My brother is one of five children, the only boy in a sea of estrogen. I think about him wielding his bullwhip during his Indiana Jones phase (and, before that, his black mask during his Zorro phase — do people today remember Zorro?) amidst a whirling dervish of my Little Ponies, hairbows, and glitter. I remember him begging us to play “street hockey” with him (in quotes, because most of us girls wore roller-skates with those beguiling toe stops, which made it very difficult to play any sort of face-paced game — and also, none of us were remotely athletically gifted), only to be reprimanded for disobeying the prohibition on “body-checking” or interrupted by fits — of both the giggling or hissy varieties — by one of his four sisters. He did, however, have the opportunity to “just be a boy” when my father would come home from work and shoot hoops with him in the backyard, or play catch in our driveway. I would look on, with interest: anything involving my Dad instantly seemed much more interesting and worthwhile. I’d toss my Barbies (“Barbs,” as we called them) on the floor and gaze out the window as they’d throw the ball back and forth to one another. My brother would oil his glove and spend hours curving the brim of his hat between his palms (back then, a flat brim was the telltale sign of the dork; how times have changed) and was at one point so fanatical about baseball that he learned the ins and outs of professional ballgame scorekeeping (grids with boxes shaded in or exed out to follow certain protocols I never quite understood or cared about). He taught me that some of the cool kids on his Little League team preferred to keep their index fingers outside the little window on the back of the glove rather than within it — and he thought this was purely for stylistic flair, and, therefore, unnecessary. He also taught me that brown gloves were cooler than black ones, and that there’s magic in the sound of a ball hitting a wooden bat in the sweet spot.
But what I also remember is begging my father to let me play catch with the two of them, and the shockingly pathetic result of a six-year-old me attempting to hurl a baseball at my brother’s glove: horribly mis-directed and very, very short.
“Put some mustard on it,” my brother said, in curious dugout baseball speak I’d never noticed he was conversant in. It sounded mature, sophisticated, cult-ish.
Years later, I’d toss out the phrase knowingly while watching a ball game with Mr. Magpie, another baseball enthusiast: “Wow, he put some mustard on that one.” I smirked to myself, feeling gleeful at my appropriation of a slang I had no business owning.
He looked at me quizzically.
“Yeah. Isn’t that, like, a thing? Put some mustard on it? For a fastball?”
A blank stare.
No, not a thing. The joke was on me: my imposter self found out, my dirty laundry aired. Another reminder that the “fake it til you make it” mentality can easily backfire. Another reminder that being a rule-follower is where I’m meant to be.
But also: where had my brother acquired this phrase? Had he fashioned it himself, remnants from yesterday’s hot dog dinner surfacing in his burgeoning poetic vocabulary? Heard it on air while watching the umpeenth ballgame of the summer, the idiosyncracy of some tenured announcer?
I don’t know. But, today, I’ll repurpose the phrase for my own use again, this time with the foregoing as a full disclaimer, and with the express intent of talking about the shades of mustard yellow, saffron, and marigold — all things yellow! — trend I’m seeing and loving on street style starlets these days. (I wrote about my love for marigold at the dawn of the year, and it’s still raging on in chic-ness! And a perfect complement color, I might add, for your fall wardrobe.) Cases in point:
CHIIIIIIIIC CHIC CHIC.
My top picks for getting the look:
The Mustard Yellow Dress.
Oh mama: this frothy Ulla Johnson magic ($575). (OH ULLA.) That gauze-y, flattering neckline! The nipped-in waist! The floaty midi-length! But, you can get the look for less with this Tanya Taylor (on sale!), or this Moon River (under $80!), or this $110 TopShop find. Not that much less expensive, but this Rhodes Resort maxi has me all heart eyes over here, too.
The Mustard Yellow Blouse.
In that first snap above, I love the simplicity of that marigold blouse against the denim. Perfect. Get the look with this tie-front blouse from Robert Rodriguez (on sale for $177). Get the look for less with this Free People style ($128), this Tibi (on sale for $182), or — my personal favorite! — this $70 swiss dot style.
The Mustard Yellow Print.
Mustard Yellow Miscellany.
+This tiered wool yellow skirt ($88) comes in a fetching yellow color.
+I legitimately die over this Veronica Beard dress in the yellow color. I love how they’ve styled it, with stripes beneath, but also love the idea of layering it over a silky button-down, or with black tights and a black turtleneck, or…well, a million other ways, come to think of it.
+A pleated (!) velvet (!!) midi-length (!!!) marigold (!!!!) skirt, on SALE (!!!!!) Perfect Thanksgiving statement piece, paired with a silk blouse or bow-front top.
+For just a DAB of mustard: add this adorable little bag tassel to your blush or navy or cognac leather bag ($55).
+This blouse is not marigold, but it would look perfect alongside a little marigold something something.