Saturday, 21 January 2017

Melania Looked Fabulous

Michelle Obama and Melania Trump on
Inauguration Day, January 20, 2017
Photo Source: Daily Mail
No one can deny how lovely Melania Trump looked for the inauguration. And we can thank Ralph Lauren for providing the pastel blue sheath and bolero. The gloves and shoes matched the outfit perfectly and I haven't seen that kind of match-matchy since I was in Europe. Even though I'm one of those who like that sort of thing, I recognize that there are probably many more who don't and I deliberately work at not matching perfectly in my own outfits when I am in Canada. In France, I do become more matching conscious.

Maybe Donald should have chosen a pastel blue tie to match Melania's outfit. Now there's a 1970's moment! At least that would have shook things up a bit in opposition to his usual red tie, power suit look.

Lauren has dressed many first ladies and many of them for their husbands' inaugurations so I'm not joining in on the criticism of him for choosing to design for this particular first lady. I read in the New York Times that Lauren chose to dress Mrs. Trump out of "respect for the office". I get that. After all this is the fifth first lady upon whom he will have had the privilege to feature his work.

Photo Source: A.G. Nauia Couture
It has been reported by major news agencies that Melania Trump looks to Jacqueline Kennedy as a mentor and model. But of course.

The suit Jacqueline Kennedy wore to her husband's inauguration was designed by Oleg Cassini and it too was in a pastel blue. Notice as well that she is wearing opera-length gloves. Because Melania chose pastel blue and chose classic and chose the gloves as well, I can't see that she will ever be acknowledged for determining her own fashion sense but rather she will be seen as a reflection of Mrs. Kennedy no matter what she decides to wear. She stopped short of the pillbox hat and that was a good thing. But I do admit copying Jacqueline Kennedy's style is not a bad thing. 

However, it may represent yet another situation in which she is unable to think for herself. Remember the words she chose to incorporate in a speech that she had taken from a talk that Michelle Obama presented previously. You can read here what the Huffington Post wrote about that.

But I digress . . . 

Photo Source: Vanity Fair
Ralph Lauren was a popular choice. Not only was Melania Trump choosing to wear his designs but Lauren also provided the white pantsuit that Hillary Clinton decided to wear to the inauguration. I probably would have rather seen Clinton be inaugurated but I don't know if the fashion world would have been ready for a resurgence of the "pantsuit". 

Now we will wait and see: Will Melania come into her own as the first lady? And how long will it take before her husband becomes impeached? Will she wear a peach pantsuit to his impeachment? I'd like to see that. 








Wednesday, 18 January 2017

Lucian Matis . . . a Canadian Designer

Lucian Matis is an artisan through socialization and environment, an accomplished designer by natural inclination and talent, and a Canadian via emigration from Romania in 1999. He represents the positive vibrations of what it means to be transplanted and flourish in a new location. He's blooming and so are his creations.


Sophie Gregoire Trudeau in a
Lucian Matis dress
standing beside Michelle Obama.
Photo Source: Global News
The self-confident women who wear his designs radiate the poise many women aspire to. (See the celebrities wearing Lucian Matis designs.) 

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, the wife of Canada's prime minister is of course my favourite. It is as if he is designing just for her, yet I can imagine myself in this orchid accentuated dress.

As I began writing this post, I realized that I became acquainted with this designer through television in 2008. It was Project Runway Canada (no longer produced) that introduced Lucian Matis to Canada and it is now a pleasure to read about his well deserved accomplishments.

The future appears to be unfolding in miraculous ways for Lucian Matis, for Canada's reputation in fashion design and for us. There are beautiful dresses and as two January 6th Twitter and Facebook messages tell us, soon to be functional and perfect handbags. 

I am pleased to write that business is good for this Canadian designer. (You can shop online at Lucian Matis.)



Friday, 13 January 2017

Sophie (and Justin)

With a new American first lady about to make her way into the White House on January 20th, 2017 (or maybe she won't want to live below her means), it will be interesting to see how she fulfills the role and what she will be wearing as she does it. The wife of the prime minister of Canada does not have the duties imposed upon her that the "first lady" of the United States does. Even though there are no official duties "required" of her, there are expectations and she does not have a support staff to help her as does her American counterpart. If Sophie wants to be philanthropic, she has to manage the three kids and make her own arrangements. She has been criticized by the press for alluding to the fact that she is not given extra support. Expectations are high for both roles but the management is quite different. 


NICE

Sophie Gregoire Trudeau has a beautiful, natural and well-respected presence on the international stage and it is reassuring, from a fashion blog perspective, that she has also taken to promoting Canadian designers (in the same way Kate Middleton has in the UK). In fact back in March of 2016 when the Trudeaus were hosted by the Obamas, both women wore Canadian designs to the state dinner. Michele Obama wore a gown by Jason Wu, who grew up in Vancouver and Sophie wore a design by Lucian Matis. 


Photo Source: Global News

The Trudeaus have style and when I am at social events in France, there is always someone who comments on their good looks, their style and their relationship. One Belgian even said to me, "you should be proud" and I guess I was and am. 

So what is Sophie wearing?

2012, before Justin Trudeau became Prime Minister


The Trudeaus. Photo Source: HuffingtonPost

2015, Sophie in Erdem Moralioglu when Justin Trudeau was sworn in as Prime Minister


Photo Source: Huffington Post
2016, at the Canada Day celebrations - How can you not love her? By the way, the red jumpsuit is a design by Lucian Matis . . . again . . . nice.



Photo Source: Huffington Post
There are many beguiling photos of her online and it's worth the time to search for "Sophie Gregoire Trudeau and Canadian designers" to see what she is wearing. Have fun!

Monday, 9 January 2017

A Clothing Analysis Frustration Point

NO THANKS

You know that little itty bitty tag; that itty bitty tag made out of polyester and sewn on with plastic thread that factories put on your angora or cashmere or wool or cotton clothing . . . a tag that is perhaps 1/1000th the size of the entire garment creating a most bothersome situation. What's with that? 

I bought a lovely pair of pyjamas, made out of a soft silk and cashmere blend; the kind of pyjamas that you dream about; the kind of pyjamas that one says, "I am blessed to have such lovely pyjamas." I washed them by hand, gently pushing the organic laundry suds through them and then rinsing them in lavender water. I hung them to dry and even ironed them. I imagined the feel of the fabric next to my skin. I was happy. I put on my beautiful pyjamas and fell asleep.

I think it was 2:00 A.M. or maybe a few minutes after when a bothersome itch woke me. The point of annoyance was at the nape of my neck. An annoying scratchy feeling returned each time I tried to push it aside. I finally removed my pyjama top and found the culprit: the manufacturer's tag all golden polyester sewn on with plastic thread. It is difficult to find the right tools at two in the morning to remove a tag that has been diligently sewn on with more thread than the entire garment. I decided to wait until morning and finished the night sleeping in a mismatched cotton flannel top. 

So what is with that? I began looking at all the tops that I had removed the labels from. This has been a recurring hindrance in my life. Never mind, if you have hopes of taking gently used items to a consignment store. 

I remember a woman who related to me that she removed all the tags from her children's clothing because of the bothersome itchiness. It's hard to concentrate at math when the tag is annoying you. I can relate. 

There are several ways this can be avoided. Manufacturers need to use a fabric that is softer so that you don't feel it. And plastic thread should be banned. Why would they use plastic thread on the tag when the entire garment was made out of natural fabric and the other thread was at least unobtrusive if not also natural? Or they could place the tag on another side seam that may not come into constant direct contact with the skin. But I am preaching to the converted or at least to an audience that may have the same frustration. The likelihood of a manufacturer making their way to this blog is remote and so I will stop here and simply continue cutting out the labels on any of the tops I buy.

Tuesday, 27 December 2016

Out with the Old; In with the New

NEED: A Closet Content Analysis

I suppose I really don't need anything considering no sales event has enticed me to brave the minus 20 weather or the crowds to take advantage of the Boxing Week storefront sales. As well I am a choose-to-be-luddite when it comes to online shopping. I bought an ironing board online and I buy airline tickets online but that's about it. Would that make me a Quazi-Online-Shop-Luddite? Perhaps I will evolve but that may take some time.

It does appear though that I have kept my Black Friday Eve Resolutions. And my food pantry seems to be the only "closet" in my house that has seen anything new in the past two months. 

However, I will be watching the "white sales" in January. My linen closet needs a few new sets of pillow cases and some fitted sheets so that my beds have a better fit. I put one of those pillow tops on top of an already thick mattress set and the fitted sheets I have no longer are so fitted. I have brought large flat linen sheets from France and so that leaves me to replace the fitted sheets. Interestingly, I no longer want to buy "sheet sets" because of the oversize mattress situation. The bed which is queen size does not coordinate with the queen sheet sets. The pillow cases are too short for the pillows, the fitted sheets don't fit and the flats barely drape over the mattress sides. I like a long hang-over (I can't believe I wrote that); no not a hangover but an overhang. And so I have resorted to buy separates, in the same way that separates are now my first choice when buying clothing.

Back to my clothing closets. This is the year that I will get rid of all the stuff that has been hanging in closets that I never look into. It's time to de-clutter and re-analyse my clothing situation. I have done it before but minimally. There is much in my Canadian home that needs to be eliminated and the new year is as good a time to re-new some past resolutions.

There is a philosophy that "stuff" holds us back and doesn't let us move forward. Old stuff that isn't used is resistance to moving ahead and it is truer in my life now than it has ever been. 

Out with the old and in with the new. This thought deserves another post.







Friday, 2 December 2016

The New American First Family Influence on Fashion

Banter around our table about the results of the American election has reflected Canadian tolerance, albeit without total acceptance. Canadian conversation tends to default to the comparison between the American health care system and ours. With the recent appointment of a vociferous critic of any kind of supported health care, I am happy to be living in Canada. My husband is about to have hip surgery and I know that our home is secure and that we won't be bankrupt because of it. I am happy to acknowledge a prime minister who is respected by my European friends and glad that I do not have to rationalize for the bizarre result of a recent election.

This is a fashion blog and so my observations and speculations will deal with a superficial consequence of this election - nothing at all to do with politics but rather how the president-elect and first-lady-to-be will influence fashion trends.

The president-elect appears to favour red ties, white shirts and dark suits therefore a vengeful resurgence of the power suit seems imminent.



Photo Source: Inside Edition
The first-lady-to-be looks fabulous in variations of the sheath dress and so we shall see all manner of sheath dress over the next four years (or at least as long as there is no impeachment).


My predictions are rather obvious and my conclusions were not influenced by a committee based on nepotistic decisions. It will be interesting to see how influential these two are in the fashion world; albeit not nearly as interesting as what will happen on the international political front.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Buy Nothing Day Re-Commitment

It is the eve of Black Friday, otherwise known as Thanksgiving in the United States, and time for me to restate my vows of choosing a day weekly when I will buy nothing. I have to restate this vow annually because like many resolutions, it is short-lived and by the third month I have forgotten that I even made the resolution.

A friend who has school age children has altered "buy nothing day" into "buy only necessities day". She claims there would be times when she had run out of milk and felt guilty about going out to buy it on her affirmed buy nothing day. I speculate that not buying the milk would create greater guilt feelings and so her "buy only necessities day" does make sense for her. 

"Buy only necessities day" could then be expanded to including clothing on my NEED list. Isn't life grand, one can accommodate just about anything if they try hard enough.

But really, I still believe in including a weekly "buy nothing day" in my life. I hope not to forget about it so easily and will attempt to make my resolution last a little longer. I am also going to propose a second "buy only necessities day" which will be restricted to food. For the next year I propose my "buy nothing day" to be Wednesday and my "buy only necessities day" to be Friday. While I'm on the bandwagon, I shall make Saturday a "buy only locally day" to support small independent store owners and all the vendors at the farmers' market. If I do not actually acknowledge those days specifically over the next year, I do know that since I first read about "buy nothing day" in Adbusters magazine, I have slowly changed my buying lifestyle, so that I do not impulse buy anymore, I think twice about where I am buying and I look at the labels to see where things have been made.

But of course, bien sûr, I will not be shopping tomorrow. 

Note: It appears my blog post is on European time while I am writing on Canadian time. Tried to change the time zone but it still reverts to Europe. Sigh. I'll figure it out eventually.

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Top 10 in My Essential Oil "Closet"

Before I left France and in anticipation of not being back for six months, I went shopping for essential oils to carry me through my time in Canada. Of course, I can buy them in Canada, however I find prices more reasonable in France. It is an issue of supply and demand and competition. The French are more used to them as supportive and supplemental treatment. Pharmacies carry essential oils, and French pharmacists can advise you about their use. Ask a North American pharmacist and it is likely that they may not have any academic or professional knowledge about essential oils. The general attitude here among pharmacists tends to be hesitant at best.  

I am self-taught and perhaps more adventuresome in trying  "new" possibilities. Treatment of my husband's legs (he inherited his mother's varicose veins) was my first essential oil challenge. Have the varicose veins completely disappeared? No. Have they improved? Immensely; so much so, that he decided to cancel the surgery recommended to strip the veins. He became a believer. Other benefits might not be so obvious or might be debatable relative to diet or traditional medications; however, I am convinced enough about their efficacy that I am incorporating them to help alleviate potential complications in my diabetic life. I wouldn't be alive without western medical technology (thank you Drs. Banting and Best) but I believe that my general health can be improved through herbal supplementation.

The basics are tried and true and I don't think that I could manage without them now. My top five must-have essential oils are: lavender, tea tree, peppermint, helichrysm and frankincense. If you asked me which of the five I would want if deserted on a tropical island, I probably would opt for frankincense, although as I begin to think about it, I would be able to rationalize for any one of those five, lavender in particular. I use lavender everyday for my personal use and it is a necessity in my linen closet and in my clothing closet - I suppose frankincense would serve me better on a deserted island. Although, peppermint would keep the creepy crawlies away and  . . . no . . . frankincense would be number one on my list.

Next come the specifics for particular conditions and ailments. For my skin I want to have myrrh to complement the frankincense and lavender. For my husband's veins, I want cypress, ginger and mastic or lentisque pistachier which I would add to helichrysm and frankincense. Because we both enjoy wine, rosemary verbenonne and lemon is needed to maintain a healthy liver. For my carpal tunnel and his arthritic pain, I want birch and lemongrass to add to the helichrysm and peppermint. Of course I would take oregano compactum if I was deserted on a tropical island or enjoying the winter on the Canadian prairies. That's just the beginning. 

The next five in importance in my life would be myrrh, cypress, ginger, rosemary and oregano compactum. You can see why I have chosen the original five and so if I had no others to complement their attributes I would be satisfied. Lemon could replace the rosemary but I think it would be number 11 on my list.

If you don't have essential oils in your life yet and for those of you who would like to try essential oils, I would suggest the introductory three: lavender, peppermint and tea tree. Your closets and your body will love lavender. Peppermint will invigorate you and keep creepy crawlies out of your home. Tea tree will kill germs while you clean your space and prevent infections when you use it on yourself.

If you are already using essential oils, which are your favourites? Click on Comments and share your favourite one, two or ten.

They are a pleasure to use and we can always use small pleasures in our lives.





Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Glasses - One Company, Many Options

Closet Content Analysis: Glasses – a Requirement

Necessary     Nice     New     Note-Worthy     No Thanks     Nicest


Necessary: Although students are well into their school year and winter is approaching, the “back to school” vibe is still with me: new books, new clothes, and a new pair of glasses are elements I still enjoy incorporating into my life even though it has been awhile since I have had to “go back”. Getting a new pair of glasses every fall is an event that I have not outgrown although this year I have been slow to fill this requirement. There is always a silver lining. My late start this year coincides perfectly with the launch of Warby Parker’s Winter Collection.

Nice: Choices can be expensive and overwhelming and brands confusing so it is NICE if you can find an independent brand that offers you style, quality, choice, service, and a decent price. The bonus comes when you find out that the company makes significant contributions to helping those in need. Warby Parker, a major force in the business of glasses, is a name you should start getting used to saying. Although the company was founded in 2010, I only discovered them recently. Say it again, Warby Parker, and this time imagine the convenience and ease of online shopping with perks such as a “ home try on” period. They also have retail storefronts in Toronto and in major U.S. centres.

New: The winter collection, launched just this week, has been described by the Warby Parker brand team as a winter palette incorporating “icy landscapes, sun reflecting off snowbanks, long shadows and flora in hibernation”. I am starting to think of the clothing in my closet from that perspective – thank you Warby Parker brand team for the perfect description of a winter wardrobe and matching accessories.

Photo Source: Warby Parker

As well a collaboration with Leith Clark has lead to the creation of five new vintage-inspired frames, incorporating rimless frames, filigree, mixed material construction (such as gold-plated titanium coupled with premium cellulose acetate) and exposed screws.

Leith Clark Fleta in Ivory Pearl. Photo Source: Warby Parker

Note-Worthy: Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need (Retrieved from https://www.warbyparker.com/history on November 2, 2016).

Added to that, the partnership with Leith Clark acknowledges Clark’s dedication to “Girl Up”, a United Nations Foundation campaign which encourages girls to raise awareness and funds for UN programs that provide life-changing opportunities for girls all around the world.

No Thanks: Of course, there are those who have complicated prescriptions or need progressive lenses and feel more comfortable with a f2f experience and that is where the 80/20 rule kicks in – 80% of us probably do not need specialized services therefore ordering online appears to be a good option. But even then, they do their best to accommodate the needs of the 20% with a supplementary credit if you require a major adjustment and have to go to a storefront optician other than theirs.


Nicest: The collections for men and women! Whether you have a pair to match every look you present or wear one frame 24/7, there are upscale choices for downscale prices.


Photo Source: Warby Parker

Photo Source: Warby Parker
Photo Source: Warby Parker

Friday, 21 October 2016

How Do You Lose a Dress?

My Favourite LBD. Photo by JoyD.
How did I lose my LBD? The last time I wore my little black dress was at the beginning of July on the last night of the river cruise. My husband, who always does a once over as we are leaving hotel or guest rooms, would have noticed a dress. I packed. Surely, I would have noticed. This was not a scarf that fell behind a piece of furniture or a pair of underpants tangled in the sheets. However, I don't know where it is.

Yes, this has happened to me before. Travelling between two homes doesn't help. Yet my husband is not convinced that I have "lost" my dress. 

"Have you checked the foyer closet?"

My response was neither yes or no because in fact, I hadn't checked the foyer closet. I replied with a question, "Why would I have put it in the foyer closet when I was unpacking? I unpacked my suitcase in the bedroom, I would have put it in my closet." He didn't offer any further explanations or suggestions.

Concluding that surely I had left my LBD somewhere in my June and July travels, I began planning a replacement purchase. 


LBD. Photo Source: Unknown
It should be easy to replace it or maybe not. I do have particular criteria.

1. Length - as in the photo here, it should just graze the top of the knee to be the right proportion for my height.

2. Neckline - the last LBD had a simple round neckline with a 5 cm centre slit. This time, I think I will again look for a simple round neck  or perhaps a v-neck

3. Syle - I definitely want a narrow sheath; Not a wrap as in the photo, not a full skirt, and not an A-line.

That's it, that's all. It should be easy.

It became easier. In preparation for returning to Canada, I was sorting through the things in the foyer closet and there it was.

"Is that it?" I heard over my shoulder.

"It is. I found it." There was no I told you so. He's like that. 

"Good. Are you still planning to buy another black dress?"

"It might be a good idea. After all, just in case I do lose it, I'll have one ready and waiting."

"Bon idée." That's why we are still married after all these years.

I no longer "need" to plan a buying trip for a little black dress. 

Nice.