Copying Karl

27 Feb

I’ve been trying my hand at fashion sketches, copying Karl Lagerfeld originals. Even apart from his designs, Lagerfeld is my favorite sketch artist: I love the fluidity of line evoking movement and personality, as well as his intuitive use of materials–from pencil to pastel–for creating mood. This individual style is referred to as the “designer’s handwriting,” and I cannot wait to develop my own! Please let me share three of my sketches with you.

This first sketch shows a 1931 couture Chanel gown.

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A second sketch depicts sassy Chanel separates; the vintage pleated skirt is right on-trend for this Spring.

Sassy Chanel Separates

The third sketch is part of Karl’s earlier ready-to-wear (RTW) line for Macy’s. Very Avengers.

Lagerfeld for Macy's

Sweaters With Bows, Bells, and Whistles

4 Dec

Elsa “Shiap” Shiaparelli was a contemporary and rival of Chanel. Her avant garde style, influenced by friends in the art world like Dali, included a lobster dress worn by Wallis Simpson and a shoe hat worn by daring Elsa herself.

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One of her more practical and most popular pieces known as the 1927 bowknot sweater was a simple black wool pullover with a lovely grayish bow (with or without red accent) knitted in at the neckline as trompe l’oeil (art term for “trick of the eye”).

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You can see Schiap’s enduring style in this season’s sweaters, including this fun llama-love one at Madewell.

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Or this friendly and tres chic one from ASOS.

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Wonder what Schiap and Dali would have thought about this LED lighted sweater with 3D stockings from Skedouche?

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Just a little note: This is my first post created on an iPad using the WordPress app. It’s worked fairly well handling images except for 1/ image placement viz., centering the image 2/ adding captions 3/linking images to their source. In the case of #3, I’ve included a link in the text.

Black Friday Online

25 Nov

Here are some fun sites offering amazing BF sales and in many cases free shipping! Go forth and fabulously conquer.

  • 4EverFunky. 20% off all “funkalicious” footwear, including vegan boots.

"Morley" Raccoon Super Furry Shearling Vegan Boots

  • ASOS. UK-based company featuring trendy clothes (including party dresses) at way affordable prices. Curve collection. BF sale: 20% off everything. Free shipping all the time.

River Island Lace Shift Dress With Collar Detail

  • ModCloth. Indie, vintage flavor of shoes, clothes, and handbags. Also includes home decor and goodies for your pets in the “Apartment” section. 50% off all merchandise, plus free shipping on orders over $75.

Happy Tails Dog Collar

  • Ruche. Vintage, retro flavor. Includes eco-friendly and curvy-plus collections. 15% of all merchandise through Black Friday.

Loudon Curvy Plus Cinched Dress

  • Tulle. Dresses, tops, and coats with a vintage flavor. Features a “What’s New” section as well as lookbooks for piecing together a specific outfit. 50% off all merchandise, plus free shipping.

Wool Blend Coat by Tulle

Happy Thanksgiving!

23 Nov

I’m thankful for my family, friends, and coworkers, health, two chihuahuas, fashion, art, BBC, snow tires, a switch-driven fireplace, brilliant technology for blogging, my phoblographers, and special readers who tune into my blog. Thank you so much.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Trouble With Tumblr

22 Nov

Tumblr is not feeding properly into my blog today; I’d still love to share a couple really cool pics I’ve posted!

This Blogging Thing…

17 Nov

Is not as easy as it looks.

How do Martha and Oprah, not to mention some of my favorite almost-famous bloggers, do it? Coming up with fresh and fun content can be a challenge.

Sooo, I’ve created a Tumblr account for regularly posting pics that inspire–a lookbook, if you will. Check out the latest additions beyond my blog by clicking links under “Tumblr” in the side-bar. C U there!

Boots For Athletic Calves

6 Nov

I’ll be honest: It’s taken me a life-time to feel comfortable in my own skin, to grow towards a healthy body image. Sometimes, I have setbacks like when I see an *awesome* pair of Steve Madden boots that fit my foot just fine but are 3 inches (!) too small in circumference for my calf. During live chat with a sales rep at the company, I asked about boots to fit my “athletic” calves and she referred me to a series of ankle boots. Really?

In a similar vein, boot sites always  indicate how tall the boot is, using the term “shaft”; however, few sites bother to mention the calf width, known as “shaft circumference”. So, be on-guard.

Measuring Your Calves

Speaking of calf sizes, the way to measure your calves is to use a tape measure around the widest part of your calf, usually about 14″ to 15″ inches above the bottom of the bare foot. Of course, if there is a portion of your calf that is wider than the top-of-the-shaft measurement, then order using the larger of the two measurements.  Measure both calves since one might be larger than the other. For petites (5’3″ and shorter), WideWidths.com recommends the following:

“Measure the circumference of your calf at its widest point instead of at the top of the shaft and order a style that is at least one inch larger than your measurement because if you are petitie, your calf begins to get wider at a lower point in the boot than on someone who is taller.”

A Market for Wide-Calf Boots

Adam Glassman, creative director for Oprah Magazine, consoles me with the reminder that calves are “hereditary”. OK, now what? Well, turns out I’m not the only woman facing this issue; there’s actually a market for “wide-calf boots” (14+ inches). Check out the following companies: Ros Hommerson, Blondo, Naturalizer, David Tate, Rockport. You can even get customized boots from Ayla. See a few styles featured on Oprah.

Having identified these leading companies who cater to an important niche, I still must admit that few of the wide-calf styles I’ve seen really excite me. They look pedestrian, if you’ll pardon the pun. The obvious point is that more mainstream designers need to realize that athletic calves are more prevalent than they’re acknowledging. Design bigger boots, Steve Madden.

Still, dig enough and I’m bound to find something that interests. Thanks, EMU Australia.

Emu Australia Toowoombah Knee-High Boot

Strategies for Resizing Boots

If you find a pair of boots that are too snug in the calves, there are ways: either stretching the shafts (up to 2 inches, I’ve heard) or swapping zippers for elastic (probably not worth doing to a pair of $600 boots).

Nordstrom stretches boots for free when you purchase from them, and if you’re not happy with the new fit, they’ll take them back, no questions asked. Aldo does it, too. Many shoe repair stores also stretch boots for about $20-30. Inquire about the zipper-to-elastic thing as another option. If you plan on stocking your closet with high-shaft boots, then you might consider investing in a pair of your own boot-stretchers that can range from $17 to $270. I’m guessing you get what you pay for.

Mallory Boot Stretcher, $270

So, as Bono says, “Get On Your Boots!”

Mod Snow

5 Nov

Before Daylight Savings Time begins tonight, we near Denver can say we’ve seen at least 10″ of snow so far this season. But the sun is so strong at this altitude that things thaw pretty quickly east of the mountains, and I can feel comfortable in my unlined cape. I realized this look is what Lucky Magazine calls “Mod,” with elements of the ’60s and ’70s.

Cape by Branigan Weavers from Irish Eyes boutique.

Mini-dress from Banana Republic. Animal print tee from Express. Bead-link necklace from Stein Mart. Wish the tights had more of a matte finish. Spanx makes a really nice reversible pair of matte tights, and Lucky Magazine endorses the matte tights at We Love Colors.

  • We'll See Ya Next Time. Stay Warm!

It’s a Cinch

27 Oct

My friend says she’s intimidated by belts. I’m guessing she means that she’s overwhelmed by the choices out there? There are many ways to wear a belt, depending on the type. I’ll name 5 types along with how to sport them. Yay, we’re no longer confined to belt loops!

  • Skinny belt. Add elegance and accentuate the curves with a skinny belt and pullover sweater.

Skinny Belts Add Elegance to Pullover Sweaters

  • In addition to the pullover sweater, skinny belt a cardigan in order to pull together the look and add shape.

    Skinny Belt Paired with a Cardigan

  •   Boyfriend belt. Just like it sounds, the boyfriend belt is a masculine-looking long strip of leather that seems utilitarian and a bit western. Play it off a feminine piece like a floral dress. To belt, 1/buckle 2/place strap below waistband of belt 3/tuck under and over waistband of belt 4/pull through half-loop so that strap dangles.

    Boyfriend Belt Adds Sexy Masculine Vibe

  • Obi belt. Add drama and definition wearing this Japanese-inspired belt,which also helps in smoothing the look of tucked in blouses/tops.

    Patterned Leather Obi Belt

  •  Chain or Studded belt. Add funk and fabulosity by slinging a big-linked chain belt low on your hips with tunics or tees. Or, wear that Chanelesque chain belt at your natural waist to top off a classic skirt.

    Chanel Gold Chain Belt with Wheat Medallion

  • Release your inner rocker by topping your little black dress with a studded belt.
Rocker Chic: Studded Belt and LBD

Here are a few more leads on how to wear belts:

Flower Pins

24 Oct

When he wasn’t eating madeleines in his sound-proofed room, the writer Marcel Proust was besting his male compatriots in the French salons by donning a white, fragrant camellia in his button-hole instead of the traditional red carnation.

Portrait of Marcel Proust by Jacques Emile Blanche
Coco Chanel, twelve years his junior, fell madly in love with the idea and, as the mother of costume jewelry, began manufacturing camellia pins. Today, Chanel’s camellia pins are created using a wide range of fabrics (e.g., tulle, silk, linen, leather); their average diameter is about 4 inches. Each petal is specially ironed to achieve a distinctive curl. BTW, Chanel went on to place camellias everywhere: on belts, hats, patterned in dresses. Today, you can find them on shoes.

Cover Art for Danielle Bott's Book on Chanel's Collections

Carrie Bradshaw, the fashion-forward columnist of Sex and the City, brought back the flower pin in a big way–10-inch diameter big! Really, the kudos go to Pat Field, lead stylist on the show.

Carrie and Camellia

Needless to say, I love big and bold flower pins for adorning everything from jackets to tees!

My Flower Pins