Wednesday, 25 February 2015

Sameness Encourages Differences

I love looking at the results of my blog visitors by country. It is exciting to imagine who, from where and how visitors come upon my website. Whether by accident or by design, it doesn't matter. It just proves how small the world is when we factor in the world wide web.

Jolie and Pitt in Yves St. Laurent tuxedos. Photo Credit: Getty Images
Photo Source: HollywoodTake. Retrieved February 25, 2015
And so it is when we dress. We can all potentially dress the same because designers of world wide renown can be used as the standard in what is the epitome of expenditure in our closets. The majority of the modern western world recognizes Gucci, Prada, Louis Vuitton, Chanel and so on. Two people on either side of the globe can buy the exact same latest Armani suit but how they wear it and with what is where the differences begin. Angelina Jolie is going to wear the same suit or tuxedo a whole lot differently than me or her husband!

Kate Hudson, American actress and Lily Allen, English singer/actress
in Louis Vuitton. Photo Source: Acid Cow Retrieved February 25, 2015

We have evolved socially and historically, from when dress demonstrated which village, which district, which geographical area you were a resident of and to which social strata you belonged. We are now more individualistic, more democratic and more global since we live and work all over the world. That being said, from the "sameness" individual differences develop. 

Interestingly, because of worldwide designer availability and a more democratic access to designers, the unfortunate might happen, at the same event no less.

Photo Source: The MirrorFashion Faux Pas as Wedding Guest Turns up to Ceremony in Same Coat as Kate Middleton.
Featured in the article by Richard Hartley-Parkinson. Retrieved February 25, 2015
What are you wearing?

If you take the time to comment, please let me know what part of the world you are commenting from.

Thursday, 19 February 2015

What kind of comfortable?

Comfortable is often associated with casual; but really don't we want comfort in all our clothing whether it be formal, business or casual?

What is the difference between casual and comfortable? Jeans are casual but are they always the most comfortable? Not wearing a tie is considered casual but if everyone else is wearing a tie, how comfortable will you be in that setting? Wearing revealing clothing in the workplace can be terribly uncomfortable. Going to a formal event in a pants and top may be comfortable insofar as ease with which to move but I doubt you would be comfortable in casual clothing in that setting.

As with all debatable points, we need a definition.

Comfort Defined: 

Physical Comfort: no binding or tightness around the waist, chest, thighs, really anywhere on the body; ease of movement

Psychological Comfort: appropriate dress for the occasion

Emotional Comfort: relaxed and happy with what you are wearing

Social Comfort: feeling good no matter who you are with; not feeling self-conscious

Economic Comfort: directly related to occupation and profession combining appropriate dress for the occasion, place and people

Source: Izquotes. Retrieved Wednesday, Feb. 18, 2014
The Comfort Solution: a good fit. There are those who are simply wearing their clothing too small. Perhaps 10 pounds ago their clothing was a comfortable fit but that was 10 pounds ago. A button down tailored shirt can be as comfortable as a sweatshirt as long as it is the right size. This is one of the problems men face when wearing a seldom worn suit to a formal occasion. Very often the collar size is too small on the shirt and he might be trying to get into a suit that he bought five years ago for his sister's wedding. Then they complain that they don't like wearing suits. Most discomfort comes from ill fitting clothing.

Comfort is in the sensory perception of the wearer.
- JoyD

Sunday, 15 February 2015

One of the Basics: Pencil Skirts

 NICE: a Classic - the Pencil Skirt

Photo: JoyD
Being a particular height, or vertically challenged by some judgements, has made the quest for the "long" look a lifetime challenge. As far as skirts are concerned, to give the illusion of height, we tend to choose monochromatic colours, match leg colour to shoe, and go long and narrow as opposed to wide and flouncy. The pencil skirt is the most flattering basic choice one can make if you are 5'4" or under. 

When I had a more professional role, many of those skirts were teamed with jackets because I believed I should compensate for my height and age with a skirted suit. I no longer have to worry about the age concern. I am sure that 90% of the skirts that I have purchased have been pencil skirts and I can't imagine a different skirt in my future. Those that were not, were seldom worn and soon abandoned.

Victoria Beckham has been credited with giving the pencil skirt a "new spin" on the Vogue website. She wears them below the knee for the most part and she designs them for her collections. Wear it at the knee or just above or below and you have a winner. 

Leave the full flared mid-calf skirt for your taller sisters.

Photo: JoyD
As I review my wardrobe, the pencil skirt exists in many variations. Denim, merino wool, stretch fabrics, cashmere and silk - I've had them in every fabric including polyester blends. 

They may have pleats or slits or adorned with zippers or buckles, but they all are form fitting, although that too can be in varying degrees. I even remember a peplum peach coloured below the knew pencil skirt from the 80s. As I type those words, I am shuddering. That one was turfed long ago. Yet some of my other pencil skirts, in their very basic forms, have survived the years.

Photo Source: Hugo Boss Pencil Skirt Saks 5th Avenue

The simplest classic style never seems to go out of fashion. Those pink asymmetrical or peach peplum styles, even if they are called pencil skirts are not classic. A skirt such as the Hugo Boss one in the photo will last a lifetime in your closet. Even the pencil skirt needs to be discarded if the length is no longer becoming to your age or there are too many revealing slits - or attached peplums - or too many added adornments. Sorry friends, but the older you are, you should stick to the longer classic style. Remember it is all a matter of proportion. Basically leave the minis to the twenty-somethings.

Denim skirt with front slit. Photo: JoyD

NO THANKS: Although this skirt is still in my closet, it needs to be thrown out. It is too short and with the front slit, too dated to still be an option. Why is it still in my closet? I'm not sure. Nostalgia? It won't be there long. I promise.

Tuesday, 10 February 2015

You Can Get an App for That: Technology Assisted Shopping

We already experience targeted advertising every time we log in or surf in what would now be considered "old fashioned" access. No matter what website I visit or what I write about in this blog, there is a technologically assisted response regarding the potential products that I might purchase. However, if online advertising had to depend on the likes of me, they would not be as successful.

Don't get me wrong, I do respond to advertising. The Bay told me that they would give me 25% off on all sleepwear. I wanted a new pair of pyjamas and so I went to the store because I wanted them immediately, not in 3 shipping days. However the fine print further informed me . . . but not on particular brand names, and not on any price ending in .99. Well . . . of course, whatever I wanted came under the exempted articles listed in their print flyer. Nonetheless, they got me there and I did buy something and it wasn't 25% off. They succeeded; I was duped. And it doesn't matter that I feel duped, the money is in their cash register.

Technology's purpose is to make life easier and those who create and spin, have outdone themselves in the shopping genre.

Shopping . . . there's an app for that. Your favourite retail storefront probably has an app that will give you the scoop on sale items or even offer you special savings just because you are using their app. In most cases, these are free. I can't imagine a retail outlet charging the consumer. Mind you, credit card companies do it all the time - charge you, that is, for using their card.

You can get an app that allows you to load and use your loyalty cards in a more organized way. No more aggravation with trying to find them in your wallet. How convenient . . . 

You can get an app for your email promotions so that they can all go into one folder but they may already be organized well enough in your junk folder.

Looking for something special? You can get an app to red flag particular deals. 

It is Twitter and Facebook where stores put their newest deals and wait for appropriate responses, that is to further their advertising scope by having you tell your friends. Eventually someone will buy.

Then there's Ebates - a portal that allows you to shop the different registered retailers and then get rebates. You get a quarterly cheque for shopping through the portal. What is something really worth when the investors along with everyone in the middle and their employees are making their share of the profit margin and the buyers are also getting rebates?

I fear I could be moving toward being an "electronic device" hermit if I continue these thoughts . . .  I wonder, can I get an app for that?

Friday, 6 February 2015

Would Price Maintenance Keep it Real?

Closet Analysis: Real or fake?

I know it sounds downright undemocratic and perhaps by some, even immoral; but sometimes I think, especially with high-end luxury items, that there should be stricter control for price maintenance. That essentially means that all retailers must sell at a producer-determined minimum resale price so that a "designer name item" would be the same price no matter where you bought it - in Paris or in Vancouver or in Singapore or in Las Vegas. This already holds true with most registered/authorized retailers. In fact, many luxury manufacturers will tell you that their products are only available at authorized dealers and at their "name brand" boutiques. The only way you would get a better deal would be determined by the value of the Canadian dollar, the Euro, the American dollar and whatever other currency value. Presently, if a Canadian thinks there are better deals in Europe for designer products, you are wrong, since to buy a Euro will cost you more in exchange.

With price maintenance, there would be no discount vendors selling designer products. Never mind, I lost my head for a moment . . . however, this brings us to a discussion of knock-offs. Do you know exactly what you are buying? If you bought your Louis Vuitton bag online at a discount price, can you be sure it is a Louis Vuitton bag? Deborah L. Jacobs, lawyer and journalist, has written some great articles for Forbes to help you out.

Fake Gucci Handbag purchased in China. Photo by JoyD.
 A friend recently came from China with two Gucci purses, both with trademark markings. They appeared well made with full lining and real leather. 

Two features on this bag tell me it is fake, albeit a well-made fake. Both deal with the finishing. Wayward threads on the handles would never be found on a genuine bag and very often, zippers would have trademarked hardware whereas this one has leather end straps.

Wayward threads on fake Gucci handbag handles. Photo by JoyD.

Leather zipper ends and pulls on fake Gucci handbag. Photo by JoyD.

When I asked where exactly he bought them, he was evasive - "from a reputable dealer", he said. If you don't buy luxury products in registered/authorized retail outlets, whether online or storefront, you are probably not getting what you think you are getting. Know this: even the fakes differ in quality and higher end fakes will cost you dearly, maybe not what a designer controlled bag would cost but still more than a leather and canvas bag is worth. It is one thing to buy a knock-off from a street vendor for 20 Euros, knowing full well it is a knock-off, and quite another, buying what you believe is a true luxury product from a reputable vendor. The vendor may be "reputable" but not "registered/authorized". I believe the old adage, if it's too good to be true, it probably is. Another Forbes article tells you How to Spot a Fake Designer Handbag. I don't know if price maintenance would make a difference in the whole knock-off industry. It might just give the scammers more of a profit margin. 

Тhe business of luxury goods, short of registered/authorized retailers, is open for questionable tactics. This is definitely a case of buyer beware.

I've written about luxury brand products before .  .  . take a look . . . 
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