Wednesday, 24 June 2015

PRIDE "Ballet Flats" Tribute

Thank you Brian for giving a Ballet Flats Tribute to PRIDE or GAY PRIDE month celebrating sexual preferences and gender variations for th LGBTQ (Lesbian Gay Bi-Sexual Transgender Queer) community. June is PRIDE month in Canada. Whether our preferences are personally or sociologically significant or simply superficial (as in clothing variations) it is important to acknowledge and salute those differences wherever they lie on the contimuum. And so . . . let's take pride in all our preferences and variations as we strive for non-judgemental attitudes! What better way on a clothing blog than with shoes . . . thanks again Brian!

June PRIDE "Ballet Flats" Tribute. Photo Source: Brian Davis
Take a look at the other posts Brian and I have collaborated on about ballet flats:

Ballet Flats: Genderless
In a Man's Closet: Ballet Flats
Ballet Flats Favourites: 13 Pairs in 2013
For Love of Reva and Eddie

Tuesday, 23 June 2015


Closet Content Analysis: Summer Shoes

Nice Choices: Sandals - Light and Airy

Tory Burch Sandals purchased in Scottsdale. Photo Source: Brian Davis
Last month Brian Davis sent me a photo of a new pair of Tory Burch sandals that he bought in Scottsdale, Arizona. He's my go-to guy when it comes to any questions I have about ballet flats or Tory Burch. These are close to what I am looking for but a tad too heavy of a cross strap on the instep. I may have to buy online since I don't know where to go for Tory Burch anywhere near to where I am in France. I'm off to Bordeaux for an appointment at the immigration office this week and will do some shopping while there.

I love shopping, but not necessarily online. For those who are tactile and love to touch and view from a variety of angles and enjoy the experience of trying on before buying, online shopping just doesn't cut it. Call me old school, chastise me for not being "with it", and admonish my old fashioned ways but shopping is not shopping unless you are physically in a retail space surrounded by options that are able to be touched and tried on. How else will you learn the feel of silk . . . of good quality linen . . . of crisp cotton? I suppose you can put your faith in the marketing descriptors but until you feel it and see how it sits or drapes upon your body, you just don't know. If anything, online shopping is delusional - a potential buyer views articles of clothing on one-dimensional figures and the imagination plays its part with skewed results. So this post is supposed to be about sandals . . . I digressed.

We all have our favourite and least favourite pairs of sandals - bien sur. 

Photo by JoyD taken in the Ste. Foy La Grande market
No Thanks: While in the Saturday market in Ste. Foy La Grande in Gironde, I took some photos of what sandals are being wornI am not a fan of sandals that rise up to the ankle. When you have legs that are thick, as hers appear, this particular look is not the best choice. She would have been much better off with an open instep with a crisscross of two or three straps just above the toes. The proportion that you see accentuates the heaviness and that's not what sandals are about.

Photo by JoyD.
Nice and Need: These are a friend's feet under a table at a restaurant in Langon (Gironde), France. The photo was taken about three years ago but these are exactly the sandals I want. The straps are not as thick as the Tory Burch pair and lightness is what I like in a summer sandal. I'm sure I will find something in Galleries Lafayette or one of the shoe shops in Bordeaux.

Sandals that have served me well. Photo by JoyD.
Note-Worthy: These specimens are showing the wear and tear of too many marvellous summers here in the south-west of France. The beige pair on the top rung made their way to the trash bin last summer. The pair that you see below are the pair I bought to replace them. They felt fine for the first month or two but now the leather straps have stretched so that they feel sloppy. 

Photo by JoyD.

Sunday, 21 June 2015

Clips for Zenka Frames

Colour Clips for Zenka Frames. Photo by JoyD, June, 2015.
It was the beginning of July, 2014, when I bought my Zenka frames  and I told you then that I would take a few photos of the clips that I ordered. I never did update that post; so it's about time that I show you the clips that I have purchased over the past year. I now have  ten of them in three shades of blue, two shades of purple, and one each in white, red, black, grey and pale pink. 

In the same way that some women buy a pair of earrings, shoes or a scarf to match or to update an outfit, I am now in the habit of ordering a new coloured clip for my eyeglass frames.

Anthony, who owns Opticiens Martin in Ste. Foy La Grande (Gironde), is a true gentleman and it is easy to leave my money in his shop. 

He has a relative, either a brother or cousin (I'm not sure), who is the founder and designer of Parasite frames. I still look at the Parasite brand displayed in Anthony's store and wish that I had more disposable income and was a tad more eccentric - with those two attributes, I know I would be wearing them.

Photo Source: Parasite

For now, the Zenka frames offer me as much eccentricity as I can handle and are more economic than buying a whole new set of lenses and frames. 

What colour is next? I suppose it depends on the next scarf or the shoes that I buy. For now I have an adequate supply.

Sunday, 14 June 2015

The Quasi-Academic Debate: Comfortable Casual or Business Attire at Work

Closet Content Analysis: Casual or Business


The summer inspires us to be more casual in all that we do and most transparently in what we choose to wear. This can create conflict for employees and employers especially when the business calls for a certain degree of formality. I think of banking, insurance, government agencies, medicine/pharmacy and any corporate enterprise that deals with either my well-being or my financial situation. In other words if you are selling me health insurance, you had better not be in flip flops and shorts, even on "casual Friday". I could say, "but that's just me"; however, if I am saying it, there must be others who feel the same way.

In debate protocol, we must start with defining or at least having a basic understanding of what it is we are debating - that is comfortable casual vrs. business attire.

Business is easier to define and so I shall start there. Business for men and women suggests the "suit" although a broader perspective includes blazers and trousers or skirts. Ties for men might be optional but then that crosses the line to "business casual" in the same way as a t-shirt with a blazer rather than a button down shirt would be considered "business casual" but still there remains, the blazer or jacket. Shoes then range from Oxfords to loafers for men and a variety of heel-heights for women. Flats for women are always considered more casual but one's height and activity at work usually determine a woman's choice of footwear.

Comfortable casual is less than business casual. In some cases very much less. It is all relative. In fact an anthropological term, cultural relativism might fit this analysis. In this case, basically what you wear is determined by the values of the culture in which you are wearing it. Therefore if it is normally worn and accepted within a particular culture then it is what it is and should not be considered good or bad by those outside of the particular culture. Sigh. This can get complicated because we are not talking about a particular ethnic or national group but rather sub-cultures/sub-groups within a "business" culture that transcends nationality. 

We need a different analytical term. What comes to mind immediately is appropriateness so therefore "cultural appropriateness" sounds like it might work in analysis. How about, "sub-cultural dress appropriateness in an economic setting"? This then indicates that we are concerned about the acceptability, that which will not offend either administration, co-workers or clients, of clothing worn by members of a particular sub-culture; and sub-culture indicates the group within a larger culture that is specifically economically driven. Another sigh.

Now that the term covers what we want to study, we can get back to debating what is appropriate. "Appropriate" is defined by Merriam-Webster as "right or suited for some purpose or situation". Now, what is "right" and there is where "cultural relativism" comes to bite us again. If it is considered "right" within the group, it may not be considered "right" by those outside the group. So if bank employees all vote, thereby considering it "right" within the group, to wear short shorts, flip flops and bikini tops or muscle shirts on Wednesdays, then our opinion as clients doesn't matter. Ah, but this is where economics comes in. If I choose not to bank at that particular institution then it does affect the economic drive of the company. It is a conundrum but there are social scientists and anthropologists out there who have spent more time studying such things. 

From this blogger's point of view, the best strategy is to look at what the administration is wearing and follow "suit". As an employee you can probably tone it down to more casual attire if the head person is wearing formal business wear; but only a tad. So now, I should define "tad" - never mind. This advice means nothing if the boss comes in blue jeans and a t-shirt but because his or her employees are on the front line, he/she expects more business attire from the staff.

Follow your heart and if all else fails, just ask your boss what the summer standard for sub-cultural dress appropriateness in your particular economic setting is. That'll do it!

Check out what I have written before on this topic:
Summer Office Wear - What is Too Casual?
What is "Comfortable Casual"?
Knee-Length Shorts at Work and Play
Defining Casual Clothing
What Kind of Comfortable?

Saturday, 6 June 2015

Re-Using or is it Re-cycling Clothing?


The "recycleterie" in Pessac (department Gironde, France) has reorganized their product sales areas. At one time, clothing was placed in an alcove off the main go-round of the floorspace that included recyclable possibilities from housewares to furniture and a lot of garden and outdoor stuff. Initially I imagine the commune looked at everything people were throwing out and decided that with the help of volunteers, they could make a few dollars. Over the years the "recycleterie" has become more popular and now I imagine it is bringing in a tidy sum. After all, inventory costs them nothing.  

Electronics once attracted those who first walked through the main doors but that is getting to be a tricky business. The reorganization suggests that clothing manifests a good turnover. As soon as you walk in through the main doors you have the opportunity to browse through the men's, women's and children's clothing. Most items are pretty shabby but this is no ordinary "recycleterie" any more. Now there is a rack that indicates "marques" and so you do not have to sift through the nondescript articles to find the treasures. Levis are no longer grouped with all the no-name-of-consequence jeans selling for two Euros a pair; they are now in the designated area of "marques" and being sold for considerably more.

I also noted that there were a number of "supermarket-brand" t-shirts, all brand new with the original markdown prices that obviously even the store could not get. You would think that the "recycleterie" would have priced them at that amount or less, but in fact, they priced them for more than the supermarket's last sale price. I suppose it must be a matter of what the market will bear.

I guess I can't blame them. Re-sellers were coming through, buying for pennies and then selling at the brocantes and "vides greniers" for 300+% markups. That had to be disconcerting for the staff and so I can imagine that they were thinking, "if re-sellers can buy here and make money, we can sell for a higher price and cut out the middle man". The "recycleterie" reminds me a little of the North American reality show, Storage Wars. In fact, Storage Wars is on TV here in France. I propose a reality tv show situated in France featuring re-sellers who scavenge the vides greniers, brocantes and recyclerteries finding treasures that they sell for a profit.

The foreigners who have retired, settled or perhaps just summered here, like anyone else, love a bargain and there will always be the stack of plates for a Euro or two. It is the perfect place to outfit a summer kitchen if not yourself. 
You could buy a set of dishes for what the paper version would cost. I can imagine someone buying at the "recycleterie" and then donating everything back at the end of the summer. Now that is truly a "recycleterie".

NO THANKS: If you do decide to buy clothing at any "recycleterie", keep the following in mind . . .

. . . Check for odd smells and don't buy if there is any "old" or mildewy odor; it will be almost impossible to get out. Actually this is also good advice for any cloth, wooden or rattan items or furniture. There are many suggestions for removing odors from natural fibers but they seldom work well. It becomes a constant and never-ending battle.

. . . Check for stains and marks. Stained clothing is another "no-no"! You have no idea what it could be or how the original wearer may have tried to remove it. It may be embedded and there is nothing that will remove it. Better not to buy if something is stained.

. . . Check for tiny rips or holes and do not buy. 

. . . Check again and walk away. 

NOTE-WORTHY: However consider the buttons on something that you may reject. You never know, the buttons may be unique and salvageable and you may be able to re-use them on something else. A woman told me about her greatest second-hand-treasure, a Chanel jacket that was moth-eaten and beyond repair but the buttons were still beautiful - definitely a recyclable lotto win.