Monday, April 30, 2012

Mirrors

This post is not about real mirrors that we turn to every day to inspect our appearance.  I'm writing about ways we see our reflections.......in other people.   I read an interesting theory many years ago about other people reflecting our negative traits back to us.  There was an exercise in the book so I got a pencil and a piece of paper and continued reading.  The author asked the reader to jot down all the things that someone else was doing that they found upsetting.  It didn't matter how long the list was just that it contained a reference to every single thing the reader couldn't tolerate in that person.  Then the author instructed the reader to turn the paper over and write down all the things from the front side of the paper that the reader did or had done themselves.  This was certainly an eye opener for me.  I can be just as judgmental as the next person and find it much too easy to criticize others.  After I recovered from my shock I decided to work harder at being less critical and more tolerant. It is true that I critique others' wardrobe and styling choices but beneath that is the knowledge that I make the same miss-steps as everyone else.  I watch my "mirrors" every day and understand that I will never be perfect but I can be genuine.

Sunday, April 29, 2012

Traveling

I'm old enough to remember when people dressed up to travel by air. No one would have considered wearing sweats and athletic shoes on an airplane.  Even athletic teams dressed in coat and tie to travel by air. Everyone checked their luggage and only took handbags, cosmetic bags and brief cases on board. If someone had a transistor radio they listened using an earphone. (There was only one earphone as I recall.) Flight attendants were all women who looked like they had just come out of the hair salon. Their make up was not garish, their fingernails were understated and their jewelry was appropriate for their uniforms. There used to be "standards" in our society for air travel. Things are very different 30 years later. Instead of having multiple suitcases most of us use rolling carry ons. Our clothing had to change too. Many clothing brands offer "Travel" garments that roll up and don't wrinkle. I would purchase those clothes if the fabric didn't feel so slick and weird against my skin. I'm either too hot or too cold in the synthetic materials. I opt for cotton fabrics when I travel even though I usually have to press them when I get to my destination.  I've worked on editing my travel items and clothes so that I only take what I will actually use. I'm not the kind of woman who is a "care free" traveler.  I have heard that other women born under the sign of Taurus have trouble traveling too. Maybe we are just "home bodies" who like our nests and prefer our daily routines. I'm not sure if left to my own devices I would ever make plans to travel anywhere. Fortunately my husband enjoys traveling so he gets me out of the house from time to time. I think it broadens a person's perspective to travel. Maybe it even makes new connections in our brains to have new experiences in other places.  Either way, traveling pulls me out of my rut and routine and refreshes my life.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

"The End of Fashion"

Terri Agins of The Wall Street Journal wrote "The End of Fashion" in 1999.  Her book explains in detail the changes in the clothing worn by most Americans.  If you have purchased clothing in the past two decades you understand what I am writing about. The fabric is thinner, the construction worse and the fit .......well, I don't think I can call it "fit." It turns out that manufacturers try to fit as many different body shapes as possible. So if you think a garment could benefit from some darts for shaping you are absolutely right. There is no argument that the quality of clothing has been suffering for a long time.  If you cannot afford designer clothing then finding a good tailor or seamstress is the answer.  No one looks attractive in a top that looks like a tent or pants that bunch up in all the wrong places.  The other day I saw a young woman who apparently didn't know that you can have pants hemmed at the dry cleaners. Her slacks were 2-3 inches too long and she had been walking on the excess fabric for so long that it was filthy and tattered. The seams were coming undone and the look was anything but professional.  Had she been in a big box store I wouldn't have noticed but she was selling cell phones. I wonder if her boss noticed?  With good jobs so hard to find I think appearance matters more than ever.  No one will notice if clothes fit well because of skillful altering but they will always notice when nothing has been done.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Words With New Meanings

The words we use to describe fashion, style and grooming have changed a great deal over the past decade. "Conservative" used to mean a way of dressing that meant that the body was covered and dressed respectfully. Now we hear it more describing a political party.  "Modest" used to mean not showing too much upper chest area or decollete. Now we hear it describing a socio-economic level. "Dignity"used to mean that a person maintained their self-respect even in hard times. Now it's the name of a corporate funeral home chain. "Fetching" used to mean a woman looked pretty and exciting. Now it just means running errands or taking the boss some coffee. I never hear the word "Vulgar" used anymore but maybe it's time to bring it back.

Vulgar

  1. Lacking sophistication or good taste; unrefined.
  2. Making explicit and offensive reference to sex or bodily functions; coarse and rude: "a vulgar joke".
I was so inspired by all the new orange shades at Macy's and Sephora yesterday that I decided to create a "Set" to show all the ways the colors can be used.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

The Power of One Garment

Last year I had a conversation with a former neighbor. We lived next door to each other in the early 1980's. I did a little sewing back then and when she asked me to make something for her I didn't hesitate. She was a new mother and had scheduled a "Madonna with Child" photography session. She wanted a gown to wear as she held her newborn but not just any gown...this one had to be special. My mind started to visualize the gown as she described what she wanted. I found just the right Blush colored fabric with a pretty sheen, not shiny. I found exquisite Chantilly lace in a soft ecru color. She had requested lace at the sleeves so that it would cover the backs of her hands. She also wanted the lace around the scooped neckline. It was a beautiful gown when finished and I could tell she was pleased. The portrait was perfect and it made me feel so proud every time I saw it hanging in their home. When I saw my neighbor last year she asked me if I remembered the gown. I answered that I did and she told me she had taken it out of storage, laundered it and loaned it to her daughter (the baby in the portrait) so she too could have a "Madonna with Child" portrait made with her newborn son. I can't even describe the feeling that rushed over me as my mind visualized another beautiful portrait. I was so grateful that God had brought us back together so she could share her story with me. I will never forget her words of appreciation and joy. Yesterday a cherished friend came over for lunch. We were discussing her husband's recent retirement. She told me about a pink dress that she had borrowed from a friend. She was going to attend a country club function put on by the company her husband had just started working for. She wanted to present a positive first impression to his new bosses. She said she cleaned and returned the dress twice until her friend handed it back to her one day and told her to keep it. She said she wore the dress for years. That was decades ago and she has helped her husband become a success. She found out that her friend had fallen on hard times and felt compelled to send her a card of support. She thanked her friend for the pink dress and put a $100.00 bill inside the card. My eyes burned with tears as she told me this and I told her that it was a wonderful token of appreciation. The pink dress had given my friend the confidence she needed to help make good first impressions when attending company functions. I am so proud to be her friend and neighbor.
My Sets on Polyvore.

Monday, April 23, 2012

We Live in a Blue Jean Culture

We live in a blue jean culture. Nearly everyone I know wears blue jeans during some part of their day. Making them look fashionable is sometimes a challenge. Here is a Set I put together showing some inexpensive pieces to add to a pair of Levi's to make a day in the country comfortable and stylish.

http://www.polyvore.com/day_in_country/set?id=47729219

Sunday, April 22, 2012

Where Did Our "Class" Go?

A funny thought occurred to me the other day.  I wondered if Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn, Jackie Kennedy Onassis and others would have had their own Collections of clothing and accessories?  I can't imagine them designing clothes for other women.  I just can't see them doing such a thing to increase their wealth.  What we liked about them was their class and their need to only be in the limelight when it was necessary.  I don't recall seeing a photograph of these women staggering out of a bar, make up smeared and hanging on a strange man.  These women had too much self-esteem and self-respect to behave like that.

Some time back our culture took a wrong turn.  That's when "Stripper Chic" became fashionable.  I knew we were in trouble when little girls clothing had the look of something a street walker would wear.  Then when people began installing stripper poles in their homes I knew we had reached the point of no return.


Saturday, April 21, 2012

Learning New Things

Blogging will be a new experience for me but I'm going to try.  Please bear with me as I learn how to do it.