The Space Between My Peers: December 2006

The Space Between My Peers

From the bottom of the fashion food chain ...

Location: The Great Northwest

I'm a home-schooling, bible-believing SAHM with an annual clothing budget of about $500 American. The Space Between My Peers reveals my secret passion: analysis of the art and science of what to wear.

Sunday, December 31, 2006

Today's Outfits

This is what I wore to church today. Despite it being a very nice, well-coordinated outfit, made up of some of my favorite pieces, I still had a momentary twinge when faced with other people in their new coats, etc. Believe me, I'm over it now.

BTW, this shirt and sweater combo is the same one I wore
Christmas Eve
, with jeans and my birthday belt.

But will I wear it again tonight? Attending a game night, with the same group we were with for the Thanksgiving Leftovers Party, the big question mark is temperature. How many layers will I need? At the previous event, the wife of the pastor in charge runs just a little colder than I do. Perfect. But I don't think they will be there tonight.

My first choice is actually the outfit pictured back here. And since my hero just informed me that he knows how to work the heat in the fellowship hall, I guess I will wear what I want.

Update: What I want will be the sweater I wore this morning, topped by the jacket pictured here, which my hero just bought for me. We only paid $35 American, though. Washable suede, the XS fits (!), and it's my signature color. Yay!

Hi Grandma!

When Grandmother Adella said in comments back here that she'd see me soon, she really meant it. I am so excited that in 2007, within the next several weeks/months, depending on weather, etc, she will be moving closer!

This random post comes to you simply because I set my alarm clock this morning, and then actually got up. I have washed and dried my hair, made and drank my coffee, started dinner, and I'm sitting here eating my breakfast, blogging, with time to spare.

Crockpots and alarm clocks. Fabulous inventions.

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Resolved: NOT Playing Dress-up on Sunday Morning

Recently I reposted a classic early post featuring a strategy to avoid Sunday morning wardrobe trauma. I still need improvement. Perhaps I've been blogging too much?

Well, here's how I plan to use the blog to get me out of endlessly playing dress-up and being late to church every Sunday:

I'm planning a Month of Sundays feature, where I will dress up in four different outfits all based on one trouser or skirt that I would wear to church that month.

The tricky part is whether I will wait for primary photographer, with camera that actually works, to return from vacation before shooting the initial installment. The good news is I already have the outfits selected! And, yes, I do know what I'm wearing tomorrow.

Fashion Lab: Better Late Than Never

I really should get some modeling lessons or something, rather than continually subjecting you wonderful people to these hack photos.

Typically I choose not to focus on the type of advice that picks some "less-than" body part ("I hate my thighs!") and uses "fool-the-eye" techniques to compensate. It's all too confusing. In most cases, learning and employing the basics (line, shape, proportion, scale, and, of course, personal idiom and color) will create a much more integrated, simple, and aesthetically pleasing look.

But an outfit I threw together recently caused me to think about a principle I had previously run across:

To camouflage or draw attention away, surround the feature with something larger or more eye-catching. In these pictures, the "feature" is my thighs and the "something larger or more eye-catching" is the line of the t-shirt hem(s) and the belt buckle.

In which of these pictures do I look most normal to you?

And another question: How would this principle be used if the "feature" being camouflaged was a slight tummy bulge?

On one thing I'm sure we can all agree: Use tunic-length tops with caution! (They never worked for me in the '80s either.)

Friday, December 29, 2006

Reader Question: Trench Coat Length for an Hourglass Figure

Or should I have titled this "I love fashion research?" And it's not just an excuse to avoid doing any work. At least I don't think it is.

Vildy asks:

Can I ask a question about balance in design here? I have a silky dark navy raincoat with white pin dots. I like the contradiction between the feminine fabric and the full-out trench detailing. It isn't my best look - the fullness, the belted trench, the epaulets and belted sleeves, the full cape back bodice, the half cape front bodice, the semi-dolman sleeves - but I like it.

Here's what I'm wrestling with. It was an 80's style with the rounded extended shoulder pads. I replaced these with smaller and somewhat crisper. The former length balanced all this "design." But it was ankle-length on me - I'm 5 feet with that all around hourglass.

My first thought was that I had to be careful how much I shortened it because of needing to balance the top fullness. So I have it around mid-calf, perhaps a bit higher. Looking at runway pictures I see many similar full cut trenches that are knee length and even above the knee. It gives a very wide poofy effect even on the slender models.

What do you think?

My off-cuff-answer was "not above the knee", but here's what I found after a bit more research.

  • Generally these looks measure two "units" above the belt and three below. That is in accordance with the basic laws of proportion governing the universe.

  • But I think some of them are belted above the natural waist. Okay for a skinny model, not actually workable for a genuine Type X figure.

  • And then there is the matter of the sleeves. Nearly all of them were 3/4 length or at least pushed up. I suppose that is merely parenthetical to the actual point here.

  • But shape is the elusive element. If you belted the coat at the first natural-looking spot below the bust and then hemmed the coat to a length (from the belt) 1 and 1/2 times the length from shoulder to belt, would the "skirt" of the coat poof or drape? Would the overall silhouette be an hourglass, a figure eight, or a mish-mash? And would the length be above the knee or below?

If it worked, it could be fresh, pretty, and springy.

Picture "borrowed" from Subscribe here for even less than Vogue.

Distance Department Store Shopping on a Budget

Some things one can only get at a department store. Well, there are alternatives, but certain things are typically purchased by those of us on a limited budget at a department store:

  • Undergarments.
  • Coats and dresses.
  • Seasonal gear such as gloves or swimwear.
  • A wide variety of household items.
  • Children's clothes.

If you are in the market for any of these things, and live where you cannot easily get to a department store, you may be interested in $0.99 Standard Shipping on entire orders at 12/29 - 12/30.

Also going on now:
Kohl's After Christmas Clearance Sale. Sale Prices are good through December 30th.

Happy shopping!

Things Are Not Alright in Bloggerland

Given the fact that my primary photographer took her camera and went on vacation for a week, and that it took much of yesterday to get her there, presently I am awaiting back-up photographer's arrival; I have not yet taken the pictures for today's fashion lab. :(

In the meantime, I posted a small thought over at my Titus 2 blog and it has become obvious that all is not right with Blogger. The post is there, somewhere, but not at the top of the main page. *?*?*

So I am at the mercy of Blogger (and my back-up photographer). Will we indeed have a fashion lab today? I hope so.

Update: In the end, it was neither Blogger nor my back-up photographer that scrapped, or at least postponed, today's planned photo shoot. It was equipment failure. To avoid these kind of technology-based problems, follow the Bargain Queen's advice. Admittedly an old article, but the truth of it (especially #1) affects me everyday. Have I ever mentioned that I blog from a Windows ME operated computer?

Thursday, December 28, 2006

US Vogue Cover: January 2007 Picturing Angelina Jolie

In the spirit of my previous Vogue cover art reviews, I will be calling out just a few of the artistic principles employed here:
  • Color choice: With a persona as glamorous as this, what other choice is there but red? Note that the red here is the "little to the dark, without going burgundy" I mentioned in my recent post Steps to Successfully Wearing Red & Black, a wonderful red for those with deeper coloring.

  • Visual weight: Clearly the dress is of a light-weight fabric. I am confident that if it were not so, we would see more of the actress's hair. Adjusting the volume of one's hair is the primary way of adapting to fabric weight.

  • Taut vs drapy: Generally speaking, taut fabrics are congruent with the hardness of visible bone structure, drapy with soft roundedness. Pictured is an example of a slender person of soft roundness. Agreed?

Read more on this issue at the Runway Scoop. Unlike Maria Palma, who identifies with Angelina Jolie, I feel no connection to her at all. She's just an extraordinarily pretty face.

BTW, you could buy me a subscription to Vogue for pretty much less than the price of a tee-shirt.

Resolved: Posting Outfits Prior to Event

Two considerations compel me to try harder in this next year to plan and post my outfits prior to an event:

  • KNOWING what I am going to wear. No small matter.

  • Just in case one of my real-life friends is curious. Probably a small matter.

But it did happen. Christmas Eve, to be precise. The hostess of the party we went to had checked the blog that day to see what I would be wearing. Her diabolical plan: to wear the same thing!

The eerie thing about it is that, although I didn't post what I planned to wear, or even have a plan earlier in the day, we were not dressed that different. Chunky shoes, bootcut jeans, v-neck sweater over collared shirt. My daughter even pointed out that our sweaters matched our hair: hers - dark brown, mine - heather gray.

Evidently she's been paying attention.

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Coming Soon

As my husband took today off from work, I will not return to normal blogging until tomorrow.

Just a few hints as to what's on my mind:

  • Things I'd like to improve in my personal wardrobe planning process in 2007. Like low-pressure New Year's Resolutions.
  • A Vogue cover artistic analysis. Yes, the US January edition featuring Angelina Jolie.
  • This week for Friday Fashion Lab I will be dressing up in jeans with different lengths of tops layered over and thinking about line placement as it relates to body particulars. Anybody care to play?

From last year's post-Christmas post, Style It Yourself:
Ever wonder about statistics for being sick on Christmas and/or the day after compared to any other day of the year?

What Did You Get for Christmas?

Did you get any cool clothes? (I don't think anybody dares to get me any. There was a nice pair of hiking socks in my stocking, though, and plenty of $$$. I'm happy.:)

Monday, December 25, 2006

Christmas Ponderings

Ever since we declared an end to the insane shopping schedule we were keeping, I've been able to focus on what about the Christmas season gives it meaning. Giving and receiving gifts? Spending time with family? Special foods or pretty lights? All these things, and the rest of the trappings, fail. I mean, what if you don't get what you want? Or can't afford to buy gifts? Or your relatives don't like you?

I don't want any of those things to be able to make or break my Christmas. They aren't what it's about anyway.

John 1:1-14

In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

He was in the beginning with God.

All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being.

In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men.

The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it.

There came a man sent from God, whose name was John.

He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him.

He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light.

There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man.

He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him.

He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him.

But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name,

who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God.

And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.

The Word became flesh. God became a human baby. That makes my Christmas.

Merry Christmas!

Saturday, December 23, 2006

And This Is News?

My husband found this on World Net Daily and it was the source of enough sarcasm around here that I thought I'd share:

Macy's pulls Sean John dog fur jackets:

Macy's has pulled from its shelves and its Web site two styles of Sean John hooded jackets, originally advertised as featuring faux fur, after an investigation by the nation's largest animal protection organization concluded that the garments were actually made from a certain species of dog called "raccoon dog."


Macy's removal of the coats comes on the heels of other tests conducted by the Humane Society of the United States on a range of fur-trimmed jackets from retailers such as Burlington Coat Factory, Bloomingdale's, J.C. Penney and Saks Fifth Avenue as well as from designers and clothing lines such as Baby Phat, Andrew Marc, MaxMara and Calvin Klein. Those tests revealed that most of the jackets labeled as "raccoon" or coyote" from China in fact contained fur from raccoon dogs.

Who wants to wear a coyote-trimmed coat, anyway?

Are you as tired of Christmas shopping as I am? For some reason, and I'm not ready to commit to it being my own incompetence, this year has been positively brutal: up and down the mall, shopping every lunch hour, looking at thousands of things that are almost right, deciding on something only to find out it's sold out. At least I'm getting exercise!

Usually I feel guilty about buying stuff for myself while doing Christmas shopping, as if I am being too self-focussed. This morning I woke up wondering if the little shopping-for-me that I am usually able to do is actually refreshing.

So if after Christmas shopping and/or opening gifts you find there's still stuff you need:

Shop the RedEnvelope Winter Sale. Over 150 new markdowns with savings up to 75% off.

Winter Sale Dates: December 22nd - January 12th

Maybe I'll get a jump-start on next year.

Friday, December 22, 2006

Cheater Fashion Lab: Pant-leg Silhouettes

I call this cheating because ... well, I am. I was just too lazy to get dressed for pictures, so these are from Zafu fit finder.

Allegedly, wearing tapered pants makes short legs look longer. Of course, most fashionistas have been wearing flares (albeit labelled "boot-cut"). Balancing the hips with volume at the hem was the prevailing concept.

Somehow, Zafu's model resembles me enough in figure that I dare to ask: What shape jeans do you recommend for me? Rarely do I wear heels, so I can use all the leg-lengthening I can get.

Since this Friday Fashion Lab turned out sort of a "hack" affair, perhaps we will re-visit this topic in the future. In the meantime, I recommend to you the Zafu blog.

A Truly Riveting Question

My latest riveting question is a hot topic indeed. (Hint: it's about Christian teens dating.)

Moving rather slowly, I am still planning on posting a Friday Fashion Lab today. :)

Thursday, December 21, 2006

Pantihose, Skivvies, and Slips, Oh My!

Far and away, googling pantihose questions is the number one way new readers find their way here, with slip queries next in line. In this post from last April, Pantihose Do You Wear Them?, and especially in the comments, readers and I discuss whether or not they are a necessary evil. This time of year, most of us are wearing tights for warmth.

To determine hosiery color "from scratch", I use the length-balancing principles I explained here, in How to Wear a High Waisted Skirt. For abundant specifics on this topic, and more, Ask Alison.

Skivvies, aka thermals or long underwear, are a winter necessity here in the mountains of the Great Northwest, much warmer and more comfortable than nylon stockings. I wear these daily. Under jeans, of course.

With skirts and dresses, I dodge the need for a slip with an old-school style-enhancing feature: LINING. Frankly, and I own this as a strong personal preference, slips just don't work well. How many otherwise well-dressed women ruin their entire look with a slipping slip? If it doesn't have a lining, I just wait to wear it until the weather's warm enough to go stocking-free.

Slightly related, Jenn and I were talking in comments over here about socks (context: not looking dated). What kind do you wear?

Are You Done Christmas Shopping?

Lamentably I am not.

Believe it or not, I could still order from Eddie Bauer and get it in time for Christmas (as late as 11:00 am EST on 12/22 for guaranteed Christmas Delivery). Now through January 3, they're having their Ultimate Winter Sale, with savings up to 50% on select styles.

Shopping for yourself? Enjoy free standard shipping on orders of $100 or more now through 12/25.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

What to Wear to the Office Christmas Party

Or What to Wear When the Invitation Specifies "Cocktail".

The following definition was given by my husband's very gracious office manager. To my delight, NOT A SINGLE PERSON showed up dressed in an appalling fashion. Several displayed stellar taste and creativity.

I have had a number of people ask me what “Cocktail” dress means. My intent by choosing this description is to merely say dress up more than you would for work. It certainly wasn’t intended to mean rent a tux. It would be no different than any of our other Holiday parties or if you were going to a nice restaurant (not a tavern) for dinner. Some guys may wear suits and others nice slacks and a good shirt. The ladies usually dress up a bit more, because they don’t get to wear their fancy outfits very often.

Flip through the following for more ideas:

Realizing this post is a couple of weeks late, tell me - what did you wear to yours?

Steps to Successfully Wearing Red & Black

As many of you know, I do not have a TV. Consequently, I thank Wendy that I even knew about Mrs Bush's Christmas dress incident.

With the resurrection of the red/black combo this holiday season: what are some easy guidelines to doing it well?:

  1. Choose your red. Carefully.

  2. Most of us are well-acquainted with the concept of cool versus warm, or blue red versus orange red. Although red itself is a medium value color, defined as bright, it is possible to also adjust a little to the white as in my red silk skirt or a little to the dark, without going burgundy.

  3. Major on the majors.

  4. Which color is better on you, black or red? It stands to reason you would want more of that color in your ensemble. See How a Blonde Can Wear All Black and How to Wear Any Color for more thoughts on color combining and placement.

  5. Add another neutral.

  6. For many of us, Mrs. Bush's three guests included, red and black is a tough color combination to wear. Adding another neutral has a softening effect.
    Some to try:

    • Your best metallic.
    • White, ivory, or pearls.
    • For business, charcoal gray or camel.

Then there is the matter of personality. Do you even like red and black together?

I admit, I don't. But then I somehow still crave it in December.

Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Great Idea: Pooling Resources

Amy from MotherLoad: The MomAdvice Blog, and host of this week's Festival of Frugality, offers this creative solution to the Frugal Holiday Finery dilemma:

I have worked out a deal with a girlfriend where we trade clothes for all of our special occasions. Usually she has the shoes, purse, and shawl and I supply a knock-out dress that I have found thrifting. Pooling our resources has saved me from spending tons of money for these one night occasions!

Obviously, you couldn't do this with just anybody; for size, shape, coloring, and personality considerations. Nevertheless, the idea has potential.

Tell me, do you have anyone in your life that you could approach about such an arrangement?

Monday, December 18, 2006

Frugal Holiday Finery

Bloglines subscribers: you will want to pop over and view the picture. There's something new and different about it. He hee.

Thinking it's somewhat of an insult to the readers who have been here since the beginning, sometimes I'm afraid to post an idea I've previously blogged. A foolish notion, most visitors come via Google. Thanks to this post at Copyblogger, I'm encouraged to repeat the things which bear repeating.

Like these three ways to dress up for Christmas for almost nothing:

  • Borrow: Last year I wore a long silver skirt with this top, one I picked up for $1 (new with the tags still on) at a thrift store. It has since gone to several upscale events with other ladies. Surely your friends would rather lend you their little-used formal and cocktail clothing than to have it collecting dust.

  • Thrift: If I must buy a dress, for any occasion, I never pay "real money" for it. Just today, I saw literally dozens of really great dresses, each only $1 American, at my favorite thrift store. Obviously, not every area offers those kind of deals; just consider ebay your online thrift store.

  • Separates: Many special occasion separates are downright frumpy! Some classics that I have mixed and matched with success include: metallic t-shirts such as the one pictured, or ones with sequins; velvet jeans, skirts, or blazers; fuller skirts, such as the red silk pictured or the silver one mentioned earlier; a black straight or pencil skirt, or wide-legged pants; silk or sateen blouses and blazers. A black tee-shirt and black skirt, under dimly lit conditions, easily fills in for a black dress.

One final thought: Set against an all-black outfit, even your pre-schoolers dress-up jewelry can look very festive. Why not try it?

(More on this topic at Frugal Mom Has a Social Life.)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

The Perfect Coat for a Type A Figure

Isn't this the cutest coat? Perfect for a Type A figure.

Saturday, December 16, 2006

I'm Back!

Well, I think I'm back. Thanks to our friend (the one that I was going to ask to build me a computer). And Firefox.

Since I never really post much on the weekend, I am not even going to begin to try to catch up on all the thoughts I had this past week:

  • Wearing red and black together.
  • What to wear to the office Christmas party. (Ours is tonight. I'm wearing silver silk metallic top with red silk skirt. I'll try to get a picture, but no promises.)
  • Update on undergarment questions.
  • And, of course, Friday Fashion Lab. Next week's topic, now, will be pant-leg silhouettes.

BTW, it really does pay to wait. Last year I began craving flannel-lined jeans. This week I found some: Eddie Bauer, practically brand-new, with a pink floral flannel inside, at Goodwill. Oh yeah! $5.

Friday, December 15, 2006

This Is Really Weird

Yeah. Hi! Our computer is doing unspeakably strange things. Last night we patched it with a stick of "bubble gum" (RAM) and now I am here through a "back door". I cannot access Internet Explorer at all. The good news is we WILL be getting a new computer.

Funny. My last Riveting Question was "is it time to take a break from blogging?"

Hmmm ...

Monday, December 11, 2006

Eddie Bauer - Free Shipping on All Orders

Free shipping on all orders – two days only

12/11/06 – 12/12/06

Last Ship Date to arrive by Christmas Eve: Dec 19

Currently Experiencing Technical Difficulties

On the one hand, and I'm pretty sure this rates abundant sympathy from my internet friends, my computer has "interrupted" its functioning close to a dozen times in the last 16 or so hours. Posting such, I hope to avoid having any of you worrying if I drop off the face of the planet for a day or two. Unlikely that will really happen, though. If this stone-age, ME-driven, desk-top beastie dies; I plan on asking a friend to build me a lap-top. Maybe.

On the other hand, I tried my daughter's three barrel waver and it just made my hair frizzy. Next up, the small curling iron.


Today, I am simply unable to bring up the "create a new post" page. Sorry!

If I have a working, blogging computer I plan to do a Friday Fashion Lab this week. Topic: pant-leg silhouettes.

Sunday, December 10, 2006

My Purse Now Available Online!

Finally, the purse I got for my birthday is available at Wilsons Leather online. For only $69!

Although it isn't pictured, I want to let you know that the navy is actually a very contemporary, very glamorous cyan. The brown, which I got, is only brown in bright sunlight. Most winter days it's a delectable deep plum.

Would if I mind if we had the same bag? Feel free. I did have it first.

Friday, December 08, 2006

How We Handle Filling Our Stockings

Inspired by Jenn, who has been blogging about Christmas on the cheap, it suddenly occurs to me that we have a fabulous tradition that must be shared with as many people as possible:

Drawing Names For Stockings

This is for when the kids are all old enough to start helping with the shopping, although we started before the youngest was in elementary school. Just match the teams up carefully, so nobody is shopping with someone who is shopping for them.

Draw names from a hat and form shopping teams. Each person gets a $10 bill; that is all that may be spent on the entire contents of the stocking for the person they are shopping for. Any change left is also put into the stocking. Everyone shops at the same time, at the same store, carefully avoiding one another, of course. We choose Fred Meyer, they have a wide range of items including clothing and groceries.

Thankfully I remembered this just in time for Frugal Friday at Biblical Womanhood!

Christmas Shopping at

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Friday Fashion Lab: Sleeve Length

I know precisely one rule concerning sleeve length:

If your legs are short, pushing up the sleeves will optically elongate them.

I have no idea why this works. Does it follow that a person with long legs might choose a longer sleeve?

In this first set of pictures you can see the contrast between a super-long sleeve and a pushed-up sleeve. Not only do my legs look longer in the second picture, they look thinner as well! Optically it's almost the equivalent of putting on heels (but much easier to walk).

Now I mentioned in my post prior to Thanksgiving that I felt the sleeves of this blazer a little too short, as seen in the picture on the bottom left. While each of the other pictures shows a technique for adapting a jacket with a too-short sleeve, my FAVORITE is this last one. And the white accent does a visual drawing up of the eye, as well.

(It may seem counter-intuitive to wear a white shirt with a brown print jacket. But think about the guys: what color dress shirt would a man wear with a brown print suit?)

One final thought about sleeve-length: most of us must consider practicality when choosing our sleeves. After all, much of life is "done" by the hands. (Diapers and extra-long bell sleeves? Let's just say no!)

And nothing beats 3/4 sleeves when it comes to doing dishes.

Thursday, December 07, 2006

Warm-up For Sleeve Length Fashion Lab

In preparation for the upcoming Friday Fashion Lab, I've been thinking about sleeve lengths. How do you like this Gap Lightweight fleece peacoat? (I like the blue. On sale for $49.99)
Gap Lightweight fleece peacoat
Are we getting back to pushed up sleeves?

Flashback: A Between My Peers Classic

Attending this holiday event has become an annual tradition. I'm afraid I'll be curling my hair today!


Flashback to last Thursday, that is. I just can't get over how slim and elegant some of the ladies looked at the event I attended. How they did it:

  • Each one created an outfit with unbroken lines within her natural silhouette.

  • The ubiquitous notion that dark colors make everyone look slimmer really works for dimly lit evening affairs- but NOT for swimsuits!

  • Obvious reflective elements, like glued on little mirrors or glitter, caused their outlines to be less distinct.

Something else about this event that was fun: it was ladies only! No flashbacks to the high school dance, when you were all decked out and your date arrived in a sweater.

Use these tips to put together your own holiday ensemble.

More later!

Wednesday, December 06, 2006

You Are a Nice Piece of Art

How can you tell if you're listening to Hawk Nelson or FM Static? Listen to the entire CD. If the song you were expecting to hear never comes on, you were listening to the other one.

You make me feel like a lavender sweater,
When I'm caught in bad weather,
in my Volkswagen Jetta.

You make me feel like a complete work of art,
When I'm just falling apart.
A really nice piece of art...
Dear God, I hope you hear me...

From FM Static's Critically Ashamed, stating the theme of this blog. In poetry.

Tuesday, December 05, 2006

Between My Peers Classics: Focus on the Face

Focus on the Face

Rule number one states simply that the face should be the focal point of every outfit. That seems obvious. Focal point = the point which the eyes are drawn to. But, have you wondered how that is accomplished?

A primary tool in directing attention to your face is the use of balance points. There are two measurable points that determine how far down the upper body the neckline should go. In addition, the collar or neckline should be at least as wide as the face. For additional information on this topic, I recommend The Triumph of Individual Style, by Carla Mason Mathis and Helen Villa Connor (which I just noticed has a reduced "best price" offer. It makes a wonderful Christmas gift). Bridgette Raes illustrates this concept in her blog, with reference to accessorizing.

Here's more:

This tells you how deep your neckline should be to draw attention to your face. Wonder what your best neckline shape is? Roughly the shape of your jaw.

Is Ethnicity a Factor in Style?

This topic has been knocking around in my mind since I read this post at Style Bubble. With over 60 comments at last count, no doubt many of you have already read it and considered it. And with over 60 comments, and me with so many words, I prefer to weigh in over here.

  • First, my view of the whole PC-speak, race designation thing (Chinese vs Oriental vs Asian): Why do any of those have to be offensive?

Now I realize that my racial background is considered majority and so there are things that I may not understand from personal experience, but I have been referred to as both White and Casper. (No one has ever called me European-American, although I suppose that's coming.) Neither designation is strictly accurate as my skin is actually a light muted orange; White is probably meant respectfully, Casper most definitely is not.

  • Second, and this really has nothing to do with the conversation at Style Bubble, I bristle when asked to define myself for statistical purposes as a member of a specific race or ethnicity. In my personal belief system, all humans are of one race: Adamic. What does this mean? It means just that we are all the same kind of being, created with immense value and incapable of being perfect.

  • Third, I'm confident that there are innovative trendsetting fashion personalities of every ethnicity. (Traditional for different cultures would, of course, look different.) My question: is a person more likely to wear a dramatic look or accent if they, by virtue of ethnicity or some other physical reason, look more different or are indeed in a minority?

Please forgive me if I've offended. In my attempt to be as diplomatic as possible, it is still a distinct possibility.

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Monday, December 04, 2006

Vote on This Friday's Fashion Lab Topic

You choose:

Other suggestions? I'd love to have them.

Between My Peers Classics: The First Formula

Continuing from last December's archives:

The First Formula

There are those who think it amusing that I actually have formulas and mathematical equations that I use for shopping. Like the one I use to make sure I have the minimum of certain key pieces. Since I wear a wool sweater just about every day that it is below 40, today (7 degrees) is the day I will stop, count, and calculate whether I have enough. Just in case you weren't absolutely certain that I was nuts, here's what I do:

a) Figure out my laundry cycle. What's the longest number of days something might sit in the hamper before it's ready to be worn again?

b) Calculate the percentage of days that I need to be able to wear this type of item.

c) Estimate how many days I can wear something before washing it. (When I had babies, I would estimate how many changes of clothes I needed per day.)

The math:Multiply a and b, and then divide by c. Or if you are a mother of preschoolers that last operation would be a multiply. I hope you get it. I need to go shopping.

Here's a post where I used the formula to calculate how many jeans one needs.

Sunday, December 03, 2006

One Year Ago Today: Sunday Wardrobe Trauma

Facing Tomorrow Without Trauma

Tomorrow is Sunday. No doubt when we leave we will all be dressed, but chances are good that someone will have had some wardrobe trauma in the process. Generally, one of us ladies is the one with the problem and one of the others is the one with the solution. Look out if two of us can't decide what to wear!

I recall a time a few years ago when my own Sunday morning wardrobe trauma was pretty much weekly. My problem: I didn't actually own a dress, but every Sunday morning I tried to select one from my closet to wear. My solution: I bought a khaki skirt that I could wear to church with my T-shirts. That skirt was one of the few items I ever paid full price for (I think it was $30 or so), but I wore it several years before selling it on consignment this past summer. In warm weather, I wore it with tanks and sandals. Come winter, it was turtlenecks and boots.

So, figure out your own formula. What do you like to wear to church? I guarantee you won't find it in your closet on Sunday morning if you don't actually have it.

One year later, I still need to get better about trying on my outfits ahead of time. The ladies have almost no Sunday wardrobe trauma; but it occasionally surfaces Saturday night. They plan ahead.

Friday, December 01, 2006

15% off Accessories & Jewelry

Between My Peers Classics: Rule Number 3

I'm on a roll here ...

Rule Number 3

Never wear anything that takes constant attention in order for you to be able to function. Tugging on your clothes is never elegant.

Later I re-wrote that one:

Never wear anything that takes alot of effort to be functional (or makes you walk stupid).

So, because my new shoes have the little track grippy things in the front (which work exceptionally well in the slush), I asked my husband if they make me walk stupid.

He said I walk elegant.

Finally! New Riveting Question

How sad! It's been like three weeks since I posted a riveting question. Not that I haven't had any, it's the 'round to it that's been lacking. Or I think of a cool question, but neglect to write it down.

Anyway, I finally put one up and it has to do with cold weather:
Do men NEED meat?

Pop on over and leave an answer. :)

Fashion Lab: Belt Placement

Why did it just not work when one friend took her belt off the other night and put it on another friend in the same, low-slung position?

I think the key is somewhere in balancing the lengths. Here, from last December, is where I explained how to do length-balancing with pants. If you really want to examine the topic, this post, from last May, links to most of what I've written on the topic.

In these pictures of me, though, I think there are some other things going on:

  • Scale: In general, the details (straps and so-forth) worn on the upper body should relate to the scale of the facial features. Details on the lower body relate to apparent body size. Aside from the fact that the color isn't great, do you like the wide belt on me at all? (Here's another picture of me in the same belt. I'm afraid I've shown myself to be a fashion victim.)
  • Silhouette: My natural shape is Type 8. In both the examples where the belt is worn at the waist, the shape has somehow been transformed into more of an I.
  • Frumpiness: Just what accounts for the frumpiness of the belt-at-waist looks? I've said once before,

    Length balancing is the key to dodging the frump factor: 50/50 is boring.

    From the top of the turtleneck to the belt worn at the hip is 2 1/2 "units", from the bottom of the turtleneck to the hem of the pants is 4. What's in between, especially with the smaller belt, is accent and can be subtracted from the total. For the belt at the waist looks to work, the top would have to be tucked in.

I think ...

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