Tag Archives: Fashion

Street style with a twist: How a war changed the way a nation dressed

My first love was history. My first official research paper was on WWII’s effects on women’s fashion in the U.S and the subsequent societal changes that “wearing the pants” inevitably inspired. As I was a junior in high school steeped in floridly-written historical romance novels, I am certain that it was riveting–Sorry, Mrs. Chabreck.

For better, or more likely worse, I was inspired to the topic by a collection of Life magazines from the period loaned to us by a British neighbor who had been a child evacuee from London in the early days of WWII. So, I can’t help but love this Guardian UK article on  the Fashion on the Ration: 1940s Street Style exhibit at London’s Imperial War Museum.

From lingerie made of outdated silk maps (genius) to a virtual Capsule Collection of sleek, stylish clothing created by a consortium of government-directed fashion designers that has in its description the feel of modern catwalks, the article is a lively lesson in history and a study in the simple joy of looking smart.

Read the article here and see a few featured images below.

Lingerie made from outdated silk military maps.

Lingerie made from outdated silk military maps.

Utility clothing went on sale in spring 1943. The Utility scheme was developed by the Board of Trade and introduced a range of quality- and price-controlled clothes. Utility clothing came in a limited range of garments, styles and fabrics. The range was designed by some of the leading names in fashion, including Hardy Amies, Digby Morton and Norman Hartnell.

Utility clothing went on sale in spring 1943. The Utility scheme was developed by the Board of Trade and introduced a range of quality- and price-controlled clothes. Utility clothing came in a limited range of garments, styles and fabrics. The range was designed by some of the leading names in fashion, including Hardy Amies, Digby Morton and Norman Hartnell.

image

An official Ministry of Information Photo Division wartime photograph showing four fashionable young ladies enjoying a stroll in the spring sunshine Photo: Imperial War Museum

Hooked on a Feeling: Channeling the 70s for S/S 2015

As I type this, I am listening to Led Zeppelin’s “Ten Years Gone” from Physical Graffiti. I was four in 1975, so I wasn’t really a Zeppelin fan then. That came later. At the time, I listened to a lot more of The Captain and Tennille,  Olivia Newton-John and The Carpenters in the back seat of my mom’s green Grand Tourino.

Whatever your music taste or exposure and whether or not you were alive in 1975, for spring 2015 the 70s are alive and well. This is excellent news, because unlike many trends inspired by the past, this one is ageless. Wide leg silhouettes and wrap dresses work whatever your decade of origin.

So this spring, without the Tab and Virginia Slims, I’ll channel the glamour of the ladies I looked up to in my youth.

70s 2015

 

Getting dressed up for what?

Etsy necklace“You want me to wear that–to the store?

“And you can just throw it on when you go to the store. Yes–To the store.”

“Why would I wear that to the store?”

“Why wouldn’t you wear that to the store?”

“Because it’s the store.”

“Right. But you’re going to wear it to the store.”

It’s easy to fall into a rut.

February is the perfect time to muse over that tidbit. It’s cold. You really just want to wear thick socks and sweats. I get it. I just want to wear thick socks, sweats and a sleeping bag with just my eyes showing and snow boots…IN my house. I have a thing about heaters…long story.

clogs rachel comeyBack to the unexplained conversation above, this is me and almost every style client I have ever had. I am a big proponent of dressing up wherever you go, not in a formal or heels–unless heels are your jam. I believe you should look great wherever you go. For the same reason I shower and wear makeup–even in my house. I shower for me and the people around me and the make up, well, at 43…it helps. I think a little bit of vanity is good because when you feel good, you are warmer to everyone around you. Unless you are some kind of competitive jerk, but then you have bigger problems and even then, you are probably nicer out of  some kind of superiority complex, but I digress.

The thing is, the average, generally happy person feels better when they look better. As for being average, every one has something special about them and the way you dress sends a message that you know you’re special. So, whether it’s for your weekly trip to Publix, or to drop your kid off at a music class, or to sit in an uninspiring cubicle (or corner office) somewhere, or even in the back office in your house, adding something special to your look is important. And did I mention easy? 

Scarf with BlazerSure this is Huntsville, but it ain’t rocket science.

A scarf or a necklace or statement earrings change everything. A jacket pulls a look together. Even a T-shirt looks better under a blazer. If you like hats, wear a hat. I personally love hats and winter gives you a great excuse to wear one. Whatever it is you (or we) discover about your style–go with it. It isn’t just for special occasions. It’s for every day, because you deserve to look and feel amazing every day.

And the thing is…those shoes can be slipped on and that scarf and jacket or earrings or statement necklace can be thrown on when you head out the door. I am not advocating vacuuming in heels or typing in giant statement rings, but there’s a time for everything and even a trip to the store is an excuse to look amazing.

4 Ways to Wear Stacked Heel Booties

It’s rare when a truly comfortable shoe wins in the style game.

A stacked heel bootie is an easy way to freshen up your look.  Just stow your favorite tall boots or biker boots (keep them, they’re classics) and try an ankle grazing pair to add a new look to your closet staples. It’s kind of like changing your Instagram filter from Nashville to Mayfair.

 

Belted Coats: An easy winter update

Some things just don’t change. It’s winter. It’s gray. It’s cold. We go to all the trouble to look put together, and it’s disheartening to have to throw a coat over it. Particularly when the coat doesn’t really inspire you. It starts to feel a bit like Groundhog Day without the plummet into actual despair, suicide attempts or the kidnapping of cute little burrowing mammals.

This style rut is easily solved: Cinch it with a belt:  NOT the belt that came with it and NOT so tightly you can’t breathe. Try something that contrasts.  Wear the belt at your natural waist, just tight enough to bring all those layers under control, and voila! it’s a LOOK.

inspiration

main.original.585x0the-belted-coatDSC95671+the+fashion+atelierCozy-Cozy-17-433x650This last look is my absolute favorite because of the addition of the scarf–Just the right touch.