Monday, May 24, 2010

A Nice White Blouse Is a Versatile Addition to Any Wardrobe

A white blouse is a versatile wardrobe essential worth every penny you pay for it.

Today's fabric blends ensure that a white blouse will look fresh and wrinkle-free throughout the day and evening.

A dash of Spandex or Dacron is the key. I can't wait until more the stain-resistant and even self-cleaning textiles become common.

It's tempting to believe large clothing hides figure flaws, but this is not the case. Tuck in a white blouse for a trim, professional look.

This means making sure the tails are long enough to stay in and short enough not to bulk up under the skirt or slacks.

An exception to the not-too-large rule is the Big Shirt or poet's shirt. These are cut full in the body and have long tails. They are meant to be worn outside of slacks and may serve as a jacket.

The shoulder seam should fit at the rounded edge of your shoulder, no matter how full the body. This will avoid sleeves that are too long.

Here are some more tips for fitting and buying a white blouse -- more than one -- as a versatile wardrobe purchase.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

New Fabrics Created at Nexus of Nanotechnology and Biotechnology

I started researching fabrics and fabrics, such as environmentally-friendly cotton blends.

Now, smart fabrics and wearable technologies are creating textiles that will help heal wounds and build bones. Self-cleaning fabric also is in development.

We already have cloth that kills germs, wicks away sweat, resists odors, and provides sunscreen protection. Some experimental products have allowed wearers to hear their MP3 players wirelessly.

My interest is more at the level of sensual and appreciation.

I still love walking through a fabric store -- even though I do not sew except for the occasional curtain -- to savor the riot of colors and textures.

A walk through a craft store that displays handmade papers is another of my own personal nature walks.

I regret the loss of the thick, plush cotton velvets of my youth. On the other hand, the new engineered velvets drape better, are shinier, and more lightweight to wear.

All innovation produces a touch of nostalgia for those of us who are old enough to have a past to remember. But the benefits of smart fabrics, especially as more environmentally friendly manufacturing processes are developed, are almost magical in their potentials.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Knowing Your Style Is Step One in Basic Wardrobe Planning

Identifying your personal style is recommended for basic-wardrobe-planning.

Two books I’ve recently read that take this approach are Tim Gunn: A Guide to Quality, Taste and Styleand The Lucky Guide to Mastering Any Style.

The Lucky Guide (Kim France, Andrea Linnett) is skewed young. The book is lavishly illustrated with photos.

There are two useful features.

Each section profiles a young woman who illustrates that fashion type. Some of her favorite pieces also are photographed.

Secondly, each section includes a feature that shows how one foundational wardrobe item may be used in versatile ways – such as transitioning through the seasons, or being teamed up for professional or party wear.

Tim Gunn’s Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style, written with Kate Maloney, is wittier and delves more deeply into what makes a woman chic.

Gunn, for example, lectures readers about the importance of posture.

The line drawings that serve as illustrations are a charming reminder of vintage illustrations from the 1920s through 1950s. They cannot compete with the usefulness of good, color photos, though.

Written like the academic Gunn fundamentally is, the chapter on fashion style types first defines the difference between a fashion icon and a mentor.

Gunn advises against slavishly copying a fashion icon and adapting fashion to one’s one figure and lifestyle.

My complaint with both books is that they focus too much of styles that are popular on the East or West coast. Suburban style and a professional look for older women get left out of these mixes. Scroll down to see table comparison.

Euro Chic (Catherine Deneuve) Les Francaises (Deneuve)
The Bombshell (Sophia Loren) The Siren (Angelina Jolie)
American Classic (Katherine Hepburn) Masculin/Feminin (Hepburn)
Gamine (Sofia Cuppola) Les Gamines (Cuppola)
California Casual(Farrah Fawcett)bi-coastal opposites? The Risk Takers(Sarah Jessica Parker)
Rock and Roll (Patti SmithThe Rockers (Smith)
Bohemian (Stevie Nicks); Arty/Slick (Donna Karan) The Bohemians (Donna Karan)
Posh Electic (Debutantes who may someday become doyennes) Les Doyennes (Haute couture fashion leaders; a look too mature for Lucky readers
Mod (the youthful equivalent of?) Italian & Complicated (Fellini’s women)
Nothing equivalent Power Brokers (Oprah)

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Basic Wardrobe Planning Is Easy as S-O-S

Basic wardrobe planning has turned out to be one of my most-hit articles at e-zines.

Managing my own website has challenged me to develop many new skills. Watching traffic statistics is one of them.

Writing for a few hundred site guests a day is a big change from writing for hundreds of thousands of newspaper readers when I was a reporter.

I had a lot of freedom, but the one topic that was always taboo was fashion. Fashion editors were very territorial about not sharing that domain with a features reporter.

There is a lot of free help for any woman who wants an image makeover. My article mentions some excellent basic-wardrobe-planning information on the Internet.

I also have some favorite books. The public library is a great place to browse for ideas on how to change your personal style.

It's really not that hard to put together a practical, budget-conscious, and flattering wardrobe -- once you understand basic-wardrobe-planning.