Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Fashion and Security

A funny thing happened to me just the other day - I realized I finally really know who I am now and what I want out of life. I know it took about 33 years but better late than never. When I was younger I thought I knew who I was or at least thought that is what I projected to everyone else. I was wrong and it probably showed too. Three daughters, about seven jobs, and one big reality check later, I have found what it is all about. Security - being secure with yourself, your family, your style, and your insecurities. Yes, you have to be secure with your insecurities. Everyone has them so embrace them - don't dwell on them - we know they are there - but try and live with them. You'll find that the positive aspects of your life will far outweigh the negative. You have to be aware of all of the components that make you - you!

A large part of what helped me have my epiphany was fashion. May sound silly to some but it's true. I was in Broad Ripple Vintage (because it always comforts me and makes me feel good) and it came to me - fashion is the ONE constant thing that has always been a part of my life. No matter who has come and gone (family or friends), my parents divorce, the deaths of two of the most important women in my life - I could always depend on fashion.

My paternal grandmother would sit for hours and sketch beautiful women in fabulous dresses for me when I was little, my maternal grandmother had trunks FULL of my great and great great grandmother's clothes along with VOGUE from the 30's and other fashion magazines dating back to the turn of the century, my great great Aunt Rose was born in the early 1900's and refused to wear dresses so she made her own pants (wide leg, high-waisted, sailor style with the six buttons at the top-original -FANTASTIC) and wore them with never a regret, my mom used to make her own clothes and my dad's jumpsuits back in the 70's, and my dad is the one who would take me shopping when I was little because my mom hated it - she still avoids it like the plague (I find it ironic she's my mother).

I've often said before that fashion is just "clothes or accessories" to some people - and that is fine. To me it is a part of life - it is my life - it's my passion - it's my job - it's one of my loves. There is nothing like finding that one piece you have been searching for that just makes you feel good. Fashion isn't superficial as others may see it. It's culture, it's history, it's art, it's our future, and it's our present. So along with instilling in my girls a sense of security, intelligence, and self-confidence, I hope that I sub-consciously instill the gift of style as did my ancestors in me. It wasn't something that was passed down in some big ceremony - no it was something that was subtle and alluring and passionate and it glistened through their eyes, their pictures, and their legacies. I found that the most tenacious women in my family had the strongest sense of who they were as women along with the BEST PERSONAL STYLE. To me, fashion is security in who we are and who we want to become.

Until Then: “Elegance is not the prerogative of those who have just escaped from adolescence, but of those who have already taken possession of their future.” Coco Chanel

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Template of Fashion - Vintage Fashion Library

I happened upon the most fascinating site one day as I was looking for different eras of fashion. Vintage Fashion Library. It then hit me that THIS is what fashion is all about. The nuts and bolts of the industry. The template upon which all things fabulous are made and are created. There are so many times when I have a very specific idea of an outfit I want in my head. It never completely translates to what I see in stores or online.

My wedding dress excursion is the perfect example. I love to mix modern with a vintage flair and sometimes there just isn't that one piece that completes the entire look. There are things that come close but never exact. I wanted a wedding dress with sleeves. I wanted either a bell sleeve or a large bishop sleeve such as was prominent in the 30's and 40's. NO wedding dresses even have sleeves anymore. Let alone a long sleeve. I saw so many strapless, spaghetti strap, or halter dresses I wanted to pass out! Apparently I was not part of the "norm" who loves strapless. Anyway, as I reviewed the wonderful period specific patterns at Vintage Fashion Library I found my dress! I could not believe it. Had I seen this site 5 years prior, I would have had the perfect dress for my perfect day. (My day was perfect and my dress turned out alright). Makes me want to set up a vow renewal - not just for the dress, of course!

Using patterns is a unique way to put your own spin on the current fashion trends or put your own personal style into a look. It will be truly your own. There are so many wonderful seamstresses and tailors that can create fabulous items just for you. If you can sew yourself, you are WAY ahead of the game and the cost goes down even further. Also you are in control of the color, fabric, fit, style, etc. You are the designer, ultimately.

Fashion is so much more than just something you throw on. It tells your mood, it tells others who you are and who you want to be, it exudes confidence or insecurity. Make it fun and make it your own. Be independent. Start with a template and create from there. Get back to the basics and start from scratch. I guarantee you'll have everyone asking "Where did you get that?"

Vintage Fashion Library - Catch them on Facebook too!

Until then: “In difficult times fashion is always outrageous.” Elsa Schiaparelli