Pearls and plaid

LogoPearls and plaid are both very much on trend this season, but would you wear them together?

Just before leaving on our recent trip to BC, I hosted a cabi party. As hostess, in addition to other benefits, I was entitled to one piece of cabi jewelry at 50% off. I chose the Black Pearl Heritage Necklace.

When I opened the parcel that was waiting for me on my return, I happened to be wearing the black and white plaid shirt that I purchased for $3 at our local thrift store a couple of years ago. Trying on my new necklace resulted in an aha moment! I might never have thought to wear my new black pearls with my old plaid shirt, but I loved the dressy meets casual combination; the bit of boy meets girl trend that has been popular for the past couple of years.

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So, yes, I will wear pearls and plaid together!

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Capitalizing on the timeless elegance and edgy feel of black pearls, this single strand of faux pearls meets with a toggle closure and a cluster of silver-finished charms which can be worn in front or back. I’m certain that its versatility will make it a go-to piece in my wardrobe this season and for a long time to come.

 

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Will I wear them again?

LogoThere are many different ways that I could go with today’s post…I could write about where I get fashion inspiration from, I could talk about age appropriateness, or I could add to last week’s topic about resurrecting old fashion favourites. I think I’ll do all three!

I follow several fashion bloggers who write specifically for women over the age of 50. I’ve learned a great deal from them and this is not the first time I’ve taken inspiration from Alyson Walsh, writer of the blog, That’s Not My Age, and author of Style Forever: The Grown-Up Guide to Looking Fabulous and Know Your Style: Mix It, Match It, Love It. I love Alyson’s creative, casual style. On her blog, she recently wrote a post entitled Am I too old for dungarees? That sent me back to the storage room to dig out another of my old favourites that had been hiding there for years!

In case you’re wondering, Alyson is British and dungarees are what we on the North American side of the Pacific call overalls. I’ve loved overalls since infancy when, according to my mother, I called them “weewalls”.

As I mentioned last week, I try to adhere to the wisdom of getting rid of clothing that I haven’t worn for the past year or two, but there are certain pieces that I just can’t part with. My khaki overalls are one such item.

So, here we are, Alyson and I in our dungarees/overalls.

I’m sure I’ve had this pair for at least 20 years, probably longer. The last time I remember wearing them was around the house after abdominal surgery in 2006 because they were the most comfortable thing I could find! I know that they’d already been residing in the storage room for quite some time by then. I’m happy to report that they’re still as comfortable as ever.

The title of Alyson’s blog post asked the question “Am I too old for dungarees?” and I completely agree when she replies, “I’m not too old.” I’m delighted to live in a time when we no longer feel the need to adhere to rigid fashion and age appropriate rules. As far as I’m concerned, as long as something is comfortable, fits well, makes you feel confident and isn’t beyond the bounds of decency, I say wear it with pride regardless of what age you are!

I was astonished, however, at some of the responses to Alyson’s post. Apparently, there are women don’t share my love of overalls! “It’s not that you’re too old. It’s just that they’re unflattering. Gardening only attire.” said one. “I will leave these to the young and construction types. I’m sorry but they look ridiculous on anyone over thirty, unless you are going out to work on your car or into your garden.” said another. A third woman wrote, “At the end of the day, it does look like a factory uniform.” Thankfully, there were also many positive and complementary comments.

So will I resurrect my overalls and begin wearing them again, or will I hang them back in the storage room? I’m not sure. I may have to think on that for awhile!

Resurrecting an old favourite

LogoIn last Friday’s post, I told you about a leopard print shirt that I almost gave away, but didn’t. I try to adhere to the wisdom of getting rid of things that I haven’t worn in the past year, but once in awhile old favourites take up long term residence on the hanging rack at the back end of our storage room and wait for a day when they might be resurrected and put back into use. This shirt was one of those. I have no idea how long I’ve had it, but I do remember ordering it from the Sears catalogue. That may even have been before the now defunct department store chain introduced online shopping in 1998! The fact that it was made in Canada is another indication of its age since it’s very hard to find anything that isn’t produced offshore anymore.

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Though animal prints are very much on trend this season, they are an enduring fashion that never really go out of style.

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I could dress the shirt up by wearing it with black pants and a dressier top, but I was going for a very casual look here. I folded back the cuffs and styled it with a well worn pair of Gap jeans, sneakers, and my 65 years bold t-shirt which is technically a lie now since today is my 66th birthday!

I’ve always preferred to wear this shirt as an unbuttoned third piece over a simple top. This breaks up the expanse of animal print which might otherwise be a bit overwhelming. Though the soft, velvet-like fabric is quite warm, it definitely wasn’t warm enough for the 4ºC (39º) afternoon when these pictures were taken! This was a very quick photo shoot and my photographer hubby was wearing a warm jacket. Perhaps the cold explains my clenched fists!

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Making trends work for you

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Photo – Getty Images

Chances are, you aren’t going anywhere dressed like this this fall. Neither am I, but this intriguing outfit incorporates, to some extent, at least nine of this season’s biggest fashion trends! Let’s take a look at what they are:

  1. Red
  2. Plaid
  3. Oversized tote bag
  4. Oversized blanket coat
  5. Large, colourful floral print
  6. Flowing maxi dress
  7. Animal print
  8. Extreme layering
  9. Slouchy boots

Screen Shot 2018-09-03 at 7.51.11 PMPlaid is really a returning trend from last fall and winter, but this year’s reinvention includes plaids in wild colours, head to toe plaid, and mixing plaids. Similarly, while animal prints are an enduring trend and are usually considered a neutral, this season you can also expect to see neon zebra and garishly coloured leopard prints. If you want either a plaid or an animal print to have enduring value though, opt for a more traditional look that you’ll be able to wear for years.

For those of us who live a cold climate, layering is a no-brainer during fall and winter, but this year’s trend takes it to the extreme with multiple layers often topped with a bulky oversized coat. One of the great things about this trend is that it allows you to continue wearing some of your spring and summer pieces right into fall and winter. For example, think about layering a sleeveless summer dress over a long sleeved shirt or tee and leggings, then don’t be afraid to pile on a few more layers!

Have fun with the trends, but don’t become a slave to them!  As always, the key to incorporating the latest fashion trends into your wardrobe is to consider how you might put your own interpretation on them while staying true to your own style. Begin by shopping your closet to see how you can make the trends work with what’s already there. For example, I’ll definitely be wearing the black and white plaid shirt that I bought second hand in the spring of 2017 as well as the Check Shirt from Cabi’s Fall 2017 collection again this year. I also have a couple of leopard print items in traditional neutral colours that will be in circulation again this season. I’ve been doing a major closet cull lately and I almost let go of an older leopard print shirt that I haven’t worn for a long time, but I changed my mind and snatched it back out of the bag that’s destined for the thrift store! I’ll show it to you next week.

Your Perfect 10

LogoThis weekend I’ll be packing for another trip to Vancouver. You may remember that we were there in June to celebrate my father’s 95th birthday. On that trip, a lot of things never came out of my suitcase because the weather was unseasonably cool and damp. Spring and fall are easily the most difficult times of year to pack efficiently for in this part of the world because weather can vary widely and one needs to be prepared for almost any eventuality. I’m hoping to do a better job this time though!

So how am I going to do that? I’ll definitely be packing layering pieces for warmth and versatility. I’m also going to adopt some ideas from “Your Perfect 10 – Building a Core Wardrobe for Maximum Versatility” which my friend Deborah, an independent stylist for cabi, recently shared with me. The Perfect 10 is a variation of the popular capsule wardrobe idea and allows you to mix and match creating many outfits with a minimal number of pieces.

In a nutshell, here’s how it works:

Choose 3 colours that work well together. A dark, a light and an accent colour. Choose a jacket, top and bottom in each of the colours and then choose one extra bottom in your darkest colour = Total of 10 Garments. Those 10 garments, when designed around colours that work well together will give you 25 to 30 different outfit options, a must have for any traveler!

I’ll be tweaking this list to suit my own style and I’m sure that I’ll end up with more than the 10 basic items in my suitcase, but it’s a great starting point for planning. If this was a business trip, jackets would be appropriate and at least one of the bottoms would probably be a skirt, but I’m retired. I don’t go on business trips! Our main reason for going to Vancouver this time is to be with Dad when he has a minor surgical procedure. Of course, we’ll also be spending time with our son and his family. Rather than jackets, I’ll be packing cardigans and my bottoms will be pants, mostly jeans. I simply can’t imagine only taking 3 tops though! If I was going to restrict myself to 10 items, I would definitely make a trade and pack 4 tops and only 3 bottoms. At least one of the tops would be a print that included 2 or 3 of the colours I was building my perfect 10 around.

Do you have any packing tips that have worked well for you?

 

Fashion and social justice

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Famous jeans maker, Levi Strauss, made news last week by jumping into the gun control fray calling for stricter gun laws in the US and pledging $1 million in grants to be distributed over the next four years to non-profit and activist groups fighting to stop gun violence. The company “simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work,” wrote the firm’s president and chief executive, Chip Bergh, in a piece for Fortune magazine.

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Levi’s action followed hard on the heels of Nike who, on September 3rd, unveiled a giant billboard featuring former San Francisco 49ers quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, over San Francisco’s Union Square. Similar billboards followed in other cities. Kaepernick has been a controversial figure since he took a knee during the national anthem to protest racial injustice, a gesture that spread to players on other NFL teams and sparked a nation-wide debate. Nike followed up by releasing an ad featuring Kaepernick which aired during the NFL season opener on September 6th. In spite of the fact that many customers blasted the company on social media and some filmed themselves destroying Nike products and claiming that they will boycott the company, Nike reported a 31% increase in sales over the Labour Day holiday this year compared with the same time period last year.

Levi Strauss and Nike are far from the first members of the fashion industry to involve themselves in social issues. Women’s apparel brand, Eileen Fisher, proudly supports a long list of environmental and human rights groups.  Through its Heart of Cabi Foundation, Cabi, one of the largest direct sale women’s apparel businesses in the US, supports several initiatives to encourage and empower women in need around the world. Even fast fashion giant, H&M, has collection boxes in their stores worldwide aimed at recycling clothing items (any brand) and reducing the tonnes of textiles that end up in landfills. These are just a few examples.

Should companies like Levi and Nike stick to producing products and making money and leave issues like gun control and racial inequality to politicians and lobby groups or should they put consumers in the position of deciding whether or not to support these issues with our clothing dollars? When you shop for clothes do you want to have to think about whether or not you agree with the manufacturer’s ethics? After all, when you give money to a company, you implicitly support the values that that company stands for.

I’d love to hear your opinion!

 

More about Uniqlo

LogoIn response to my last Fashion Friday post, one of my Facebook readers inquired about Uniqlo wondering if the company is Canadian or American. Uniqlo (pronounced YOU-nee-klo) is, in fact, a major Japanese casual apparel retailer. We fell in love with Uniqlo on our first visit to Japan in 2005. When we lived in Funabashi in 2008-09, it was a short bike ride from our apartment to the closest Uniqlo store and later, in 2013, when we spent a semester in Dalian, China we were delighted to find Uniqlo a short bus ride from home!

From one store in Hiroshima in 1984, the chain has spread across Asia and around the world. In addition to Japan and China, Uniqlo now sells inexpensive high quality fashion merchandise in stores in Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, the Philippines, Indonesia, Australia, France, Russia, Germany, and the United Kingdom. The first Uniqlo store in North America opened in Soho, New York City in 2006. Ten years later, in September 2016, Uniqlo entered the Canadian market with a store in the CF Toronto Eaton Centre. The company now operates two stores in Toronto and three in the Vancouver area with three more in the Toronto area and one in Vancouver’s eastern suburbs slated to open this fall. Once brand awareness has been well established in those two areas, the company is expected to branch out into secondary markets including Edmonton, Calgary, and Ottawa with the possibility of eventually having as many as 100 stores across the country.

For those of us in Canada who already love Uniqlo, but who live far from Toronto and Vancouver, the good news is that the company launched online sales in Canada early last month. Now you can order clothing from their mobile-only online store or app and have it delivered anywhere in Canada. As for me, I’ll be back in Vancouver next month, so I’ll shop in person.

On my last visit in June, all I was really looking for was the basic black tee that appeared in last week’s post, but before I even walked into the store, I fell in love with the dark olive sleeveless blouse on the mannequin at the entrance so it came home with me. It comes in 5 other colours and I see that it’s on sale right now.