Sunday, February 27, 2011

My Grandma the Style Icon

A very early inspiration of mine (for fashion and many other things) was (still is!) my grandma. For as long as I can remember, excluding early morning hours when she’s in Jazzercise garb, she has been done up. Colorful scarves, long necklaces, big Jackie-O sunglasses and shoes -- wonderful, wonderful shoes.  My younger sister and I grew up going to our grandparents’ huge mountain home in Idyllwild where countless hours were spent in the woods, playing Indians and dragging fallen saplings down to the creek for a never-complete fort. We added water to ground-up charcoal to make black war paint and paddled down rapids in our “canoe” (actually a rickety old hammock).

Time not spent outdoors mashing up acorns and thinking of appropriate Indian names was spent in the upstairs master bedroom of the house, inside my grandmother’s closet. There, we had free reign to dress up in whatever we wished. (Amazing, and very trusting lady, right?) A floor-to-ceiling shelf packed with high-heeled shoes was stacked so high you needed a ladder to reach the top boxes.  Drawers were stuffed with silky lace slips – perfect damsel dresses. Belts, scarves, and even some fur jackets hung within reach, and costume jewelry was all at our disposal. Needless to say it was a wonderland -- the ultimate dress-up box. (And that’s saying something, considering the sizable collection of dress-up clothes I'd accumulated at home.)

My sister, grandma (in jade and pearls) and me at my wedding in 2009. Photo by Aaron Thompson.
My grandparents now live in Palm Desert, and although her closet has been downsized considerably, my grandma still appears in smartly styled outfits simply for the grand event of reading on the couch or walking the length of the weekend street fair with my grandpa.  Her feet – permanently arched from decades of high-heels – have never been without nail polish. She always notices my new watches and purses, and shares the story behind her Dooney and Bourke handbags with me like it’s a language only she and I speak.  My grandma knows what I’m still discovering, --that fashion is not a set of rules or a competition. It’s a way to make the everyday extraordinary and color your life the way you want to live it!

Friday, February 25, 2011

Inherently Styled

Fashion has always played a part in my life. Not to say that from birth I was all that interested in what was the new black or the new pointed toe or animal print. Staying ahead of the curve, vogue-wise, is rarely tantamount in my book.  What I find most thrilling about style is the way it boosts your personality and reflects the way you feel. Picking out your own clothes when you're little is probably the first true expression of self. You don't even need to be able to talk to express to your parents that you'd prefer the purple leotard over the blue one.  Case in point... When lego and Lincoln Log-loving Mom put my two-year-old self in corduroys before a trip to the park I looked in the mirror and immediately started to weep for a dress. (To her credit, my mother has never indulged nor fought against my stylistically princess tendencies.)

Getting dressed in the morning has always been about what I find fun and exciting to wear -- who will I become when I put on a specific combination of clothes? Am I a dark, sleek business ingenue, a fringed bohemian queen, a skirt-swishing tribute to true-waisted, floral-printed 50s womanhood, or a sun-faded, neon bikini-clad California sun-worshipper? Fashion has the power to invigorate my mood and self-confidence, and I have the strong inkling this is the role it plays in most men and women's lives.

See how happy I am?? It's because of the yellow Tibetan scarf and printed cotton pants. The fact I've just ordered a scoop of chocolate-hazelnut gelato at Chocolat also helps.
Finding inspiration for my fashion choices is almost as much fun as wearing the finished outfit. I am a great lover of people-watching and have pretty-much categorized each area of my city (San Diego) according to what kind of people-watching can be done in each neighborhood. I also love making collages of beautiful images I find in magazines -- mostly my two favorites, Elle and National Geographic. In a partial effort to cull my enormous magazine collection, I'm hoping this blog will be a good place to deposit my inspirations, favorite images and ideas in one place. That's about all it is for now. But who knows?