Saturday, January 6, 2018

Women in Clothes Project #3 The Outfit in the Picture


This year I discovered a book titled Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 others. Totally unlike any other book I've read related to fashion, it was researched and written by a group of women interested in the concept of personal style and what that means. They interviewed over 600 women from all over the world and all walks of life. The interview questions were thought provoking and the responses even more so.  I decided to use the book as an outline to better understand my own relationship to clothes and personal style. Please feel free to join me by answering the question in the comments sections. I'd love to hear from you!


I wore this outfit to my friend Suzie's birthday party where the theme was "Dress Like Suzie." Suzie is a tall and beautiful ex-ballerina. The striped tights were my homage to her. She almost always wears striped tights and lots of flowing layers. The top and skirt are from Anthropologie. Vintage Vera chiffon head scarf and a fun neckpiece that was a gift from a good friend. So it was kind of a masquerade party and kind of a dress up party.  The parameters of the invitation provided a bit freedom in my choices. It was fun.

Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Questions from Women in Clothes- Know Thyself


This year I discovered a book titled Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 others. Totally unlike any other book I've read related to fashion, it was researched and written by a group of women interested in the concept of personal style and what that means. They interviewed over 600 women from all over the world and all walks of life. The interview questions were thought provoking and the responses even more so.  I decided to use the book as an outline to better understand my own relationship to clothes and personal style. Please feel free to join me by answering the question in the comments sections. I'd love to hear from you!

Question:  If you had to throw out all of your clothes but one item what would it be?

My Jean Paul Gaultier skirt with flaming heart/flaming imagery. It was the first time a piece of clothing really spoke to me. Found out later that it was from the 1997 ready to wear collection featuring inspiration from Frida Kahlo.

Question:  Building up your wardrobe from nothing, what would you do differently?

I would start with a list because I love lists. 

Three pair jeans (black slim cut, boyfriend medium wash and dark wash skinnies.
Black ponte knit legging type pants
Black dress pants
Winter white pants
White linen pants
Two great white collared shirts
Solid v-neck cashmere sweaters a bit oversized- black, dark grey and one saturated color
Two colorful bulky knit sweaters
Black thin layering cardigan
Two black and two white tees- long sleeves and short sleeves
Chambray shirt
Suede or leather skirt in neutral warm color
Well fitting tuxedo style suit
Black cocktail dress
Fun floral dress
Denim jacket
Black leather jacket
Cashmere lounging outfit (for travel)
A few great scarves
Shoes, belts, handbags  and jewelry would be difficult to itemize

Question: Are you a good judge of whether what you buy will be worn? Have you figured out how to know in advance?

I'm not always a good judge. Something happens in dressing rooms that leads me to believe I like something more than I really do. I blame the deceptive lighting. I am, however, getting better at keeping labels on clothes until I wear them and do many more returns than I used to.

Question: What's your process getting dressed in the morning. What are you considering?

I usually stay in my pajamas or something comfortable until I've had coffee and a half hour or so on my laptop. So I think about my day- will I be leaving the house? Will I be going to yoga? Will I be working in my studio? If I have a morning yoga class I just slip into my yoga clothes. If I'm planning on even going to the grocery store, I plan an outfit that makes me feel good about myself. Every now and then I do that when I won't see anyone else but not often. 

Question: What are you trying to achieve when you dress?

Primarily I like to feel good about myself. If I can do that while dressing really comfortably, even better. That would require a few extra steps like thinking about layering and accessories. 

Question: What's the difference between dressing and dressing up? Dressing is my every day process. Dressing up is something I take time to think about and many times even try on various outfits to be sure I'll feel good about myself when I go out. When we went to the Kentucky Derby last year I had a blast planning my husband's and my ensembles. Now that is what I call "really" dressing up.



Question: What is you and not you?

Me: Natural fabrics; interesting design elements; limited use of color; lots of accessories; mix in some vintage; novelty prints; high/low; jeans; boots.

Not me:  Anything cheaply made; anything fitted; highly embellished- rhinestones, rivets, etc.; stilettos; a lot of bright color.

Saturday, December 30, 2017

Women in Clothes Project #2- Describe Your Closet


This year I discovered a book titled Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 others. Totally unlike any other book I've read related to fashion, it was researched and written by a group of women interested in the concept of personal style and what that means. They interviewed over 600 women from all over the world and all walks of life. The interview questions were thought provoking and the responses even more so.  I decided to use the book as an outline to better understand my own relationship to clothes and personal style. Please feel free to join me by answering the question in the comments sections. I'd love to hear from you!

My closet is "orderly." Our house was built in 1908 so I have a small closet space.  On the left side of the closet my tops are hung by style, then color. Example- tee shirts, collared shirts, "fancy" tops are on one rail. On the floor below my tops are rows of boots. On the opposite side I've hung skirts and pants- pants by color, with denim dominating.   There are a number of hooks on the back wall between the two rails which hold belts and handbags.








Dresses and jackets are in a separate armoire. Sweaters are folded on shelves in the same armoire.


 I store out of season clothes in a guest room closet and change them out in spring and winter.

I love accessories. It can be challenging to organize shoes, jewelry and scarves while still being able to enjoy them visually. The challenge is to keep them neat and tidy. 

A friend gifted me a beautiful glass walled jewelry case that she got from a store that was going out of business. It's a display case for Gwen Stefani's LAMB line. I love being able to see all of my jewelry at a glance.




I keep my favorite scarves in drawers. They're folded so that I can see them individually. 


Shoes are lined up on low racks..I like being able to see them. I know some people like to store them in boxes but not me.




Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Women in Clothes Project #1- My favorite outfits


This year I discovered a book titled Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 others. Totally unlike any other book I've read related to fashion, it was researched and written by a group of women interested in the concept of personal style and what that means. They interviewed over 600 women from all over the world and all walks of life. The interview questions were thought provoking and the responses even more so.  I decided to use the book as an outline to better understand my own relationship to clothes and personal style. Please feel free to join me by answering the question in the comments sections. I'd love to hear from you!

My favorite style is a layered multi-textural look. Over the years I've taken photographs of my favorite outfits to refer to when I'm feeling uninspired. There are days that I look in my closet and just don't have the energy to pull a new look together. Referring to these photos helps. I keep mine in a Pinterest folder but you can create a folder on your phone, as well.

Shopping with friends
          Marni skirt and sweater,  J Crew long sleeved tee, textured footless tights and Cole Haan boots

Flight to NYC
                   J Crew chambray shirt, suede skirt from Goodwill, leather jacket, textured tights, self-designed scarf and suede boots


 Matinee theater in LA
Trouve white shirt, Onzie gypsy pants, textured vest from Zara and fringed suede shoes from Anthropologie

Casual gallery opening in Silverlake
Tee from Madrid, Mossimo cropped jeans, black jacket and red belt from the thrift store, Camper shoes

Summer flea market
Blouse from trip to Oaxaca, Jean Paul Gaultier skirt, AG jeans, Re-Mix shoes, handbag purchased during a trip to Rome



Saturday, December 16, 2017

Questions from Women In Clothes- Family Influence


This year I discovered a book titled Women in Clothes by Sheila Heti, Heidi Julavits, Leanne Shapton and 639 others. Totally unlike any other book I've read related to fashion, it was researched and written by a group of women interested in the concept of personal style and what that means. They interviewed over 600 women from all over the world and all walks of life. The interview questions were thought provoking and the responses even more so.  I decided to use the book as an outline to better understand my own relationship to clothes and personal style. Please feel free to join me by answering the question in the comments sections. I'd love to hear from you!

Question: Did your parents teach you anything about clothing, dressing or style?

My parents never talked about dressing or style. Fashion wasn't a priority in our family. I had a very basic school wardrobe and was allowed to select one new outfit for each school year and one new pair of shoes. I distinctly remember wearing the same outfit- a rust colored corduroy wrap skirt and mustard yellow button down blouse multiple times during the week in elementary school. I really liked that outfit. My mother sewed a lot of my clothes. She was a good seamstress and sometimes she would let me choose the fabrics. I particularly loved a floral voile sundress- sleeveless with a little swooping back neckline trimmed in pink piping. (See photo below) We also received a lot of hand me downs from people at our church. Most of the clothes didn't fit but I do remember a pretty blue cotton sleeveless dress with embroidery at the bodice. I was always really interested in clothes and accessories- especially purses. It was what motivated me to start babysitting and earning my own money. 



I wore my favorite sundress in my 5th grade class photo

Question: Can you say a bit about how your mother's body and style have been passed down to you, or not?

My mother has always struggled with weight. As a child, I remember her always being overweight. When I see pictures of her mother I see that they had similar body styles. Short- 5'1" (four generations of women have maintained that same height) with a large bust, slimmer hips and sort of a stocky body frame. I have a painful memory of a camping trip when I befriended a girl from a nearby campsite. When I was visiting with her family, the girl referred to my mom as "the fat lady that we see carrying the water." It still hurts to think about that. I do remember her joining Weight Watchers and getting down to a size 10 or 12 and she began having some fun with fashion. Her female fashion icon was Katherine Hepburn. My body type is more like my father- leaner, more muscular but with my mom's boobs. To this day at age 87 she still weighs herself every day.


Saime Laine Bjorkman- My maternal grandmother

 
My mom visiting after the birth of my daughter, Jessica



Questions from Women in Clothes- A Unified Approach to Life


Question: Do you have a unified way of approaching your life, work, relationship, finances, chores, etc?

I don't think so. All of those things have their own rhythms. My relationship with my husband is very stable. We both are very low key and mellow. We've had one serious argument in 34 years. I'm pretty disciplined with my work and that is probably the area where I am most consistent. It may be driven by the fear of not being relevant. As a fashion and accessories design I'm very aware of all the changes in the industry and in the handmade world. I try to keep evolving to keep my work interesting and to be interested in my work. In most cases I don't have set, regular get-togethers with friends and family. Somehow we remain close and enjoy our time together when we can make it happen. Finances are not my strong suit. I track expenses for my business but not personally. I will say that I spend more than necessary. Chores are easy- I just have to add them to a list and they get done. I love lists.
 


Question: Do you address anything political in the way you dress?


Occasionally. I wore an Obama tee shirt when he was running for office. I bought a Women's March Los Angeles sweatshirt and wore it a few times after the march. I designed a tunic that says Persist and Resist on the back. As of today, no one has purchased it. When I was younger used bumper stickers to express my politics. I guess that's kind of like wearing them.
My one and only political tee shirt

With my friend Julie at the Women's March in Los Angeles

 

Questions from Women in Clothes- Fashion Interactions


Question: What is the most transformative conversation you have ever had with someone on the subject of fashion?

I can't think of one. Most of my friends are interested in fashion at a very basic level. They like clothes Some of them enjoy shopping. One time a friend brought me a fashion magazine from her trip to Spain. She talked about the different colors and patterns she saw on the street. My personal interactions with fashion are through my customers when I host trunk shows. It's fun to see them try on things that they don't like on the hanger. I also hosted a couple clothing swaps which brought a diverse group of women together on the subject of fashion. I also watch a lot of fashion documentaries and read books about fashion. But a transformative conversation? No.


Clothing swap with friends


Question: Do you notice women on the street? If so, what do you notice? What sort do you admire? If not admiration, what is the feeling that a compelling woman on the street gives you?

I am always aware of people on the street- men and women. I notice how they dress, how they move, how they interact with others. I admire people who look pulled together. Like they thought about what to wear. I also look to see whether they check themselves out in mirrors or store windows. I notice good posture, body types, whether they wear clothes that emphasize their best features. The feeling I get when seeing them is reassuring. I like knowing that people care about their appearance. When traveling, I like taking pictures of people who catch my eye.



A gentleman in Buenos Aires getting his shoes shined

A good looking woman in Paris

Italian men take great pride in their appearance


Question: If there was one country, culture or era that you could choose to live in, what would it be?

Paris today. Parisians have a sense of style that I've not seen anywhere else. More emphasis on well made clothes, less on accessories and makeup.