Friday, 2 December 2016

The New American First Family Influence on Fashion

Banter around our table about the results of the American election has reflected Canadian tolerance, albeit without total acceptance. Canadian conversation tends to default to the comparison between the American health care system and ours. With the recent appointment of a vociferous critic of any kind of supported health care, I am happy to be living in Canada. My husband is about to have hip surgery and I know that our home is secure and that we won't be bankrupt because of it. I am happy to acknowledge a prime minister who is respected by my European friends and glad that I do not have to rationalize for the bizarre result of a recent election.

This is a fashion blog and so my observations and speculations will deal with a superficial consequence of this election - nothing at all to do with politics but rather how the president-elect and first-lady-to-be will influence fashion trends.

The president-elect appears to favour red ties, white shirts and dark suits therefore a vengeful resurgence of the power suit seems imminent.



Photo Source: Inside Edition
The first-lady-to-be looks fabulous in variations of the sheath dress and so we shall see all manner of sheath dress over the next four years (or at least as long as there is no impeachment).


Photo Source: fortune.com
My predictions are rather obvious and my conclusions were not influenced by a committee based on nepotistic decisions. It will be interesting to see how influential these two are in the fashion world; albeit not nearly as interesting as what will happen on the international political front.

Friday, 25 November 2016

Buy Nothing Day Re-Commitment

It is the eve of Black Friday, otherwise known as Thanksgiving in the United States, and time for me to restate my vows of choosing a day weekly when I will buy nothing. I have to restate this vow annually because like many resolutions, it is short-lived and by the third month I have forgotten that I even made the resolution.

A friend who has school age children has altered "buy nothing day" into "buy only necessities day". She claims there would be times when she had run out of milk and felt guilty about going out to buy it on her affirmed buy nothing day. I speculate that not buying the milk would create greater guilt feelings and so her "buy only necessities day" does make sense for her. 

"Buy only necessities day" could then be expanded to including clothing on my NEED list. Isn't life grand, one can accommodate just about anything if they try hard enough.

But really, I still believe in including a weekly "buy nothing day" in my life. I hope not to forget about it so easily and will attempt to make my resolution last a little longer. I am also going to propose a second "buy only necessities day" which will be restricted to food. For the next year I propose my "buy nothing day" to be Wednesday and my "buy only necessities day" to be Friday. While I'm on the bandwagon, I shall make Saturday a "buy only locally day" to support small independent store owners and all the vendors at the farmers' market. If I do not actually acknowledge those days specifically over the next year, I do know that since I first read about "buy nothing day" in Adbusters magazine, I have slowly changed my buying lifestyle, so that I do not impulse buy anymore, I think twice about where I am buying and I look at the labels to see where things have been made.

But of course, bien sûr, I will not be shopping tomorrow. 

Note: It appears my blog post is on European time while I am writing on Canadian time. Tried to change the time zone but it still reverts to Europe. Sigh. I'll figure it out eventually.

Monday, 21 November 2016

The Top 10 in My Essential Oil "Closet"

Before I left France and in anticipation of not being back for six months, I went shopping for essential oils to carry me through my time in Canada. Of course, I can buy them in Canada, however I find prices more reasonable in France. It is an issue of supply and demand and competition. The French are more used to them as supportive and supplemental treatment. Pharmacies carry essential oils, and French pharmacists can advise you about their use. Ask a North American pharmacist and it is likely that they may not have any academic or professional knowledge about essential oils. The general attitude here among pharmacists tends to be hesitant at best.  

I am self-taught and perhaps more adventuresome in trying  "new" possibilities. Treatment of my husband's legs (he inherited his mother's varicose veins) was my first essential oil challenge. Have the varicose veins completely disappeared? No. Have they improved? Immensely; so much so, that he decided to cancel the surgery recommended to strip the veins. He became a believer. Other benefits might not be so obvious or might be debatable relative to diet or traditional medications; however, I am convinced enough about their efficacy that I am incorporating them to help alleviate potential complications in my diabetic life. I wouldn't be alive without western medical technology (thank you Drs. Banting and Best) but I believe that my general health can be improved through herbal supplementation.

The basics are tried and true and I don't think that I could manage without them now. My top five must-have essential oils are: lavender, tea tree, peppermint, helichrysm and frankincense. If you asked me which of the five I would want if deserted on a tropical island, I probably would opt for frankincense, although as I begin to think about it, I would be able to rationalize for any one of those five, lavender in particular. I use lavender everyday for my personal use and it is a necessity in my linen closet and in my clothing closet - I suppose frankincense would serve me better on a deserted island. Although, peppermint would keep the creepy crawlies away and  . . . no . . . frankincense would be number one on my list.

Next come the specifics for particular conditions and ailments. For my skin I want to have myrrh to complement the frankincense and lavender. For my husband's veins, I want cypress, ginger and mastic or lentisque pistachier which I would add to helichrysm and frankincense. Because we both enjoy wine, rosemary verbenonne and lemon is needed to maintain a healthy liver. For my carpal tunnel and his arthritic pain, I want birch and lemongrass to add to the helichrysm and peppermint. Of course I would take oregano compactum if I was deserted on a tropical island or enjoying the winter on the Canadian prairies. That's just the beginning. 

The next five in importance in my life would be myrrh, cypress, ginger, rosemary and oregano compactum. You can see why I have chosen the original five and so if I had no others to complement their attributes I would be satisfied. Lemon could replace the rosemary but I think it would be number 11 on my list.

If you don't have essential oils in your life yet and for those of you who would like to try essential oils, I would suggest the introductory three: lavender, peppermint and tea tree. Your closets and your body will love lavender. Peppermint will invigorate you and keep creepy crawlies out of your home. Tea tree will kill germs while you clean your space and prevent infections when you use it on yourself.

If you are already using essential oils, which are your favourites? Click on Comments and share your favourite one, two or ten.

They are a pleasure to use and we can always use small pleasures in our lives.





Wednesday, 2 November 2016

Glasses - One Company, Many Options

Closet Content Analysis: Glasses – a Requirement

Necessary     Nice     New     Note-Worthy     No Thanks     Nicest


Necessary: Although students are well into their school year and winter is approaching, the “back to school” vibe is still with me: new books, new clothes, and a new pair of glasses are elements I still enjoy incorporating into my life even though it has been awhile since I have had to “go back”. Getting a new pair of glasses every fall is an event that I have not outgrown although this year I have been slow to fill this requirement. There is always a silver lining. My late start this year coincides perfectly with the launch of Warby Parker’s Winter Collection.

Nice: Choices can be expensive and overwhelming and brands confusing so it is NICE if you can find an independent brand that offers you style, quality, choice, service, and a decent price. The bonus comes when you find out that the company makes significant contributions to helping those in need. Warby Parker, a major force in the business of glasses, is a name you should start getting used to saying. Although the company was founded in 2010, I only discovered them recently. Say it again, Warby Parker, and this time imagine the convenience and ease of online shopping with perks such as a “ home try on” period. They also have retail storefronts in Toronto and in major U.S. centres.

New: The winter collection, launched just this week, has been described by the Warby Parker brand team as a winter palette incorporating “icy landscapes, sun reflecting off snowbanks, long shadows and flora in hibernation”. I am starting to think of the clothing in my closet from that perspective – thank you Warby Parker brand team for the perfect description of a winter wardrobe and matching accessories.

Photo Source: Warby Parker

As well a collaboration with Leith Clark has lead to the creation of five new vintage-inspired frames, incorporating rimless frames, filigree, mixed material construction (such as gold-plated titanium coupled with premium cellulose acetate) and exposed screws.

Leith Clark Fleta in Ivory Pearl. Photo Source: Warby Parker

Note-Worthy: Warby Parker partners with non-profits like VisionSpring to ensure that for every pair of glasses sold, a pair is distributed to someone in need (Retrieved from https://www.warbyparker.com/history on November 2, 2016).

Added to that, the partnership with Leith Clark acknowledges Clark’s dedication to “Girl Up”, a United Nations Foundation campaign which encourages girls to raise awareness and funds for UN programs that provide life-changing opportunities for girls all around the world.

No Thanks: Of course, there are those who have complicated prescriptions or need progressive lenses and feel more comfortable with a f2f experience and that is where the 80/20 rule kicks in – 80% of us probably do not need specialized services therefore ordering online appears to be a good option. But even then, they do their best to accommodate the needs of the 20% with a supplementary credit if you require a major adjustment and have to go to a storefront optician other than theirs.


Nicest: The collections for men and women! Whether you have a pair to match every look you present or wear one frame 24/7, there are upscale choices for downscale prices.


Photo Source: Warby Parker

Photo Source: Warby Parker
Photo Source: Warby Parker

Friday, 21 October 2016

How Do You Lose a Dress?

My Favourite LBD. Photo by JoyD.
How did I lose my LBD? The last time I wore my little black dress was at the beginning of July on the last night of the river cruise. My husband, who always does a once over as we are leaving hotel or guest rooms, would have noticed a dress. I packed. Surely, I would have noticed. This was not a scarf that fell behind a piece of furniture or a pair of underpants tangled in the sheets. However, I don't know where it is.

Yes, this has happened to me before. Travelling between two homes doesn't help. Yet my husband is not convinced that I have "lost" my dress. 

"Have you checked the foyer closet?"

My response was neither yes or no because in fact, I hadn't checked the foyer closet. I replied with a question, "Why would I have put it in the foyer closet when I was unpacking? I unpacked my suitcase in the bedroom, I would have put it in my closet." He didn't offer any further explanations or suggestions.

Concluding that surely I had left my LBD somewhere in my June and July travels, I began planning a replacement purchase. 


LBD. Photo Source: Unknown
It should be easy to replace it or maybe not. I do have particular criteria.

1. Length - as in the photo here, it should just graze the top of the knee to be the right proportion for my height.

2. Neckline - the last LBD had a simple round neckline with a 5 cm centre slit. This time, I think I will again look for a simple round neck  or perhaps a v-neck

3. Syle - I definitely want a narrow sheath; Not a wrap as in the photo, not a full skirt, and not an A-line.

That's it, that's all. It should be easy.

It became easier. In preparation for returning to Canada, I was sorting through the things in the foyer closet and there it was.

"Is that it?" I heard over my shoulder.

"It is. I found it." There was no I told you so. He's like that. 

"Good. Are you still planning to buy another black dress?"

"It might be a good idea. After all, just in case I do lose it, I'll have one ready and waiting."

"Bon idée." That's why we are still married after all these years.

I no longer "need" to plan a buying trip for a little black dress. 

Nice.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

What About Pink?

Pink has been difficult colour in my life. When I was little and had to choose a dress, I recall conscientiously staying away from pink because it had too many princess connotations and I did not want a princess persona. I was 8. I remember shunning pink when I first began my professional life, thinking that it would be considered "too feminine" or rather "too girly". I was 28. I choose yellow or white instead of either pink or blue for baby gifts. Ongoing from my 20's to my . . . not yet but probably until my 80's. However, pink is evolving in my life as simply a colour, a colour that I don't mind anymore. I still do not have many, actually just one pink item in my closet.

When I asked Brian, this blog's ballet flats expert, about pink in his flats collection, he too was hesitant, for exactly the same socio-cultural reasons.

It was 2012 when Brian wrote, 
I love pink flats but as a guy I just can't get through what it takes to wear them out in public. Maybe some guys can pull them off but I'm not one of the (yet!). I've bought lots over the years only to return them later on. Don't get me wrong they are high quality flats but not quite right for me, so - NO THANKS.

YET! has come. After four years Brian is wearing pink in public and I bought a pink sweater. Never say never. I guess that is why I chose "no thanks" as a sub-category rather than "never" since it does really mean "no thanks for the moment".

Brian now tells us,
I guess in the four years since I said, "No Thanks" about pink, my answer has obviously changed to "Yes, please". I'm not sure if I felt I had enough other coloured flats that pink was the next obvious colour to get or if it's more that I think pink is a good colour for me.

Here are a few of Brian's pink choices in and out of his closet. I won't bother showing you my pink sweater since it's just a pink sweater and not nearly as interesting as Brian's flats collection in pink.


A sampling of Brian's Pink Flats Collection Collage created by befunky.com 








Monday, 3 October 2016

Never Enough

There are two sentiments at play when it comes to shoes. How many pairs of black/pink/white/grey/brown (you choose your colour) shoes do you really need? Or: you can never have too many pairs of black/pink/white/grey/brown (you choose your colour) shoes. I like the latter of the two.

Brian, the resident ballet flats expert on this blog is a tad more particular when he says, "a guy can never have too many pairs of black flats." 
The new black patent Minnie's I bought did replace my black patent Eddie flats but the Eddies do have a new home. No, not to the trash can, instead I've left them at my home away from home in AZ (that's Arizona for my European friends).  
Back in April 2013 we posted about another pair of my Eddie flats. These blue ones;  http://closetfashioncontentanalysis.blogspot.ca/2013/04/in-mans-closet-ballet-flats.html Tory recently release a patent Chicory blue (baby blue) Minnie flat. This seems like a good time to replace another pair of Eddies with the new Minnie's. I'll leave the Eddies in AZ with the black pair and wear the new Chicory ones at my real home.  

I guess this means I should modify this saying again. "A guy can never have too many cute pairs of black or blue flats." 

But what about pink?

Friday, 2 September 2016

Fall Dressing in Summer Weather

With children returning to school this week, it is natural to think of fall wardrobes. Yet the temperatures are soaring above 30 degrees centigrade during the day and thoughts of fall wardrobes just seem wrong. 

White is starting to feel inappropriate and yet the base colour of my summer clothing is white. I have noticed French women wearing black more and more over the past week. Mind, black, like white, is a basic. 

My Italian standby has come into use more than once for dinners and even shopping. The cool linen weave in beige has proven to be the perfect transitional outfit for the hot September days. Friend, Patrick, from Bordeaux complimented the look at a recent dinner party. Funny, the outfit doesn't look much more complicated in construction than pyjamas, yet it works.

Loose-weave linen top and drawstring wide leg pants purchased in Sorrento, Italy. Photo by JoyD.

I tend to wear turquoise with this outfit because it just feels right. The night of the dinner party I also wore shoes with turquoise in them. It didn't feel overdone, not too match-matchy yet enough to make it look like I took care to get dressed.

Summer wedge heels purchased in Romans-Sur-Isere at Marque Avenue. Photo by JoyD.

My choices for the September heat wave will be all the beige I can retrieve from my closet along with splashes of colour. I am my mother's daughter, white just doesn't feel right anymore even though it is only the beginning of September.

Friday, 29 July 2016

Sale Shopping While on Vacation

Closet Content Analysis: Lucky Finds

NEW and NICE

Two pairs of shoes, 1 dress, 1 pair of cropped jeans, 1 striped sleeveless blouse, 4 waffle weave cotton dressing gowns/bath robes (for me, my husband and 2 for the guest room), 1 Amor-Luxe pullover, 1 very cheap blue t-shirt and a royal blue Lancel purse will be making their way into my closet on Rue Onesime Reclus. Blue, white and denim appeared to be my theme for the summer sales. Even though I do buy in colour blocks, this was unplanned, which proves that habit plays a role in the purchases we make. The purchases began in Bratislava, took a stopover in Germany and ended in Romans-sur-Isere.


Collage created using http://www.photocollage.com

It is now the end of July and officially the end of the July sales however shops still have residuals left that may be clearing out at 70% or more off. I keep looking but nothing strikes my fancy and I really don't need to add anything to my closet.

Wednesday, 15 June 2016

It's a Good Day: A Rainy Day in Paris Turns Sunny and I Got Lucky with Sandro

Closet Content Analysis: Unexpected Find #3


NEW and NICE


Sunday and Monday: It's not like Paris needs more rain. We arrived in Wissous, an outlying city/suburb of Paris where our friends live, on Sunday evening. The traffic was notable with people returning to Paris after being in the country for the weekend. The rain made it treacherous and slow moving. There had been an accident which held things up as well. When taking our exit to Wissous, we faced a car that was going the wrong direction. How in the world he got there I don't know. We arrived safely but thirsty and just in time for apero. 

What a difference a week makes. Last week a friend was sent home early because of the danger of the Seine flooding. About the same time, the motorway by which we arrived had also been re-routing traffic owing to the floods.Traffic jams abounded and I can only express my gratitude that our trip was relatively normal. 

The rain makes it easy to enjoy the intimacy of our friends' home on our first day here. Since it's Monday I don't mind because many museums and restaurants I would like to visit are closed on Monday. Tuesday, the weather will be the same but it is our only opportunity to visit Paris before we leave on Wednesday. 

Tuesday: My one day Paris visit included a visit to the Marais (the 3rd and 4th arrondissements) where we had lunch at Pizza Momo. Alain, a cab driver introduced us to the quartre fromages pizza several years ago and each time we are in Paris, we make a pilgrimage there. In fact we told the waiter our story and he told us that we just missed Alain. Domage. After we were well satiated with pizza and wine, we visited the Musée Carnavalet (16 rue des Francs Bourgeois) which depicts the history of Paris. And then, we went shopping.

I got lucky with Sandro; in fact I have often gotten lucky with Sandro. We were walking along without any particular destination when I saw a Sandro outlet store (26 rue de Savigné) in the 4th arrondissement. Déja vue - this reminds me of my recent Max Mara experience in Bordeaux. I am presently on the lookout for a navy blazer however I chose a black one that has an interesting loose weave which should be cool to wear in the summer. My good fortune was that I received 30% off the outlet price. This is basically their pre-sale sale, partial markdowns before they slash prices even further in July. Thing is, I won't be in Paris in July. As well, considering the number of people and purchases happening today, this blazer in my size could easily be gone by July. I will be in Romans-sur-Isere where Marque Avenue has a Sandro outlet but will this blazer be there? In this case I follow my travel rule: when you see it and want it; buy it; and don't lament a cheaper price later. The actual fact is that it will be unlikely that you will find again whatever it was that caught your attention. I have had several friends contact me after arriving back in Canada asking me to check a particular item in a local French shop. Domage.

My husband who was looking for a more "European" look in a dress pant also got lucky; no, not at Sandro. Just two stores away, we stopped to check out the display windows of "Loft design by" . I encouraged him to go in and again, he was able to purchase a pair of black cotton skinny leg pants that will take him to dinner on the river cruise. 

There was a sprinkle of rain at about 5:00/17:00 and we ducked into Féria Café for a "petite blanc".

With 70% predictions of rain we got lucky twice in the 30% range - the weather was pleasant with only a sprinkle of rain and I got a 30% discount. Nice.