Thursday, 29 January 2015

Fix It Up First, Then Wear It

Know the worst before you go out! 
- Elsie de Wolf

In other words, look in the mirror and pay attention to what you see - panty lines or saggy butts, muffin tops or oversized sloppiness, a button missing or a stain. Whether something is too tight or too big, only a full size mirror reflects the true image. If you tell me that you don't care what other people think - fine. What do you think of your own "look"?  Shrugging your shoulders and saying you don't care in this instance won't do. If you leave your place creating excuses in case someone points out the falling hem, then you do care and you should change into something else. It is better to be seen twice in the same immaculate item, then once in something shabby. It seems that the human psyche registers the negative more quickly and for some reason remembers it more profoundly. That negative whatever in your clothing ends up coming back to haunt you for the rest of the day.

NEED: If you have made any clothing or closet resolutions, bringing your clothing to functional and aesthetic flawlessness is the most important. See my January 21, 2015 post. Without even looking in my closet, I know that my black blazer is missing a button on the sleeve, my sheepskin jacket needs to be replaced - it is beyond fixing, the hem is sagging on my navy sheath dress, my black boots need polishing, there are two un-ironed shirts that have been hanging in my closet for the last month . . . OMG! 

Speaking of haunting me for the rest of the day, it's time to take some of my own advice . . . 

Monday, 26 January 2015

Buyer's Remorse

Remorse, the fatal egg that pleasure laid. 
- William Cowper

There is quite a bit written about "buyer's remorse", which is post-purchase regret, as described by a variety of contributors to Wikipedia. Regret comes from guilt and fear and it is no different when it comes to purchases. 

Relative to clothing, we may feel guilty that we bought a cashmere sweater when the money may have been better spent elsewhere; or we admonish ourselves for buying a more luxurious item when a fleece functions similarly; or we may question our own rationale or a sales associate's determination when reflecting on the purchase as it hangs unworn in our closets.

I have seen the consequences of both guilt and fear. Both emotions render the persons incapable of functioning "normally" and inspire self-fulfilling prophecy. It's not as simple as "think it and it will materialize"; yet the roots of remorse seem to bring on more of the same.

In what ways can you overcome buyer's remorse and not be threatened by it again:

1. Know what is in your closet and know what you need or want. Analyze it for what you truly need or for what will update your look without buying more than you really need. Buyer's remorse is reduced when you buy something that meets several criteria/goals that you believe are necessary to fulfill.

2. Stop buying online. Funny that I am suggesting that, considering I would like you to contact me if any of my jewellery appeals to you. But truly, there is greater opportunity to buy what you do not need and therefore to feel greater remorse when buying online. If you have to dress, drive, park and pay, and search through several stores, your decisions will be more rational than simply sitting in the comfort of your home and waiting for the article to arrive.

2. One more time - ask yourself if you really need it. If you feel remorseful at any time, you are probably the type that will always come up with better ways to spend your money. Give yourself a good reason or two why you need the item and sabotage the remorse.

3. Analyze your remorse. If at any point you feel any remorse at all, put the item on and decide whether you really love it (will it bring you pleasure despite your guilt) or do you need to return the item. The point about the guilt is that you need to "get over it" in a functional way. Wear it; don't let it sit and stare at you from between the other items in your closet. If you still are overwhelmed with any guilt, whether purchased online or at a storefront, make the effort to return it. If you are not wearing it, the guilt increases; you then feel guilty for not wearing it, in addition to the original guilt you felt after you bought it. Good grief!

There is no person so severely punished, as those who subject themselves to the whip of their own remorse. 
- Lucius Annaeus Seneca

Others have also read:
"Sale" Induced Over-Buying, December, 2014

Wednesday, 21 January 2015

Luxury Found in an Organized Closet


Luxury is anything you don't need, right? I mean, you need food, water, clothing, shelter . . . but good wine, good food, beautiful interiors, nice clothes; those aren't necessities, they are luxuries - it's all luxury.
- Marc Jacobs

We need to surround ourselves with beautiful things to appreciate and nurture the beauty in the world. If your closets are a mess and you are annoyed because you can't find what you want without rifling through the entire length of your closet, your annoyance affects your mood and ultimately your attitude to life; at least life for that day. When you do finally find what you were looking for, you discover a stain or a missing button or a hem that has ravelled. Now, you are not only annoyed, you are angry. Your mood affects everything you continue doing and consequently everyone you meet. "I'm having a bad day," you proclaim, in hopes that you will be pardoned for any bad behaviour. 

There's something to be said about stopping and smelling the roses and straightening out your closet. Roses are beautiful, a luxury. Buy some and put them in full view on the first day that you decide to attack the closet and take time to go and take a whiff.

The first thing you should not do is take out everything in your closet and throw it on the bed. Please, do not do that. Approach the closet in tiny steps. Make organizing your closet, a week-long, or even a month-long project. If it's been a mess for awhile, what's another few days?

Here are some general recommendations that you can interpret in a way that makes you comfortable and productive.

1. Categorize. Pants together, sweaters, tops, dresses, shirts, skirts - don't worry about sub-categories yet, just get everything that is the same together. Once that is done, then you can separate into colours within the clothing type. 

2. Get rid of wire hangers. Buy several packages of hangers that are all the same. For some reason, the same white, blue or beige plastic or decorator hangers bring a cohesive backdrop to the closet.

3. Sort by Function & NeedNow that you have everything looking organized, it's time to sort into another sub-category - function. If you have not worn something for over a year, put it aside. One more set of sub-categories for the stuff you haven't worn - garbage, give away, re-sale via consignment or Kijiji. 

4. Clean & Fix. The last thing to do is - clean, iron and mend. Those clothes that you have set aside for re-sale need this attention before you truck them to the consignment shop or post them online. Again this is something that could take you the next month or have someone else do it. Drycleaners and seamstresses need your business too.

For those of you who have perfectly organized closets - bravo! However, for the others, depending on whether you assign an hour a day or an hour a week to this project, it will feel good just to get started. You'll get it done - one small step at a time. And the result is pure luxury translated into time and temperament. You definitely will appreciate the luxury a well-organized closet affords and smelling the roses becomes more of a pleasure.

I am going to make everything around me beautiful - that will be my life.
- Elsie de Wolf

Sunday, 18 January 2015

Prepping for Spring Sales: Asymmetrical Pairs

I have been preparing for my spring jewellery sales and have been enamoured by asymmetrical pairs of earrings. I have always had a few in my collections for the artists who buy from me; however this year the popular trends in jewellery have included the slightly offbeat askew look. Check out the asymmetrical look at Bazaar.

I love it and I love the idea of balancing the imbalance. My favourite pair at the moment is made from a vintage brooch and matching earring set. As with many items I collect, there is always something missing. In this case one earring and a brooch were all I found in a bag of abandoned treasures. Re-creating the asymmetrical look with a foundling earring is not really challenging, just a matter of luck. Here are my first three pairs:

Vintage 50s Re-Purposed Brooch and Earrings
Asymmetrical Earrings, Spring, 2015
Photo by JoyD, January, 2015

Psychedelic 60s Geometric Singleton Earring
matched with new colour coordinated beads.
Asymmetrical Earrings, Spring, 2015
Photo by JoyD, January, 2015

New Pendants Re-Purposed Earrings
Asymmetrical Earrings, Spring, 2015
Photo by JoyD, January, 2015

Of course, you may contact me to arrange purchase for any of my work. I do not have my pieces for sale anywhere else online. It is only through personal contact that I make my pieces available.

Sunday, 11 January 2015

Navy with Brown and Navy with Black

NICE: Brown and Navy

Navy double breasted blazer with thin brown stripe purchased
 at Holt Renfrew, Calgary.
Photo by JoyD.
Placing these two colour combinations together is not a typical choice but a good while back I had the good fortune to buy a navy blazer that had a subtle brownish vertical stripe. In the photograph, that brown stripe is barely noticeable but when I complemented it with a brown cowl-neck top, it seemed perfect. (Speaking of photographs, the wall is supposed to be the white on the left. Photography is all about capturing the light and PhotoShop.) I have avoided buying brown for a very long time. As a brunette I never felt it did much for me; however this particular combination proved me wrong. I still would not buy a complete brown ensemble but there is room in my closet for brown boots, brown shoes, a brown skirt and my brown cowl neck top to be worn with navy of course or black.

NICE: Black and Navy

Sandro black tuxedo blazer with navy and black
geometric patterned body. Purchased at Sandro,
outlet mall in Romans-sur-Isere, France.
Photo by JoyD.
Before I left France, I was at a Sandro store where I purchased a navy and black blazer. Over the holiday season I probably wore it more often than perhaps I should have. It just seems to fit so many different situations, from lunch to dinner out to meeting a friend. The tuxedo styling allows dressing it up with a little black dress or a little navy dress. I have done both. The double breasted blazer in brown and navy is much more work style than going out style. However, topping skinny blue jeans with either blazer is an option for a less formal situation. 

The whole idea of wearing a base colour, either black, brown or navy, which are all neutrals, still is a strong part of our thinking when we plan our closets, especially for business wear. What is important is that now we can wear them together. Black and brown, black and navy, brown and navy are all allowed. Add grey and camel, another two neutrals, and all can be combined. But here I resurrect an old fashion rule - only two together at a time. I find that putting a bright primary colour with two of the neutrals is quite enough. But of course, there are always exceptions. 

Sunday, 4 January 2015

Pajama Day on a Frigid Sunday

"granny" shawl knitted
by ShirleyB
Photo by JoyD
What better way to spend a Sunday, particularly a Sunday that is -37 degrees Celsius with a windchill making it -50, than in your pajamas all day long. Usually Christmas Day is my annual-must-have pajama day; however with guests and dinner, it didn't happen on the 25th. Today is perfect. Added to the pajamas are knitted socks and what I call a "granny shawl" as I sit and read, write or play online games. Just to make the day a tad productive, I have a pot of beans on and checking it every once in awhile makes it a perfect day. My husband decided to bake bread and so all is well with the world even at -50.

I usually use my camel coloured cashmere shawl as my "granny shawl", a shawl worn while sitting indoors, in an armchair, in a sunroom or on a veranda - I'm sure you can picture the scene. But this year, a friend who knits gifted me with an honest to goodness "granny shawl". I need to start referring to this new item in my closet as a "bed shawl" or a "pajama day shawl" (the word "granny" can wait for a few years), reminiscent of the bed jackets that were popular from the 1930s to the 50s.

Google Image retrieved from Retro Revival, 4/1/15.
A vintage bed jacket is another possibility if you are into pajama days. Cindy, who writes a blog named Retro Revival, informs us that bed jackets were worn when you had breakfast in bed or received guests while still in bed. These are definitely not occurrences in my lifestyle. As for receiving guests, this would be a fine addition even now if you happen to be in the hospital. That's the only place I imagine I would ever receive meals or guests while in bed. And of course it would be infinitely better than the "johnny gown" (see number 9 in my post about Illness and Dressing).

A vintage bed jacket may just become a NEED on my 2015 closet list.