Celebrate Spring

The calendar tells us it is spring but  temperatures are clinging steadfastly to winter!    In spite of colder temperature, blossoms are bravely emerging with the promise that spring is really here.

As with every spring,  these long-awaited tree and flower blossoms just take my breath away.  As I observe this spectacular display of beauty, I am reminded of how each variety has a beauty all its own.  The tulips and daffodils, standing so straight and proper, adorned with just one or two blossoms are true minimalists.  Japanese Magnolias, with their tulip-like blossom present themselves in a bubble of soft color, giving the tree the appearance of a giant, pink ice cream cone.  Delicate, wild looking forsythia branches covered with joyful yellow blooms, invite you to skip through a meadow.  Conversely, the delicate, pink cherry blossoms convey a feeling of fragile beauty and femininity.

In observing how each species has a beauty all its own and each conveys a different message, I am struck with how similar we are, each with our own individual beauty.   We would think it ludicrous if the forsythia grumbled because it wished to be an azalea or the tulip wanted to be a pansy but we don’t think it unusual if we look at someone with a different type of beauty than ours and wish that we were like her.

A fun exercise to do is to think of your favorite flower.  Consider what attributes draw you to love that particular flower.  Often you will realize that the flower represents you.  I know of one woman who loves white tulips.  She is very competent and efficient and dresses in an understated, minimalist way.  Another lady loves an amaryllis.  This is the person who will never walk into a room unnoticed.  Her magnetic personality and sparkle telegraph to everyone that she is present.  Yet another woman absolutely loves a sunflower.  She, also has a bigger than life personality and presence.   Each person will be drawn to a particular flower that reflects a blend of her personality and appearance.

As we marvel as each new flower emerges this spring, let’s also marvel at our own unique beauty and savor the beauty with which we have been designed.

Seven Tips to Look Younger

 

When I was a little girl, grandmothers and “could be grandmothers”, seemed to have a uniform.  I remember my grandmother squeezing herself into her corset, putting on her purple dress (all of her dresses were varying shades of purple) and lacing up her sensible black shoes that looked like oxfords with a sturdy  1 ½” heel.  Her weekly hair appointments rendered the same results year after year:  swept up and kept in place throughout the week with a hair net.

What happened? It was like – POOF!   Women went from being youthful and active to “granny” carbon copies of each other.

Today it is nearly impossible to ascertain the age of women.  Are they 45 or 55?  Maybe 55 or in their 60’s.  It really isn’t important what age you are.  That is an “is” – something that can’t be changed.  What you can do is use techniques to always appear your most youthful and vibrant without the necessity of surgery.

Following are some tips that will help perpetuate the mystery of which decade is your.

Hair:    Hair is probably the most noticeable feature so it is especially important.  Hair needs to be clean and shiny.   Length can be tricky.  There comes a point when long hair might be better a bit shorter.    Long hair often gets pulled back  – think Hillary Clinton – where there is no style.

Some people look fabulous when allowing the gray to show, while it can look matronly on others.   I would always consult a good hairdresser.  If you have used the same hairdresser for years, it may be a good idea to get a fresh opinion.  This is not being disloyal, it is just allowing another set of professional eyes to make suggestions.   Diane von Furstenberg has always worn long hair but she has softened from almost black to a softer brown.  Judi Dench keeps her short hair a soft blonde.

Skin: Often more mature skin requires more moisture so it is important to find a moisturizer that nourishes your skin properly.   Try samples first to make sure the product works for you.

Makeup:  You most likely will need to adjust your makeup techniques about each five years.  Your skin gradually softens in color and you may notice the area around the jaw is not quite as firm as it used to be.  Most women will find that using lighter lipstick while adding subtle emphasis to the eye will be more attractive.  This draws the eye up and away from any heaviness that has appeared at the jaw.

Nail Polish:  It is better to use a neutral polish.  Hands are one of the first areas of aging.  If your hands have brown spots or other evidence of aging, you don’t want a bight polish to draw attention.  Also, many women “talk” with their hands – oh, yes, guilty of that one!.  My husband commented once, “Can you repeat that?  I blinked.”  You don’t want to have your hands be the center of your conversation.

Bra:  A good bra is essential.  Bosoms tend to drop lower with age so giving nature some help.  The mound of the bosom should be halfway between the chin and waist.  Adding a deeper neckline visually diminishes this imbalance.  Turtlenecks exacerbate the distance from chin to the bosom mound as well as draw attention to any sagging under your chin.

Choose a good foundation:  Whether you are a size 4 or a size 14, a good foundation will smooth out unwanted bulges.  This is especially true when wearing knits.

Perfect fit:  Always choose clothes that fit perfectly.  If something is too tight it looks like you are trying too hard to be young and sexy.  But, too large appears sloppy.  Your alterations expert is your best friend.

Smile:   A ready smile takes off years.  Show your most beautiful self!

Where the Wild Things Are

It doesn’t seem that long ago when protesters were spray painting mink fox, and beaver fur coats in Aspin, Colorado.  Now, designers are offering a plethora of wild skins from which to choose – the more exotic, the better!

There is no better illustration than Beyonce’s body suite for her Super Bowl halftime performance.  The costume, designed by Rubin Singer, was made of a combination of leather, panels of python and iguana.   Who would have ever dreamed of such a combination?

Lightweight leather has been a luxurious addition to collections for the last two seasons and the fall runway shows stepped far beyond animal prints to include lamb, kangaroo, reindeer, yak, ostrich and iguana.

The kangaroo skins used in the Cushinie et Oks collection were described as lightweight but plush.  “It fees like a long-haired velvet, like a teddy bear.”  Billy Reid used nutria in his menswear fall collection.  Nutria, a wild rodent and considered a pest, are plentiful in Louisiana.  This skin has been a less expensive staple for years in fur creations.

One fashion trend forecaster commented that these exotic skins add value to the garment but pointed out that there is the “Ick” factor!  How many people will warm up to the idea of sporting a garment of iguana?  Then there is the practical side of maintaining such a garment.  Where to find a dry cleaner qualified to handle such skins?

When asked why one would take the trouble to wrestle with the nuances of such  unusual skins, Mr. Singer replied, “Because it’s fabulous!”  Hmmm.  Fabulous may be confined to a small group of designer and their tight group of followers.  I don’t think I am ready for kangaroo, reindeer, yak, and certainly not iguana!

 

Information from 2-20-13 Wall Street Journal article.

Are you ready for jammies?

I’m sure you have all seen pictures of Jackie Kennedy Onassis and her sister, Lee Radziwill among the lovely ladies of fashion, sporting evening pajamas.  Irene Galitzine introduced the pajama look in the 1960’s and Jackie Kennedy was among the high society women who immediately adopted the look.  The coordinated tunic and trouser look became a favorite for both day and evening offering a casual-but-cool readymade outfit that made a big impression with minimal effort.

So, you are probably asking, what is that to us in 2013?  Well, they’re back! The couture division of Italian designer, Galitzine, closed in the ‘80’s and she passed away in 2006.  The label is now making a comeback with Sergio Zambon at the helm.

This silk pajama look worn by Galitzine offers an elegant, casual evening look.  You can imagine going to someone’s home for a nice dinner or cocktail party and being comfortable but elegantly dressed.  I also like the two striped versions from the Galitzine 1962 collection.  The brighter stripe is more whimsical but I like the diagonal stripe and larger section of white to add variety and stabilize all of the activity of the stripes.  The soft blue and pink stripe next to it varies the stripe width providing interest and someplace for the eye to rest.   These could both be work for daytime depending on the fabric.

You will be seeing pajamas emerge in collections from designers such as Erdem, Valli, Derek Lam and Missoni.  Fashion reporter Christina Brinkley, called the look “a smaller trend, likely to grow….On the streets, the tops will work better than the bottoms, and at designer prices, shoppers may want to think twice before sleeping in the satiny confections.”  Sergio Zambon commented, “I think they are for daywear, but if you get drunk, you can come home and sleep in them.”

Personally, I find the all-over prints overpowering and far too busy.  There needs to be a quiet place where the eye can rest.  My personal preference is solid with some interesting jewelry or detail.  If you love a print, try pairing it with a solid.   If you have a flair for using the sewing machine, you could probably create your own personal look!  How fun is that?

The more styles change, the more they stay the same.  Welcome back the “jammies” from the ”60’s.