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#overdressed4life

Fabulous jewelry transformation. Image courtesy of Baribault Jewelers.

I wrote a short story last year in which one of my characters took her engagement ring and had it repurposed into what she called her “disengagement ring.” I was inspired by my mother who did that very same thing years ago after her divorce. Turns out my mother was ahead of her time.

Repurposing jewelry is a trend and we’re not talking just engagement rings – Grandma’s diamond brooch? Mon’s sapphire dinner ring? Dad’s cufflinks? All of these family heirlooms could come out of the dark and live a new life and Baribault Jewelers can make it happen!

Based in Glastonbury, Connecticut, Baribault Jewelers is a family owned business and since 1948 they have been offering their customers quality fine jewelry as well as repair. In 2015 they added Repurposing to their options. “It’s time for people to take those family heirlooms out of the vault and transform them into jewelry they’ll want to wear every day,” said Christina Baribault-Ortiz, co-owner of Baribault Jewelers.  “Whether its rings, bracelets, pins, medals, necklaces or earrings, our team is up for the challenge of taking your most meaningful piece and reimaging it to be meaningfully you.”

It doesn’t matter if you’re on the East Coast, West Coast or in-between, the staff at Baribault can work with you. Got something sitting in a safe-deposit box? Give it a new life and yourself a piece of jewelry you will wear every day. Set up a time online for Baribault to give you a call and make that transformation!

She opened her wardrobe. Guilty by Design, she thought, looking at a black shift dress she had bought from the aptly named dress shop in Morningside, for there was a great deal of guilt involved in the buying of expensive dresses – delicious guilt; she had loved that dress and had worn it too often. Italians wore black, did they not? So something different – a red cashmere polo-neck would transform the skirt, and a pair of dangly diamanté earrings would add to the effect. There!

Isabel Dalhousie – fictional character in the book Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, the second novel in a mystery series featuring Isabel, by Alexander McCall Smith.

Guilt for buying expensive dresses? Well, no need for guilt IF the expensive dress is worn. Isabel has worn her expensive dress “too often” apparently and gotten her money’s worth. I don’t think you can wear a dress too often. As long as the dress is kept clean and and mended if needed, wear, wear, wear what you have and buy less. An LBD (little black dress) is an investment and with accessories can be styled so many different ways – worn with an elegant pair of pumps and a strand of pearls for a special occasion or with sneakers and a cardi for a casual lunch.

I think I have mentioned that I am a fan of (good) mystery novels and my current favorite is the Isabel Dalhouise series. McCall Smith sets these mysteries in Edinburgh and treats his readers to detailed descriptions of various blocks and neighborhoods giving us a real feel for the city. I love that he gently uses clothing to reflect aspects of his characters and the mysteries themselves are unusual (and perhaps a bit thin to be honest.) For example in Friends, Lovers, Chocolate, Isabel (the editor of a philosophy journal) meets a man who has recently had a heart transplant and is haunted by memories of things that didn’t happen to him. Hmm … what’s that all about? Isabel is going to find out!

What I like most about this series is hanging out with our heroine. She lives an interesting life in a big house in an old city and as a philosopher, she ponders the world and gets herself into quite a few moral dilemmas.

Tie-dye dress from Tory Burch Spring/Summer 2013.

I have loved tie-dye since high school. It reminds me of my first concert and endless summers. Many cultures, like those in India, Japan, and Africa, have a tradition of dyeing that is unique to their region. The tie-dye pieces from our Spring 2013 runway were handmade by women artisans in the Republic of Guinea, through a partnership with the non-profit organization – There is No Limit Foundation. These artists are keeping traditions alive, while supporting their families and communities.

Tory Burch – American fashion designer.

This quote is from the book Tory Burch: In Color (Abrams).

I would wear this dress by Tory Burch. I like the simple shirtwaist silhouette, which allows the tie-dye fabric to be the focus. I also like the classic indigo blue and white combo. So crisp and chic! There’s something about dark blue with a touch of white that feels just right for September – back to school, back to work, in my case back to the writing desk – on late summer afternoons, just before we switch to autumnal colors.

Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II (1926-2022).

Always elegant in her style. Always gracious in her manner. Always striving to do her best.

The Queen pictured with her favorite creatures – Corgis and horses – at Balmoral Castle in Scotland, 1965. Photo: Godfrey Argent. Such a smart riding jacket.
Pearls, brooches, hats, and a big smile. Queen Elizabeth II. Cover photo for the book Queen of the World, by Robert Hardman. Getty Photos. The Queen was known for her bright colors, which she wore in public so that the people who were in the very very back of the crowd could spot her.

After ten days of official mourning, today is The Queen’s funeral.

Rest in peace.

I Am Coco by Isabel Pin

Award winning illustrator Isabel Pin has just published her latest children’s book, I Am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel (Prestel Publishing).

Much has been written about the designer/fashion icon Coco Chanel (even for children), however, there’s something quite unique and compelling about Ms. Pin’s addition to the stack. As the author and illustrator, she gives readers an overview of Chanel’s life from young orphan at the turn of the last century to innovative designer to icon, highlighting the big events in her life – short-lived singing career, first shop, love affairs, world wars, daring designs, and her comeback in the late 1950s.

Illustrations From the book I am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel.

Each chapter of the story is concisely written and embellished with colorful illustrations. Although Pin’s depictions bear little resemblance to Chanel, her simple drawings with a swipe of added color grew on me. (Her style actually reminds me of mid-century fashion illustrations, in particular Andy Warhol, who was a fashion illustrator in his early career.) Pin’s images of Chanel, her life, and designs are as delightful to look at as a plate of pink and green French Macarons.

Chanel’s story takes place in the world of fashion, but the message within her story is perseverance. In addition to learning about Chanel’s life and achievements, young readers will find in I Am Coco fashion history, inspiration, and encouragement to follow their ambitions.

I Am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel by Isabel Pin is targeted for readers aged six to nine, but this its a fun read at any age.

(Thank you Prestel Publishing and Media Masters Publicity for providing a review copy to ODFL.)

Illustration of Coco Chanel by Isabel Pin from I Am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel (Prestel Publishing).

In order to be irreplaceable, one has to be different.

So true! This reminds me of something a local clothing manufacturer once told me. He said that people don’t want to stand out in their fashion. They want to blend in.

I can understand that. It’s easier to blend in. To not be different. Particularly in our modern world, where life is so hectic. BUT, it’s a lot less fun.

Come back to ODFL tomorrow for my review of I Am Coco: The Life of Coco Chanel by award winning children’s book illustrator, Isabel Pin.

We Can Do It!

During WWII American women joined the workforce in droves to replace the men who went off to fight. By 1945 one out of every four married women worked outside the home, many of them working in the aviation industry. The original illustration that we know as “Rosie the Riveter” was was drawn by artist J. Howard Miller, who was hired by Westinghouse to create morale-boosting posters for the company’s workers. The poster was only seen by Westinghouse staff and just for a two week period in 1943. When the image was rediscovered in the 1980s it quickly became associated with feminism and mistakenly identified as the Rosie the Riveter illustration created by Norman Rockwell for the cover of The Saturday Evening Post in May 1943.

By the way, I took the image from a badge for the 1993 inauguration of Bill Clinton.

Wishing all workers a happy, safe, and restful Labor Day.

Taking a deep breath, I stand in front of the mirror. It is the perfect dress for a sea sprite. It is the perfect dress for me. It ripples and shimmers when I move and the color is amazing – it brings out the tiny bit of red in my hair, and the gold in my skin. Unlike the experience of wearing the beautiful dress in London, this time I don’t feel like I’m pretending to be someone else. I notice that there have been no shoes included with my costume, but this time I know that only bare feet will work.

Lou Trevelyan – 18-year-old fictional character in the book A Sky Painted Gold, by Laura Wood (Random House).

(The color of the dress that Lou is referring to is seafoam and made from organza fabric.)

A Sky Painted Gold is a coming of age story set in a village in Cornwall, England over summer 1929. I heard about this novel from Miranda Mills Comfort Book Club.

Inspiration can be found anywhere at any time. I often stumble upon something that sets my imagination whirling into fashion mode, even though I’m not a designer.

Recently I was visiting Filoli Historic House and Garden in Woodside. While roaming the gardens I was taken with these bright and happy flowers. I commented to my partner that I could see these flowers on fabric. Then I started thinking – If I were a designer I would paint these flowers onto a medium weight cotton fabric in a repeated small print, perfect for a summer shirtwaist dress. An alternative would be to paint large, also on cotton fabric and make a caftan with a matching turban. Painted on silk, what fabulous lining for a lightweight coat. How about a silk quilted coat? Then I thought that if I were a fashion designer I would create a spring/summer line all based on the Filoli garden flowers.

I play this game – If I Were a Fashion Designer – whenever something sparks my fashionable imagination.

Needle, needle, dip and dart.

Thrusting up and down,

Where’s the man could ease a heart

Like a satin gown?

See the stitches curve and crawl

Round the cunning seams –

Patterns thin and sweet and small

As a lady’s dreams.

Wantons go in bright brocades;

Brides in organdie;

Gingham’s for the plighted maid;

Satin’s for the free!

Wool’s to line a miser’s chest;

Crape’s to calm the old;

Velvet hides an empty breast;

Satin’s for the bold!

Lawn is for a bishop’s yoke;

Linen’s for a nun;

Satin is for the wiser folk –

Would the dress were done!

Satin glows in candlelight –

Satin’s for the proud!

They will say who watch at night,

“What a fine shroud!”

Dorothy Parker (d.1967), American poet. The Satin Dress was published in 1926.

Happy Birthday to Dorothy Parker, born this day in 1893.