Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Every thing OLD is NEW again

In this lilac number I could see myself being a bit serious, a bit sassy, and running across a cobblestone street in London for a lunch date with the girls.

I find inspiration in a lot of things. Music people play, poems people write, paintings people paint, movies people make, and most any other form of art. I love watching my sister as a make-up artist--it really is so amazing how versatile each of our faces can be, and what we can convey through the subtle use of color. Recently, I have taken to wearing really red, matte lipstick. I never did this before, never wanted to call attention to a mouth that seems much too small for the fashion of our time, but this past year has seen a lot of change in me, and one of the ways I have marked that change is red lipstick.

There is something so simply beautiful about the lines and waves of this gown. I'd wear it with some gloves (if women still did that) and my hair in a tight chignon.

For me fashion is another outlet in creativity. I have shied away from admitting this to many people because it somehow seems vain to want something really elegant (and therefore, really expensive sometimes) and beautiful and unique and completely artistic to wear. I have found, as I search, that I never seem to love the things that are completely in fashion at the time. For me, right now, my ideal is always found in the vintage pieces that have a bit of history. 

In a world of low-rise jeans and velour track suits with the word "juicy" written on the butt, I really wish we still enjoyed how much a beautiful hat adds to an outfit and helps express your mood. As a sidenote, this model's neck is entirely too long.

I get great pleasure out of browsing these vintage pieces, letting my imagination take me to a time and place where I could wear them and delight in them and pretend they are mine. I started designing outfits when I was young, and sewing a few of these creations without patterns or know how. They may not have turned out exactly as I pictured, but I always felt great pride in wearing something I had made, or put together just so. Something unique, that reflected my style, that made me feel different and special.
This one is the perfect little cocktail dress. Hair up or down, lipstick red or nude, you'll stand out in a crowd of tight fitting and low cut dresses (blech!) in this flowing number.

For some reason, people think you are vain or selfish or have your sights set on things "of this world" if you subscribe to Vogue. When mentioning how much I love fashion to some people, they think it frivolous and wasteful...ridiculous even. I can't tell you how many people have told me that they believe reading such magazines is a waste of time. They would rather be doing some volunteer work, or saving the world from AIDS. I'd like to do both of those things too, but if I could do it in some Dior couture, I'd be happier.
The original bronze color, short skirt, and detailed bodice make me want to wear this dress while out with the girls for drinks and gossip.

When I lived in New York I became a personal assistant to a woman who rivaled Meryl Streep's version of The Devil in The Devil Wears Prada film. No joke. That's a whole other great entry. But during the hard knocks of that job, I found myself dashing back and forth from Versace to Tiffany to Dior to Chanel. I saw what went on behind the scenes, I got to see bits and pieces of fashion before the rest of the world, yes I had to deal with the snobbery of the salesmen as I was in my Gap jeans and t-shirt, but I didn't care about the people on these occasions. I cared about the art. To me the great designers are not something to mock or scorn or say "who would wear that"-- to me, they are artists, expressing themselves and helping us see our bodies and our beauty in different ways.

While I am thankful that the dress and pearl days while baking a la June Cleaver are over. I admit that attending a neighbor's barbeque in this little strawberry delight makes me happy.

If you're curious, one of the best places to browse and let your imagination go wild is The Frock

The layered silver dress is such a thing of supreme beauty that I may have to quit my job and become a full time fashion designer.
The orange one (scroll down to the third dress) would be perfect for the opera, or when I win that Oscar for best screenplay
The wedding gown on this page may be one of the most beautiful things I have EVER seen.

ALSO, my adorable friend Jenn just did her own amazing post on Fashion. I think you should all check it out and give this girl some props!!


Steve and Jenn Fletcher said...

Okay, so now I feel like a complete and utter slob. I am going to blog right now what I am wearing so you can see what I mean. Jenn.

Alisa said...

This is so cool. I have always liked the dressses in your sidebar too. I think I'm as close to your wavelength as I'm going to get. I did my hair in hot rollers and wore a 1940's retro (sigh... not vintage) blouse with a skirt today. Pretty straight-forward as far as style goes, but I was thinking it's stylish for me. I have only begun to wear skirts besides when I'm absolutely forced to.

That said, I need some new style ideas, especially easy up-do ideas for my hair. I think you're the woman to help my sagging sense of style!

D'Arcy said...

Jenn...you missed the most important part! This is all about imagination!! I am not actually sitting her in an Oscar de la Renta gown that looks like one of these http://www.lasplash.com/uploads/2/Oscar_de_la_Renta_Spring_2008-6.jpg (though I wish I were)...I'm in yoga pants and a t-shirt for pities sake with my hair in a pony tail because I just busted my butt trying to do pilates!!!!

But, everyone should have at least one special outfit that makes them feel like a million bucks!!

Alisa, maybe Thursday after we watercolor I can do your hair? I love to experiment with things like that!! It will be so fun!....maybe I can finally do that photo shoot of you?

jomama said...

i looked at those dresses that you linked to, and now i'm in love as well! especially the orange one.
you have a fellow lover of fashion in me, although you would never know it by the way i dress on a daily basis. i used to feel so guilty that i loved fashion so much and craved fashion magazines, but i do think, as you said, that it's an art form and another way of expressing ourselves...and well, i just love your style!

Rowena said...

I, too, love fashion and style and clothes and color... but not the whole spend spend spend on name brands or purses whose price would feed a small country for a year.

When I was single and fancy free, waiting tables and painting and writing in downtown manhattan, I PLAYED with fashion. I shopped at salvation army and at the outlets and just enjoyed myself.

I am not exaggerating when I say that the styles I created started showing up on the runways the next season. It was really weird. I tried to make hats come back in, but life intervened and I was unable to indulge in fashion, and I spent less time out and about and had less time to play.

Now all my clothes are stretched out and stained with child residue, and besides, people just aren't as interested in real style down here in Florida. I would get looked at strangely. Maybe in a year or two.

Michelle said...

This made me want to go buy new clothes.

Also, I was so close to telling you how much I liked the red lipstick on you on Sunday.

Stina said...

I want to see your outfit, Alisa, and I want to see D'Arcy's makeover of your hair and photo shoot too! I can't wait!

D'Arcy, I love your fashion aesthetic and can totally see you rockin' each of those outfits. I am utterly stunned by people who can create fashion designs and actually make what they imagine (a la Project Runway). Do you watch?

Sugar said...

Love the Strawberry number. Reminds me of the china pattern I wanted for lunch with friends... I still kinda want it... I could wear this matching dress! Oh no... I'm starting to get those Crazy Eyes!

So many emotions come up when we see or wear a particular look. I'm choosing my outfit for my 20 Year HS Reunion this Friday. I wanted my outfit to say sophisticated, fun, free spirit, smart... I'm really happy with my choice. I'll post it after the event. First I have to confirm the sitter!

Chelle said...

Um, I really want ALL of those outfits. Seriously.

Kate Lord Brown said...

Fabulous darling! Fabulous! Is the little black cocktail dress for sale somewhere? Just love it. I also worked in the designer rooms at Harrods while at college (while shopping vintage or 'pre-loved' at Oxfam - UK equivalent of the Salvation Army!) - what an education ..! So stylish - these dresses have brought a smile in England this evening - best wishes x

D'Arcy said...

Jo! I hear you. You do have the greatest fashion sense ( that, along with your music tastes makes you about perfect in my book). I just like to take the money out of it (because it's not like I actually buy these things, I just dream of it, and one day, I'll have a room where I can sew up my own creations!) and enjoy myself. Although, considering I have been doing yard work and am in cut offs and the shirt I use to paint in, well, I feel wrong writing in the presence of the clothes.

D'Arcy said...

Rowena, I agree!!! I really could care less about the name brand, it's just some of these name brand designers got where they are because they are artists.

Why does art have to be so expensive? I guess it puts a value on it in society. I wish it weren't so, there are a lot better things to spend one's money on...but again, everyone deserves something special sometime.

I would LOVE to see a post on some of your fashions, past and present. I'd love to hear about some of what you do differently (and will get permission before I create my own knock off) I can see you being pretty amazing and unique in your style. Do a post about it!!

I loved your New York stories, by the way! What a lucky childhood!!

D'Arcy said...

Michelle, thanks! Some how you only see me when I've got the red on. Now at least you understand and don't think I am so eccentric (which wouldn't be so bad, i suppose). Let's hang out soon!

D'Arcy said...


I crave to watch project runway!! Alas...woe is me...i don't have cable and my TV barely gets channel 2, 4, 13. So, it's usually DVDs for me when I do watch something. However, I could probably get that on a DVD now, couldn't I?

I will have to.

Should I confess that I do watch America's next top model, just for the fashion shoots, not all the house drama...

I just sent my RSVP for your baby shower! Hurrah!!

D'Arcy said...

Sugar...wow, matching your dishes would rock. There is a secret part of me that loves stuff like that. I remember in junior high I had to buy the matching socks to all my outfits. It was crazy!

I can't wait to see what you put together. Way to go for the reunion. I didn't go to mine because everyone was married with babies and i believe I took a two month trip to Brazil. That'll show 'em.

D'Arcy said...

Michelle, you don't have room in your closet...remember? How's that coming by the way, did you find a shelf or something?

D'Arcy said...

Kate, thank you for your comments! Yes, it is for sale. If you go to http://www.poshgirlvintage.com/

and search under cocktail dresses you should find it!

I love your blog by the way!

ophelia rising said...

All of these dresses are fantastic. I love the bronze color one. And I absolutely LOVE the hat. I SO wish that hats would make a bigger comeback. I do love them, with all my heart. I wear them every chance I get, (which is not so often, or I guess as not as often as I'd like). But, I guess the point is, if it makes you happy, who cares if something is "in" or not, right?

I sort of run screaming from trends, too, and love these lovely, classic styles, especially looking at them aesthetically. (sp?)

Thanks for sharing that website. :)

HappyWifeHappyLife said...

Great post! I used to be really into clothes and fashion back when I "went to work" everyday. (Because, as we all know, Corporate American really is a giant fashion runway, right?) Seriously, I enjoyed really dressing up.... LOVED looking great and feeling great! That is one of the (few!) things I miss about working for myself (and all by myself) at home. Yes, of course I could dress to the nines but there isn't a SOUL here to notice other than my 2 dogs. :-)
(And a husband who - lately - has been less than affectionate, shall we say....)

But I do love being girly - dressing up - looking mah-velous and beautiful and feeling feminine and smart and sexy and all That Stuff.

Cool stuff indeed!

And GOOD FOR YOU with the red lipstick girl! My skin is so pale and my mouth fairly small, so I've never QUITE felt comfortable with "true" red... but I admire anyone who can pull it off!