Tuesday, November 11, 2014

I'm Back

After a very long, not totally expected, hiatus, I am back. It's been almost two years. Two years??

As Inigo Montoya said in The Princess Bride:

"Let me explain. No. There is too much. Let me sum up."
My dad had some health problems. Serious ones. There was chemo. There was radiation. Those didn't work. There was an experimental treatment. That worked. But, there were side effects from everything. Our lives changed and so did our focus. As you might imagine, there was no time to blog about fashion or shopping.

Fast forward to today. My dad's health is fairly stable. We mostly have a new routine. I feel like I have some time now.

So here I am, and I'm optimistic. Enough so that I am going to try my hand at this blogging thing again.  It probably won't be every day, but I hope it will be at least once per week.

Maybe it will be about fashion. Maybe about shopping. Maybe about closet organization. Maybe about life organization.  Let's see how things go.

I'm glad to be back!

Friday, January 4, 2013

Coveting: Valentino Lace

Valentino is one of my all-time-favorite designers, and his trademark red gowns have always made it on my Fashion Dream Wish List.

From Valentino The Last Emperor

His designs are always feminine, elegant and beautiful. As he explained in the documentary, Valentino: The Last Emperor, "I love beauty, it's not my fault!"

He retired in 2008 and the House that bears his name is currently headed by Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Picciolo.  They're the ones behind the Rockstud collection of shoes and bags, which took the fashion world by storm a few years ago.

I love my Rockstuds, although I confess they don't seem like something Mr. Valentino would have designed himself.

Photo from my personal collection

However, Maria Grazia and Pier Paolo have managed to maintain a lot of Valentino's signature style, while updating it for a modern audience.  Case in point: their gorgeous use of lace.

Valentino S/S 2012
Photo: Nordstrom

Valentino S/S 2012
Their latest offering for Spring 2013 is a fabulous emerald green lace sheath.

Photo: Nordstrom

I'm in love! At $3390, I don't think this beauty will be gracing my closet anytime soon, but it's definitely inspired me to add something green and lacy to my wardrobe for this coming spring/summer.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Under the Weather

Yesterday, it started. The dreaded sore throat. Despite my best efforts (extra vitamin C, liquids, extra rest) I seem to have come down with a cold.

When I'm feeling unwell, nothing cheers me up like a little eye candy.

Today's comes courtesy of Chanel and Hermès:

Photo: Vogue.com

I love the color of this Chanel bag. It's fun but still neutral enough that you would be able to wear it with a lot of colors--greys, beiges, browns, black and navy.  And, the Hermès Cape Cod watch with the chic red manicure complete the picture. Delightful.

Photo: Pinterest

Speaking of color, have you ever seen such a delicious shade of yellowish green? I love how this bag has been paired with darker colors, providing just the right pop of color.

Photo: Pinterest
Last, but certainly not least, who could fail to love this wonderful combination? Classic black Chanel jumbo bag, paired with an orange Hermès Cape Cod and matching neon orange manicure?

I'm lucky enough to own an old, distressed Chanel bag. It was originally a bright royal blue, but time, wear, and the sun have weathered the bag so that now it looks more like it's a denim blue:

Now all I need to do is get a bright Hermès watch and a matching manicure! Of course, another Chanel bag in classic black or some other fun color would also be most welcome.

Ah, I feel better already!

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Time for a New Look

As I mentioned in my earlier post, I've been feeling like I'm in a bit of a rut for the last couple of months, and part of that has been reflected in my hair. Right now, it's fairly long with a few long layers that have long since failed at their intended objective: namely, to give my hair movement and prevent the dreaded "pyramid" hairstyle, favored by Alice on Dilbert:

Needless to say, this is not a look I want to emulate.

The problem is that I routinely vacillate between two possible hairstyles: hair that's long enough to style into a chic ponytail or chignon, and hair that's edgier, more geometric, and (invariably) hovers somewhere between the chin and shoulders.

Truth be told, I do love the look of a chignon. It's so elegant and chic and it doesn't require much upkeep. That is, if your hair stays put instead of unraveling, as mine almost always does, no matter how much hairspray I seem to douse it with.

Here, the dream look I crave:

Joan Small at the Spring 2013 Ralph Lauren show
Photo credit: Imaxtree via HarpersBazaar.com

Anne Hathway at the 2008 Golden Globe Awards
Photo: www.temptalia.com

Now, given how hard it seems to be to make my hair (no matter what length) stay in a bun, I may have to consider the second alternative--the long bob.  

Here are some good examples:

Olivia Palermo
Photo: www.vanessaandvalentine.com

Sandra Bullock
Photo: www.ghairstyle.com

And, the Queen of Great Hair, Jennifer Aniston
Photo: blogs.babble.com

Of course, it would help if I had the same lean, angular features that these women have. Unfortunately, my face is a bit rounder and my cheekbones less chiseled. I'm concerned I'd end up looking more like this:

Anne Hathaway
Photo: www.woohair.com
Don't get me wrong, she's lovely and all that, but this isn't as flattering on her as other hair lengths and styles. It just looks sort of...plain.

Sigh. Well, my appointment is less than a week away. I think I'll just have to mull this over and decide at the last minute. 

Stay tuned...

Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year, New Attitudes

For the past couple of months, I've been feeling a bit restless...some things have just been...nagging me, but I couldn't really figure out what they were. I felt like I was in a bit of a rut.

Then, a few weeks ago, I was browsing through the fashion and style section of my local bookstore when I came upon the book Lessons from Madame Chic: 20 Stylish Lessons I Learned While Living In Paris, by Jennifer L. Scott.

In this delightful little book, the author recalls her year spent as a foreign exchange student in Paris, and how this experience exposed her to different attitudes about what "living the good life" meant.

Much of what the author describes (the French preference for quality over quantity, well-balanced view of food and exercise, and so on) has been discussed by other authors, and frankly, this was not the first time I had read about French living.  But, for whatever reason, this time something clicked inside me and I really felt like I wanted to reexamine my life and make sure that I was choosing a life that focused on quality.

The easiest place to start was with my wardrobe.

Let me start by saying that, for as long as I can remember I have loved fashion. So, over the years, I have enjoyed amassing quite an assortment of designer goodies.

You'll notice I use the word assortment, and that's because that is exactly what my closet contained--a wide variety of articles in different colors, shapes and sizes. For although I have periodically gone through my closet to clean it out, I have invariably never really examined it to make sure that what was there was right for me as I am now.

When you've worked so hard to collect pieces from designers that you've previously only dreamed about (Dolce & Gabbana! Prada! Chanel, even!) it's very hard to let them go, even when you know deep down inside that those items just don't suit you anymore.

But, as I said, this time, something definitely clicked inside me and I was finally ready to tackle my closet. So one day, I went through every single item in my closet and I asked myself some key questions:

  • Does this fit me?
  • Does this flatter me?
  • Do I love it? (for some basic pieces, like t-shirts or jeans, the question was more like "Do I get a lot of use out of this, or enjoy wearing it?")
and finally, the most difficult question of all:
  • Is this item right for a ____ -year old woman?

This last question was especially critical, because even if an article of clothing fit me and even if I loved it, I had to ask myself if it was right for a woman of my age. Not if this was right for me, but right for a woman of my age.  The subtle difference (at least in my mind) is that, I might feel, "I can still pull this off!" But in reality, we often deceive ourselves because in our mind's eye, we can't really see ourselves objectively. To minimize any potential deception, I found it more effective to ask the more generic question, "Should a woman of _____ years wear this?" If the answer was no, or even a hesitant maybe, I ruthlessly discarded the item.

When I was done, I found that I had drastically reduced the size of my wardrobe and that I felt so much lighter and happier.  

I still love fashion and I still expect that I will go shopping, only now I will have a better idea of the types of items that I really enjoy wearing and what I need to fill in any wardrobe gaps. More importantly, I have a renewed interest in investing only in those quality items that make my heart sing.

As we enter a new year, I hope to extend this critical "quality over quantity" eye to other aspects of my life, so that I focus on what's important.  Let's see how that goes!

Happy New Year!!