Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Because... getting dressed should be fun!

Category: Accessories

Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery?

Imitation is the Most Sincere Form of Flattery?

The familiar quote above is from CC Colton, although others have said similar through the ages. In our social media (especially Pinterest) age, where are the lines between imitation, inspiration, and cultural appropriation?

Imitation and Inspiration

I will say flat out, that I have no answers here! This is all interpretation, unless you are dealing with patent law, and piracy, neither of which involve flattery, merely profit. For fashion or style, I define imitation as the the duplication of another’s look. Maybe, you are trying to duplicate one of Kate Middleton’s maternity looks for a baby shower. You find the same dress, and the closest possible shoes, but alas, you cannot duplicate the jewels! Understandable, so you go for a matching set you have that is similar. You are trying to recreate her look. That says imitation to me. Pre-teens do this all the time; I am sure most of us have seen two or three together, (sometimes more!) wearing matching outfits.

Inspiration works on a much looser principle. You like someone’s look, and you take something from that look, and make it your own. Maybe you use the color scheme, or the proportions, or the way she mixed her jewelry, but you do it using your own items, in a way that works for your personality, shape, and lifestyle. I have a client who loves Katherine Hepburn in her wide legged trousers and crisp white shirts, and Nicole Kidman’s modern interpretation of that same Elegant Chic. My client would be swamped in wide legged trousers, and does not wear woven shirts, but she takes her inspiration from the color combinations, and simple accessories they use.

Cultural (Mis)Appropriation

Talk of imitation and inspiration often leads to a discussion on cultural (mis)appropriation. This is a messy topic, and much like the author of this article in The Atlantic, I do not want to only live the culture of my Irish, German, and Alsatian ancestors; I would look silly running about in a dirndl and shawl. (Although a pint of Guiness would not be a strain…) I can see how taking elements from another’s culture, using them for profit, and not giving credit is a problem, as the author of this Thoughtco.com article elucidates. Years ago, I was astonished when a folk-dance enthusiast and instructor commented on a necklace I was wearing. She recognized it as an antique Kuchi Wedding Necklace (I think…) and asked how it came to be in my possession. She told me these necklaces were very special pieces, and rarely left the family. When I put on the silver necklace that was a gift from my mother, I was not pretending to be an Afghan bride. My mother saw it at an estate sale, and thought the craftsmanship beautiful; it is a work of art.  I wear it with that same appreciation. I appreciate its beauty even more, now that I know more about it.

Most of us are past the imitation phase in our lives, so, where do you find inspiration for your outfits? Please share in the comments below!

 

Beauty Bundles

Beauty Bundles

I love the ever amazing Brenda Kinsel, and the versatility of what she (and many others, now) calls Beauty Bundles. A Beauty Bundle (BB) is a group of coordinated accessories that can be used to add a punch to a variety of outfits. Think of them as accessory families. Now don’t panic. A BB is not fixed; you don’t have to wear all the pieces at once, and there is no set number of pieces required. You probably have some at home already…

(Please forgive my extremely amateur photos… They were taken years ago, for my own reference, ages before I ever imagined I would be blogging!)

Color or Theme?

Often, BB’s are thought of as a way to add color to an outfit, and they can be a great way to pop your neutrals, or add a second color to an outfit without feeling like you are dressed like a clown. If a Beauty Bundle is an accessory family, think of the bundle’s DNA as what makes it hang together. That DNA could be a color, or a theme. I have a polka dot problem (no there is no support group available, yet!) and pulled together a polka dot bundle. No, I would not wear all my polka dots at once, but I would mix up two or maybe three! Maybe you feel a little rebellious some days and need a Rock-n-Roll Bundle. One summer, feeling a little sad that a trip to Capri was not on my itinerary (A friend was going and I was extremely happy for her, as well as a little jealous), I pulled together a Capri beauty bundle. In my mind’s eye, that meant turquoise blue, gold, and white, and a boho luxe flair. While she was away, I joined her (in spirit) on her trip by wearing items from my Capri bundle each day. Crazy? Probably, but it made me happy, and when we did sneak off to the beach later in the summer, I packed my bundle, and that long weekend became my Capri!

Packing with a Bundle

Which brings us to one of the ways Beauty Bundles can be most effectively used. Packing! I love to travel, and will throw together a suitcase at the drop of a hat. Weekend away is one of my favorite phrases in the English language. A BB, whether by color, or theme, can help a suitcase full of basics turn into a customized travel wardrobe. Imagine my Capri bundle on the left packed with white jeans, a white tee, a denim shirt, a turquoise tee, and a chambray sundress and a swimsuit. You would be dressed for days, with very little in your bag!

Pulling Together a Bundle

Since color is the easiest place to start, head to your closet or drawers and choose a colored accessory. It could be a pair of shoes, a scarf, a handbag, or jewelry. This is your starting point. Now look through your other pieces and see what else you have that shares that piece’s color DNA. Look everywhere. Bandanas count, too! Take a snapshot of your bundle, and next time you put on jeans and a white tee, add two or three pieces from your bundle, and see if you don’t feel more polished.

Jewel and Hammer

Jewel and Hammer

July Monkey Mind: Support Small Business in the CSRA!

A Christmas in July sign got me thinking about Small Business Saturday. This led to thoughts about how I want to spend my money and support our local CSRA businesses. (Even if the big box store is unavoidable for some purchases!) Which led to “Is there any other way I can help my local businesses?” Aha! I can showcase a local business on this blog. Maybe it could be a regular thing? So, starting with that silly sign, here is my first attempt at showcasing a local business.  I would love to do this more than once a month, but let’s see how this flies. Please note that I have not been compensated in any way for sharing this information with you!

Jewel and Hammer

Jewel and Hammer is a husband and wife team (Why don’t we say wife and husband?) in Grovetown who make whimsical, interesting, and beautiful jewelry! Shannon and Ryan Cooley craft their pretties in their home workshop to sell on Etsy . First, if you ever have the opportunity to meet the Cooley clan, be ready for enthusiasm! Shannon, Ryan, and their lovely girls are a bundle of ideas, energy, and just plain fun. This is truly a family business, they handcraft all the pieces, shoot the photos,  write the copy, and do their own web-work. They are a remarkable Renaissance couple. I was lucky enough to visit their workshop and see their beautiful pieces in person this past week. What a treat!

Geek Chic

Shannon and Ryan work in a variety of media, wire, semi-precious, stones, sterling silver, Swarovski crystals, Pokémon cards, and Magic the Gathering cards. Yes, you read that right! They have an entire line of Geek Chic pieces made from the cards. Lest you think these are just for children, I know quite a few adults who can tell you their favorite Pokémon character with no hesitation whatsoever. Yes, I mean adults with children and gainful employment! Alongside the G/C items, they also make one-of-a-kind wire wrapped pendants and earrings. I am keeping my eyes open for the wire wrapped bracelets Ryan told me will be coming in the next few months. He treats the copper wire to prevent further oxidation (that’s what makes you green!). Shannon does most of the filigree and crystal work, including their super sparkly line for those who just can’t get enough shine, particularly those in the ballroom dance community. I often have a problem with many earrings being too heavy, especially sparkly ones, so I was thrilled to feel how lightweight these are. Positively gravity defying! If that’s not enough variety, my favorite pieces are their Steampunk items, and Shannon was telling me all about plans for a bag of watch parts they just received… And some pearls, don’t even get me started on the pearls…

Truly Original

Jewel and Hammer’s pieces are one of a kind, and very reasonably priced! You will not see your purchase on every neck about town, so if you are someone who seeks out the unique, check them out. They are more than willing to work with clients who may wish to further customize a piece. I found a pendant for a gift, and asked if there was a way to add X and Y. Shannon helped me find just the right jewels and pearls to take it to another level of refinement. My stylist side appreciates their individuality, and the variety of styles and of scale. If you prefer larger, more bold pieces, there are items for you, and if you prefer smaller, more subtle jewelry, that base is covered, too! When you are looking for not-to-be-duplicated gift, for yourself or someone else, try Jewel and Hammer!

What other CSRA businesses should I check out? Please let me know in the comments below!

Finishing an Outfit

Finishing an Outfit

Common conversation…

“How can I make a casual outfit look not sloppy?”

“Do you mean casual, but intentionally so?”

“YES! That’s exactly what I meant! How do I do that?”

This conversation, or a variation of it, happens almost weekly! So many women with very casual lifestyles go through their day feeling messy and not very together. Three is a lucky number for me, so here are three tips to help you with that casual, but intentionally so feeling.

Grooming

Even if you are having a jeans and tee shirt day, take a moment to check your grooming. I’m not suggesting makeup for the opera, but make sure your teeth are clean, and your hair is brushed. I am sure you are doing this anyway, but somethings are worth hearing again. A little mascara, and some tinted lip balm can take your face from naked to defined. If you, like me, are loving your grey hair, making sure your brows are defined can make a world of difference! One sure route to looking intentional is a quick swipe of bold lipstick. Red, pink, plum, whatever you love, as long as it’s bold, it can stand alone.

Shoes

If you want to feel more put together, put on a pair of shoes. By this, I mean (very loosely) what my mother used to call “real shoes.” Not shoes you would wear to the beach, or in a locker room shower. Not bedroom slippers. Not gym shoes. I don’t mean you have to wear heels, but a shoe that would not be at home in the gym or at the beach looks more like you meant to get dressed that morning, and less like you just threw on yesterday’s clothes that were hanging on the chair… If you want to wear gym shoes, than go all out and rock them with a skirt or dress, street style!

The Power of Three (3)

No higher math required! Just think in threes. Odd numbers are interesting to the human eye. Research shows that even wee little babies will look longer at odd numbered groups of objects than at even numbered groups. Use this inherent trait and add a third piece to an outfit, like a vest or a jacket over a top and bottom. If that is too warm for you or your climate, then use three pieces that relate, as in the Polyvore above. The three could be related by color, or by theme. Maybe you love flowers; then wear floral Keds, a silver floral pendant, and a hair elastic topped with a flower! Look through your accessories and find groupings that make you happy, then throw them on like you mean it!

Fall Shopping When You Live in HOT, HOT, HOT!

Fall Shopping When You Live in HOT, HOT, HOT!

Back to School Shopping, Already?

How to even start thinking about fall shopping and fashion when the temps are in the high 90’s, and sandal weather in your area lasts well into November? It’s a real challenge when the back to school shopping onslaught begins and the temps are still sweltering. Stores are already starting to stock for Back-to-School because our students start during the first half of August. But… here in Georgia, just the thought of jeans, boots, and a sweater is enough to bring on heat stroke! Unfortunately, the retail cycle is such that when we here in the southeast US finally need those jeans, boots, and sweaters, the stores are stocking resort wear and bathing suits for those escaping the cold for a holiday in the sun!

Smart Shopping: Make the Cycle Work

What’s a wise consumer to do? Be a wardrobe planner, and strategic shopper. Especially if you are a hard to fit shape or size! This is where knowing what suits you, what fits your lifestyle, and what you love, should intersect with what you see coming into the stores in the fall rush. A little research (or the help of an image coach or personal shopper) is the place to start. Find out what the upcoming season’s style and color trends are before you go to the stores. You may decide that you just can’t live without that embroidered handbag and the newest jacket silhouette, or you may decide the entire season is a wash, and choose to  save your money. It could be that this fall, the racks will be loaded with colors that are perfect for you. If so, take advantage and stock up on flattering pieces in your signature shades! Next year that particular color is likely to be nowhere to be found.

Fall Dressing in Warmer Climes

What about staying current and in season when the fashion and weather are at odds? I grew up in a distinctly 4 season climate and like to make a seasonal change, but where I live now, it needs to be subtle. I keep wearing my warm weather styles, but switch over to a more fall-like color scheme for variety. Instead of wearing my jeans with a pink top, the pink will be replaced by a darker wine for a cooler weather look without upping the heat factor. Sleeveless cardigans/vests are a great way to add a layer without (too much) weight. If even the most lightweight scarf feels like too much, consider layering a necklace or two. When sandals are still a must, think about darker shades, and suede finishes for a more fall feel. You don’t need to wrap up in wool and boots to give your look a cooler weather vibe! You can use color and detail to create the feel and variety without the overheating…