Pearls in the Kitchen

My llittle Anni loves clothes. She came out practically twirling in Fuscia tutu and matching lipgloss. Which has been a source of merriment for her more inherently casual parents.  Now don’t get me wrong.  We both own some phenomenal clothes. For Special Occassions or Trips to the City. Dean’s bespoke tuxedo by Valentino and tailored Zegna from Milan. My cocktail sheaths and Dolce evening wear. Glittering Louboutoin heels and matching clutch. But these clothes are hardly practical, not even appropriate, for everyday life on a Winery. Where farming and kids, dishes and sheep, cooking and crafts-time dominates our day. Or my day, rather. Ask anyone and my wardrobe has historically been:

  • Blue Jeans (7)
  • Theory shirts (long sleeves or short depending on weather)
  • signature Louis Vuitton bag (I am a hopeless convert)
  • Signature earrings from Penny Preville
  • Boots (the Jane Harness Boots by Frye for town (the best boots EVER) and Justins for the farm)
Wardrobe Staples: blue jeans, tunic, LV bag, and boots.
Amending my Wardrobe Staples with flats for the City.  Still my Go-To Clothes for adventures in San Francisco.

Letting my signature pieces (earrings, bag, and lipstick) make my “look” while saving “pretty clothes” for Special Occassions. Tucked away on quilted hangers waiting patiently for another day of something special.

Sometime last summer, a series of  simple events shifted my wardrobe. And how I thought about day-to-day appearance.  First, I bought a few French cotton dresses (from Louie et Lucie) from Bella Vita Boutique in Sonoma. I love(d) them but still saved for coming to town. One day, I was taking my dress off and placing it back in my closet. Pulling on my trusty black leggings when sparkle-clad Anni sighed (she actually SIGHED) “back to normal Mama.”

Back to normal Mama.

This may not seem like some monumental sentence. But her little sigh was an arrow to my adult ears.  For natural fashionistas like my daughter, this is already an obvious truth: dressing up is important. But for this “denim & diamonds” girl, dressing up is left for Date Nights or Parties.  Here my little 4 years old thought my yoga pants were… Dull. So I put that cute, colorful dress back on. And added pearls. Because she loves when I wear my big white pearls. “You look like Julia, Mama!” Then we shared a lipstick. Anni smiled, “You look so pretty, Mama!” Even though there’s no mirror in my Dressing Room, she was right. I FELT PRETTY. And just like that, my “special clothes” emerged from my closet as “every day” clothes.

Watering the Barn Roses in a great Modcloth dress.
Watering Barn Roses in this”Cruise Up the Coast” Dress from Modcloth.

And that’s just it. You know how you feel when you dress up? A new dress or heading out to a garden party? You’ve shaved your legs, spritzed a bit of perfume and applied a pretty lipgloss. You feel special. And PRETTY.  I’m not sure why it took me to 36 and mother to a twirling toddler to realize, “I can choose to feel this way EVERY day.” That clothes are fun. And more than that, they matter. Every day, feeling nice about yourself matters. Whatever your weight, your “To Do List” today, looking fine matters. And if that doesn’t convince you? The smiles and better cuts of beef or freebie of Duck Fat from the Butcher’s will convince you.

If you buy one dress from this article, this Pink Number is IT.
If you buy one dress from this article, this Bright Pink Number is IT.

Feeling Pretty is a celebration of myself today. I’m done waiting to break out cute clothes “in 5 lbs from now.” Dressing up in daily-cute-clothes that fit me and my food-loving curves has been a revelation. Arrogant or throw-back this may sound but I’m finding that wearing Pearls while cooking? It matters. That Lipstick matters. Bright, joyful patterns in wash-and-hang fabrics? They add happy value to my day.  Letting me revel in vibrant Color as a busy Mom. Running the same errands week after week but feeling fabulous. The Market. Post Office. Dry Cleaners. And the preschool run. I’m just doing it in a cute dress and flats or boots that are every bit as comfortable as flip flops and as easy to put on as yoga pants.

Dresses make me happy.
Dresses make me happy.  Especially this one called “Bake Shop Browsing.”

It’s not like I break the bank in couture but pairing an inexpensive dress from Modcloth with a high-end purse and shoes? No one is the wiser my colorful dress cost $45.

Now one trick I did inherit from my grandmother? If you don't see your cute outfits, you won't wear them. So you know those plastic, over-the-door hangers? They are amazing. Channeling my Mima, each season I line up my favorite dresses and work largely from that. So if I have 10 minutes to shower and get out the door as a Mama? I know what to pull from.
One trick I did inherit from my grandmother? Is that if you don’t see your cute outfits, you won’t remember to wear them. So you know those plastic, over-the-door hangers? They are amazing. Channeling my Mima, each season I line up my favorite dresses and work largely from that. So when I have 15 minutes to shower and get out the door as busy Mama? I know what to pull from.

Now, to be fair, we’ve weathered some comments. Last week, two guys in the juice aisle at Oliver’s Market smirked at Anni and I intentionally matching in pink and rudely said…to my little girl mind you… “Wow, aaallll dressed up for the market?!” And laughed AT us.  Laughed AT our dresses and pearls that I let Anni pick out for us an hour before. Little Anni crumpled. And for a second, I wavered between calling out “F*ck you” to those bozos. But looking down at my little girl now looking down at her own self? I wanted to safeguard her sparkly truth. To save what she’s taught me. That dressing UP is important. That there is real Value in beauty…even if beauty to Anni right now is 2 tutus, butterfly wings, and three necklaces. Reapplying my lipstick, I said “oh they don’t know anything. Don’t you still feel pretty?” Anni looked up and nodded. “See? That’s what matters. That WE Feel Pretty.”

Besides, who wouldn’t want to feel like this everyday? I know I do.

Tutus do create Joy. Pink is such a HAPPY color.
Pink is such a HAPPY color.

Happy Dressing! & Eating!

4 thoughts on “Pearls in the Kitchen

  • love this piece, I have always loved clothes but live in jeans and boots. I have a closet full of red carpet type stuff that I can wear in LA for a Very Special Event but are no use to me here in Sonoma. I wish I could cook in my pearls, but I found out impossible to cook wearing any sort of jewelry, call it a fetish.
    I have a collection of rare vintage clothing I’ve gotten over the years in Los Angeles, a couple of Adrian suits, a 1920s beaded evening gown, but there is no where to wear that stuff here. I’m going to try and be more daring. I mostly shop at J James I love their stuff, and my closet is full of it. Also there;’s a boutique in Williamsburg , Brooklyn called Bird which I love and they ship!! I’ll be checking out Bella Vita

    • Thats great! I’ll check out the Williamsburg place Kathy. It’s called “Brooklyn Called”? Or “Brooklyn Called Bird”? I love Bella Vita. It takes some rooting around but they have a variety of vintage-inspired styles. Like 20s thru 60s but mostly all new clothes. XO

  • Absolute truth in this post. We have every right to feel beautiful every day. There are days I don’t do myself up for whatever reason, but most days I put on that lipstick even if my family will be the only people who see. Pearl earrings always. An ordinary day can feel like a fantastic day. It may sound old-fashioned and ’50s to some, but life should be freakin’ FABULOUS. I’ve gotten some heck for cleaning out the chicken coop in my dresses, but so what? That picture of you by the barn watering, at the front of this piece, is one of my favorites of you ever. Above all, life should not be dull—your Anni is right!

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