Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Unexpected Hospitalization

 ...of my sewing machine! I've been working on "jeans number two", a pair of boot cuts in black stretch denim with contrast topstitching in medium taupe. Now, when sewing for yourself you go along aways, stopping now and then to pin baste the remaining seams and try on your article for fit. All of you who sew will be familiar with this process. There are so many variables affecting the final fit of a garment, and as home sewers we are usually making unique pieces so we can't rely overmuch on past experience. It makes sense, and avoids much heartache, to have fitting sessions at a few points along the way. Couture houses and custom tailors use the same process in making garments for their customers.

Often the process of adjusting fit continues after the garment is 'finished'. The jeans you see in this post are the first pair i made. I completed them and wore them two or three times when i decided to pin up some excess along the inseam and see how they looked.  I ended up taking off about 2 inches out of the circumference of each leg for a sleeker fit. This collage shows the original fit of the jeans, the outdoor pics show them after 'slimming'.

Getting back to 'jeans number two'. I finished the front pockets and fly, the back pockets and yoke, then pin basted the legs and took a look in the mirror. Hey now! There's a look! I spent a few minutes turning this way and that, admiring those long, lean-looin' legs - oh yeah. (It's true, this behaviour is not strictly limited to the teenage set.) I scampered right back to the sewing area, highly motivated to flame on through the rest of the process, when my machine froze. Fortunately i didn't have to create a huge hole right in the crotch to remove the needle from my jeans, but further progress came to a standstill.

Fortunately The Cotton Patch is just down the road in Lafayette. They're a Bernina dealer, can do a service on my machine in 2 1/2 weeks - and they provide a loaner in the meantime! I had reconciled myself to a machine-less period of weeks at least (and no new jeans). You can imagine how thrilled i was to find the offer of a replacement while my old faithful was at the spa!!

 The loaner is settled nicely in my sewing spot, and my faithful friend awaits her cleaning, oiling, and lubricating at the shop. Really, after a quarter century of consistent performance it'd be awfully cold-hearted to begrudge her a vacation. Meanwhile, i'm off to the service for Aunt's companion. After a week of scarily dense fog the day has dawned brilliant and beautiful in their honor. I hope your days go beautifully as well!

Saturday, November 26, 2011


 I just loved this outfit and got a real kick out of wearing it! This is the first time i've worn this top tucked in. I was worried that it wouldn't come off, but it worked okay. And there wasn't so much extra fabric from the peplum that i had to pull off some weird clothing-judo in order to cope.

I love re-mixing, as you well know. Nothing thrills me more than busting up an outfit, though to be honest i don't buy clothing as outfits, don't make items with an eye to creating outfits, and have not repeated an outfit since sometime in 1983. Really!  I don't know how i got into this habit of NEVER repeating the same configuration of clothing. Maybe it was an attempt to make my tiny wardrobe seem more varied. Maybe it had something to do with reading this Ellen Wallace piece on French style secrets, published in Cosmopolitan in 1982. (Kudos to the brilliant Dead Fleurette for digging it up and making it available on the internet!)

But recently i've been feeling drawn towards repeating once more. I definitely had my favorite 'outfits' when i was a girl and in college - i can remember many of them to this day. I loved feeling that what i wore was flattering, stylish, comfortable, 'just right'. These 'just right' outfits often grew from 'just right' articles of clothing. As i've managed to get my hands on some 'just right' pieces once again, i suppose it's not surprising that i'm feeling the lure of repeating 'just right' outfits again as well.

This longing, of course, goes straight against the grain of the style blogging world. I have to admit, the more time i spend style blogging the less i'm attracted to some of the blogging world's main tenants. I want to repeat outfits that make me look great and that i love. I don't want to wear a belt as a necklace. I don't want to wear dresses as skirts and hold it all together with a belt. I want my clothing to fit as well as it can, with no fussing. I don't want to 'stretch my style boundaries' just to stretch them -  i want to look as great as i can as much of the time as i can. In my view, experimentation is only called for when i have no idea what i can wear that will look great.

One incident brings this home to me. A little over a year ago, a certain style blogger decided that she wanted to wear a particular item of clothing. This piece represented many things to her - edginess, rocker-style, out-there-ness, extravagance, boldness. It was also very trendy at that time. Let's say it was a purple ostrich skin moto jacket. It took time to find just 'the one', to develop an outfit that she felt was 'her' around the jacket, money was spent in abundance, etc. This blogger wore the item proudly on her blog, talking about how edgy she felt in it and how much it was completely outside of her 'style boundaries'.  The blogger looked fine in the piece - not great, or outlandish. Just fine. The blogger may have felt edgy and outrageous, but it didn't seem to come across in the photos. And i've never seen that item again.

I am aware that an argument can be made that this was a learning experience, well worth the time and effort, that has affected this person's style in many ways. And it can be considered rude to make these types of observations about what another person chooses to wear.

But i wonder. What if the same energy had been put towards finding a great, edgy, rocker look for that particular person? If the focus had been in finding what items, colors, shapes, details, proportions worked to give this person an edgy, outrageous look instead of focusing on a certain trendy item of clothing? If the focus was on this person instead of on a certain piece of clothing? The ironic thing, to me, is that this style blogger had previously shown herself in some outfits that looked very edgy and very her.

But they weren't trendy or outrageous, and relied very heavily on certain elements that she had decided she wanted to avoid. I am in no way knocking this person. Like many style bloggers, this person has fairly recently become interested in clothes and fashion - making up for lost time is completely understandable! And wearing a wide variety of colors, shapes, styles, can give you a feeling of really participating in their own unique style, and is a tried and true way to hone in on what you really love. Yet, the more i blog the more i finding i'd rather wear the same clothes and look and feel great!

The fashion chameleon, with boxes of clothes in the attic whose contents she has memorized, is a true style type. But so is "The French Girl". It's interesting to me that through participating in style blogging, a world ruled by the chameleon, i've come back to my roots, in love with the small, gorgeous, flattering closet.

Do any of you find yourselves at odds with some of the main "Holy Commandments" of style blogging? Which are they? How much does it get in the way of your enjoyment of reading or writing a blog? Any great 'French Girl" blogs you can turn us on to?

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Kismet! Or Is It?

My favorite is when you're rushing around in the morning, your entire goal to just not be naked. You've no style or fashion concerns on your mind whatever. Without your knowledge, the outfit fairy twanks her magic twanger  BOOM   You look down and you're wearing a great new look! Of course, i've spent enough time and effort obsessing about style in general, and my own wardrobe in particular, to realize it's nothing to do with kismet. It is everything to do with planning planning planning.

But it sure feels magical when it happens! How paradoxical is it that achieving effortlessness does indeed require a commitment to a significant amount of effort? This ensemble goes to another topic that's been on my mind quite a bit recently, especially since I won two books by Kendall Farr in a You Look Fab contest. The package arrived about 3-4 weeks ago and i have been reading both books every single day since. Ms. Farr is full of incredibly useful ideas and inspiration, and her writing style and wit make taking it all in a breeze. From my ego's standpoint, it doesn't hurt that she espouses many ideas which i've also found to be integral to personal style.

One of these concepts is the importance of dressing to flatter your individual physical person. Staying true to this principle has a many positive effects. For one, you'll always look great! More to the point to this look, you will severely limit the colors and shapes in your wardrobe. I'll admit that many many fashionable people will be aghast at my last sentence - we want options, variety, up to date, new new new! But there are those among us who feel overwhelmed by the vast variety of offerings available, and who will be happy to have an easy way to cut through the fluff and get straight to the good stuff. Even better, choosing only items that flatter your person naturally creates an individual color and shape palette wherein the great bulk of clothing works together effortlessly. How does this come about?

Let's take color as an example. Three characteristics determine whether or not colors 'go' or can combine pleasingly to the eye. These are temperature (warm vs. cool), saturation, and similarity of tint-shade-tone.*** Warm colors 'go' with warm and cool with cool. Colors with a similar degree of saturation (strong or weak colors) 'go' together. And colors with a similar degree of tint, tone, OR shade go together. In the jacket and blouse i'm wearing here, all of the colors are warm, they are all fairly saturated, and they are all tones (overwashed with grey).  True pastels all go together because they are all cool to neutral, are very lightly saturated or 'weak', and are all tints (the base color is heavily diluted with white). Follow the embedded links for definitions and examples of these terms, or search the web for more information. If you take the time to train your eye to recognize these color characteristics, finding and combining your colors will suddenly make complete sense.

As it happens, temperature, saturation, and tint-tone-shade also determine which colors look most flattering on you.  Therefore, sticking to your best colors will result in a closet which mixes very well. The same principle goes for shapes. Adhering slavishly to these principles allowed me to toss on two items bought six years apart, from different stores and different designers, and look put together and even current.

It's easy to take a look at this approach to wardrobe building and wonder, "Where's the room for ME?!?!?" It sounds terrifically restrictive - but it's not. Subtle variations of shape and silhouette, details, pattern, echoes of various times and places all offer tremendous opportunity for expression as well as contributing so much to your personal style. It took me about five minutes to find these variations on a theme. Each of these coats has a defined waist and shoulder, a collar, and is a strong, neutral-to-cool red.

Even with these narrow guidelines i could find coats ranging from simple and clean-lined, through military-style, to ruffles and bows, and one straight-out bombshell trench. I hope this demonstrates that even within some pretty strict guidelines a vast amount of individual expression is possible.

Eight Red Coats

Do any of you have strict, 'do or die' guidelines you follow when choosing new items for your wardrobe? Or do you take a more inclusive, spontaneous approach to filling your closet?

*** temperature: warm colors tend to have yellow or red undertones, cool colors tend to have blue or green undertones. At the same time there are cool yellows and warm blues (turquoise is a warm blue)

saturation: the amount or strength of the 'color' or hue in a color. the red coats are all very saturated, there is a ton of 'red' in the color. My sandals are at the 'weak' end of the saturation spectrum - are they oyster, or bone, or cream, or......? The 'color' is just not saturated enough to really tell!

tints, tones, shades: these are all 'pure' hues or colors with something added.  tints are color with white added, shades are pure hues with black added, tones are color with grey added. This illustration is very helpful.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Buckle That Swash!

 Love this look, love my fairy godmother who picked out this blouse, love this coat, love my amazing husband who found this coat for that i have a blog and readers with whom i can share the love!

Love my mom who taught me proper grammar, love me dad who schooled me in the art of the pun.......sadly, mr. eccentric's aunty lost her own love just a few days ago. They were together thirty years, and lived life more fully than anyone i have ever known. It's a blessing to have no regrets, and one blessing that we can give to ourselves. But i don't know that it lessens the shock or the pain.

I also don't know how much i'll be 'on the blog' this coming week. Until i'm back, show a little wisdom and do what you can to follow aunty's example.

I'll be doing my best to follow her example too. Now let's all get out there and spread the love!

Monday, November 14, 2011

Jeans and White Blouses......

to the tune of "Knights In White Satin"

Your blogger is on a jeans kick, no holds barred. Jeans are so so so very easy to wear in the Gal On The Go lifestyle led by so many of us; denim mixes with all colors and textures; denim plays well with clothing high and low, casual and dressy; and in winter they keep your legs warm and battle the wind.  Of course, all of this is a mute point if you can't find jeans that fit, or a pair that looks sleek and un-adorned. Which made jeans a mute point for this blogger until i knuckled down and got into the 'Durn It! I'm Making My Own Jeans!" project.

When a whole new ocean of looks opens up for me, i like to jump in and splash around for a while. (Translation: expect a lot of jeans-related posts in the near future.) Turning to this look in particular, for some reason it made me feel quite 'polished' when i put it on. Looking at the pictures i can't say i see it, but the feeling was strong at the time. As you know, i am and have been a Rough Around The Edges gal since i was a wee tomboy. I've spent untold time, money, mental and emotional energy in my quest for the perfect RATE effect.

Thus, feeling polished and liking it was a new experience. It was almost startling, as this was not anything i'd been planning for or trying to achieve. What fun to have my version of 'polished' pop up so unexpectedly and feel so right!

What i AM constantly trying to do is spread my wings, both personally and stylistically. It just goes to show that if you set your mind to something and stick with it, eventually you'll get results. They may not be exactly what you expected, but come they will.

Have any of  you had any of these type of unexpected abilities show up on your style journey?  Or has your journey unfolded more as you expected?

Jeans: McCalls' 5894 Palmer & Pletsch 'The Perfect Jean'
Blouse: Converse One Star at Target
Scarf: gift, from KPFA Crafts Fair
Pearls: own design
Belt: DKNY, thrifted
Jacket: Ralph Lauren (i think it's just getting old enough to be vintage this month!)
Boots: Dansko

Thursday, November 10, 2011


 It's not often that you run across something, anything, perfect. As you realize, i am in no ways a perfectionist and happen to appreciate the rugged edges, the unexpected, the unfinished in our world. Life is neither perfect nor fair, which accounts for both sadness and beauty in life. In style and clothing (ostensibly this blog's focus) i adore the unexpected, the worn, the "not quite right but somehow it works". In fact, 'perfection' in style often turns me off - it can so easily become too precious, overly fussy, expected, matchy-matchy.

But oh the incredible moments when perfection is done right. When it actually IS perfect. I innocently walked into perfection at BiBa on Halloween. The boutique participated in Pacific Grove's Friday Night Art Walk by showcasing pieces from Anatomica. Anatomica is a collections of women's clothing as wearable art. Artist and printmanker Tobin Keller collaborates with artist/clothing designer Barbara Bartels in the production of these objects - each one made to order and custom designed and created for a specific woman. Every dress is created as the result of a commission and is intended for wear by one unique woman. The pattern is created for her particular measurements and 'considered as an artistic expression of the wearer - individuality will persist.' (quote taken from Anatomica publicity material kindly supplied by Mona Kelly).

While there is a definite cohersion of line, graphic quality, and materials in these garments, the range of color and value contrast is stunning. All of the garments i saw consisted of a silk charmeuse or crepe 'core' with overlays of chiffon. Additionally, the dyes are overlaid one upon another, as well as the various screen prints. The jubilant, exuberant use of overlapping prints (all done by hand) is especially joyous in the piece above. The marvelous thing is that this layer upon layering of images is just as 'deep' in the more subtle pieces - they draw you in to try to spy the shadows of pods, leaves, cross sections hidden in the folds of fabric.

I neglected to get certain pictures ( i was so overwhelmed!) and for that i apologize. Each of these dresses had a feature i'll try to convey to you now. On the 'core' pieces of the dress is printed, in shadow grey with fuzzy edges, a head and shoulders silhouette of the artist himself. You can only 'find' it by holding the layers against one another and holding the whole garment up against the light. It's difficult to imagine anything more delightful than a dress which leads you on a treasure hunt to find it's subtle charms; and how very different from the many 'over the top', put-it-all-out-there creations of today. Mr. Keller and Ms. Bartels truly grasp the mystery of dressing and seduction.

The overall silhouette of these designs is fairly simple, flowing and unfussy, allowing the whims of the fabric drape, the color, and the design to shine.  The detail and quality of this printing is exquisite. The screen printed patterns on these garments really draw you in - the colors and shapes are so intriguing and striking from a distance, but you can't quite make out what they are depicting. Upon closer inspection you discern that some of these patterns are taken from botanical illustrations, though many retain their mystery no matter how close you get.

This luxury carries over into the construction. Anatomica garments are sewn by a high end lingerie company, in order to make sure that no sloppy edge finishes or zipper insertions take away from the color, drape, line. I haven't had the pleasure of owning any designer clothing. But i can tell you the particular  zipper applications on these dresses i've only seen on clothing in the Chanel boutique on Maiden Lane.

Tobin Keller is the Director of the Cabrillo Gallery at Cabrillo College in Aptos, CA. Mr. Keller has been screen printing for decades, always maintaining an interest in overlaying a variety of images. Barbara Bartels has recently shifted her focus from her decades-long career in clothing design and fashion illustration to drawing and painting. While Anatomica is only about a year old, as it turns out Tobin Keller has had a long term 'fun' passion with costume making. Who knows what spark leapt between the two various parts of his creative mind and set the 'wearable art' fire ablaze. Who can tell what kismet led Barbara Bartels to say yes to this project. I can only be thrilled that it did! And that BiBa decided to display these gorgeous pieces in the morning sun.

Anatomica pieces were featured at BiBa boutique for one week in late October, 2011. This post made possible by BiBa boutique (permission to photograph) and Manager/Buyer Mona Kelly (background materials). Thank you!

Tobin Keller website:

Barbara Bartels website:

Clean & Contemporary European-style Fashions and Accessories
211 Forest Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Viva BiBa!

 A couple of weeks ago, Mr. E decided we should take advantage of  'the last nice weather before winter' with a long weekend on the Monterey Peninsula. So we spent a couple of nights at The Gosby House along the main drag of historic Pacific Grove. On our last morning there i got up, got it together, got mobilized, and headed out to check out the small boutique Nest - just a couple of blocks away from our lodgings.

Well, for one reason or another Nest didn't open at the posted time. Not one to waste a beautiful morning, i walked around the block. A friendly open door flanked by two huge plate glass windows drew me into BiBa. I immediately was drawn to the space, the art, the clothing and asked the lady working there if she minded if i took some pictures. She asked why, i said 'I have a blog......', and one thing led to another. I departed almost an hour later with marvelous pictures, a lot of new, fascinating information about the women's clothing business, and the story of a powerful friendship.

As a blogger, i really appreciate the opportunity to share thoughts, events, places, with my readers. Blogging is a great way to do this, to keep in touch with like minds all over the world.  And 99% of the time, i am fine with blogging as a way to do this. But the time i spent in BiBa was different - i can't tell you how much i missed all of you when i was there, how often i felt frustrated that at least a few of you couldn't be there with me - to see the space and the clothing, sure, but even more to be able to speak with Mona Kelly, a manager and buyer for BiBa. I hope this post, and the one to follow, gives you at least a taste of what my visit was like.

All of us have read and heard about the 'small, highly edited, flexible wardrobe' composed of 'Clean & Contemporary European-style Fashions and Accessories'. Well, that last line is printed on BiBa's business cards and concisely describes their philosophy. They stock up to date, functional, every day wear for the professional woman on the go. Nothing fussy, nothing musty, and most importantly pieces that will physically last and carry over style-wise from year to year. This is that fantasy boutique you dream about - you come back anytime, for basics or a focal piece, and they have what you envisioned only better. It's on trend but not at all "trendy", and blends seamlessly with your existing wardrobe. Even nicer, you won't see yourself coming and going.

Here's an example. Look at how this table is laid out - each piece has something special about it, but is in no way over the top. Choose any top and any bottom from this table for a great look with no drama. Choose any one piece for a slick update to your current wardrobe. Take those Not Your Daughter's Jeans made up in a subtle tone on tone leopard. Pair them with anything you'd wear with regular jeans for a witty take on today's animal print craze. At the same time, it's subtly enough done that you can sport them in future with no worries about embarrassing 'fall 2011' associations. BiBa hits a perfect balance in their individual pieces, and display them in a way that makes shopping make sense.

 Check out the top stitching on the jacket shoulder - subtle details that take a piece from basic to style standouts

This piece is my personal favorite - a silk leopard print scarf with a beautiful cerulean blue accent. The fabric, hem, and print are all high quality. The blue is brilliant - adding color to an animal print makes it very personal as well as flattering (that blue will make brown and blue eyes sing). Animal prints with color are also very current. It's a brilliant way to wear a trend while making a unique personal statement. And buying from BiBa gives you another way to remain unique - they only buy five of each piece. They also feature brands from the UK and Canada not generally found here in the USA. In fact, i often thought of Smoking Lily and Sheila of Ephemera during my visit.

Buyer Mona Kelly looking effortlessly chic in a four year old frock from Donna, a Canadian company

How did this magical space come about? I spent at least half an hour speaking with the very generous Mona Kelly, who told me the story of BiBa. BiBa today reflects the style of one woman, and also a friendship. Mona's friend Elise Paton started BiBa about a decade ago to bring Elise's Swedish style sensibility to the Monterey coast. Very clean, modern, unique, well thought out design and good, lasting quality were the touchstones of Elise's vision. Meanwhile, Mona had sold her restaurant and was looking for what next to do with her days. As these things unfold, Mona began working a few shifts at BiBa, part time.

As time went on Elise Paton began to mentor Mona Kelly. Slowly but surely, Elise tutored Mona on style and the clothing business. First, Mona learned how to put together an outfit - for display and for particular clients. (As an aside, today Mona exudes effortless chic. She is the last person you would think had to learn one thing about personal style. I like to think this means there is hope for anyone!) Then Elise brought Mona along on buying trips. Mona also learned about quality and how to tell which garments will last - she remembers Elise turning pieces inside out, examining the fabric and construction, tugging on the seams.

 Beautiful, spacious dressing area. Who wouldn't feel gorgeous in these artistic surroundings?

Over the years, Mona and Elise grew closer as friends as well as professionally, Mona learning more and more from her mentor Elise. A little over three years ago, Elise became very sick pretty quickly. This November is the third anniversary of her death. Now, as Mona buys for BiBa she strives to keep it true to Elise's vision. She is proud to say that her clients let her know she is succeeding in respecting Elise's vision. It was really moving to hear Mona recalling her friend Elise, Elise's vision, style, her focus on the practicalities and how Elise expressed all in BiBa. Mona's love and respect of Elise and her accomplishments shone through. I felt so fortunate that Mona shared this part of her life with me.

 BiBa's superb curation
 it's hard to create an awkward outfit when the selection you choose from is this well thought out

As it happens, my timing in visiting BiBa was excellent (thank you Mr. Eccentric!). BiBa honors Elise Paton's vision and continues it in a way that makes sense today. True style evolves, so BiBa continues to change as well. A couple of weeks ago, sparked by Pacific Grove's Friday Night Art Walk, BiBa clients approached Mona with worried faces, concerned that this treasure trove of reliable closet upgrades was - gasp! - changing direction. If true, customers had some serious research to do!

Well, it's not true. BiBa will continue to be the place for clean, contemporary, European-style fashion and accessories. But you will be able to find something a little more - luxurious, unique, colorful, artistic.....something that explains why in the world i kept thinking of Sheila, of all bloggers, as i took photo after's a hint:

Coming up, a special 'Featured Artist' exhibit at BiBa!

Clean & Contemporary European-style Fashions and Accessories
211 Forest Avenue
Pacific Grove, CA 93950

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Fall Is Here!

Fall is here with a vengeance! Temps in the forties, brisk winds, frost keeping with my 'Frosting vs. Cake' epiphany, i'm doing my best to remember how to stay warm without using tons of visible layers. Undershirts, wool socks, long sleeved knits, wool tights are all coming into play - but not making an appearance!

Jeans are also uppermost in my mind. They are warm, with enough spandex they do not bother my legs, and they are a great foundation for a smart casual look. The trouble lies in finding ones that fit, that flatter, which are not completely encrusted with beads, embroidery, metallic gewgaws more fitting an aged yet flirtatious hermit crab than a stylish woman of a certain age.

For the last few months i have been plotting constructing my own jeans. I found a pattern (McCall's The Perfect Jean #5894 by Palmer & Pletsch), found fabric, did my pattern fittings and plunged on in. As i type, i am sporting the finished product!

You'll have to wait a bit for pictures of the jeans all sewed up and in an outfit. But i wanted to show you a bit of what is involved in custom fitting garments to your figure. I took these photos after i had partially constructed the jeans and had pinned the inner and outer leg seams. In both pictures the right side is the one i have altered from the original fit. My aim was to decrease the bagging and tugging on the back of the thigh. The difference is fairly distinct - in both cases the leg on your right has a smoother fit. In the end i sewed a closer fit than that shown here. The next time i make this pattern i will make an alteration in this area before i cut into the fabric, which should result in an even smoother line.

Here you can see the alterations i made to the inner and outer seams of the back pattern piece. In each case i've taken in less than half an inch width, but the difference in fit is quite noticeable. I've been reading stylist Kendall Farr recently and in her experience and opinion fit is the foundation of personal style. Yet we rarely read about fit in style blogs and fashion magazines. You don't hear about the thrill of having pieces personally fitted at the tailor's.

I agree with Ms. Farr about fit, and this state of affairs is a shame as far as i'm concerned. It takes time and fuss to really nail fit in your garments. But it is possible to do so and it makes a world of difference in how your clothes look, and more importantly, feel on your body. Wearing clothing that fits your own individual shape is a completely different experience than the pinching, pulling, and wiggling associated with today's standard off the rack fare.

It can seem way too daunting to jump right into custom-made clothing.  That's just for the very rich, the privileged, the fashionistas, the anyone-but-me. Frankly, you don't need to have every garment designed for you from scratch. But i do challenge you to start small......move the buttons on your shirt cuffs to just the right spot. Hem that wrap dress to your most flattering length, even if it's a difference of only one inch. Stretch out those shoes that are just a wee bit too tight. Pick one or two little projects, just a few dollars or half an inch. Try it out, then see if you can honestly say to me that you can't tell the difference.

Jacket: Peruvian Connection
Scarves: own design
Jeans: Levi's Curvy fit (discontinued)
Boots: Dansko
Handbag: Isabella Fiore
Hoodie: Free People
Jeans (in process): McCalls' 5894 Palmer & Pletsch 'The Perfect Jean'

Template Experiments

hi! Just trying out some templates that allow for larger/wider/more detailed photos. I've become progressively more frustrated with the way my previous template disallowed any picture format save portrait-style. Whatever template i choose will allow more freedom in terms of photograph format.

Input welcome!

Friday, November 4, 2011

Using Brights As Subtle Flavor Instead Of A "Pop"

Here's two outfits featuring the same citron colored Fila layering top, worn on the same day. The one on the left i wore for my morning constitutional. Upon returning home i thought it would be fun to use the same piece to create a more color oriented look. I was also in the mood to wear the coral blouse as a vest - the way i first saw it worn by Bev, The Style Underdog.

I was very struck by the way the citron really pops when placed next to it's color wheel opposite (coral) but the very same color is so toned down when worn next to a cool neutral. In the first outfit the citron livens up the grey look without the color 'popping'. If i wore this same citron in a warm, khaki outfit the citron would become much more lively because the warmth of the khaki would give it a 'boost'. 

The general color guideline is to wear all warms or all cools in any outfit and i find this is an excellent idea. But i really like the way that the colors work in the first look. The citron warms up the palette and adds interest to the look without screaming "Bright Color Here!!!"  This approach increases the flexibility of 'brights'. You can take the traditional route and pair them with other colors in the same temperature for ultimate impact. Or, mix them with colors of the opposite temperature to create a little life in a neutral palette. By the way, these pictures were taken less than an hour apart - the color changes of the citron top have to do with the way the surrounding colors affected it's influence on the camera sensor and our eyes.

Secret message to Bev: i miss you and i think about you and your family every day.

Life has been very busy around here! Winter is here big-time, witness the Halloween storm on the east coast. Mr. E decided to take advantage of 'the last sunny weekend' and a super bargain bed and breakfast rate and we spent a couple of nights on the Monterey Peninsula.  Oh it was gorgeous! But a wee bit last-minute!

Happily, part of the hecticness has been The Dashing Eccentric related. I had a fascinating conversation with a boutique owner touching on friendship, mentoring, creativity, and business. I was fortunate enough to photograph the fruit of a local artist's collaboration with a clothing designer and a lingerie manufacturer. Rumors circulate about a possible guest post. A product review in progress has the potential to point readers towards a custom-fit clothing at a great price. I've even been doing writing on the Emily Cho material.

So what am i doing typing this instead of getting crackin' and whipping out those fascinating future posts? Beats me! I'll sign out now, and you all have a great weekend!

Citron top: Fila
Grey Hoodie: Free People (gift)
Grey Jeggings: Target Mossino
Scarf, Skirt, Coral Top: own design
Trainers: Merrell
Boots: Bass Lamont
Belt: Hobo