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Friday, November 22, 2013

On Not Being a Christmas Tree

“It's a good thing I was born a girl, otherwise I'd be a drag queen.” ~Dolly Parton

Well, it seems the holiday season is upon us already. Not really sure I'm ready for this, but here it is anyway.

So in the spirit of the season, here are a couple of easy tips for dressing for the holidays. Holiday dressing tends to have a lot of 'bling' involved in it, so the rules are pretty much a direct result of that. The sequined tank, the wrap top with the silvery bugle beads, and so on.

The trick is to try to pick one 'show' piece- the piece of sparkly, shiny, colorful clothing- and keep the rest fairly stark or plain. Or you could have one stand-out piece of jewelry to showcase- this would be perfect for New Years, perhaps. Often the best 'backdrop' in these situations is to wear all one color in everything else. All black, or all cream maybe.  

Otherwise, keep the jewelry to a minimum if you're showcasing a particular piece of clothing that has the traditional sparkly, glitzy holiday theme going. It can become a bit tacky when you have too much 'bling' going on- unless there's a specific theme and relationship between the jewelry and clothing. If they're pretty much unrelated, and the clothing has the usual colorful holiday feeling to it, then both the jewelry and clothing starts to take away from each other. They wind up 'dulling' each other down, essentially.

Also, be aware of balance in your ensemble- be aware of what area is being highlighted, and whether or not that's good for you. If not, try changing it up a bit to make it work better for you.

And shoes- don't forget about adding metallic shoes now- this is the perfect time of year for it.  And for the most part, they wind up being pretty neutral; silver, gold, or bronze- one of them is bound to go with most holiday outfits.

Just like last year I'm signing off for the remainder of the year so I can get frazzled about the season without any other distractions. I should be back around January, so until then….

Happy Holidays, and Happy Dressing!

Friday, November 15, 2013

Time Traveler

"Time travel is such a magic concept." ~Matt Smith

A friend of mine is doing a project at college that requires her to study gender roles in the nuclear family of the 1960s. She and I go a ways back, and we both have an avid interest in vintage fashion, so naturally she focused some on the way the fashion of the era reflected the cultural changes that were happening at the time. The sexual revolution and civil rights movement changed life as it had been, and all the rules in fashion began to break down, too. Before that, each season there would be hard and fast rules- one example was hemline length; 'this season hemlines are up by 1.5".' And if you didn't change your hemlines (and whatever else was dictated) you were immediately identifiable as being 'out of fashion,' and thus just plain dowdy. In the 60's all that changed- there were mini skirts, maxi skirts, pants became much more acceptable, and so on. Suddenly women didn't need to wear white gloves, both men and women no longer had to wear hats. It seems to me that a sense of 'formality' ended for good.

The great thing about this rich fashion history combined with all this wonderful freedom is that we can go back and look at the fashion, makeup and hairstyles of those past eras and borrow what works for us- what works with your figure, your coloring and your aesthetic. If you're like me and have a particular era that you love (for me that would be the 1940's) you can borrow any and all of it, any way you like. Of course, it'll 'read' differently now than it would were you back in the era that you're borrowing from, but that's fine. When referencing a bygone era you really, really express a sense of confidence in your own sense of style, and you'll stand out from everyone else. 

Another idea is to only borrow only one or two things- a style of skirt, or maybe a hairstyle or way or wearing lipstick- from said bygone era that work exceptionally well for you. This way the elements you've chosen won't necessarily stand out as being from that era, rather they'll just seem like a unique and personal expression of personal style. 

You could go to Pinterest and start a board with the era you like, pin away, and when done pinning go and look at what you've collected; you may see things about your likes you might not have been aware of before.  It's all good insight. Notice if there are specific requirements to make a look work the way you want it to- maybe you really only like that 20's bob when worn with fairly heavy dramatic makeup. Maybe you like 1930's hats, but only with a certain hairstyle, and so on.  Even if it winds up leading you down an unexpected path, it's bound to be an interesting exploration.

Go on, find you inner time traveler…..

Happy Dressing!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Truth be Told...

"Honesty is the first chapter in the book of wisdom.' ~Thomas Jefferson

This week I had a little bit of a gestalt experience. While looking abysmally at a bag of clothes I finally admitted to myself that I'd never wear and had decided to try to sell on bay, I realized I'd not been paying attention. 

When I contemplate buying something there are usually two things that affect my decision aside from my knee jerk 'I want that!' reaction. First there's the little voice of caution that's always double checking on every purchase I make- then there's the 'gut' feeling I may or may not have about a given garment. 

The cautious voice in the back of my mind asks if I need this, if it's a good purchase considering how much I would presumably be wearing it, and if I'll actually wear it. The gut feeling is a more constant thing- more of a 'knowing.' It can be awfully soft, so I really have to listen for it- it asks not if I'll wear it, but tells me if I don't really like it or the print is just a tiny bit too loud or I don't really, really like that color, etc. 

The little voice of caution is always there, with every purchase- the gut feeling isn't- it's only there if it's something I really don't like enough to buy, but think I 'ought' to (buying to please someone else, for example) or if this is something I REALLY love. 

When I look at all the stuff in that bag I remember that I had that gut feeling about each and every piece- ranging from a quiet little 'that print is probably too graphic' to 'why are you thinking of this?  You know you really don't like it.' 

For me there's also usually a bit of a grace period- within the 30 days after buying it I usually have the opportunity to be honest with myself and go ahead and return it. That stupid bag of stuff is a reminder that over the past couple of years I got really lazy about listening to the gut feeling and being honest with myself, and having a healthier bank balance. No, instead I carried on with my self delusion and let it take up closet space that I really don't have to waste on non-working pieces. *Sigh*

Of course, this bag has been sitting there for….several months…..

Happy Dressing!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Beautiful Aspirin...

"Whenever I get a headache I take 2 aspirin and stay away from children like the bottle says."~ Hussein Nishah

I love the week before my period. Such fun. Especially the breakouts. They're the best. Because the bad mood, insomnia and total inability to think or remember ANYTHING just isn't enough. For some reason it's necessary to look like crap, too.

But I'm happy to say I've found another weapon for my anti-zit arsenal. It's called….an aspirin mask. Apparently this is an old and trusted mask, but I'd never heard of it before. (Of course, if you're allergic to aspirin or have reye's syndrome this isn't for you.) 

Yup- that's right- plain, uncoated aspirin. From the $1 store, from the drugstore, whatever. It's cheap and effective. Just google it- and look at for reviews. There's a million of them out there.

Apparently it works because it's acetasalicylic acid, which is chemically like salicylic acid, a very potent BHA -beta hydroxy acid. (I copied that directly from one of the many sites on which I greedily read about this cheapo trick- so don't quote me on that. It just sounded so authoritative I felt compelled to include it.)  Salicylic acid is traditionally used to treat acne. Not only does it work on acne and blackheads, but it's also a gentle peel, so it's quite the all around beauty treatment.

I've read a couple of different 'recipes' for this- either just dissolve a tablet in a drop or two of distilled water (I just used spring water) to make a paste. They say to use 1 for 'spot' treatments, or up to 9 for a full face mask.  Other recipes call for dissolving the aspirin in lemon juice, or witch hazel and adding honey, jojoba oil or yogurt; this helps to 'hold' the aspirin on your face as it dries, and helps prevent your skin from getting dry. I read where one blogger said that said she had success using the aspirin mask in conjunction with Noxzema 2% salicylic acid pads on a daily basis. For some of us that might be too strong- it just depends on how delicate your skin is and how bad your acne is.  If you're really interested in this then do some research of your own, and read what others say about their experiences in combination with their skin type, and use that as your starting point.  Again, you can apply to specific spots, 2x per day to make the offending spots disappear, or use 2, even 3x per week as a full face mask. Or, like me, both a weekly full-face mask and the whenever-needed spot mask.

I'm just so happy to have found such a cheap and effective solution that's so easy to find, too. Viva la cheap facials!!

Happy Dressing!