Fashion Has Nothing to do With Style

I come by the love of style honestly–we’re talking clothes style here–my mom was the Fashion Coordinator for a large Department Store in the late 60s and early 70s. CAN YOU IMAGINE THAT?! Just let all that mash-up of Mod and Hippie soak in for a sec. Okay, cool.

My mom could pull off a purple mini dress with green tights because she believed she could. She once wore a pink brocade full length vest over an off white pant suit and topped it off with a pink wig to go to the Guthrie Theater. PURE GENIUS. Unfortunately not ONE photo was taken.

Now, she rocks purple and pink feathers in her non-GMA hair.

my stylish 93 year old mother

At 93 my mother has more style than most 50 year olds. Why is this? Okay, she was a model, and then a housewife, and a mother, and then a divorced woman who needed to make a living–she didn’t think she “knew” how to do anything, but she knew fashion.

So now fast forward 45 years when most of her peers are wearing kitten sweatshirts she’s still rocking leather boots, leggings, and a tunic sweater. Why? Sure she was a model, 70+ years ago, and worked in fashion, 40+ years ago. But why so stylish now? So I asked her…

Me: Why does personal style matter to you?                                                                                                                      Joan: When I’m wearing clothes that are my personal style, I feel comfortable and
confident. I feel good and I know I look good.
.
Me: How would you describe your personal style?
Joan: My personal style has not changed over the years. My style is classic. I
change the look with new accessories. (I would add, her accessories are pretty fearless)

Me: What is the one piece you never want to be without in your closet?
Joan: A black suit, because you will always have something to wear. You can dress it up or down, wear it with a sweater,blouse, scarves, pearls. It’s the one thing you can depend on to take you anywhere.

Me: When you’re dressed for (whatever), what feeling do you have, or are you
dressing for a certain feeling?
Joan: I dress, first of all, to look good and to feel good. I don’t want to think about
what I’m wearing, once I’m dressed.

Me: Who is your style icon?
Coco Chanel. (Chanel made more changes in women’s fashion, then any
designer since. She designed the first little black dress, costume jewelry, and
twin sweaters. She used jersey for dresses and skirts. (at the time, jersey was only
used for men’s underwear!) Coco Chanel thought outside of the fashion box.

Me again, my mom says, “Don’t compare fashion with style–fashion is what’s happening in designers’ showrooms and on runways. Style comes through self acceptance and dressing for yourself.”

That statement is the crux of this series on finding a personal style and owning it. Look for many more posts (with pics) starting the third Monday of every month (we may end up doing more, because it’s fun!).

Do you have a personal style? Do you wish you had a personal style?

Advertisements

I am not an expert at: SEWING!

Welcome to the first in a new series of I AM NOT AN EXPERT AT…I’m excited to share this, because, well, I am not at expert at most things (am I an expert on anything? Laughter, probably. Making people feel good, sometimes…) yet I want to do so many things! Play the guitar, sew a dress, create rad jewelry, re-purpose awesome found things.

Do I know how to do any of these things? Soooooort-of? Kiiiiind of? Not really. But that hasn’t lessened my passion for them, just my actually trying to do them :).

So, today, I am saying eff-it, I am going to try this! Here’s something you need to know about me: I love paint and fabric. But I hate to use the paint or do anything with the fabric, because what if it doesn’t work out–I’ve just wasted the paint and/or the fabric (as if having both sit unused isn’t a waste in itself!). I also save things for a “just in case” scenario…THAT NEVER HAPPENS!

Okay! Today’s post is on sewing–sure I took Home-ec, back when Home Economics still existed, too bad it didn’t actually teach you economics, instead, we learned how to sew a peasant shirt (it was the 70s), how to bake an apple pie, and… oh yeah, how to give yourself a manicure. I am not even kidding.

I’ve wanted to make an apron (again, I am not even kidding) to wear around the house–my accomplishment apron–with large pockets, and not so cute that I’d hate getting it dirty or full of paint (because I am not an expert at that either and tend to get it all over–another post though).

I have an old curtain that I’ve been saving (I don’t know why!) and I found a scrap cut from a tablecloth (mine is an adventurous life). I was going to make a skirt for the hallway bench, but as I looked at the curtain, I realized if I cut it in half it would be the perfect size for an apron…hmmm. And then three weeks went by. But this week, my vacation, I thought, “Gol darn it! I am doing this–just do it! AAARGH!”

Here I am JUST DOING IT! Cutting without measuring, Figuring out a seam without measuring. Anarchy! And I love it!

I am not measuring anythingcutting my curtain in half

Once I started, it was so easy to keep going. I had a raw edge, and I was going to add bias tape, but it seemed like a lot of work so I re-cut the raw edge with Pinking Shears–that makes me sound like I know what I’m doing, but believe me, the only reason I have Pinking Shears is because they make a pretty design.

here's the scrap material on the apronI had to get the bias tape through the seam...knitting needle

Above, I decided to use the bias tape as the tie, but had to figure out how to get it through the slim opening. first I tried the safety pin method, you know how you pin it to the end of the tie and then feed it through…centimeter, by centimeter. Yeah. Did not work well at all. I finally decided on a knitting needle (something else I’m not an expert at), I shoved the tip through the end of the tape and then slid it through the opening. Ha! Take that!

Anyway, the whole point of this is don’t wait to be at expert at something before you try it–because you will never have the expertise you want in order to do the things you want to try. So, make mistakes, have fun, and do the things!

me in my accomplishment apronYay! I made that! Then I started painting stuff…but that’s another post!

What have you tried outside your comfort and expertise zone?

Guilty Pleasures

image

Why do we associate guilt with pleasure? And why do we feel guilty for something that is fun and easy and non-intellectual? Why can’t we just enjoy something?
I was at a meeting and we were talking about our favorite authors and someone said, well, my guilty pleasure is so and so, she’s fun and easy to read and the books make me laugh.She rationalized for everyone else why her favorite author wasn’t Proust or Dostoyevsky. To be fair I work for a large library system so, we know books. And apparently snobbery, because heaven forbid you like someone who’s a page turner!

But I felt for her for some reason (and frankly the person she considered a guilty pleasure most people would just consider a good read) and since many of the authors I enjoy might be considered…not classics, I too went with a “guilty pleasure” and spoke of my love of romance, queue the gasping, although no one did because we’re all so good at “no judgment” judgment.That sounded judgmental!

I saw her guilty pleasure and upped the stakes to some pretty sexy romance! Ha! Take that! But I still called it my “guilty pleasure.” Which got me thinking about how often we deny our pleasures, wants, and needs. Or we call them Guilty Pleasures, owning up to our sin(s): see, I know it’s not “good” for me and I’m owning up to it. Mea Culpa.
Why can’t it simply be a pleasure? Why the guilt?

Just we’re clear: If you’re pleasure is hurtful to others or harmful to yourself, that’s a different story. I’m speaking about the littler things–the things that don’t interfere with our day to day or anyone’s lives.
I enjoy this. Fun books are FUN. Fun TV is FUN. Fun food is FUN. And, as we know, fun is good. Pleasure is good. It’s okay to want to read a fun book, watch a fun show, or eat fun food, if you enjoy it, then enjoy it–don’t apologize for your pleasure.
What do you enjoy that you’ve always thought of as a guilty pleasure?