New Everlane Order

I just love everything about this brand!  I love how transparent they are with their business practices (as transparent as a clothing line can be) and I love their minimilastic styling.  I’m learning how to sew right now, but these are the kind of pieces I would be making if I were more skilled!

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front of dress

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back of dress.

I also have this dress in black and one in grey.

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Sorry, this one came out blurry, but it looks like this in grey:

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I love this dress, so I had to have both colors.  It also comes in a cream/white.

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I LOVE this grey shirt dress!  I can see wearing this with leggings

That will be it for orders for awhile.  I’m putting my money in learning how to sew.  I’m taking a class tonight at The Stitch Lab in downtown Austin.  It’s a learning to sew with knits class.  Hopefully, if all goes well, I will be taking home a knit fold-over waist skirt.  Keep your fingers crossed for me!!!!!

JKO – A Class Act (Part I)

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I have to confess that I’m a little bit obsessed with everything Kennedy (oh, the scandals!), but the most fascinating persona is none other than Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, particularly during the White House years as First Lady (a title she detested).

I found this book a few years ago at Half Price Books, but declined to purchase it at the time because it was $30.  When I finally decided that the book was worth the price to me, the book was gone.  Well, lo and behold…it showed up at the North Lamar location during a coupon sale.  It had been marked down and I ended up getting it for $8!!!

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The inaugural ball dress by Oleg Cassini.  Jacqueline Kennedy was obsessed with all things french, and that included fashion.  She was especially a fan of Channel and Givenchy.  Oleg Cassini was chosen to be her designer because it was thought it would be better for the First Lady to wear “American” fashion (even though Oleg Cassini was French).  He designed several dresses for the First Lady copied from some Givenchy designs.

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Bergdorf Goodman dress, designed by Jacqueline Kennedy, with Emeric Partos and Ethel Frankau.

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Chez Ninon (American), after fall-winter 1961 model by Marc Bohan (French) for Christian Dior.  This is the dress that Jacqueline Kennedy wore when she guided an estimated 56 million television viewers through the newly restored White House.IMG_2693IMG_2694

Channel Suit.

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Bergdorf Goodman dress that was first worn to the wedding of Edward Kennedy and Virginia Joan Bennett.  I love this picture.  Look at the adoring look on her face as she looks at her husband (even though by this time, she knew that he was not a very faithful husband).

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Hubert de Givenchy dress for a Richard Avedon photographic sitting with John F. Kennedy Jr. (the future world’s most handsome man, according to People Magazine).

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Oleg Cassini dress for a state dinner.  This dress was reported to be a favorite of the President.

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Chez Ninon, after spring-summer 1961 model number 3390 by Hubert de Givenchy for a dinner hosted by Queen Elizabeth II and Prince Philip at Buckingham Palace, London, June 5 1961.  Two beautiful women but I think Mrs. Kennedy wins in the chic department!IMG_2729jko32

Oleg Cassini dress worn by Mrs. Kennedy when she charmed the pants off of Nikita Khrushchev  (even though her husbands’ meeting with Khrushchev was disastrous).  This dress shows a fascinating semi-fit through the waist, adhering to Jacqueline Kennedy’s dislike for tight clothing.

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Did you know that the pearls that Jacqueline Kennedy is so famous for wearing were faux?

I hope you enjoyed these images of this fascinating lady and fashion icon.  She always displayed imeccable taste in how she dressed, but also how she behaved.  A true class act!

Tote Bag Frenzy

This past Friday (the 18th) was my 49th birthday and I did something I’ve always wanted to do, but was always wary of because of my lack of technical/mechanical skills…I took my first formal sewing class at The Stitch Lab in downtown Austin.  After being introduced to sewing by a friend (read previous post), I knew it was something I really, really wanted to learn.  I took the beginning 4-hour Crash Course and made this tote bag:

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Front, back and lining.

The next day, I made this one by myself for my niece who takes piano lessons.

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Front and inside lining.

I also completed a third for another niece (planning a trip to Los Angeles soon!).

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I bought this Brother Machine from Hancock Fabrics last weekend, but I wasn’t feeling it with this machine:

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With all the discounts Hancock Fabrics was having last weekend, I got it for $100 bucks, which is an awesome deal with all the stitches and capabilities, but returned it after doing some research and got this machine instead and I’m so happy I put up a little extra for it!

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This is the Janome Magnolia 7330…the top of the line in the Magnolia series.  I just love the feel of this machine.  It’s great for a beginner, but there is plenty of room to grow with this machine.  I purchased it off of Amazon and it was part of a bundle package with a carrying case (cute paisley pattern), extra bobbins and needles for $399!

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I think my next class at The Stitch Lab will be a “Sewing with Knits” which will utilize an easy pattern to make a fold-over knit skirt.  Be prepared for the onslaught of fold-over knit skirts!

New Hobby, New Toys!

A couple of days ago, I discovered how satisfying it is to actually make something (a pair of shorts).  Now, when I find something that I’m into, I often jump in with both feet, so this weekend I was taking advantage of a couple of sales to equip myself for my new hobby.

Half Price Books had 40% and 50% coupons this weekend, so I took advantage:

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I also took advantage of the coupons that Hancock Fabrics had for this past week:

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Future projects….$.99 cent patterns!

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And a new sewing machine!  I couldn’t help myself!  It was such a deal with all of the discounts on top of the sale price.  The machine is going in Chloe’s room on her desk.  I’m going to be packing up her stereo behind the sewing machine and get it ready to mail out to her in Los Angeles when she gets a bigger apartment.  Since she only comes home for Christmas, I’ll make her room my new sewing space.

Right now I’m looking online for classes and watching YouTube videos.  I’ll most likely start with the beginner crash course at The Stitch Lab downtown and the various classes at Jo-Ann’s Fabrics.

Oh, and I funded most of my purchases by selling a bunch of my Brighton and Loft costume jewelry, streamlining my collection.  Win, win!

Confession:  I had a heck of a time figuring out the self-threading mechanism because I had a hard time seeing the small parts.  Time to invest in some glasses/readers.

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SoIMG_2816 So many books to choose from!

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Picking up new hobbies and finding new ways to use your brain is suppose to keeps us middle-agers young (so they say!).  I think I may play around with our piano more as well.  What hobbies have you recently taken up?

D.I.Y. (Can An Old Dog Learn New Tricks?)

Confession:  I am not a crafty person who creates things.  I’ve toyed with scrap booking and card making when my kids were young, but other than that, I don’t know if it was lack of desire or maybe fear…could I actually make something?  I’m in awe of die-hard do-it- yourselfers.  Anything mechanical scares me.  In my quest to find retailers that are part of the slow-fashion movement and are ethically responsible,  I’ve visited web sites with clothing silhouettes that I love, but are at a price range where I would have to save up for. Could I learn to sew (at this late age) was a question that has been swirling around my head for awhile.

Well, I did it (with LOTS of help).  I had the help of an awesome domestic project queen, Hilde Westenhaver, who helped me navigate the fabric store, because I have never, ever, ever, bought fabric before!  This is a travesty because both my mother and grandmother were wonderful sewers.  My grandmother made all of her own clothes and some for my sister and I when we were young and my mother use to make our awesome Halloween costumes (my kids had all store bought Halloween costumes).  Well, we picked out fabric, a pattern and other materials.  I chose an “easy” pattern for shorts that was very similar in style to the shorts that I have from Madewell and JCrew.  So…here is a little game!  Pick out the home made shorts:

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If you picked these…

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You are correct!!!!  This is the front.  Not a bad first try, but like I said…I had lots of help.

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This is the back.  Notice the cute pockets!

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Front pocket.

The whole experience was very satisfying, but my creative brain is fried.  I have a machine loaner, so I can’t wait to hit Hancock Fabrics to try this again by myself.  Maybe I’ll make a pair for my daughter that I’ll take to L.A. with me next month when I go out there to see her.  I already have a list of projects (all clothing) going on in my head!

 

EVERLANE (ORDER)

In my last post I provided a short list of ethical, slow-fashion retailers, and EVERLANE was one of them.  Everlane has factories all over the world depending on the product.  For instance: shoes made in Italy, tees made in Los Angeles, scarfs in Scotland, belts in San Fransisco, Cashmere and Silk products are made in China.  The cool thing is that for every product, they lay out the cost of materials, labor, transportation, their retail cost and also the retail cost mark up if the product had been sold in a regular brick and mortar store (Everlane is an online retailer only).  Another cool thing about them is that they have a “pick your price” for their overstocks items.  Yes, really!!! Which leads me to my order that I just got in the mail.  I sold a bunch of things out of my closet that were just not doing it for me anymore to make this purchase.  I will often go through my closet and try everything on to see if it still excites me, fits me, or to trendy for the season (though I really am not into trendy items).

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Olive green tee.  Don’t you love the made in Los Angeles tag?

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Super comfy tee dress with cool pocket detailing (yes, it needs steaming).

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Front of maxi dress.

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Sexy little lower back side of dress.

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Here it is in gray.  Yes, I’m a big believer in buying multiples if you love it and it fits like a dream without alterations!

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These sandals are made in Italy and they fit like a dream, true to size.  They will require some break in, but the leather is beautiful and I think these will last a long time, meaning I will definitely get these re-soled when the time comes.  Yes, I believe in repairing what you already have instead of buying new.  A word of caution on these regarding color:  I ordered navy, but these look almost black to me.  The box they came in says navy, but I’ll have to make sure that the wrong color wasn’t put in the box.

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I’m really excited about theses as green is one of my favorite colors!  These are an ankle wrap around style.

Some of the items were overstocks and I got to choose what I wanted to pay for them (excluding the navy sandals and the olive green tee).

I’m really excited that this company offers full transparency about how and where their clothes are made.  They also have reasonable prices for a smaller company and are a great choice for basic and statement fashion items.  Visit them at Everlane.com.  You can read about their business philosophy and factories (no sweat shops!).

Through this consumer journey, I’ve learned what I love and what suits me.  My wardrobe is getting more streamlined with less fussy styles.  No more ruffles and froufrou.  I like simple and clean lines.  I think with less fussy styles, the middle-aged gal can age gracefully!

(Cheaply) Overdressed

Since I started my blog this past summer (July, I think it was), it was supposed to be a blog primarily of my middle-aged musings.  The main target audience was supposed to be middle-aged gals and over.  It was to share with others who are in that strange middle-aged vortex…you know, when your number age says that you are definitely middle-age, but your spirit, energy, and outlook are still (for the most part) youthful.  There are different schools of thought about this time in one’s life, such as:  You are as young as you feel; 40 is the new 30; Age is just a number; Or sorry mate…your best years are behind you.  I think I have touched on these sentiments on previous posts, but mostly for me, middle-aging has made me more thirsty for knowledge and less likely to settle for the bliss of ignorance.  Once things are learned, they cannot be unlearned.

Since I started this blog, I’ve become aware of the “slow fashion” vs. “fast fashion” movement.  When I started this blog, I was more into thrifty and consumer conscience shopping.  I started with selling what I have in my closet in order to buy new things, and that is still something that I practice.  But here is another aspect…I’ve learned what “fast fashion” is and what it is doing to destroy the world that we live in.  An example of the worst of these retailers is H&M, ZARA, and Forever 21.  This book has now become my Bible and it does put the fear of God into me:

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I’ve shared this link before, but I’m sharing it again because I don’t think most people are brave enough to watch this documentary because they are aftraid that it will make them think twice about shopping at a favorite fast-fashion retailer:

Are you brave enough to watch this documentary or to read this book.  If you like dares, this is absolutely a dare!  Again, are you brave enough?  Remember, once things are learned, they cannot be unlearned and this has been the case for me.

Through the slow closet purging, I’ve learned what I like and have developed my personal style.  I’m going to practice “slow-fashion” meaning buying less, but better quality, ethically made pieces from companies that practice full transparency of their business practices.  Yes, that can mean more expensive price tag per item, but how much clothing do we really need?  Do you notice that you tend to reach for the same few items in our closets again and again?

If you absolutely love the fast-fashion brands, there is an avenue in which you can continue to buy them…RESALE!  Resale shops are full of these brands so you can get your fix, but you are also giving these items a second life an keeping them out of landfills!  It’s a win, win!

Here is a list of some “Slow-fashion” retailer:

Everlane

Only Child

Brass Clothing

Elizabeth Suzann

Make It Good

Zady

Orange Harp-This is an app featuring a collection of high-quality apparel and personal goods from 48 socially conscious brands.

People Tree

Cuyana

Check these retailers out. This is a list to get you started.  Yes, some of the prices are considered high, but you are also getting quality.  You will get pieces that will last and not come apart after 2 washes.  If you have seen the TRUE COST and still don’t care about the impact that fast-fashion has on humanity, ask yourself this…would you rather exude cool french girl chic having fewer, but higher quality pieces or would you rather have a closet full of flimsy cheaply made items that will snag and melt in the wash after two wearings.  I’m trying to appeal to your vanity.  Which do you think will feel more excited about wearing?  What image would you rather present.  Someone with taste or someone who favors the cheap and disposable?

I still have a lot of disposable brands in my closet.  I’m just not going to throw them away.  I’ll use them or sell them to give them a 2nd life and save up to get a really nice timeless piece.  If the little shopping devil is sitting on my shoulder telling me I NEED to shop right here and now, I will steal away to one of the many local resale shops in the Austin area and I would encourage you to do the same.  But when I buy brand new, it will be from one of the above ethical companies (mostly Everlane because they are the most affordable with the coolest basics) listed above.

Have I piqued your curiosity?  I hope I have!  Please be brave and watch the True Cost documentary…you will be glad you did!

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(The above brands include Loft, Old Navy, Madwell, JCrew, Sam Edelman, Hasbeen, Gap, Dooney and Bourke, Coach, Kendra Scott.  Items are older or bought resale.  At this time, I am waiting for and Everlane order!) If you would like to check out Everlane.com and do some shopping, here is my referral code: https://www.everlane.com/r/bonniebusick