Saturday, March 24, 2007
I grew up with so many clothing Rules. Don't wear white after Labor Day or before Memorial Day. Don't mix prints and textures. Your bag, shoes and belt should match and should be the same tone or darker than your clothing. Don't wear dangly earrings during the day. Don't mix black and brown. And then there are the "fat" rules...don't wear horizontal stripes, do wear a single dark color head to toe, do wear heels to look taller. Not to mention the Fashion rules...THIS is IN this season! THAT is OUT! It's enough to make une femme crazy and more than just a little paranoid before leaving the house in the morning!
One of my favorite blogs, and one that I invariably click on daily is The Sartorialist. "Sart," as he is referred to by his readers, takes photos of people he encounters on the street in New York, Paris, Milan, and other cities he visits and posts them on his blog, often with some commentary about what he felt was notable about their ensemble. He is a fashion insider, but many of the people he captures are not, just people whom he feels have their own sense of style, or who put items of clothing together in new and interesting ways. His photos often go far beyond the level of candid street photos, and in my opinion more often than not achieve a level of portraiture that is true art. One of the things I love is that his photos celebrate style and not fashion, and his subjects range widely in age, size, ethnicity and in how they put themselves together. He also seems to capture a good bit of the essence and personality of his subjects. While I may not find every person's style that he features appealing or appropriate for me, I can appreciate how people mix styles and textures and it's definitely inspired me to wear some things together that I never would have done before. One of my new favorite combinations is brown or rust and grey together, something that I never would have worn prior. I've been working hard the last few years to clear out the Old Rules in all areas of my life, the ones that were handed or drilled into me when I was younger, and develop my own. Reading The Sartorialist has definitely helped me to do this in the area of clothing and style.
Sunday, March 18, 2007
It seems to me my fate (or perhaps the intentional vagaries of fashion) that as soon as I find the perfect lip color or brand of clothing or shoes, it's discontinued. The latest to fall by the wayside is Forth & Towne. This store (owned by the Gap conglomerate) just recently opened in my area, and for me it was like striking the wardrobe Motherlode. They market to the 40+ niche who wants fashion-current clothes at affordable prices. They offer wonderful service and a pleasant shopping environment, and styles I could really get into. For those of you who haven't discovered this yet, there isn't much out there geared to 40+ women that isn't either dowdyfrumpy or more appropriate for cruises and the golf course than for career wear or going out for a nice dinner at a trendy bistro with one's husband. I'm glad now I stocked up when I did on the cute 3/4 sleeve cropped jackets and tops, because I learned this week they're closing their doors in June. (Full story here at Save The Towne blogspot.) Some of the jackets I bought at F&T recently look like current styles by Chloé and other designers you see in the magazines, but affordable and wearable. While I've found a few things here and there at stores like Ann Taylor and Banana Republic that work for me, they tend to be fewer and farther between, with the majority of clothing seemingly designed to appeal more to the 20's and early 30's age group. Spaghetti strap tops and low-rider jeans for the office don't quite work for me. So I'll definitely be checking out the merchandise frequently between now and June when they close their doors, and hope that some other astute clothing companies note their success and look to fill that niche.
Welcome, all you femmes of a certain age.
I started this blog to have a place to express my more frivolous side, the side that loves clothing and obessesses over handbags and just the right color of lipstick. The side that is still trying to find my own style. The side that wants to make the most of the rest of my life, and feel bien dans sa peau ("good in one's own skin"). The side that enjoys good food and good wine and good company, the side the comes out to play.
I consider myself a feminist, and have (at least for the time being) reconciled these sides of myself. If you're searching for serious content, you'll probably be disappointed. Don't bother to express your dismay that I'm not writing about the plight of women under Sharia law or the FUBAR situation in Iraq or the mess the spoiled children have made in Washington or global warming. There are many, many people out there doing a far better job covering those topics that I could ever hope to, and I've linked to several of them. I'm hoping that at some point I'll have enough of a readership to share thoughts and ideas (e.g. someone other than myself) so feel free to drop a comment in the box!