Friday, April 29, 2011

I Crown Thee, Fashionista of Cambridge

I will admit, though I am married to a Brit, I didn't have many feelings about the Royal Wedding one way or another.  That is, not up until a few days ago.  I don't know what or when it happened, but all of a sudden like many other people, I was struck with Royal Wedding fever.  (This mostly had to do with the fact that Kate was keeping a secret from all of us who designed her dress and just what that dress would look like.)  I could not wait to see what she looked like.  She has such a great sense of fashion, I can really see her becoming quite an icon.

There had been talk about the possibility of a more edgy, avant-garde dress to compete with the awesome detailing of the abbey itself.  Also, there was talk of sleek, modern sophistication.  Designers such as Sarah Burton for Alexander McQueen, Bruce Oldfield, and Alice Temperly.  At one point Marchesa was mentioned, which I was actually secretly rooting for.  Their designs are so whimsical and romantic I had thoughts of the ethereal confection they might design for her.

By the time she stepped out of the car at Westminster Abbey, I could hardly contain my excitement.

Because I was anticipating... well... I'm not sure what I was anticipating to be perfectly honest.  But, because there was such a build up, I don't mind saying my instant reaction was something along the lines of, "That's IT?"  Immediately following that rather silly reaction, however, I am proud to say that my inner fashionista (and common sense) prevailed.  This was a gorgeous dress!  

The more I looked at it, the more I fell in love.  It was actually breath-taking.  And Kate looked like absolutely everything a princess should be.


This dress, unlike the very 1980s meringue of a gown that Princess Diana wore, will stand the test of time.  It is quite simply classic.  It has also been said to be very reminiscent of the dress that Grace Kelly wore to her wedding in 1956.

In the silk gazar with English and French lace and handmade lace appliques on the bodice and skirt, this dress is both modern and vintage in feeling and carries with it a sexy sophistication that I believe Kate is becoming known for.  This dress will still be in fashion 30 years from now.

And with that kiss, I can already see the rush of hundreds of brides around the world, back to the dress shop to exchange their strapless gowns for gowns with sleeves and lots of lace.

Princess Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, hurry back from your honeymoon, because there is an entire world of women waiting to see what you wear next, from now on.  Today was born not only a new Royal, but also a new fashion icon.  No pressure there, Kate.

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Don't Be a Fascinhater

I've loved fascinators since long before I'd heard the name Kate Middleton.  There.  I said it.

But you can be sure that once she becomes Princess, fascinators will be everywhere, making it even easier to get ahold of them.  Now, for those of you who may not know what a fascinator is, please allow me to educate you.  Taken from Wikipedia:  "A fascinator is a headpiece, a style of millinery. The word originally referred to a fine, lacy head covering akin to a shawl and made from wool or lace. The term had fallen almost into disuse by the 1970s.  In the early 21st century, the term has made a comeback, but the meaning has slightly changed; it is now used to describe a delicate, slightly-to-very frivolous head decoration worn almost exclusively by women."  In simple terms, a fascinator is a tiny hat, sometimes with feathers, flowers, and/or a small veil.  Many brides are opting to wear them instead of a traditional veil, as they are considered to be a more edgy fashion choice.

In recent months Kate Middleton, as a result of the anticipation of the Royal Wedding, has begun to popularize and mainstream the fashion accessory.

They're such a fun, whimsical accessory, but they're also quite chic, in my opinion.  Wear them with more dressed-up outfits, or make a boring pair of jeans and white t-shirt, a fun weekend look by sporting one of these accoutrements.  They come in all sorts of shapes, looks, and colors and should be worn to the front of your head, near your face, and off to the side, rather than right on the top of your head.  You can even design your own fascinator if you're the crafty kind!  So, don't be a fascinhater, give this trend a try.  You won't be sorry you did!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Women We Love

I realize that the last several (read as: most) of my blogs have been decidedly... girly.  BUT, hopefully this blog will (kind of?) remedy that.  Why, you ask?  Because in this blog, I would like to share with you all a few of the women I am currently obsessed with.  Fashion-wise, mostly, but the men won't even notice that because these women are so pretty as well.  So, shall we get started?  Right...

First up, Jean Shrimpton.  Can we say, OBSESSED?  This woman is fabulous and oh-so '60s!  You can possibly expect a blog dedicated completely to her and different shots from around the '60s in particular.  She and David Bailey basically invented the way we view magazines today.  They shot casual poses on street corners, doing ordinary things, in order to show off the fashion.  This trend is still largely followed today.  She's simply fabulous and I adore her.

More modernly, Sienna Miller, whom I've just recently found out is around my same age.  I really think we should be new best-friends, but maybe that's just me.  No?  (Sienna, call me.)  I think I'm most probably obsessed with her because I just adore her bohemian and retro-inspired fashion sense.  I mean, modern fashions just do not look right on her.  She knows the style that works for her and she's on point, almost all the time, in my opinion.  She would have fit right in, in the '60s.

Last, but not least, Emily Blunt.  Just because she's fabulous!  No other explanation necessary.

New Life, New Decor

As I sit here in my 1950s-inspired dress and blue velvet mary-janes, it almost pains me to say the next sentence.  But... I have recently become obsessed with the idea of re-doing our bedroom.  (*shudders*  How domestic of me was that?  Is this what getting married has come to?)  In all seriousness though, I have always been interested in interior design.  Now that I'm married, I'd really like to get rid of the furniture I've grown up with, and get something that says "adult" and "ours" rather than "mine."

We've actually already begun, getting rid of the curtains, lamps and bedding I already had, etc.  I was really happy to see how open my husband was to a less conventional color scheme: orange and blue.  We found this gorgeous bedspread in a light teal blue-color.  That was the inspiration.  Before that I was thinking more of a damask theme in black and white because of a painting my aunt did that she gave us.  Anyway, once we had the bedspread I knew I needed a pop of color.  I also knew that color pretty much had to be orange.  (Yes, orange.)  Hubby was on board.  Turns out, finding orange curtains is not as easy as you would think it would be.  (Thank God for Ikea.)

The funny thing is, I started looking around online and the orange/blue color scheme is apparently everywhere.  I'm loving it.  Thought I'd share some inspiration with you.

Now all we have left to get are some throw pillows, a couple of new picture frames, (...possibly that collection of psychedelic photos of The Beatles as shown above...) a rug, and new furniture.  Easy!

David Bailey Encapsulates 1960s' "Cool"

So, let's talk about my new and current obsession, English photographer David Bailey.  I saw this documentary about him on television a while back and have been obsessing over him and his work and meaning to do a blog about it ever since, but haven't gotten around to it.  (Yes, I'm falling down on blog-duty.)  But I'm here now and it's 1960s-"hipness"-in-all-its-glory time...

Pretty much anyone who has ever been anyone has been photographed by David Bailey.  In the '60s particularly, he photographed all the biggest names.  And he did it with style.  While, what it is about that style exactly that makes it so amazing, is oftentimes difficult to pinpoint, there is no mistaking a David Bailey photograph when you see it.  It just oozes "cool."  It just oozes "fashion."  Which is probably why Vogue hired him in 1960 as a fashion photographer.  Bailey continues to photograph the beautiful and well-known and has even ventured out of the world of photography to explore other mediums of art such as writing, directing, and producing.  Still, his heyday was definitely when being cool was effortless.  Even if you weren't around at the time, you can look at any of the subjects in his photos and just know what the swingin' '60s were all about.

John Lennon and Paul McCartney

Michael Caine

Andy Warhol

The Rolling Stones

Jean Shrimpton

Mick Jagger

Jane Birkin and John Barry

Yoko Ono and John Lennon

Spring Into Fashion!

So, this has been the winter from hell.  Some of the coldest weather this country has seen, across the country, in a long time.  Not to mention people I know the world over have been sick not once, but multiple times this winter.  So, I say, enough!  Come on, Spring!  I know you're out there somewhere.  I'm looking forward to the days of flowery dresses and open-toed shoes.  So, let's look ahead to happier times to come, shall we?

First of all, I'm completely obsessed with the idea of bell-bottom jeans.  I love the skinny jean look, but it's everywhere these days.  Time for something new.  I haven't bought a pair yet, but I'm going to.  If only I still had mine from high school.  No, I wasn't even alive the first time around, but I have always been fashionable.

Above are similar to what I have in mind, only minus the "worn" patches and holes.  That's one look I've never been able to get into.  These will look great with a high pair of wedges and a sheer or lace top.  Or even with a pair of chunky heels and a classic button-down.

Also, speaking of lace... I love it.  Seriously, I can't get enough.  It can be so dressy, or it can be totally hippie and laid back.  Look at this dress for instance.

You could wear a couple sparkly bracelets, and a big pair of sparkly dangling earrings (with your hair pulled back, of course) with this, throw on a pair of killer high heels and you are elegance personified.  Or you could totally mix it up and throw on a pair of ratty cowboy boots and a big floppy hat and you are hippie chic.

Last (for now), but certainly not least, are stripes.  It doesn't matter if it's a top or a dress, it's nautical and somehow french, and fabulous.  Go ahead and play the look up with red heels and a little hat.

Peacock-Themed Wedding Part II

Our wedding day was a beautiful day.  We really lucked out.  It was a small ceremony in downtown.  We couldn't have asked for a more gorgeous and yet, economical setting.  It cost absolutely nothing to have our small wedding in a public park.

As I've mentioned before, we're huge music fans.  Also, we decided against the traditional wedding photos, so instead, we opted to have our photo made on the river that runs through downtown, with the Stevie Ray Vaughan statue.  I wore blue velvet mary janes.

I carried irises mixed with wildflowers and a few peacock feathers as accents.  We wrapped the base win blue and purple ribbons, fastening it hot glue.  To keep the bouquet looking like a bunch of wildflowers, we left the stems showing at the bottom.

My niece was my "flower girl."  My mother carried her down the aisle.  My grandmother made her dress following a pattern we found at JoAnn's fabrics.  We found a matching colored headband and, using a sparkly gem, a peacock feather, and an accent feather, fashioned this headband to go with her dress.  Of course, she couldn't throw petals, so before the ceremony, we simply pre-laid the blue and purple flower petals we had purchased from Michael's, out in the path I would walk down.

Her dress was made of purple and blue satin taffeta, with a blue tulle petticoat liner.

To keep things simple, we had a white cake with simple white icing, topped with the wedding cake topper I made.

The same family member who made the wedding cake, also made my husband's groom's cake, which was a simple union jack flag, done in red velvet cake.

After a long day and party...  You can see the hairpiece I made here out of a bunch of feathers I had purchased at Hobby Lobby.  I simply glued the bases of the feathers together and wrapped the base with a blue ribbon.  I glued the final product to a hair clip I already had.

Wedding Crafts for a Peacock-Themed Wedding

Hello people!  Since we last spoke, I have been married.  So, to get back to business here, I thought it might be nice to show you some of my wedding crafts.  Our wedding was very, very small and on a very limited budget, so it was a very DIY wedding.  Not, mind you, that I am a very DIY bride, but if I'm being honest, I don't think I did half a bad job!

First, was the guest book.  Now, there are inexpensive guest books.  But, if you want a custom guest book, with your wedding colors and any sort of decoration at all, it's going to cost you!  These things can go for up to (and probably beyond) $50!  Mine was decidedly less than that and all I needed was some ribbon, a peacock feather, and a hot glue gun.

Next, were the boutonnieres.  The color inspiration for the wedding was based on peacock feathers, so of course we used them in the "decor."  You can find these for fairly inexpensive, but if you have the time, I would recommend making them yourself.  Now, I'm not a naturally crafty person, so I will admit I was a bit intimidated by this, but it wasn't as difficult as I expected and I think they turned out quite well.

Because most of their clothing was purple, I opted to wrap the bottoms of the feathers in blue ribbon.  And, to keep things as natural and simple as possible, the only bit of decoration we used in addition to the feather were some gold berries to match the main color in the feather.  My hubby wanted four berries to make clear that he was the groom, and everyone else got three.

Next was the cake topper.  These can be ridiculously expensive, so I definitely wanted to make ours ourselves.  Especially since we had a family member make the cakes.  Now, to serve as an example of why I married him, my husband helped me create this topper.  He found the base and the florists' foam to fit the shape perfectly.  It was also his idea to cover the foam in blue tulle so you couldn't see it.  The bunch of flowers we bought from Hobby Lobby fit perfectly.  I just cut the stem and leafs off the bunch of flowers and stuck them in the foam.  Then I used a bunch of blue-green feathers to act as more stylish "leafs."  More of the gold berries helped to decorate the piece and two peacock feathers and a blue ribbon woven through the base finished this piece off.  Now, I thought when it was finished that it might be too big as a topper, but for a three-tiered cake, it fit just right.

The last piece I'll show you here were the centerpieces for the tables.  Hubby and I are huge Beatles fans, so it only made sense to incorporate them somewhere.  For this, I simply printed out sheet music of several Beatles songs that had to do with love, pasted them to a thick piece of cardstock in our wedding colors, and pasted a peacock feather along the side of the sheet.  We used picture frame easels to rest the sheet music on

We also made my veil, my grandmother made my niece's dress, and I made her headband to match.  I also made a feather headpiece, which I wore at the reception.  I'll try and post a few pictures from the wedding a little later so you can get an idea of how some of these pieces looked.  Also, I'm considering making some of these things to sell.  I don't have an Etsy shop at the moment, but I would consider opening one if there is enough interest.  Let me know if anyone would be interested.

Weir and Oscars and Babies, Oh My!

I don't really know who Johnny Weir is, other than I've heard his name and the words "ice skating" mentioned before... God knows where.   

I'm talking about last night's episode of The Rachel Zoe Project.  Rachel, in the midst of Oscar madness, took on Weir as a new client.  I'm thinking, based on what I've seen, that he must be something of a Lady Gaga on ice?  I can't help but think that he only wanted to become Rachel's client in order to become her friend.  And who could blame him?  He seems like he's into fashion, almost in the obsessive way she is.

Brad, Rachel's assistant, Rachel Zoe, and Johnny Weir

 I'm not liking the direction this season is going though.  Last season, editing really played up the whole Taylor nonsense, emphasizing how unhappy she was and how miserable she was making everyone else.  Then what happened this season?  She got sacked!  (To borrow a word from my fiance.)  This season, the editing team seems to be playing up the unhappiness between Rachel and her husband, Rodger, his desire for a baby, and her being unsure as to what she wants.

Well, I'll say it right now.  She does not have time for a child.  That, to me, is obvious.  If this show is representative, at all, of how life actually is for her, she doesn't even really have time for a husband!  I will admit (and yes, I'm revealing to the world (or, all three of you who read this) that I am one of those people who thinks she knows the people from the reality shows she watches) that I'll be really sad if their marriage doesn't work out though, because Rodger really does seem to love her.

Rachel and her husband, Rodger.

 I won't even comment on her weight.  She doesn't have time for a baby or even a husband, much less time to eat!  I don't believe she has an eating disorder.  I know people like her.  I think she's very high-strung and stresses out easily and there's no room in your stomach when it's full of knots.

The Rachel Zoe Project airs on Bravo on Tuesday nights at 9/c.

Wearable Art

I am a huge fan of art.  I'm not a great artist myself, so I just admire instead.

There are many different forms of art.  The obvious ones (and the ones I'm not great at) come to mind first: painting, drawing, sculpting.  Then there are acting, singing, playing an instrument, dancing, creative writing, fashion, and many more...  (Yes, I included fashion in there.)  I have always found the idea that if you're interested in fashion, you obviously have no brain, completely annoying.  Fashion, besides being an avenue of self expression, is in my opinion, a very important form of art.  It's wearable art.  Art we can see and appreciate every single day.

Throughout history, fashion has told us what was happening in the world at that time.  Whether it was the very romantic and extravagant style of Marie Antoinette, the prim and proper, totally covered style of the Victorian era, the ankle and arm-baring, fringe-covered style of the roaring twenties, the dark and serious fashions of the '40s, or the peace and love era clothing of the 1960s and '70s, fashion has always told us a story.

Today we see lots of military-inspired looks, which echo the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, like these from Burberry:

This Fall, fashion has also gone very retro.  This can be attributed to simple things like a resurgence in popularity of music from days gone by.  The Beatles Rockband and the release of remastered albums has a hand in this.  It can also be attributed to the popularity of shows like the show Mad Men.  Seen here is Prada:

 And Louis Vuitton:

 And as always, romance is big again this season.  Hey, romance is always in fashion, right?

Oscar De La Renta

Elie Saab


But of course, all of the above are just what a few designers (artists) envisioned for this season.  The great thing about fashion is that it's left up to each individual to decide how they want to represent themselves.  You don't have to have a lot of money to have a great sense of fashion, or to express yourself.  What will your Fall wardrobe say about you?