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Archive for May, 2016

Jessie-Tyler-Ferguson-Bow-Tie-OrganizationI always get annoyed when I’m told what I have to wear to a restaurant, but I do miss the days when people got dressed up to go to the theater or get on an airplane. There’s something nice about dressing formally to show respect for these fine dining establishments that have become institutions.

– Jesse Tyler Ferguson, American actor (TV sitcom Modern Family) and designer of bow ties. Mr. Ferguson is also opening a one-man show on Broadway called Fully Committed.

I miss those days too, but I don’t let the drop in standards interfere with my personal dress code. I’m pretty much overdressed, relatively speaking, all the time.

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IMG_20160517_145333Congratulations to Carlota Caulfield on the publication of her fashion memoir, Fashionable: A Poet’s Passion for Style (Ediciones Torremozas, S.L., 2016).

Carlota, poet and professor at Mills College in Oakland, CA is a woman of distinctive style. I know her from my days working in the library at Mills. I always enjoyed a visit from Carlota because she’s interesting to chat with and also because it was a treat to see her outfits.

With a touch of Berkeley sensibility mixed with European flair, Carlota creates unique, sophisticated looks for herself – often including layers, a hat, maybe a scarf and always the most intriguing shoes.

In Fashionable: A Poet’s Passion for Style we get a glimpse of Carlota’s sartorial past and present. She shares stories of her fondness for shoes, which started as a child growing up in Cuba, and why she feels hats are important – “A hat has the power to transform us.” She discusses perfume, pajamas, the LBD and many more topics of fashion all with a sense of fun and play.

A lovely and fashionable read.

 

 

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China Dolls CoverThe government ordered a 15 percent reduction in the allotment of yardage to be used for women’s and girls’ apparel. Dolman and leg-of-mutton sleeves became no-nos, as did tucks, pleats, plackets, hoods, and belts wider than two inches. We went along with the rules because we wanted to help our boys, but we suffered less than other women across the country, because theatrical costumes – along with bridal wear and religious and judiciary robes – were exempt from the new restrictions. In other words, we looked crummy by day and fabulous by night.

– Grace, dancer at Forbidden City nightclub and fictional character in Lisa See’s novel China Dolls (Random House, 2014).

China Dolls is a fun read about three Asian-American women living in San Francisco during the 1930s and 1940s. They bond while working as dancers and entertainers for Forbidden City, which was a real SF nightclub located just on the edge of Chinatown. There are historical and local references plus plenty of drama. In this quote that I’ve used, Grace is speaking of the restrictions placed on Americans during WW II.

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IMG_20160426_170856492

Like new after a visit to Ike’s.

I say there is no reason to give up on a favorite pair of shoes. Throw-away society be damned … that’s why we have shoe repair shops.

My beloved pair of plum suede Clarks were looking a little shabby after five years of wear. There was a stain thanks to a splatter mishap (note: if you’re sporting suede shoes, don’t offer to help in the kitchen) and a hole was just starting to appear at the tip due to a pointy pair of shoetrees. Otherwise there were more miles to clock on the soles and inside was soft and comfy like new. I hoped that a skilled shoe repairman could perhaps patch the tiny hole and dye the suede a darker color.

Clarks in hand I walked over to my local (and new to me) shoe repair shop, Ike’s. Although not an overly friendly fella, Ike (I assume that’s his name) knows his business and suggested instead of dying he would clean and brush the suede. That was good news as I really am in love with this plum color.

A week later I picked up my Clarks and was pleased by the fine job Ike did. The shoes were nice and clean but still their lovely original color. The stain was gone and the little hole? What little hole? Ike patched it on the inside and I don’t feel a thing.

It cost $18. Well worth the price to save a perfectly good pair of shoes not to mention space in the landfill.

Take a little tip from me – check out your local shoe repair shop.

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MG_8222_lowA more sophisticated client respects that linen will crease because it is indicative of its premium quality, much like a collector would appreciate the patina on an old vintage watch. 

Guglielmo Miani, CEO Larusmiani

Summer is approaching, get out your linen duds but leave the iron in the cupboard.

I chuckled when I read Mr. Miani’s quote in WWD, as it called to mind what my mother has always said about linen clothing – linen was meant to to be worn wrinkled … you can always tell a linen wrinkle, it has its own pattern.

Wrinkles used to drive me crazy, linen or not. I secretly thought Mom came up with that line because she didn’t like to iron. When I was a kid we had what we called The Ironing Drawer, which was overstuffed to the point of not being able to shut it closed. Among the cloth napkins and boys shirts was a favorite summer dress of mine. I outgrew that dress waiting for it to be ironed.

But now I think that Mom and Mr. Miani have a point; wrinkles are part of the charm of linen.

 

 

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blackiswhite-with-toothbrush-e1446122466556Let’s face it, whiter and brighter smiles are a fashion “must-have.” But some of us are not willing to risk harming our teeth with chemical bleaching and abrasive agents. So when I received a pitch to try Black Is White – a natural whitening toothpaste – I was in!

Black Is White, by the Swiss oral health company Curaprox, uses activated carbon, which absorbs stain particles and gently removes them, eliminating the possibility of abrading tooth enamel.

The paste itself is black and that takes a little getting used to, although looking in the mirror with spooky black lips and teeth is kind of Halloween fun. I caution users to be aware that tiny black spots of toothpaste get everywhere – they are easy to wipe up but must be done right away. The taste is a light mint and pleasant enough.

The results? Well, like with any natural approach patience is required. I saw a slow gradual whitening – nothing dramatic. Personally I’m happy with that because I think dental health is more important than having perfect pearly whites.

Use Black Is White regularly and keep the stains at a minimum while also keeping tooth enamel safe.

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5b0e19aeb5cb55e6672304fd9b1b17b9You can’t expect fashion to revolutionize things; revolution happens in society. The miniskirt came to be because of the women’s liberation.  New comes from the changes in society and fashion reflects it. Fashion is attentive to change; maybe now the real revolution is the closeness between men’s and women’s wear.

– Miuccia Prada, Italian fashion designer.

 

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