty and fashion and had a lot of fun with this blog, but I was discouraged because I thought you had to move to New York or LA to work in fashion.  You had to be in your twenties.  I didn’t want my blog to be one big advertisement, which is why I stopped writing regularly.  But here was Carissa, taking all of those things into account and working hard toward being successful in her own way.  She inspired me – so I decided to start taking small steps toward figuring out my next big step.

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Vince heels, available on my site – I don’t have many opportunities to wear 4″ heels anymore!

Have you heard of Poshmark?  I didn’t know much about it until my husband and I watched a CBS Sunday Morning episode about money, and the show featured a woman who made $6,000 a month on Poshmark by selling previously worn clothes (her own and lucky thrifted finds).  At the risk of being incredibly tacky, I will be honest with you and tell you that $6,000 a month is more than I made working 50-60 hours a week as an Assistant Principal at an urban high school – and it is FAR more than I made as a teacher.  I began to wonder: what would happen if I set as my goal to make money selling clothes equivalent to what I would make as an English teacher, should I go back to work in the fall?  What if I could follow Carissa’s lead, and actually have fun with my work, and be flexible for my son, and make just as much money…without the paper grading?

Since I had just done my first massive closet clean in about four years, I decided to open a Poshmark account and list some of my pieces.  I had great luck in the first week, selling 5 pieces right away.  I got nervous about my privacy because my first account was linked to my Facebook; so I opened a new account a few days ago and now have to begin my “seller stats” over again, but I’ve already sold another item.  The money I make from these sales will be my seed money to invest in new, wholesale clothing pieces for my own boutique, and I’m still trying to figure out what the best method of selling will be.  I love Carissa’s strategy on Facebook; she learned the approach from a friend of hers who sells on both Facebook and Instagram; Poshmark provides a convenient infrastructure but takes a cut of your profits, plus it is a crowded marketplace with a lot of noise to cut through as a buyer.  I hope to launch my own little business online in the fall when my son begins kindergarten.

Do I know what I’m doing?  No.  Do I know where it will lead?  No.  All I know is that fashion has long been my first love, and I’ve set it aside with the feeling that it was too superficial to be a career, that work should be noble and altruistic.  But as I am getting older, I find I am tired of sitting on the sidelines, watching in fascination and amazement as other people live out their dreams and I wonder what would happen if I tried to fulfill mine.  I’m not in my twenties and I can’t accept a $20,000 a year job at a magazine in New York, but that doesn’t mean I can’t jump into fashion.  Since the day he was born, my top priority has been my son.  Whatever I do, he will come first, and so I’ll start very small and go very gradually.  But as Carissa told me, I should just start.  She said I won’t know what I’m doing and I’ll change course a thousand times, but that I should just do it.  You might be interested in my Poshmark page, and I’ll be adding accessories where size doesn’t matter in the coming weeks.  I’ll also add some items for men and kids soon, too.  Stay tuned for even more in the future.

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{Hikes in the high country to appreciate autumn in all its splendor}

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{Learning about reptiles in the Colorado foothills at the local nature center}

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{Neighborhood sunset walks occurring earlier and earlier with the shortening of days…}

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{Currently loving: reflective shades, highlighter-yellow clothing to match the changing leaves (especially when purchased with a gift card and 30% off during Shopbop‘s annual crazy-good fall sale), and lowlights in my hair – which have already washed nearly completely out after one week}

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{Relaxing Indian Summer afternoons at home}