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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

amelia-earhartWhen I’m flying in my little plane, I usually wear a sports costume with a rather full skirt and a close-fitting hat. Sometimes I slip a leather windbreaker on under my coat, for the temperature drops as one ascends.  … Usually on a solo flight, I wear low-heeled shoes, because with low heels it is easier to keep my feet braced on the rubber bar … On the Friendship flight … the trip was pioneering one, and comforts were not thought of. For instance, there was no step from the pontoons to the door, and I couldn’t have jumped into the plane in a skirt. Further … we had dumped everything to sit on, to save weight. Squatting on a rolled flying suit, or kneeling on one knee, or sliding between the large gas tanks wouldn’t have left much of ladylike ensemble.

Amelia Earhart (1897-disappeared 1937), pilot and first women to fly solo across the Atlantic. This quote is from an essay Ms. Earhart wrote for Harper’s Bazaar in 1929.

Ha! And we think we have it hard flying these days.

Ms. Earhart created her own style for flying, which often included trousers, button down shirt topped with a leather jacket and a scarf. Looking at photos it seemed she felt more comfortable in sporty attire than the more traditional feminine frocks of her era.

Speaking of flying and attire, as I get ready for traveling this week I’m pondering what to wear in flight. It is tough in these days of overcrowded airplanes balancing comfort with looking presentable. Anything tailored is too restricting, skirts are impractical for sitting, and who wants to risk our really nice pieces of clothing to the grit and grim of airline seats?

I usually go simple in corduroy pants and a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt. I add a scarf and my trusty beret for a little chic factor – accessories can upgrade any outfit. Outerwear might be my tweed coat or this time of year I think I’ll go with a puffer vest. Oxfords rather than sneakers also keep the look sharp. (Although, sneakers are looking pretty darn fashionable lately.)

How about you, my fashionable readers? How you do manage to look nice and stay comfortable while flying? Vintage-loving readers, how do you keep vintage while traveling?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

 

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IMG_20170325_143802082As many regular ODFL readers know, last year I embarked on a journey learning to sew. I took four classes and made a pair of pants, a knit dress, an a-line skirt and … ta da … a cape!

It’s not a superhero cape but, I am a superhero for finishing it!

Yikes what a challenge. I started the project in November and just now finished. Full disclosure – I had my seamstress do the buttonholes. But I cut and stitched (by machine and by hand) every inch of the rest of it and let me just say, it was a challenge.

There were some starts and stops, thanks to the holidays and winter maladies. As well as me just not wanting to work on it. I do think this project was cursed. Right from the start I had problems – cutting the fabric took me twice as long. (I like to blame Trump because I was so upset and distracted by his presidential win, I found it hard to concentrate.)

IMG_20161103_084014163The cape came about in the first place from my visit to the UK last fall. At  Cordings in London, I saw some lovely capes in tweed and got inspired. Convinced I could make my own, once I arrived home I found a Vogue pattern and brownish tweed in a lightweight wool.

IMG_20161209_133847477_HDRThe project offered several new tasks for me: lining, a collar, and buttonholes. Undaunted was I!

Turns out the collar was the easiest. The lining was a pain because I bought traditional lining fabric, which is nice now that it’s in, however, it slipped and slid and made sewing tricky.

What frightened me beyond reason was the buttonholes. I practiced over and over, getting the hang of it but also realizing that these holes had to be spot on or the cape would be ruined. Also, as my friend pointed out, home sewing machines don’t make very nice buttonholes. After many weeks of avoidance and lots of guilt-tripping myself I decided to let it go and contacted my seamstress.

She did the buttonholes (so nicely), I sewed on the buttons (vintage glass, BTW) and the cape made its debut on a Saturday evening out.

This was the hardest project so far and it feels like a big accomplishment, even though I outsourced the buttonholes.

Sometimes the lesson is: Call the seamstress!

 

 

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An ad for Vogue in the 1960s, when people made an effort to dress well.

Over the course of the 20th century, social dress codes evolved from staunchly formal to informal and fluid and now, to virtually nonexistent, victims of a confluence of cultural factors including the ever-increasing casualization of everyday life. It’s unlikely that United’s zealot gate agent gives a hoot about the woeful state of the fashion industry. But his/her strict enforcement of the employee pass rule provided a reminder that in some rare occurrences, leggings just won’t do. In other words, there are reasons to go out and buy some clothes.

Bridget Foley – editor and columnist for Women’s Wear Daily.

This is a quote from Ms. Foley’s editorial on the recent leggings incident on United Airlines. Do you know the story? Well, briefly – two teenage girls were pulled aside before boarding a United Airlines flight and were told they would have to change out of their leggings. A nearby women witnessed this and went mad taking photos and posting on Instagram, yelling “outrage.”

Turns out the airline had a reason for their position as the girls were traveling on a company pass and there’s a dress code that applies. United considers that anyone traveling on a pass is a representative of the airline and therefore, they are required to present professionally. From what I’ve read, no one else on that flight was confronted about their leggings and I’m sure there were plenty of other travelers sporting the ultra casual look.

Of course I’m with Ms. Foley and United Airlines. Keeping to high standards is always a good thing. I tip my hat to the gate agent who enforced the (reasonable) policy and Ms. Foley who always eloquently says it like it is.

 

 

 

 

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The fashion industry has always been a reflection of what America is all about … inclusion and diversity. It will continue to stand by these standards. I am personally horrified to see what is going on.

– Diane von Furstenberg, Belgium-American fashion designer.

This quote is from an article in The Business of Fashion by Imran Amed.

For Mr. Amed’s article many fashion industry professionals were asked to comment on Trump’s recent executive order to halt the current refugee program and (temporarily) ban travelers from seven Muslim countries from entering the United States. Ms. von Furstenberg and Steven Kolb, chief executive of CFDA were the only ones willing to make a comment. Others declined to say one word.

Isn’t that rather odd considering the outrage expressed around the country and around the world? CEOs from Apple, Facebook, Starbucks, and Nike just to name a few, are all unafraid to take a public stand against Trump’s actions.

Why so quiet on the fashion front? I surmise that (assuming most designers actually disagree with Trump) they might be afraid to alienate Trump supporters, many of whom could be their customers. Let’s not forget that Kellyanne Conway was sporting Gucci at the inauguration. Brands such as Isaac Mizrahi and Lori Goldstein sell on QVC, a magnet for middle-of-the country shoppers. Also, Trump’s daughter, Ivanka is an influential member of the fashion biz.

It could be that designers and corporate brands are nervous about offending all the wrong people (customers and Trumps). If they say nothing, they’re safe.

But SAFE is not fashionable right now. SPEAKING UP is what’s trending.

 

 

 

 

 

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Stylist Tyese Cooper from Project Intermission.

When my fashion friend Tyese Cooper announced last summer that she was moving to Paris I was super excited for her. Then I found out what she was going to do and I was super impressed.

In December 2016 Tyese launched Project Intermission. Hey, what’s that?

Project Intermission is a Fashion Experience.

Read on:

Using her skills and talent as a stylist, Tyese consults with visitors to Paris who want to step-up their look or want to incorporate something different to their current style. It starts with a coaching session at a neighborhood cafe where discussions are about clothing and style, art, and the influence of French culture. Then it’s off to a gallery or a long walk – some space and a little time to open the mind and get inspired by the art, architecture, streets, and people of Paris.

Next, Tyese introduces her client to exclusive independent Parisian designers. In these ateliers (not boutiques but working studios) you get to meet the designers, see first hand how fashions are put together, and order a bespoke piece of clothing. Tyese says, “It’s special because once you have an insiders view of the ‘how’ of fashion, feel natural textiles, and customize what you want from each designer, you wont ever want to let it go to the landfill.”

(A key aspect to these designers handpicked by Tyese is that each one is committed to ethical and sustainable fashion, something that is important to her and a current movement in France.)

I think this is such a unique idea. Anyone can pick up a whatever from a corporate- branded boutique but Project Intermission offers a deeper fashion experience. It’s a chance to make a connection with French designers and French culture. In the end you have a story to tell and something special to add to your wardrobe.

Click here to find out more about Tyese and Project Intermission.

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The London shop Christopher St. James offers an array of Lea Stein pieces.

Each visit to London I look forward to finding a Lea Stein brooch to add to my collection. I first discovered the whimsical works of Ms. Stein back in 2003 in a stall at the weekly Antique Market in Covent Garden. I’m drawn to her pieces for their multi-dimensional quality, unusual textures and … her images make me smile.

It used to be that these brooches were impossible to find in the US, however, Etsy has changed that. But for me part of the fun is searching out just the right one at markets and it’s become part of my UK travel tradition.

Although there’s a bit of mystery surrounding Ms. Stein, we know that she is a French artist who in the 1960s, with her husband, came up with a way to layer and laminate thin sheets of plastic. This layering technique allows Ms. Stein to create texture by adding pieces of material, such as lace or metal, in between the layers. After cooling, the plastic is cut into all kinds of shapes from Art Deco women in hats (an early design) to owls, cats, and dogs. Animals seemed to be favored and today they are among the most collectible.

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My small but growing collection. The cat on the left is the latest find. The pink bar in the middle is vintage and may be the most valuable. It came from a thrift store in Walnut Creek years ago.

My latest addition is a cat, which came from (ironically) an expat American dealer and his wife at the Bermondsey Antique Market. The couple told me they think this one is vintage 1980s but since Ms. Stein continues to produce older images (as well as new ones) it’s really hard to date her work. Many people say you just know from experience. I do think the cat isn’t brand new as the clasp isn’t stiff and it doesn’t have that shinny never-been-touched look.

No matter to me if it’s vintage or not. Any Lea Stein critter is a pleasure to have and to wear.

 

 

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img_20161105_142904On our way to a music concert at St. James Church in Piccadilly, my eye caught the most lovely of old buildings and whaddaya know it was a clothing store – Cordings. I took a quick peek in the window and liked what I saw …  tweeds galore.

After the concert we went back and I perused happily taking in all the wonderful and very British jackets, trousers, shirts, and sweaters. It’s a country look for sure, but with a large chic factor thanks to quality fabric and construction.

What is a British country look you might ask? It’s all about appropriate clothing for country outdoor activity such as walking, horseback riding, bicycling, and I have to mention shooting but I don’t approve of that so … enough said. Construction for ease of movement is key as is heavy fabrics for warmth. The look is tweeds in trousers, jackets and waistcoats (vests). Other fabrics include corduroy and velvet. Knits too! Macintosh raincoats and of course boots, including Wellingtons. What attracts me is the simplicity and timelessness of the style.

Cordings has been around since 1839 providing country clothing for gentlemen and in recent years for the ladies. One of the store’s best customers and biggest supporters musician Eric Clapton says Cordings, “… is a place of tradition … the heritage of England.”

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Velvet Cuff Jacket. Image courtesy of Cordings.

Being the anglophile that I am, no wonder I love the place. I also like the idea of mixing a bit of country with city. Such as sporting a tweed jacket over a sharp t-shirt or a cape belted and paired with a mini-skirt (a current trend in London) and thigh high boots.

Thank you Cordings, for making the country chic and for inspiring my inner country.

 

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