Friday, September 30, 2011

Same Old, Same Old

Every season I end up reading half a dozen articles that contain something like this: "blah blah blah hemlines, blah blah blah patterns, blah blah blah THE know what I mean. The truth is, hemlines of varying lengths will always be available to suit our personal preferences, patterns of every stripe (little play on words) will always be around, and you should only wear colors that flatter you, regardless of whatever the IT color is that season.

Fall 2011 shows us retro 60's and 70's looks, mixing in menswear, ladylike, rocker chic, boho accents and some faux fur and leather for good measure. So much. Too much? What's not to like? Well, I'll tell you....

I read an article the other day where the writer, an actual fashion writer, was questioning "shooties". Apparently she had not heard the term before, a description of footwear that is shoe-ish yet boot-ish. "Honey, (my inner dialogue said) shooties have been around for at least 3 years, this time around." Two years ago I couldn't afford a pair; last year I bought an excellent suede and snakeskin pair, and you're questioning their existence just now??!!

                                  I am a shootie. I am peep-toed and ruffly. Aren't I pretty?

That's not my own personal shootie above, but you get the idea. So, this being the third year this type of shoe/boot hybrid is available, why is it that someone who should know better doesn't know. I don't like my fashion writers to be uniformed. (So that's why I read a lot of fashion blogs instead...)

Something else I don't like: the bringing back of ugly clothing. If it was ugly in 1987 or 1967, why bring it up again like a vurp? Case in point, 2009's 'strong shoulder' jacket was just a new way to say "I'll have some more of that dopey Dynasty look"....Let's just admit it here and now - the only women who ever looked, who will ever look decent in big fat overstuffed puffy shoulders are Linda Evans and Joan Collins. In fact, these two should be forced to wear that look forever. To remind the rest of us not to go there.

                                           See my shoulders! I am woman, see me catfight!

 What was ugly in 1967? Well, maybe Nicole Ritchie can wear a string around her forehead and look nutty, but that's not for me. The 'Hippie Look' was generated by those opposed to The Establishment (which people are now part of...) as a backlash against corporate greed. The 'Asian Look' was trying to become a part of our world, but let's face it, Asian clothing only looks good on Asian women. And ah yes! Russian Cossack styles were being shown on the Parisian runways. Just what a Cali gal needs: a nice full length maxi-coat with a huge blob of fur on her head.

What happened to the Cold War? And didn't we just blow up half of Japan a few decades before? And kick Korea's butt? Was this payback? I don't like it when fashion tries to force extreme and inappropriate styles down our throats.

                                                           Yum! Big dead animals on my head!

                  What a cute little cheongsam. Back away from the Asian dress, white woman.

So, I don't like writers that don't know what's going on, then and now, and I don't like stupid fashion. Is good fashion and good writing too much to ask?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

The Subject Was Shoes, Pt. 2

Back again to search for meaning in shoes....

As a confirmed shoe-aholic, I can't tell you to get rid of an old pair each time you buy a new pair, no matter what the evil closet organizers advise. You never know when that old bump toe pump will come back in style. One of my younger sisters, Carole, sings part-time in a retro 80's band ( and she has the choice of several pairs of authentic 80's era shoes to wear with her costumes, thanks to her careful hoarding of every piece of clothing she has ever owned.

Not that I do that myself. I have changed clothing and shoe size so many times in the last decade that I wouldn't have room for everything I've ever owned. But Carole has closets galore.

Our other sis, Mari, is more circumspect about shoes; comfort is key with her, but she still has a style all her own, that she wears with true fierceness. I think she owns two pair. Probably identical. But they get her where she's going. She's not a shoe freak, she's into artistic makeup. Check out her blog:

So this proves that not all women care deeply about shoes. But I do. Below, a few from my collection:

See how they all get along so well? Unlike kids, who argue about everything.

So, we tend to have big feet in my family. Sizes 9&1/2, 10, 11....perhaps that's why shoes are so important. When you're saddled with horse hooves, saddle shoes don't cut it. We always feel the need to prettify what we find unattractive; therefore, big feet deserve the distraction of gorgeous footwear. Good! I think I'm on my way to solving the riddle.

Then there are the clothes we need to complement with appropriate shoes. For instance, a very plain ensemble could stand a punch of color or style. Jewelry is too small a gesture. Try a knockout pair of shoes! Or juxtapose a pair of funky boots with a flowy dress for an edge. And this brings me to point number 2 - shoes can change your life! Think of it: you're walking along and someone notices your shoes. They complement you, yay! You feel good about yourself that day; smart, attractive, confident, a style maven.

Then again, shoes can be your excuse to splurge on yourself. Every woman has some aspect of her life where she takes just a little bit better care of herself than on other fronts.  For some it's skin care products, for others hair care. If you don't treat yourself well with something, then what are you doing all the hard work of living for? Shoes are your very foundation, so why not buy the best you can afford for your dear little feet?

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

The Subject was Shoes

Back in, oh, say, the 2000's, shoes were a status symbol. Since replaced by handbags (more about that later), shoes continue to fascinate me. And most of the women I know. The question is: WHY? The answer is: I DON'T KNOW!  Maybe I'll discover it here....

I first became aware of shoes, that is to say, bothered/enamored/confused by shoe-ideology when I was in elementary school. For some reason, my Mom bought plaid adorned saddle shoes for me. My older sister Linda got the standard issue black & whites, and I got a red plaid version. Red. Plaid. Even at the tender ago of 7 I knew there was something wrong with that.

Not only was I creeped out by those shoes, I was fascinated by them. They were different...unique. Nobody else had a pair like them. It's like they were custom-made by the shoe elves. Evil shoe elves.

Then in the 6th grade, I was finally able to pick out my own pair of shoes. We got only two pair per year at that time; sneakers and dress shoes. Oh, and flip flops in the summer. Mine were yellow that year.

Anyway, the shoes I chose were a pointy-toed little black number with a bow and a tiny little heel. Not quite a kitten heel, but a heel nonetheless. My Mom campaigned against them, explaining the discomfort of heels and the impracticality of the bow, but *magically* she bought them for me. I wore them until the heel ran down cock-eyed and had to be shaved off. But I loved those shoes.

Just as I love a pair that's in my closet now: black, pointy-toed, with a kitten heel and a bow. Hmm.

Well,  I actually love all the shoes in my closet. And the ones on the bedroom floor, the ones in the living room by the front door, the ones in my secret cabinet....a shoe or boot for every occasion and mood. I love heels the most. Stiletto or chubby, stacked or tapered, wedge or platform, you get the picture.

More tomorrow....

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Shopping My Closet

Since I no longer work in the public sector, I don't have a lot of disposable cash for my fashion lust. I adore going to the thrift stores and searching out great items for my wardrobe, but shopping in my own closet is really the cheapest way to go!

I know you're supposed to go through your wardrobe every season, but that's BS! Who's got time (or energy) for that? I generally do it SpringSummer/FallWinter. Because let's face it ladies, where in the world do they have four seasons anymore anyway? Not in my neck of the woods, fer sher....

Anywho, I did this last week after shopping the thrift store with my also-thrifty sister Mari. We had a ton of fun and both got some excellent bargains. Of course I looked at several 5-lb. "Fall Fashion" magazines in the weeks before so I could get a handle on the upcoming trends. I do love to be 'in fashion'.

Closet organizer experts recommend that you use all the same hangers for everything in your closet for a uniform look; I say NAY. Where would I hang my slacks or skirts? Just silly, but I like the idea of having everything blending together, so I usually sort items by what it is (say, pants) and color.

Some of the treats I found when I tore out everything: a pink knit circle skirt - below the knee length and of-the-moment, 5 pairs of black pants (didn't know I had any), four hip-length blazers of different shades which happen to look great with my jeans....

I spent a few hours washing/ironing/matching things up and I feel like I just went on a shopping spree! Whee! It was so heady that I even put together some outfits to share here:
Velvet & Brocade

Dressed Up Denim
LBD Re-Styled

Autumn Hues
Western Influence

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Fashion For the Rocking Chair Set...LOL

I lovelovelove the blogs I read regularly (more about that in a few), but they give me bad ideas...written by stylish women mostly under the age of 35, the approach doesn't fully translate to we gorgeous gals in our 50's and up.

It's a popular notion to think of Buffalo, NY as a fashion wasteland; in fact, a recent article I read extracted from GQ Magazine lists 'Beau Fleuve' as number 25 in a list of the 40 worst-dressed cities in America. Also overdone is the concept of Buffalo as a snowy wasteland. But I digress...

Growing up in Buffalo in the 60's & 70's did not hinder my love affair with fashion. As a teenager I read whatever I could get my hands on, and tried to duplicate some of the looks or DIY my own clothing for a personal stamp. I had a pen pal in France who mailed me 3 to-die-for huge, glossy magazines featuring the likes of Givenchy, Balmain & Chanel. Heady stuff for a 16 year old.

I was not the disco dive type at the time although I certainly admired the lithe figures of such iconic babes as Bianca Jagger and Diana Ross in their slinky, voluminous jumpsuits. Haute Hippie was more my style as I embroidered my required denim 'work shirt' as they were called at the time. I made my own jewelry and wore a peacock feather I had purchased for 35 cents (!). There was also the pair of jeans that I sewed V-shaped inserts of fabric into at the outer hem up to the knee to create extreme wide flares.

So here I am in the 2100's-plus and in my 50's with fashion embracing my formative years with a fury previously unknown...

Pardon my nostalgia...if only I had those jeans again! The point is, we attain an age and self-awareness that necessitates both a positive presentation of ourselves as women of the world, and as women of a certain age. Roughly translated, this means (at least to me) that I dress myself as an adult - not a hippie teenager!