Friday, November 24, 2017

The Day I Cried at Bergdorf's

An unexpected emotional reaction to a sneak peek of preparations for Berdorf's iconic holiday window displays had me scrambling for tissues in a back room.
Last month, in the belly of Big Apple icon Bergdorf Goodman's, I cried. It started with just a few tears; the kind that well up in the corners of your eyes over a particularly poignant holiday commercial. I'd have been fine if no one had noticed, but tiny tears turned to full-fledged sobs when friends remarked on my overtly emotional state of being (a poker face, I do not have).
By chance, my ensemble for the day's excursion coordinated perfectly with the dapper characters that were handcrafted for one of this year's magical holiday window displays.
I wasn't sad. I was just...overwhelmed. I was there with the IMA Fashion Arts Society for a special behind the scenes look at the historic department store that is a legitimate NYC tourist attraction in its own right. It's even the subject of a documentary, "Scatter My Ashes at Bergdorf's" (which I highly recommend, by the way).
Of course a visit to Bergdorf's called for a bit of shopping. It is, after all, a department store.
Bergdorf's is known the world over for its creative seasonal window displays. So much more than run of the mill merchandising, these dioramas are magic - they tell a visual story that delights man, woman, and child alike. You may think me silly to wax poetic about windows but, if you've ever walked down 5th Avenue at the holidays, maybe you understand.
This year's windows feature a "To NewYork with Love" theme, and each is evocative of the city's appreciation for the arts; this window pays tribute to the New York Historical Society. Learn more about ALL of this year's windows and glimpse them here.
The window installations are art. Each one is months in the making, and takes a crew of full-time professional artists and craftsmen hundreds of hours to create. The Christmas holiday windows are particularly special, and each year's designs are a closely guarded secret until their unveiling in mid-November. And so it was that I found myself tearing up in the basement of Bergdorf's amidst mannequins and a well-dressed minotaur...elements of this year's windows in the making. 
Like kids in a candy store, we sang and danced our way through the in progress art installations.
I was overwhelmed that we were getting such an intimate look at the creative process. I was stunned at the level of detail and craftsmanship that goes into each exhibit. I was shocked that we were getting the inside scoop on the HOLIDAY WINDOWS, of all things, and even more so that we were permitted to take some pictures with a promise that we wouldn't divulge any images before the windows were unveiled (which was just last week).
For Autumn in New York, I chose a Fall color palate. The simple burgundy dress is from Amazon; the scarf was made by my Mom; the watch is Michael Kors; the bag is from Burberry's Limited Edition Beasts Collection; the hat is from an Austin boutique; the embroidered Mia boots are from Nordstrom.
This special Bergdorf's experience wouldn't have been possible but for the Fashion Arts Society, and the women who accompanied me on the trip have woven a rich tapestry of friendship in my life that is far more valuable than our mutual appreciation of textiles and style. I was, to be honest, a bit embarrassed to be inexplicably emotional in the basement of Bergdorf's. But even as I tried to hide my tears and dab my eyes, I was surrounded with hugs and tissues and good-natured laughter that allowed me to simply embrace all that I was feeling, the top note of which was...joy. 
My tiny tears turned into full-fledged sobs...
It was an experience I'll never forget, and last week my Fashion Arts friend Dawn brought all those same emotions to the surface when she presented me with a handkerchief embroidered with the store's initials and the date of our visit. Her thoughtful gesture once again had tears welling up in my eyes, but I resisted the urge to use her gift to dry them - I'm saving it for my next visit to Bergdorf's!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!


I'm linked up with Hat Attack!






Tuesday, November 14, 2017

Elegance is an Attitude

The Breeders' Cup was just over a week ago, but I'm still savoring a great weekend at Del Mar. Southern California really does have the perfect weather, and the setting was truly beautiful. It was easy to see how the track touts the slogan "where the turf meets the surf."
Custom chapeau (Abigail Aldridge Millinery); Crystal peacock purse (Fawziya)
It was also an honor to be selected as a finalist in the Longines' "Most Elegant Woman" contest on both Friday and Saturday. The iconic Swiss watchmaker sponsors racing and equine events all over the world, and usually invites celebrity representatives to help select "best dressed" winners at such events. 
"Most Elegant Woman" celebrity judge Carson Kressley was both gracious and funny.
This year's Longines' celebrity judges included reality star and style guru Carson Kressley and "10" superstar Bo Derek. It was great fun to meet both of them, and chatting about fashion with Carson was a hoot. The man has a great sense of humor! 
The shoes are from Amazon; I added the peacock feather clips to coordinate with the rest of my ensemble.
My ensemble for Friday started with the dress. Sometimes it begins with the hat; and sometimes with the shoes, but this time it was a Banned Apparel peacock and fan print dress I found last year on clearance at Unique Vintage. 
My stylish friends Eva (left) and Sharon (middle) were also finalists in the Longines' Most Elegant Woman contest.
I didn't buy it with the intention of wearing it to the races. Yet, when I saw a photograph of a "fan hat" created by New York milliner Abigail Aldridge, inspiration struck. I scoured the web for the perfect folding cloth fan to complement the fan pattern in the dress, ultimately finding that "just right" piece on Etsy. 
I wouldn't typically go with purple nails and toes, but it the official color of the Breeders Cup, after all; I always like to make sure my hats look good from the back, too, since people are staring at the back of your head in the stands all day.
Once I had the fan, I worked with Abigail to bring my millinery vision to life. It was so much fun to collaborate with her. She was also a dream to work with, even though she was in NYC and I was in Indiana. We exchanged many late night emails and lots of photographs along the way, but it really paid off because I could not be happier with how her creation completed my Breeders' Cup Day 1 look.
You'd think Eva and I coordinated our looks with each other in advance, but it was total coincidence that we matched both each other and the Del Mar art installations.
Beyond the ideal weather; stellar racing; and fun fashion, however, the best part of the Breeders' Cup, for me, was making new friends. I met the beautiful Chicago native Eva Irena, pictured above, at the Arlington Million in August. We connected immediately over a shared love of chapeaus, but last weekend gave us a great opportunity to make some great memories (and plan some future adventures). 
KDef brought his own style game with a purple seersucker suit.
We also met up with a fantastic couple from Ireland in town for the races. They are planning another trip across the pond in May for the Kentucky Derby, so hopefully we'll reconnect at Churchill Downs. Once again, it was a mutual appreciation of racing fashion that paved the way for an introduction...I can't say it enough: great hats bring people together!
We toasted early and often with Irish couple Sharon and Tom in the G.H.Mumm champagne garden.
Of course, a well-coordinated ensemble may lead to an initial conversation, but the substance and style beneath are what make the (wo)man. The Longines' slogan "Elegance is an Attitude" fits our new friends perfectly!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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I'm linked up with Hat Attack!

Wednesday, November 1, 2017

A "Million" Hats

Cheers from the champagne tent at Arlington!
Hi friends! I've had a bit of a blogging hiatus lately as I've been wearing a few too many hats - in the metaphorical sense, that is. One can never wear too many hats in the literal sense!
When a teapot is really a purse! This Kate Spade wicker bag really is "my cup of tea."
You can also never wear the same hat too many times if you find creative new ways to style it. This royal blue, hand formed silk abaca chapeau from Spirit of Harlequin in the UK has been an unexpected "go to" topper for me this year.
I first saw this faille dress at Nordstrom but it was more money than I wanted to spend...a few months later I found the same dress, new with tags, on eBay for a third of the original retail price. 
I got it specifically to wear to this year's Indianapolis 500 Snakepit Ball (see the look here). But in August, I discovered to my surprise and delight that with the addition of a vintage brooch and black embroidered lace at the base, it was also just right for the Arlington Million in Chicago.
These stylish ladies and I bonded over our shared love of chapeaus and novelty purses!
It actually turned out to be such a great complement to my azure Arlington sundress that I won the weekend's "Fashion at the Races" best-dressed woman contest! I was honored to receive the award (and who am I to look a gift horse, or a Nordstrom gift card, in the mouth). But more importantly, my oh so blue ensemble also led to a new friendship with a fellow hat lover and racing enthusiast.
If these shoes look familiar, it's probably because I have them in multiple colors. The heart-shaped heels are fun, but also wear like a wedge, which is great when you're on your feet at the racetrack all day long. I added the clips to further coordinate with the rest of my ensemble.
We bonded over champagne, chapeaus, and novelty purses on the backside of the track, and now we're both headed to California this weekend for the Breeders' Cup at Del Mar!
KDef gets styled for the races, too... check out the thoroughbred cufflinks; jockey's hat tie; and those shoes... I really love those shoes!
I'm looking forward to sunshine and catching up with my stylish new friend on the West Coast. I've said it before, hats don't just pull an outfit together; they bring PEOPLE together!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Wednesday, August 23, 2017

When Life Gives You Lemons...

When life gives you lemons... Yeah, I'm just not feeling a blog post based on an ancient cliche about optimism in the face of adversity at the moment. 
My yellow "Chuck's Sisters" Converse All-Stars have been my Summer obsession. They're hard to find, but I scored these, new in the box, on eBay. They're a prefect complement to a lemon clutch from Amazon.
Yet, I can't really throw on this lemon-print sundress without the trite refrain running through my head.
Yellow accessories (watch band; citrine David Yurman ring; and vintage bead necklace) bring light and life to a quirky lemon print dress.
Old saws aside, if you actually have a bounty of lemons and you actually want to make lemonade, check out the latest issue of Indianapolis publication Edible Indy for a new twist on the Summer standby (several new twists, in fact).
A navy cardigan from ModCloth is the meringue topping on an ensemble that's more sweet than sour.
Edible Indy is my go to guide for the scoop on Indy fare from farmer's markets to restaurants. It's also packed with easy to follow recipes using locally sourced ingredients. I'm such a fan that I have the quarterly mag delivered to my home, but if you live in the Circle City, you can pick up your own copy at several locations around town. You can also check it out online!
A wide-brimmed navy sunhat and gold-mirrored cat-eye sunglasses add more style "a peel" but are also functional necessities (I see your lips puckering at my sour pun, but I just HAD to squeeze in one more!)
As for those lemons, I'm using them in my own unconventional way...to add "zest" to my wardrobe!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Sci-Fi Submersion

It's always fun to meet the actors in a film you've seen; Bishop Stevens plays the villain in Submerge: Echo 51.
When supergirl film producer Amy Pauszek invited me to attend the recent world premiere of the short film Submerge: Echo 51, she had no idea that I was actually a sci-fi fan. It's true. I enjoy the genre, and the quirkier the better (think Lost in Space, Eureka, and my beloved Dr. Who). 
My hand blown glass galaxy pendant from Scott Pernicka of Internal Fire Glass is as much art as jewelry. 
My appreciation of sci-fi isn't much of a secret, especially when you consider the fact that I have a custom-made Four Eyed Girl dress featuring the TARDIS (if you don't know what that is, we can still be friends, but you're not as cool as my peeps who know that the time-traveling blue box is "bigger on the inside). 
I couldn't resist the subtle "exploding TARDIS" pattern of my dress by Four Eyed Girl
The red carpet premiere of Submerge: Echo 51 didn't have a dress code, but it seemed like the perfect opportunity to break out the Dr. Who dress, paired with my favorite yellow Converse All-Stars (they're not Chuck Taylors; they're called Chucks Sister, but they're super hard to find in the US). As for the movie itself, it's the latest installation in a short film series written, directed, and shot right here in Indiana by local talent Demetrius Witherspoon. I haven't seen many "short films," and I wasn't sure what to expect, but I'm always a gamer to try new things.
My gold mirrored, crystal embellished sunglasses from Amazon are "cat eyes" but they also have a bit of an "alien" vibe. Either way, they're super fun.
It was a delight! Though it will appeal primarily to hardcore sci-fi fans, the dialogue and acting managed to make me care about the characters though the entire story unfolded in less than 30 minutes - a testament to talent of Witherspoon. When the credits rolled, I was left wanting more; wanting to know just what happens next for the main characters. 
A small rechargeable battery inside this bangle from ThinkGeek keeps the stars twinkling for up to 8 hours.
Luckily, I'll get to find out because a full length follow-up feature film is in the works. In the meantime, you can catch Submerge: Echo 51 at this weekend's Gen Con in Indianapolis, the largest and longest running event of its kind. It's the most highly anticipated film playing at the gaming convention, which will welcome more than 60,000 ticket holders. Get submerged!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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Sunday, July 16, 2017

I scream, you scream!

I scream; you scream; we all scream for ice cream - especially on National Ice Cream Day! Not that I've ever needed an excuse for ice cream. 
It's always been my favorite dessert...especially if it has a ribbon of peanut butter running through it...and hot fudge...and maybe some crushed oreos to top it off.
As a kid, I also loved helping my parents make homemade strawberry ice cream in an old school wooden churn. Goat's milk; lots of plump, juicy fresh berries; and plenty of rock salt to get it to the perfect consistency. Delicious!
Unfortunately, though my taste buds scream in delight over the creamiest of frozen treats, my tummy often cries in pain when I indulge.
I can't give it up, though, so I'm always on the lookout for mouthwatering non-dairy alternatives, whether to eat or wear! In fact, over the years I have accumulated three different pair of ice cream shoes, like these kitschy heels from Poetic License, and I can't get enough of this fun "sundae" purse from Betsey Johnson. Hope you're enjoying your own frozen treats, today, too!
Fashion is what you buy; Style is what you do with it!
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I'm linked up with Hat Attack!