Jeggings and pearls

LogoJeans + Leggings = Jeggings

Early on one of our recent walks around the central core of Coatepec, Mexico a pair of jeggings on a mannequin standing outside one of the many tiny clothing shops caught my eye. These were jeggings with a twist. Not only were they leggings designed to look like tight jeans, but they were studded with imitation pearls. I looked but kept on walking. Later, as we circled around and headed back toward our friends’ house where we were staying, we passed the shop again and this time I couldn’t resist taking a closer look.

Entering the store, I looked around but didn’t see more of the jeggings anywhere. Approaching the clerk, I asked “Hablas Ingles?” (Do you speak English?) and as usual, the response was “No”. Beckoning for her to follow me out front, I pointed to the jeggings. “Grande o pequeño?” I asked. (Large or small?) Though I tend to wear a size medium in most things, that word wasn’t part of my extremely limited Spanish vocabulary yet! “Uno talla,” was the response. (One size) I recognized the word “uno” and that was enough to tell me that this was a one size fits all garment. The clerk took them off the mannequin and I held them up to myself to ensure that they were long enough. They were and my mind was made up. They were coming home with me! It didn’t hurt that the price was only 100 pesos; less than $7 CAD!

With their cozy fleece lining, these jeggings are surprisingly warm. In fact, since returning to Canada, I wore them outside at -27ºC (-17ºF) and didn’t freeze! Granted, I only walked half a block from the grocery store to the post office and back again, but they were plenty adequate for that. It may seem surprising that I was able to buy something this warm in Mexico, but Coatepec is in the highlands where it can get a bit chilly at this time of year. Since their homes aren’t insulated and don’t have central heating the people tend to dress quite warmly.

I strongly believe that leggings are not pants and that they should be worn with tops that are long enough to cover the buttocks and crotch. I’m undecided where these new jeggings are concerned though. Clearly, the pearl studded imitation pockets on the front and the details on the back are meant to be seen.

 

Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 6.02.45 PMPearl embellished clothing has been very much on trend for the past year or so. I’ve seen sweaters, dresses, jeans, and even shoes adorned with imitation pearls. One of my favourite fashion bloggers, Josephine of Chic At Any Age, wore this cute pearl studded beret in one of her recent posts.

Adding faux pearls to a garment that you already own would also be a simple DIY project. I’d thought of doing that to a pair of jeans, but now that I have my pearl studded jeggings, I won’t need to!

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Colour trends for Spring 2019

LogoRegardless of whether or not the groundhog sees his shadow on February 2nd, when the calendar turns to February, I begin to think about spring. There’s probably plenty of winter left where I live, but as I revelled in the vibrant colours of Coatepec, Mexico over the past couple of weeks, my mind went to the colours that are going to be popular in spring and summer fashions this year.

If you bought into the yellow trend in 2018, you’ll be pleased to know that it’s still very much on the fashion agenda for this year. It showed up on the runways in many shades from the palest pastel to bright lemony and deep yellows.

Pastels in other hues including soft pinks, lilac, light green, and pale blue were also seen.

Intense, saturated colours including bright orange, coral, magenta, bright reds, mango,  neon green, and royal blue dominated the runways though. If yellow isn’t your colour, you may want to add some of these to your spring and summer wardrobe.

While one of my fashion goals for 2019 is to steer away from the greys that have dominated my wardrobe in recent times and bring in some more colour, I’m in love with this season’s neutrals. Amongst them are buttery off-whites, creamy tans, and beiges.

Brown continues to make a comeback in beautiful toffee hues as well as darker shades.

Two of my favourites neutrals of the season are moss green and a very dark navy that’s being called Eclipse.

As always, before you go out and buy a new wardrobe filled with this season’s colours, shop your own closet. What do you already have that will carry over from previous years? Also, be careful to choose the shades that look best with your natural colouring.

Who’s your style icon?

LogoIs there someone whose style you admire or whose outfits you love? She could be a movie star, a character in your favourite show, a colleague, a next door neighbour, or even your sister or your mother. What is it about her style that resonates with you?

I get a lot of inspiration from the fashion blogs that I follow. I’ve provided links to several of my favourites here and here. Some of them have a similar personal style to my own.

Last Friday I wrote about how to use Pinterest to help you find your own personal style. As I added images to my style board, I noticed that photos of Kate Middleton kept cropping up. That’s when I realized that, in spite of the fact that she’s young enough to be my daughter and we don’t look anything alike, we have a similar personal style. She wears the same classy casual look that I admire and strive for. If you can identify someone whose style is similar to yours, you can use them as inspiration for outfits of your own. Again, shop your closet. Don’t try to copy your muse exactly. Instead, take ideas from her look and see if you can make them work for you.

Here’s an example of how I tried to emulate one of Kate Middleton’s looks using items from my own closet. The jacket is new and I hadn’t worn it this way before. Without Kate’s inspiration, I might never have thought to.

She looks like she’s saying, “Hey, look at you! I like your style!”

How to identify your personal style

LogoOne of my fashion goals for 2019 is to resist the pressure of friends or family to buy clothing that they like, but that isn’t right for me. The only way that I can accomplish that is to know what is right for me; to know my own personal style. I’ve had a pretty good idea what I like and don’t like and what looks good on me for a long time, but I wanted to further clarify that. As it turns out, Pinterest is the perfect tool to do that. If you’re new to Pinterest, you can find a simple tutorial to help you get started here.

So, how can you use Pinterest to identify your own personal style? First, create a virtual bulletin board, simply called a board on Pinterest, and begin pinning images of styles that you like, that you think you would be comfortable wearing, that might convey the kind of message you want to send about yourself.

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Once you have a collection of images, look for common elements. These might include colour, cut, prints or solids, timeless or trendy, minimalist or extravagant, accessories, and footwear.

Now, before you decide that you need to go shopping for a whole new wardrobe, shop your own closet. Which of the style elements that you’ve identified are already there? Using the images on your board as inspiration, try putting the things you already own together in new and different ways. Have fun developing your own personal style, a style that tells people who you are!

Here are a sample of the photos that I’ve pinned to my “My Style” board.

It’s easy to see that some of my common elements include:

  • neutral colours (grey, navy, cream, beige, khaki)
  • classy, but casual
  • comfortable fit
  • solid colours, Breton stripes, occasional prints
  • hats!
  • flat shoes, sneakers, and boots

Now let’s look at how I used pieces from my closet to create a look that fits my classy, but casual style.

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In this outfit,  I incorporated neutral colours (dark navy, grey, and white) and Breton stripes, comfy casual fit, and flat shoes. I added a pop of colour (burgundy) and pattern mixing with the scarf and shoes. Most important of all, I feel like me when I’m dressed like this because it fits my personal style.

A ruana by any other name

LogoForgive me for misquoting William Shakespeare’s famous line “A rose by any other name would smell as sweet”, but it seemed appropriate! My daughter and I each purchased one of these at a great Boxing Week sale, but I’m not really sure what to call it!

The store clerk referred to it as a scarf, but that’s definitely not what I’d call it. I’ve seen bloggers from the southern US refer to this kind of garment as a ruana, but I’ve never heard that word used here in western Canada. In fact, the first time I saw the word, I had to check a dictionary to see what it meant.

ruana: [roo-ah-nuh] noun. a poncho-like outer garment of heavy wool, worn especially in the mountains of Colombia.

While my new wrap is similar to a poncho, that’s not quite right either. The word poncho also originated in South America where it refers to a heavy piece of woolen cloth with a slit in the middle for the head. I remember wearing ponchos back in the late 1960s and early 70s when they were all the rage among the younger crowd. This is one of my favourite photos of myself from that era. In it, I’m wearing a poncho that belonged to my boyfriend.

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I suppose I could call my new blanket-like garment a mantle, but that sounds awfully pretentious or I could call it a shawl or, as I already did in the paragraph above, a wrap. Regardless of what it’s called, it’s a cozy, comfortable addition to my wardrobe and great to snuggle up in on a chilly Alberta evening.

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New hats

LogoShortly after I started following Pamela Lutrell’s blog Over50Feeling40 back in 2012, I read this post in which she writes about overcoming her fear of wearing hats. In it, she tells of a time that “hat-fear” left her sitting in her car for 20 minutes before entering an event! A hat is a great accessory, but it’s also an attention getter.

In spite of the fact that I’m inherently shy, I’ve always loved wearing hats. You can see a few from my collection here. Of course, I was absolutely delighted to find a new one waiting for me under the Christmas tree.

Handcrafted by Dorfman Pacific, my new hat hat is crushable and packable which is definitely a bonus for someone like me.

There was actually a second hat amongst my gifts on Christmas morning. My crafty daughter knit this cozy toque and matching mittens for me. The mittens are fleece lined and oh so warm! Depending on where you live, you may know the toque as a knit cap. Here in Canada, where it’s an essential part of any winter wardrobe, most of us agree that it’s a toque, but there’s no consensus on how it should be spelled! To some it’s a touque, to others a tuque, but to me it’s always been a toque!

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This cartoon is a bit off topic, but when I saw it right after Christmas the hat caught my eye and then I thought the message was worth sharing.

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The life story of a dress

LogoOn October 2, 1996, Richard and I celebrated our 20th wedding anniversary with an intimate catered dinner party for ten people including our three teenage children, my bridesmaid, and his best man. I wanted a new dress for the occasion, so a girlfriend and I went to the city to shop. I had no idea what sort of dress I wanted, but I knew that it had to be special. After trying on a LOT of dresses and almost giving up entirely, we found the perfect one. Dark green embossed rayon that draped beautifully, tea length, flutter sleeves, scoop neck. I felt like a princess!

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October 2, 1996 with daughter, Melaina

Over the next few years, I wore the dress for a few other special occasions and then I carefully put it away in storage. I knew that I didn’t want to part with it, but little did I expect that our daughter would ask me to wear it to her wedding on December 16, 2006!

After Melaina’s wedding, the dress went back into storage and rested there for another twelve years. Last Saturday, I wore it again! Very close friends celebrated their 30th wedding anniversary with a vow renewal ceremony and reception. Like Melaina, Dan and Michelle were university students who married during their Christmas break from school. They didn’t have a big celebration or a dance, but thirty years later they had the “wedding” that Michelle had always dreamed of! I knew I’d want to wear something special.

Clothing is generally considered vintage when it’s at least 20 years old. My now vintage dress seemed the perfect thing for the occasion! This time I wore it with light pink pumps, Michelle’s favourite colour, and an emerald necklace that was my mother’s.

Girlfriends! We call ourselves the Rav4.

That’s the “bride” on my left. The flower girl had just knocked her headpiece askew!

I wore the dress again on New Year’s Eve and now it’s back in storage. I wonder if it will appear again someday and what the occasion might be?