Part of my beautiful mountain drive; also a fitting symbol for my new outlook.

What Has Changed Thus Far? A LOT.

What has changed, halfway through my year of skorts? Has simplifying my closet simplified my life? Have I gained anything by losing my obsession with my wardrobe?

Well, there is this:

Last Saturday, halfway through a very busy day in front of people (teaching classes, speaking), I caught a glance of my unkempt self in a floor-to-ceiling window. It was the sort of mid-day reflection that ordinarily would have sent me running for cover. Even six months ago, if THAT reflection had greeted me, I would have set about fixing my hair, straightening my layers, vowing to never wear THIS unflattering skort ever again. I would have panicked, remembering I had not put on makeup that morning. I would have stopped at nothing to procure a hat. I would have found some way to change the skort. If I could not have addressed any of these wardrobe mis-steps, I would have had a truly miserable day.

Instead, last Saturday, I saw my reflection and thought this: “That’s funny. I sure FEEL great.” And that was it. I carried on. I engaged with other people and taught my classes and enjoyed a drive through the mountains so beautiful it almost caused traffic accidents. I had a great day, even knowing I looked not-so-great.

I could not have told you this with any conviction, maybe ever before in my life: feeling great is WAY BETTER than looking great. What has changed? Just about every-damned-thing.


Sept 10: Six Months of Skorts – Tides Are Changing . . .

I have been wearing black golf skirts for six months now. Half of my experiment is complete.  So far, I have noticed:

1. Less Worry=More Peace. Things are not necessarily easier, and daily life can just be frustrating no matter what we do. But there is more space in my brain. Sometimes as I shower, I start to think about what I will wear, and the relief of not worrying washes over me like the hot water.

I practice not worrying in other parts of my life, too. We all know it, but a conscious reminder is worthwhile: worrying about stuff is futile. It’s a time-sucker, an energy-drainer, a crazy-maker.

In the last six months, I know I have worried less. I remind myself to un-hook from the anguish of worry and most of the time, I listen to myself. When I do, I feel better physically; I sleep better; I know there is more space in my thinking-box for stuff that matters more to me than my wardrobe.

2. It’s Not Personal. Nobody notices, really. The people in my life–my neighborhood, my community, my daily circles of contact–who don’t know about my little project treat me exactly as they always have. It seems my appearance doesn’t matter an awful lot. I don’t know about you, but this blows my mind.

I keep testing it — I wear the exact same outfit three times in a row to see if people roll their eyes in disgust. I choose a comfortable t-shirt instead of a cute top, wondering whom I might offend with my casual affect. I can’t quite believe it, but what I wear makes very little difference in how people treat me.

I suspect one of the reasons it doesn’t matter is because people are too busy living, you know, their own lives, to worry about my ability to accessorize.

Which reminds me of the sheer folly of living our lives to please other people. It gets disorienting for a girl like me: if I’m not living for other people’s approval, what the heck do I do? As the winds of existential panic rise in my soul, I remember Marsha Norman’s no-nonsense words of comfort. This passage means more to me today than it ever has:

Nobody is going to come and save you, that’s your job. Save yourself. If you don’t like where you are, get out of there. The object is not for them to like you, the object is for them to listen to you. Nobody knows what you want except you. And nobody will be as sorry as you if you don’t get it.

-Marsha Norman

headstand august 18

Fairway+Fashion=Freedom: 4 Reasons to Wear a Golf Skort Every Single Day

1. Skorts are the new black. Face it: a well-fitting skort feels a little sexy. The flirty swish of the not-too-long skirt, combined with the abject comfort of shorts underneath, can be intoxicating. Audrey Hepburn said the happiest girls are the prettiest girls. Who isn’t happier when her thighs don’t rub together in the supermarket? Ah, the luxury of being held in without Spanx. The contentment of pure modesty should we happen upon a Marilyn-Monroe-inspired subway grate! What is more, you can wear a skort anywhere. In the humble golf skort, you can look polished and perfect for any occasion, while secretly enjoying the happy relief of total comfort.

Lately, I have donned a black skort for business presentations, a posh evening wedding, a Broadway play, two funerals and a cocktail-attire fundraiser. I promise you, no one was the wiser; I looked great. Think about it, Ladies: add a flattering black tank to a well-cut skort and you’ve found it: a simple, comfortable, versatile Little Black Dress! Fashion’s Holy Grail. Add a sparkly wrap and some strappy sandals – who’s to say you’re not dressed for the swankiest affair? Change it up with a smart jacket and a pair of pumps and take on the boardroom. Throw on some tights, leggings, leg-warmers: the skort is all-season apparel.

Of course, that same skort (and that same comfort level!) works just as well for less-glamorous occasions, such as hiking, yoga, doing dishes, running errands, stand-up-paddle-boarding, bicycling, watching baseball and maybe even a round of golf. When I rush from the dog park to a meeting, deftly exchanging flip-flops for nice boots and my windbreaker for a twinset, I think of Clark Kent ducking into his phone booth. The black golf skort is so versatile it gives me super powers.

2. Tights are not pants. If you’re over 30, cut-offs, Daisy Dukes and even Bermudas have started to lose their appeal. Capri pants seem like a good summertime option until we admit their inherent frumpiness. As we seek the ideal balance between form and function, between showing and covering the right amount of skin, the skort wins every time. It is cooler (both in terms of temperature and style) than capris, allows more freedom than a maxi skirt, and is more flattering than any pair of shorts will ever be past the age of innocence.

During colder months, it is impossible to resist the allure of leggings for both warmth and our beloved comfort, but let us all vow not to be That Woman: the one with the booty uncomfortably on display. Do we have the right to wear whatever feels good to us? Of course. But let us not confuse self-expression with unwanted attention. Even a flawless figure, when dressed scantily, raises eyebrows and incites gossip. No matter how fierce you feel in your outfit, it’s possible to cause the wrong kind of stir. Once again, we turn to the unassuming skort. Transform from scandalous to suitable just by tugging one over your tights. You’ll still feel like you’re in your pajamas, but you’ll look so appropriate the world will never know your secret.

3. You’ve got stuff to do. You need pockets. Forget bra-burning in the pursuit of attaining our pure potential; who wants the unflattering silhouette? Let us burst that glass ceiling by finally claiming something our men rarely go without: pockets. If you feel frazzled by your frantic schedule—or, say, middle age—embrace the joy of always having your keys (your credit cards, your phone) on your person. The skort is really a prettier take on cargo shorts. Feel like a slick magician as you reach into your well-placed pockets to produce the needs of your situation: dog treats and poop bags, business cards, a screwdriver and tiny measuring tape, pacifiers and tissues, a wallet, receipts, even a small notebook with pen (I am never without it). Relish the fruits of a slightly calmer brain when you lose fewer pairs of reading glasses, I’m just saying.

Lucky for us, the noble pocket is the darling of the fashion industry at the moment. Beauties on the red carpet stick their hands coyly into voluminous skirts, where clever designers have stashed deep pouches. At last we at home can stop worrying about where they keep their breath mints and touch-up mascara! This elegance in design has happily trickled down into the sportswear department. Have you seen a good golf skort these days? It doesn’t come cheap, but it is engineered with the ingenuity of the Roman aqueducts. The best designers have achieved some slimming sleight-of-hand: fabrics skim the body without gapping or hugging, and the cut flatters the waist without suffocation. And the pockets! Three of my skorts hold my iphone in the front zippered pocket without a terribly unsightly bulge. There are snaps on pockets, side-cut pockets, stacked front pockets, and the ubiquitous low-back pocket. Yes, there where the tramp-stamp might otherwise dwell is the most perfect pocket of all. Your phone stays secure there while you run (or run errands); your license, key and credit card hide there at a concert when you need your arms free to dance; you could keep an energy bar or a pet mouse or a weapon stashed in that pocket, always at the ready. Every wise woman knows to be prepared; an abundance of pockets helps you get right on doing your skortalicious thing.

4. You really are smarter than everyone else. I was taught better than to bask in others’ misery, but it’s a struggle these days. Since I have discovered the freedom, function and fashion possibilities of the skort, I stand back and marvel at my friends. When it takes Xanax to pack for a trip, when contemplating outfits for a class reunion sends one into therapy, I think our wardrobes have the better of us. I say this is the revolution: if we are comfortable in our clothing, we will be comfortable in our own skin. If we stop worrying about what to wear, we make time for so many other good things. In a skort, you will never be the best-dressed girl at the party, but you will always look perfectly appropriate. People will treat you exactly as they always have, but your outlook will change. You’ll watch other women fussing and struggling with their clothing and smile smugly to yourself. You’ll stroll confidently (without your thighs rubbing together, without provoking untoward commentary) in the direction of your dreams, enjoying the cool, comfy, sensible satisfaction of knowing exactly what to wear. A certain swagger develops when we discover a secret and pity those around us.

So let us embrace the skort! Let us throw our heads back and laugh at the mental gymnastics of getting dressed every day! Let us scoff, I say, and kick up our heels and get on with the living we have left to do in our singular, precious lives! In a skort, we can do all the kicking—and all the living–we want, and we’ll feel good and look good doing it. Total fashion freedom.

Lisa Lane Filholm is a mother, wife, teacher and clay artist who lives in Denver, CO. She is currently engaged in a Year-Long Experiment in Simplicity, wearing a golf skort every day for a full year. Follow her journey—and her blog—at

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August 1: On Being Too Much – Here’s to the Ladies Who’ve Lived.

More than I worry about not being Enough, I work at not being Too Much. As long as I can remember, I have been Too Loud, Too Emotional, Too Silly, Too Chatty, Too Intense, Too Bossy, Too Passionate, Too Demanding, Too Sensitive, Too Enthusiastic . . . on and on and on. Almost all the time, I am censoring. I try to leave half my personality at the door lest it overwhelm everyone around me. My yoga practice, my interior prayer life, my diet and exercise and even my bad habits – I do many things daily to calm my brain, cool my energy and move through the world like a wave of warm and gentle light.

I suck at it. I fool no one. No matter how hard I try to appear calm and graceful, my entrance into a room is usually explosive. I know it, and I work at it, and I cannot help it. When I was a child, my family moved around a lot. Every new school was an opportunity to adopt a new identity; I attempted each year to cultivate a Shy Personality. How I longed to be the quiet, mysterious girl in the corner, lovely in her reticence, mysterious in her detachment, wise and calm and soothing to be around. How soon, every time, I broke my vow! When something excites me, I whistle and shout and scream and speak my mind. I am noisy and messy and I have a lot (A LOT) of energy.

On the other hand, I get things done. I have big ideas and I do a lot of things. I am a fierce and loyal friend and I am especially passionate about children. I over-celebrate and over-react. The good news is, if you want to feel affirmed and great about what you are doing, you can call me. One of my students put things into perspective for me when he wrote, “Your crazy kept me sane during my senior year of high school.” I know it is true. Even my teenaged son, in a kind moment, forgives me for having “an excess of joy.” And yet, probably as often as once a month, I hear people say things like “too much” or “you’re a lot to take” or “calm down.” The process of censoring myself is exhausting. One of the goals of the skort365 project is to accept myself as I am. I’m working on it, and two recent deaths have made me think about the whole idea in a new way.

Last week, Broadway legend Elaine Stritch died. Shortly thereafter, my grandmother gently slipped from this world into her eternal life. Although I am not usually affected by the deaths of celebrities whom I did not know, hearing that Ms. Stritch was gone left a hole in my personal life. She was bold, brassy, loud, opinionated, and maybe a little crazy. She loved her husband and her career with equal passion and never seemed to give a damn what anybody thought of her. When confronted with personal tragedy and misfortune, she offered pearls such as, “Everybody’s got a sack of rocks.” Imagine the multitudes who told Elaine Stritch throughout her life that she was just Too Much. Knowing there are women out there doing their thing despite their critics comforts me. I shall miss her.

And then there is my grandmother. We remember her for her soothing voice, speaking and singing. She was kind and gentle; her love was expansive. But this was also the woman who, in her 90 years on this planet, rolled up her sleeves and helped raise buildings, bale hay, diaper babies, prepare feasts, irrigate dry and rocky soil, deliver rural mail, send care packages of her famous Monster Cookies to granddaughters in college. We remember our sweet and loving grandmother who never complained, but she is also famous for throwing an apple at a high school wrestling referee. She cheered loudly at football games and sang lustily in the church choir. She had all those kids. Surely people along her way told Patricia Ruggles Lane that she was Too Much. As far as I know, she marched on, quite sure of herself and her place in the world. I say it again: knowing there are women out there doing their thing despite the critics comforts me. Furthermore, my grandmother called me, my many cousins and our prodigious offspring “the jewels in her crown.” I shall miss her.

So I decided just now (hoping to comfort myself) to compose a list, off the top of my head, of women who were probably told quite often that they were Too Much, and who didn’t seem to care, and whom I admire in some way. Do you know I almost couldn’t stop? The list goes on and on. I only quit because I got tired. It seems I am surrounded, by people I know and do not know, who inspire me. What a nice thing to realize. I am comforted, in fact. A wave of calm has settled, and for that I am grateful.

A Short and Incomplete List of Women Who Are Probably Too Much (and Who Never Seem to Care, and Whom I Admire): Lucille Ball, Tina Fey, Joan Rivers, Hillary Clinton, Gilda Radner, My Godmother Christie Thomas and Her Twin Sister Cathie, Amelia Earhart, Emily Dickinson, Maya Angelou, The Bronte Sisters, Drew Barrymore, Gloria Steinem, Annie Dillard, Toni Morrison, Joan of Arc, Sandra Day O’Connor, Olympia Dukakis, Sofia Vergara, Harriett Tubman, Carol Burnett, Julie Andrews, Lily Tomlin, Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, Judy Garland and Liza Minnelli, Golda Meir, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Jane Fonda, Mary Tyler Moore, Oprah Winfrey, My Mentor Annie Scurria, Ellen DeGeneres, Eleanor Roosevelt, Helen Gurley Brown, My Students Shari and Molly and Andi and Jessica and Morgan, Sally Ride, Frieda Kahlo, My Little Friends Natalie and Kiele and Taylor, Dorothy Day, The Resplendent Cher, Sarah Silverman and Phyllis Diller, Mother Theresa, Gertrude Stein and Diane Keaton, Rita and Jeanie and Monica and Billie Holiday, Nella Larsen and My Husband’s Dear Aunt Esther, Viola Davis and even poor lost, adolescent Miley Cyrus.

Funny. The list could go on forever should I just keep typing, and I wonder what the Hell my problem is. (And believe me, there is an article forthcoming on the first-world-problem-ness of worrying about what to wear and how we look. Crikey. I’m aware.) For every message I have internalized about being Too Much, surely there are several examples of women who don’t let such silliness stand in their way. Why have I admired them from afar and not dared to count myself among them? Oh, who cares anymore – time is ticking. I have better things to do than worry about how I might be perceived while I am busy living and enjoying my one precious life. Too much; not enough; I’m trying not to let such concepts worry me these days. Perhaps it will help, remembering Ms. Stritch and my grandmother and all these fabulous women unfettered by labels or opinions or criticism. Here’s to the ladies who LIVE. Aren’t they too much?

Below, the incomparable Elaine Stritch reprises her gut-wrenching solo, “Ladies Who Lunch,” from Sondheim’s COMPANY.


July 23: Roadblocks and Brain-Invaders: When the Experiment Goes Awry.

Worrying about how I look has ruined many of my days. To express the depth of the problem, I give you this image of our family camping trip to Yellowstone National Park the summer after my eighth-grade year. Yes, I am wearing a paper bag on my head.

It rained that fateful week in Yellowstone, and I was concerned about my hair. The paper bag was my beautiful solution. I am sure my parents were mortified, but I would not be persuaded otherwise. The thought of being seen with bad hair by anyone at all, even perfect strangers (whilst on a camping trip, mind you) was too much for me to bear.

I remember people thinking it was kind of a zany, funny thing to do; I believe I was part of several other family’s vacation shots; I know I heard quips about the Unknown Comic. But when I posed with my beleaguered siblings in front of Old Faithful, I also remember how un-zany and un-funny it felt to me. Under that paper bag was a miserable girl, paralyzed by feelings of inadequacy so intense they kept me from enjoying all kinds of things. Such as parties and ski trips with skinny girls and the dumbfounding mystery of a geyser erupting on schedule before my very eyes.

In this fashion, over the years, I have sabotaged various social events, job interviews and personal relationships. A paper bag, a well-cut trouser, the perfect wedge heel or a neckline I thought flattered my bust: I have used many tools to hide my prodigious imperfections from the world and it’s all just a bit crazy-making in the long run. Thus, I embarked upon my year-long experiment in simplicity. My original goal, of course, was to spend less time worrying about what I wear and how I look. Along the way, I noticed that when I dress to be comfortable in my clothing, I am markedly more comfortable in my own skin.

If I am on a journey toward better self-acceptance, I have been cruising along nicely until the past few weeks, when I seem to have hit a nasty road-block. At the moment, my experiment is not going well.

Last month, I spent five jam-packed days in New York. The skort365 project served me well. I dressed 100% for comfort 100% of the time, even when it meant meeting dear old friends for dinner in Greenwich Village in a black skort and (so help me God) a grey Denver South High t-shirt. Unthinkable, even a few months ago. A rare in-person rendezvous normally brings out the fussiest of my fussing about what to wear. I could spend weeks contemplating the most flattering, current, beautiful outfit to don for such an occasion. Not this time. I threw on a danged t-shirt, went on my way, and had a wonderful time. (It is also significant that it rained all week in the City and I neither worried about nor ever really so much as brushed my hair. Not a paper bag in sight.) Only one month ago, I felt like I was getting it. I felt confident and strong. I had my priorities in the right places. Experiencing the City and the people I love is far more important than agonizing about how I look while doing it. I felt gently sorry for the young girls doing touristy things, like I was, in five-inch heels and flawless makeup and coifs they had labored over all morning. I was in the groove of self-acceptance, and I felt great!

jodie ang me

I don’t know exactly what has happened – has anything happened? – but I have to admit the feeling of confidence is gone. Lost. Slipped away. I look at myself in pictures and I am horrified. I see the purple bruises I get on my legs (because I am a very active and rather clumsy person) and I am ashamed to show my skin in public. I catch myself in the mirror and make frequent, fervent vows to spend much more time at the gym. I am so worried about how rotten my hair looks it keeps me awake at night. I think I look awful. Tired and fat and squatty and short and what the Hell Have I Been Thinking, prancing around without so much as a pair of Spanx to protect civilization from the horror of How I Look?

I know my appearance has not changed significantly in one month; it isn’t possible. I cannot have morphed from pleasant-looking, healthy 45-year-old woman into obese troglodyte so swiftly. In fact, I am technically a few pounds lighter than I was then.

So what has changed? Beats me. I know I prefer the Me of a month ago. I trusted I looked just fine, knew there were more important things to think about, anyway, and moved through the world accordingly. I resent the negative thoughts about myself, which have returned like noisy vagabonds, pitching tents, cranking up the radio and tossing beer cans into places I have so recently cleared of debris. I have enough distance from the whole thing to notice how I feel, which perhaps is progress. But at the moment, it is impossible for me to tell which vision of myself is true. Am I the healthy, happy, carefree image smiling in photographs one short month ago? Or am I the fleshy freak-show in my bedroom mirror?

One moment I was considering restricting my wardrobe even further, to black tanks and skorts with super construction only, layered with jackets and scarves as conditions require. I was feeling so secure and so confident in this basic ensemble, the loud colors and frilly tops I once favored felt like superfluous costume. The next thing I knew, I was frantically trying on six or seven tops before I felt secure enough to leave the house. Conversations with friends were suddenly tempered by an old, familiar fretting about how my belly looked.

At the risk of being indelicate, I am pissed off. I am thrown off – off-course, off-kilter, off my center. I resent my vulnerability, despite the real work I am doing, to forces I don’t understand. Since we only get to choose our reactions to things, here is what I have done: I have stayed my course. I have worn a black skort every day, no matter how many people I might offend with the doughy white meatiness of my legs. I have eschewed any other costume which might feel safer and more secure. I breathe. I walk. I remind myself how much better I feel when I eat no sugar at all. I bend, stretch, stand on my head, think expansive, forgiving, grateful thoughts. I have meditated on casting off, like boats from a dock, everything that gets ahold of me. I launch all the negative thinking into the open water and watch it float away. I remain anchored, unaffected. I have acted as though I believe the whole thing is crazy. The very idea that I can feel so fine one moment and so pathetic the next – it defies the rules of logic. I respect few things more than the rules of logic, and the empirical evidence I have collected over these 45 years tells me to wait it out. My observation and experience point to cycles, phases, patterns. The ebb and flow of life in this broken but wonderful world. I feel pretty crappy now, but I’ll feel better again.

I am putting the practices that feel uncomfortable at the moment into a savings bank. I am trusting that all of it–simplifying my wardrobe, opting for comfort over glamor, exercising, eating right, working to accept that I am a-okay, just as I am—will pay great dividends when I am back to feeling confident and pretty again. I am trying to trust that I don’t have to do anything now to fix a problem that isn’t there. I am trying to ignore my obnoxious tenants, those old familiar negative thoughts. I hope they will become bored and move onto more interesting territory, where they can get a rise out of someone less sure of herself than I am.

I hesitated to write about this hitch in my giddy-up, because it’s kind of embarrassing. I am starting to believe, however, that I am not alone in any of this. I think a lot of women can relate to the fun-house-mirror aspects of our relationships with ourselves. So I’m writing about it. I’m hoping other women will share their secrets for staying centered when life threatens to knock them out of balance. I am even more hopeful about talking to the few women I know who do not suffer such a silly fate. The girls who feel confident and sure, who have healthy relationships with how they look and what they wear and how much they weigh . . . they are out there, and I am watching them, hoping to learn their secrets. Most of all, I am putting one foot in front of the other. Keeping calm and carrying on. Noticing the good stuff and un-docking the bad stuff, sending it adrift and un-moored and un-tethered from me and my life.

As my beautiful husband just said, when we were hanging up the phone after a discussion about our sometimes-difficult teenager (aren’t they all?!), “Well, we all shine on. Like the moon and the stars and the sun.” See why I married him? I am helpless before a guy who casually drops John Lennon into the convo just when I need it most.

Indeed. Amen. Shine on. I’ll let you know how it goes.

A Teenager with Great Perspective. Shine on, Maya!

July 14: If You Love a Pre-Teen Girl, Get Her This Book.

When it comes to young girls and their images of themselves, I am a preservationist. It’s a Thing with me (and if you’ve been reading this blog, it’s no mystery why). Preservation is the act of keeping something safe or free from harm or decay. It is the act of keeping something alive, of keeping the quality or condition of something intact. Have you spent any time with, say, a six-year-old girl? In almost every case, there is a sense of Self in a six-year-old girl I long to keep intact.

A six-year-old girl is fierce. She knows what she likes and dislikes and makes no apology about either. She dresses as she pleases and knows she looks fabulous. She is wild and free and unfettered, given to bursts of song or tears, impressed by physical feats and sure of her place in the fascinating, abundant world. By the age of twelve or thirteen, these qualities (and this girl) are often lost.

I imagine it can be different. I dream of a generation of women who come of age with their childhood self-confidence intact. A generation of women too sure of themselves to ever give themselves away, minimize their power, or ever, ever doubt that they are enough. I am honored to know several twenty-somethings who seem to be surviving with their sense of Self intact. They are my former students and every day I am inspired by their strength and spirit.

I am also encouraged by the wisdom of young people like Maya Van Wagenen, who spent a year contemplating her middle-school social life. Lucky for us, Ms. Wagenen chronicled her adventures (she followed, to the letter!, advice from a 1950’s guide to teenage popularity for an entire school year). Her book is a great read, especially for the young-adult audience who will relate most closely to her struggles. As we might expect, the author discovers that the secret to making friends is neither the cutest shoes nor the flattest abs, but a willingness to be yourself and talk to other people.

I tip my hat–only because I cannot tip my SKORT–to this young author, her year-long project, her ability to write well about it, and her fine example for her contemporaries. If you have any eleven- or twelve- or thirteen-ish girls in your life, POPULAR is a perfect back-to-school, end-of-summer gift. Get it today for the girls you love; it’s a light, lovely read for the last lazy days of summer, and nothing could prepare a girl better for facing the maze of middle school come fall.

The preservationist in me just loves it when a young woman takes steps to keep her very own self safe, free from harm and decay, alive, intact. Therein lies the secret to becoming strong and happy adults. Shine on, Maya Van Wagener and young girls like her who Get It at such tender ages! You give us all hope.

July 3: If I’m Lyin’, I’m Dyin’ – Skorts are SO on-Trend!

The following is a text message I received from a stylish, gorgeous, smart-as-a-whip former student. She and her cronies are 20-somethings who have the world on a string. and she honors me by keeping in touch throughout the years.



Beyoncé knows what's up - Her version of a skort.
Beyoncé knows what’s up – Her version of a skort.

June 30: “Do the Opposite” (Summer Style Stuff)

It was a hot weekend. I had to be outside all day, both days. On Saturday, I did as I always do for steamy weather: I wore as little as propriety allows. On Sunday–burned a bit, kind of dehydrated, and just so leery of wilting–I channeled George Costanza, who changed the course of his sorry life by following Jerry’s advice, “if every instinct you have is wrong, then the opposite would have to be right.”

I did the opposite. I wore an SPF 50+ shirt with long sleeves, a giant floppy hat and my obnoxious big sunnies. It felt like donning a costume; it felt funny; I felt silly leaving the house. I worried I could not possibly keep from overheating in such a full state of dress.

As often happens in my life, the wisdom of Seinfeld prevails. I don’t know I why I ever look anywhere else for real-life advice. Costanza-esque, I did the opposite, and I swear to you, I stayed cooler in the sun. This shirt (and isn’t it really quite darling?) is the brainchild of a cool chick I ran into and who just happens to live nearby! I am a new and rabid fan of her newly launched business: You’ve got to check this out!!

I am a sun-worshipper and a water-bug, but I overheat easily. Really easily. I have always figured next-to-naked is the best way to beat the heat, but of course I have noticed how our sisters in sweltering climates (such as India) layer in light fabrics. I’ve been intrigued, but it seems counter-intuitive and straight-up crazy to me, putting on more than a bikini in hot weather.

Along with my 45-year-old body (not so cute in a bikini), I guess, comes a bit of 45-year-old wisdom. My girl Kate (designer and proprietor of, along with my yoga instructor, and probably echoed by Common Sense, points out that the act of cooling the body down requires extra work in those sky-high temperatures. I know for a fact that my skin felt cooler on Sunday. None of that sizzling, surface-of-the-skin sensation that I always enjoy at first and which ultimately destroys me if I can’t find shade. I did not overheat. I did not burn or do damage to my skin. And look at that photo! Despite feeling costumed when I left the house, I think (in retrospect) I looked quite adorable, indeed!

Kate has designed a sweet little collection of SPF 50+ shirts and dresses. They are cute and functional and really quite flattering. Since last weekend, I have hunted her down and purchased two more, because I plan to spend most of the July 4th weekend on the glassy, reflective surface of a mountain lake. It’s supposed to be super-sunny and warm, and we regret it when we do not respect the fry-factor here at altitude.

I encourage those I love (and who love the sunshine) to check out Bold Babe. I’m thrilled to support another local, woman-owned business, and I am captivated by Kate’s great style and warm personality, and I want to share the strange new joy of staying cool, comfy and cute in really hot weather! I also encourage those I love to Go Costanza once in awhile. Do the opposite. See what happens. We cannot help but learn something new when we swim against the current of our comfort-zone. Let me know how it goes.

"It's the Summer of George!"
“It’s the Summer of George!”

(***My “no-clothing purchases” rule had to be revised on Saturday when the sunblock-jacket I brought with me was purloined. I counted it as an “emergency” purchase rather than a “new clothing” purchase. The second one – the dress style – is activewear, so I am not counting it as clothing. The third I purchased for a friend. So there, Rules of the Project. I can justify with the best of ‘em.***)