The big 4-0

In just about a year and a half I will be 40 years old, and I couldn’t be more excited!! I haven’t had a birthday party since I was a child, and even then it was hard because we were all on summer vacation from school. Living in a rural area if you didn’t have a car you were at the mercy of other people’s schedule as to when you could see your friends. For my fortieth I am planning one whopper of a party! Of course that means also planning the outfit that I will wear at the party.

I will be head to toe SILVER. Silvery/gray satin slip dress worn with an aluminum chainmaille mantle, white gold leather clogs and silver nail polish. I want to be radiant and resplendent! Maybe even my hair will cooperate and produce some more silvery-gray for the occasion.

I’m extremely committed to growing older with beauty and grace. I walk EVERYWHERE, I practice HIIT yoga, eat SUPER cleanly, and am continually engaging my mind in new activities and situations and listen to non-fiction audiobooks. I don’t get all worked up about the fine crow’s feet wrinkles around my eyes or the Shar-pei creases and age spots on my forehead, it’s more of a general feeling of wellness, fitness, agility, energy and intelligence that I focus on. Though I do try and keep my skin well hydrated.

In short, turning 40 is not a moment I dread but one to look forward to and celebrate!

Always inspired

I’m sometimes asked if I get inspiration from fashion magazines. My answer? Not really. I get inspired from Instagram, Pinterest, and folks I see at work. Here are a couple examples:

The last two are from a magazine though! But you can see what sorts of things I’m looking at. I like the idea of painting on clothes, that’s been going on for a while but I’m conflicted because I also like solid black. I love making entire outfits one color but all different textures; black velvet, with black leather, with black lace, with black denim, black jersey, black satin, with black beads or sequins, oh ya!

All denim outfits. Instagram inspiration. I’m planning on making a pair of jeans with random zippers all over, I’ve started saving zippers off the clothes I’m repurposing.

Working on the pattern for the second NOLA dress. A maxi length corset dress. And my new cards came in today!

Started the trim on the new Christmas jacket. Made from repurposing a huge, ugly, gaudy blazer, found on the free pile at our community center and leather remnants. Gold thread, herringbone stitch on embossed patent leather.

Husband Luke fitting me for my chainmaille bolero! He’s working on it again! Aluminum rings from The Ring Lord in Canada.

First NOLA dress. The skirt is made from repurposed curtains that I bought for a dollar at a yard sale, then dyed. Bodice is only basted onto the skirt, but I had to put it on and dance a little!! Can be worn with or without the corset, although the corset ensures no wardrobe malfunction will occur while boogieing to a zydeco street band in the French Quarter, LOL!

Plans in the making for Christmas and New Orleans

Fitting for my Christmas outfit. I haven’t even put the waistband on! I just love the leg of mutton sleeves on this jacket. the back of the jacket is real patent leather embossed crocodile skin pattern.

My family and I are embarking on a southern pilgrimage in late March. The major destinations being Florence, Alabama to visit The Factory of Alabama Chanin, then to New Orleans, just because, but possibly in time for NOLA Fashion week. Here are my journal entries for the two new outfits to wear there. The first is a navy tube top, black handkerchief hemmed dress with a cap-sleeved or sleeveless leather bolero embellished with silver and gold.

Outfit number two is a maxi length corset dress out of this incredible black and red fabric with black lace fingerless gloves.

Discovered a new jeweler at Common Ground Fair this year. Boyd Johnson of Augusta, Maine. He has an Etsy shop: QuimbySt. His practices and philosophies are really commendable and inspiring. I ordered a pair to wear for Christmas.

Knitmaineia 2018

Here are some highlights from the Knitmaineia fashion show.

I loved the dresses! I thought the color combination with the fluorescent orange heels and bright Fair isle sweater was striking!

Dresses! My friend Sara knits like I sew: all the time, and at all hours.

My new really cool friend, MJ. She’s got great style.

More friends and inspiring knitting.

And me. Next year I would like to have something to submit, and model. That’s my goal!

For the love of lingerie

I’ve been dragging my heels regarding this confession. But here it goes…[deep breath in….gusty exhalation]. I love lingerie. I mean, I may as well wear a tee shirt that says, “will work for shoes and lingerie.” I pay bills, contribute to our retirement accounts, some groceries and gas for my car, but every extra cent is saved for shoes and lingerie.

“Real elegance is everywhere, especially in the things we do not show.” -Christian Dior

“Lingerie is NOT about seducing men. It’s about embracing womanhood.” -Dita Von Teese

“Without foundation, there can be no fashion.” -Christian Dior

There are four lingerie companies that I feel passionate about, Cosabella, Aniela Parys, Fleur du mal and Cadolle.

Aniela Parys, originally from Portland, Oregon is now based primarily out of Barcelona, Spain. She hand makes many of her articles from dead stock (leftover fabric that goes unused by the mill or brand that fabricated it. Be it because the fabric turned out blue when it was meant to be purple, the brand ordered more than they could use or they simply decided it wasn’t right for the piece for which they intended it, deadstock fabric is any textile that’s sitting around as a leftover without plans for future use.).

Now Cosabella is more mainstream. An Italian couple relocated for work from their homeland to Miami, Florida. While her husband was away at work, Valeria needed something to do! She started exporting a selection of Italian made garments to sell in Miami. As other European companies started outsourcing their manufacturing to cheaper countries, Cosabella began producing their own line of lingerie (thus eliminating the middle man) in Italy. Where they are to this day!

Fleur du mal is about dressing up and undressing (that’s their tag line!) . A little edgier then the other two, an e-commerce business with a studio in Soho NYC. I also love their description of goods, “Feminine, chic and slightly subversive.” The founder, Jennifer Zuccarini used to be the design director at Victoria’s Secret before going off on her own. I have never bought a piece of hers yet, but I like looking at them.

Another company I draw inspiration from is Cadolle. Cadolle is THE Parisian lingerie house, Herminie Cadolle literally invented the bra in 1889.

“Lingerie is a woman’s inner, secret glamour.” -Alice Temperley

This is the start to my exploration in lingerie making. There is so much specialty “equipment” ! Look at those tiny pins (game changer right there). I found sewsassy.com as a resource for special elastic, stretch lace, stretch satin, hardware and software. I picked a few things up at Joann’s but selection was limited.

Alabama Chanin baby doll top. Imagine this in different materials: leather, satin, lace trim, a black sequined bodice with a light weight flowy leather “skirt”.

“The first thing you put on in the morning and the last thing you take off at night, make it good!” -unknown

The past, present and future

Fun outfit! The “teddy” is made up of upcycled black denim from donated pants and a vest. The jacket is double layer flannel from a bed sheet bought at a yard sale for a dollar. I dyed it black. Trim is left over from that other dress, and the buckle salvaged from an old sweater. I made this outfit to wear to the Common Ground Country Fair and I literally finished it on the car ride there!

A skirt and dress that I bought at the fair. Made by my friend Rose, under her label Dippermouth. She does the screen printing, the design and making of each piece. She is still working on a website. I got a sneak peak the other day, and it is truly magnificent!

Really into this color combination at present. I was playing around with some gifted fabric, getting ready for another project, perhaps another dress. Also really into dresses and skirts right now…again.

I bought this gray satin at a salvage store: Marden’s, for $3 a yard! It’s gorgeous and has a nice heaviness. I am definitely making another slip dress with this, floor length. Complete with French seams and a blind hem. Maybe in time for Christmas.

I practiced hemming on my new Dippermouth dress. Not too shabby!

Now back to work!

I love being a woman, what feminism means to me

I had an awkward adolescence. Filled with the desire to appear more capable, I adopted a masculine demeanor. I was a “Tom-boy” to the extreme. I dressed in boys clothes, I buzzed my hair, and played tackle football at recess. People were always asking if I was a girl or a boy.

It has only been recently that I came to realize the power in being a woman. Because self confidence and self love is an evolutionary process. I still HATE being short. I’m frustrated that despite my training I can’t jog any faster than a 10 minute mile. I hate my food cravings, and slips of will power regarding food. I wish I could lose 5-10 more pounds. I still have a hard time accepting compliments.

Despite all that….

What I love most about being a woman is how men treat me. Most men look at me with a mixture of amusement and admiration, and treat me with an uncanny respect.

“It is a man’s job to respect a woman, but it is a woman’s job to give him something to respect.” -unknown

I used to get annoyed when a man would help carry something, or open a door for me, etc… like it was an insult, like they thought I was weak and helpless. I’ve come to realize it’s just a sign of respect, akin to bowing to a queen.

“An independent woman doesn’t need a man, but still prefers a gentleman who could take care of her, ravage her in bed, and put her in her place once in a while. And watch how she’ll move mountains and make room for you in her life. “. -britta.who

My best friend KelLee always wears long skirts, and almost always wears a head piece because she is a devote Catholic. She has been amongst some nefarious looking folks, people she was initially frightened to walk by. She was put in an unavoidable situation where she had to speak to them and ask for help, it was all “yes ma’am…your welcome ma’am…anything else I can do for you ma’am?” This is a perfect example of a woman being feminine and some public’s response to her.

I have met a few misogynistic males and I don’t try to change their opinion of me or women in general. I just ignore them and refuse to interact with them, they are not worth my time. Men that don’t respect or like me I don’t associate with, their loss, not mine.

“Truly powerful women don’t explain why they want respect. They simply don’t engage those who don’t give it to them.” – extramadness.com

I feel blessed to have such healthy, positive relationships with men.

“I love men, for all the ways they are different from women.” -Veronique Vial

It seems strange that an essay titled I love being a woman would be mostly about men but it’s like the Foreigner song “I guess it’s just the man in you that brings out the woman in me. ” ( pronouns switched for my purposes)