Monday, June 24, 2013

Hello, High Low ! ... and Slithery Toes

My Apologies to any visitors who wish to comment, especially anyone from Patti's Visible Monday: Our ISP is only semi-functional in much of the US at the time of this writing.  I can make your comments appear on my blog, but replies from me are not possible and while I can look at some of your blogs, my comments won't send.   It's complicated, or so my ISP wishes me to believe.  I'll stop by as usual the minute things return to normal.
Thanks for your patience!
(Now picture me pulling my hair out in fistfuls and screaming to no effect at my laptop ...)

I now return you to my normally scheduled nonsense ...

Recent reports from various sources have declared the high-low hem length DOA or nearly so. I'm seeing something different, and it's more an evolution than a demise.

I regularly prowl JCP when on the hunt for a particular item, and this time I was looking for a skirt of some kind to work with a turquoise peplum. And there it was, an adorable mirror print of tropical florals, and on a mannequin paired with the very same peplum that I sought to complement.

And although it's not shown on the photo above, you can see the slight and graceful dip in the back hem of the skirt below:

( ... and a closer look at the wonderful mirror print!)

I know a lot of elegantly mature women who have issues with 
very high-very low iterations.  But with this skirt, the Bisou Bisou brand seems to have a finger on our collective pulse, and have given us a little subtlety. Which is, of course, a defining quality of women who have lived long enough to be secure in our tastes.

The pattern is not particularly subtle, though. It's decidedly summery and tropical and bold. And the pattern mirrors itself to make a flattering print on a slim white skirt in a way that feels very modern. A big, bright pattern that flatters the bottom-half is not always easy to find, but I love the way it looks and it's a thrill for me when that happens.

So happy now!  The hunt is over and I'm purring.

Another Topic: Slithery Toes

Speaking of happiness and things summery, I've recently promised you my other favorite summer survival tip. So ... here it is: make yourself some cork shoe liners!

A discussion of sweaty feet is not a glamorous topic, I know. But half the problem with wearing any shoe (besides a flip-flop style sandal) in the summertime is that, as your foot perspires, it can slip deeper than usual into the toe-box of the shoe and make your ordinarily comfortable pumps or flats very painful to wear. Crunched and wet toes means blisters.  And when your food slides toward the toe, you can get blisters in the heel area because your shoe no longer fits properly! Worse yet (if it can get any worse) ... any strappy sandal can be especially painful when your toes slide into thin straps, which can start feeling like piano wire cutting into your delicate tootsies.  There are a lot of those skinny-toe-banded sandals are around this season, and if you think you can't wear them, read on.  I may have a solution for you.

My problem with this inelegant phenomenon began when we all abandoned pantyhose. Here in the High-Humitiy-Hell that is the southern United States, I found my feet slipping and sliding around because, as thin as pantyhose had been, they had helped absorb moisture and gave a little traction for the foot. While trying on some delicately strapped sandals at Dillard's department store, a very savvy saleswoman listened to me complain about the slithery foot phenomenon. She went to the stock room and brought me a pair of very thin cork insoles, just the size of the toe-box of a shoe. I put them in the shoes, and voilà, no more slithery foot.

I started trying every kind of anti-slip pad on the market. No one that I can find makes just an unpadded cork insole, or toe-sole, if you will.  The padded kind are often so thick that they affect the fit of the shoe. Dillard's just receives the cork insoles once in a while from their wholesale vendors. (If anyone knows where you can get them, let me know please!)

So I just went to the hobby store, got some *very thin cork and made some, using one of the too-thick pads as a pattern. The cork is absorbent and adds just enough grip to stop the foot from sliding forward. They usually last a few wearings, and can be rinsed and dried to reuse. I make a few dozen pairs at a time, and always have some handy. A side benefit is that you deposit less moisture into the shoe, and that can't help but prolong the life of your shoes, as well as cutting down on less-than-pleasant odors.

It may be that your delicate feet don't perspire. Well, just bless your little-ol' heart, as we say down here. But for the rest of us, I  recommend giving this a try!

*Important: do NOT use the cork with an adhesive backing. Terrible results.

I'm going over to the Lacy and Lovely Patti's Visible Monday .

Monday, June 17, 2013

Lessons in Cream and Black ... and Lessons from Dogs and Cats

I mentioned a recent post that I weeded out all my white sleeveless blouses and sent them on to other homes.  Then, of course, while shopping I ran across another one that I just had to have.  On the surface, that might seem like proof of Einstein's definition of insanity: doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.  But no.  

Lesson learned: Cream is not white.  And cream looks better on me than pure white.  Really good to know. 

I love this creamy-white blouse.  I didn't photograph it well, but the very crisp, art-deco style pleating is flattering.  It has pretty white and gold enamel buttons as well.  Happy me.

I've also been seeing the most adorable clutch-purses of all sizes, shapes and colors in magazines and on fellow bloggers.  And like all the lovely women who carry them, they are invariably shown to their best advantage.  There are no unsightly bulges that might be caused by ... ummm ...  actual contents.  You know, the stuff that you need to carry around in them?

 Yeah, yeah, I know, you don't need to carry that much.  A credit card, a lipstick, perhaps a key.  Of course.  I believe you.  And you must know how much I envy your organizational skills and minimalist lifestyle.

But I have too much stuff that needs to come with me when I go out and about.  There's only so much downsizing that's useful to me.
I had completely given up on being able to carry a clutch, until I found the one pictured above at TJ Maxx for much less than I though it might cost! 

Lesson Learned: There are still soft, oversized clutches being made and available in your price range.  They can hold all your stuff with minimal downsizing of items. You just need to keep the larger size on your radar.

And lest you think I'm showing you an empty clutch for best effect, you should know that, in this photograph, it contains: 
my Kindle Fire HD 8.9
card case with ID, cards and cash
Bare Minerals mirrored compact and brush
tiny pencil eyeliner stub
Bare Minerals Sunblock
asthma inhaler
sunglasses in hard case

And there's plenty of room to carry the cream-colored Battenburg lace fan, also pictured above.  It's one of my favorite styles of fan, and I have several colors in this style. 


 Below you'll see a couple of pictures of two of my darling doggies ... and both of them happen to match my outfit, but both have to be left at home in air conditioned comfort this time of year.  And while the lesson below is not a new one for me, it bears mentioning.

Lesson to remember: As much as I love my blouse, fan and bag, they're never going to love me back.  These kids do, and deserve extra consideration during our miserable hot weather.

Here in the photo with me is Bijou, our toy poodle.  Nope, she's not a mix.  Some poodles just have waves instead of curls.  And lots of premature gray and white spots on chin and toes instead of the more glamorous pure black.

And this adorable little girl below is our latest rescue.  Her name is Toutes because when she wags her tail, she wags everything!
She's clearly part Chihuahua, and something else.  Not sure what, but she has some long hair somewhere in her family tree.  So, that makes her Demi-Chihuahua with Long Hair, if not a purebred Long Haired Chihuahua.  That's our story and you're stuck with it.
She's still a young dog ... she just has an unfortunate amount of gray like Bijou.

Kittehs need special consideration in the summer as well.  Below are "The Evil Twins", Janie and Posh.  They're not identical twins, but herringbone-tabby sisters who are very hard to tell apart.  Janie has green eyes and Posh has eyes that are an astonishing shade of gold-orange. 

Lesson Learned: Gray can be Glam!

(And cats do not like to be photographed at nap time. There was retaliation.)


Toutes takes us to The Amazing Patti and Her Gathering of Glamizons at Visible Monday !  Join us ?

Monday, June 10, 2013

As Simple as Black and White ...

Black and white. Simple.
But not always that easy ...

Black and white combinations are out there, big time, in the aethers of the Collective Style Consciousness. We all have black and white separates in our closets, so it should be easy, right? To my eye, it's been a "classic" combination so long, it seems more like a cliché the way I've been wearing it.

So, to make a fresh start with an old combination, I put a toe out of my own comfort zone, and turned some of my old combinations upside-down.

I automatically wear dark on the bottom. Always. But I quite like how this combination looks.

While this is dark on the bottom again, what is new (for me!) is the "tuck". I've never tucked in my shirts because  I'm very short-waisted.  But I've found that a little lower rise than usual and a half-tuck under a sturdy belt makes my waist look just a bit lower, and produces a more proportional me! 
Live and learn.

I've never worn this little black and white sheath in the summer.  The fabric is light enough to be comfortable, and I freshened it up with very skimpy, 
very summery sandals/heels.
(But I do look strange with black hair, don't I?)

And of course, there is my black fan, and a white fan and one of my black and white fans  ... very common combination in Asian folding fans.  I think they add to the timely look of a black and white ensemble.

Kate Dengra, 
Fan merchant extraordinaire !

And speaking of fans ... I've found the most beautiful fans, customized and painted by a very cool young English woman who happens to live in Spain.  Her name is Kate Dengra. On her site she describes her life with her Spanish husband:
"We live in a cave house in rural Andalucia (real Spain - the heart of flamenco and free tapas). In 2005 we reformed 2 of our outer rooms and set up a Bed and Breakfast Guest House. I run the B&B with my Mum and my sister and we have now become famous for our homecooked meals."


And if that isn't enough to grab you, she's sold fans to celebrities Jessica Chastain, Cristina Aguilera and Emilia Clarke.  See her site and a post showing a LOT of celebs fanning around ..."Celebrities with Hand Fans" .  Then pop over and see her Etsy Shop, Dengra Designs with a huge selection of lovely hand fans at an absolutely affordable price a vast variety of styles and colors.

Here are a few of my modern-looking favorites ...

I'm looking forward to my first purchase ASAP!
And finally, just for fun, a blast from the past and yet another a fan ... (with thanks to Wendy Brandes for the reminder.)

Have a great week! 
I'll see you over at Patti's 

Monday, June 3, 2013

Blue and Green Muses and ... Fan-O-Rama!

(*Late-Breaking Note from Jan about trying 
Google+Comments !!!
What an epic fail.  I've gone back to regular Blogger commenting, and in the process, lost your darling posts. Google+Comments won't, I find, allow many of you to comment, so it's outahere.  Many apologies ... and I hope you'll forgive me and stop back by!  I now return you to your regularly scheduled blog viewing.)

The best thing about style blogging is other bloggers. Their blogs are where I get to tap into the Collective-Style-Consciousness. Here's where I get to see what other women are thinking and doing. Blue and green combinations seem to be particularly prevalent in the aethers of the CSC right now, and two of the most memorable examples come from these great women: 

Beverly:  Going Green and Blue at her blog,
Beverly Like Hills
Curtise:  Visions of You in Shades of Blue  at her blog, The Secondhand Years

And here's what I did:

  ... one of my favorite summer dresses from Thakoon Panichgul's collaboration with Target.

 Cynthia Rowley ... big value acquired from TJ Maxx
Of course this isn't just blue and green, but a lot of that as well as some purple. These unusual color combinations feel new. Optical blends like these appeal to the wannabe
 Impressionist in me.

(Wearing my turquoise suede heels by Guess, 
snagged at TJ Maxx.)

And of course, here you've just seen the some of the fans I've been threatening to show you, and in last week's post, as well.
I bring you ...


Folding hand fans. I began carrying them when we first moved into the eternal rice-steamer that is the South-Central US. That was in the menopause years, and although those are over, I rarely leave the house without a fan from spring until late fall. 
( Yikes! I sound ancient. Nonsense, I just got over menopause very, very quickly. That's what.) Even into the fall and winter, especially if I'll find myself in a life-at-armpit level crushes that short women sometimes experience.  

I love my fans. They're an accessory that's as much a part of my personal style as shoes and handbags. In future summery posts, I promise I won't bore you with every one, but I'll show you the ones that I think compliment my clothing choices.

Folding hand fans are light weight and small enough to put in all but the eensieist of handbags. They don't require batteries. They are most often made of biodegradable and sustainable materials. They can be bought at any price point, made DIY if you wish, and can make you much more comfortable when you're miserable without a doctor's prescription. I can use my little fan to keep from sweating away my makeup in 115 degree weather and 90 percent humidity. And that is power. It's control over my immediate environment.

And because they are driven by woman-power, you will burn a few calories when you use one. Not many, but every bit helps.

The ones you see above are part of my basic-basic everyday fan wardrobe. I can quickly come up with a fan to match or complement any outfit I own. I use one almost every night that I'm at the restaurant, especially in the summer. I even bought a bulk lot very inexpensive Asian party-favor fans to hand out to my woman customers when they drag themselves into the restaurant from our often triple digit heat. The style you see here comes in almost every color , and I bought these for under $2.00 each. They're fabric and bamboo, and if I lose one they're not a big deal to replace.
I got them here:  Oriental Decor  at their dot-com link*.  Their service has been consistently great, and their shipping fast.  

(*Not a paid or swag-induced add at all, just a personal recommendation based on experience. A quick Google will give you all kinds of options. You could spend the day and more looking at all the styles and price points.)

Louis Vuitton designed a line of lace fans a couple of seasons ago ...

at $2,515.  Just for the fan.  

(Marc is a LV fan Fan, it seems.)

Ralph Lauren used them as a motif in his flamenco inspired collection.

I'm not even suggesting that everyone run out and buy an expensive one or even a bunch of inexpensive ones. I just love pulling one out of my purse, instantly retaking control of the temperature of my own personal surrounding atmosphere. An on-demand cool breeze is no small thing in the misery of deepest summer.

The history of the folding hand fan that we know so well is long and fascinating. I won't give a complete history here, but you'll find links below that tell the story of this famous low-tech air conditioning system. You'll read about the lovely Asian fans of many countries, the flamboyant Spanish fan, the evolution of the romantic and elaborate fans we associate with English ladies of the Pre-through-Post Victorian eras. You can hop from link to link to your heart's content there.

It's my second best hint for a more comfortable summer, with love from me to you.

(I'm saving my best hot weather hint for later, so stay tuned.)


History of the Folding Hand Fan links

The Hand Fan: The Cell Phone of the 17th Century  ... from a link off the Purdue University site) 
Place de l'Eventail  ... lovely French site that goes for miles via links, for history geeks!


I'll be at the Peripatetic Patti's Visible Monday  ... join me with all the rest of her loyal FANS!
(I had to do it, and you KNOW you thought about it yourself!)