24 November 2012

Le vendredi avant le Bal

Extraordinary affairs we have the pleasure to enjoy in life would not be phenomenal without the intense act of event planning. The groundwork that precedes a lavish function is time consuming. Those whose daily lives are governed by a planner of the Smythson nature are more likely to forget that these pre-soirée moments should be savored.  A close friend should be present at all dress fittings, especially if the fittings take place in Paris. Hotel room(s) reserved for ball weekend should be arranged a year in advance for it is impossible to function while displaced. The ball-goer should be deeply fond of her soirée weekend wardrobe, which should included at least two appropriate outfits for dining. The hotel is one's home for the weekend. Raise a glass of Chardonnay in all of its dining rooms. Pen postcards and proceed with daily writings while luxuriating in the lounge's wing chairs. Several visits to the hotel boutique are encouraged but generally the act of shopping should be kept to a minimum so as not to diminish the memory-making essence of ball weekend. The day cannot be seized from the fitting room.
Le vendredi avant le Bal

06 November 2012

Valuable Vote

"Nobody will ever deprive the American people of the right to vote except the American people themselves and the only way they could do this is by not voting." 
- Franklin D. Roosevelt

Enfranchisement does not arrive on one’s doorstep devoid of costs. A vote, like freedom, is fought for and died for. It is an opportunity to which all are entitled but many still do not enjoy. A vote is a powerful force as it belongs solely to the voter. Election season is a time for each citizen to decide which candidate will execute a given political role in the best interest of the people. It is a span in which the people acquaint themselves with candidates of opposite political parties, seldom in an intimate setting such as dinner or embrace. Thus in order for the responsible voter to arrive at a firm decision regarding the assignment of his precious vote, he must familiarize himself with the candidates’ stance on political issues. Unedited televised sessions of debate and legitimate interviews that pose relative questions to candidates are excellent windows into a nominee’s plan to govern. Commentary originating from a candidate’s neighborhood garbage man or interviews conducted by leading woman on daytime television do not fall into the legitimate category. The art of persuasion during election season a.k.a. wartime may become desperate, which is why the responsible voter is educated and seeks both sides of every story.  Ultimately the responsible voter decides firmly on a candidate. He does not passively sit on the sidelines undecided or ashamed of his choice because the candidate does not fall into his registered political party or racial background. The responsible voter is willing to stand behind his vote and looks polished while doing it. He is dressed unapologetically sharp, prepared to answer inquiries on topics such as the national debt with poise, elegance and without a teleprompter. The educated voter is not phased by slogans such as “I’ve got his back” but selects his candidate according to a nominee’s intention to uphold a given constitution.


18 July 2012


In Hitchcock’s Rear Window, when Lisa Carol Fremont (played by Grace Kelly) spends the night with L.B. “Jeff” Jefferies (James Stewart) to sort out a mysterious neighbor, she presents her Mark Cross Overnight Case as proof that she is capable of traveling light. Looks like you packed in a hurry. Look at this. Isn't that amazing?” Jeff concludes upon observing the case's minimal contents. While the day Fremont spends with Jefferies may not have been a Friday, Saturday or Sunday, her packing style is exemplary of weekending preparation. Unless you are attending a formal event, packing for the weekend should not be a monumental task. The weekend by definition should be effortless and never deprived of its simple essence.

You are eager on Casual Friday, the ceremonious beginning of the mini-retreat you have well earned. You loathe rap (I refuse to call it music) spilling out of city car windows and yearn for your grandfather’s wrap around porch in the country. Anticipation for your departure from the bustle is amplified. Work has not ended but you are not quite sipping martinis while sailing on Blue Martini. Your goal is to get out of the city as soon as possible and with great swiftness. You hope the bus/train/plane/cab is not a second late and that traffic by some miracle is not thick. When you unite with your loved ones, you sink into an atmosphere of familiarity and after five minutes feel you have been with them five months.

Uncomplicated Saturday calls for a late start. You sleep in and when your inaudible internal clock wakes you, it is time to descend the arched staircase and hasten into the kitchen to make your favorite meal grand petit déjeuner with your favorite people. On this last day of the weekly calendar you have unlimited options for passing time. You refrain from using city gadgets (MacBook, iPhone, iPad, kindle) as you would much prefer to play Scattergories on the wrap-around porch and read books with actual pages. Spending time by the accessible water’s edge is an obligation.

Excursion Sunday you realize you have to work the next day, so you feel obliged to soak up the remainder of the weekend by rising early at the sound of your (this time) audible clock. You mentally prepare for returning to the hustle of the city which, determined to prolong your weekending, you decide should take place on Monday morning instead of Sunday night. In the meantime, you put on your Sunday clothes, à la elegant Dolly Levi and take a short drive or bicycle ride somewhere to connect with any type of civilization. The evening is spent on the grand white porch.



25 June 2012

Monochromatic Moment

Pairing separates of the same hue/tone for a monochromatic look is bold and when executed correctly is one of the most advanced styling tactics I have ever seen. I am not refereeing to monochromatic as in I wore black to a funeral or I wore white to my wedding. Vivid hues are beckoning. Embrace them. If you feel overpowered break up your top and bottom with a belt of a different color such as black. If you can’t handle matching your footwear with your outfit, you may opt for a shoe in a neutral hue. Simplify your accessories to the necessary watch but if you are feeling bold, match your watch band to your ensemble.

21 June 2012

Progress to Pemberley

Upon reading Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, protagonist Mrs. Elizabeth Darcy (née Bennett) hastily became my favorite character. Her reasonability coupled with her independent nature set her apart from average women. Thus adjusted to the twenty-first century, I imagined her wardrobe prior to her marriage to Fitzwilliam as very practical consisting of key pieces in neutral colors such as black, white, navy, grey and khaki. Mrs. Darcy welcomes rapidly occurring changes such as the gaining of sister-in-law Georgina, responsibilities befitting mistress of an estate, and perhaps even university coursework (relevant to 2012). To reflect her life’s enhancements, Elizabeth’s reliable wardrobe should be updated to transition between hosting guests at Pemberley, schooling and leisure in London and weekends at Netherfield with also-recently-married sister Jane. Elizabeth does not strike me as the type of woman who follows trends or even keeps them in her minds eye but she would look for pieces to spice up the classics she already possesses as well as 
welcome new staples.

Progress to Pemberley


19 June 2012

Shrewd Cube

My attempt at traveling light during festivities this past winter opened my mind to the sensible idea of carrying a small bag. Convinced of the need to tote around numerous necessary possessions, I shied away from bringing bags that did not resemble a bottomless pit out before 5 pm. But as I mature each day as a person so does my style sagacity. I am learning that I do not always have to bring everything with me. Archie Grand notebook can be replaced with a single sheet of paper for doodling purposes. The size of water bottle can be downsized as well as highly-coordinated water-drinking schedules made. SLR can be left at home – not every instance in life should be blog-worthy. No one other than Atlas should constantly bear heavy loads on his shoulders. Handbags in the shape of rectangular prisms usher me into a phase in which I travel with only the bare necessities during the day (when possible). Furthermore they have in a subliminal manner cut down on my shopping since it is impossible to fit any type of purchase within it.

13 June 2012

The Sleeveless Silk Top

The sleeveless silk top has come to my rescue plenty of I don’t have anything to wear moments. While I am not opposed to silk tops with sleeves, I prefer them short or nonexistent, which accounts for my overlooking them in a line of sleeved tops during the dressing rush. Once recovered, they are pushed to the most visible part of my wardrobe and donned under open cardigans and blazers. Also worn solo, the sleeveless silk blouse is a fashionable force, often the missing link in an incomplete outfit.
Walls should not be bare but rather an inspirational board updated throughout life. 


25 May 2012

An Education

Sixteen-year-old Jenny Mellor played by Carey Mulligan in Lone Scherfig's An Education hopes to be accepted at Oxford University to read English. It is 1961 when her path crosses with that of David Goldman (played by Peter Sarsgaard) whose age exceeds her own by 14+ years. The older company she has come to keep causes her to pit the value of her formal education against the value of life experiences. While Mellor has a natural yearning to learn in the traditional sense, a chic culture-infused life in Paris strikes her as more worthwhile. Jenny Mellor is radiant and carries herself like a woman beyond her years. Throughout her pursuit of knowledge, no matter how rocky, she remains resolute in who she is as a person - a girl secure within herself.
An EducationM.J.W.

21 May 2012

The Absence of Jewelry

Diamonds have been praised for their girl’s best friend status. But my best friends are beings (some human and some furry) who could never be replaced especially with objects of material meaning. There are many items which rank higher than hard carbon on my list of favorite things like stripes, vibrant colors and brown paper packages tied up with string. It has been verbalized by several observers that I am not what one would call a "jewelry person".  While I would not go as far as to swap my engagement ring for a state of the art closet like Carrie Bradshaw, I would eagerly accept a walk-in on a less-life-defining occasion.

Minimal does not even begin to describe my meager jewelry collection. My philosophy on necklaces (with the exception of ones fashioned from genuine pearls) is the bigger the better. I don't acquire neck decoration often. On the rare occasion when I add a necklace to my collection it is important that it either makes a statement solo or can be layered with others to give the appearance of a larger piece. When I accessorize beyond the essential Timex watch my neck is what I choose to adorn. On the contrary, simple bracelets usually find themselves in my favor because they can be worn superbly with Mr. Timex and are less likely to catch on something unexpected. 

17 May 2012

The Grosgrain Belt

Do not shy away from the grosgrain belt. This timeless piece was made to be seen. Women, pair them with dresses. If opting for skirts or pants, tuck the front or entirety of your shirt into your bottom so the grosgrain is exposed. Men, a shirt flap tucked into your pants or shorts signals that you pay a little attention to how you look without trying too hard.   
P.S. Currently I am employing grosgrain belts to update my trench.

08 May 2012

05 May 2012

Principal Pencil

It is my suspicion that most women would not think of pairing a pencil skirt with anything other than a high heel. For me, shoes of a flat nature are obvious elements that astutely bring the pencil down to earth, establishing it as an everyday staple.
Principal Pencil


02 May 2012

Tote Everlasting

I declare, the cotton canvas tote is the only bag I can fill with parcels one day, a change of clothes the next and a small pet on emergency veterinarian visits. A good cotton tote adjust to any setting and last a lifetime (but since I have not reached the age of 30, my theory has not yet been tested). 

During times of travel, the tote serves as a carry-on to hold items needed at the ready, such as proof that I am a legitimate citizen of a country and a bit of reading material. The chance that on any given moment my simple bag is filled with a book or two is very high. When I buy or borrow novels, I never acquire just one. Since I refuse to acknowledge the existence of the Kindle, a spacious bag is vital to simultaneously tote around The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Little Dorrit.

Homemade sandwiches on gluten-free bread and Brita-filtered water are typical provisions found in my tote during commutes and excursions to the farmers market or Trader Joe's. Yes, it is quite acceptable to eat food while en route to buy more food. In my effort to be as green as possible, I often opt out of bagging my newly purchased sustenance in tradition paper or plastic. Instead, Weetabix, plums, salad and granola are placed inside my spacious canvas bag until relocated to designated spots in the kitchen.

Tote has also been used as a portable cushion - lugging around a traditional seat cushion is not an option because of its bulky nature. Also my grandmother would disapproval of my employing her coordinated seat cushions to keep grass stains, hot pavement and sand at bay.

When the temperature reaches ninety degrees, tote turns to beach bag, containing items such as flip flops, bottles of frozen water and magazines (not books - the last time I took a book to the beach it escaped the car at a rest stop and I have not seen it since).

Matching Thread

When sewing up a hole in a sweater or reinforcing closed pockets on a pair of pants, make sure you match the thread with the color of the fabric you are sewing. Although my common sense easily caused me to arrive at this conclusion, I did not heed. Instead I proceeded to repair a tear in a navy and white striped shirt, beginning on a navy stripe with thread of the same color through my needle. When my sewing line approached the white stripe, I continued to stitch without switching my thread to white. The repair site was located at the bottom of my thermal shirt and I thought my hurried needlework would go unnoticed. I was wrong. It appears as though a fly has come to rest on my hip, diminishing the meaning of the word repair. Like the application of lipstick, sewing should not be rushed. So I slowed my speed and used matching thread when closing a small hole in an adorable citron sweater.

18 April 2012

The Bare Midriff

The bare midriff trend should be restricted to the two-piece bathing suit, athletic/exercise uniforms, and traditional cultural garb such as the choli. Even when executed tastefully by pairing a high-waisted skirt and low crop top together to expose only a hint of skin, I don’t find this trend sidewalk worthy. An exposed midriff is unnecessary, especially in an age when plenty of photographs of exposed skin exist in excess. My mission in life is to look as least like a video girl as possible. I don’t feel the need to prove my humanity by flashing my belly button in public. Additionally, I get cold in air conditioning. 

When tying the bottom flaps of your button-up together, opt for a bottom with a higher rise such as the pencil skirt to keep your midriff under wraps.

17 April 2012

Jack in the Park

I have never been able to find a tennis shoe with arch support that met my standards. That was, until I met badminton shoe Jack.  He and I explore new places ranging from amusement parks to museums. We romp around together in athletic soffe shorts hidden inconspicuously under above-the-knee dresses and skirts. Jack in Luna Park


13 April 2012

Social Shoe

Espadrilles, originating from the Pyreness, were first worn by men but by the 1940s women were sporting this (then flat) form of footwear as well. The first high-heeled espadrille was launched in the 1960s through a collaboration between Yves Saint Laurent and espadrille-maker Castañer. Founded in 1927, Castañer had experienced many hardships including the Spanish Civil War and it was through the elevation of the espadrille literally in height and in
social status that the company was restored to glory. 

Rumored to have been the uniform footwear of the Aragonese king around the thirteenth century, the espadrille's wearable nature runs deep in its history. Wearers of this jute-soled shoe should embrace its endless, exceptional qualities this social season. A women instead of sinking her heels into the ground at outdoor events, should opt for this wedged style. If selecting a pair with long ties, she should experiment with various tying methods prior to wearing them in a social setting.  I prefer to position my self-tied bow at the back or inner area of the ankle. 
Fidgeting with one's shoes will be obsolete due in part to the effort required to tie perfect bows (an effort one would surely not like to waste). Comfortable footwear allows one to focus on important things... like not sounding as unintelligent as Hilary Rosen on the Anderson Cooper show.

10 April 2012

Lipstick Beginnings

My days of refusing to wear makeup were not that long ago. So when I reflect on how long it took me to even think about trying lipstick and subsequently find one that I would be willing to be seen with in public, I conclude that lipstick is one of the most advanced cosmetics that exist. I do not mean "advanced" as in a sense of newness but in a sense that it greatly matures a woman’s look and can prove complicated for inexperienced wearers. Myself falling firmly into the novice camp was forced to make quick decisions during my first day wearing Poppy King. Time spent in front of the mirror cannot be rushed; lipstick outside the lip line or gathered in a clump is far more noticeable than any mishap involving other types of cosmetics. Applying lipstick demands preciseness and is best applied in a non-frazzled state. If you are too rushed during mornings before work save the lippy routine for when you arrive at your place of employment (after breakfast of course).

Starving yourself is one way to keep your lipstick on all day but ladies let us not.  Quickly I accepted that reapplication is part of lipstick protocol.
 Drinking through a straw is more lipstick friendly than drinking without one, unless you get kicks out of painting the rim of your cup red. Your lipstick may make it through hors d'oeuvres if you eat very strategically. But from what I hear unless you have applied lip liner on the whole of your lip area under the lipstick, it may not hold well. 

Having warmed up to lipstick less than two weeks ago, I am quite proud at having ventured into the domain of the nude lip liner, a place I never thought I would go. I have established that lipstick will be wiped off before meals but never with a cloth napkin at the dinner table (I mind my manners).

08 April 2012


It is impossible for one to own an absurd amount of striped tops. White shirts with navy stripes and navy shirts with white stripes are wardrobe necessities. Do not let anyone tell you otherwise. I can not think of any color this nautical element does not pair with nicely. Stripes like impeccably brought up children, play well with other elements like prints and patterns and can be taken anywhere, always exhibiting best behavior.

26 March 2012

Oxfords and Pretty Pleats

The first thing your mother might say when seeing your oxfords is “they look like men’s shoes.” When you reply “yeah, so?”, she may display one of her facial expressions that signal disapproval.  Your grandmother might tell you to abandon them all together and give you money to buy “shoes that woman wear.” Appease them by wearing a full a-line skirt slightly above the knee. The witty juxtaposition will render even the most traditionalist speechless.

Oxfords and Pretty Pleats


23 March 2012

Updating the Trench À la Katharine Hepburn

Perhaps I would have considered Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967) more interesting if I had been born in the beginning or middle of the 20th century instead of within its final 15 years. If it had not been for the engrossing manner in which Christina Drayton (played by Katharine Hepburn) wore scarves over the shoulder, I would have discontinued my viewing of the film. Abandoning involved knots and ties, Mrs. Drayton embraces simplicity by effortlessly hanging scarves over the shoulder like a sunbather might carry a beach towel en route to the water’s edge. Straightaway I was inspired to update my trench coat with a vibrant scarf. To channel Mrs. Drayton pass your scarf through the shoulder strap of your trench and allow the excess to hang in front of your coat and at the back.  I prefer to pass the scarf through both loops on each shoulder to create a cape-like effect at the trench's back.  The free fabric in front may be tied into a knot at the neck (what I prefer) or draped in front of the shoulders like epaulettes.  

28 February 2012

Public Assistance

I spend so much time running in and out of stores that it has literally become a sport. Flats or sneakers have become standard footwear. The amount of time I spend in shops has caused me to assess the role my appearance plays in the level of customer service I receive during my visits.

Although outward appearance plays a major role in how one is perceived by sales associates, the issue of prejudice arises when that perception influences associates’ reception of guests into a store. I will never forget one instance last spring when I visited an upscale department store in Philadelphia (its 1818 Chestnut Street address positions it in close proximity to the refined Rittenhouse area). I had just left Tiffany’s wearing heels and a little black dress, and began to walk west on Chestnut Street towards the store in question. Upon entering, my handsome dinner date and I were greeted with a massive amount of enthusiasm by every single sales associate we encountered in every department. On this shopping trip I did not once have to ask for assistance; it was given with no strings attached. Subsequent visits mirrored this one as pre-dinner-date browsing became a ritual.

One afternoon I made the “mistake” of field-tripping to this store in activewear during one of my thirty-block shopping runs. Only one sales associate was willing to afford me his time. Unfortunately I could not take him up on his offer - he worked in the men’s department. I passed through on my way to women’s. Even more unfortunate was the fact that no employee in the women’s department was willing to greet, smile or look at me. Perhaps the store in question does not service women dressed in trainers, I thought. A middle-aged associate upon my approach conducted herself no differently than if a body of warm air had just positioned itself in close proximity. When I inquired after a selection of scarves she, with a countenance one step shy of complete disregard, curtly informed me the full assortment was on display. Needless to say she did not offer any type of input as to my choosing a multi-hundred dollar scarf. I might as well have been selecting paper towels from amongst various brands on a grocery store shelf. Although the moment did not escalate to the scene in Pretty Woman where Vivian Ward (played by Julia Roberts) was disrespectfully treated on her first Rodeo Drive shopping trip, I vowed to never again give my business to this undeserving establishment.

At that moment I became aware that I would have been better received at any grocery store than I had just been received at this particular shop. Crossly I descended the beautiful marble steps of the interior and emerged under the majestic blue awning onto the concrete. I bounded northwestward to Trader Joe’s where Hawaiian-shirt-wearing associates have a wonderful way of treating customers like holidaymakers on an island resort, and who unlike employees of most stores I frequent warm my soul more than any overpriced scarf ever could.


21 January 2012

Resort State of Mind

The release of resort wear serves as an excuse to turn my attention and wardrobe towards warm spring. It makes no difference whether I am actually in the midst of planning a sunny vacation or not.

Resort State of Mind


13 January 2012

7.62 Centimetres

Three: the number of inches my last pair of purchased pumps adds to my natural height and also the number of hours I spent debating the appropriateness of a low heel for a woman in the early twenties age group. An acquaintance once expressed his dislike of young women wearing low heels, which he viewed as rather “old lady-ish.” Upon hearing this, I considered a multitude of apparent topics. At length I questioned the legitimacy of the notion the younger the woman the higher heel.

Myself, an avid wearer of ballet flats had on several occasions entertained the idea of wearing high heels on a daily basis. However I was disengaged from the thought because I had never met a high heel that could meet the demands of my active lifestyle (i.e. one I could wear comfortably for eight hours straight). My trusty 3¾ inch stilettos have proven reliable during our two year relationship.  But unfortunately they have also demonstrated their “unwearability” of a mere four hours.  Upon reaching the absolute point at which I am unable to feign comfort, I pull a pair of flats from my large tote that I am compelled to carry in order to store the extra pair of shoes.
My experience with the 3 inch heel, unlike my experience with the 3¾ inch heel was purely enchanting. The 3 inch stiletto is by far the shortest high heel I have ever worn but in fact the most dependable. When I journeyed outside for the first time donning my modestly heeled footwear, I was pleasantly surprised after treading one block that my intuition to carry a clutch and forego the packing of an alternate pair of flats was wise.  My feet were intact and do I dare say comfortable for once in heels! Thus far, we have walked on cobblestone and gotten stuck its cracks, ridden a bus, socialized for hours at a private gala, walked a red carpet and braved the night air. We have strolled past the sites first where the Declaration of Independence was written and second where it was signed.  Then we laughed and danced with the most handsome man in the world. The perfect heel is one that enables the wearer to savor all that life has to offer in comfort but also in style.  As I finally learned first hand, it is possible for a heel to possess both standards in addition to a third, quality and also a fourth, a bit of feel-good magic.  A woman’s youth in not measured by the height of her high heel but by her ability to embrace life.


07 January 2012

Opening 2012

Dear Reader,

As we close the first week of the new year I am confident that 2012 will be most eventful. I wish that style will present itself to you in a timeless light.  I trust that you will nurture and develop a wardrobe of classic pieces that will be sure to carry you through another year of many good times and perhaps some difficult ones as well.  As a stylist, I dress clients for weddings, funerals and everything in between. Life is most precious and your clothes should "live" it with you.  May all doors open for you and yours.  Thank you for your contribution to Aussie Blue in 2011 whether it was via comment, tweet, collaboration or e-mail, your input was (and always is) very valuable.  Let us go forth in 2012 with a worldly awareness in our style and also our philosophies.  Eloquently expressed by Albert Einstein, "If most of us are ashamed of shabby clothes and shoddy furniture, let us be more ashamed of shabby ideas and shoddy philosophies.... It would be a sad situation if the wrapper were better than the meat wrapped inside it."




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