No doubt we all see fashions from time to time that we
simply cannot appreciate. Whether the design constitutes a reminder of personal
bad choices with which we dabbled in the past, or combines pieces or colors in ways
that jar and repel us, there’s likely something presented as new each season by
designers that doesn’t meet our personal aesthetic.
Some design ideas are bad for quite another reason – they are entirely impractical. This spring one style that has seen a resurgence is that of woven handbags. I’m not talking about tightly woven designs, such as the beautiful traditional Italian leathers of design houses like Bottega Veneta or summertime rigid wicker bags. I’m talking about loose weave, macramé-like designs. While these designs may have some eye appeal, they are remarkably impractical and can be downright dangerous to carry.
From the Spring 2021 issue of C California magazine, examples of tightly woven bags by Kate Spade New York and Maje M, plus a net “Filet Le Pliage bag from Longchamp and a macramé-embellished leather tote from Tod’s.
From the Spring 2021 issue of DuJour magazine, a wicker
bag from Celine by Hedi Slimane and a macramé bag from Fendi.
Consider you have one of these loosely woven bags slung over a shoulder or carried on your arm, and the weave catches as you walk by a store display, a door handle, the arm of a chair. . . . and suddenly you feel the tug and then the horror of knowing that your designer bag may cause damage to property if not bodily harm! (Do I sound like a lawyer?)
The only thing worse than a loosely woven bag is a loosely
woven skirt . . . . as pictured in the Spring 2021 issue of C California magazine. The look is great
so long as you don’t sit down anywhere any part of the skirt might catch. When
the look provides so little coverage, at least you won’t be exposing more if
and when the inevitable rip occurs.
you haven’t shopped on eBay in a while, you may be delighted to learn that your
potential for great deals on items you actually want has just increased dramatically.
eBay, you can find auctions, to be sure, but you’ll also find thousands of eBay
store where sellers offer items for a fixed price. Some sellers have a “buy it
now” price and an option for you to submit your best offer. Including the best
offer option on the listing adds to the cost of the listing for the seller so
many sellers do not routinely use it.
you see a listing that catches your eye but you’re not completely sure you want
to buy the item at the listing price, as always, you can “watch” the item while
you make up your mind. Alternatively, you can put the item in your virtual
shopping cart, which does not commit you to purchase until you pay for it or
request an invoice from the seller.
either case – this is the exciting new feature — without knowing your identity
or eBay ID, notice of the fact that someone is watching the item or has put it
into their cart may give the seller the opportunity to send a personalized
offer to that potential buyer. The offer has to meet certain criteria – for instance,
it cannot be too close in price to the original selling price – and the offer
will expire generally within 48 hours. The shopper will receive a message from
eBay that computes the discount being offered and reads: “Because you showed
interest in this item, the seller sent you this private offer. A few other
interested buyers also received this offer—it won’t last long. Hurry and take
advantage right away!”
Illustration: This beautiful vintage necklace I am selling has
21 watchers; 9 people to date have received special offers on the piece. Who
personalized offer may be enough to turn a window shopper into a very happy buyer
without having to haggle over the price.
more tip: If you receive a personalized
offer and still aren’t ready to commit to a purchase or you don’t act during
the period of the offer, you may still be able to obtain the item at the
offered price. Contact the buyer and ask if the offer is still available. Very
often the seller is happy to extend it.
This month, I will keep my post brief, finding inspiration from a recent host of “Saturday Night Live” – the actor Regé-Jean Page, whose role in “Bridgerton” has made him the heartthrob of countless women.
the opening monologue, Page delighted us with his presence, and reacquainted
the audience with the charming look of a cluster of brooches pinned to a
jacket. The brooches appear to be studded with diamonds and pearls – an
unexpected and elegant choice.
a delightful expression of creativity! I
am newly inspired to put together small groupings of my brooches and urge my
readers to consider the potential in their own collections. The brooches just
might encourage hearts to go all aflutter.
isn’t always, or even often, that garments worn by a woman’s mother or
grandmother will fit her as well.
Although my mother and I were almost identical in height, I have a shorter waist than she did. What this means is that her fitted garments would extend too far down my torso, and would not fit correctly. I also have higher figure-eight hips, which further affects the line of garments. Wearing her satin wedding dress was a non-starter, even when I was at my lowest adult weight.
very much enjoyed reading an article by Clara Spera, granddaughter of Ruth
Bader Ginsburg, in the December 2020-January 2021 issue of Harper’s Bazaar. Spera writes that her petite stature has been a
blessing in that she is the same size as her grandmother. She describes her
delight in “shopping in Bubbie’s closet” when her grandmother was alive, learning
“the exact history of the piece—where it was from, when she acquired it, what
special events she had worn it to.”
writes: “Now that my grandmother is gone, I am humbled and comforted when I
wear her clothes. These items carry more than just a legacy of sartorial
elegance; they are a tangible reminder of the woman underneath the judicial
robe and of everything she taught me. . . .”
mentions being re-gifted an Italian leather clutch that her grandmother had
received in Rome, provided to her with the observation that “Sometimes a small
bag will be in order.”
whether one is the same size as one’s mother or grandmothers becomes irrelevant
with regard to accessories. I can and enjoy the handbags I inherited from my
mother. I well remember her wearing and enjoying her jewelry. And every time I
carry one of her bags or wear a piece of her jewelry, I am filled with loving
is my tradition at the end of every year to post images that provide visual
delight in the exquisite work of designers and artists who create beauty.
this most difficult year of 2020, we have each individually found ways to
combat the boredom of isolation and the restlessness due to Covid-restricted
activities. Channeling our energy into the creation of beauty is a wonderful
way to achieve this.
am blessed to have friends and acquaintances who have been able to create and
to donate masks or meals to assist front line workers. These works of
creativity and charity are beautiful indeed.
out the clutter and finding ways to repurpose items that someone else might
find to be more useful or lovely is also a worthwhile use of one’s time.
Learning how to maximize and appreciate what we have in our wardrobes and possessions is another valuable endeavor, as we reflect upon what is truly flattering and what gives us joy.
that in mind, I am closing for my year-end post this year an eye-catching
montage of looks from the December 2020/January 2021 issue of Harper’s Bazaar, which suggests: “Put a Bow on It: Add some flare to your socially distanced
holidays with lipstick-hued blouses and bejeweled necklaces.” The combinations
of bow blouses with necklaces and surprising uses of earrings and brooches as
accents to the blouses makes for delightful and surprisingly creative results.
the year ends, let us find time for reflection, creativity and always, joy.
Wishing all my readers much beauty and a happy, healthy 2021.
The September 2020 issue of Vogue stated the new reality succinctly: “The defining accessory of our era is not, as
it turns out, an It bag or a chic new shoe. It’s something far more
essential: the face mask.”
Without further comment, Vogue presented a fashion spread that coordinated face masks with fashions. Here are two examples of the featured looks:
What is also part of the new reality is that the eyes are the focus of the face more than ever. Forget about tooth whitening and flattering lipstick colors: the mouth is not seen. It’s time to focus on the eyes.
Mascara and eye shadow can draw attention to the
eyes, but there is something further that doesn’t require makeup. Nonverbal facial expressions are what will allow
one to make a statement. Fashion supermodel, actress and business mogul Tyra
Banks introduced the concept of “smizing,” or smiling with one’s eyes, during
the run of her reality television series America’s
Next Top Model. We can communicate much in the way of kindness, friendship
and joy through the smile in our eyes.
The masks themselves present fashion opportunities,
to be sure. Find masks in colors and prints that are flattering if you are
going the fabric mask route in lieu of medical grade masks in that
go-with-everything light blue and/or clear face shields.
Don’t forget jewelry. Earrings, necklaces and
brooches can draw attention to the face in a most flattering way. (Tips on
jewelry wearing are beyond the scope of this short post.) However, be mindful of earrings that can
caught in the ear loops of masks. Stud earrings may be a good choice in lieu of
the large hoops seen in the Vogue fashion
Whatever your fashion preferences, one fashion rule
applies to us all right now: It is
essential to wear a mask whenever we are out in public to help combat the
spread of the coronavirus. Protect yourselves and your loved ones and everyone
with whom you come into contact.
It’s Halloween – the one day of the year when putting orange and black together is a tradition. Orange is not a color that is easy to wear, and charring the citrus, if you will, to produce burnt orange doesn’t make it any easier.
Thus I’m having an “Oh, No!” moment with a bit of
fashion advice given in the October 2020 issue of O, the Oprah Magazine. On the cover, Oprah “gives a warm welcome to
chilly air” in “relaxed yet refined seasonal classics” consisting of “a comfy
sweater in rich burnt orange” plus slim pants, tall boots and golden double
hoop dangling earrings. She looks great in the hue. The fashion editor opines
that burnt orange is “a color that works with all skin tones.”
No, no, no. Burnt orange is a decidedly warm hue, and works beautifully on many skin tones that have warm undertones. Yet there are even exceptions to that, as burnt orange is an assertive intense hue. Someone with very pale warm skin may find the color too strong and overwhelming to wear; a soft “Creamsicle” orange or coral may be much more flattering.
And anyone with cool toned skin is likely to find
that burnt orange makes her or him looked washed out, as seen in this example
of an item offered by a major retailer. If pink is one of your preferred
colors, chances are that orange is not going to be flattering. As the character Elle Woods proclaimed in Legally Blonde: “Whoever said orange is the new pink was
Pink also won’t work for everyone, of course, although
it’s likely to be a great choice for a pale blonde. If you’re looking for a
color that truly works on all skin tones, think turquoise. It has the right mix
of cool and warm and a medium intensity that works beautifully for just about
If you have followed my various jewelry and
style-related columns over the years, you know that I am a devoted reader of
fashion magazines. These days there is an overwhelming amount of social media
coverage of actual and would-be fashion influencers, to be sure. Yet fashion
magazines provide inspiration in showcasing fashion in a permanent, readily
accessible archive utilizing the fashion savvy of editors, writers,
photographers, and all the many other members of the magazine staff who create
something memorable and extraordinary in every issue.
I noticed that some of the magazines went to
seasonal issues early this year, as the effect of the coronavirus grew. It was
only this month that I became aware that several of my favorite fashion
magazines may be or are being shut down entirely.
It has been surprisingly difficult to obtain information
about the closures, and I’m still not entirely clear as to whether the closures
affect worldwide editions of these publications, but I understand that the
venerable Harper’s Bazaar – in print since 1867 – along with Elle magazine and
InStyle – three of my favorites – have been affected. I will report further in
times of Zoom meetings and staying at home, wearing jewelry may seem like more
of an afterthought than ever before, especially when the default mode of
dressing is athleisurewear. A delicate pendant necklace and stud earrings may
be part of one’s regular look, even when the clothing is super casual, but
statement jewelry seems out of place.
Let me suggest a way to inject a bit of personality into athleisurewear dressing. As an impressionable young girl, I was influenced by the fashion selections of my slightly older and more world-wise relatives. I distinctly recall that one of my cousins wore a sweater with the most charming addition – a small brooch pinned to the side near her face. I don’t recall the motif of the brooch, but I recall that it fascinated me because it was so unexpectedly, sassy, stylish. A simple addition but one with great visual impact.
Image: A Trifari ice cream bar lapel pin I’m wearing
during these dog days of summer.
Add a pretty
poodle or ice cream cone, a fleur de lis or garden fairy, a vibrantly colored
piece of fruit, a convertible car, maybe a sprinkling of mismatched starbursts
– and take a basic tee shirt or sweater to a pretty, playful or poignant place.
And let your brooch inspire smiles.
These days, as many of us shelter in place, our
wardrobe needs have become limited. Without the opportunity to socialize and to
dine out, let alone to work in offices and to get together for celebrations or
religious services, there is not much need for an extensive selection of
Many of us find a uniform of sorts, in which comfort is key. The top or tee shirt and pants or shorts that fit perfectly and feel comfy cannot be beat. The number of pieces in regular rotation between wearing and laundry dwindles.
Angeles Times reports that the cumulative effect of decreasing consumer
clothing needs is one factor bringing about a change in what retailers will
have in store: “Thanks to a global
pandemic on top of a trade war, American shoppers are finding their
once-endless array of apparel choices are quickly disappearing. There’s
disruption everywhere – from manufacturing and shipping delays to store
closings and plummeting consumer demand – and merchants are desperate to avoid
accumulating piles of hard-to-sell items.”
We’ll find less merchandise in stores with a
shrinking assortment of sizes and styles. And the list of retailers filing
bankruptcy seems to grow weekly.
If you are financially able to do so, please support
your favorite retailers with your continuing purchases. This is especially
critical for the survival of small businesses like specialty boutiques.
If you can no longer find a particular style in your
favorite store, or if your favorite store is no more, remember that there are
additional small businesses on web sites like eBay that may be able to provide
exactly what you are seeking.