Sunday, February 16, 2014

My first fashion essay

All the smiling, dewy-skinned young women do it, and they get dozens of comments per post and ad sponsorship too. Plus they look like it's so much fun.

I was a child of the '70s, however, when everybody was "natural." After that I was a stay at home mother for years. I don't know who wore more hand-me-downs, my kids or me. So as I start my first fashion essay -- how appropriate that the word also connotes "trying" -- you'll have to be patient: this is a learning experience.

In fairness to myself, though, I should say that I am not completely starting emotionally from square one. When I was about five years old I did have a white fur muff with cherries on it, which I loved. The muff in the photo above is mink, uncherried, "thrift," as the fashion bloggers say. I also had a gold lamé winter coat with white fur around the hem. One Christmas when I was about seven I received a Christian Dior white satin nightgown with a matching blue and white checked robe. The '70s were also "all about" multicolored maxi dresses and three-toned suede platform shoes. Sometimes you added a red poncho. I loved all that, too.

So I sorted through my closet today, looking for "pieces" to put together as I see it done on blogs and in magazines. Anything goes, and look down demurely, seems to be the general rule. Speaking of magazines, my renewed subscription to Bazaar came yesterday, and I am loving those calf-wrapping, goddess-style Stuart Weitzman shoes (p. 165). Of course, to wear them well it helps to be Kate Moss and sit in a chair demurely.

Anyway, as I begin my essay I find that my closet boasts very few really decent pieces. The shoes, above, which I am shy of wearing because they are date shoes but would make me tower over my gentleman friend. The muff. One Dior blazer. Hand me down, years ago, from a woman who felt equal to ditching a Dior. I committed the atrocity of cutting off its buttons and sewing on new, more garish ones. One little black dress. One statement necklace: vintage '50s (I assume) pink, white, and black beads. Thrift.

I have also the few blouses, sweaters, or dress or two from labels and department stores which are perfectly all right except that they fall into the category that Miranda Priestly in The Devil Wears Prada thrusts from her as "tragic sale bin." And I have one buffalo-checked flannel vest. Chaps, not at all tragic.

Can one put these together? Does anything go, really?

The young women fashion bloggers have no qualms about posting endless photos of themselves. "They're modeling," my daughter said, and it's true. They also own tripods for their cameras, or -- if they must resort to a half-length mirror -- probably remember to dust the mirror.

Now I add the buffalo check flannel vest. I am wearing the shoes, so you must imagine them.

By the way that's not all middle-aged arm flab. That's lifting-35-pound-cases-of-wine-six-hours-a-day-for-four-years well, bulk.

Finally, the bag. Again, thrift. Every woman who sees this adores how tiny it is. I am not sure I ever did, but no fashion blogger puts herself together without a bag.

 There. My first fashion essay is complete. I have almost nothing else to work with except my chocolate-brown sweater with the leopard print boat collar and cuffs (thrift), and maybe my great-aunt's vintage shearling black lamb coat. Suggestions welcome.


  1. Looks very well put together, except I would wear the plaid vest with jeans, turtleneck or long-sleeved t-shirt and boots. Love, love, LOVE, those shoes!!


  2. Thanks, I must try to wear the shoes more often!


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