Etiquette · Fashion · Uncategorized

White Jeans, Diamonds, and Pearls: Fashion Rules or Fashion Faux Pas?

IMG_0608Growing up my Mother and Grandmothers lived by a series of  fashion rules they considered inviolate.

1.  No white after Labor Day or before Easter.

2.  The same rule applied to patent leather.

3.  Do not mix navy and black.

4.  Pearls were to be worn during the day and diamonds at night.

5.  Purses matched shoes.

Most importantly, you dressed to go shopping, do lunch, or go to the grocery.  Lululemon, was a definite no in the eyes of my Mother and Grandmothers.  I’ll never forget my sophomore year of college.  Sent home by the infirmary with strep throat, I arrived in sweatpants and a UNC sweatshirt; the outfit of any self-respecting college student.  My mother was horrified.  When it was time to return to college my Dad intervened on my behalf as I attempted to leave for the drive back to Chapel Hill in sweats. Mom was distinctly offended by my tee-shirt and sweatpants.  She ultimately relented to my Father’s wisdom that I would only be seen walking from the car to my dorm room.  Somehow this wisdom ruled in my favor.

I routinely break rules 3, 4 and 5.  My go to earrings are diamond studs.  I wear them day and night along with a necklace made from my grandmother’s engagement ring.  So much for the rule of no daytime diamonds.  Diamond hoops are my fall back to my studs.

My mother gifted me with beautiful pearls that are also part of my daytime rotation.  Interestingly enough, I rarely wear pearls at an evening event.  Maybe that part of my fashion education took hold?  More likely, I have dressy earrings I prefer for evening events.

I love navy.  I think that may be a southern thing but prior to living in New York, navy was a wardrobe staple.  Then I moved to the City.  There is something special about living in New York.  After about six months, I noticed that my closet was full of black.  Then I found myself mixing navy and black.  I love the combination.  Maybe it fits me, southern with a love of the City sophistication?  If the Parisians and Coco can mix navy and black, it can’t be all that much of a fashion faux pas, can it?

I routinely rebel at being matchy, matchy.  I usually select my bag based on what I need for the day.  I grab a tote for work days and a smaller bag when the occasion permits.  My bag tends to be in the same color scheme of my outfit but rarely matches my 👠 (shoes).

The white and patent before Easter and after Labor Day, this is the one rule that I find to be unshakable.  I love white jeans.  I live in them, as appropriate, in the summer but come Labor Day, they get put away.  For those that might suggest there is an exception for warm climates, it does not fly. Have you ever been to Charleston?  This is home to the maternal side of my family and the white rule stands firm no matter how high the needle on the thermometer registers.  Somehow the white rule is the one that I still see as a faux pas. It was enforced by my sorority with the clear indication that one should know better.   In the end, I guess some rules are inviolate.

P.S.  Lululemon is a regular thing in my house.

Etiquette · Fashion

Cinderella Goes to the Ball

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Okay, I’m not Cinderella, but I do love to get dressed up and go dancing and have a night out every so often.  Doesn’t every girl have an inner Cinderella?  The shoes, the dress, the wrap, the bag, the hair, nails and makeup?  Let’s not forget the jewels!  So you are ready for the big night but there is one ingredient missing, Prince Charming.  So Cinderella went to the ball unescorted what’s holding back an independent, modern woman of today?  Absolutely nothing!  Go have fun, enjoy a great dinner and good friends, a great band and tons of dressing.  Oh, did I mention a fabulous pair of shoes!

Going to such an event is something of a treat.  You want the perfect dress and shoes and accessories.  The bill for a night out can begin to add up.  My trick is to invest in accessories that I can use again and again and find a relatively inexpensive dress.  I have two pair of dress shoes, the Carrie Manolos in black and a par of jimmy Choos in pearl.   They  are neutral and go with almost any dress.  They are my investment but  they get pulled out for every formal event.  For my evening bag, I scoured eBay and my Mom’s closet.  She has some great evening clothes.  I even discovered this amazing black cocktail dress from the 60’s that is now in my closet (don’t tell!).  On eBay I scored a beautiful black Judith Leiber bag that I’ve used again and again.  I also keep an eye out for costume jewelry pieces that can make a simple dress pop.  Two years ago, I received complement after complement on a “bubble” necklace of large clear glass beads.  Worn with a simple black gown and diamond earrings, the outfit was a hit.

Uber replaced the pumpkin coach and off to the ball I went for a ton of fun.  Hey, once a year it is fun to play Cinderella and maybe my Prince Charming will eventually show up.

 

 

 

Etiquette · Family · Travel

Language please . . .

 

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Language is powerful. The right word at the right time can cheer you up, encourage you and simply make your day. The reverse is also true.

Growing up my parents make it quite clear that the use of coarse language was unacceptable. Ever the Daddy’s girl I never wanted to see the disapproval on his face that would come with the use of language he characterized as unladylike. My BFF’s mother describes curse words as evidence of a limited and uncreative vocabulary and upon witnessing the use of coarse words would immediately request a list of ten socially acceptable synonyms.

I was reminded of this in a recent encounter with a highly successful gentleman (I am being kind here) in a social setting. This gentleman was quite handsome and successful possessing all the qualities that should make him attractive to any woman in the room. That is until he opened his mouth. Every other word was the f-bomb. His language had the immediate effect of turning Prince Charming into a toad.

Language is a beautiful thing. Your vocabulary and the way you expresses yourself is a window into who you are. It is the way to let your creative genius shine, to broadcast that you are interesting and have something unique to contribute. Language is the path to meeting new people and exploring new relationships. It opens us up to something and someone new.

The constant use of a the f-bomb, that in the correct circumstances might be powerful, rendered the word powerless and the speaker boring. Instead of charming his way into the group his language had the impact of kryptonite on Superman repelling those who might have found him interesting.

As I walked away from Prince Charming, I found myself smiling and thinking – ten socially acceptable synonyms please.