I’m going to be completely transparent in this post because life happens and this blog is all about sharing experiences – hits and misses, good and bad. This was a difficult week for me. I lost a friend that I’ve known since high school and we lost him in a pretty horrific way. My friend was very private, but there is no hiding what happened at this point. He was a brilliant, handsome, charming and talented doctor as well as a devoted son, brother, husband and father. But a week ago, he chose to take his own life.
I filmed my Sunday night wardrobe planning video with my good friend Lori Ginsburg on the preceding Thursday. At the time of filming, my friend was still with us and I was just planning for my last week on a project. Ironically, Lori wanted to inject a lot of cheerful colors into my week and I considered putting it all on hold in favor of black. I did wear black for the memorial services, but I decided that my friend had injected too much color into my life not to wear it during a time when I was saying goodbye both to my client and him. Well, hopefully I’ll see this client again. And I’ll see my friend again too, in pictures and memories. May he rest in peace.
There was another reason I clung onto the color. Color is cheerful. When I walked into the office on Monday in vibrant monochrome pink with bright orange accessories, my client instantly smiled and commented “cute!” I recently listened to a podcast by Mallory Sills where she talked about how simply taking the time to get dressed in something that makes you feel good can make all the difference if you are suffering from depression (see episode 99 Depression, Style & Life). My friend was suffering from a very deep and very real depression.
Lori and I serve on the advisory board for Devereux Advanced Behavioral Health Texas, an organization that helps kids and adults cope with mental illness including severe depression. Several of our clients have been where my friend was, but were lucky enough to get the help they needed at Devereux. But, one of the biggest issues we battle in getting funding for Devereux is the stigma around mental illness. My friend’s passing has prodded me to double my efforts to talk about depression and mental illness so that we can get past the stigma and help more people like him, his family, and friends before it is too late.
On Monday and for most of Tuesday, I was pretty much in a fog of denial. This pink blazer paired with navy and white pin stripes felt a little whimsical and the flower broach cheerful and life affirming. So much to get done before rolling off my project and I didn’t want to let anyone down, but by late Tuesday afternoon, things started getting real and my head was with my old friends instead of my client. As I looked at my assortment of black dresses for the first memorial service, this one stood out as the one my friend would have liked best. Ironic when I noticed it was a Kate Spade dress. Another brilliant soul lost to mental illness.
Wednesday I attended another memorial service and spent time consoling and reminiscing with mutual friends. But, Thursday was my last day with my client and I had to get back and help close out a few tasks. I’ve never worn a blouse on the outside with this skirt before, but this one from White House Black Market seemed to work well. I’d worn both my short black cardigan and my black suit jacket the previous week so we went with this black sweater jacket that is part of a Brooks Brothers sweater suit. And I thought the Coach plaid wedges actually worked with my patterned skirt so they got an airing two weeks in a row. It wasn’t the easiest day, but I got through most of what needed to be accomplished and was able to get Angela Britt’s quick tip (How Jewelry Can Make You Look Slimmer) up on the Closet Reboot YouTube channel that night.
Friday I got to spend more time with friends remembering and celebrating the life of our friend. There were a few difficult moments, but mostly we laughed and told stories and got to catch up with each other. It felt a little The Big Chill like, but definitely in a good way and without the narcotics. Seems strange to me that I’m older now than the actors in that movie were when it was filmed and yet as a college kid, they seemed so old to me.
These Banana Republic jeans probably weren’t ideal for the Steve Madden slides (also getting an airing two weeks in a row after my complaints about how I never wore them). The jeans are a straight cut that feels a little bit preppy so maybe more appropriate with loafers and a button down. I’d still like to get some jeans that have a slimmer ankle cut with a bit more flattering fit. But, these jeans are made from a thin comfortable denim that works really well here in the Houston heat plus has a nice stretch that feels really good. The giraffe pattern purse drew a few comments including the one that made me realize it was a giraffe pattern and not a cow pattern – not sure why I didn’t recognize that before.
Saturday night I introduced my much neglected boyfriend Greg to some of my old friends and finally got to wear the Joseph Ribkoff “dressy track suit” that I acquired in Montreal. My friend Scott was in town from Florida and really wanted to check out the barbecue at Killen’s Barbecue way out in Pearland, Texas – not exactly the venue Lori had in mind when she chose this outfit for date night. But, I have to say it was worth the trek – excellent barbecue and even better company! I was feeling a bit over dressed so I removed the pearls before we approached Killen’s, but the sweet lady at the to go window made a point of mentioning how much she liked my outfit which made me feel much better. I’m not sure why I look so grumpy in this picture, it was a lovely evening and I made it through without getting any sauce on my clothes or pulls in the fabric from the wooden bench where we sat outside.
It was a tough week in many ways and there will be more tough days ahead. But, there was a silver lining in that our mutual friend brought many of us together in a more meaningful way than usual. We’ll get through this and we’ll be there for his family and each other.
And somewhere during this week of finishing up my client engagement and saying goodbye to an old friend, I still managed to get the wardrobe planning video for next week taped and published with the help of Stylist and Premier Designs consultant Angela Britt. A big thank you to Angela for being such a trooper with schedule changes and my brain not being fully engaged – she really stepped up and carried the video for me. You can check it out by clicking the picture below. In the meantime, have a great rest of the week and make sure to reach out to an old friend – just to tell them how much you love them and are grateful for the time you have had together in the past as well as the time you look forward to sharing with them in the future.