Friday, 30 March 2012

The Suit

Smart Choices

Just around the corner in every woman’s mind – is a lovely dress, a wonderful suit, or entire costume, which will make an enchanting new creature of her.
-       Wilhela Cushman

Closet Content Analysis: Suits

NICE                   NO THANKS         NOTE-WORTHY            NEED

My spring clothing buying pattern has been influenced by my mother's getting-ready-for-Easter customs. Spring, but particularly Easter, motivates me to buy a suit. My mother bought a new suit, hat and heels; I received a new dress and spring coat, a hat, and matching patent shoes; my little brother got a suit; and my dad managed to pay for everything. There were years a new suit never made it his way, but he always got a new shirt and tie.

NICE Suit #1 Size 12: It was the beginning of July, 2006 and I was at the Holt Renfrew in Calgary, Alberta. All the previous season’s clothes were on sale and I found a black stripe on black Armani Collezioni jacket and trousers. It was about 25% of the original price. I bought the two pieces even though the price was more than what I paid for my wedding gown. I loved that suit. I wore it and wore it over and over. My "cost per wear" was probably down to $1.00 by the time I lost weight, had the pants taken in twice and was no longer able to fit it, in 2010. Did I tell you, I loved that suit? I felt great in it. 

I believe that my clothes can give people a better image of themselves - that it can increase their feelings of confidence and happiness.
-       Giorgio Armani

NICE Suit #2: Size 6 Jacket, Size 4 Skirt: It was the Canadian Victoria Day holiday in May, 2011 and I was at the Holt Renfrew in Calgary, Alberta. Deja-vu. I was shopping for a special occasion and so I visited the Armani section first but found nothing appealing this time. I decided to seriously look at Canadian designers and found a Lida Baday suit that was perfect for the occasion. I chose this beige skirted suit and paid full price. Whereas the black Armani suit was classic and super basic, this one has a little more flair and no room to add an inch. At this very moment, the jacket is fine insofar as fit goes. In fact I wore it this week with a summer sheath dress I bought in 2011. Remember that 6 pounds I was telling you about in a previous post? Well, the bum hug on the skirt is just too grasping for me right now.

Since you are seeing the whole package on the left, the other clothing items and accessories are: Teenflo sleeveless cowl top in a creamy tone; rose quartz necklace (illustrated in the Statement Necklaces by JoyD page); Jimmy Choo nude peep toe heels (photograph in the Heels post, February 17, 2012).

As I look at the photo I realize that the sleeves should be shortened!

NO THANKS: I was in Paris in August, 2010, three days before I was to return to work in Canada and I always came home with something new to wear on my first day back. I guess that habit came from a back-to-school clothing buying tradition that I can blame on my mother. I don’t remember exactly but I was either in the 3rd arrondisement, Le Marais, or perhaps I was already walking out of it. At any rate, I noticed a “pop-up store”, a temporary storefront loaded with Italian imports. I bought this suit but have never been comfortable or happy with the skirt. The skirt is asymmetrical with a sheer overlay and the jacket is knee-length, so not so much a jacket as a coat. The skirt overlay hangs down below the “jacket”, and just looks odd, actually "goofy" is a better descriptor. It was another piece I felt I had to remove from my closet. After a quick glance, one particular consignment store owner didn’t even consider taking it. I’m thinking of talking to a seamstress and see if I can remove the overlay from the skirt. I think that will make it wearable.

The self is not something ready-made, but something in continuous formation through choice of action.
- John Dewey

NOTE-WORTHY: It was the Canadian Victoria Day weekend in May, 2007, I was still a size 12 and I was at the Holt Renfrew in Edmonton, Alberta. I was shopping for something special for my Masters convocation that was to take place in a couple of weeks and I wanted a suit. Since I was lucky with Armani the year before and I have always liked Armani’s classic lines, I chose to start there. My husband and I walked into the Armani area of the store and he asked, “What about that one?”, as he pointed to a mannequin. Upon first glance, I grimaced, but I tried it on, liked it and bought it. I’ve only done that one other time and it was when my mother asked, “What about that one?” and I bought the wedding dress that was in the Winnipeg bridal shop window, the first one out of the fitting room. As far as this suit is concerned, I liked the asymetrical buttoning on the jacket although I have never been partial to that tight through the top, flared at the bottom style skirt. I ended up buying a brown pair of pants and wore that jacket a lot.

NEED: Presently my work and lifestyle only periodically requires “suits” and so I don’t need anything in this classification of clothing. Mind you, an Armani suit, on sale, in my current size could make its way into my closet, especially since Easter is just over a week away.

I dress for the image. Not for myself, not for the public, not for fashion, not for men. 
- Marlene Dietrich

Inviting your comments on suits. 


Monday, 26 March 2012

A Style Philosophy

Stylish or Fashionable Choices ?

Closet Content Analysis:
A Style Philosophy

Some profess that it’s relative to one’s individual preferences, French women allegedly have it, Hollywood stars attempt to exude it, and many of us want to portray it. Style is universally acknowledged, admired and coveted.

It’s one thing to have a style and quite another to be of style. Pragmatists argue that everyone has a style and for the most part believe that to be of style is elitist. Whether something is in-style or out-of-style should really be articulated as in-fashion or out-of-fashion. Essentially something that is in-style may not necessarily be the fad or fashion of the moment and something that is a fad or in-fashion may not be stylish or of style. Always wearing plaid flannel shirts and workboots may be a chosen style and depending on the mood of designers, occasionally may be considered "in fashion" for a particular time. It’s been said by many different people in slightly different ways but the sentiment is the same, “fashion changes but style remains”.  

The desire to be comfortable and casual in our dress has morphed into slovenly. Sorry but grey sweatpants that bag in the behind do not "a style" make. For the most part you won’t see sweatpants, sweatshirts or jogging shoes on a Paris street and when you do, you will know they are worn by tourists or migrant workers.   

To some, style connotes wealth and privilege; however, individual style really has nothing to do with affording Chanel or Armani. In fact, there’s a saying that goes something like, “you can buy fashion, but you can’t buy style”. Yes, to be well-dressed, not necessarily expensively dressed, is the ticket for both men and women. Many a well-dressed office worker or shop clerk wears consignment couture in order to be stylish without the exorbitant designer boutique price tag. The clothing you choose tells everyone about your style before you even open your mouth. Wallis Simpson, an American who married King Edward VIII, said, "Clothes should be so simple and unobtrusive as to seem unimportant." Mrs. Simpson, or was it Windsor, suggested that clothing is everything but should appear as if it is nothing.  

Simplicity evokes style. Recognizing that there are those who are stylish in a luxurious manner, it is easier to adopt the example of those who are stylish in a minimalist sort of way. Coco Chanel introduced a scaled-down style that conveyed refinement and is now used as a worldwide reference point. Armani continued that movement and has overtaken the refined simplicity standard.  

CZ Guest, identified as an American woman of style, said that “Style is knowing how to turn out properly for the right occasion.” Appropriateness, irrespective of how rich you are, is a subjective element, but no matter how you feel, dressing and behaving appropriately does matter. The “I don’t give a _____  attitude”, only works with teenagers. Go to another country on a business trip and you will realize how out of touch that point of view is. 

The French have a saying that style, or maybe it’s beauty, is being “comfortable in your skin”. Self-confidence emanates from the interior and manifests in being comfortable with yourself. You develop style as you experience life. But  . . . you still need to be well-dressed.

Welcoming your comments on style . . .  Are you born with style or can style be taught?

Friday, 23 March 2012


Functional Choice 

Closet Content Analysis: Handbags

NICE                   NO THANKS         NOTE-WORTHY            NEED          NEW

She had the loaded handbag of someone who camps out and seldom goes home, or who imagines life must be full of emergencies. 
-       Mavis Gallant

I am taking Mavis Gallant's quote personally and it isn’t so much emergencies as it is necessities. Some days I have a thermos of coffee, a bottle of water, my medical supplies, a snack or two and an extra pair of shoes in my handbag, not to mention my wallet, notebook and cell phone.

Lancel Premier Flirt Bag in "smoked grey"
NICE: I have respected the French design house of Lancel from the first time I saw one of their retail outlets in Bordeaux. I find great pleasure in carrying my new "smoked grey" Premier Flirt bag because it is not as identifiable as Coach or Louis Vuitton, particularly in Canada. There are only four retail outlets in Canada and none in the United States that carry Lancel. I had narrowed it down to the Le Brigitte Bardot or the Flirt and opted for the classic over the more playful. I bought it in the fall of 201l while in Paris. I use it everyday and I can see myself carrying it for a very long time. 

NO THANKS: You may think it odd, but my least favourite handbag was a small Louis Vuitton clutch. Because it was small, I used it as an evening or "going for dinner" bag. I bought it in Athens, Greece with the first cheque I ever received for my writing. I guess I bought it because it was Louis Vuitton and that somehow signified something to me at the time. However, I was always uncomfortable carrying the signature logo. In my trips back and forth between France and Canada, living in three different places in 2011 as well as several hotels, I somehow misplaced it. I can truly say I am not upset, except there's some regret because of the price. I probably will sell it if it finds its way back to me or if someone picked it up, I hope they enjoy carrying it more than I did.

Black and Grey Coach zippered bag
NOTE-WORTHY: This is truly a bag, a bag with a zipper. My black logo printed Coach bag is probably the most NOTE-WORTHY handbag I have owned. It’s not because I like it so much but rather how functional it was and still is. Even though it is well-worn and threadbare in places, I still use it. It has become my travel handbag. Coach bags have become the "Vegas purchase" for most Canadian women. I have heard of fabulous deals at Vegas outlet stores and have two other Coach bags as confirmation of that. Unfortunately for me I got this one at the Calgary Holt Renfrew back in 2008 albeit for 25% off at a mid-summer sale.

NEED: A brightly coloured satchel-style, maybe purple, red, yellow or bright blue, that will hold my 15 inch laptop in addition to everything else I need.

Smart Bags brand distributed by ACI Brands Inc. in Canada
NEW: My husband finished an ESL teaching contract in March and his students gifted me with a handbag. I graciously accepted it, but I felt a tad guilty. Here are these new Canadians, who have better uses for their money than gifting me; however, I am pleased to receive this purse, which is proportioned to my size and has adequate compartments inside. NOTE-WORTHY that the SB logo for Smart Bags looks very much like another popular logo.

Handbag Shopping Tips and Hints:
I have never given proportion much thought when it came to handbags. I am probably considered too small to be carrying the Lancel bag but I have always carried large bags. Therefore I can not preach what I do not practise. Nonetheless, the “rule” is that one should carry a bag that is in proportion to one’s body not to one’s stuff.

Buy the best that you can afford. I only have a few handbags, not all are name brands, but I do prefer leather or a high quality synthetic. I have purchased cheap synthetics and after one sub-zero temperature winter, cracks and tears were common place. I'd rather not waste my money on synthetics.

Check the interior for zippered compartments.  Are there enough for your necessities? Too many of us buy handbags simply for the look or colour and then realize that the interior does not accommodate our needs. I like to have a zippered compartment that is large enough to hold my wallet rather than letting it be loose in my bag. It makes me feel more secure.

With that in mind, make sure your future handbag is secure. Can the strap go across your body so that it sits in front of you when you are in crowded spaces, especially touristy areas? If it's a bucket bag, can it be closed securely enough so that a hand could not easily find its way in?  That's why your wallet needs to be in a zipped pocket inside your bag. Better to think about these things in the shop when you are buying a bag rather than after you have had your wallet stolen in the subway.

One step up from perfume, the handbag is also the most accessible item an ordinary working woman can afford from a very exclusive house. Status bags are a cheap thrill, comparatively speaking, for those who want business class but are living coach.
-       Anna Johnson

What are your NICE handbags and which ones do you say NO THANKS to?

Sunday, 18 March 2012

Fashionable Basics - T-Shirts

Multiple Choices  

How many t-shirts can one girl own? As many that look good and feel great.
How many t-shirts of the same style can one girl own? As many as there are colours in that style.
How many black t-shirts can one girl own? At the very least, one short sleeved, one three-quarter sleeved, and one long sleeved.
How many “boyfriend” t-shirts should a girl lay claim to? As many as she can get away with but only if she is in her teens or early twenties. After a particular age, it’s no longer a “boyfriend” t-shirt, it’s just big and sloppy.

Closet Content Analysis:

NICE                   NO THANKS         NOTE-WORTHY            NEED

I think there's something incredibly sexy about a woman wearing her boyfriend's T-shirt and underwear.
- Calvin Klein

Calvin Klein would change his idea of sexy if he saw me in my husband’s T-shirt, let alone his underwear. But t-shirts whether fitted and worn under a blazer or over-sized and worn as pyjamas, have become a necessity in a stylish closet.

It's interesting that men like Calvin Klein and Ralph Lauren who have the money to dress in cashmere and silk have chosen classic jeans and t-shirts as their looks. There’s no doubt that this item, which started out as men's underwear has become a fashionable closet staple. Now, t-shirts, blended with spandex and stamped by a designer, can cost up to three figures. No matter where your wallet places you on the price continuum, t-shirts fulfill many of our wardrobe’s complementary needs.

I've always thought of the T-shirt as the Alpha and Omega of the fashion alphabet.
- Giorgio Armani

NICE: My favourite tee is a style rather than a brand. V-neck, 3/4 length sleeves with a small percentage of spandex are the required attributes for a NICE t-shirt. I find that whenever I wear a long sleeve t-shirt, I pull up the sleeves to sit at mid-forearm. I’ve always liked wearing a t-shirt with a suit just to take the formal edge off. I like that look on a guy too.

NOTE-WORTHY: A Ralph Lauren Sport Polo (light blue emblem) v-neck white t-shirt with short sleeves. I found it at Winners for cheap but it was a size small and at the time of purchase, I was not a small. It’s NOTE-WORTHY because it took me two years before I could finally fit it. In the shopping tips, this would be an absolute do not do. Yet I did it and it worked.

NO THANKS: T-shirts with any lettering, full frontal (or back) advertising or bold overdone embellishments unless you're in a marathon or some fund raiser. Begin the psychoanalysis — I just don't like anyone looking at my chest and wondering, "what does that say?" or "what is that?"

NEED: I probably don’t NEED any more t-shirts in my closet except maybe two or three in the following: "tangerine tango, sodalite blue, cockatoo, solar power, cabaret and starfish", all Panetone colours considered to be the trendy spring and summer choices for 2012.

T-shirt Buying Tips: Just from the existing posts, you will be able to predict my recommendations. If you find a great t-shirt that fits nicely, not too tight, buy it in as many colours as available. You won’t be disappointed. You’ll always have something to wear.

Crew neck t-shirts look fine on a smaller framed body but if you are on the double digit size side of the clothing rack, v-necks work better.

What is too tight? The line between too tight and form-fitting can be fractional. Just look at your chest and then turn and look at your back, paying attention to the bra lines. If you see lumps and bumps, it's too tight. Move your eyes down. Do you see any indication of muffin top? If the fabric is pulling, stretching or bunching, it doesn't fit. You might not even need a bigger size, you might just have to try another brand name; there will be one that is perfect.

What is too big? Check your shoulders. If the seam is past where the upper arm meets the shoulder, guess what, look for a smaller size. And yes, you will find that you will try t-shirts on that fit beautifully in the shoulders but then pull across the bustline. Same advice applies, try on a different brand name in the medium and large ranges.

T-shirt sizes are some of the most variable in the fashion market. There are brands where the size Large looks like a small and small's that fit sloppily through the body.

T-shirt Caring Tips: Black and other dark t-shirts can easily begin looking dull and grayish. Inside out, cold water and laundry detergents specifically for dark colours help keep dark cotton dark. When I'm in France I like using Décolor Stop Intense by Eau Ecarlate. Hang to dry. Dryers are really hard on clothing. I don't have a dryer in France and have to hang everything outside. The clothes have a different smell - fresh is the best way to describe it.

There are those who will stop reading and go to the next blog when they read, iron your t-shirts. The difference between the dryer crinkles and a flat matte finish is the difference between well-dressed and sloppily dressed even if it’s only a t-shirt. A t-shirt can be ironed in less than a minute. Iron inside out, sleeves first, then shoulders and neckline, and finally the body. Thank-you mom.  

Welcoming your  NICE, NO THANKS, NOTE-WORTHY and NEED t-shirt stories.

Thursday, 15 March 2012

Colour Blocking 2012

Colourful Choices
 Colour blocking is the 2012 spring and summer fashion requirement.

Closet Content Analysis:
Colourful Salvage
NICE                   NO THANKS         NOTE-WORTHY            NEED
Actually the same was said of colour blocking in 2011 but maybe the regular work-a-day population didn’t get it so we are being given a second chance. This post is not about a clothing category but rather the colour trends for the spring and summer of 2012.

Spring/Summer Panetone colours for 2012 include Tangerine Tango AKA orange, Solar Power AKA yellow, Bellflower AKA a mauvy purple, Cabaret AKA a rosy red, Sodalite Blue AKA navy, Cockatoo AKA turquoise, Margarita AKA lime green, Sweet Lilac AKA a pastel pinky purple, Driftwood AKA beige/grey/taupe and Starfish AKA dark beige. Colour blocking as presented in 2012 is bolder so that a Solar Power pair of jeans will be topped by a Cabaret t-shirt - yellow and red by any other name. Notice no "hot pink" and no "deep purples". I will be blocking but the likelihood of Cockatoo and Tangerine Tango will be slim. My taste will place Driftwood and Cabaret together over the bright colour combinations.

Blocking suggests exactly that –  half of your body is clothed in one block of colour and the accessories that fall into place in that half are a matching colour. For example: t-shirt, necklace, scarf, earrings, bracelets, anything found in close proximity are one colour, let’s say Bellflower and the other half, say skirt, belt and shoes in Tangerine Tango. Your bag could be either purple or orange. Jewelry, scarves, belts, shoes and bags can provide starting points for colour blocking. 

Insofar as jewelry goes, I will be concentrating on corals and turquoise for my spring summer creations.

Vertical colour blocking and choosing one colour for limbs and a second for the body can end up competing with Bozo and Bozo will always win. My preference is a maximum of two colours. Three colours . . . once again can end up competing with Bozo depending on the colours.

NICE : I have always liked colour blocking but have stuck to the neutrals in the past. Favourite never-ending classic colour blocking of navy and beige, grey and beige, black and white, navy and white, pale blue and white, pale blue and beige and white. I know . . . boring. To update the very neutral colour blocking, white should probably be put in storage for this summer and replaced with a bright lively colour. Or just add a third bright or neon colour to the black and white blocking you already have by updating with a 2012 colour in a purse, necklace, big earrings or stack of bangles and bracelets.

The purest and most thoughtful minds are those which love color the most.
 - John Ruskin
Hmmm? I love colour. I just am judicious in what colours I wear.

NO THANKS: Neon brights in two or three predominant blocks. I just can’t do that anymore, no matter how out of fashion I might appear to be. (Accessories, shoes and maybe a t-shirt will have to fill the neon colour block urge for me.)

NOTE-WORTHY 1: Trendy colour purchased on the cheap.

NOTE-WORTHY 2: The metallic for Spring and summer 2012 is silver.

NEED: To dig through my closet and see what colourful salvage I can come up with.

Colour Buying Tips:

If you don’t like orange, don’t buy anything Tangerine Tango. That seems logical, yet confronted with a proliferation of nothing but trendy bright colours in any season, the frontal lobe reverts to adolescents. Be very, very careful.

Welcoming your colourful comments on what to wear during the warm weather.

Monday, 12 March 2012

Traditional Flat Shoes

Preppy Choices 

Loafers – slip on shoes with a heel

Driving Shoes – slip on shoes without a heel 
also called

Closet Content Analysis:
Flats – Loafers & Moccasins
NICE                   NO THANKS         NOTE-WORTHY            NEED
Give a girl the right shoes, and she can conquer the world.
- Marilyn Monroe

 Without flats, particularly moccasins and loafers, there is no preppy style.

NICE 1: With my decision to post on traditional flat-heeled shoes, I began rummaging through my shoe boxes in anticipation of taking a few photos. I can not find the NICEST moccasins/driving shoes I have ever owned. Needless to say, I am annoyed with myself. I live in Canada half time and in France the other half and so I am hoping that they are in France and I will reacquaint with them when I am there. They were, I mean are, grey suede Salvatore Ferragamo moccasins. My husband was in Las Vegas in 2010 and he called me from one of the outlet malls asking me for my shoe size. He bought them for me even though I did not see a photo nor did I even have a verbal description. They have a flat front, no tassels, no adornment and I love them. They fit like a glove and they just had that “casual Jackie O would wear these on the weekend” feel to them. Whether I find them or not, they are still the NICEST pair of flats I have ever owned.

March 30, 2012: I found them! In preparation for moving back to Europe I had to move a few boxes into storage and sort through others. One of those boxes contained several pairs of shoes – in all fairness this box was not with all my other "shoe boxes" and so that’s why I missed them on the first search. I never panic when I misplace something; it usually turns up!
NICE 2: Any Geox flat. These neutral beige Geox loafers were my walking shoes in Italy, Greece, Spain and France over a two year period. I am presently wearing a pair of black patent Geox loafers (see photo under buying tips at the end of the post). I found them on sale in France and they replaced my worn out black smooth leather Geox loafers.
NO THANKS: A flat backless beige pair of loafers AKA mules have to be my NO THANKS choice but they shouldn’t be. I bought them in Romans, France, a shoe production location with many outlet shoe stores. I don’t so much walk in them, but waddle. They looked like they would be comfortable and they are, but I’m not wearing them. I’ve tried to use them as “house” shoes and that didn’t work either. And so they sit in a bin with other regrets.
NOTE-WORTHY: So what is it about beige flats and me? Just this last Saturday, I walked through The Bay and saw a pair of taupe-coloured Ralph Lauren loafers. It wasn’t the shoes that attracted me at first but the 50% mark down from the last marked down price. So this pair of loafers that started out their retail life at $109.00 (Cdn) ended up costing $32.50 (plus 10% taxes). You would have thought that the size on the box was flashing intermittently with “buy me”, in neon colours no less. There was another potential buyer muttering to herself that she was a size 7 and asking, no one in particular, if she should buy the six and a halfs. Well, I now own yet another pair of beige-tone moccasin/loafer styled flats (the pair on the right). 

NOTE-WORTHY VOW: Here I swear, before all my loyal blog readers, casual lurkers and dedicated followers, I will not buy another pair of beige loafers or moccasins in the next five years. Disclaimer: this vow does not include colours other than those in the beige to taupe spectrum.

NEED: A colourful assortment of flats, loafers and moccasins.

Moccasin/Loafer Buying Tips:
In my experiences, there’s no repairing moccasin/driving shoe soles. And by patented construction of the Geox sole, there’s no repairing or replacing those either.  Once the soles are gone, the shoes are done. So if that is a problem for you, don't buy driving shoes or Geox.
These soles on my black patent Geox loafers are not shoemaker-friendly.
Moccasin/Loafer Caring Tips:
For smooth and patent leather, I have used leather cleaning wipes. I only have experience with one brand and those were packs of 30 Leather Love Wipes by Method.

Look for the suede caring tips in the Heels post (February 17, 2012).

Welcoming your comments on driving shoes, moccasins and loafers.

Thursday, 8 March 2012

Bracelets, Bangles & Cuffs

Ornamental Choices
The only thing that separates us from the animals is our ability to accessorize.
-       Robert Harling, Steel Magnolias
Closet Content Analysis: 
Bracelets, Bangles & Cuffs

NICE                   NO THANKS         NOTE-WORTHY            NEED          NEW

NICE: I have an 18 kt gold hinged oval bangle that I bought when I was in Kuala Lampur in 2007. I wear it alone or with other bracelets and bangles and so it is, by this blog’s definition, the NICEST bracelet I have ever owned. However, I must take the following into consideration, there are very few bracelets that I haven't liked. Bracelets are my favorite in the jewelry category with bangles and cuffs taking me over the top. 

NO THANKS: For the most part, I have outgrown delicate lovely little things so at this point in my life anything delicate is not part of my “jewelry box” contents. So the NO THANKS comes more from simply outgrowing the delicate pieces, and not from making a purchasing mistake.

Colibri, the store, somewhere in France, where I bought my NOTEWORTHY bracelets.
NOTEWORTHY #1: A set of five bracelets, beads and a charm on stretch metal coils, was the most noteworthy accessory purchase of my life. After I bought them somewhere in France in 2006 and analyzed them, I thought, “I can do this!” I found the component parts and made some for myself. Giving them away as gifts followed and then I began selling them. Now I’m making other ornamental pieces as illustrated on my pages in this blog.

This was one of the first sets of five bracelets with charms that I made as inspired by the original five I bought in France.
I’ve been on a constant diet for the last two and a half decades. I’ve lost a total of 789 pounds. By all accounts I should be hanging from a charm bracelet.
 – Erma Bombeck

NOTEWORTHY #2: Now that I’m making jewelry and regularly showing, I never throw unfashionable or broken pieces away and I advise all who buy from me the same. I have re-constructed many broken or no longer stylish necklaces, bracelet charms or earrings into statement pieces. When my mother died, I found a box of necklaces without clasps, partially strung beads, single earrings and other such un-wear-ables. Women save the strangest things! I took the pieces and remade them as bracelets and gave them to her granddaughters. It brought me a great deal of pleasure and I salvaged some lovely crystals and vintage beads that probably would have been thrown away.

The steel gray thin bangles are my Delta dollar store purchase.
NEED: More bangles and cuffs. Stacking them is a fashion statement I just love.
Accessories are important and becoming more and more important every day,
 - Giorgio Armani

New gold cuff stacked with other lovelies.

NEW: Two new cuffs. The first a metal extremely long gold cuff.  I was apprehensive at first but Kendra, one of the sales associates, convinced me.
Silver metal circle patterned front hinge-closure cuff.

The second, a silver metal circle- patterned one. Both cuffs were purchased at Dutch Growers in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan on March 31, 2012. Now if you're thinking, "that sounds like a greenhouse or garden centre", it is both of those things. However, the store houses great interior decor and a department of clothing and fashion jewelry. This way you can be a fashionable gardener, I guess. Prairie folks are very practical.

Jewelry Buying Tips: Buy what you are immediately attracted to and do not listen to what anyone else says. If you love it, you’ll wear it; if they love it, you’ll end up giving it to them because you’re not wearing it. 

If you're not sure about this spring's bright colours in your clothing choices, buy some orange bracelets at the "dollar store" to bring in spring 2012. One of my best cheap bracelet experiences was in Delta, British Columbia, a suburb of Vancouver. The owners of this "dollar store" were from India and had the best selection of those thin bangles, already stacked together . . . for 20 cents each! Mais oui - but of course, I splurged and bought ten - just call me big spender!

Jewelry Cleaning Tips: Rubbing alcohol on a Q-tip or cotton ball is probably the safest way to clean gold, silver, crystal, glass or even plastic jewelry.
            Some people swear by using a commercial glass cleaner, for all their jewelry cleaning. I’m not experienced on that one but for glass and crystals, it makes sense.
            Use a soft cotton, wool or silk cloth to clean and polish your baubles. Keep an old cotton t-shirt, silk scarf or woolen mitten for this purpose.

Welcoming your comments on the bracelets in your ”jewelry box” and your bracelet buying, gifting or receiving experiences.