Fashion is art

LogoIn a recent post, fellow fashion blogger, Pam Lutrell of Over 50 Feeling 40, wrote that “all fashion is art”. Her statement resonated with me because I also believe that fashion provides an opportunity for each of us to be creative and to express who we are through what we wear. 

My involvement in the arts is largely in the area of community theatre which actually intersects with my passion for fashion in an interesting way… costuming. I’m especially fond of period drama because it involves researching the fashions of a particular time in history and doing our best to recreate them onstage. As a small town theatre guild, we don’t have a large budget to work with. We have an incredibly talented costume mistress who can create amazing and elaborate costumes when they’re needed, but much of what we wear onstage comes from our own wardrobes or from the group’s substantial collection of clothing that has mostly been donated or purchased at thrift stores.

Our recent play was set between 1928 and 1946. I played the role of a household servant and was dressed accordingly. That’s me in front holding the serving tray.

Auntie Mame #2 - Marlaina Eldey copyphoto: Marlaina Eldey

For one very short scene, however, I wore a dressier outfit that included a little velvet jacket from our costume collection that I absolutely fell in love with. It’s always bittersweet when a production comes to an end. After entertaining four dinner theatre audiences and having so much fun doing it, the time came to strike the set and put the costumes and props away, but I couldn’t part with the little velvet jacket. In my mind, I could imagine myself dressing it down with a pair of jeans. I just had to give it a try, so with permission, of course, it came home with me. It will eventually go back and be hidden away in the giant bin labelled “jackets” until it’s needed onstage again, but for a little while I plan to have some fun with it.

IMG_5686

IMG_5692

First, I tried it with a simple black camisole and then over my white Indulgence Tank from cabi’s Spring 2017 collection. Since I’ve been told that a woman should be able to style every piece in her closet at least different three ways, I also tried the jacket over a column of colour, in this case my camel coloured cords and camisole. I loved all three of these looks!

IMG_5706

With the gold embroidery design on the jacket, I decided to keep the jewelry at my neck simple or nonexistent, but I did try it with my antique gold-finished Flapper Earrings from cabi’s Fall 2017 collection, reminiscent of the 1920s.

IMG_5687 - Version 2

Do you agree that fashion is art? Please tell me what you think in the comment section below.

Advertisements

Bold!

Logo

As I mentioned in a previous post, I don’t care to be known as fierce, but what about BOLD? Oh yes, absolutely! You can definitely call me BOLD!

 

Brenda Kinsel

When I saw this photo of fellow fashion blogger, Brenda Kinsel, her t-shirt jumped out at me! It was love at first sight! In her post, Brenda wrote about a conversation that she had with Michelle, Director of Social Marketing and Brand Public Relations for Chico’s who got in touch with her to discuss how women see themselves and how they want to be seen. They talked about how Chico’s is attempting to use their brand to reach out, connect, and open the conversation about women and visibility and possibilities. Michelle asked Brenda if she would like to participate in a small way in the launch of their message and, of course, Brenda said yes. A couple of weeks later, a package arrived in her mail containing the t-shirt that she’s wearing in the photo. With it came a letter from Diane Ellis, the President of Chico’s. Brenda included this excerpt in her post.

These days, women can be almost anything. They can be curvy, curly, scientific, athletic, CEO’s, politicians, mothers, mechanics, and marines.

But there’s one thing women still can’t be:

49, or 52, or 65

WHY NOT?

Well- that’s what we wondered. After all, we are a company that celebrates women. Being bold is in our DNA. Our mission is to support women with fabulous style in all that they do. So why were we hesitate to say our age out loud?

It’s time for that to change.

It’s time to GROW BOLDER.

By wearing this t-shirt with pride and sharing it on social media using #HowBoldAreYouit will inspire women everywhere to embrace their own unique personal style no matter their age. Yeah, it’s great to be 20, but it’s also great to be 52 and 43 and 61.

Let’s decide together that we’re not growing older, we’re growing bolder. And let’s shout it from the rooftops.

Later in her post, Brenda had this to say about herself.

I’m proud to be 65. At 65 I’m not worrying as much about what other people think. Is that bold? Yup, probably!

I’m 65 and brave. I’ve had to be. I’ve had challenges that pushed me to the ground but I’m not staying there for long. I’ll get upright and look at my scuffed up knees with confidence that those hurts will heal and I’ll be here for tomorrow’s rich experiences.

That truly resonated with me!

At the end of her post, Brenda asked, “Can you relate? Is it a stretch to say you’re feeling bold?” Here is my response.

I LOVE this post and I NEED that t-shirt! On my last birthday, I threw myself a “still alive at 65 party” because I’ve been living with a chronic cancer for the past four and a half years. I know that it could take my life at any time and that every day is a gift, but I’m determined to squeeze every bit of life out of the days, months, or years that I have left! Yes, I am BOLD!

That was rather bold, wasn’t it? Perhaps even a wee bit brash. I wasn’t really asking for Brenda’s t-shirt though, just exclaiming over how perfect it was and how it’s message suits me to a T (pun intended)! So imagine my astonishment when Brenda responded…

Elaine, guess what came in the mail today: a duplicate 65 t-shirt. Email me your address and I will send it to you. I relate quite personally to what you’ve shared. Gosh, you must have this t-shirt. I mean it, email me!

I could hardly believe my eyes!

When the t-shirt arrived, it was a bit too big. Brenda had warned me that it might be, but a little while at my sewing machine was all it took to alter it so that it would fit.

IMG_5644

So what does it mean to be bold?

Screen Shot 2018-04-10 at 7.50.28 PM

I think I’d draw the line at daredevil, but I hope that the rest of the adjectives under definition #1 are ones that could be applied to me. That wasn’t always the case. As a child, I was incredibly timid, but like Brenda, the challenges of life knocked me down and I had a choice… be broken or be bold. I choose bold!

IMG_5667

Message t-shirts are on trend again this season and I’ll definitely be wearing this one with pride. If you’re between the ages of 40 and 80, you can wear one too. Order here.

IMG_5672

What about you? Are you bold?

Give sneakers campaign

LogoHow many pairs of shoes do you own?

I may have missed a few when I counted, but including sandals I have at least 28 pairs. 5 of those are sneakers. Perhaps you call them running shoes, runners, or tennis shoes where you live.

Now imagine that you had none; that you had to go barefoot everywhere you went. Imagine that your children or your grandchildren had to walk to school in their bare feet every day. That’s reality for children in many parts of the world including Haiti, the poorest country in the western hemisphere, and you can do something about it!

New Missions, a non-profit, non-denominational Christian organization, has been establishing churches and schools in Haiti for over 30 years and in the Dominican Republic since the year 2000. Through child sponsorship, New Missions provides children with quality education, a daily meal and regular medical care. Today, approximately 10 000 children attend New Missions schools; 10 000 children who need shoes to walk to school. Through the New Missions Give Sneakers campaign, you can help cover those little feet with brand new sneakers! Visit givesneakers.com to find out how to get involved. The campaign started on April 1 and continues until June 30. While you’re welcome to purchase sneakers and send them to the collection point in Orlando, Florida, postage is expensive, so making an online donation is also an option.

12931088_10153414679380841_3901998987537881304_n

When New Missions ran the same campaign two years ago, I committed to donating an amount equal to what I spent on footwear between April 1 and June 30 of that year. I kept that promise, but I’m sure that those little sneakers are completely worn out by now, so I am making the same commitment again this year. Why don’t you join me? I wonder how many little feet we could cover.

Now, speaking of sneakers, I have this pair still sitting in their box. I absolutely love their taupe rose colour.

IMG_5626

I bought them at an amazing clearance sale at the Bay back in February and I’m eagerly waiting for the snow to disappear and spring to arrive to begin wearing them. I was going to wait until then to share them with you, but I’m beginning to wonder if winter is ever going to disappear this year! We’ve had record breaking low temperatures this week and there’s more snow in the forecast.

Oh, there I go complaining again! Imagine a woman with 28 or more pairs of shoes complaining about the weather when poor little children are going barefoot. Shame on me!

More favourite fashion blogs for women of a certain age

LogoOne of my most popular Fashion Friday posts has been Favourite fashion blogs for women of a certain age which I wrote a little over a year ago. In that post I featured four blogs written by and for women over the age of 40 that I continue to read faithfully.

They were:

Over 50 Feeling 40 by Pam Lutrell

A Well Styled Life  by Jennifer Connolly

That’s Not My Age  by Alyson Walsh

High Heels in the Wilderness  by Susan Burpee

I also included links to a few others that I had found useful. Since that time, I have started reading one of those ones regularly as well as three others that I’d like to share with you today.

chic at any age

Josephine chic at any age

Josephine, writer of chic at any age, started her fashion career in public relations and later trained as a fashion consultant. She divides her time between her homes in London, England and St. Tropez, France. She calls her blog “a fashion resource for women over 50 who want to learn more about style, fashion and what will suit them as mature women” and “a community of supportive women sharing their opinions on what constitutes style for them.” Pink is her favourite colour.

une femme d’un certain âge

Susan B. une femme d'un certain age

With it’s French title, it took me awhile to realize that Susan B. of une femme d’un certain âge actually lives in California! She loves Paris though. She started writing her blog in 2007 when there didn’t seem to be any online fashion sites for women of a certain age and has since expanded it to include travel, travel wardrobes, and living our best life at any age.

SusanAfter60.com

Susan SusanAfter60

Another Susan, the writer of SusanAfter60.com, has had a long career in the fashion industry. During her 40s, she went through a dramatic life transformation which eventually led to the launch of her first blog, Fifty, not Frumpy, in 2011. After turning 60 in 2016, she introduced SusanAfer60.com where she continues to share what she has learned and is still learning about making excellent wardrobe choices. She has been dating the dapper Mr. Mickey for the past 12 years. He is very much a part of the blog, taking all the photographs and planning the many outings that Susan shares with her readers. Together they make a very elegant couple.

SusanAfter60

Brenda Kinsel

Brenda Kinsel

Last, but definitely not least, is Brenda Kinsel. Brenda is a professional image consultant and author of 40 Over 40: 40 Things Every Woman Over 40 Needs to Know About Getting Dressed and several other books. She encourages women over 50 to “catapult themselves out of their ruts and enjoy their beauty and style” teaching us how to be the best we can be from the “inside out”. I came to her blog quite recently and it has quickly become one of my absolute favourites. Brenda shares both wardrobe tips and snippets of her life in such a personable and entertaining way that reading her blog feels like a chat with a friend.

Some of these women clearly have a much bigger clothing budget than I do. They shop at stores that I don’t necessarily have access to here in Canada and live in areas where the climate is very different. Their lifestyles may not be similar to mine, but none of these factors stops me from getting ideas and inspiration from them that I can translate into looks that work for me at my price point.

Do you have any favourite fashion blogs for women of a certain age that I haven’t mentioned here?

How many is too many?

LogoI’m a little later than usual posting my weekly fashion piece today as I spent yesterday afternoon driving an hour each way to see my dentist instead of working on it. Thankfully, the tenderness and lump on my gum didn’t turn out to be an abscess as I feared it might and I won’t require extensive dental work! I’m also thankful that I don’t have to drive anywhere today. After listening to the wind howl all night we woke up to another dump of fresh snow. If you’re wondering why I’ve been complaining so much about this never ending winter, here’s a visual…

IMG_3981

March 20, 2017

IMG_5615

This morning… March 23, 2018

We’ve been golfing as early as April 8th, but this year I think we’ll still be snowshoeing! Hoping that spring will eventually come, I dug into the back of our entryway closet this week and took a look at my collection of warm weather jackets. I knew there were quite a few back there, but even I was surprised to find 23 of them! 23! Who needs 23 spring and summer jackets? Some are dressy, some are casual, and some are worn only for camping, but still, 23? At the very most, I can wear them for about 6 months of the year and I would hope that at least half that time I won’t need a jacket at all, so 23? That’s ridiculous! Obviously, this is the year to pare down that collection.

So, let’s take a closer look. What was in that closet?

  • 3 blue jean jackets
  • 1 grey denim with ruffles
  • 3 other cotton twill jackets (1 dark brown, 1 white, 1 patterned)
  • 4 leather jackets (1 black, 1 dark brown, 1 red, 1 white)
  • 1 faux leather 
  • 2 windbreakers
  • 1 fleece lined windbreaker
  • 2 quilted jackets (1 pale yellow, 1 olive green)
  • 1 anorak (so old that it’s back in style again!)
  • 3 hoodies (1 pink, 1 blue, 1 black)
  • 1 navy polar fleece
  • 1 trench coat

Just so you know that I’m not as big a spender as this makes me sound, all but 4 of these were either thrifted or gifted.

My question for today is how, when faced with a collection like this, will I decide what to keep and what to get rid of? Let’s begin by looking at trends. What do I have that fits with this season’s top looks? Three trends that I didn’t mention in last week’s post are anoraks, trench coats, and ruffles. Though I’ve had my light beige anorak for many years and I’ve worn it a lot, it’s still in very good condition and I still like it, so it will definitely stay. Though there are many versions of the classic trench coat available this season, they tend to be knee length or longer and quite roomy. Mine is shorter, almost a long jacket, and close fitting. It’s a bit snug on me and its one of those things that I actually think looks better on the hanger than it does on me. Trend or not, it will probably go. I had been thinking about getting rid of the grey denim jacket, but when I realized how trendy ruffles are this season, I decided to hang onto it for at least one more year.

Another important consideration is fit. When I featured my blue jean jackets a couple of weeks ago, I realized that one of them doesn’t fit as well as the other two. Since no woman really needs 3 blue jean jackets, that one will go.

Perhaps the best question to ask myself is which of these jackets do I love? Which ones will I actually wear often enough to make it worth keeping them? Brown used to be a staple in my wardrobe, but over the past few years, my love affair with brown has waned. Now I gravitate toward other neutrals instead. That means that the 2 dark brown jackets can probably go. One of the windbreakers hasn’t been worn for ages, so it should go too.

So far, that eliminates 5 jackets from the list, but 18 remain. In my mind, 18 is still way too many! What do you think? How many is too many and how do you suggest I choose a few more to get rid of?

 

Spring trends for 2018

LogoI’ve complained a lot lately about how long winter seems to be lasting here on the Canadian prairie, but the days are gradually warming up and some of you live where spring has already arrived, so let’s take a look at a few fashion trends for spring and summer 2018.

Fanny packs

That’s right! 1980s looks are back and with them come the fanny pack, or as it’s called in some places, the bum bag. The popularity of this simple zippered pouch worn around the waist like a belt was short-lived in the late 80s and who would have thought that it would make a reappearance thirty years later? It doesn’t do much for the silhouette, but when you think about it, the fanny pack is very functional. It allows for hands free shopping and is great for bikers, hikers and travellers. In our family, the fanny pack’s popularity in the 1980s was literally a life saver. Our oldest son was severely asthmatic and had to carry his inhalers with him everywhere he went. Now his asthmatic niece and nephew carry theirs in fanny packs just like he did. Fanny packs are available in a wide variety of colours and materials.

Head to toe denim

Dark wash denim seems to be making a resurgence this season and it’s being worn from head to toe. Ignore what I said in last week’s post about making sure the washes are different! This season denim is all about a monochromatic and slightly tailored look.

denim

photo

Sheer top layers

This trend allows us to show off as much or as little skin as we like depending on what we wear underneath. I can see a top like this one, worn over a simple camisole, looking good on a woman of any age.

b892b53dc92936fc87391aa7da7e4250_best

photo

As the weather gets hot, I’m afraid that this transparent look could be a style that goes very wrong! Hopefully modesty prevails and everyone remembers that some looks are meant only for the beach or the bedroom!

Fringe

Full-on fringe was a big look on the runways of New York, Paris and Milan, but there are simpler versions of the trend, like this poncho inspired blouse, that might appeal more to the majority of us.

photos

Adding a fringed or tasselled accessory, such as a handbag or even earrings, is also a good way to bring this trend into your wardrobe in a smaller way.

Pastels and paintbox colours

Soft pastels are a classic spring staple and they’re especially big this year. If you shy away from these “ice cream colours” try pairing them with your darker neutrals. Yes, you can wear black in the spring and summer, but add a pop of something pastel to lighten up the look.

Bright saturated colours are also on trend this season. Think Crayola crayons in primary colours or the paintbox that you probably had in grade school.

4cda5fb0-3810-4619-8977-db2a0c92798b

photo

If you invested in a trendy pink piece last year, you’re in luck. Pink is still on trend for spring and summer this year and it’s being seen in every shade imaginable from the palest blush to neon. Yellow is also popular, especially in dresses.

So now that I know what some of the latest trends are, it’s time to take a look at my spring and summer wardrobe and see what I already have that will work again this year. Believe it or not, I have a black leather fanny pack from the 80s hidden away somewhere! I also have a fringed top and some tasselled earrings as well as a summer tote with tassels. I have golf shirts in bold primary colours and here’s a very casual head to toe denim look. The photo was taken almost a year ago, but my dark wash jeans and waterfront shirt from cabi’s Fall 2016 collection will definitely work again this year!

IMG_4217 - Version 2

 

The always stylish denim jacket

LogoIn the world of fashion there are trends like the bell sleeves that I wrote about last week, that are often short-lived, and then there are timeless fashions that never go out of style. I’ve been thinking a lot about one of those lately. Perhaps it’s the fact that winter seems to be going on forever this year, but I’m getting very tired of my winter wardrobe and I’ve been dreaming of the day when I can begin wearing my denim jackets again.

The jean jacket is a classic fashion staple that’s comfortable, casual, and easy to wear. Created in the United States in about 1880 by Levi Strauss, it was originally designed as a durable, heavy-duty jacket to be worn by cowboys, miners, and railroad workers. Over time, however, it has become a wardrobe staple for men and women alike.

I don’t suppose any woman really needs three blue jean jackets, but all of mine are thrifted (I spent a total of less than $10 on them) and each one is different. For the purpose of these photos, I’m wearing each of them with my grey striped Breton tee and dark wash jeans. Yes, you can wear denim-on-denim! Just make sure the washes are different.

My favourite is a traditional jean jacket from Gap.

The second one, from Jones New York, is made of very lightweight denim. It has snaps instead of buttons and the pockets give it a slightly dressier look. It also has a bit of elastic at the sides for a closer fit.

The third, from Fylo, is a fitted blazer style. Its brass buttons set it apart from the others, but the faded denim keeps it looking casual.

Not all denim jackets are blue, of course. Here’s one that comes in a wide variety of colours and it’s on sale right now. I love the Monticello Peach! This cute one in a floral print is also on sale.

My black denim jacket (also thrifted) from Bianca Nygard has appeared on the blog a couple of times in the past. With its silver sparkle and big blingy buttons it is super easy to dress up, but it can still be worn casually as shown here.

What’s not to love about a denim jacket? It’s stylish and amazingly versatile. You can wear it with almost anything, so don’t save yours only for casual wear. Here, the second jacket shown above adds an effortless, casual vibe to a much dressier outfit. I’m wearing it with the Treasure Dress from cabi’s Fall 2017 collection. I seldom wear heels, but I thought these ones, passed down to me by my very generous sister-in-law, added to the dressy summer look that I was going for here.

IMG_5538

Now, if spring would only get here!