Saturday, September 15, 2012

Styling like Ralph Lauren and a BIG milestone

Ralph Lauren's Fall 2012 RTW collection looks a lot like what I bought, made and wore in the late 70's, early 80's.  I had coats, jackets, skirts and slacks in the same weaves and color palette.   Like this collection I mixed plaids, herringbones and coordinating tweeds with knits, patterns like paisleys, and fur.   It's classic elegance that is fresh every year and feels good to wear.  I always wore textured hose and tights in the fall and winter and carried Coach satchels similar to these since I travelled a lot.  Over the years I consigned many pieces from those years,  only keeping select ensembles that I update and restyle with accessories.

When I saw his brown pinstripe ensemble with the narrow pant and short jacket with lapel and curved front hem I said that's the Michael Kors Italian pantsuit that I've been wearing for 15 years. The dark brown fabric is 80% wool/15% rayon/5% stretch and has a woven gray/taupe pinstripe.  The pants fit and look just like Ralph's, and I love wearing it with cashmere tops and my collection of previously owned mink and fox collars.  This one is lined in velvet and has clips at the ends so you can style it many ways.   I take exceptional care of my clothing and accessories and have the discipline to stay the same size.  I'm  60 and even though I went through an extended period where I could not walk unassisted or exercise, I am still the same size I was in my 30's.

I bought some new shoes with good ankle support and a nice chunky heel at Out of Hand in Mount Pleasant SC when we were spending some time there the first of the month.  Now that I can easily stand and walk in this kind of heel - Big milestone  -  I celebrated by buying these.   I usually wear a dark brown calfskin ankle boot that I bought at Roberto Spinelli in Rome with the dark brown pinstripe pants and jacket,  but thought I'd show off me standing and walking in these.   Here's a photo of me walking and standing in them while trying them on -  celebration!

I wore a lightweight wool Glen Plaid coat and skirt ensemble similar to this one to the settlement on my first house in the DC area in 1977.   I never wore caps or bowler hats.  I didn't keep that ensemble,  but I love the fuschia accent in the handkerchief and gloves here.

Here's an example of Ralph's mixing and matching, and an Oscar ensemble I kept in the softest mauve, wine, and gray plaid and coordinating tweed.   This was sold as a complete ensemble with tags removed as was the custom in Loehmann's Back Room in the late 70's.   I knew it was Oscar from the style and quality and this was always one of my favorites.   The short jacket is fitted at the waist and came with the coordinating paisley pleated front blouse.    The tweed full skirt, cut on the bias with deep tucks at the waist is the same tweed weave within the plaid of the jacket.   I didn't care for how it fit around the pocket waist closure so I took it apart.   That's just the front and back skirt fabric there.  Looks like it's time to refashion it since I can wear my boots again!

Sunday, September 9, 2012

My Favorite Time of Year

Late summer/early fall when it starts to get cool is my favorite time of year.   It makes me think of going back to school, family reunions and other good times.   It's the lush green before the leaves start to turn.  You can smell the sweet autumn clematis that has just begun to bloom.   It's the one with the tiny star-like flowers draped over fences like soft lacy blankets that smells like a cross between jasmine and vanilla.  The morning glory vines are mature and the flowers are pretty in the mornings.   The wild turkey chicks are all grown up.

Have you ever saved leftover scraps of fabric for it's beauty, colors and memories?  Here's what's left from blouse I made and later gave to my sister in Texas with a copy of an Armani pantsuit I had custom made for me in Korea from an Italian birdseye wool.   The fabric came from the best fabric store in the Washington DC area until it closed, Fabrics Unlimited.  They carried Abraham silk and Linton tweeds, and all the best French, Italian, Swiss and Austrian fabrics.  The socialites and embassy crowd came with their dressmakers, and their sales were legendary.   I had limited time to sew and never bought cheap fabrics.   I had to attend social events at Washington hotels, embassies, the Kennedy center and so I needed my clothing to look elegant and expensive.   I carried my own fabric to Korea on trips to the far east because it was better than what the Korean custom tailors in Itaewon had to offer.    I used to shop the back room of Loehmann's in the 70's and early 80's when they got real NY designer garments and removed the labels.  I fit into all the sample garments and found Oscar and other top NY designers for a small fraction of the original price.   

For the blouse I used tiny Italian glass buttons that were the color of the taupe with a little of the wine inside with loops at the back of the scrunched collar.     It went up in smoke with everything else in her house over a year ago.    The leaf and berry motifs and colors remind me of this time of year, colors and unusual combinations I love to put together.   Click on the photo to see the colors and the silk jacquard.    

I need to replenish my serger thread supply before I can sew a few things so I pulled out a muted wool plaid that I bought from Michaels Fabrics last August.    He had a new shipment of Italian wools, assorted shirtings and other fabrics that made it hard to choose.    I had the leaf silk remnants next to it, with the serger thread in a taupey green and blue and look how the colors work together.    I think I'll make an infinity scarf out of the silk.

Chinchilla Update:   The boys remain separated.    Unfortunately Snowball viciously attacked poor old Woodley when I put them together about a week ago.   Woodley dove into his tubes so he didn't get bit.    The cages are side by side.   Woodley is in the big three story ferret cage they both were in and Snowball sits in Woodleys old 3 level cage and looks at him.   I don't think we'll ever be able to put them back together.