Saturday, 21 May 2016

ITSO . . . In the Style of . . . Judith Richardson


Teenflo top under Lida Baday suit, 2011.
Shoes: Jimmy Choo. Necklace: JoyD.
Charles Le Pierrès and Judith Richardson first started their design life for women's wear twenty years ago under the brand Teenflo but have since morphed into Judith & Charles. Of course, I am enamoured because theirs is a Canadian brand with an international reputation. The name change was necessary since the word "teen" is not what one is looking for when one is in "classic" buying mode. However, a young sales associate at Holt Renfrew in Calgary brought me a top that was perfect with the suit I purchased. It's the cowl neck off-white top in the photo with the Lida Baday suit. It carried the name, Teenflo, in 2011. Even then I found the classic styling and the name incongruous. By the time the Spring Collection for 2012 was ready, the company was rebranded into Judith and Charles. Smart move.

Judith Richardson and Charles LaPierres of Judith & Charles.
Photo Source: Vancouver Sun
The clothing they produce reflects the style of Judith Richardson because every piece I see on a model, I also envision on Judith Richardson.

In 2014, Michele Marko in the Vancouver Sun, summarized Charles LaPierrès' description of the clothes they make in the following way: 

La Pierrès describes their collections as chic modern or modern sophisticated, an esthetic that fits their working woman and stylish urbanite clientele. He’d rather not use the word classic which for him evokes stodginess.
“The pieces are very subtle. They keep evolving. They’re very fresh,” he says. But he acknowledges there is also a timeless quality to them. 
(Retrieved April 12, 2016 from the Vancouver Sun)
His description of the line sounds pretty "classic" but for me the last thing classic connotes is "stodgy". I also see the clothing as "adaptable" which doesn't sound very appealing either. I can see a 20, 35 or 60 year old wearing many of their pieces. So, yes, it is definitely "modern sophisticated" or "chic modern" or any one of those three . . . modern, chic and sophisticated. And that top I bought in 2011 can still be worn in 2016 with the feelings of modern, chic and sophisticated.

Photo Source: Judith & Charles 
This collage was made using

Thursday, 19 May 2016

In the Garden: First Week Back

It has been a week since I have arrived in France and the only clothing I have worn for 80% of the time are my gardening clothes. It's a jungle in my garden. Our neighbour mows the grass areas while we are away and we pruned before we left. However the warm winter allowed the weeds and other unknown plants to take root amongst my irises, daisies, roses and peonies. We had a tree cut down in February and that has left a bit of a mess even though the tree cutters did a fabulous job at cutting wood for our fireplace and mulching the twigs for ground cover. We left the stump waist height to be the centre of a future garden "bar".

I have no special "garden work" attire. What becomes my garden clothes are rejects: things that have a tear beyond repair, a mistake with bleach, frayed ends, pilled polyesters and stuff I wouldn't dare being seen in public. 

Speaking of daring to be seen in public . . . on the first Saturday of the month in May, there are those who choose to celebrate World Naked Gardening Day. No not me. And yes they weed, plant and trim in the buff. Yikes! It's a scary proposition with all the creepy crawlies one disturbs when pulling weeds, snipping, digging up the soil, and transplanting. Not to mention all that buzzes and bites, albeit only occasionally. There are places I prefer not to be bitten and places I prefer to keep covered if not for modesty for health reasons. I suppose one does not have to worry about  the gardener's tan lines after the fact. 

The only true gardening clothing item I own is a pair of rose gardening gloves. With their rubberized palms and fingers, they are meant to protect the hands from thorns but in fact I find them the perfect all-round-work-in-the-garden glove. For actually working with the roses I hope to purchase the gauntlet style that protects up to the elbows.
Photo Source: Manufactum

One trip to the hypermarché and dinner at my neighbour's forced me to wear my usual comfortable casual look in France - linen cropped pants, a striped Armor-Luxe "pull" and my new Semler sneakers. I'll definitely be packing these for my vacation to the east of France, Germany, Austria, Hungary and my river cruise on the Danube. But that's another post. 

Packing my Armor-Lux "pull" and black linen pants.
Photo by JoyD.

Semler sneakers purchased at Traxx
Photo Source: Traxx.

Friday, 6 May 2016

Traveling in Unsettled Times: Attitudes and Decisions

I will be returning to France next week and every casual conversation with acquaintances has included a question something like this: "Aren't you concerned about traveling in Europe and living in France specifically?" I usually respond with a Canadian example of how I feel about where I live in France. I make reference to the FLQ crises in Quebec during the 1970s when European relatives called our home, or so my parents have told me, and asked if we were OK? My family lived in Manitoba. I live in small town France and Paris is six hours away by motorway. As for traveling the rest of Europe, as I will in June, of course I have thought about it but it hasn't stopped me from making plans. I then tell the "story" of some unknown fellow who dreamt that he would die the next day as a result of his work in a mine, so he called in sick. I don't remember the details of the "story" but he died at home and so with an air of indifference, I make the comment  "when your number's up". That being said, we never put ourselves in any known or anticipated risk. Voila. Life is what it is and I will not live in fear or restrict my rational choices.

From another perspective, we have friends who have chosen not to come to visit us in France this summer. I am sure there are many who have decided that they could spend their vacation dollars in a place that would be less stressful in their minds. That's rational for them. I wonder how I would feel if I did not own a home there?

I am looking forward to going back and really I don't think about the whole terrorism thing very much. In fact security is at its peak and when you have nothing to hide, it is as safe as any other time. In fact there are those who claim it is the best time to travel. There are bullies at all levels of society and I hope that their motivations will change over the years to accommodate a pluralistic world society including religious, cultural, psychological and physiological variations.

Clothing is one small element to consider in cultural understanding and I admit that I do have trouble with clothing that obliterates and masks who and what you are. That being said, I have had wonderful opportunities to enjoy the company of those who are celebrating, albeit perhaps celebrating in what technically would be called a "mask", their clothing, hiding their maleness or femaleness. That which I have "trouble" with is more the total coverage of the body by women and men too (if they did it) for whatever reason. Yes, I can understand, at least academically, why they cover themselves from head to foot but . . . to cover up one's face in a time of necessary transparency seems ominous. If you want to cover your face from strangers, particularly men in the mall while shopping, fine, but to insist on it with government immigrant officials, police officers or airport security may suggest you are hiding more than your modesty (at least that might be what someone raised in a democratic and tolerant place might think). 

Understanding has to be reciprocal and so I hope others are as patient with us as they expect us to be with them. My Libra-ness is coming forth, needing balance and other such things, because I recognize the point of view by some that Canada has a "pushover" disposition and is a haven for those with sinister thought - I suppose that side develops because it is considered a peaceful and respectful place to live and visit. 

I could debate with myself longer; however a clothing blog should not be the place to vent about politics or religion or those things that are basically out of our control - other people's thoughts and philosophies particularly . . . I promise the next post with return to a more frivolous topic and one that I have complete control over. 

Wednesday, 4 May 2016

Traxx: Amazing Shoe Store in Saskatoon Saskatchewan

Closet Content Analysis: Unexpected Find


I've driven and walked by the Traxx shoe store many times and have never ventured in. I had the impression that all they carried were hiking boots and "comfortable" shoes. It was conversation at a dinner party last weekend that inspired me to visit the store. Yesterday for the first time, I walked into Traxx and left with a pair of "comfortable" Semler sneakers but found much more. I believe the family run business's original goal was to provide hardy and comfortable footwear for all reasons and seasons but it has certainly evolved. Now they carry it all, from very fashionable funky $400.00 stilettos to $400.00 hiking boots. Who knows, perhaps those stilettos are more comfortable than over the top designer brands. I recognized some of the brand names but not of the stilettos.

The Traxx online presence is as successful as their storefront. The left hand sidebar on the website's home page lists the brand names of the shoes they carry. This is most convenient when you have fallen in love with a particular shoe and know what you want.

I am still a face-to-face shopper and I don't believe that I would have ever bought the Semler sneakers from the pictures I saw online. I had no idea about the German-made Semlers and only bought them because they were 60% off from the original $305.00 - all leather, including lining, and obviously excellent craftsmanship.

Photo Source: Traxx, Saskatoon, SK Canada

Photo Source: Traxx, Saskatoon, SK Canada
Loving my new Semlers!

Sunday, 3 April 2016

Maintaining Momentum

Maintaining momentum is important for all of us no matter how mundane the task. This post carries a "self-help" theme and a "get off your butt" reprimand for myself. Of course, I have excuses but none of them matter in the final analysis. There is a sports shoe company that has the motto, "just do it" and this post is a consequence and a personal response to that.

It is spring and the "official" time to clean your home and get rid of excess, junk you don't use and to cleanse and detoxify your body.

Since the clothing in closets is the main focus, it is the place I shall start . . . 

Analysis: Today I am envying those who have kept the momentum of purging their closets of clothing that has no function in their lives. I am still in the "but I might still need it" mindset when I look at the range of suits, blazers and skirts that have sat without seeing the light of day for the past year. 

The reality is I have not worked in an office setting for the past two years and will not be working full time in that situation for at least the next six months. There may be a few of those items that are classic and timeless enough to be held but in reality there are many that I cannot see myself wanting to wear again.

Nothing will ever be attempted if all possible objections must first be overcome.

— Samuel Johnson (1709 - 1784) author, poet, moralist, literary critic and editor


Action may not always bring happiness; but there is no happiness without action.

— Benjamin Disraeli (1804 – 1881), parliamentarian, literary figure and twice British prime minister

Today I begin by sorting my clothing into the categories that will help purge the lot: Keep, Donate, Consignment, Throw Away, Repair or Re-Construct, Take to France (I live there for 6 months).

And so the momentum begins . . . 

The secret of getting ahead is getting started. The secret of getting started is breaking your complex overwhelming tasks into small manageable tasks, and then starting on the first one.

— Mark Twain (1835 – 1910), American author, lecturer and humorist

Friday, 26 February 2016

Reconfiguring Your Stash into the Industrial and Bold Jewellery Trends for 2016

Harpers Bazaar illustrates the jewellery trends for 2016 in an 84 pic inspiring slide show. Industrial, bold, and asymmetrical demonstrating a slight variation on a five year theme is my assessment of what you will see for the spring of 2016.

Scarlett Johansson at the Oscars. Photo Credit: JCKonline
Here are four ways to take what you already own in your stash and reconfigure it into the 2016 spring trend.

1. Choose the biggest earrings you own and find another pair in a complementary colour. Take one from each pair to produce an asymmetrical pairing and you are on the edge of the 2016 wedge. Take a second look at the earrings Scarlett Johansson wore at the the Oscars. Do the same with the biggest crystal sparkly ones you own and wear a smaller sparkly version or stud on one ear.

2. Statement necklaces are never out of style because they are a "statement of your style". If you bought one in the past five years, whether it sits at the collar or is long, wear it with confidence in 2016. If you want, do the same as suggested with the wrist - add a heavy rectangular chain link.

Christian Dior.
Photo Credit: Harpers Bazaar Slideshow No. 22
3. Re-configure a brooch into a choker. Wrap a scarf around your neck and pin it in place with a large gemstone brooch. If you saved a broken chain from another piece of jewellery, attach it to the brooch pin, on both sides, and let it hang as it will atop the scarf. Or take a gemstone necklace and adjust it to the choker length sitting on top of the scarf.

4. Add a heavy link chain bracelet to a bright colour bangle and you have 2016 on your wrist.

Take a look at the Featured Posts to see some of the similarities over the past five years.

Saturday, 20 February 2016

Attitude: A Choice

In order to be irreplaceable one must always be different.
— Coco Chanel

That quote from Chanel and the next one are dedicated to all the males who wear ballet flats and who have visited this website.
Attitude is everything.
— Diane von Furstenberg

When my ballet flats expert, Brian Davis, sends me a photo of his latest purchase, my response is always the same, "there's a post there". However, even in an El Nino winter, he won't be going far in those flats.

Gold Ballet Flats. Photo Credit: Brain Davis

The boots will serve him better in the snow. 

Tory Burch boots. Photo Credit: Brian Davis

Attitude is everything and no matter what one wears, it is inspiring to see choices that exude one's individuality. For me, appropriateness is the main factor in decision making, then comes that which I feel good in. As a result I usually feel comfortable in whatever situation I am in, even if I am a little over- or under-dressed. 

Accessories, shoes particularly, are the best way to express individuality. And so I salute Brian for his individuality and his footwear choices!