Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Dress Like a Leader

I am inspired by Christine Lagarde’s personal style, more than I have ever been inspired by the appearance of any other woman in a powerful position. She's figured it out.

Dressing Like a Leader

The Most Fashionable Woman in Finance

Other articles of interest:

Perfect the Art of a Work Uniform

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

“We Wear Culture”

Google has recently launched an Arts and Culture project, focused on fashion. I'll be able to lose myself for hours!

Saturday, May 27, 2017

An Enduring Youthful Appearance

The beauty benefits of a daily routine that I established in my early teens are evident. Now that I’m in my sixties, I surprise many of my peers who look much older than I when often they’re younger than I am — although I definitely see how much older I look as each year passes.

On the “needs improvement” side, I don’t drink enough water; instead I drink tea all day long. I need to exercise more. This week I am beginning a new routine, to maintain the health of my body. My body is beginning to let me know that it is aging. I am grudgingly changing habits in this regard.

But strictly for beauty’s sake, here is a quick compilation of a few of my rules for looking fresh and youthful at any age. As others occur to me, I’ll add them:

Keeping Your Youthful Appearance for Life

 • Do not remove more eyebrow hairs than absolutely necessary. Be very careful when you pluck, and only go for obvious strays. Full eyebrows are a sign of youthful beauty — no matter the current fashion. Over-tweezed brows result in sparse to bald eyebrows — sometimes when you're in your thirties, and definitely by your fifth decade. The resulting bald eyebrow look signifies neither youth nor beauty. Maybelline makes the current eyebrow gel I’m using, although unlike the Revlon product that I have used, I need to apply it lightly, let it dry (critical step) and then apply a second coat for the most natural results.

• Begin to moisturize skin and prevent sun damage from a very early age. I started when I was twelve years old. Cleanse and tone skin, then apply a natural moisturizer from the decolletage upward to the forehead. Upward, feathery light strokes are best.

• Eye cream is only applied with the ring finger, beginning at the outside of each eye. Lightly massage the “crow’s feet” area in a circular motion then smooth the cream under the eye towards the nose, then up and over to the outside area. Using your ring finger provides a gentle touch that helps you avoid harming the delicate skin around your eye area.

• Apply sunblock to the backs of hands daily to avoid hands that age and spot before their time. I use this SPF 50 sunblock stick first thing every day.

• Take care of your teeth! Strictly adhere to basic dental practices. I don't floss, but use The Doctor's Brushpicks once or twice daily. My dentist approves, and I prefer using them to flossing.

• Wear very good shoes and carry a very good handbag. Quality, high end shoes and purses are a worthwhile investment. No more than two of each are necessary. Think of cost per wear.

• Look for well made costume pieces to supplement a basic collection of high quality jewelry.

• Generally, it is preferable to be overdressed for an occasion. Underdressing can cause more problems, such as not meeting a dress code, while there is normally no issue when you exceed a dress code.

Friday, May 5, 2017

Mom on My Mind

credit: email from Estée Lauder
for Mother's Day 2015
This week's horoscope from Ron Brezsny spoke to me:
In what ways do you most resemble your mother? Now is a good time to take inventory. Once you identify any mom-like qualities that tend to limit your freedom or lead you away from your dreams, devise a plan to transform them. You may never be able to defuse them entirely, but there's a lot you can do to minimize the mischief they cause. Be calm but calculating in setting your intention, Aquarius! P.S.: In the course of your inventory, you may also find there are ways you are like your mother that are of great value to you. Is there anything you could do to more fully develop their potential?
Since this is a style blog, I won't talk about my mom’s most cherished qualities, including her kindness, infinite love, generosity, communication abilities, and compassion — on this page it's things related to fashion.

In terms of style, mom was my idol. I always adored my mom's style when I was a girl, and tried to learn everything I could about being an elegant woman from her — even though she and Aunt Eleanor (her stylish sister) were self taught. As she grew older, though, her choices became identifiably “old ladyish,” as her go-to outfit became one of her many designer jogging suits. That's something I hope to avoid, although I suppose that my Eileen Fisher skirted leggings could come to be viewed as the old lady staple of my generation.
I have four pairs of skirted leggings in my wardrobe,
and take two when I travel.
Mom knew quite a bit about personal style, and many of the practices she taught me, and advice she gave (and lived) hold true today. I'm grateful that she emphasized how important it was for me to cleanse and moisturize my face properly from an early age, although I've expanded the treated area to include my neck and chest area (everything visible above a bikini top). She routinely reinforced the importance of good grooming, dental hygiene and proper posture, while always encouraging me to feel good about myself. My siblings and I detested our semi-annual dentist visits, but we have good teeth as a result. Mom always made a point of complimenting me, no matter how awkward a phase I was in, about my beautiful features. So when my teeth were far too big for my face, she'd emphasize my bone structure and good skin, and tell me I'd “grow into” my teeth. It worked! I'd examine my skin and cheekbones, and forget about how goony I looked (whether or not I wore my cat-eye glasses with their ultra-thick lenses).

Lucky me!

I remember shopping trips to J.L. Hudson Company and B. Siegel in downtown Detroit, and outings on foot (three kids and a baby in the stroller) to our local Winkelman's and Himelhoch stores. Mom was frugal, but insisted on quality. A “value shopper” she knew when items would be marked down and waited for the sales. Often, the purpose of our trips were to make an installment payment on something she had in layaway, but we always browsed the latest fashion displays in the designer rooms. I've learned from her to identify what I want from the high end fashion pieces early each season, then wait for the inevitable 40-60% off sale. If I miss it because of this, I don't care. I don't really need any new clothing; when something actually is a “must have” I will pay for it.

Here are some photos of my elegant mother, at age 27 to 32.

What do you remember about your mother's style?

Monday, March 2, 2015

A New Option in Travel Clothing

I've had multiple travel related chats lately with my friend Sheri, by phone and various electronic messaging apps. She'll embark on a year-long travel adventure in a couple of months, with only the allowable carry-on sized backpack and one personal item that includes her camera gear and MacBook. 

I wish Sheri and I were able to sit and chat in person here in Monteriggioni, in the Chianti district!
We're limited to electronic and telephone communications until September, when I'll join her in Barcelona.

That's a wardrobe planning challenge that I hope to never face. It would be a nightmare for me to limit what I wear for one year to so few pieces! However, I enjoy helping her figure this out, so in the process I've discovered a few new travel pieces to try for myself.

Merino wool clothing from Icebreaker is lauded as itch-free, stink-free, and comfortable in all climates. Despite having no need for any new clothing, I purchased their Villa dress (in a shade of lavender that they call "Abyss") on a 40% discount web sale to take with me to Andalusia in late May. It will be hot during the day, so I'll be able to test (and hope to refute) my assumption that wool is too warm to wear in such conditions. Here's the dress:

Image from website, cropped.
As soon as it arrived, I tried it on alone, and then as a top layer over a turtleneck and leggings. The wool feels like a heavy cotton knit, and it really does not itch.  Next, I scrunched it into a quart size ziploc bag, and left it there for three days.

They're not kidding when they claim that it packs to nothing!
Happily, the dress emerged unwrinkled, unscathed, and ready to wear. I can't wait to wear it!

In addition, I discovered two items that I've decided are "must haves" for my future travels. They include what I hope will be the perfect pair of navy pants, and what seems to be the optimal choice for a personal item carry-on bag. I haven't purchased these yet, and will write about them in another post.