Courage to wear Camouflage

The book I'm currently writing is about the Army. It's also about my time at West Point—but it's not about my father. It's about three women I met while living there. So, when I flipped through a few catalogues lately, I was pleased to see page after page of old school, circa 2000, camouflage. Green, brown, and gray. Just like I remember smelling all those years ago.

I grew up around a lot of combat uniforms. Of course, this was back about ten years ago, when Army Battle Dress Uniforms (BDUs) were green, gray, and brown. These days, the  Army Combat Uniform, or ACUs, for you non-military folks, aren't green. After all, our armed forces aren't fighting in the forest. The uniforms are tan, beige, and brown—fit for fighting in the desert.

BDUs smell like mud and Old Spice. I know, because I smelled it every night when my dad got home from work. At the time, I was unaware that the memory I made wasn't gripping his core, but smelling his uniform: shoe polish, sweat, and aftershave.

In the past, camouflage has been relegated to hunters and those with a commission—but if you look around, you'll see it's popping up all over the place in the mainstream.

Now I'll be the first to admit that it's a stretch—and wearing it might just feel a little strange. But the strength of camouflage paired with soft accents is surprisingly beautiful. It's where the fierce and the feminine meet.  And in a way—it's exactly what my book is about.


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Top photo via J. Crew

To Ascot or Not to Ascot?

This is my friend Hal. Screen Shot 2013-08-15 at 4.23.50 PMIn this photo, he's wearing a seersucker ascot made by Otis James right here in Nashville. And somehow. He pulls it off.

Now listen. I'm not a dude. And I don't pretend to know that much about fashion. (Because let's be honest, I basically just ask myself what would Whitney wear every time I look in my closet.) But, if I were a guy... would I have the guts to wear an ascot?

Otis says the goal was to rid the ascot of its "commonly-implied pretension" and to "bring it into the realm of comfortable approachability."

So what do you think... did he succeed?

Would you ascot?



Photo via otisjamesnashville

Who wears short shorts?

charlestonIt's no secret that I'm a huge fan of running. Sweat? Good. Sunny weather? Good. Running gear that makes me look like a pro? Gooooood. So when I was approached by the folks at Outdoor Sports Marketing to try out SmartWool's new women's running line... I said "heck yes." (Disclaimer: I've always felt kind of funny about sponsored  blog posts—the idea of getting free stuff in return for content sort of creeps me out—but this time it didn't really phase me, because I've always been a huge fan of SmartWool. I trust their brand and quality, and would have sung their praises anyway. Still, all opinions here are my own. SmartWool sent me a pair of running shorts and socks... and said give them a try and tell your readers what you think. That's what I'm going to do.)

As it turns out, SmartWool doesn't just do socks. This year, they launched a line of women's running shorts. So, when I went to Charleston a few weeks ago, I got to pack up my newest piece of running gear—and I hit the Battery (pictured above).

The long and short of it is, I love these shorts. Here's why.

smartwool shorts

The shorts aren't too short. I have a long history of wearing short shorts. But I've started coaching a middle school girls' lacrosse team. And as much as I'd love to bare some leg for the 12 year old girls (Kidding. I don't want to do that.), it's time to grow up a little bit and let my shorts come down a bit. Let's just say, there is such a thing as an "adult" length that doesn't make me feel like a granny. These SmartWool runners were spot on. Classy, SmartWool. Very classy.

They feel good where it counts. I love the bloomers on the inside. That's where SmartWool uses merino, the lightweight, sweat-wicking material that makes the lining so smooth. No itching, no chaffing... and if you want to run in the shorts two days in a row—you're not going to feel gross about it. (Maybe you feel gross about me for saying that  I run in the same shorts twice before washing them, but whatever, I do what I want.)

The only thing I would change is to make the shorts a little less "billowy." It was nice that they don't rub against your legs at all, but there were times where I felt like they could fit just a little more snugly.

smartwool shortsI guess it helps that I actually really like what this company stands for. 90 percent of SmartWool apparel is knit in the United States. They have strong relationships with their sheep farmers in New Zealand, where they helped stop the practice of mulesing (which I first learned about when I wrote this story). Also, SmartWool created an advocacy fund to help encourage young kids to explore the outdoors. Since 2005, they've donated over a million dollars to organizations like these. Pretty awesome.

Apparently Cooper likes all this running too. smartwool shorts

So what do you think? Do you wear short shorts? Do you have any running shorts you swear by?

ALSO - if you're interested in being a "fan field tester," check out SmartWool's website and apply!

Five best Super Bowl Commercials of 2013

I'm no expert, but here are my favorites! 5. Pistachios. As if pistachios need advertising. They're delicious. And just when you thought this song was left in 2012, they brought it back with Crackin' Gangham Style. (This commercial was demoted from position #3 after news of Psy's anti-American rap lyrics from 2004 were brought to my attention. Too bad.) But the commercial still made me laugh.

4. Brotherhood. Even though this one is totally ridiculous in its premise—and I can't quite tell is Budweiser is being serious or ironic, this commercial made me laugh and want to cry at the same time. Which is a weird and unique combination, so nice job.

3. Leon Sandcastle. Just funny. Plus I love the song they used in this one. What are they advertising though? I forget?

2. Samsung. There's so much I like about this commercial—but particularly these two quotes. "Maybe in 1998 you're the next big thing." "Are you sure you're not here to meet a guy named Sam Sung?"

1. So God made a Farmer. Everyone romanticizes this life, but who wants to do all that hard work? Still, somehow Dodge made me want to put on some overalls and go fork some hay. Nice job.

**bonus: the commercial that got me last year.