40 Days of DVF: Days 21-40

DVF Days 21-39

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Day 21: The floral silk shirt dress was an off the cuff purchase several years ago when I moved back to Marin county from Tucson, Arizona. I had always been drawn to dark colors. Like most lawyers, my wardrobe was mostly black, navy and grey. Sure, I had a few colorful tops here and there. But generally speaking, I was color averse.

On a retail therapy excursion many years ago, with an arm full of closet hopefulls that accompanied me into the dressing room, a sales woman remarked that she too used to wear nothing but black. Though unsolicited, she told me that the day she started wearing color, her life changed. “Suddenly, it was as if I started to lead a different life. It made me wonder why I hadn’t worn color before.” Outwardly, I smiled politely in response, as I entered the dressing room and closed the door behind me. My internal reaction, however, was a bit different. It was powerful enough that it manifested outwardly in a small but sharp eyebrow raise only I could see. But I saw it — really saw it. And I took note in my mental rolodex and filed it away for a day I knew would come eventually, when and if I was ready to “go there” and delve into what it truly meant.

Fast forward a few years, as I ascended the escalator at Nordstrom, I looked up to see a mannequin wearing this dress. It was early spring, and I felt it. What that woman said many years ago finally resonated — even though the dress was comprised mostly of pastel hues, it was a step in the right direction. And she was right. Once I let a little color into my life, I never saw the world the same way. xo Betina

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Day 22: Cobalt blue meets leopard. Though afraid of them in my younger years, as an adult, I’m kind of obsessed with animal prints. They are always in style, sophisticated when worn right, and classic DVF. This one especially appealed to me because of the twist: the cobalt color addition. I loved how the blue popped, yet felt so innate and natural in the print. I can’t refuse a twist on a classic, and it remains one of my favorite wrap dresses! xo Betina

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Day 23: The matching dresses. The moment I found out I was pregnant, I knew it was a girl. The ultrasound 15 weeks later confirmed it — and that she would be a force to be reckoned with. The 3D image showed our baby girl striking a pose — literally. One hand rested on her face, one on her hip. Just like Taylor Swift’s lyrics indicated, I knew she was going to be trouble in the best kind of way when she walked into this world. Six years later, she has yet to disappoint.

As soon as Gabby became mobile, my closet was her playground of choice. Seeing her play dress up in my shoes and clothes is that stuff that mommies’ dreams are made of. And when DVF’s Gap Kids collaboration emerged, the true playing dress up began as my daughter could now wear the prints that inspired me, that I only experienced from flipping through pages of the Sunday newspaper, seeing her sales ads for Bloomingdales. The vintage prints of yesteryear were now donning the bodies of my daughter and generations even younger than mine, at a far earlier age. Now that’s the way to ensure your longevity.

Though I picked a few pieces for her budding boudoir – including two wrap rompers and a pantsuit–the jaw dropping dress was a spaghetti strap A line pleated dress with an abstract tribal inspired print. As the only size available was a size 7, Gabby affectionately referred to it as her “Seven Dress.” The fact that it was longer in length than she was stood as no barrier to her wearing it — immediately. She loved it as much as I did — and like every budding fashionista, where there is a will, there is a way. Two hair clips later, and her seven dress was a maxi dress for her three year old frame.

The print captivated us both – and left me determined, since it appears a size 14-16 dress does not accommodate a 38 year old bust, to find the dress that would. ). Fortunately, that journey ended about as quickly as it started. Three days after the Seven dress entered Gabby’s life, the Mommy seven dress entered mine. On a quick day trip to Calistoga, we took a right turn that was wrong for navigation purposes, but right (the way wrong turns always end up being, in hindsight at least). As I looked to the left, I screamed for Adam (my husband) to pull over. On the mannequin, outside a vintage clothing store, was the grown up seven dress. And like Gabby’s, which was four sizes too big for her, so was the grown up version. Though I did not end up buying it, I photographed myself in it — knowing, that at some point, I would have an occasion to showcase the me and mini me together. Today was the day. Every girl needs a seven dress to inspire her and remind her of who she is and who she can be — at any and every age. Even at 38. xo Betina

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Day 24: Silk DVF top + distressed jeans and metallic DVF clutch. This is a favorite look for grabbing dinner on date night or drinks with the ladies. I love pairing refined fabrics, like this black silk blouse with boho detail in the neckline, with distressed jeans and evening heels. It feels juxtaposed, sexy, and thrown together but in a totally intentionally unintentional way. And while I generally don’t like matching my bag with my shoes, I figured throwing a little more gold metallic into the pewter and silver mix would be a “the more the merrier” fashion moment. Sometimes a little extra bling turns out to be just the right amount. Don’t be afraid to throw some metal in the mix – your look could be as good as gold. xo Betina

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Day 25: TBT: The Journey of a Dress, April 2014, in my cotton poplin shirt dress. I bought this dress on a visit back to Tucson, Arizona, in 2012. I saw it in the window of the cutest boutique in town, and bought it off the mannequin without even trying it on. I loved the print – it looked both like barbed wire and tie dye stripes at the same time. That juxtaposition in description for a single fabric pattern that could resemble both something so harsh and uninviting, as well as a dyeing technique associated with the 1960’s hippy “make love not war” movement spoke to me. Screamed to me, really. We fight for the things and the people we love in life. It was so much the core of DVF (love is life!), and what I was trying so desperately to embrace wholly and completely in my life. I love that a dress in a window can say so much yet remain silent. Now that’s the power of DVF — and subconsciously, I think, why I wore the dress to this special exhibition. I was finding the woman I wanted to be — and wanted to show it on more than just my countenance. I think it worked. xo Betina

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Day 26: When lace meets leopard:   One of my favorite vintage prints from the DVF archives, I loved this dress from the moment I laid eyes on it. The blue lace somehow tames the bold print, and yet adds a certain sexiness that remains understated and classic. The color combination is modern, the silhouette classic, and the versatility: endless possibilities. Might just be my favorite wrap yet….xo Betina

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Day 27: The olive leopard dress: Clearly, I have a thing for animal prints. But more so than that, I love twists on a classic. The olive hue makes the leopard print feel camouflage inspired — and what woman does not love a fierce subtlety about herself? Her message has legs and longevity when it is slowly and completely absorbed – and I have yet to see an instance where slow and steady never wins the race…for anything and everything. The slow burn always trumps the quick explosion. Plus, I love standing out in subtle ways. It’s the woman I’ve wanted to be. xo Betina

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Day 28: The Green shift dress: I’ve always shied away from green. Generally speaking, it’s a tough color to nail for most. Too yellow and one appears jaundiced. Kelly, however, always struck a balance for me — just like a good shift dress. The dress’ waist line is slightly lower than my real one, and elongates my upper half. The A line bottom elongates my legs, giving the illusion of height which I otherwise lack. I find in life, we all seek balance: in our work and home life, in relationships, within ourselves. It’s kind of nice when a dress does it for you — and when it does, it will leave those around you green with envy. Namaste. xo Betina

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Day 29: Pretty in Pink: For many years, I hated the color pink. Pink, to me, sent a message — the wrong message: that I was sweet, demure, weak. Not only was there no pink to be found in my closet, but none in my life. I opted for grey and black, navy and brown – “solid” colors. In my brainwashed mind, where I was told to “check my femininity” in at the door everyday if I were to survive the “old boys club law firm” I worked at, there was no room for pink and everything that came with it. That changed the day I found out I was pregnant with my daughter. I woke up one morning, after trying NOT to get pregnant, and just knew. It was women’s intuition unlike I have ever known. When the test showed positive, all I saw was pink. It was everywhere, and all around me. And to this day, I know my life is a better place because there is pink in it: not just because I get to experience being a mother to a little girl — one who emanates more smiles and joy than I ever thought possible–but because of the power pink possesses. While some may equate it with being feminine, it’s also the color of life, of our skin, blood, of love. The power in being a woman, power I never before unleashed, is something I refuse to “check in at the door” any longer. It’s my core, my essence, and where my strength, ambition and fury derives.   So while you may just see a pink shirt when you look at this picture, I see the story of my evolution into the woman I wanted to be. xo Betina

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Day 30: Black tee shirt dress with leather piping. Who says that black dresses are reserved for evening?? This tee shirt dress pairs as seamlessly with leopard sneakers and a great fringe tote (Tory Burch) as it does with heels and a clutch. Women always seem to reserve their “evening” clothes for evening….but why put labels on our clothes? Wear what feels good, what reflects who you are in the very moment, who you want to be today. Today, I wanted to be the cool mom on the go — so I made it happen. Now its your turn. xo Betina

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Day 31: The leopard tunic: Hard to believe, but this tunic hit the pool, along with me and the kids, mid-February during a hot spell during our California “winter.” I love this piece because it truly goes poolside to table side for dinner, thrown on over some skinny white jeans. When I bought it, I envisioned myself holding a cocktail with a tiny umbrella, with a large black brimmed hat, sunglasses, engaged in conversation, overlooking a very blue sea. Until that moment comes, when I can call the company I keep “darling,” I’ll wear it with my kids in tow at the local pool, water bottle and cheese crackers in hand, relishing the fleeting moments when my kids want to keep my company. xo Betina

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Day 32:   The ink blots cocktail dress: Life is about discovery: discovery of one’s self, one’s place in the world, or relationship to the world, as well as our relationship with ourselves and others. Diane has long said that the most important relationship you will ever have is the one you have with yourself. And as we grow and experience the world around us and the people in it, if we are truly present, we grow, evolve and develop. Sometimes, we even go so far as to reinvent ourselves because the need for change is so profound.

There’s a funny story behind this dress. I bought this dress when I was 9 months pregnant. I bought it off the rack, in the clearance section of an upscale boutique when I was on my lunch break, when I was living in Tucson, Arizona. It was 70% off and DVF. Seventy percent off + DVF = no brainer. The sales woman was shocked – are you sure you want to buy a dress you can’t try on, and one you don’t know will fit you? My response was quick and terse: Yes, it will fit. Because when you know, you know.

Though it took several months for my body to recovery from a long, really tough pregnancy, I saw something in the dress that I needed in that moment: I saw reinvention. It was outside my comfort zone in every way — from the material (stretch silk); to the shape (asymmetrical); to the color palette (black and yellow). My husband called it my “MILF” dress (as seemingly inappropriate as that was — but when you are recovering from having a baby, you’ll take any positive compliment other “oh how cute you are pregnant – how far along are you?). In that moment, wearing that dress, I was someone else — or maybe just another version of myself for that night alone. It reminded me that even in the throws of motherhood, where I felt more bovine like than human, I could be, dare I say it, sexy?   The point is that for that evening, I felt reinvented, like the best version of my adult self – the one not covered in spilled or spit up breast milk, residue from poopy diapers, under-appreciated and sleep deprived. And that felt like a mini-reinvention.

Seemed fitting for this photo blog that I do it again – reinvent this dress 6 years later when now, as a mom of two school aged kids, I too have grown. With this Madewell jean jacket and these metallic Blahniks, I say we have reinvention. That’s my story — and I’m sticking with it. Agreed? xo Betina

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Day 33: There’s nothing that screams fierce more than animal stripes. So I thought. Then I met this dress. As DVF taught me, women possess subtle powers that defy logic. Take zebra stripes, add some cobalt blue and feminine pouf sleeves, and pow! You’ve got a dress that is as sexy as it is sweet. Total knock out — game over. It’s fun getting in the ring sometimes…. xo Betina

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Day 34: The Interview. Casting for House of DVF at the Grove in Los Angeles. Suffice it to say that at 9:15 on a Wednesday night, I was packing for a family ski trip. By 9:20, I got the invitation and booked myself on a flight to LA for 24 hours to complete the interview process for a coveted spot on House of DVF. Met great people – check. Saw Brittany Hampton – check. Met DVF – check. I wore my olive leopard dress and leather jacket and was ready for anything – because when opportunity knocks, you open the door wide and with arms wide open to make it happen. All of it. xo Betina

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Day 35: Lead On! Before I received the invitation to interview for House of DVF, I was so excited to attend Watermark’s first women’s leadership conference, entitled “Lead On.” Speakers included so many women I admired – Hilary Clinton, Brene Brown, Jessica Herrin, and of course, DVF. She did not just sign my coffee table book, but she accepted a letter I spent about 10 hours crafting (I mean, when you get the opportunity to write a letter to your lifetime idol, what do you say?).

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Here she sat, right before signing my book. I was too interested in speaking with her to even bother with a photo op other than this one I tried covertly to snap with my iphone. Somethings can’t be captured in a photo — like how much I was trembling. Was worth the 4 hour commute to Santa Clara, and 3.5 hours back! Anything for DVF, right? xo Betina

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Day 36:   The red lip romper. This is one of my all time favorite DVF prints because of it’s playful sophistication. Like most girls, lipstick fascinated me. There is something so sexy, strong and feminine about a Veronica Lake red lip. Though I had seen the print done in different silhouettes, never in the wrap romper. It was the perfect length to be flirty without being inappropriate (because it’s a skort, not a skirt!). And now that I’m the big 4-0, I figured I might as well flaunt it while I still got something to flaunt. So take that! S.W.A.K! xo Betina

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Day 37: The leopard flip flops! This vintage print feels anything but. Of all of DVF’s iconic prints, this one is my true obsession. But of all of the pieces I have in this print, these flip flops may be my absolute favorites. They just scream fabulous – and who doesn’t want something fabulous to waltz into summer with? xo Betina

IMG_9863   Day 38: Spring is almost here; and wearing this wrap dress of yesteryear, paired with pink suede heels, means I can finally taste it! I bought this dress many years ago for my mom’s 60th birthday party. Ironically, it was my “second” choice at the time. My sister, who lives in Los Angeles, flew up for the event. After I picked her up, brought her back to my parents’ house, she began unpacking. She pulled out a garment bag and when she unzipped it, there hung the identical (non-DVF— I know, blasphemy, right?) dress I had purchased to wear for my mom’s party. If you know my sister and I, we could not be more different — yet we still manage to buy the exact same things, from the exact same stores, on the exact same day. It caused quite the raucous in college, as we lived across the hall from one another. Most days, we’d open the door to walk to class and stare across the hall only to see the other wearing the identical outfit. Right down to the shoes. The hollers of “I changed last time, you change” echoed throughout the sorority house. But it continued even after I graduated and moved back home to San Francisco, leaving her behind to make her mark on LA. Every time I picked my parents up from SFO, having spent the weekend in LA with my sister, they would laugh, saying “Oh, Wendy was wearing that;” or “How funny, Wendy has that too.” It never ended so why should this occasion be any different? Well, it was in that no argument ensued. Seeing that she had flown up from LA and lacked transportation to shop for another dress, I assigned myself the task of finding “alternate wardrobe options” as she put it.

On a mad dash the morning of her event downtown, like my very first DVF experience, I ascended the escalator at Bloomingdales (which had just opened in San Francisco a few months before — SF residents — do you remember that day?? Glorious does not even do it justice!) and grabbed it right off the rack. Into the dressing room I went, on it went, and out the door I ran to get to my mom’s luncheon. I’m convinced it’s what gave me the spring in my step that day. It was also the first and last time I would ever experience when I did not have a fashion Plan B. The truth is, the dress hardly felt like Plan B – it felt like I was meant to wear it all along. I remember that day, that moment, the kismet I felt when things just happen to work out well. Maybe I willed it. Who knows. But when I wake up in the morning and get that feeling, I love wearing this dress. And I’m never one who will turn down an extra spring in my step. I will take all the help I can get! And there’s no shame in that — ever. xo Betina

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Day 38: The pink ballet wrap sweater. I loved this sweater the moment I saw it. The bubble gum color had a sweetness to it — a sweetness like the girl next door who looks so innocent but you know has a wild streak in her, like a fenced in stallion. It’s why I had to unleash this girl and let her loose — by pairing it with an edgy leather skirt and black nails. They balance each other in a fresh, unexpected way. Just how I like it because even though I’m a straight shooter, it’s always good to keep people on their toes a bit too. Expected is boring – and I’m anything but. xo Betina

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Day 39:   Oh Zarita! How do I love thee….let me count the ways! I firmly believe that this dress is the perfect cocktail dress ever made. The lace gives it an elegant, classic feel. The length makes it perfect for evening occasions — even black tie– and if you are traveling to such an event, it easily packs and does not wrinkle. (Accordingly, it’s seen the light of many an event back east or in the mid-west and is quite accustomed to being shoved into a stuffed carry-on bag. Poor baby.) My favorite part of the dress is the part that is least expected –and it’s not the sheer arms (though it’s a close second). It’s also not the boatneck — which I also love as it’s so turn of the century in feel. It’s the floor to ceiling zipper. It screams confidant, sexy and effortless. It commands attention in a subtle way (since it’s in the back) – and if you know anything about me and my fashion philosophy by now, you know that I’m all about subtle statements that pack a punch. Hence, the platform slingback patent Louboutins to boot. Va va voom! I’m not one to usually toot my horn….but I think event DVF would approve — don’t you? xo Betina

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Day 40: No. Words. #dreamcometrue. #bucketlist

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