Updating the wardrobe

Ya, I’ve been away for awhile.  I miss blogging.  I finally got a little free time and decided to update my wardrobe and whip off a little blog post to get back into the swing of things.  Maybe reading Advanced Style got me fired up.  Looking at all those grandma’s rockin’ their style made me look at my own wardrobe and how I can spice it up.  I am in a deep frumpy rut and need a forklift to get me out.   I love the A-line and have made many.   But, it’s all looking a little too dowdy.  Here is a before and after. What do you think?





All I did was take up the hem and taper it more at the hip to hem.  Do you have any  ideas for de-frumping the wardrobe?

Amy Butler’s new fashion line of fabrics

Amy Butler

Amy Butler

In Threads magazine March  2013 Threads announces Amy Butler’s new line of fashion fabrics.  And, I gotta say they are lovely.  This new line is really a breath of fresh air.  Some of her other fabrics were great for aprons or tote bags and pillows but for my clothing choices I found them to be too loud or something.   Just color combos I wouldn’t normally wear.  

Can’t wait to get my hands on a couple of yards of these beauties.  The fabric comes in voile, rayon challis, sateen, velveteen, cotton and linen.  What do you think? Click here for more pics Continue reading

Advanced Style


Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style

Getting back to writing has been like getting back to working out after a bit of time off. Slowly and with much procrastination.  I’ve really enjoyed my time offline, A LOT.  Got a lot of reading, sewing done and just not being online was refreshing.   One lovely book that got the creative flow going was Ari Seth Cohen’s Advanced Style. (Thanks, Santa)  I’m sure you are all familiar with his style blog Advanced Style, highly rated and well worth a peek if you haven’t visited it.  This blog showcases the women and men of a certain age who really know how to dress with style, fun and joy.  This book would make a great gift for any fashionista young or old, but great for that woman who might be celebrating a certain birthday with a little melancholy.  Sure to give them a lift and a good lift at that.  Below are a few of my favorite ladies and their inspiring quotes on aging, fashion and having fun with it all.   

Here is Alice Carey

Advanced Style

‘You don’t want to look crazy. The object is to look chic.’

Beatrix Ost

Advanced Style

‘In your body is a good place to be’



Linda – from Advanced Style

A great quote from Valerie and Jean sums it all up.  

‘Young woman you’re gonna be an old woman someday.  Don’t worry about it don’t sweat it. Don’t worry about getting older. Every era, it builds character.’ Amen!

For the new year whether we make it ourselves or buy off the hanger may we all do it with style and flair.

Meggings a good thing or WTH?

As I crusade against  bagging pants I’m now faced with their direct opposite (Oh fashion you fickle beast).  Allow me to introduce Meggings.  Man Leggings.  Most famously worn by Mr. Conan here. 

Oh, what have you done

Oh, what have you done

And, now we have an actual full fledged trend of Meggings on our hands.  So weigh in do you think these are here to stay, a good thing our just terribly wrong.   And, you can read what male style editors think on the whole subject.  

Man Leggings. Hmmm.

Man Leggings. Hmmm.

Born on this day – Edith Head

Edith Head – Costumer Designer Extraordinaire

The blogosphere will be popping with plenty of tributes to the Divine Miss H. She worked on almost 500 films and dressed the biggest stars in Hollywood.  For me it would be impossible to pick a favorite dress or movie.   Here is my small tribute with a few favorite sketches, quotes and a bibliography where you can slowly drink up all the talent, controversy and inspiration that is Edith Head.

Continue reading

Scary Beautiful

Scary Beautiful Shoes

Artist Leanie van der Vyer has created a pair of shoes like no other.  Yes, these shoes are without a doubt ugly and quite scary. However her message is poignant and compelling.  The video below is haunting and just a little uncomfortable to watch.  Leanie says of the shoes they are an  ‘… illustration of what lies beyond this aspirational perfection”.  Which in my mind would be pain and discomfort.  

(The video might take a second to load)

“Humans are Playing God by physically and metaphorically perfecting themselves. Beauty is currently at an all time climax, allowing this project to explore what lies beyond perfection. Scary Beautiful challenges current beauty ideals by inflicting an unexpected new beauty standard.” 

What do you think of the video, of the shoes, of fashions quest for perfection.

For more on her thesis and photos click here. 

Wild about peplums

I missed the peplum for spring, probably because I was too busy picking out patterns with peplums to make.  But, the peplum is here to stay at least until a New York minute passes, but for once I’ll be somewhat relevant this fall.  I love the flounce on jackets and blouses, it gives a nod to the vintage styles that I love, yet is modern and fresh.   Plus, there are many ways to wear it whatever your body shape.  Here is a look at a few of the ways designers are showing this cool trend, plus vintage styles too.  Which one do you like?  Are you wearing the peplum?  You can check out the one I made here.

Bottega Veneta Fall 2012

Lanvin Fall 2012

Zac Posen

L.K. Bennet – Designer

Vintage peplum style

Dressy peplum

Prabal Gurung and the concept of aging gracefully

Prabal Gurung

Originally from Nepal Gurung now resides in the United States and has made a big entrance into the fashion scene (He’s dressed the First Lady several times).  His designs are edgy yet feminine with amazing tailoring. The prints and graphics are breathtaking.  I not only love his styles but his outlook. He is heavily involved in charities that aid women and children forced into slavery and prostitution.   When asked about trends he would never like to see come back this is his response. Continue reading

Fashion trends that should end – Baggy Pants

I see London.  I see France!

Behold the baggy pants

For the video pick let’s take a look at the popularity and in my not so humble opinion the utter ridiculousness of the saggy, baggy pants worn usually by men.  Guys who wear this look like they have a load in their drawers.  Their gait is severely compromised and running is all but rendered impossible.  Why this trend has continued for this long boggles my mind.   Let’s all say it:  “Brother pull up your pants!”

Is it couture if it’s made from Gummy Bears

Gummy Bear Gown

What exactly is the definition of couture and can it be applied to a gown that weighs 220 pounds and has over 50,000 gummy bears on it? Continue reading

Born on this day Elsa Schiaparelli September 10, 1896

The one the only – Elsa Schiaparelli

In her autobiography Elsa wrote about sowing flower seeds in her ears and mouth in the hopes that she would flower into a beauty.

While she may have lacked in classical, model good looks her wild, creative imagination is a true beauty.  She collaborated with artists like  Salvador Dali, Marcel Duchamp and André Breton.  She designed costumes for Mae West, and Zsa Zsa Gabor and is well know as a hat designer and perfumer.  

Rival to Madame Chanel, the two are on completely different planets.  Schiaparelli took the fashion world to another level introducing looks and ideas that were way ahead of their time. (So to did Chanel but Schiaparelli was really WAY ahead in her thinking and designs)     

She is credited with introducing the zipper into fashion. Has a patent for folding eyeglasses and  introduced color hosiery.

So, the next time you see a lobster on a dress or a woman wearing a shoe on her head you can thank the marvelous Elsa Schiaparelli. Here is the full Impossible Conversations with Stalin and Elsa Schiaparelli.  It’s darn funny. 

Everything old is new again

Louis Vuitton Fall 2012

Love this ad campaign for Louis Vuitton.  It’s a little bit 60’s, with some 50’s and 20’s too.  All with a 21st century update.  Check the originals below.  The hats throw me  a bit.  The look like giant cloche’s but the over-sized nature trend toward the Victorian.  Maybe a blend of both.  What do you think?  And, the women’s dresses and coats!  Fashions coming  straight out of good old Sears catalog.

Pink and green handbag from 1950’s

Victorian hat

Black sunglasses 1960’s

Suits and everyday wear 1920

Video pick of the week YSL on What’s My Line

Check out this adorable clip of Yves Saint Laurent on the old television show What’s My Line?  He doesn’t say much, but he seems so sweet and just a little bemused (and amused) by the American’s and their questions.  

Crazy about old Broads

Yes, that’s Broads with a capital B.  I’m crazy for old Broads with style, advanced or otherwise.  Check out these amazing ladies who have style in spades.  Beautiful, cheeky and chic.  All that I aspire to.  Aging, from what I hear sucks so you might as well have as much fun as possible.  Fair warning, these ladies rock grey hair, canes and plenty of wrinkles.   See below for an interview with the designer.

Image from oldladiesrebellion.com

Controchic Acapulittico - 2012

Image from oldladyrebellion.com

Image from oldladyrebellion.com

Old Ladies Rebellion is a line of clothing aimed at “pensioners” or as we here call them, old people.  OLR started by Fanny Karst a French design student she dares convention by designing clothing for the older set making fun clothing that addresses certain issues of the older body yet remain stylish.    Here is an interview with Miss Karst.

And for more photos go to Old Ladies Rebellion.

Are you a fan, or should the older set go back to their rocking chairs and take a nap.

Born on this day Gabrielle “Coco” Chanel

What can be said?  Her legacy is so great, her style and influence permanently ingrained in the fashion world that little is left to be said.  Her name still embodies independence, style and a forward thinking attitude. Chanel herself was a shrewd business woman and unrelenting in maintaining her vision.   Today her vintage pieces are highly sought after including her line of jewelry.  Fashion fades and style remains and what better way is this exemplified than with the “Little Black Dress”.  Women all over the world reach for it  in whatever incarnation to feel stylish and relevant. Today the line is one of the best known luxury brands and still holds true with the Chanel ideal.  So in honor of Chanel’s birthday why don’t we all go out and buy ourselves a little Chanel something!  Or, how about joining me in making a personal, super fitting Little Black Dress?  

Video pick of the week – The Great Chanel

Here is a wonderful look at vintage Coco Chanel.  This clip is a remix from several years.  It’s rather long and you can hear someone in the background mixing drinks, ripping paper  and breaking glass and quite possibly doing some drywall repair (right around 2:49)  Seeing the true Chanel in action is always mesmerizing.  Although legend has it and by models themselves that working with Chanel was no picnic.  She ruled with an iron glove.  Enjoy.

Remembering Anna Piaggi

Photo by David Bailey

Legendary Fashion Editor Anna Piaggi died on Tuesday August 7th.  Fortunately she left behind a great legacy of fashion and style.  Her eclectic sense and personality will be well remembered.  Click here for a great interview and photo spread of Anna.  

Things to do in Denver for fashion, sewing and creating

Especially in August

August is here and it is hot.  There is a lot going on if you love fashion, sewing, creating or just love looking at beautiful things.

Click on the links for more information.  

This weekend the Denver County Fair will be bringing its kitschy, crafty folky self to the National Western Complex on 4655 Humboldt Street, Denver (of course). Parking is 10.00. Adult tickets are 10.00, children 12 and under 5.00.  Other pricing options available, check website for details. Fair is from August 10-12.

Denver Art Museum has only 2 presenters left in the fashion demo lineup.  August 11, 12 and 18, 19 is Sew Heidi.  Fashion Illustrator Jim Howard will be demo-ing on August 25 and 26 and again on September 1,2.  

Stephanie O will be having a great trunk show on August 23.  Check her Facebook page for more information.  And while I’m at it Fallene Wells will be having a show at the Walker Fine Art Gallery on August 24 at 6:00pm.  Tickets were selling quick so be sure to check of availability.   

The wonderful Tactile Arts in Denver is currently showing Elfriede Style until August 25.  Check their site for hours.  Elfriede is a long time business owner in Boulder and a designer extraordinaire.  See her amazing work before it’s packed up.  

Denver Design Incubator is holding free sewing workshops at their studio.  If you have ever wanted to start sewing this is such a great opportunity.  

The Denver Modernism Fair again at the National Western Complex is happening August 24-26.  Check website for a variety of pricing options.  This is a fun fair aimed at all things modern and funky.  

And, I would be remiss if I didn’t mention the Denver Sewing Collective is having their 2nd Thursday Sew Night on August 9th.  

Awesome things going on here in Denver, I’m sure I missed several more.  If you know of something please reply in the comments and If you want to be mentioned for September please let me know!

Madame Gres – Sculpture as Fashion

Get your tickets to Belgium. The Mode Museum or MoMu will be showing the exquisite designs of Madame Gres in Anvers this fall from September 12, 2012 – February 10. 2013.  Madame Gres is noted for her sculptural and architectural qualities in her designs.  These photos don’t do the gowns justice.  Unlike the YSL exhibit that was in Denver apparently viewers can freely take pictures of her gowns, just don’t flip that hem.  

Here are a few dresses from her later period.  And for a better look check out these photos too.  

For more here is a New York Times article on Madame Gres and her beautiful designs.  

Photos from Yagi Tsusho current holder of the Gres name/brand.

A few things I’m really tired of

Hey shortie

Here’s a list of a few things I wish would retire to the more banal area of Purgatory.


  • 4-6 inch heels.  Can we please retire the Fredrick’s of Hollywood hooker heels?  When one can find these in Wal-mart it’s time to recognize the trend is dead.  Unless you are Kim, Jessica or Zoe walking around in these is not for the amateur.  I’ve seen women dressed to the nines only to have the look destroyed by hulking around in these sky high contraptions.   Be proud, be short.
  • Low pant wearing.  Still cannot believe this is going on.
  • Females who use their butts to send messages as in “Juicy”.


  • If I hear one more person say while in conversation “Seriously?”, “I know, right?”  (or simply “Right?”) and “Wait…what?” all done in that annoying up-speak I will…well, probably just cringe like I usually do.
  • The word stunning.  God, I use that like crazy.
  • Sick as in “really good”.  Should hold the award for dumbest use of a word.
  • And, of course the one that just won’t die – “Like, um  the giraffe was like really tall.”  I will judge you and harshly.


  • Most reality tv, and you know the ones I’m talking about.
  • Kim K and the like.
  • Facebook but I still can’t/won’t kick it.
  • Tumblr blogs. What is the point?  Oh, wait.  I have one. It’s really great check it out here!  Wait…what?
  • Baby bump watch!
  • And, the pressure put on women to lose the baby weight after the “baby bump” has left the building.

I could go on forever.  I’m sure you’ve got a few pet peeves, maybe people who make sanctimonious lists such as this one drive you nutty.  I didn’t even go into  annoying restaurant trends, the overuse of the word “green” and men who wear wool hats in 90 degree heat.  Whaaat?? And, of course the word Whaaat.

Translation please

love it!I love this pre-season look from Vera Wang.  I love a lot of looks from designers but find a hard time translating them into  my un 20-something, rail thin fashion model look.  Any suggestions?  I love the knee highs but for anyone over 21 that could look something very  old lady like.