Date With Destiny

Polk Theatre Stars“I don’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little—if only out of politeness. And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny. And it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny.” –Coco Chanel

There are times when I go to the grocery store and see people–good, decent, hardworking, probably exhausted people—wearing clothing that closely resembles (if not exactly replicates) pyjamas.

Oftentimes, those trips are closely followed by jaunts to the corner gas station for my semi-weekly fill up, where I see people in luxury vehicles swiping their credit cards in holey tank tops, gym shorts, and pool slides.

After a weekend visually full of slippers and elastic (combined with the feeling of being very, very pregnant), I convinced myself it would be okay to sit in a dark theatre wearing cutoffs, a T-shirt, and boat shoes (in the interest of full disclosure, they were sea green and cognac boat shoes made by the creative geniuses at Cole Haan).

And no one died. No one even looked aghast at me as I paid for my popcorn, collected it and my Perrier (a girl’s gotta have standards) and stealthily took my seat in the balcony of the idiosyncratic hall to take in all the smoky glamour that is “Murder on the Orient Express.”

But then. Meandering out of the theatre and fumbling for my sunglasses (having spent a great deal of my life in Florida with the aid of sunnies means that my eyes now tolerate sunlight on the same level as that of a cave-dwelling fish), I saw HER.

As she walked up behind me and passed me on the left with a purposeful stride, I couldn’t help but take in the whole picture. Lovely dark skin and black, black hair that fell just past her shoulders, slightly curled, and with white and black silk flowers pinned into them, revealing a glimpse of tortoiseshell glasses. A fitted black knit pencil skirt, into which was tucked a gauzy black blouse imprinted with tiny white anchors. Feet shorn in strappy black flats with gold accents.

Not extravagant, not over-the-top, but like she gave a damn.

For the short remainder of the block, all my mental faculties were engaged in searching out, “Who is she? She came to the movies by herself? But yet, she’s dressed. Not just clothed, but dressed.” I couldn’t help but wonder if she was meeting someone for drinks or dinner, or if this was simply HER, being silently/deafeningly communicated through her clothes (her demeanor suggested the latter).

Then she suddenly turned off to the left, and I, still dumbfounded from the stark contrast of HER against the sea of drawstring pants and cutoffs, continued on home, feeling simultaneously shoddier and more beautiful for having seen her.

I hope with all my heart that she ran into a bit of her destiny that night and that it exceeded her expectations. I hope that she felt as mysterious and intriguing as she looked.

But whether or not she realizes she had an appreciative audience, I’d like to thank her for the moment of intrigue and inspiration she brought to my life (and I’m sure to many others in the khaki-clad audience). Please excuse me while I retire to my dressing table to pin some flowers in my hair.


Top Buttons Wardrobe Makeover

IMG_5494Sometimes I wish I could walk around with a sign on my forehead reading, “Hello, Gorgeous” so that every woman I encounter might catch a glimpse of how beautiful they really are. Some of my happiest moments in life have involved helping women look and feel their best, and this past weekend was no exception. This Saturday, I was privileged to work with Top Buttons (a nonprofit organization that provides “a modest fashion resource for young women produced mainly by young women”) and a bevy of other truly amazing stylists, makeup artists, photographers, and students to bring wardrobe makeovers to girls in need in the community in which I live. Every aspect of this event was designed with the intent to instill confidence in young women and pair them with clothing resources to send clear, confident messages in a modest way.

I had only to look around at the faces of participants (girls nominated by organizations like Pace Center for Girls and Girls, Inc.), beaming from ear to ear, eyes lighting up with the discovery of their own potential as stylists helped them select clothing that worked for their body type, makeup artists doled out tips on eyeliner techniques, and photographers and videographers cajoled, “Show me that gorgeous smile” to see the impact being made on these girls’ lives.

One girl in particular walked into the event with slouched shoulders, averting eye contact, and left channeling Naomi Campbell. I am nearly floored by another girl, styled in bright yellow slim-cut pants paired with a geometrically-patterned gauzy black and white shirt focusing her laser-beam steel blue eyes at a camera, tears rolling down her newly-blushed cheeks, to say “thank you to the donors” that made the event possible.

As usually happens when one participates in an undertaking of this nature, I arrived happy that I was able to lend my efforts to helping someone else, and left realizing that it was I whose spirit had benefitted most. Special thanks to Top Buttons for inviting me to participate.

Vogue v. Dinner

“When I first moved to New York and was totally broke, sometimes I would buy Vogue instead of dinner. I felt it fed me more.”

–Carrie Bradshaw


Every once in a while, one must throw caution to the wind, and buy the thing that sings to your heart. My heart was recently serenaded on a trip to Toronto, when I happened upon a silk scarf printed with the design of the Toronto subway.

The day before we left to return home, while touring the distillery district, I unearthed this urban beauty in a display of butterfly-encrusted things (so popular at that moment) and felt my heart immediately flutter. But a map of the city’s subway rendered in silk? Where am I going to wear that? I felt I couldn’t justify the expense for something I suspected I’d rarely wear (my big-ticket items are usually forced to work overtime for their space in my tiny closet). And anyway, we were late to dinner (oh, the restaurants!), so I left it to hang amongst the winged creatures.

I immediately recognized that this was the wrong decision as we sped off and all I wanted to do was turn around and snatch up the scarf. But by that time, we were in danger of losing our reservations and couldn’t turn back. By the end of the evening, I knew–I needed that silken map even if I never got to wear it. Luckily, I have the best Love ever, who arranged for bike shares the next morning before our plane left so that I could be reunited with my special treasure.

As I should have expected, I’ve already pulled the scarf out for museum trips, nights out with friends, and beach excursions, and each wearing has brought me immense enjoyment. I anticipate my cartological treasure will experience even heavier rotation in my wardrobe this fall, which is why I advise you to spring for that item that speaks to your soul, even if it sometimes means eating mac and cheese for a week.

What’s the most “illogical” treasure you’ve splurged on?

Punkin Baby

In her infinite prescience, my mother used to call me “Punkin Baby.” According to her, it was because my legs and arms had so many rolls when I was a baby that they resembled a pumpkin, but I like to think it was a harbinger of the love affair I now have with the color.

For having a “love affair” with pumpkin, I certainly don’t have much of it in my closet (a bag, silk blouse and scarf come to mind), probably because I don’t often see it utilized in my favorite clothing lines. However, it’s one of those colors that when I see done well, I lose all restraint, and the item goes home with me.

Punkin Baby - PurseIn the words of Chanel, “The best color is the one that looks good on you,” and so it is she I blame for this obsession. To me, pumpkin is one of those colors that, done cheaply, looks so, and done well, looks exquisite. (It doesn’t hurt that even under those deranged store dressing room lights, said exquisite pumpkin gives a warm glow to my skin that isn’t replicated by many other colors).

It’s difficult to feed my obsession for pumpkin during the months when shades of that hearty fruit (at least, botanically speaking) are just starting to find their way into the layouts for the September issues, but this little cotton-silk infinity scarf (read: unimaginably light! Your neck will not be drenched in sweat in the Florida sunshine!) that I picked up for a song in a hotel gift shop this summer (yes, I know it sounds crazy, but do not discount the well-appointed hotel or airport gift shop for some truly unusual finds) did the trick.

Punkin Baby - ScarfWhat’s your color (you know the one—sick for days, but you put it on, and voila! You’re a generally radiant human being again)? Post a pic of your favorite hue in the comments!

Buy What You’ll Wear

Buy What You WearWe’ve all read books claiming to outline the perfect wardrobe.  Nina Garcia’s The One Hundred lists one hundred (hence the name) classic pieces every woman should own, while Lucky’s Style Manual outlines the number of skirts, pants, and tops someone should own as part of a well-rounded closet.

While these books are both cherished tomes occupying prime real estate on my bookshelves, I’m going to respectfully disagree with the experts on this one.

Here goes:

Buy what you’ll wear.

That’s right—I said it. Buy what you’ll wear.

I’m all for a little adventure. I’m all for breaking out of ruts and trying new colors and styles, but in the end, if you (like me) feel uneasy in a maxi dress, don’t buy one—even if they are all over the shelves and everyone from Kim Kardashian to Julia Roberts is wearing them.

And definitely don’t buy one just because Someone said you should have one as part of your wardrobe.

On the flip side, if you rock an opera-length glove like no one else, you should have several pairs in your arsenal even if Anna Wintour herself tells you not to be caught dead in them!

The key is to do the research to learn what actually looks good on you. Pair that with some inner soul-searching on what you actually prefer to wear and some thought as to what image you want to project, then form your wardrobe-building aspirations.

And if those aspirations include 27 skirts and no pairs of pants, so be it.

Good day, Sunshine!

I used to have no fewer than 7 coats (I think it was more, but 7 is the most I can swear to, and it’s egregious enough a number to demonstrate unnecessary levels of acquisition). When I lived in northern Ohio, the weather dictated that level of collection, but (thankfully) those heavy garments have all but since disappeared since I returned to live in my home state of Florida.

Not wanting to miss out on any type of obsessive behavior, however, I summarily began a new collection—that of summer hats. Even while living in the northern climes, my hat collection has never been what you might call spartan, but ever since I crossed the Florida-Georgia line, I’ve been more actively collecting hats to shield my face from the Sunshine for which this state is so famous.

Good Day Sunshine - Hat1Luckily (some would argue that point, but we ignore them and move on), I stumbled into a menswear shop in my hometown’s downtown district that has all the straw fedoras and trilbys a girl could dream of (classic colors! Functional venting! Small sizes!) at prices indicative of quality construction but not so prohibitive that said perfectly ventilated hat couldn’t be taken out on the boat for fear of losing it to the glassy, cool, translucent wave.

Good Day Sunshine - Hat2To these pretties are added crushable, high-SPF ribbon hats full of sand from trips to the beach, wide-brimmed straw hats that would be at home in My Fair Lady, and the random Target find, now stashed in the backseat and trunk of my car (and to his chagrin, my man’s truck) for afternoon drives with the moonroof open.

Not only do I feel just a bit more glam when wearing a hat, seeing other people wearing amazing hats adds a rosier tint to my aviators and makes me feel as if there is a bit more verve in the world.

This summer, I hope to see you out and about (or even in the comment thread) wearing your favorite summer topper. What do you look for in a summer hat? Any pieces you especially appreciated this season?

Good Day Sunshie - Chair

Photos courtesy of



Welcome to Girl About Downtown! I grew up in Central Florida, but embarked on a few adventures elsewhere after high school. Twelve winters and about twelve thousand glossies later, I fortuitously found myself back in the city of trains and sunshine (and subsequently, living downtown).

They say you can’t go home. Places, like people, change. This city isn’t what it was when I was growing up—it’s even better (and becoming more sophisticated by the minute due to the brilliant, creative, giving people that invest themselves in this community)! While I feel increasingly at home here, I’ve learned along the way that home really is wherever the heart is. I’ve left pieces of my heart in other “homes” on this planet, and will continue to do so throughout my life (ironically, the more pieces I leave behind, the bigger my heart grows).

Consequently, GAD not only showcases things I love about life in downtown L-town, but the wonder-inspiring things and people I encounter on my occasional jaunts to other “downtowns” as well as concepts I feel typify the downtown lifestyle. From fashion to food to the otherwise fabulous, I hope my exploits will entice you to venture into your city’s downtown and inspire you to incorporate a little downtown style into your life.

Thank you for joining me on this adventure; I’d love it if you’d hang out for a bit, and I’d absolutely adore it if you’d share your own adventures in downtown living!