Friday, June 27, 2008

Adventure in Accessories

My sister Sarah and I have been on an adventure in accessories.

Come along for the ride and you might gain some ideas. Just for fun, we'll share our bloopers as well. Remember, click on an image to enlarge it.

We start with a basic outfit:
  • a crewneck, long-sleeved t-shirt from The Warehouse,
  • a stretch cotton 3/4-sleeve top from Ballentynes,
  • a Boutique Narelle stretch corduroy skirt,
  • and suede moccasins from The Warehouse.

Nice garments. Boring outfit.

We add some pizzazz with a simple necklace that reflects the colour and shape of the blueberry top, blending it with the french blue crewneck . The floral chiffon scarf provides a complimentary contrast in colour and shape.

Bad choice. The necklace colour does match the outfit, but the shape does nothing to enhance it.

Gloves and shoes add another dimension.

The style of footwear can change the look altogether.

More layers.

The silver buckles on these shoes reflect the necklace and bodice buckles. The pale blue hat gives a lighter tone to the whole than the black cap would, and draws the eye upward.

Change the shade and shape of the accessories, with pinks and plums still giving the contrast, and quite a different mood emerges.

The flower was cut from a $2 Warehouse bunch, the wired stem bent into concentric circles, and a hat pin woven up and down through the rows of stem to secure it to the hat. The hat is a large circle of polar fleece lined with the same of satin, gathered and attached to a band measured to fit the head. [For a closer look, see here.] Easy to make, fun to wear, very adaptable.

Next week: more help with accessories.

Adventure in Accessories -- Gag Reel

I am ready. Are you ready, Sam-I-Am?

Maria Von Trapp

Where did Peter Rabbit go? I was just talking to him...

Pole Huggers Protest against the Proliferation of Public Perambulating.

Getting an autograph from the Giant who just fell down the Beanstalk.

Friday, June 20, 2008

But they're all wearing pants!

Walking into a room full of girls like this can be very daunting if you're wearing a skirt!

As I've travelled to functions with my father in the past year or so, it has become common to hear him mention to my mother on our return that I was one of the few or the ONLY girl wearing a skirt. He doesn't comment often on my appearance, but he sure does notice, and I treasure the times he vocalises his appreciation for my femininity. My mother frequently whispers a compliment in my ear as I'm leaving the house or getting out of the car.

They warm my heart and fuel my confidence. Their opinions matter to me. I need their encouragement, because I'm very aware that I look different to my peers -- in fact, different to most women I encounter. My nature and upbringing have formed in me a strength of mind that helps me cope with standing out, but there are occasions when I have wavered and submitted to peer pressure. I know there are girls who struggle with this on a daily basis.

A forum topic, "But they're all wearing pants!", highlights this very clearly. When there are compromising garments in the closet, there will always be the temptation to wear them. I've brainstormed for ways to maneuver through such situations, and here's what I've come up with. If you can add to the pile, please email us!

1. KNOW why you decided to dress in a modest and feminine manner. Write out your credo and place it somewhere where you can see if often, such as on the wall by your mirror. This should include the value God places on a beautiful heart, and that you are a princess, not a commoner.

2. REMOVE compromising garments from your closet. Sell or give them away, don't stash them where you might go fishing in a moment of weakness.

3. WEAR clothes you LIKE! Stock your closet with garments that you find attractive - whether they're fun and flouncy or refined and elegant. Choose colours that suit you.

4. MAKE TIME to shop productively. Use online resources such as Boutique Narelle to find the type of garments you're looking for, or sew them yourself. Don't settle for a quick bargain that's not quite what you're looking for.

5. LEARN how to turn a collection of nice garments into a classy outfit. Adding a scarf, hat, jewellery, or different footwear can transform a basic skirt and top (notice in these illustrations above and below what colour, shape, and texture do for the basic top and bottom). Knowing that you look snazzy will help fortify you against the uniformed glances of jean jokers and denim dudes.

6. COLLECT images of outfits you admire. Form them into a portfolio and make a note of where they can be purchased.

7. OFFER words of encouragement when you see a girl dressing with care. She may reciprocate on a day when you really need it.

Next week we'll elaborate on point 5 -- using accessories to create style.

Friday, June 13, 2008

Bootiful Memories

A New Zealand reader commented:
"Boots are great because they're warm(ish), cover your calves if you don't like your calves, and I guess they make me feel like a grownup. Probably because I remember my mother wearing them in the 70s and thinking she was so cool."

Like it or not, our mothers do influence our perception of what is acceptable attire. Mothers, did you know your appearance matters to your daughters? Here's a story of a mother's bootiful influence.

David and Isabel farewell their wedding guests, May 1972.

My mother loves boots. Her favourites were white, "Wonderful in the wet and when you were on playground duty," she says as she recalls her early teaching career. She wanted to wear them as part of her going away outfit on her wedding day, but they didn't look new enough to go with the suit she'd made, so she bought a new pair. A confident seamstress, she made most of her own clothes and this suit was the latest in style.

I never saw the white boots, but I do remember a black, fleece-lined pair with a stacked wedge heel 4 or 5cm high. A weary mother of six, she didn't often wear heels. She looked oh-so smart when she wore those boots, though. Then came the extra-ordinary occasion when she let me wear them.

At a time when slouch socks and pristine white lace-up sport shoes were a new and trendy thing, I wore unscrunchable knee-high socks and strange lavender kung-fus or dark lace-up shoes with my skirts. Neither the skirts nor the socks ever seemed long enough to keep me warm. We lived in an immense old house, only heating a couple of living areas where we spent most of our time. Feeling warm in winter was a haphazard affair.
One day when I was 13, Dad was to drive me to the city where I would spend the week helping with a children's holiday program. Mum offered her boots to keep my tootsies warm. I'd chosen for the rest of my 'going away' outfit a brushed drill, denim blue skirt and matching jacket that some kindly, unknown city family had passed on to us when their daughter outgrew it. It wasn't warm enough to wear around home, but it was store-bought. I was game to wear it now because I wanted to look smart. With the boots instead of trainers, I certain didn't look my usual self. I was thrilled. I would be staying with a family I didn't know and the outfit helped my confidence a great deal. When we arrived there, a Kent fireplace raised inside temperatures to a summer-like swelter. The boots quickly unzipped, leaving me in my long socks again, but I got a kick out of just seeing them there, floppy but very much mine for the week.

That was the only time I wore the black boots (until I purchased my own at 18). They died shortly thereafter. Mum replaced them with a low-heeled brown suede pair more practical to her lifestyle, which remained exclusively her domain -- we weren't a family inclined toward wardrobe-loaning or -borrowing. Eventually the brown suedes died as well. A millenium trip to Canada found the best pair yet -- white suede Hush Puppies with quilted lining and a label proclaiming "Waterproof/Imperméable". They'll last forever, which is a good thing, because "White ones," she says, "only come every so often."

This year my tom-boy sister Sarah surprised everyone by showing up in white 3-inch (7.5cm) heeled boots. At 28, she'd never worn heels before and her boot adventures had strictly adhered to the rubber kind. (Curiously, she's the same age Mum was when she got her first white pair. Sarah insists that hers are cream, not white, but that kind of spoils my analogy here.)

She says the boots enable her to walk with a more feminine gait -- that is, they shorten her vigourous stride. They look very stylish, too -- something folks aren't used to associating with her. She's enjoying their amazement very much.

She's also very happy about the price. She got them at Number 1 Shoes for NZ$40 -- no chance of real leather at that price, but a bargain's a bargain, right?

Did you mother wear boots? Your grandmother? Ask them about it. You may be surprised at what stories come out. And one thing's for sure: boots have always been loved!

More Spotlight Bargains - June 2008

20% off many sewing essentials (needles, thread, interfacing, etc)

Discounts off ribbon trims, lace, sew-on gems, and other craft items

Selected polyester knits at CLEARANCE prices, only NZ$3m. Grab some for lining your winter skirts, or if you prefer cotton (which won't pill), plain flannelette is reduced to $3.99m.

Midwale Corduroy reduced $3m
Plain - VIP price NZ$5.99m
Regular - VIP price $7.99m

How can you become a VIP? Fill out a Spotlight VIP form. Easy as that. They get your name and address and you get a membership card, free mail/email catalogues, access to select sales, and a 10% discount on anything your purchase on your birthday. Seems like a fair trade. =)

Bargains in June

Summer clearance of up to 85% off

Dresses, tops, bottoms, footwear, and accessories. Heaps to choose from. Selected styles offer an extra 50% off your second item.

Shop through June 16th for $25 off your purchase of $100 or more.

This style will need a camisole underneath, but isn't it cute?

New Zealand
30% off all red dot clearance clothing, underwear, accessories, and footwear.

Buy one item of clothing or footwear and get 70% off the second.

Friday, June 6, 2008

Buying Cozies in Summer?!

An American reader commented in the past week that cosy clothing talk distresses her after the long, cold winter she's endured. She wants hot weather and light clothing, please! I think most of us are that way inclined, but we have some global roaming going on here, and I'd like to point out that these boot sales are to your advantage. You mightn't wear them for 6 months, but you can be comfortable knowing you've got the cozies you need for the next cold season at a reduced rate.

Magnificent Suit Sale

Perhaps this post will be good tidings of welcome cheer for our northern, summer-needing friends. Thanks to Kath and Donna for introducing us to...

Do you have a special occasion coming up? A summer wedding?

Normally the gorgeous suits of the elite designers are out of the price range of mere mortals, but the current sale at might just put them within your reach. Here are some samples, priced between US$49 and $179, having been reduced up to a massive 62%.

Much of their stock is discounted. You can browse the collection, or if you're chasing one of these in particular, I've labeled each image with the suit product number (right click, save image). Type that number into their search engine and you'll quickly be able to view an enlarged image. It's well worth it - the detailing on these suits is breath-taking. They're in high demand, so don't delay if you want to purchase.

Yes, they do sell the hats as well. = ) stock some similar brands/styles, but the images are greatly lacking in clarity and there is almost no garment information, whereas make a point of describing the design features, garment length, and fabric and laundering details. Waistband fastenings are not among the listed details, and they don't provide back views, so for the straight skirts, you might want to inquire whether there is a back split or not.

Below is a sample of the information provides:
Luxurious Women's Suit by Lisa Rene

A graceful draped chiffon scarf, studded with sparkling rhinestones and modesty dickie fills the neck of the 25” jacket. The scarf is caught at the shoulder by a rhinestone ornament and button’s at waist level with an elegant rhinestone and enamel button. The skirt is our 33” classic slim style—always flattering and easy to wear. Be Well Dressed and Well Blessed with this Lisa Rene Collection suit today at the best price anywhere guaranteed. Fully Lined. Imported Fabric. Dry Clean.

Peach Skin Fabric
Peach skin is a smooth finish applied to finely woven Micro Fiber fabric. This finish allows suits and dresses to flow with your movements and drape beautifully. Peach Skin fabric suits and dresses are ideal for any season and weather due to its light weight and texture. Peach skin is not too heavy nor too hot which makes it perfect for any season. The feel of this luxurious fabric is soft, smooth and moderately wrinkle-resistant. Wrinkles fall out by simply hanging the ensemble. Style Magazine says “once you wear a Peach Skin suit, you will never want to take it off.”

You Receive:
2PC Set
Jacket and Matching Skirt

A classy denim option

Linen skirt or pant suits in a multitude of pretty colours
Some of the 2-piece suits will need a camisole underneath; select a 3-piece style and you're all set to step out as a stunningly gorgeous example of feminine modesty and charm.

As I've said before, putting yourself on the mailing list of these online stores is worthwhile. Notification of the above sale came to my email Inbox along with a voucher for a 10% discount on any $100 spent, in addition to listed discounts. I can't pass that discount on to you, but you can put yourself on that mailing easy as a wink and thus get discount vouchers in your own Inbox.

Store-wide Ezibuy Discount

Ezibuy Australia has two retail stores in Victoria, but they only stock Sara Clothing, so shop online, Australia!

Broadmeadow Shopping Centre
Pascoe Vale Road, Broadmeadow, 3047
Tel: 03 9302 4200

Werribee Plaza
Cnr Derrimut & Heaths Roads, Werribee, 3030
Tel: 03 97489924

The 30% discount applies to all in-stock clothing, homeware, and gifts, and lasts until midnight, Friday, 20th June.
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