Sunday, July 11, 2010

Secret Fashion Faux Pas

Hello. I’m Jillian Knight-Osborne, cousin to Abby Knight, owner of Bloomers Flower Shop, and New Chapel, Indiana’s premier florist (or so she claims). Kate Collins was gracious enough to let me blog today despite objections from Abs. And p.s., the reason Kate gave me permission is not because I nagged her incessantly, so don’t believe everything you hear. I do not nag. I advise, which is why I’m in such high demand as a fashion consultant among misguided, hapless people who don’t know how to dress.

Seriously, you wouldn’t believe some of the outfits my customers have chosen without my guidance: long, frumpy, wrap skirts with Birkenstocks. Bulky sweaters with pleated pants. How embarrassing!

What I want to talk about is style, and I don’t mean the in-and-out trends. I mean classics, things that you need in your wardrobe that will never go out of style. A basic black dress. Dressy black slacks. Black heels. Black flats. A black jacket or sweater. A pair of dressy silver earrings and another in gold. A white blouse that can be worn under a jacket or on its own with a pair of jeans.
Once you have those basics, you can go a little crazy. Notice I said “a little.” Add jolts of color to the black dress by tying a print scarf around your neck. Add sparkle with a silver belt or red shoes. Add a turquoise sweater or blouse to pair with the slacks. There are so many ways to change up the look as long as you have those classic pieces. Then you can add a few trendy items to compliment them. But as with all fashion trends, you have to watch out for the extremes.

For instance, I bought a pair of bell bottoms last fall that were so belled, the hems kept wrapping around my ankles as I walked. Not a graceful look, trust me. Then I bought a short sheath dress in a bright lime green, orange, and yellow block print that sent my mother running from the room screaming, “No! Not the 60s again!” Go figure.

And can I just tell you all the problems Abby has? First, she’s short. Second, she’s busty, poor thing. Third, she has flame-red hair, as opposed to my shiny copper tresses which enliven every outfit I wear. And fourth, she has no fashion sense when it comes to –

Wait! Let me type! Abby, come on! I’m only telling the brutal truth.

Fine. You have excellent fashion sense, Abs, which is why you’re wearing those ugly plaid capris with a long yellow T-shirt and short brown vest and some kind of footwear – I shan’t even speak what kind it is – that would only work if you were a swamp creature with webbed toes. Happy now?
Okay, everyone has one horrendous article of clothing in the closet that has been there for at least five years, maybe ten, that never makes it into the donation bag. For me, it’s a bulky, loose knit multi-colored sweater that makes me look ten pounds heavier and older, and won’t even fit under my winter coat. I’d never wear it out, yet, for some reason, I’m attached to it.
What’s in your closet that shouldn’t be there? Your secret is safe with me.


Kate Collins’s next Flower Shop Mystery, DIRTY ROTTEN TENDRILS, is an October, 2010, release, and yes, Jillian makes an appearance, pestering Abby as usual.


  1. There's a couple of items in my closet that I keep saying I'll wear again if I lose some more weight. Eventually these items will have to go.

  2. Jillian, I think I need your help when I go shopping tomorrow. :) But you should give Abby a break...we don't all know our Gap from our Neiman Marcus!

  3. It's not a closet. It's my own personal Museum of Costume History.

  4. What's in my closet that shouldn't be there? Nothing! My husband, the super-organizer, insists that, twice a year, I sit on the bed while he takes every single item from my closet and lays it all on the bed, so I can decide right then and there whether every item is worth keeping and going through this again in six months. This is an uncomfortable process, but I'm not complaining. Left alone, my closet would be a hopeless muddle of things I just couldn't decide about.

    You know what I do love about this? All the times when he says, "Oh, just donate it and buy something you know you like!" I think he's still making up for the time he accidentally donated my entire winter wardrobe.

    So you see, Jillian, I really don't need your assistance. But thanks. And at the risk of drawing your ire, let me squeak meekly that I LIKE the way Abby dresses. It's...Abby. So there!

  5. I think we all need help/advice on clothes occasionally, as long as it's solicted! :)

    I have a cute denim jumper that doesn't fit, but it's too nice to get rid of!

    And BTW, I refuse to wear anything that looks like it came out of the '70s, except maybe platform shoes. Been there, done that, and AIN'T doing it again!!!

  6. Hey, thanks to whoever updated the new titles page! Appreciate it!

  7. Hi Jillian,

    It's nice to meet you. I have several "helpful" cousins so I can sympathize with Abby. I have a simple rule for my closet, if I buy something new, something old must be thrown out (donated to the Purple Heart vets).


  8. Oh dear. I must confess that I have a size four black suit (a classic!) that I haven't been able to fit into for years, and a size 6 black linen sheath (another classic!). One of these days I'll get my expanding waistline under control . . .

    ~ Sophie
    Domestic Diva Mysteries

  9. I have a little dress I used to wear out -- it's this weird nude-colored clingy nylon with black stretch lace over it. Once upon a time, I looked way hot in that dress. I've been holding on to it for the day I finally fit back into it. But, honestly, at this point it isn't about size ... it's about age. That dress will *never* be appropriate again. :)

  10. Hi, Jillian (Abby & Kate too!)!

    I'm sooo busted as I too have a larger-than-life, beyond favorite, ratty 'ole, longer-than-long, make me look larger-than-large, super fabulous, purple-people-eater sweater-coat in the darkest corner of my closet. I pull-out that sweet thing on the days when I just need some extra comfort and lovin'. LOL!!! God help anyone who comes to the door when I'm wearing the horrid beast!!!

    Sexy Sassy Smart Clothes That Really Should Never 'Come-out-of-the-Closet' Wishes --- D. D. Scott

    P.S. I'm looking forward to meeting you, Jillian, as I'm just starting the Flower Shop Mysteries Book One Mum's The Word...are you in that one too?!

  11. See, Abby? I was right. People do like to talk fashion mistakes. Okay, first, I have to say, Laineshots, that you married the right guy.
    Skye, that is my absolute number one rule: Buy one item, donate one item from the closet. Okay, maybe buy two, donate two ... or three. Anyway, it works.
    D.D., I am SO intrigued by your initials. I love initials because it says "Power Woman." Maybe I should be J.K. Osborne? You'll get to meet me in the second book, Slay It With Flowers, when I hire Abby to help with my wedding shower. I don't know why she didn't like the gorgeous bridesmaids gowns... but that's another story. Actually, it's THAT story.
    Janet, I would so love to get my hands on that closet. Want to be my BFF?

    A little blue jumper, a size 4 black suit, a clingy beige and lace dress, a humongous sweater....isn't it funny how we just can't let go even knowing we'll never wear it again? There's this one outfit in Abby's closet that Marco would break out into hives if she ever wore it --
    Okay, fine. I'll shut up. I want to her more of your fashion faux pas.

  12. I'm diggin' the J.K. Osborne! Go for the gusto, Jillian...I mean J.K.!!!

    And hey...if it works for Harry Potter's "J.K." "Power Woman" then it should definitely do the trick for you!!!

    Sexy Sassy Smart Power Woman Wishes --- D. D. Scott

  13. Laine, I'd have to seriously hurt someone (him) if my husband did that to me. Jillian, you are not getting to within 30 feet of my closet.
    After having said that, y'all are probably imagining a huge walk-in closet stuffed with clothes...but you're not even close. I share a dinky closet with my husband, and it's pretty darn close to a 50/50 split. Yes, there are things in there I'll probably never wear again. However my husband does insist that I have his grandmother's taste in clothes, so he now goes shopping with me to "supervise" and make sure I don't come home with what he considers "old lady" clothes.

  14. The worst offender in my closet is a ratty gray zippered fleece sweatshirt. It should have been put out of its misery a long time ago, but I *love* that sweatshirt and wear it almost every day in the winter. But I never wear it in public. Okay, I'm lying. I sometimes wear it in public. Once or twice...or ten times.

  15. Hi Jillian, I am so glad you got a chance to post on this blog. I know Abs doesn't ever listen to you and she should. After all you are a Harvard grad. Right. You do not want to look inside my closet, just trust me on this one. I sure some articles of clothing are museum pieces by now.

  16. Thank you, Annette, for mentioning that. I'm not one to toot my own horn (ahem). Take those museum pieces to the Smithsonian and start fresh, that's my advice.
    Heather, don't make me come to Ohio. Buy a NEW gray sweatshirt with TRULY, MADLY on the back. Then you'll have a reason to wear it in public.
    So, Shel, you'll let your husband supervise, but not me. Hmm. I think I should feel hurt.
    But then that wouldn't be like me, would it?

  17. I have nothing, er, unmentionable in my closet (of course, I'm not telling that I in 3 days ago...cleaned out said closet and donated 3 GIANT bags to Goodwill, so now those fashion faux pas will adorn someone else's hangers).

  18. HI Jillian, I'm with DRU. I have a little black and white Jones of New York skirt in my closet that would fit Malibu Barbie. I guess I used to wear it--mabye in another life!! I can't bear to part with it. I keep telling myself that if I live on lettuce leaves and Tic-Tacs, I might actually fitinto it again. Hope springs eternal!!!

  19. Misa, you are now my BFF. Pass on those mistakes, lady!

    Mary, your Malibu Barbie skirt? See, THAT is why God made fashion consultants.

    And Tic Tacs. Please. Altoid minis are au currant, mon amie. But all is forgiven. Not everyone can have my savoir faire.
    You know, it's hard being me.

  20. LOL!! Oh no, Jillian, you can come shopping with me and supervise...but you're still not getting within 30 feet of my closet. In other words, you can pick stuff to go IN it...but you're not taking anything OUT of it!

  21. J.K., I'm happy to be your BFF, but I think you misunderstood about my personal Museum of Costume History. It is not a museum you would enjoy visitin, and I absolutely wouldn't let you toss anything!

  22. Jillian---Don't be so hard on Abby. :) She's cute. You, of course, are an elegant diva. But of course.