The last time I had on a pair of overalls, I was miles from civilization with a whip in my hand, an hysterical co-worker by my side and five angry cowboys staring me down. I couldn’t really blame them, though: my colleague and I were both ridiculously out of our element and a bit out of control. Okay, we were way out of control.

It all went down because of that irreverent reality show, “The Simple Life,” starring hotel heiress Paris Hilton and her sidekick, Nicole Ritchie. The duo became uber-famous for bopping about America’s rural countryside acting like buffoons. In 2003, the television show became such a big hit, the creative minds at Channel 7 decided to send me and then-morning weather babe, Jackie Johnson, to a farm-slash-ranch in upstate Florida for the weekend.

We were assigned to do a four-part series on the cheeky shenanigans of farm life. On camera we rode horses, chopped wood, milked cow teats and learned how to use a lasso whip (all with a pleasant smile and a bit of genuine banter.)

Off camera we suffered thigh-clenching saddle burns, axe-wielding hand blisters, engorged nipple nightmares and whip marks on our backs from botched rope tricks (all with uncontrollable laughter and a few genuine tears.)

I was totally against the assignment when I first got it; after all, I had grown up on a ranch in the middle of Nowhere, New Mexico and didn’t feel the need to glorify it on the small screen. However, it actually ended up being a pretty good time and even better television. I think everyone on the trip knew it, too.

I mean, we didn’t win an Emmy or anything, but roughing it can really bring people together. Case-in-point: our videographer, Johnny, and segment producer, Lauren, really hit it off. After our glorified camping trip, they ended up dating, getting engaged and eventually married. It’s amazing what a little fresh farm air can do for some people. If only. Instead…
It sent me hightailing it back to Miami and straight into the arms of my city slicker ways. My first stop was Starbucks, where I ordered a grande, non-fat Chi tea latte, an extra-cheesy, turkey panini and a blueberry muffin. When I got my goodies, I snuggled into a moody, dimly lit corner, soaked up the overly crisp, refrigerated air and let the mellow coffee house music consume me.

Just as I started to completely relish the trappings of my beloved concrete jungle and release the trauma of the last 48 hours (which involved the aforementioned, as well as baling hay, skeet shooting and bonfire cooking,) the guy sitting at the table next to me leaned over and said: “Nice bibs, baby.”    

Believe it or not, that was over ten years ago. It was the last time I was caught “Over-all-ing my wardrobe.” At least until a few months ago, when I noticed the bib-like-look was making its way from the runway to the real-way (that’s my fancy word for when normal people actually choose to wear a high fashion trend because it works in everyday life.)

Designers had taken the once ‘working class uniform’ (that originated back in the 1700’s) and tucked, tapered and added tapestry to its “overall” look. The result: a fun, funky and somewhat functional look. Before I said: “So long, farm girl, hello, fetching fashionista,” I had to find a pair of bibs that really worked. What’s more,  they had to fit into my Fall wardrobe planning.

After all, with Summer winding down, this is the best time of year to regroup and think about “Over-all-ing your wardrobe.” When styling my blog look, I wanted it to evoke a genuine feeling of fun and freeness, like my assignment with Jackie and our “Simple Life” crew was all those years ago, but I also wanted it to be updated and fresh.

After trying on dozens of overalls, I settled on a semi-rugged, distressed pair from Guess (pictured in the blog.) They’re loose on top (allowing me to layer) and tapered toward the bottom, so I can show off my shoes. Keeping with the theme of Summer and T’s with personality, I picked a light-knit sweater with a sweet, expressive twist. A girl can never go wrong when she wears her heart on her sleeve.

I accessorized with bold and beautiful jewelry from up-and-coming designer, Lisa George. Her company, L’George Designs (based in Atlanta,) is about the unique and the unusual. Lisa uses precious metals, Swarovski Crystals and healing stones to create terrifically textured pieces. I connected with her through one of my favorite stylists and model management gurus, Reggie Carson. I completed the look with my favorite YSL stretch bandage booties from a few seasons ago. I chose the shoe because it’s strong and modern; elevating the trend into high style.

Here’s the great thing about “Over-all-ing your look:” it’s a strong transitional piece into Fall. It’s an osmosis of the whole onesie craze of Summer days gone by. Since I bought my bibs, I’ve worn them with a wife-beater tank, stacked gold and silver necklaces and my pointed, black-patent and pink, grommet detailed, Valentino-inspired flats. I’ve also paired them with a turtleneck, mid-calf booties and a boho fringe bag. In the meantime…

A lot has changed since Jackie and I trampled, traipsed and trotted our way through the Florida countryside, trying to live “The Simple Life.” I think what we realized was (and I know I’m stating the obvious here,) sometimes life just isn’t that simple at all. With good company, a lasso whip and a few serious cowboys, though, it sure is a heckuva lot more fun and that’s why “Over-all-ing my wardrobe” is one of my favorite things.

Wardrobe credits

Twitter @ShireenSandoval
IG @ShireenSandoval

photography by tod p/t4twophotography
Twitter @todp_t4twophoto
IG @Tod_p

Hair & Make-up by Odette Hernandez
Twitter @Odettehernandz
IG Odett_Herndz

Editor: Matthew Auerbach

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