Monday, September 27, 2010

My amusement

I wear beautiful things to feel beautiful but only for me. I wear BEAUTIFUL things to feel beautiful but only for me. I WEAR beautiful things to feel beautiful but only for me. I wear beautiful things to feel beautiful but only for me. I wear beautiful THINGS to feel beautiful but only for me. I wear beautiful things to FEEL beautiful but only for me. I wear beautiful things to feel BEAUTIFUL but only for me. I wear beautiful things to feel beautiful but only for ME. I wear beautiful things to feel beautiful but only for me.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

A book report

I knew I liked Tim Gunn but this was reinforced on page one of A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style.  Let me count the ways…

First, Tim dedicated the book to me the reader and my style.  I love that Tim is not trying to squeeze me into the pages of someone else’s ideal.   Secondly, I learned early in the book by his mention that Tim is a great friend with Diane Von Furstenberg, another one of my favorite style icons! Her quote, “I did not know what I wanted to do but I knew the type of woman I wanted to become.” (American Express commercial 2009) is prominently displayed on my facebook page and drives me to think how each of my ventures in life may work together to achieve a goal of my own.  This relationship speaks positively for both Tim and Diane.  I hope to sit down with Ms Von Furstenberg and Mr. Gunn for a stylish and thought provoking lunch at some time in my life.  Tim Gunn may be best known for his presence on popular television but he truly is a life long fashion professional and exquisitely qualified to write a guide on quality, taste, and style.

Perhaps one of the reasons I love this book is its personal delivery.  Tim starts the book with depiction of his own personal style evolution, his experiences, and drivers.   It is just the right amount of personal storytelling to establish the voice of the book.  This is not another book about trends, or shopping now but it is Tim Gunn sharing his wisdom in a way only Tim can.

Tim gives great insight into how to be the best and most fashionable YOU possible.   I learned a lot about other notable style personalities and personas.  Admittedly, I did need to Google a few but I enjoyed learning about these Google topics, new terms, and classical references.  As I read through chapters covering many difficult to navigate looks and situations I laughed, I identified, I read without stopping.  When I encountered the section on “Packing,” and the description of “Aspirational Packing Syndrome” I recalled a recent trip to Rhode Island for which I ended up packing Keds, a boatneck stripped top, and a mariner’s sweater just in case I ended up meeting a man to teach me to sail and contemplated sending an email to the author himself just to say, “here, hear!” I enjoyed every minute of this book.

I truly feel like A Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style by Tim Gunn and Kate Molony is a book every aspiring or interested fashion pursuant should check out as they develop their style identity.  This book has moved me forward in my growth as an informed fashionista. Throughout the book, Tim Gunn offers fashion reference and perspective in his own delightful voice but consistently encourages the readers to look at themselves as the most important voice. 

Saturday, September 25, 2010

"I could make a necklace out of that.." -Industrial Chic!

This outfit makes me feel confident, and cool; also powerful and chic.  The pattern on the dress found at Target is geometric but undone, the fabric sleek, and the fit and pleating effortless to make look good.  Accented with unique industrial chic jewelry and the ever-important pop of color there is no stopping me!  
I see the beauty in industrial things.  About a year ago I started taking building materials found in my garage and combining them with Swarovski crystals and semi precious stones to make jewelry.  FoundryM ( was born.  I love the Industrial Chic and I want to bring that love to others.  

Over the last year this practice has turned into a bit of an obsession.  I often find myself throughout the course of the day thinking, "I could make a necklace out of that.”  It is a fun challenge to work on construction, and artful combination of the ordinary.  

Inspired by jumbled dripping diamond (and rhinestone) necklaces of yesteryears, and my local glass smith, this necklace is a champion of style and recycling.  A while ago I had a piece of glass cut to fit a shallow wicker basket to make it suitable as a flat drink tray (a separate project discussion).  While working with my favored glass professional I inquired about the disposal of scraps from glass and plexiglass projects.  Turns out the plexiglass scraps were just thrown out. 

I have always been an advocate of recycling.  Luckily, my friend at the glass shop is also!  He was enthusiastic about finding a use for what would be trash, and has been kind enough to provide me with a plethora of plexiglass pieces of varying sizes and thicknesses as they become available.  This opportunity has let me work a new collection of FoundryM wearable art pieces!

Breaking, drilling, taking time to drimmel the sharp edges, and hanging each piece of plexiglass is time consuming and tedious.  Every comment and compliment makes this work worthwhile.   

The bracelet was a result of a trip to Home Depot and letting my mind wander.  Accenting the large hose clamp with Hematite and Swarovski crystals seemed down right logical.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Ode to the Dirndl

This past weekend marked the beginning of the Oktoberfest.  

Let me take a moment to celebrate a dress of yore: the dirndl.  It is a traditional dress worn in southern Germany and the Alpine region consisting of a bodice, a blouse, full skirt, and an apron.  Sounds awesome right?  Maybe not to everyone but I am a newfound fan.

I had never been one to outwardly celebrate my heritage with spontaneous old world dressing, or dual flags flown over my house.  Not that I dislike that or was ashamed, not at all, but being something like fifth generation in the US, when asked where my family is from “Kentucky, and Southern Ohio,” came to mind.  But when the opportunity arose to travel to Belgium to visit a friend living abroad, to make a stop in Holland, and then go to the Oktoberfest in Germany I felt a strong pull to go.  My Grandmother had talked often about her desire to visit the place from which her ancestors came but unfortunately didn’t make it before she died.  Partly for her and partly for me I felt it important to learn more about my heritage first hand. 

The trip was awesome!  My travel companions were adventurous, easy to get along with, and share a great love of life.  Antwerp and Amsterdam were beautiful and I learned an appreciation for cobblestone streets, architecture, and beer of many varieties.  I could go on for pages about the awesomeness of the trip, but this is a post dedicated to my heritage and the dirndl.

I awoke in the mountains.  The beautiful town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen nestled before me in the creases of the mountains.  The air was crisp in the early morning with wisps of fog dusting the cobblestone streets.  The white stucco houses were decorated with dark wood cutouts and flourishing flowers.  Immediately I was relaxed.  The people were friendly and everywhere, for no particular reason, people wearing traditional dress of dirndl and lederhosen looked natural.  Something about the tailored soft leather pants seemed flattering for all male figures, and the dirndl flattered the most feminine of the female features.  It was here in the mountains that my travel companions and I spent the afternoon walking through the woods and around castles, hit the spa, and relaxed from the travel of the trip so far. 

It was here, amidst the roots of my family tree, that I noticed the pieces of culture that I was accustomed to and barely noticed at home.  My grandparents decorated their basement with stucco and dark wood paneling half way up the wall.  Each year they cut pussy willow sprigs and tucked them in vases around the house in the fall.  I saw these same decorations in Bavaria.  We ate spatzle, and chickens, pretzels, and pressed meats.  The tastes of my heritage unrealized to me were already familiar.

In Munich I learned Cincinnati, my hometown, is the sister city to Munich.  This made perfect sense!  Why else would Cincinnati have the second largest Oktoberfest in the world?  Why else would we be the first place to get a Hofbrauhaus outside of Munich?  Everywhere I looked I saw people with familiar features.  That beauty mark, that nose, that guy looks like Uncle Carl and so does his son!  After a day of tented, jovial drinking, dancing, eating, overall merriment, and feeling at home I felt it essential to embrace the dress. 

Somewhere on a side street, near a Laundromat, on the outskirts of Munich there is a little shop dedicated to lederhosen and dirndl.  The walls are lined with stacks of soft leather pants, and in between there are racks of every length, style, and color of dress.  It was here that I gingerly picked out a few attractive options and worked to determine which one to buy?  I tried them on unfamiliar with the best fit.  I was the only customer this early in the morning during the start of the Oktoberfest so luckily I had the full attention of the sales person.  “Specken ze English?” I ventured.  She indicated a little with an inch of air between two fingers and a nod. 

“I am not sure how this fits.”  I started, “Do I need a bigger size?”  I motioned toward my chest, busty but modestly covered, loosely laced in the bodice, looking kind of frumpy, but slightly comfortable.  “Needs to be tight here,” she touched her ribs and paused thoughtfully as I looked at myself discouraged and disappointed thinking I would not be able to find the perfect one in a cut that would fit.  “I’ll fix,” she motioned.  I nodded, and she promptly loosened the laces, pulled the drawstring on the white top to reveal two inches of cleavage, and laced up the bodice tighter than before.  She tied the apron on the left, the sign of a single lady, smiled and gave a thumb up, “Much better.”  I couldn’t help but smile myself.  I thought, “Well, if this is the way it works, she would know.”

The dirndl then
the boots
That night, thrilled with my new Euro boots, and Dirndl chosen for me, I felt perfect.  “We would love you less if you were not wearing the dirndl,” from the group of drunken German college men.  At the nightclub a complimentary woman offered, “Your body was made for the dirndl” So nice but not true.  It does highlight some of my favorite features: the cleavage, the clavicle bone I love so much, and a tightened waste (thank you laces and full skirt), and I feel good.  But it is not me.  It was the dress made for the ancestors that I resemble.  Ode to the Dirndl: you put an oom-pah in my step, a twinkle in my eye, and a warmth in my heart with thoughts of family, history, great times, and good friends!

the dirndl now

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

A little sparkle

Yesterday was a ten hour day at the office, it was looking like the rest of the week may turn out the same.  You know the feeling.  Need to pull out all the stops to gather pep for the Tuesday that feels like Thursday...  Sparkle.  Sometimes its the only way.  But it is a business casual environment so the sparkle has to be subtle.  When facing a potential double digit day my outfit has to be comfortable as well... the perfect solution from my closet: Aqua day dress!

With its cotton/linen fabric blend and muted color it is a combo made for comfort and sparkle.  I added an H&M short sleeve jacket to add enough structure and cover enough skin to make it into the workplace.   Pop of color, turquoise please, and my take on a "Breakfast at Tiffany's" chignon and little black flats and voila!  I couldn't be happier.