Wardrobe Essentials … Esteem & Compassion … Saving The Craft


 “Dressing Down Is A Crime Against Humanity” -- Simon Doonan

Could not find inspiration for this one (#25) — Too many ideas, nothing concrete, nothing I was juiced up about — then it happened, kind of suddenly, but not easily. The quote from Simon Doonan made me laugh and want to say something good. Then I came across the compassion article, then saw a post about craftsmanship, possibly dying … and I had myself some interesting tid bits to discuss with you all. Don’t know just how many people read our blog posts, or what people who do read them think of them, but I will keep writing until it no longer makes sense.  ;-) THIS is a slow-fashion journey blog, but it is so much more ... I hope it's fun to read.

The current topics: wardrobe building continued, self-compassion, the survival of craftsmanship. Read on …

Self Esteem is overrated — Self Compassion is where it’s at. It's what I read recently, must say I agree. — “The self-worth that comes from being kind to yourself is much more stable than that which comes from judging yourself positively.” - says Kristin Neff in an article by Olga Khazan, titled ‘Why Self-Compassion Works Better Than Self-Esteem’ — “Boosting your ego won’t make you feel better. Instead, try talking to yourself like you would your best friend.” Khazan interviewed Neff (a psychology professor at the University of Texas) about how self-esteem has failed us — “Though self-esteem continues to reverberate as a pop-psych cure-all, the quest for inflated egos, in her view, is misguided and largely pointless. There’s nothing wrong with being confident … The trouble is how we try to achieve high self-regard. Often, it’s by undermining others or comparing our achievements to those around us. That’s not just unsustainable, Neff argues, it can also lead to narcissism or depressive bouts during hard times.” — Truth. Comparing oneself is often a waste of time and mostly riddled with negativity. “Neff proposes a better path: Self-compassion. In other words, treating yourself just like you would your best friends, even when they (you) screw up.” — writes Khazan   

Can we do this? Yes, of course we can! Self-compassion is so much kinder, and don’t we all want to live in a kinder, gentler world?

There ya have it. What do you guys think? Here’s the whole article — read on and decide for yourself.

Wardrobe Building Continued … Dressing Down Is A Crime Against Humanity” — a quote that rings true to some, but not very many. Those who live by it, I reckon, don’t need much style advice, just some ideas on fabulous finds, most likely. — However, to most of us, whether it’s unfortunate or not, we live in a dress-down world where leggings are pants and other similar style tragedies. (Jeans don’t count, denim is fabulous when you're selective.) So, we’ve got to, kind of, play it where it lies and perhaps try our best to improve upon it, should the spirits of better style move us to do so. *NOTE: Building a wardrobe has much to do about style vs. trends. For a truly fabulous and versatile and self-serving wardrobe you’ve got to favor style instead of trend.

In the last post I wrote that it is infinitely better to stand apart from the heard … but the heard is so big, sometimes overwhelmingly so, and we blend in whether we like it or not. And in our effort to nurture personal style and build a fabulous wardrobe … we must push on, happily and inspired by life and beauty. — Let’s go!

I’m gonna give you a few essentials here — in no particular order. And will continue to give you what I think are essentials in ongoing posts. Remember, I’m here to HELP — feel free to ask questions. Now, if you already have these (the items I'm suggesting, below), either stay tuned, search for some new essential pieces, do nothing, or start editing your wardrobe and ridding it of things you don’t want or need.

These are 3 recommendations to explore — with good details included. I’ll give more in the next post.

A dramatic dress — that will work and wear well for a long time. A style you can likely go from day or evening … something that stands out beautifully, but does not scream too loud. Made in a high quality fabric, and that you can wear almost any season. It should work with a few different types of shoes, like pumps, strappy, boots, etc. Is easy to throw a cover over, like a shawl, blazer, cardigan, coat. It’s a tall order, but this dress delivers. I can recommend other style in future post.

A Good (tailored) pant — in a easy to wear, season-less fabric. A solid color that you can wear different kinds of tops with. One you can dress up and dress down as needed, and of course, it fits you nicely, whether it's fitted or loose. I recommend light weight wool, denim, viscose blends, wool blends. (No poly - it pills, it does not wear well.)

A fitted jacket/blazer — that works with a lot of stuff. Go for quality fabric, the cheap stuff is just not worth it, take it from me, it looks cheap too. A fitted shape is more versatile, believe it or not, it goes with more silhouettes, but if you prefer looser, if it flatters you better, then go for it. It should work with pants, skirts, dresses, (not everything, but a lot of things). Choose color according with what you have in your wardrobe. Start with solid, later you can always add a print or pattern. It should have some structure, but not be too stiff. Light enough to wear a lot, but not flimsy.

As we get nearer to Summer, yay! You will get my list of Summer Essentials, yay!
However, I will keep up these wardrobe building ideas — they’re ongoing, so keep reading.

PS — Here’s just one problem with trends — “If you can’t stand to look at one more off-the-shoulder top… We’ve got three cool alternatives for Summer” — is what I saw recently in another blog. Gotta say, stuff like this kinda makes me cringe … I know we cannot fully get away from trends, but they're unsustainable, costly and mostly foolish. I’ll leave it there … as people ponder what to do with that (off the shoulder or whatever) trendy item now that they're sick of it cause everybody has one and it looks lame. Clue: don't head off to fast-fashion bastions like forever 21, H&M, etc... please. Save your money for something good, that you'll enjoy for longer than a season or year. Good clothes serve you better.

How can traditional craftsmanship survive in the modern world?

I believe, YES! We can collectively save it, if not all, then at the very least half or better, because we can do better …  “Around the world, the beauty and cultural wisdom of age-old craftsmanship is on the verge of extinction. Highly-skilled craftsmen and women have become an endangered species as more young people have chosen other career options. This, and the proliferation of merchandised, globalized production has brought many traditional, craft-based businesses to their knees. Those that remain are often small, family-run enterprises, without the financial resources to attract and develop new talent and without the skills to create sustainable business models. How can traditional craftsmanship survive in the modern world?” Read More.

What's The Answer? TBA — in the next post. For now, please ponder what this could mean and the consequences of dying arts and crafts … perhaps some ideas will come as to how to help.

      Until then — 2-weeks from now — Ciao & Happy Dressing!

PPS> Mercury is FINALLY out of retrograde! It’s been a trying time that has tested our patience and our faith. Here’s to far more fabulous times ahead … peace, harmony, prosperity to us all!

What Are You Wearing?

Fabulous Stefanie at work — in kaj.ani silk blouse & good-ass harem pant. Pant: Made to order. Blouse: one left here.

What’re You Wearing? + Last Minute Gifts And Other Holiday Stuff…

Ava Gardner - At the 1960 Academy Awards. - Getty Images

Ava Gardner - At the 1960 Academy Awards. - Getty Images


                  Sparkle & Shine — What About Gift-Cards? — Wear-Give-Get — Deck The Halls!
My head is all in a scramble…too much going on and I’m a bit overwhelmed by the current to do list...I’ve yet to gift-shop and I have to schedule a photo shoot for the now completed capsule collection, (sneak-peeks will follow). But I really want to give you something useful and fun in this post, not to mention a bit of inspiration… So, let’s go!

We could ALL use a bit sparkle now — Am I right? Be it subtle or not so, whatever floats your inner shine boat ;-) What have you been wearing lately and what do you want...to wear, that is? Are you into the, newly named, cocktail-boot? (See 90’s timberland-style chunky work-boots that are now de rigueur w/fancy frocks) — Can you dig it? Are you into all the quirky, funky, nerdy embellishment looks a la Gucci or Dolce & Gabbana? Or are you a ‘less is more’ kind of gal, that only requires just a little something-something?  Maybe just some bolder color choices. (Let me know your comments below!) I honestly like it all — there’s a time and place for all of it to work fabulously. Lately though, I’ve fallen into a bit of a fashion doll-drum. I’ve neglected my style, wearing pretty much jeans with sweaters almost all the time, or when going out, I just throw on a dress with boots and a cardigan or jacket. Cute & easy, but getting boring. (Its like my other clothes don’t exist and I can’t be bothered with putting ‘looks’ together.) Which is why I need some oomph back into putting myself together. How about you folks? Is wearing a tiara going too far? You tell me. Maybe a sparkly brooch - brooches clustered together - multi strands of bold necklaces - something with beading or sequins, vibrant silk items, along with some unexpected re-arranging of standard ensembles…Voila! - Fabulous for the season.

Here, some ideas and suggestions on adding a bit of oomph to your look. I know they're dresses, but it's insta-glam with just one piece. (Feel free to wear separates instead.) Some are archive, some one of a kind, some made to order — but all of them will serve you long and well no matter when you buy and wear them. A little beading — A bit of sparkle — Go explore...there's much more in store...and tell us what you found.
Note: don’t be afraid to wear cotton in fall-winter, those rules are over and done with, especially if you live in a warmer climate. If these singular one of a kind pieces fit you, grab them! They are truly a bargain. Also, I know “Ugly Christmas Sweaters” are trending…but seriously…no.


Incentive: 10% OFF shop-wide. Use Code: THANKYOU10 - Good for both our shops*

GIVE LOVE + these: I didn’t mention this in the Holiday Commerce blog, but I am a fan of gift-cards, good ones. Some say they lack imagination, are boring, impersonal, etc…They can be all that, but if you select them consciously and specifically, they make great, practical, useful gifts for certain people — Perfect last minute gifts too — May I suggest Etsy gift cards: etsy.com/giftcards. There’s so much great stuff to see and buy, really, something for almost anyone. Heck, I have two Etsy shops, (Bridal & Spectator  & SpeakeasyBoutique) and I’d love to get an Etsy gift card, as well as give them. (Shameless, I know) My point, if the gift-card fits, give it.

We already covered artisanal food-gifts in the last blog, (THE HOLIDAYS & ARTFUL COMMERCE) and they make great last minute gifts. So let’s talk about baubles and trinkets a little more. Things like Vintage brooches, handmade pins — are fast-easy-fabulous, as a gift and for yourself, they add a perfect touch of sparkle to your ensemble. — Cluster a few together for a creative ‘more is more’ look. I also love other vintage baubles, like earrings (easy), necklaces, and rings (a bit trickier maybe because of sizing). And let’s not forget Scarfs! I know I mentioned them in the last blog, but they’re great gifts and people love to have a variety of them. (Check out my niece in one of our fab liberty scarfs, below, she’s already a serious style-maven.)

IDEAS: Scour Etsy for some fabulous trinkets*

When it comes to shopping, we small biz artisans and makers cannot very well compete with the big retailers.  It’s not possible, so why even try?  Instead, what we offer is something uniquely different, handmade, labored over with love, specially curated, not factory-farmed and that we hope the big guys won’t knock-off too fast. We collectively hope (fingers crossed) you will enjoy our products, support our work, and feel good about it! Even a little conscious commerce can go a long way. Shopping small has a big ripple effect…

My stylish niece & her fab liberty scarf.

My stylish niece & her fab liberty scarf.


Please remember to GIVE BACK to your fave organizations, soup kitchens, etc.  I Love:

…these guys fight the good fight every day.


On the Cutting Table @the Atelier — A fabulous, festive, sexy, vibrant ‘Holiday’ dress for a fave customer to wear on NYE and beyond… Silk Keyhole-Dress w/Beaded Obi — customized to order.


PS - Check out the previous Holiday blog-post & stay tuned for the next one! Share, Subscribe + Check our FB page for the latest.