My Aunt Jane passed away at 100. She was my favorite relative in the whole wide world and was like a mother to me. Jane was Daddy’s oldest sister; the only sibling who moved away from the Pacific Northwest. She chose San Francisco and later Palo Alto where she spent the rest of her life. I visited her when I was in high school and was in awe of how beautifully she dressed. Jane had made her clothes from the time she was young. By the time of my first visit, she was designing her own cloths, and taking them to her dressmaker in San Francisco to execute the construction—a practice she continued until she was 95 and had to stop driving.
Although I never knew Jane as a young woman, she was ageless. I never saw her without her hair done, wearing makeup, and being dressed attractively. Even as she was in her 90’s, she often wore an attractive, colorful dressing-gown at home in her beautiful condominium. A broken hip ultimately confined her to bed but we continued our weekly phone conversations and I visited her every chance I got. Her hairdresser of many years now came to her home for her weekly hair appointment. My last visit was shortly after Jane had celebrated her 100th birthday. It was the first time I had seen her without having her hair colored: snowy white and perfectly coiffed. She was wearing a pink bed jacket, lipstick and even had her nails polished!
Becoming an image consultant was no doubt inspired by Jane. As we age, we may gain a few wrinkles and perhaps a few pounds but we become more beautiful as our wisdom from the years is manifested. It saddens me when I meet ladies who are more mature who deem themselves too old to bother looking their best. How many times I have heard comments like, “Oh, I’m too old to have my colors done” or some other iteration of that theme. Each age has its own special beauty. That is why I was so excited when a client recently contacted me and asked me to help her put together a core wardrobe using her color palette and her best styles. We met and discussed how using key pieces would provide a versatile wardrobe that could be interchanged giving variety while providing a polished look. We decided to work together in the fall to choose pieces for her fall/winter wardrobe. One of my suggestions was to select basics then add a jacket to provide a more polished look. I just saw a picture of her on Facebook from Easter where she was wearing slacks and a shell topped with a beautiful lime green jacket, perfectly complementing her warm coloring. She was beautiful! I can hardly wait to help her put together a functional core wardrobe that looks great on her and provides a wonderful wardrobe for her lifestyle!
“Naked Dresses” have been seen on a number of celebrities, making it quite evident underwear is not a component of the look. These dresses of sheer mesh or chiffon featuring strategically placed designs, stop just short of revealing everything. Thus, they have earned their racy reputation. This brings to mind Hans Christian Anderson’s fairy tale of the Emperor who allowed his advisors to dupe him into thinking he was wearing invisible clothing. When he confidently paraded before his subjects, a little boy shouted out that the emperor was naked!
Designers have floated trial balloons in this fashion for years. I remember when my daughter was about kindergarten age and Vogue featured a see-through blouse worn without any undergarments. I was shocked! You can imagine my horror to find my little girl intently studying the magazine, and exclaim, “Mommy, she doesn’t have on any clothes!” Who would have imagined that my Vogue would fall into the category of “keep in a brown wrapper”.
Although wearing sheer and revealing clothing has appeared periodically since the days of Marie Antoinette, the past few years have been the most revealing. I just saw an ad for a very sheer blouse with a neutral body stocking underneath. It created a dramatic look while being modest. Spring collections are showing more subtlety, using eyelet, lace, or other ways to give a hint of skin.
The spring runways were continuing the sheer trend but the
undergarment is the more intended design featuring patterns and colors intended to be seen. Then, they use a sheer gossamer over garment creating a dreamy out-of-focus look for the under garment. These are anything but “naked dresses” but the mystery of seeing the under garment design and color indistinctly is quite charming.
Yes, the “see through” look might just be destined for your closet!
The Oscars are over once again fasionistas have written columns about the most beautiful gowns and the fashion disasters. I thought I would take a slightly different approach and look at the men.
Black tie has always been defined as a black tux with classic tux shirt, a black bow tie and cummerbund. I don’t ever recall seeing a man dressed in a properly fitting tux and traditional black tie that was not at his most handsome. There is just something about that simple elegance that turns any man into Prince Charming.
This year, the men at the Academy Awards garnered much attention by trying to be peacocks. I’m not sure it was all good! Ryan Seacrest was sporting his version of an updated tux in a gray tweed-like jacket with a black shawl collar. Hmmm. When did tweed ever step into the formal category? Tweed is more conducive to hunting. Smooth fabrics are much more formal. Add some shine and it becomes even more so. Therefore, a tux in a smooth black wool offers a durable garment while the shiny lapel and stripe on the trouser leg transform it into handsome formal wear. Ryan’s sleeves appear to be too short. The cuff exposed on the right hand is just right but his large watch blocks the left cuff from falling correctly. Tip: If one wears a large watch, the shirt cuff must allow room to cover the watch. Jacket sleeves should hang without wrinkles.
Eddie Redmayne’s velvet tux was a little over the top. Velvet is a fragile fabric but sitting is not allowed! The marks from sitting are permanent so this is really impractical. Michael Strahan’s blue business suit version is better left for business.Change out the satin trim to wool and you have a winner. And, yes, designers may be a little creative by using a contrasting color for lapels. The look won’t work in a conservative setting but would be great fun for a social occasion or worn in a more artsy setting.
Beading detail on Kevin Hart’s tux reminds me of a design student’s first project using “creativity”. I would give a “C” for effort. Then there is Orlando Jones’s shiny leaf/cammo jacket. One just asks., “Why?” His slacks should be properly hemmed allowing them to fall straight showing a nice crease.
Henry Cavill, first picture, looks fabulous in his classic tux. It is an all-around winner!
Peacocks went out with Louis XV. Perfect fit and good taste always reign whether at the Oscars or the palace!