Wild Thing

After a few weeks of wanting to hibernate, my mind has been whirring at full speed with words. It’s still a distinctly abnormal world by everything that is so odd – and I see everyone getting snarled up, in how to respond to that.

I’ve felt other things coming into a groove. New-growing ideas. Stuff to take forward, moments to relish, plans to make, and plenty of music to celebrate and investigate.

One thing I have watched sporadically is the wild output of so many people that are involved in Paris Fashion Week. With today being the last day, I will offer my take on it. While the shows from the designers have plenty to offer, in particular for the red carpet or for those in the corporate world, I tend to look more outside of the shows, since these are more versatile everyday clothes or sportswear. And the Paris fashion pack are crowding to be photographed in their attire.

I enjoy watching from my computer- although a front seat would be far better, the catwalk shows and how fashion influencers must take the opportunity to debut their best in one final attempt to grace the magazine pages.

Parisians, renowned for their inimitable aesthetic and ability to achieve the epitome of “chic” with ease, the fashion pack are always the ones to watch.

But the younger set including models with the exception of Olivia Palermo keep showing up in their worse attire. The street style set championed the athleisure trend, which comes as no surprise throwing the old school rule book out the window.

I see those who continue donning underwear as outerwear. Yes, the trend is well and truly back, as distasteful as it is.

Double denim is notoriously the biggest fashion faux pas in all the land. I see no point in being redundant. It reminds me of when ladies would match their shoes including the fabric to the dress they were wearing. This is a bore.

No one seems to get enough of the sleeve, and while I think a bell or a pleat is fun, when a dolman starts skimming at the hip, it’s too big and overwhelming. Why do people think that more is better, when too much of something borders on absurdity?

I see a lot of mismatch of everything that rings, I just rolled out of bed, grabbed the first thing I saw and who cares?

Those are my impressions. How do you feel about what you’ve seen either inside or outside of the shows? Do share.

Flying High


Today I’m sharing a morsel of fashion history that many of you may not be aware of.

These days every celebrity is a fashion designer. But you may not know that one of the forerunners of celebrity fashion designer was not a musician or a movie star. It was Amelia Earhart.

In the 1930s, Amelia Earhart was one of the most famous women in the United States as the first female pilot to soar across the ocean. She was a best-selling author. She was an adventurer. And, a fashion designer.

Growing up in Kansas, Amelia like many contemporaries of her time, was an avid seamstress. As a child, she created elaborate gowns for her dolls. As a teenager, she kept up with the latest fashion trends by sewing her own clothes.

As a pilot, she designed both a jumpsuit she could wear comfortably in the cockpit and a fly-suit allowing maneuverability.

Today, we associate Amelia’s style with the leather bomber jacket, aviator sun glasses, and a scarf. But that was only a part of it.

She wore stylish suits and dresses that always garnered her attention in the pages of Vogue and Cosmo.

Amelia’s Creation

Amelia started her own clothing line in 1934, using her original designs. Her collection included dresses, pantsuits, blouses, and hats. Since her line was coming out in the midst of the Great Depression, Amelia made sure her clothing, featured in Macy department stores, was affordable. She used fabrics that were easily washable and durable. Her designs were also available as inexpensive sewing patterns for women suffering from the recession.

Unfortunately, despite her fame, Amelia’s clothing line did not catch on with the public. Even though her prices were low, women in the United States simply did not have the disposable income to spend on fashion while their husbands were unemployed during the Great Depression.

Although Amelia disappeared in the sky forever in 1937, her influence in fashion still lives on today. Did you have any idea of her entrepreneurial spirit?

Think Pink

I have never addressed fashion trends on this site, because I don’t follow them but I did write about them on a Trade Publication and presently visit many fashion sites online. This fall winter season, nothing strikes me as groundbreaking probably because I’ve seen it before, but here is a partial list:

Dark Florals: Spring’s favorite print is getting the cold-weather treatment in the form of everything from floral maxi dresses to duster jackets and boots.

What I like and see is pink: what’s called Millennial pink, Tumblr pink, Pantone Rose Quartz—call it what you want but this dusty pink hue continues to dominate the hearts and wardrobes of all.

Here’s something I haven’t worn since I was about six years old; White Ankle Boots. I won’t trade in for my taupe or black boots for these but a crisp white version may lend itself to a fresh feel to your fall outfits.

The bomber jacket continues to reign as a wardrobe must for fall. From army green to silk florals, the trend comes in an array of colors and styles. Personally, I didn’t like them when they surfaced in the past, and you won’t see me in one now. In fact the only time I have liked seeing them is on slim military men in WWII movies.

You can’t go wrong with the fabric of the season and that is Velvet. Whether it’s a blazer, a pair of boots or gloves, it’s rich and luxurious.

The thigh is the limit as over-the-knee boots continue their reign. I like the way they look but wouldn’t wear them because I don’t like my legs feeling like they are in jail.

A winner in my book is the interesting sleeve; whether ruffled, bell-shaped, or oversized, a statement-making sleeve does all the talking.

And last, the obsession with merchandising logos shows no sign of slowing down. And the options this season are endless.

As for what’s in my closet- I bought a rose quartz tee, and a bell sleeve caramel  colored faux suede top which I will wear with a gold and burgundy velvet scarf – a gift from my brother and sister-in-law’s trip to Paris long ago.

What about you? What’s on your shopping list? Do share.

Suit Yourself

039-lauren-bacall-theredlistThis week being fashion week in New York, I was  compelled to write about fashion. Not on the images I’ve seen but on those that I haven’t seen. I’ve always been fascinated by the power found in suits. It’s part physical, part cultural. A suit weights you with a particular set of motions, a decisive way of walking and holding your hips. Remember Alicia as the Good Wife? She walked with a stride that denoted complete authority. Suits also come with a weight of associations: of business and commerce, a day at the office, in a courtroom and from everyone from Marlene Dietrich to Jackie Kennedy.

In fact, I set out to include the history of the suit and the intrigue that comes with donning a garment we still may deem as ‘mannish’ or, in the babble of fashion magazines as ‘boyfriend style.’ But the relationship between fabric and the skin beneath – the more I thought about them, the more I realized just how interesting and complicated they are.

The last suit I owned was black, made by designer Yoanna Baraschi. I couldn’t get just any ordinary blazer and wanting one for an afternoon event, I needed a vintage looking ensemble, so I opted for a fitted peplum jacket with a pencil skirt. I wore it with a leopard high-heel in 2008 for a singing engagement (I was part of the quartet) at the Appleton Museum in Ocala, Florida. And I sang as part of a duo Cole Porters’ Night and Day.

At that time, I still made the mistake of purchasing clothes that did not (pardon the pun) suit my lifestyle. Now I would choose something that would give me longevity and since I don’t lunch at a country club nor present in court, a suit is not for me.

But I’ve always liked them; in fact when my niece was about to be married in the late 90’s and my mother asked me what should she wear, I suggested she buy a suit. She did but had misgivings because she was a practical shopper. When I saw her in it all I could say is: you look like a million bucks.

I’ve never liked the fuddy types where you wear a blouse underneath. I like the ones where a jacket in a v-neckline is cut to show off the waist, hugs a woman’s body and where a skirt gives you a peek of her calves with a kick back pleat. And if it’s off-set with a hat, fur or gloves, wow! Very Christian Dior.

As for today, I salute the suit, and what I love most about it is possibility: the strength and potential found in it. It’s the kind of garment that makes your posture change. A suit will make a statement and demand that you move, and stand differently, assertively, in the right place, keenly aware of how this small act of magic is conjured up in powerful clothing.


Does a Dress a day keep the Madness Away


Women love new clothes, right? The answer these days is: not so much. Today I read that in England women are buying less clothes. According to Steve Rowe, the new chief executive of Britain’s Marks & Spencer, 60 percent of women are buying fewer clothes than they were 10 years ago. There was even a chart showing with age how women spend less. I know many men who would welcome that statistic. Meanwhile, there are few must-have fashion trends to send women scrambling for new styles. And there will always be those who see shopping as therapy, when it actuality it zaps energy levels. And that energy could be spent in creating something.

And where women are spending on clothes, they’re looking for value, that’s always been my m.o., but spending less? Actually I agree but not because of age but because of priorities. Such as spending being diverted to other areas, such as cosmetics, hair, holidays and meals out.

All this makes life difficult for clothing retailers, particularly in the mid-market that’s caught between the cheap-chic stores favored by younger shoppers and more upscale locations.

I tend to agree because lifestyles have gotten more casual. And that’s a pity in my book. I believe as women age they become smarter shoppers. Personally, I know what styles and colors suit me and what doesn’t and I’m not swayed by trends.

I buy less pieces that are higher ticket items. My history has been to reach for quality. Because less is more. I prefer owning two cashmere sweaters in rich colors over five scratchy cheap wool sweaters. I favor the classics with a slight twist. If I had unlimited clothing budget I’d favor dresses by Christian Dior like Charlene of Monaco, and separates by Giambattista Valli like Amal Clooney.

What about you? Do you buy less or more than in the past? Has your lifestyle reflected the current wave of less shopping? If you had an enormous clothing allowance what would you purchase?

Not all Black & White

I’ve always loved clothes and have been fascinated by the way they can create a living, breathing character.

With this last royal wedding, I got to thinking about Grace Kelly.

In the film, Rear Window she has a fabulous wardrobe designed by Edith Head that epitomizes womanliness and femininity but what strikes me as unique is the last shot of the film. In it character Lisa wears a red casual men’s button down shirt with pushed up sleeves. Her slim indigo denim jeans have a turned up cuff and she finishes the look with school girl penny loafers.

At the time this film was made, 1954, jeans were typically worn by the burgeoning teen fashion market. They were also the appropriate attire of the motorcycle culture- just think of James Dean in his signature look. So it would seem that jeans indicate a streak of rebellion. Or perhaps it’s because now character Lisa, wears the pants in the relationship with LB (James Stewart). GKLisa

Isn’t it wonderful how clothes can be complex and convey so many messages if we only listen to what they have to say as I have done here: http://lindalaroche.com/blog/so-happy-together.html