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Saturday, August 30, 2014

Unhappy Feet

"Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world. "~ Marilyn Monroe

I had a look at the ready to wear that went down the runways for this fall. I rarely do this, and never in great depth. And I'm not always sure I have any understanding of what I'm looking at. But one thing became fairly clear.

Shoes this fall are not leaning toward what I'd call 'pretty.' 

I had a look at the department stores and on line sites where I buy shoes- not as much choice as I'd like, and what was there wasn't really that interesting to me. I think this year may be a bit dry for me where buying shoes are concerned. 

Which shows the advantage of my approach to building a wardrobe- you find your colors and your design lines, and within those guidelines you add in your personal aesthetic; then pick and choose what fashion has to offer that fits within that scheme. And when fashion is favoring something that works particularly well for you, BUY. Buy with the thought in mind that when this goes 'out' of fashion you won't find it, or at least not in the variety and quantity available when it's in fashion. 

I should have taken my own advice- when the shoes I like were in fashion I knew I should have been looking, but you know- life got in the way. And now I think that window may be closed. *Sigh*  I like platform stilettos; but the 'pretty' kind- not the ones I think of as big, chunky 'clubbing' styles. But most of what I saw were the latter. At least since what I want is more 'basic' maybe I'll have a better chance of finding them. At some point, anyway.

Until then, I'll keep taking my old ones to my shoe repair guy…learn from my mistake..
Wish me luck..

Happy Dressing!

Friday, August 22, 2014

Lookin' Good, Good Lookin-

"Looking good is the best revenge." ~Ivana Trump

We're a visual species. We notice what a person looks like before anything else. Whether or not they are 'attractive,' whatever that means to each one of us. It seems logical that this was an early, primitive sort of life skill developed to determine if an approaching person was a threat or not, and to determine whether or not someone might be a potential mate. Whether or not I'm right about the origins of our being a visual species, the fact remains that we are.

Nowadays things have changed a little- it's still how we assess a potential mate, and it undoubtedly affects our chances at getting a job. Of course were we more evolved we would only be affected by a person's character, but because of this ancient, ingrained hardwiring, we're first affected by appearance. In that first six seconds we make an amazing amount of assumptions about the person we see in front of us. (Which may not have any basis in reality.) And that first, visual impression stays with us for a very long time. 

The truth is, we can profoundly affect how we're perceived. Yes, it may be so much smoke and mirrors, but it's effective. Being clean, well groomed, wearing colors and design lines that flatter you have a huge impact on how you'll be seen, and more importantly, how you'll be treated. It also affects how you feel about yourself- you feel better about yourself if you feel like you look your best- it's as simple as that.  And that's what you radiate when you interact with others, verbally and non-verbally. 

And the last and most important part of this is- it really doesn't matter that much what you start with- it's what you do with what you've got. Unique and interesting self expression as well as good grooming -as well as good health, of course- are what makes us 'attractive.' 

So think about this when you're tempted to throw on any old thing you can find on a day when you don't have a lot of time.

Because when Murphy's Law is in effect, that's the day you'll wind up meeting someone you want to make a good impression on.

Happy Dressing!

Friday, August 15, 2014

So Bored...

"Cooking is like painting or writing a song. Just as there are only so many notes or colors, there are only so many flavors - it's how you combine them that sets you apart." ~ Wolfgang Puck

This past weekend I sewed some pillows. As usual, I made cording for my pillows, and again as usual, this time I used a contrasting fabric. But unlike what I usually do, both the fabrics were patterned- there's that pattern mixing that I love. I went to Japan a few years back and I was struck by the way they mix pattern and color- we're very restrained by comparison. They'll mix anything they feel like- and it's really interesting, often quite beautiful. I've been hooked on the idea ever since.

As seems to be my standard pattern in the fall, I'm feeling a little bored with my wardrobe. I really felt kinda bored with things last fall, too, so I pared down and used a different approach- I decided my wardrobe would revolve around black; this sort of worked. But now I'm feeling the need for fresh blood in my wardrobe. I need new stuff to get excited about. 

Then I remembered my post week before last about the women who take thrift shop finds and repurpose them into entirely new garments; this could work well for me now, as my current clothing budget is..well…nonexistent. I can carve out $10 or $20 here and there for an item or three from a thrift shop. I'd be more than happy to put a little work into it and have one of a kind goodies. 

I started yesterday- went to one of my favorite thrift shops. All I found was 2 t-shirts...and a great wooden wall hanging.  Sometimes that's how it goes- you find nothing that you're looking for, and everything that you're NOT looking for. But you have to buy it because it's at a price you'd never EVER get otherwise, and it'll be gone if you wait a day. Then one day you find everything you need, all in your size... So I'll have to condition myself to start making weekly foraging trips to my favorite thrift shops. 

I must say, before the recession there was a lot more to chose from at all my thrift shops. Such is life, right? So not only do I have less moola to fund my wardrobe, there's less out there. Again, this is where the need for some serious creativity comes in.

Anyway,  if I'm willing to do some repurposing, do a bit of work, I can put unexpected things together and can mix patterns to my hearts content…..

Happy Dressing!

Friday, August 8, 2014

Pretty Sleek

“The most beautiful makeup of a woman is passion. But cosmetics are easier to buy.” ~Yves Saint-Laurent

I would be remiss- downright selfish- if I were not to share my latest 'find.' 

I do like to sit and watch endless youtube makeup tutorials. For me it's sort of like the equivalent of sitting down and eating an entire bag of potato chips. One MUA I'm particularly fond of is Petra Kozina. One of her favorite brands seems to be Sleek Makeup,  a European brand. I watch her videos and lust after all the eyeshadow palettes. So one day I looked it up online and found that indeed not only can I order them here in the states, and they're not expensive, nor is the shipping prohibitive. I ordered some of the eyeshadow palettes- $12 for 12 colors- and some of the blushes- 3 colors per compact, at $14 each. 

The palettes are small and slim. As for the eyeshadows, the texture is smooth, color payoff is good, and I haven't seen much fallout. There's a lot of variety in the colors, from softest pastels to brilliant, rich color. I'm very pleased with these little palettes, especially at that price. So much so that I went back and ordered their latest- 'Arabian Nights.' I've been primarily using my Urban Decay 'naked' palettes, but my new Sleek palettes are proving quite the little obsession. Of course, they can all be used together for infinite variety...

The blushes also have a great color payoff- really, really pigmented. So much so that I find I have to apply very carefully. A nice change from dry, dusty colors that no matter how much you put on they don't show up.  Big variety in the colors too. I like that. Lots of colors that will work for women of color, too- seems to me that's not always easy to find.

Next I'm going to order some of their 3 part contour/bronzing palettes. I can't resist, especially at those prices…and they fit in my pro make up kit soooo well. 

And- in case you're wondering- no, I didn't get paid to promote Sleek makeup- I just like the stuff. 

Happy Dressing!

Friday, August 1, 2014

Individuality Pays

I've gone on before about how great I think thrift shops are for all the standard reasons- 1. if you love clothes but are on a serious budget, thrift shops can be a way to incorporate better quality clothes in your wardrobe. 2. If you want to be 'green,' you're helping cut down on waste by giving clothing a second life instead of buying more new clothing yourself. 3. Maybe like me you just love getting something for (almost) nothing.

But a friend of mine sent me 2 links the other day which redefined how I look at thrift store shopping. I've always been big on the idea of 'reworking' a used garment - take it to the tailors, I say- change the fit, change the hem- make it work for you, I say. 

But there are folks out there doing way, way more creative stuff than I've ever done with my thrift shop treasures. And they post blogs about it, and give explicit directions as to how they did it.  They regularly take sad, dowdy $1 dresses and such that I'd walk by w/out batting an eye and make it into a chic little number. They literally make it into a whole new garment. It's amazing.

If you do any sewing, or have the imagination and a great tailor willing to work with you, take a look at what you can do-

Happy Dressing!