Photoshopped reality

As an insecure teenager growing up in the mid-80s, I was particularly susceptible to fashion magazine covers.

I would spend endless hours pouring over impossibly glamorous photos of supermodels like Naomi Campbell, Cindy Crawford, Christy Turlington and Linda Evangelista.

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There was such a pressure to conform to these ideals of beauty – and yet thankfully, I was only exposed to them when I crossed a magazine stand.

 

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When I consider today’s teenagers, who are bombarded  24/7 with photoshopped, facecrooked, instafiltered imagery – never has there been greater social pressure to look ‘right’ and look ‘sexy’.

 

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With a heartening recent trend by ‘women with clout’ such as Cindy Crawford and Jennifer Lawrence bucking the norm and posting real photos, let’s hope it reaches today’s teens before the plastic hits the fan.  

 

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This ‘untouched’ photo of Cindy Crawford, 48, inspired millions of women when she allowed it to go viral in 2013

 

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This photo sparked outrage in 2013, after Flare magazine revealed it had retouched Jennifer Lawrence’s hips, waist and face to look thinner. (Right: actual, Left: retouched)

 

PS  If you’d like to read more, here’s a longer post from Jezebel on un/touched Victoria’s Secret photos : http://bit.ly/1Tx8LQv

 

What’s next: Pyjamas for the office?

The other day I was walking through the mall and it struck me how much fashion reflects social culture.

Take the excessive, overdone outfits of the 1980s as an example: they were a direct mirror of the consumerism and exorbitant spending of the time.

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And today’s fashion? What especially stands out is the complete lack of structure in garments.

Sheer, flowing, unshaped: in effect – ‘clothing bags’ – they’re expensive snippets of fabric that simply hang off your body.

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It’s the ultimate reflection of the casualness that hallmarks our culture.

Newer, easier, better, faster, cheaper. Let’s face it, we’re not used to making an effort.

Ironing, hand washing, buttons and seams have become too inconvenient for today’s consumer.

So now, not even our clothes have structure.

It will be interesting to see how far down the path of casualness we can go: pyjamas for the office anyone?

 

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Christian Dior’s contribution to the world

I recently had the good fortune to purchase a beautiful pair of black cat eye sunglasses.

 

It was a bit of an ‘aha moment’ for me when I saw the Dior delicately stamped in the silver side arm.

They were so beautifully made and had exactly the 1940s vintage look that I had been searching for: was it really a surprise they were Dior?

Dior liberated the fashion world in the 1940s with his ‘New Look’ that took the world by storm.

It heralded the end of the second world war (and it’s strict fabric rations) with sumptous billowing skirts, waspy waists and soft shoulders.

 

He was the most famous designer of his day and his client list ran from A list Hollywood stars to royalty. Yet Dior was a painfully shy man who could barely bring himself to bow to his audience at the end of each of his couture shows.

He was also known to be absolutely fastidious, to the point that he refused to receive any man who was not wearing a tie. (Imagine how that would be today)

 

 

 

The etiquette of how we dress

The etiquette of how we dress is always a reflection of the times.

In the 1940s, dressing was more formal with hats, heels, suits and gloves – and so too was the culture – and social class system of the time.

In fact the further back you go, the more formal the social classes and the more formal the dress code.

In the renaissance it was extremely formal with all kinds of social etiquette including removing your gloves when in the presence of someone higher up in society than you. Slapping someone with a glove was cause for a duel to the death!

So it follows that as society becomes more and more relaxed – so too have dress codes and there are fewer and fewer occasions that warrant ‘dressing up’.

Personally, I believe that you should always feel comfortable in what it is that you are wearing.

At the same time I do believe in making some effort to express your personality in a more thoughtful way than just throwing on the track pants and t-shirt that happen to be next to your bed.

 

 

 

 

White and how it wangled it’s way into my life

I’ve always had an aversion to white clothing. Or I should really say that it had an aversion to me: it didn’t matter how careful I was, I just couldn’t keep white clean. I liked it well enough, but we just couldn’t seem to get along.

So you can imagine my horror when I fell hard for a beautiful white couch a few months back. It was just one big accident waiting to happen as far as I was concerned. And yet – it was so perfect and so classic – that I just couldn’t pass it up.

For the first couple of weeks it was so beautiful and intimidating that I couldn’t even bear to sit on it. I would simply stare and admire it’s long lines and sheer perfection.

I’m pleased to say that all that has changed, and I feel like Jackie O on a Caribbean cruise when I’m lounging on it. It has just the right mix of glamor, comfort and classic beauty.

And so it was that white wangled it’s way back into my life. This could be the start of a beautiful thing.


40s shoes: the two tone

There’s something about a two-tone shoe that catches my breath.

When I see a fella all schnazzied up in a pair of two-tones I know that this is someone who’s taken that extra bit of time to get dressed.

Myself, I’ve been dressing from the shoes up for many years. I actually pick my shoes out first and then put together the rest of the outfit accordingly.

That’s not to say that I’m always vintaged up, but I do believe that your shoes say more about you than any words that will ever come out of your mouth.

Do you dress for comfort? for outdoor practicality? for fashion? to impress?

What do your shoes say about you?

The fascinator: the name says it all


A fascinator is a lovely and frivolous piece of head wear that is a wonderful alternative to the usual head gear. They may be worn to any kind of formal occasion where hats are traditionally worn, such as a wedding, an evening event or even to the races.

Originally they were a fine lacy covering that was used to the cover the head and made from a fine wool or lace, but nowadays they are often made from feathers, felt, beads and/ or jewels. They usually attach to the side of the head with a clip or a comb and are sure to get attention wherever they are worn.

I had the good fortune of purchasing a beautiful fascinator in Edmonton this weekend at Head Case Hats and I would like to give a shout out to this wonderful hat shop. (www.headcasehats.com). Not only is this shop a true fedora heaven, but they have lovely fascinators and expert and friendly staff.

Here is a photo of the lovely item and I look forward to showing it off in the summer months.

LBD: The Model T of the Fashion World

The Little Black Dress is simply one more testament to the power of black.

It is considered by many an essential item to complete a wardrobe because of it’s sheer versatility and ability to weather     the years.

It’s origins are attributed to Coco Chanel back in the 1920s . You can get an idea of just how revolutionary this development was when you consider that prior to the twenties, black was often reserved for periods of mourning and considered indecent when worn outside such circumstances. At this time widows were expected to wear several stages of mourning dress for at least two years.

The original LBD was published in Vogue in 1926 and it was calf-length, straight and decorated only by a few diagonal lines. It was soon named ‘Chanel’s Ford.’ This was a reference to the fact that like the Model T, the little black dress was simple and accessible for women of all social classes.

Perhaps the most famous black dress of all was Audrey Hepburn’s as Holly Golightly in Breakfast at Tiffany’s = which represented the Chanel ideal in motion. Simple, elegant and timeless.