Sunday, 28 April 2013

What Jewellery to Wear with Formal Attire

Closet Content Analysis: Complementing the Formal Gown with Jewellery

For the most part, it's all about the dress and its details. The more embellishments the dress or gown has, the simpler the jewellery should be or possibly no jewellery at all. The simpler the style of the dress or gown, the more liberty can be taken with the jewellery. 

Jennifer Lopez in hoop earrings and multiple bracelets
Photo Source:
December 12, 2012

NiceA winning combination is a gold/silver bangle or cuff and hoop earrings. The wrist and the ears can always be adorned with any gown - with gowns strapless or one-shoulder, with or without sleeves, with metallic or glitzy bling, with one solid colour, with billowy chiffon, even with floral.

However, if you'd like to glam it up a bit more, here are some dress  categories and jewellery suggestions:

Michelle Obama in blue. Photo Source: Sylelist 
The Simple Long Black/Single-Solid-Colour Dress:
Nice: Because the dress is simple and of one solid colour, a statement piece of fashion jewellery can make the difference. Try on a variety of crystals and whites, black, metallic or colour and you will see the varying degrees of formality you can achieve just by changing your jewellery. Of course, real diamonds, real pearls are classic but not many of us have significant pieces that incorporate precious gems.

Halle Berry in Versace accessorized with gold hoops and bangles at the
Golden Globe Awards, 2013
Photo Source: Anything Hollywood

The One Shoulder Dress: 
Nice: Concentrate on the wrists and the ears with a one shoulder dress.
No Thanks: to any necklace. Because of the assymetry of the one shoulder dress, necklaces don't work. Depending upon the amount of bling or decoration on the shoulder, significant drop or chandelier earrings might create too much "happening" from the shoulders up. As with all clothing coordination, it'a a matter of proportion. Bracelets, cuffs, or bangles create balance when worn on the opposite wrist of the shoulder strap.

Doutzen Kroes in Elie Saab
Photo Source: Evi Karatza Adores
The Sequined-Embellished or Full-Sequined Top or Full Metallic Gown:
Nice: For the most part nothing at the neck unless the top is strapless or a deep V. For balance, drop or chandelier earrings and something at the wrist makes perfect sense. The greater the coverage with sequins on the gown the more delicate the bracelet/s and earrings. With just a smattering of sequined coverage, you can add more significant bracelet/s/cuff/s and earrings.
No Thanks: big oversize jewellery pieces that are competing with the dress bling.

Filmy Billowy Chiffon
In the same way when there are many sequins, when there are billowing mounds of material, the jewellery should be understated.

When the dress is the focal point, you can hold back on the jewellery. That is of course unless the jewellery is the focus and that only happens when the diamonds are worth their weight in diamonds.

There are those who proclaim that one should always wear "real" jewellery to formal events. That rule is becoming as archaic as not wearing white after the fall equinox. Clothing rules are becoming more democratic and although you may not want to wear a really trendy piece, it's heartbreaking to think that someone would sneer because someone was not wearing "real" jewellery.

Of course, there are many opinions on this very topic. For your information, here is what was written in WikiHow about wearing jewellery to a gala:

It's not a good idea to wear faux-jewelry or bijoux to a gala. It's best to wear real jewelry if you can. Rather than emphasizing current fad fashions with loud fake pieces, aim for a subtle, simple and elegant approach. (retrieved April 17, 2013 from WikiHow)

What jewellery to wear with formal attire is very much a matter of opinion.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Defining Casual Clothing

Closet Content Analysis: Casual Categories

Choices: Male or Female


In a previous post, I wrote that there were no formalized definitions or categories of casual dress. This post is my first attempt at categorizing casual clothing. 

The following are several categories of "casual" wear placed on a continuum from least casual to most formal of the casual. On the continuum, jeans and t-shirts to business casual is the range of my closet preferences when I go out. I would not leave the house in comfortable casual, which, by my definition, includes sweat pants and oversized t-shirts. When it comes to going out for a coffee, shopping, going to the bar, or doing errands many do settle in at the middle range of casual which is essentially jeans and t-shirts.

Least Formal
Most Casual

Most Formal of the Casual
Comfortable Casual   Recreation Casual                        
SportsBar Casual           Jeans & T-Shirt
Business Casual

Shopping in Business Casual.
Photo by JoyD
Comfortable Casual at home. Photo by JoyD

Comfortable Casual is what we wear at home on the weekend when we don't expect to see anyone except our very nearest and dearest. As stated, sweats, baggy shorts, oversized t-shirts or tops, and flip flops dominate this category.

Austrailian author, Sarah Turnbull, writes about wearing "comfortable casual" in her book Almost French. Her husband, Frederic asks her, "Are you going out like that, wearing your gymnastic pantaloons?" When she tells him that she is simply going to the bakery, he responds by saying, "But that is not nice for the baker man . . . " No matter the reason, comfortable casual should not be an option when we go out.

Recreation Casual is one step up from comfortable casual since it includes wearing sports gear but not in a sport situation as in, yoga pants when shopping.

SportsBar Casual includes that printed t-shirt (most often advertising a barley malt product, concert or event) and blue jeans look, which is likely of North American origin. One person's "sports bar casual" is another person's "cleaning the house" clothes. Categorize it as you will but don't wear it if you want to make a style statement, unless you are an adolescent male. To call it a "style" is to give it more credit than it deserves.

Jeans & T-Shirt is a step-up from SportsBar Casual and if you put on a blazer it is the least casual in the Business Casual look. The features that differentiates it are the fit and "artsy" t-shirts as opposed to "advertising" t-shirts. 

Business Casual is well-fitting clothing that is acceptable in a work environment that serves clients. I say "serves clients" to differentiate between those who do not have to meet the public. Therefore business casual may differ in definition from workplace to workplace so that in one business only a certain formality, albeit casual, may be required while in another business situation there is no need to wear a formalized version of "casual". Take a look at what I wrote about appropriate work choices.

NO THANKS: The "beer" t-shirt. Unless you are working for the brewing company or being paid by them to wear their t-shirts, reserve them for house-cleaning. If you have actually spent your own money to advertise their product, consider that there are better clothing items on which to spend your hard-earned cash. If you received it for free, you won't need to buy dusting cloths. Not all, but certainly some are ready for the rag bin after only one wash. 

NOTE-WORTHY: Sports bar casual can be upgraded by simply wearing a solid dark colour t-shirt. Dark colours are mandatory because sports bar outings go with drinking beer, eating salsa and nachos and having something spilled. A white or light colour t-shirt won't survive the night.

NICE: When out, perfectly fitting jeans and a t-shirt and derivations up to and including business casual.

T-Shirt NICE & NO THANKS considerations when shopping:

NO THANKS: boxy oversize printed t-shirts advertising anything

NICE: the perfect fit: not too tight across the bust/chest, long enough for your torso, sits well on the shoulders and is loose enough through the body to feel comfortable, and close enough to look like it belongs on your body and not someone twice your size.

The Joe Fresh solid colour t-shirts are one of the best and since you can buy them at the same time you are picking up your groceries at SuperStore in Canada, availability is easy and inexpensive. Ranging in price from $8.00 to $12.00, they are a good quality cotton, are available in the trendiest colours and best of all, are fitted and come a little longer than usual. See Update at end of the post.

NOTE-WORTHY: the v-neck appears to be the most flattering of all necklines for every body type

Of course, there are many favourites. So if Joe Fresh isn't your favourite, let the rest of know which t-shirts you like better for your "sports bar casual" look. See Update at end of the post.

Don't make fashion own you, but you decide what you are, what you want to express by the way you dress and the way to live.
- Gianni Versace

Joe Fresh No Longer a Favourite - Update: Several hours after posting, I heard the news about the factory disaster in Bangladesh - the factory that produces Joe Fresh products. The very least those employees should have had was a safe working environment and they did not have that. I also heard a spokesperson from Loblaws sending condolences to the families of the more than 100 workers who died. My proposal is that we return any Joe Fresh clothing we own to Superstore and ask for a refund. Of course we won't get a refund without a receipt so I further propose that we simply leave the Joe Fresh clothing on their counters and tell them we no longer want to support an irresponsible company owing to the factory building disaster that could have been prevented. Enough of us can make a difference.

Saturday, 20 April 2013

In a Man's Closet: Ballet Flats

Closet Content Analysis: Ballet Flats

Choices: Male or Female - some things are universal when it comes to passion and philosophy

Photo Source: Brian Davis TB Eddie ocean breeze water snakeskin flats

When I review my blog stats, "ballet flats for men" is a key phrase that has instigated a great number of hits. You can tell by, "Posts Others have Liked" where my first interview with Brian Davis is often within the top three. This post further explores Brian's passion and life philosophy.

A Second Conversation with Brian Davis about Wearing Ballet Flats

JoyD: Since the interview in September, 2012, this blog has had a significant number of hits searching for “men wearing ballet flats”. Did you have any idea how popular the topic was . . . and is? I’m curious about your reaction to this.

Brian: Today I'm not surprised at all. In 1998 I bought my first computer and the Internet was my first real exposure to other guys around the world with the same feelings about women's shoes. After seeing I wasn't the only person who had these thoughts my desires grew even stronger. As time progressed I realized that my love of women's shoes centered around ultra feminine ballet flats. In our previous post I mentioned that most shoes whether marketed as men's or women's can be made to look like the opposite gender's quite easily. That can NOT be said about ballet flats (or high heels). I think they will always be perceived as feminine footwear.

JoyD: What do you believe is the motivation behind these searches - is it just curiousity or is it a search for support and validation?

Brian: Just guessing, I would think only a few of the hits are from men or women who are curious about this topic. I honestly believe most who visit here are looking for support or validation. I included women in this answer because I think there are women who are dealing with the fact their boyfriends or husbands have these desires.

Those who are curious are most likely young males who are trying to find out who they really are, much like I was many (many) years ago. Or possibly men or women who have seen a male wearing ballet flats and want to know more.

Support and validation is likely more common and is most likely from guys who are VERY happy to find that they are not alone. I re-read our first interview (September, 2012) for both support and validation. I'm sure anyone else who has these "shoe" desires feels the same way when they read that interview. Wearing feminine flats is not something most guys would feel comfortable asking a friend about. Most guys keep these desires behind closed doors in the privacy of their homes. Your previous post is most likely about support and validation. I hope this one becomes just as popular whether it be curiosity, support or validation.

Regardless of what brought them to read that original post I hope it will have fulfilled their expectations and raised their comfort level for either wearing them or accepting other guys/spouses that wear them.

JoyD: When and how did your interest in wearing ballet flats begin?

Brian: My interest in women's shoes started when I was very young. I didn't really understand it; all I knew was I liked the look of women's shoes better than men's. After I got my first job, my desire for women's shoes grew stronger since I was now able to buy my own women's shoes which I did. That led to wanting to wear them in public which I sheepishly started doing . . . I would go about my regular day in a public place while wearing women's shoes but not during busy times of the day and I always had a "back up pair" of men's shoes, just in case I saw someone I knew.

Brian in green ballet flats. Photo Source: Brian Davis
JoyD: In the past you have referred to wearing ballet flats as a “fetish”; would you reconsider that now and call it part of your everyday choices from your closet or do you still consider it a “fetish”?

Brian: According to my Google searches, I found a source that said the second most common fetish for men was shoes. I'm not sure where ballet flats rank on the fetish list for men. Wearing flats is an everyday choice for me (weather permitting) but I'm not sure if it is a fetish.

JoyD: I have suggested and so has a commenter or two on this topic, that men wearing ballet flats is the beginning of a natural evolution toward becoming the norm in the same way as women with tattoos, men wearing earrings, men with ponytails. How do you feel about this "natural progression" and being an advocate in the early stages?

Brian: I'm glad to be part of it. I now know how all of those people must have felt as their desires were presented to the world and the acceptance level adjusted. As a male that wears ballet flats I hope it becomes an accepted piece of footwear for men. I know there are lots of men who wear flats but as for the acceptance level from society, that varies. The levels of acceptance I have experienced are; "wow that's cool; whatever/who cares; and lastly WTF?"  Any other guys that wear flats in public likely agree.

I've had questions like "are you wearing women's flats?" Obviously I was, so my answer was yes. The response was "good for you".  That was cool.

I've heard comments between passers-by like "that guy is wearing ballet flats". And responses like "who cares or so what".

Lastly the "WTF"? There have been several occasions were I have received negative reactions. The one that stands out most in my mind was November, 2012 at the Scottsdale Fashion Plaza. I was window shopping and what appeared to be two dads and their kids walked by. I was wearing pink ballet flats so I'm not surprised at this reaction but here's what happened. They spotted me, burst out laughing and had an "iPhone camera frenzy". I knew I was getting digitally photographed but I just let it go. Let them do what they had their minds set on, and then move on. I heard them comparing who got the better pictures of the guy in pink flats as they walked away. Bottom line if you are doing something out of the "norm", you should be prepared for any kind of reaction. Men wearing ballet flats is still not widely accepted but I'm very glad to be part of it.

JoyD: Regarding the photographing and reaction to "doing something out of the norm"; bottom line, their behaviour was disrespectful . . . My calculations tell me that you have been wearing ballet flats for over five years now. Does your family roll their eyes and consider it Brian’s fetish or are they seeing your choice as part of your regular wardrobe? 

Brian: Five years is right. About twenty years ago I felt the need to tell the two best friends in my life, my Mom and Dad, that I like to wear women's shoes. Today they see it as my regular wardrobe. So do most of my friends. If they object, they aren't my friends.

JoyD: That is so reassuring. Your feet can obviously fit "women's" shoes well enough for fashion and comfort. Many women tell me that they don't find ballet flats that comfortable. What are your "fit experiences" with ballet flats?

Brian in Tory Burch black Revas. Photo source: Brian Davis. 
Brian: It's funny how fashion and cuteness can win out over comfort and fit. I've fallen victim to this many times as have many women. The shoes I'm talking about are the iconic Tory Burch Revas, flats named after Tory's mother, Reva. A quick Internet search for "must have flats" for most women (and a few of us men) is the Tory Burch Reva. Another internet search for "Tory Burch Reva reviews" will tell you they aren't for everyone. Owning five pairs, I can honestly say they aren't made for everyone's foot. These adorable feminine must-have flats have caused me foot pain and discomfort in trying to break them in. That said, I wouldn't hesitate to buy another pair.

JoyD: I'm happy to hear that we share the same "shoe un-sensibility". Tory Burch flats, then, are a favourite. Tell me about your other favourites.

Tory Burch Reva flats. Photo Source: Brian Davis
Brian: This question could be a whole post in itself.  After my initial purchases of flats I soon realized I was a huge fan of higher end flats like Michael Kors and Puma flats. Puma actually makes some amazing flats.  But my true favourites are my Tory Burch flats. She is iconic in my mind. Her classic Reva flats with the gold or silver medallion are a must have. Again thanks to the Internet I know I'm not the only guy to have a pair of these. Crazy thing is I now own 14 pairs of Tory Burch flats. Not all Revas but other styles too. I can't say for sure but I would think I'm in the 99th percentile of Tory Burch wearing males. At this moment, my new faves are my TB Eddie ocean breeze water snakeskin flats.

JoyD: I think a post featuring your favourites would be great. Let's work on that. Besides ballet flats, what shoes make up your footwear closet?

Brian: As you know, I live in Canada. With cold winters and snow, I wear boots. Again I cross the gender lines and buy women's boots so flat knee high women's fashion boots are my winter footwear preference.

JoyD: Does your attitude about wearing what you want, irrespective of “acceptability”, come with experience or personality type?

Brian: You know, the older I get the more I see friends miss out on things in their life due to health reasons. (And most aren't that old.) Experience says you work your whole life to enjoy life after work. I live by the following two phrases: "It's better to have done something and regretted doing it than to regret not doing it"; and second "life is like a coin, you can spend it any way you want but you can only spent it once."  I now do things I want to do. Last time I checked I was living my life. Not my life who someone else wanted me to be even though . . . acceptance is huge.

But to answer your question, it's become obvious to me it's my personality and beliefs, which includes quite a bit of stubbornness.

JoyD: It seems rather superficial talking about shoes because in fact it is more than just shoes, isn't it?

Brian: When I started wearing flats in public, I knew or expected that people would react so I'm conscious of others' responses. Since you helped me with my breakthrough, I am still aware of peoples' reactions but really don't care. So now I think that for me at this moment it's about the shoes. I like them. I wear them. I don't worry about changing other peoples' attitudes, but I know that just by wearing them, I might make a difference for someone.

Making a difference, that's what it is all about.


Sunday, 14 April 2013

Footwear for Skinny Pants

CLOSET ANALYSIS: the best shoe to wear with skinny pants


When someone asks, "Can I wear chunky shoes with skinny pants?" My first thought is, "Don't, it defies a proportioned look." however, I might also respond by saying, "Of course you can wear chunky shoes with skinny pants. But it depends. Follow your heart and your sense of proportion." 

First, according to the stylists who write, the skinny pant should be cropped at the ankle. Taking that into consideration, my "analysis" makes sense for the "look" relative to my sense of proportion, which will be quite different than someone who is taller or heavier than me.

Leeloo Jeans. Photo Source: My Wardrobe
NO THANKS . . . to any shoe or boot that is thicker and heavier looking than your ankle. Essentially you end up looking like an exclamation mark if you have bulbous looking footwear. I am not fond of heavy chunky boots that end at the ankle for this very reason. Skinny pants need a slim ankle, and therefore, more delicate looking shoes. That's why runners are also a NO THANKS. Even though the look in the photo from "My Wardrobe" is not really chunky, I'm not that fond of it. Take a look at this YouTube video for a summary of what heels to wear with skinny pants.

Photo by JoyD. Skinny pants & boots
on a Paris street, October, 2012

WINTER NOTE-WORTHY: As soon as I wrote the bit about short boots, I remembered a photo I took while in Paris at the end of October, 2012. My NO THANKS just became WINTER NOTE-WORTHY. Even though I prefer knee high boots generally; these short boots look great on this woman somewhere in Paris.

  Victoria Beckham in heels with skinny pants. Photo Source PR Photos. Com
Retrieved from Fashion on April 14, 2013

NICE: There are two styles of footwear that I consider the NICEST with skinny pants. A more delicate high-heeled shoe, strappy sandals, a pump or stiletto are all better than a chunky high heel. 

For flats the NICE here is a ballet flat. In winter, I like flat or heeled knee-high boots. I prefer the Hudson Leeloo skinny jeans with the side stripe, or any other skinny pants, with the pump rather than the ankle boot. Being short, my Leeloo's do not end so high. Mine come right down to the ankle. Therefore if I want to follow the trend, I have to fold them up to sit just at the ankle. I have these pants and my absolute favourite way to wear them is with flat boots.

Ballet flats in same tone as skinny pants. Photo by JoyD.

NOTE-WORTHY: If you're short like me, 5' 3", then a shoe that is the same colour or tone as the skinny pants is the way to go. The photo illustrates an unintentional match. I bought the ballet flats in Romans, France in the summer of 2012, the Lancel bag in Paris in the fall of 2011 and the skinny Theory pants in Edmonton, Canada in February, 2013 with no thought of one or the other in my mind when I was buying. If you are tall, you have the luxury to wear a contrasting or complementary colour. The same tone helps us short ones to create the illusion of length in our legs.

Photo Source:

SUMMER NOTE-WORTHY: For me, I try to avoid straps at the ankle; it's that height thing again and my attempt at achieving a longer look through the leg but this Glamcheck photo of "ankle straps" appealed to me.

Thursday, 11 April 2013

Impulse or Overload Buying

Avoid the Fashion Financial Hangover

I think I'm slightly impulsive, sometimes organized and always in search of a bargain!
- Lisa Snowdon

On the topic of buying, online or otherwise, a friend in Manitoba who volunteers for the Church of Christ clothing depot, tells me that many items come with price tags attached and appear never to have been worn. At least they are now donated and given to those who need them . . . for free - and that is a redeeming quality, at least for the receiver.

NO THANKS . . . to impulse buying or at the very least impulse buying without the cash to cover the total. With the world at our fingertips and easy credit, it is easier than ever to buy. To buy responsibly is a virtue. To have the cash to buy something is important so put it on your credit card for the points, but put the cash for it into your credit card account immediately or at the very least, make sure you can pay it off before your payment date so that you do not accrue any interest. Consumer debt because of impulse buying is the worst.

Too many people spend money they haven't earned to buy things they don't want, to impress people they don't like. 
- Will Smith

NICE: Consider cost per wear. If you buy an inexpensive item but it sits in the closet or it loses its shape after the first wash, you have wasted your money, irrespective of how much it was. Spend more and buy quality especially on the closet basics. If you can't afford to buy designer at retail; consider consignment, particularly if you live in large cities. There, a greater percentage of the "well-to-do" population is buying designer and because of their positions in "city society" tend to send their two or three times worn items to a consignment store. If the clothes are older they may end up in the "donation" stores or charity bins but if they are close to "new", even the rich want to get a few dollars back on what they have worn. Or they might be the "not so rich" who buy designer and can't afford it so they have to get something back on it. Or they just are not wasteful, no matter how much money they have. 

NOTE-WORTHY: Some of the most trendy shops with good prices and discount online vendors are the worse for impulse buying. When the clothing is cheap enough so that you can rationalize the purchase or it looks good on the size 0 model on the screen, it's easy to buy. If you check how the item is made, very often the quality is not there or the way it sits on a rounder body may be disappointing.

Two American Presidents have been recorded as saying it, many others have as well, but still "we" do not listen to their advice. So with more profound words than I can muster at the moment and for your own sanity: 

Never spend your money before you have earned it. 
- Thomas Jefferson

If you know how to spend less than you get, you have the philosopher's stone.
Benjamin Franklin

Monday, 8 April 2013

Online vrs Face to Face Shopping

Closet Content Analysis: Buying Choices

Online - NO THANKS; Face to Face - NICE 

Consider NEED 

I'm not a fan of online shopping. Call me old-fashioned, call me a luddite but I would rather shop face to face for my clothing. 

NEED: My shopping has evolved over the years and there are many "office" or "work" clothing pieces I don't NEED anymore. I still occasionally "work" outside the home but for the most part my NEEDS are different. "The suit" is one of my major no longer NEED items; although I still like the look but can achieve it with a blazer as easily. I always have a NEEDS list and shop based on those identified items and am aware of sale times more so now than ever before. At least I try - to be honest, I guess I didn't NEED two pairs of skinny pants. Sigh.

NICE: Shopping as a "tourist" activity: When I'm in another city or in another country, shopping takes me to places and neighbourhoods that can be as interesting or even more so than the required tourist attractions. I also have a point of reference so that when someone asks me, "where did you get that", I can say at Printemps in Paris, 2009 or Rome where I lived temporarily while on a study tour or Vancouver in March when I went to get my French visa or here at home at the Bay or . . . What can I say? Some people collect souvenir spoons.

NOTE-WORTHY: I do use online references for my "shopping" research especially when it comes to prices and trends. But to actually order anything is still in my future? Perhaps? My experiences with sizes is particularly disconcerting so that unless I already have the brand and know the size ranges and the fit, I am hesitant to buy without actually trying on the item. Of course, many online shopping venues have good return policies but the annoyance of having to pack it and send it back overrides the convenience of it coming to my door. I have not returned much in my lifetime in clothing shopping. 

NICE: In analysis of my shopping history, my mother has been the greatest influence. Two influences for my mother were that she worked in a clothing factory sewing first and then checking product quality. Later when she moved from the city to a smaller community, she often waited to do her clothing shopping in "the city". When I was little, I remember that she disliked "catalogue" shopping thereby setting me up for the same dislike of online shopping. Checking out the seams, the zipper, the button holes, the fabric, the flaws or lack of flaws, just checking out the item before I buy was something my mother taught me and is now a hard habit to break. You might be able to empathize with me if you ordered a pair of the recalled Lululemon "see-through" yoga pants online or bought them without trying them on.

For me, "buyer beware" red flags need to be acknowledged no matter where you are buying, I just feel I have more control when I go to the vendor. It will take some convincing to get me to become an online shopper.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

Tone on Tone Floral

Photo Source: My Wardrobe

Floral Print Compromise

Closet Analysis: Tone on Tone  

If you are adamant that floral prints are not your thing, you may be swayed slightly by tone on tone florals, almost jacquard in style. May I suggest that this floral alternative might turn you to the dark "tone on tone" side.

Here the greys and plums from a JoyD creation mix to maintain the tone on tone, plum and gray theme,.

The choice of top and shoes as presented in the "My Wardrobe" photo is not to my liking. Although these pants look grey, they are apparently "plum" hence the choice for the "pale mauve" top. Irrespective of the colour, there are two ways to go here: adding a pop of colour or the monotone look.

The Monotone or Analogous Look: Analogous colours are those that are side by side on the colour wheel. Keeping the tone on tone skinny pants from My Wardrobe as the example, perhaps the tone is more "plum" than "gray" in real life. No matter, the point here is not so much analogous colours as shades of a colour and so the range moves from the deep plum/gray to lighter shades . . . .as in a particular number of shades of gray. That being said, I am classifying the pale silver pump as a NO THANKS. The darker gray/plum tone pants need a strappy steel gray sandal or ballet flat. If you choose my preference for a monotone look, you must remember, even a monotone choice needs "something".

The Pop of Colour with Complementary Colours: It is difficult for me to go to the other side of the colour wheel when adding colour; yet that's what complementary colours are all about. So with blues, purple or plum, think yellows on the blue side and greens on the plum. Considering green is the colour for 2013, complementing it with purple would be "trendy" but is definitely a stretch in my mind; but then again I have never been known for a colourful closet.

JoyD turquoise three strand necklace; perfect for a colour pop.
However, if green/yellow is the colour wheel complent, and since tone on tone begs for texture differences or a pop of colour, turquoise  could be a conservative choice to the outright bright of green or yellow to complement the purple/plums.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

Button-Down Shirts for 2013

Closet Content Analysis: Shirts with Buttons

NICE                   NOTE-WORTHY            NEW          

Anne Fontaine storefront in Paris, Photo taken by JoyD in October, 2012

Every year I feel I should buy two new shirts, not just pull-over tops but true button-down shirts. I like the look of shirts generally and as noted in a previous post, I do love Anne Fontaine cuts. Last October I was at an Anne Fontaine store in Paris and did indulge. The woman who was serving me, contrary to what most people believe about service personnel in Paris, was down to earth, and helpful, in addition to being elegant and beautiful. I arrived at the store with the intent to buy a white button down shirt. Although I have at least four Anne Fontaine shirts in my closet, they are from a time when I was a couple of sizes bigger. I wanted a plain white shirt and the ones in my closet have various forms of detailing. After showing me several white shirts, I made references to the ones I own by saying, "this one is similar to one I have" or "I have two with the black edging" or . . . and so the sales associate asked if I had a black shirt.  I think she sensed that I did not NEED another white shirt. I left with a black one that fit impeccably and makes me feel tailored even with blue jeans. I especially like it with a recently purchased pair of skinny Hudson jeans with a black side stripe.

Anne Fontaine black shirt purchased in Paris,
October, 2012
NICE: This Anne Fontaine black shirt, purchased in October, 2012 is now my NICEST since I wear it independently or under blazers or my Armor-Luxe v-neck cardigan.
Anne Fontaine black shirt with Hudson Leeloo skinny jeans.

The front panels, collar and cuffs are 100% cotton and the back and sleeves are a stretch fabric. This combination provides a phenomenal fit and allows for a few pounds up or down. After a winter of too many good meals, I am at the "few pounds up" and I do feel it across the back but it doesn't feel restricting in the same way a stiffer, less flexible fabric would.

Burberry long-sleeved shirt with silver studded collar.
NEW: I'm not in the habit of paying $525.00 for a shirt. And I did not; however I did buy one where the original retail prices was labelled as such. I was in Vancouver, British Columbia and checking out the sales racks at Holt Renfrew. I found a Burberry white shirt (remember I said I needed a white button down shirt) priced at $209.00. This price was still a tad high although I have paid that approximate price for my Anne Fontaine shirts. I looked at the size and I thought it was too big, although it did not look too big. The sales associate informed me that Burberry does "fit smaller" and so I tried it on. She also added that all the sales priced items were another 40% off. How convenient! I rationalized and now I own it.

I like wearing this one with my Theory dark taupe skinny pants.

NOTE-WORTHY: This tapered white shirt is a good 2 to 3 inches longer than any of my other shirts and it feels good to wear it with my skinny pants. It covers the front and backside perfectly without looking sloppy. 

NEED: Since I have maintained my weight now for two years, and I have no present intention to gain a significant amount back, it's time to have my Anne Fontaine shirts altered to fit properly in the shoulders. I do wear them under blazers and the fit is passable but independently, you can tell they're a tad too big.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Adding Jewellery when Mixing Patterns

Closet Content Analysis: Solid Colour Choices to Accent the Patterns

NICE           NEED    

The April 1, 2013 post began an analysis of mixing patterns and so the discussion continues with the addition of jewellery. When mixing patterns, repeat one of the mutual colours (if you have two items in two patterns) in a solid block with a necklace, earrings or bracelet but do not try to wear all three and definitely do not match all three. The interest you have created by mixing patterns needs to be enhanced by your jewellery not put in competition with it. So remember when wearing jewellery with patterned clothing, the jewellery and other accessories should be restricted to one area, the neck, the wrist or the ears in a solid block that is bold. 

My advice isn't being followed in the photo below. With due respect to Talbot's, I wouldn't do the pink necklace or the pink purse. The top is great and the JoyD green necklace, which appears to be the same colour - hence the colour block, would be a better choice. As far as the bag and shoes, I'd go neutral but not matchy-matchy. But then again, I'm not a stylist for Talbot's.

Green stone necklace created by JoyD, Spring, 2013.
Photo Source:

Finding the perfect green or complementary colour can be an issue. The next question then would be, is there enough of that bright soft green in the pattern to pop with the necklace? The top helps. This is where backward planning comes into play - you NEED to find a floral that can be complemented by the solids you already own in your closet.

Shopping Advice: Take a favourite solid colour top from your closet with you when you go shopping for a floral skirt or floral skinny pants. Keep that as your base complementary colour. Just go shopping for the print. If you start buying more accessories, you'll be duped into buying more than you need. You probably already own a pair of neutral coloured sandals in nude, sand, beige or tan that would work nicely as a backdrop. Even a pale tone of a colour that is in the skirt as a shoe match would work.