Timeless fashion and ageless style

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Thrift Stores and Stale Closets

I am a big fan of shopping at second-hand stores.  I have boasted time and time again about how one can come across unique vintage finds, or even high-end items that were surely abandoned by some celebrity who can’t be seen in the same thing twice .

Closet cleanse needed!

One thing that I hadn’t realized until recently is how a  second-hand thrift store can reveal that you and your closet are in trouble.

Now, everyone who knows me will say that I have somewhat of a gift when it comes to fashion.  I can go through thrift stores like a ninja racking up amazing unique finds that people have easily over-looked. While thrift stores are great for that, we also have to remember that they are the space that holds many discarded items – and for good reason.  On several occasions in a 6-week time period I saw items in thrift stores that I have in rotation in my own closest – a sweater, a skirt, a pair of pink leather boots, and even a pair of pajama pants – Exactly the same as what I have in my closet. Exactly.

What does it mean when your closet is starting to mirror a thrift store?—You’ve guessed it.  Something is wrong-terribly wrong.  My closet is stale and I have somehow gotten out of touch.

This got me to thinking about doing a closet cleanse for the start of 2020.  I could not afford to wait until spring.  I immediately began going through and throwing out things that just look dated – blouses with sheen from the early 2000s, light weight butterfly shirts, any high-low skirts, shoes with widely curved toes.

Staying up-to-date is not always about staying with the trend, but its about being timeless. If you can’t tell the difference, peruse your local thrift store. It has more answers than you know.


Revamping Your Wardrobe Using Holiday Sales

In the past I have written about the best way to approach holiday shopping – – This year is no different. Let  me explain. During the year  most of us tend to notice breakdowns in our wardrobe – items with sticking zippers, belts that have frayed, blouses with oil stains from salad dressing or items we may have simply outgrown.  Those items need to come out of the closet, but in order to avoid a gapping hole in sections of our closet, we must replace those items.  So be strategic.  Cyber Monday is tomorrow, which means you don’t even have to brave the stores.  But, what you must do before then is go through your closet and drawers and remove those damaged items. Then go on websites to find replacements.  If you are a conservative shopper, you may look for the same brand and style.  If you want to change things up, try something bolder with a little flare.  Look for items that are between 50%-75% off, but do not totally be bound by the sale prices.  (That often gets people into trouble). Shopping the holiday sales is among the best ways to revamp wardrobe staples.  Review my list of closet must haves– then make a plan to use the holiday sales to revamp your wardrobe. Happy Shopping!

Managing your wait (weight and waist)

Hello Everyone. I haven’t written about fashion because I gained weight and have been struggling to manage it. I guess it is a simple as that.  It is no secret that it is very difficult to feel good about getting dressed when you don’t like the way you look.  For me, it was more than that. Several months back I went shopping because I needed an outfit for an event. I tried on item after item; all items were too small or were ill-fitting.  I kept looking at myself in the mirror and feeling that it was my face but someone else’s body looking back at me.  Fat rolls and cellulite seemed to have appeared out of nowhere.  I say all this to say that I was really in a slump because I could not figure out how to look good in my skin let alone write an encouraging blog post.   I will say, it is important for you to take control of how you want to look.  I want a thinner waist and a lower weight – and not so much because I am a victim of society, but because  having those things will make me feel like myself again.  So, that is the reason why I have waited so long to post. I am now striving to lose about 15 pounds.  It the mean time, I will aim to post.

What you can learn about the Payless Experiment

The allure of inexpensive cute shoes is everywhere. If you’ve been to the mall lately and seen the dozens of stores with shoes displayed under spotlights, you know what I mean. Payless is no different. Payless Shoe Source is one of the stores whose inexpensive shoes have been classified as cheap or knock offs for years.  I remember the shame of Pro-wings (a Nike knock-off) back in the late 80s.  In an effort to combat this, Payless experimented towards  the end of 2018 when it established as luxury shoe pop-up shop named Palessi.  In this experiment, Payless (unbeknownst to the influencers) invited social media influencers to the store’s exclusive opening.   Many of them were duped – paying in excess of $600 for Payless shoes. (Read more about the experiment in the link below.)

There are a few things consumer can learn from the Palessi shop/Payless Experiment:

1) Do not blindly follow anyone.  Who are you following? Many fashion influencers are just people with an opinion who have the social media know-how to amass a great following.  They may not be/and often are not well versed about the quality of clothing or shoes.

2) Know what works for you. What do you look for in a shoe?  For leather shoes – higher quality shoes have leather lining, leather interior, and leather soles.  They just do.  Your feet will also feel extremely supported in them.  Note, it is not always about the brand name of the shoe; it is about how well the shoe fits the contours of your feet.

3) Lastly remember style it what you make it.  I don’t think there would have been anything wrong with those influencers in the Payless experiment buying or wearing Payless shoes if it were an authentic expression of their desire to do so.  Just ask Patricia Fields the wardrobe stylist for Sex and the City. She is clear that she doesn’t care about cost.  She  puts together outfits that look good. She will pair $5 belt with and expensive dress, and the outfit works.

Bottom line think for yourself. Don’t be fooled by prices. And remember you bring value to the clothes, they don’t bring value to you.

Gucci, Prada, H&M – It is hard to believe you are sorry

They say it’s easier to ask for forgiveness than it is to ask for permission.  These sad corporate “I’m sorries” have become far too commonplace when it comes to racially discriminatory, derogatory or offensive fashion advertisements. I have a very difficult time believing that the higher-ups in these luxury companies are so ignorant about the history of racism, and racial discrimination in America that they could approve the ads.  Anyone can tell from the heightened racially motivated hate crimes that our country has a deeply disturbing racial history.  And just as fashion has a cycle where things re-emerge, the racial propaganda is re-emerging in the very fashion brands that are associated with high society. Therefore, I have concluded that these are marketing campaigns that the higher-ups have chosen to move forward by asking for forgiveness rather than permission. But the question is why would these brands continue racial stereotypes and pathologies related to Black people.  As of lately, there have been horrendous choices from the  display of Anastacia the Brazilian slave woman on the runway on a white model in Adriana Degreas runway show to the black face  on the white model in the recent Gucci ad. 

It is sad that the apology is enough – and that no real work has to be done.  I  wonder if this is because  African Americans affected by these ads are not the demographic population that these brands care about.

Everyone who knows me, knows that I write about fashion on the side in order to take a break from the regular work that I do on race and racism in the education setting, but I could not let this one pass.  I am disappointed in Gucci, Prada, H&M, Starbucks (not fashion related but still).  I am certain that these brands could not care less about my disappointment in them.  I guess that makes us even because I could not care less about their apologies.  Get it right!


See the write up about Anastacia

Living the Life of My Clothes

There is a saying that you may have heard, “May your life be as happy as your Facebook posts make it seem.” I have recently realized that my clothes appear to be living a happy life without me. How did I come to realize this you ask, well let me tell you. As you may know, I often do photoshoots for Instagram to highlight my styling and photography. Last weekend I had a photoshoot scheduled but the model flaked the morning of the shoot.  As I looked at the clothing, shoes, and accessories that I had pulled, I realized that these three outfits had never actually been worn by me.  And the more I thought about it, the more I realized that most of the items I have pulled from my closet for shoots have not yet been worn by me.

Models styled in items from my closet.

The first and sometimes only use of some of the outfits tends to be by some young twenty or thirty something model who happens to be my same size.  I often scout locations for the shoots and capture my clothing in ways that make them seem like they are having a fabulous life.  And indeed some of them do.  Items that I have shot from my closet have passed right through my hands to Poshmark or Ebay.  And for some of the items, the buyer shared with me the purpose of the clothing purchase.  One dress was reportedly heading for the govenor’s ball in Washington. Another dress served as the wedding dress for a lady who got married in Las Vegas.  This woman thanked me profusely and sent me photos of her wedding day. Other clothing of mine have strolled that the streets of New York headed to some place fabulous if you judge by the pictures.

The same day that I had the epiphany about my clothing, I had an event to go to.  My outfit was pretty much a no-brainer. I pulled a blazer, a necklace,  velvet body suit, and a pair of metallic Giuseppe pumps off of my model rack. As soon as I got inside, two women complimented me on the necklace.  So, I will add this to my 2019 resolution.  I have to live the life my of clothing .

New Year’s Eve 2019 – What had happened…

I want to rewind a bit before I jump too deeply into my 2019 posts.  I left off in 2018 asking you to stay tuned about my New Year’s Eve plans.  Well, I had finally established that I would attend the small Decades Dance party in Vallejo – my current home city.  The party was set to start at 8pm and go a little past midnight.  I was planning to begin getting ready at around 6pm.  This would have given me ample time.  At about 4:45, my brother and I noticed the power was out.  I got a message from PG&E indicating that power was expected to be restored by 5:30. That did not happen. At 5:30, my side of the street was completely dark, but to add insult to injury, the blackout seemed to stop on my half of the street. I could see the glow of televisions and Christmas lights right across the street.  From my street and to the rear of me a shroud of darkness lay and would be there until 9:30, by which time I was totally out of the party mood. My sister had called because she’d seen on the news that 5,000 customers in Vallejo were in the dark.  “Yes, I was among them,” I told her.  My outfit was ready to go, but the city wasn’t quite ready for me.

Check out the story

2019 – Resolutions -What do you have to add?

It’s the end of January and finally time for me to chime in about my 2019 goals. First of all, I will say that I haven’t been to the gym yet because it will take until the middle of February before all of those weight loss/ gym attending resolutions have trickled down to the small 1% of people who actually keep those resolutions. Until then, it is quite difficult to find an open treadmill or elliptical machine.

I have decided to take an additive approach to my new year resolution. This is to say, that I won’t focus so much on eliminating the bad as much as I will focus on including the good.  I believe this way the bad will eventually fade into the background. After all, you cannot serve two masters right?  Let me give an example.  I don’t plan on just cutting back on television watching, instead I plan to bike ride at least twice per week.  It stands to reason that If I am bike riding I cannot be watching television.  See how that works.

On the fashion front, my goal is to do more styling. I spent last year completing stylist courses and was very gung ho about this.  I saw others from the course report their success.  I wasn’t quite able to jump in with both feet like they did. So this year, I will add styling to my writing and photography.

One personal goal (tangentially related to fashion) is to add a nightly skin regimen. It has been said that Black doesn’t crack.  It may not  fully crack, but as I’ve gotten older, I’ve certainly seen some chinks in the armor.  Even though dermatologist note that the appearance of wrinkles is partially genetic, it is also a result of sun damage, poor eating habits, and not enough water. A nightly regimen will be beneficial as well as increasing my intake of vitamin C.  Well, that’s it in a nutshell – 2019, I’m ready for you!

Winter White

In the spring and summer you always take notice when someone shows up in a crisp all-white outfit.  There is something so daring about it; it puts them momentarily on a different level. I usually think to  myself, this person must not have children, or no red wine for them.  I often find myself searching them out by the end of the event to see if there has been any smudge or smear.  There rarely is because this person who wears all white to a summer picnic or pool party or some such has generally learned how to stave off stains the way a ninja staves off bad guys.  These feats of fashion  happen  during the sunny season.

We are all too familiar with the rule “never wear white after Labor Day.” But we needn’t totally put our whites away.

Two months ago my friend asked me about winter white outfits. She had an event to go in New York and it had some specific dress stipulations.  I didn’t have a good answer for her then. So, of course, being the researcher I am, I had to look it up.  I wish I had done my blog entry sooner because one of my favorite blog sites WhoWhatWear scooped the story. See their post here –  

But let me tell you what I know from my research.

Winter whites are about mixing whites, creams, beiges. Successful winter white outfits will include different textures and different fabric weights. These outfits don’t have to be head-to-toe whites, but whites should certainly dominate. Put a pair of blue jeans underneath a white flowy spring dress, and add a bulky off-white, cable-knit turtleneck over top. Top this off with cream colored boots. You have a wonderful winter white fit. Part of the shock value in rocking winter white is that in the mist of black and gray down coats, you dare to be different. That is fashion!  White on people, white on!


Plans for New Year’s Eve – figure out where you’re going.

Diana Vreeland once said “A new dress doesn’t get you anywhere, it’s the life you’re living in the dress.”   Makes you think right?

I have been keeping an eye out for my New Year’s Eve outfit – a fabulous dress with sparkle and shine.  But, the problem is, I don’t actually know where I am going yet.  Weeks ago I wrote about getting your holiday plans in order, but sadly I haven’t taken my own advice.  I have a flyer for an event in Oakland which boasts of being one of the best New Year’s Eve parties of  the Bay, but somehow I hadn’t been driven to purchase the ticket.

When I watched, “The Eye has to Travel,” I found myself struck by the words of Diana Vreeland, I realize that I have to get myself together…I vow to have a place to celebrate by next Friday.Stay tuned.