Posts Tagged ‘style’


IMG_20151122_111813227While visiting Portland, Oregon last month I of course popped in to my favorite boutique, FlairWalk. Located in the Pearl District, FlairWalk offers an array of quality fashions for women and the proprietor just happens to be my good friend (since high school), Sara Weinstein. I remember back in the day spending hours chatting with Sara about the fashions of the times. (A particular lengthy discussion was had about baggy pants – very avant-garde. Do we or don’t we? We did!)

Speaking of friends, I found a new one at FlairWalk in the form of an infinity scarf by Mycra Pac. My new friend is in the color of the season, merlot. She is oh so SOFT, like the fur on the tail of a Maine Coon cat. But she’s longer than a tail; I can wrap her around my neck three times. The look is super chic, feeling very Art Deco, and dramatic, prompting more than a few double takes.

Let’s hear it for friends, both old and new!

Hey, need a holiday gift? A dress for the season? Shop online with FlairWalk (they offer free shipping) or if you’re in town stop by – 402 NW 12th Ave., Portland, OR. Tell Sara I sent you.



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FASHION: ONE NIGHT ONLY ROMAStyle is not identified completely with fashion, but means capturing the spirit of the times and making it one’s own.

– Fashion designer Giorgio Armani.

I agree with this and it’s been said over and over in different ways. The tricky part is that creating one’s own style is not easily done. The truth is, most people don’t have any idea how to create a unique look that is also well suited to them. Just like designing, styling oneself takes effort and a bit of talent.


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Left to right: Valerie, Helen, me, Jean. Photo: Richard Aiello.

One thing often leads to another as was the case with the Night & Day hat exhibit I attended in March. At the exhibit opening I was introduced to Jean and Valerie, two ladies from Advanced Style.

Advance Style is a blog by photographer Ari Seth Cohen featuring chic NYC women of a certain age. The blog turned into a book and now a documentary is in the editing process. Cohen’s ladies have become celebrities of a sort and some are even getting modeling gigs.

I have great admiration for these women. Each has created for herself a unique look combining vintage with ethnic with what ever strikes her fancy. They’ve embraced age and are fearless when it comes to color, pattern, statement jewelry and outlandish hats. What makes it work is they do it all with good taste and flair.

So, I was thrilled to meet Jean and Valerie and their friend, Helen, who owns her own costume shop (watch for a post on that later). The trio couldn’t have been nicer as they posed for photos and took the time to speak with me. Turns out that Jean and Valerie have their own blog, indiosyncraticfashionistas and are the subject of a recent book by cartoonist Joana Avillez.

Hats of course were the accessory of the evening and Jean sported one of her animal ear hats. She has a fondness for the silhouette and owns many a chapeau highlighting two propped points.

Valerie sported a fabulous vintage red feathered number. She’s a hat gal from way back starting as a child wearing hats for warmth against East Coast winters. As she got bored with one style she’d adopt another. The years passed and … Valerie is now a collector.

Thank you, ladies for being so gracious. I look forward to seeing you again in the documentary.

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Images © Nicola Tree. All rights reserved, please do not reproduce without permission, thank you. http://www.nicolatree.com.

Auntie Maureen and I were introduced last year on Facebook through a mutual friend (thanks, Kimberly). While visiting London in the fall, I took the Tube to Walthamstow and met the charming Auntie M in person at her shop (Brown Paper Bag) within a shop (Penny Fielding Gallery & Interiors).

Auntie M hails from all over having been born in The Netherlands, lived in the UK and also in Austin, Texas as a teenager. She studied art history at University of Utrecht in The Netherlands and Communications and Audio-Visual Production Studies. At the Royal College of Music in London her studies included Music and Musicianship and Creative Leadership.

Currently Auntie M splits her time as DJ and running her own business selling vintage men’s clothing. Sporting vintage full-time, she always looks splendid.

Auntie M and Over Dressed for Life recently had an e-mail chat about vintage clothing.

How long have you been wearing vintage?

I have been wearing vintage since my sisters and I discovered a trunk full of 30s, 40s and 50s clothes plus uniforms our mum had saved up as a dressing-up box.

Why do you choose to dress vintage full-time?
There is something magical about having the power to transform your daily experience of life, of people, of events.  By shifting perspective to times gone by, an otherwise humdrum day-to-day can be transformed into something not quite here, not quite of this world, of this time.  By believing in the clothing and the style of, say, 1937, the character that emerges from this vintage transformation is no less who I am, I have merely chosen to piece my identity together from memories and sentiments from the past.  In the Western world we all have the privilege of designing our person as life does not merely happen to us, we can stage it as befits.  And that is why I opt out of what is fashionable or on trend now and instead create my own historical bubble and experience.  
Do you stick with one era or switch around? Do you mix eras?
My style sits around the start of the 1930’s to early 1940’s.  While that is to me the most exciting decade for women’s fashion design both in make-up, hair as well as clothing, other decades and styles are equally impressive.  Just not for me.
What inspires you about vintage style?
Wearing a genuine vintage piece of clothing is as if I put on a cloak of memories and emotions.  The charge of the garment’s history excites me.  No one else owns this garment anymore, it is unique and highly personal.  And that in addition to the craftsmanship, the tailoring, the quality use of materials, the drape of cloth, the architecture of wearable designs topped with stoles, bags, hats, gloves, heeled shoes is all about the feminine form.  It inspires me every day.
Mixing modern with vintage – yes or no and why?
If you mean modern reproduction vintage clothing I would personally recommend as vintage pieces do disintegrate, rip, fade over time and become unwearable.  If dancing is your cup of tea, a nice repro dress will save a genuine collectible frock from suffering the sweat and strain.  I am also in favour of mixing and matching vintage with new fashion.  It is all about finding a style you can afford, suits your body shape, your colouring as well as your lifestyle and makes you feel like a million dollars!
What are you favorite spots for vintage shopping?
Charity shops can sometimes throw up a gem or two.  For unusual, weird and wonderful pieces I enjoy the Thursday Antique Market in Spitalfields.  And for instant vintage frock power I prefer The Vintage Emporium as well as Hunky Dory around Brick Lane in East London.
What do you enjoy about selling men’s clothing?
Dressing men!
Who is you customer?
My customers are young on-trend hipsters who enjoy mixing up styles.  But also chaps who take their vintage styles very serious, and musicians, actors, even a magician. Plus classic gents who favour the heritage of garments over cheaply made fashion rags.  And often enough women who want to make a statement with a men’s suit, a boyfriend blazer or big belted shirt.
Any vintage style tips you’d like to share?
Wear a hat!
Agree on that, Auntie M. Hats are really a must for any and all outfits. Thanks for chatting with Over Dressed for Life.
Readers, contact Auntie Maureen at ask@auntiemaureen.info

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Visit Mom’s Closet and read about our wonderful pair of après ski boots.

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Style Caster Fashion Week totes designed by Serene Bacigalupi.

There’s a new trend in totes. It used to be that  a designer logo bag was the must-have but ah ha, not anymore. Nope, what best reflects fashion status in today’s Austerity and Occupy world is a freebie. A limited edition tote from a fashion show, a museum exhibit, or an art opening says, I’m not showy but I am connected.  

The latest coveted tote bag was designed by New York City artist, Serene Bacigalupi for the fashion website StyleCaster. In celebration of New York Fashion Week 2012 StyleCaster collaborated with Serene on a political theme for their party goodie bags. “We wanted to draw attention to the election season,” says Serene, “and thought that political tote bags with a fashion bent was cheeky and fun.”    

StyleCaster saw Serene’s artwork on display at the Chelsea Market in NYC and thought her quirky and imaginative style would be a good fit.

Of course the blue bag depicts our current president Barack Obama but the question was, who stands for the red? Since the GOP are still tripping over themselves to the primaries, Serene and StyleCaster decided to forgo a current candidate and dig into the 80s for an iconic Republican image. Who other than Ronald Reagan? I love this one with good old Ronnie sporting a badge that says, Style to the People. It’s just too funny.

The bags are made of cotton and are doubled sided with Reagan or Obama screen printed in black ink on one side and StyleCaster’s motto, Style to the People on the other. Serene says she was hesitant to use Reagan as she didn’t want her business, Leroy’s Place, connected to anything Republican. “I had a really hard time negotiating the line between belief, bipartisanism, and art,” she explains. ” I do feel like Reagan is kind of a funny historical figure. I was definitely more comfortable with him than, say, Rick Santorum.”

Check out Serene’s other fabulous artwork on Etsy.

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Did I say a tote bag a week? Never should have said that … kiss of death. So, it’s been longer than a week, but I still have bags to talk about and this next one is special.

The lovely one pictured here was made just for me by my sister-in-law, Lori. Using vintage fabric Lori created the pattern and went to some trouble to get it just right. 

I sport it when I’m off to Pete’s for some reading catch-up and a latte treat. It’s handy oval shape easily carts around my latest knitting project, latest WWD, mags, and novel. It’s roomy and to me looks like something a suffragist would have carried at the turn of the 19th century (toting her subversive pamphlets, of course). 

Why not make a unique tote for yourself? If you’re not a seamstress, there are beginning sewing classes that start with totes. Like this class at Stonemountain and Daughter: http://www.stonemountainfabric.com/module/class.htm?classId=8447

Use vintage fabric and really make it one-of-a-kind.

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