Pick a color.

Pick a color.

In college I worked for a dancewear store and was taught how to fit both the ballet slipper and the toe shoe. (They don’t fit like regular shoes, but that’s another story.) I often thought, why should these cute slippers be just for ballet? One day I bought a pair for myself in mauve (they only came in black and mauve) and wore them around the house.

Since then the “ballet flat” silhouette has become a wardrobe staple for women and Linge Shoes is taking a step forward into the real thing. They have come out with a line of what they call shoes that are indeed actual ballet slippers.

Super comfortable and soft, Linge Shoes ballet slippers are made of soft leather in fun, bright colors and I say are a perfect choice for indoor sporting:

  • around the house with silk pajamas – what elegance!
  • at work when you need a break from those heels
  • on a long flight or car ride
  • they would be supper cute at a lawn party

Do you have a no-shoe policy in your home? Keep a basket of Linge Shoes ballet slippers for your guests. I also see these colorful slippers on the bride at her reception and what great bridesmaids gifts. Unlike the traditional ballet slipper they fit true to size, the vamp comes up a little higher and the elastic strap is already sewn on.

I have to say that I don’t recommend these for street wear because they really are made just like a ballet dance slipper with the pleats at the toe and a thin suede sole, which offers no support. I’m hoping one day soon Linge Shoes will put a sole on that slipper and make it a shoe!


51haN2ypgFL__SX258_BO1,204,203,200_We were making everything in-store, responding to what was popular and making our own fabrics. We must have made three million garments over lots and lots of designs. You know what’s selling so you can make more, or make ones from a similar pattern. It was like fast fashion but faster.

- Barbara Hulanicki recently speaking to The Guardian about her very popular London shop, BIBA.

Ms. Hulanicki has just published a new book, The BIBA Years: 1963-1975 (V&A Publishing, 2014).

elizabethclineI think expressing yourself through clothes is about knowing yourself and your own personal style and knowing what kinds of silhouettes, colors, or prints that you like to wear. Knowing that means you naturally stop buying things that only get worn once or sit in the back of your closet. Instead, you buy things that you wear all the time and return to season after season. It’s far less wasteful and disposable.

- Elizabeth Cline, author of Over-Dressed: The Shockingly High Cost of Cheap Fashion (Portfolio Hardcover, 2012).

(This quote was part of a Q&A with Ms. Cline and Keri Wiginton on the sewing website Coletterie. Click here to read the entire interview. )


Miss Lemon was always as chic as her famous detective employer.

I am very interested in fashion and was very clear about how I wanted her to appear: Very tailored. No embellishment, no frills to speak of and strong colour. Which is why we tended towards burgundy and navy and that family of colour, to be very strong and striking. Celadon green was one of my favourites, too.

- Pauline Moran, English actress

In this quote Ms. Moran is speaking of costumes for her role as Miss Lemon in Agatha Christie’s Poirot television series.

In the books Miss Lemon is described as dowdy and unattractive. Well damn, Agatha, that’s no fun! Lucky for us Ms. Moran would have none of that and insisted on adding a bit of panache to her character.



IMG_0490It’s true, I tend to treat myself to a few wonderful sartorial things a year. Perhaps something custom-made or handcrafted to add to my wardrobe, but I keep it to pieces I need and rarely do I indulge in a luxury brand item.

Then one day an e-mail popped up from Hermès. I’ve always admired the craft of the Hermès scarf, if not the motifs, which are a little busy. Still, the layers of color and the screen-printing all done by hand … I love the whole idea. I was happy just to look until that e-mail arrived showing off their latest silk twill pocket square with the oh-so 1920s and 30s looking women, sporty, and in autumn colors. A pocket square is quite a bit smaller than a scarf but large enough to wear and within my price range. I had to have it, although, I kept to my long tradition of sleeping on any expensive purchase.

At first I thought I wanted to make a special occasion of it and journey over to San Francisco to the Hermès boutique and get the whole luxury shopping experience. However, having to work to afford the lovely accessory, I soon let go of that and ordered online. Within days the package arrived with a card that said: To Me from Me, just because.

I was all happy smiles slowly untying the brown ribbon from the signature orange box. Peeling back the delicate tissue paper I delighted in seeing my new pocket square nicely folded in quarters. As expected, it is rich in color and finely detailed with rolled edges that were hand sewn and done so in France, merci beaucoup!


I haven’t worn it yet but I look forward to doing so this autumn.

Hey, readers, have you treated yourself lately? Leave a comment and tell us all about it.

7sistersI’ve sold every frill and ruffle/And have tried in vain to muffle/My longing for a floating veil or two.

- Mary L Wellington, Smith student class of 1916. From her poem The Wail of the Tailored Maid.

In honor of Back to School, I’m reading Seven Sisters Style: The All American Preppy Look, by Rebecca C. Tuite (Rizzoli, 2014). Seven Sisters refers to the seven liberal arts women’s colleges located in the Northeast United States and established between 1837 and 1889.

  • Barnard
  • Bryn Mawr
  • Mount Holyoke
  • Radcliffe
  • Smith
  • Vassar
  • Wellesley

(Radcliffe and Vassar are now co-ed.)

In the early 20th century, the Seven Sisters students made great strides in getting away from the restrictions of fashion dictates, such as corsets. Borrowing from their male peers at Ivy League colleges, the young ladies adopted more casual and comfortable wear and eventually developed what is now called the Preppy Look. We all know what that’s like – Bermuda shorts, varsity sweaters, saddle shoes, Oxford shirts, plaid skirts. Preppy changes and evolves with each new generation but it retains its style identity and collegiate roots.

Happy Back to School!



Image courtesy of the Art Deco Society of California.

Image courtesy of the Art Deco Society of California.

Those of us who yearn for the grace of the early 20th century have our own time machine called Gatsby Summer Afternoon. This popular event is a period costume picnic held every second Sunday in September at the Dunsmuir Hellman Historic Estate in the Oakland Hills and it’s produced by the Art Deco Society of California.  In its 30th year, Gatsby Summer Afternoon is coming up on Sunday, September 14th.

Attendees arrive all decked out in 20s garden party day-wear and set up picnic sites using only vintage gear and vintage-style food (hello Jell-O and tea sandwiches). The afternoon includes a display of vintage cars, music by Don Neely’s Royal Society Jazz Orchestra, dancing, croquet lessons, touring the Dunsmuir mansion, and perhaps winning one of the contests for: Best Car, Best Costume, Best Charleston, or Best Picnic Site. Oh, and everyone enjoys the Decobelles dance routine and the crowning of this year’s Miss Art Deco.

Heather Ripley is a regular and often volunteers. In fact one year she was the event Chair and this year she’s on the planning committee. What Heather appreciates most is the elegant ambiance of the day. “It’s amazing to see the lawn transform from an empty field to a charming picture postcard scene from another era,” says Heather. “I make a point to take a few minutes to stop and step back and drink it all in.”


Last year we set up our Scotty Dog themed picnic site under a tree.

There’s plenty of time to purchase tickets and get thinking about what to wear. A little stumped? Not to worry, show up on the day and stop by The Costume Closet where vintage stylist Jonathan Belmares and his assistants will suit you up. Picnic sites can be as simple or elaborate as you like or skip that part and just roam the grounds.

Gatsby Summer Afternoon is THE period costume event of the year and a lovely note on which to end the summer. Check out the website for all the information you need, including tips on:

  • fashions of the era
  • how to put together the perfect picnic site
  • what kind of food fits the bill
  • and all the dos and don’ts of the day!

See you there, Old Sport!



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