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Monthly Archives September 2015

Putting on a show at Church

IMG_1366Today I attended the Missions Fashion Show in Harlem.
My sewing instructor made every outfit this past year. She completed an entire line of evening wear, wedding wear, cruise wear and work outfits in the same time it took me to finish a pencil skirt and an A-line evening skirt.

I enjoyed the show not only because the clothing were beautiful, but also because fashion shows in Black churches include a cultural component you can’t find anywhere. While we waited for the show to start, the MC played gospel as well as motown classics, the audience participated in the cupid shuffle and the electric slide.
The models were all ages and shapes. It reminded me of how off some shows that only use young, thin models miss the beauty in women.Below are some photos of the fashions designed and sewn by Sister Lina Baptist. IMG_1298IMG_1460

The audience loved how this older model kept flashing her leg though the high slit in her skirt

The audience loved how this older model kept flashing her leg though the high slit in her skirt


My Recent Bootie Call! (From DSW)

Okay, so it wasn’t exactly a bootie call, more like a bootie email. I got an email from DSW today listing the must have booties for fall 2015. The emails presented a checklist of sorts –Pointed Toe, Lace-up, Western, Lugsole, Chelsea. Most of the booties shown in the email were flat or had a very modest heel. But, I don’t usually feel great in flats.

Besides, I have not always been a fan of booties, but this may be because I have never had the right ones. I dabbled in the thick, lugsole booties of the 1990s circa TLC era, but certainly wouldn’t do so now. I tend to think most booties do the opposite of what I want, that is they make my legs seem shorter and truncated, when what I always want is for the leg to feel elongated. I have become clear that I am not a fan of booties with dresses or skirts, but that is not to say that I haven’t seen women who look great in them.

I have, however, come to really like booties with rolled up jeans or leggings and shorts with blazers (as you will see below). My personal attraction to booties comes from having tried them. This where the reader advice for this blog entry comes in. My readers tend to be those who have very stoic and even stagnant wardrobes. I have shopped with people who would not try on different things because they say, “Why? I’d never wear that.” I can sort of understand that statement with regard to clothing, but shoes take a lot less effort to try on and …hey you never know.
Here is a picture of me in a pair of booties.
I think the booties, along with the blazer make the outfit a bit more conservative even though the shorts are short. To me, the booties with the shorts reduces the level of skank. Though I don’t have a picture here, I happen to think that booties with rolled up jeans looks chic. I will post a pic when I take one. And your mission, should you choose to accept it is to try a pair of booties for fall. Consider this your very personal Bootie Call.

Cole Haan Nike Air red booties

Cole Haan Nike Air red booties

Steve Madden lace up leather booties

Steve Madden lace up leather booties


imageHello All.
I had an opportunity to do a photoshoot this weekend. There are different looks I styled. Would love to get thoughts from my readers. I liked all of the outfits that I put together and all for different reasons.

Blue quilted vintage dress

Blue quilted vintage dress


Beverley Olivacce – A play-by-play of my first fashion show

7:04 – When I arrived, the red carpet outside was empty and patrons were already seated on either side of the quaintly arranged venue – 519 madison ave in New York. It is a family owned store called Marmi that sells handbags and shoes. We are literally surrounded by handbags and shoes. Who wouldn’t be comfortable in such a layout. I presume I was among other fashion bloggers along with photographers had rsvp’d. A few models walked in, or at least very tall well dressed women who I took to be models. It certainly wasn’t the typical fashion show that you’d see on tv.

One cameraman covering the event walked the floor photographing women’s shoes, mine included – so if you see a picture of brown, beige and white L.A.M.B booties and toes painted orange, they are mine. I am seated next to Helene, who I introduced myself to after being prompted by a photographer to pose for an impromptu photo with her.

7:11 The DJ is playing uptempo jazz and people are striking up conversations. There is a bit of tension. I imagine people are, like me, making guesses about who’s who among the crowd members. Cameramen are, as usual in these situations dressed in dark colors, and jeans with the hope that they disappear. They fawn over an Asian woman clad in a bright red dress bedazzled with gold. She has earrings that are full fringe. Then enters a male with writing all over his clothing – newspaper style. He disappears into the back room, perhaps to assists the models getting ready in the back.

There is standing room only in the front near the front door. A few people make use of the waiting time and pose in front of the Beverley Olivacce backdrop.
I am actually surprised that more people aren’t overdressed. When Fashion Police covers a fashion show, it becomes clear that the audience is as much of the spectacle as the clothing donning the runway.

7:23 Jazz still playing, room slowly filling to capacity… And then it happens. The wine is passed out and two models come down the runway. I actually miss the shot because I hadn’t realized the woman coming down the runways was a model. Then a woman I thought was a model actually came out with a tray of wine. I believe the people are doing double duty. The Asian woman I spoke of earlier is prompted by a photograper to walk the runway. One of the audience members starts passing out nuts. Another audience member begins picking up the nuts that have been spilled on the carpeted runway. Helene had to literally hail for the next round of wine. We’d been passed up 3 times.

7:35 Helene asks me if I know Bev. I say no. She says she has known her for many many years. A woman in a black dress makes rounds passing a tray of cheese and cured meat. The man across from me is wearing a brightly striped shirt, which he has open revealing his very hairy chest. I am certain that the people standing way back by the door will not likely be able to see much. Two patrons greedily dig into the tray of meats and cheeses. Ohhh. cute guy to my right. Not sure when he came in. Another woman bumps into my twisted afro puff. It’s like the third person to have done so.

7:46 One woman passes out crudités – which is a raw veggie platter. One cameraman passes by and asks me to put my bag under my seat.
7:56 – Another round of wine and some fruit. One male in a gray suit takes to the backdrop to be photographed by a photographer.
My mind wanders to the fact that I need to do observations in a Kindergarten class tomorrow morning. I just notice that most of the cameramen and women are shooting with Canons.

8:05 – I find myself still waiting, but I am now recalling the wording of the press release. It is an informal showing, I am now unsure whether or not there will be a parade of women down the runway.

I think about my own outfit. It is not as cute as I thought it would be. I had originally planned to wear a gold sequined pencil skirt. I am glad I did not. I imagine I would have felt extremely uncomfortable. Instead, I have on a brown quilted circle skirt and a white button down, collared shirt.

8:09 – One of the hosts just motions to the DJ to quiet the music. The fashion show begins.

I stare intently at the clothing in the collection as they are displayed on the models’ bodies.

In order, the show was – Career wear, holiday/evening wear, spring, and a Caribbean inspired cruise/vacation wear.
My favorite pieces were in the soft but structured career wear, the short gray evening dress with fur sleeves and pretty much the entire vacation line.image
8:45 Beverley Olivacce, the London native, came out and greeted the audience speaking in an enchanting British accent. She shared that this was the third time she’d shown a line during New York fashion week and she thanked us for being a part of this.
Photo of Beverley Olivacceimage
More food and wine is served and I met a few designers and the man in the print clothing – a photographer named Carl.

What a wonderful entry in to the New York fashion show circuit. Thank you Beverley Olivacce. Great show!

The Rise of Platforms

The rise of platforms

Steve Madden curved toe leather platform

Steve Madden curved toe leather platform

marni two-toned platform

marni two-toned platform

While visiting me in New York, one of my aunts told me that she’d never wear platforms- she just doesn’t like them. I would like to argue that the old adage ‘never say never’ should apply here, but I know that there are people, especially women, who have a list of nevers when it comes to fashion.
But, let me put in a plea for platforms.
Just as with the return of suede, fringe and 70’s cut clothing, we are witnessing a re-emergence of the platform. And why not? They have great features.

First, they are stable. I love that the platform gives us the ability to walk with less fear. Unlike the stiletto heel which requires its wearer to take shorter more deliberate steps, to glance down carefully avoiding cracks or drain grills into which the heel could quickly get stuck. Remember Jennifer Lopez in Wedding Planner? That fiasco wouldn’t have occurred were she wearing platforms with a thicker heel.
I feel that I can stride taller and more confidently in platforms.

Secondly, I love the height. Because platforms often have extra lift on the ball of the foot as well as the heel, you can easily be elevated 6 inches. Who doesn’t want that?
I mean I recently went on a date with a guy who was 6’8″ and I wore 6 inch platforms. That put me at 5’9 instead of my regular 5’3. It was like seeing the world in a whole new light, or at least seeing it at a whole new level.

I also like the variety of platforms. They come in curve toe, square toe, and even open toe. They come with ankle straps, t-straps, or no straps. They are boots, booties, and geometric shaped. The choices are endless.

And when I think of my co-worker who says she rarely wears stiletto style heels because she is full figured, I think high platforms may also offer another benefit. The only caution, though, is if you are shorter and full figured, you want to avoid the platforms that are clunky and have a sort of inverted triangle heel. You are much better with a thicker heel that goes straight up like the skin colored Steven Madden platform pictured above.

I know I lost my aunt who has sworn off platforms, but I would urge my readers to give platforms a try while the trend is in. I would rather you give them a shot and afterwards say never again, then to be like my aunt who is stuck in “never” land.

BCBG suede ankle strap platform

BCBG suede ankle strap platform

Delicious color block platforms

Delicious color block platforms

Saggy breasts to the rescue?

A few weeks ago I spent time visiting with my family in the Bay Area. My sister and I talked about managing our style – a topic that has been on my mind a lot. She and I have both gained a little weight and are busting out of some of our clothing. While shopping at a favorite store, I shared that I never seem to have enough shirts and blouses for work.
My sister agreed that her closet was lacking in that area and went on to share a story. It went a little something like this:

Her – Yeah, one day I was running late for work and threw an outfit together. I was already in the car and on the road when I realized my blouse was too low cut for work.

Me – What did you do? Go back home and change?

Her – NO. I couldn’t. I was already running late.

Me – Oh yeah. So what did you do?

Her – The only thing I could do. I loosened my bra straps and let my boobs sag so the cleavage disappeared.

Me – Uncontrollable laughter for about 5 minutes…Uncontrollable!

My sister kept shopping for blouses as if she hadn’t said anything at all. People passed looking at me as I tried to muffle and silence my laughter.

Now, as I have mentioned before, a low cut blouse can be made appropriate by using a camisole or wearing jewelry that covers. In the absence of these things, my sister used a fashion technique that left me rolling on the floor laughing. She simply loosened her bra. Imagine that. Problem instantly solved because you have saggy boobs.

As we get older, our breasts do begin to sag, so we are generally charged with the task of finding the appropriate bra. Numerous articles have reported that 85% of women do not wear the right size bra. This was not the problem here. She had on a perfectly appropriate bra that lifted and created cleavage. But, they were too much for the work place. There is something to be said about knowing what is appropriate for work – I will certainly attest to that. But the sacrifice my sister made…

In response to this, I did the only thing I could, especially after laughing hysterically. I sprung for the shirts she wanted.

I guess my only advice here is don’t let your boobs be the scape goat for a fashion faux pas. And, kudos on wearing an appropriate bra sister dear.