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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

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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.

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Now, if spring would only get here!

Trying a trend

LogoThough I like to be aware of what the latest fashion trends are, I’m not one who jumps onto every new boat that passes by. For the most part, I want my wardrobe to be made up of timeless pieces that I can wear for many seasons. When I do decide to try something trendy, I’m often a bit late to the party.

Bell sleeves have been on trend for about a year now and I’ve been studiously avoiding them for a couple of reasons. First of all, I wore them back in the early 1970s. I distinctly remember sewing myself a bubble gum pink mini dress with voluminous bell sleeves. Somehow I couldn’t quite picture my 65-year-old self in a style that I wore when I was 20!

My second reason for avoiding them was practicality. I have nothing against the look, but unless the sleeves are short or three-quarter length, those bells get in the way. I simply don’t want my sleeves dragging in my dinner!

Bell sleeves aren’t going anywhere in a hurry though. They’re definitely sticking around for spring and summer 2018, so when I found this top on a Northern Reflections sales rack for 75% off its regular price, I couldn’t resist.

I love the colour, the fit is perfect, and at less than $20, what did I have to lose? The bells are smaller than many and if I get tired of them or the trend passes quickly, I can simply cut them off. I think this top would look equally good with three-quarter length sleeves.

I’d like your help

LogoEarlier this month, I had the opportunity to shop my sister-in-law’s closet again. Though I’m a little taller, Sue and I are very similar in size and can usually wear one another’s clothes without alteration. Before we arrived for our annual February visit, she had done another major closet clean out and had several large bags of clothing waiting for me to go through.

Today I want your opinion on 4 tops that now hang in my closet. Please be honest about whether or not you think I should keep them and tell me why.

#1

 

I actually like everything about this one from Cleo, one of my favourite Canadian fashion retailers. It fits perfectly and the soft polyester knit with a hint of spandex is oh so comfortable. Teal is one of the colours that suits every skin tone and the pattern doesn’t overwhelm me. The shirttail hem with ties at the sides takes it one notch up from a simple t-shirt.

#2

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Sue tends to wear dramatic colours and patterns while I favour neutrals. This one, also from Cleo, combines the two. Though fuchsia is also a colour that most women can wear, I like having the beige and grey tones closer to my face. I love three quarter length sleeves and this top is long enough that I can wear it over leggings. Though I love the look of the wide trim on the sleeves and the bottom edge, it does tend to catch on things.

#3

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I love the length and the fit of this button down tunic from Northern Reflections, another Canadian retailer. The lightweight polyester drapes beautifully, but I wonder if the pattern is a bit too intense for me. Perhaps it looks better under my denim waterfront shirt from cabi. What do you think?

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#4

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This silky blouson style top, also from Cleo, is actually a petite. It’s shorter than I usually wear, but other than that it fits well and the sleeves are long enough. It’s very lightweight and would make a good transition piece for spring (if it ever gets here!), but again, I wonder if it looks better under a sweater like my shirttail cardigan from cabi.

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Now that I’ve shopped Sue’s closet, please help me curate mine. Let me know your thoughts about these 4 tops in the comment section below.

 

Do you really want to be FIERCE?

LogoIt seems that my recent fashion posts have been as much about words as they have been about fashion! First, I wrote about my present style being classy casual and what I meant by that. Then there was a post about the 3Cs… classy, confident, and comfortable. I hope you’ll bear with me today as we consider one more word that is taking a place of prominence in the world of fashion.

When I wrote F is for fashion, one of my earliest Fashion Friday posts, fierce was not one of the six F words that I focused on. In fact, it didn’t even cross my mind. There is, however, a movement started by 56 year old fashion blogger, Catherine Grace O’Connell, known as Forever Fierce that is quickly catching momentum on Facebook and she has now declared February 19 Forever Fierce Day.

“Forever Fierce Day is a celebration of the vitality, power, and wisdom of the Midlife Woman. Why? Because empowered women at Midlife are cool!” writes Catherine. “Midlife isn’t an age. It’s an experience. It’s a time when a woman begins to experience her true power while the world begins to treat her as not relevant or invisible. This is why women begin to rise and rise fiercely at Midlife.”

While I agree with her sentiment, I’m not sure I want to be known as fierce. In fact, I wasn’t sure how to respond when one woman complimented me on this top by telling me that it was fierce!

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I didn’t know her well or I might have asked her what she really meant by that. I’m guessing that fierce has just become a popular catchword and that few people really think about what they mean when they use it.

I’m a self professed word nerd, so naturally I began to wonder about the word fierce, especially as it pertains to fashion. In it’s original usage, the dictionary says that it’s an adjective meaning “having or displaying an intense or ferocious aggressiveness.” Yikes! I don’t think ferocious aggressiveness fits very well with my desire to be known as a woman of grace!

Digging deeper, I discovered that fierce was a term that was commonly used by gay men in the late 1990s and early 2000s to describe anything that was of exceptional quality. In fashion, it seems to have become a positive term used to mean cool, sexy, or awesome. Even so, I’m not sure that I’m ready to jump on the Forever Fierce bandwagon. It seems to me that perhaps a woman who has to declare herself fierce is trying just a bit too hard.

I’d love to know what you think. Do you want to be known as fierce?

Not ditching my denims!

LogoAccording to a recent and obviously very controversial study, I should have stopped wearing jeans 12 years ago!

British courier service, CollectPlus, put together a survey that revealed that by age 53, people should stop wearing their denims. Even Catherine Woolfe, Marketing Director at CollectPlus, was startled by the results. “It’s surprising to see our research reveals that many people think jeans are the reserve of the younger generation,” she said.

My initial response to the news was astonishment! Jeans are an absolute staple of my wardrobe and I can’t ever imagine the day coming when I would stop wearing them.

I’m definitely not the only one! Here’s Susan Street from Susanafter60 in hers,

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Jennifer Connolly of A Well Styled Life wearing hers,

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and Alyson Walsh of That’s Not My Age wearing her jeans.

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All three fashion bloggers are over the age of 53 and I think they look darn good!

So why does CollectPlus suggest that we should stop wearing jeans at 53? Apparently, the stress that people experience while shopping for jeans becomes too intense for us by that age! Really? That’s the best they could come up with? What does a parcel delivery service know about fashion anyway? Or about conducting valid research?

What do you think? Are jeans one of your wardrobe essentials? At what age would you stop wearing them?