..to press some leaves between sheets of paper, under the rug..
Seriously good questions in this (longish) article.
And you know I like a good question...
A nice wee Scottish town with great beaches,
and long-legged people
with interesting shoes
I wonder who designs the soles?
and if it's a fun job..
Nairn also has
this lovely old postbox
and the best flower shop in the area. (My sister's!)
For a while.
I leave you with a collection of quotes from my style notebook which I have collected over four years and which have made me think, or made me laugh or inspired me - sorry I can't always credit them.
Wear confidence. It is the height of fashion.
Elegance can be quiet but it must be confident.
Elegance is the privilege of age.
Stick with a style and add a piece or two a year.
We want the utopian place where comfort meets good looks.
Buy less and buy the best.
Remember they can stay lovely on the shelves.
Fashion...is life enhancing and, like everything that gives pleasure, it is worth doing well. Vivienne Westwood
To me clothing is a form of self-expression- there are hints about who you are in what you wear. Marc Jacobs
Fashion changes but style is eternal. Yves Saint Laurent
Clothes make the man. Very few naked men have much influence in the world. Mark Twain
Style is wearing an evening dress to McDonald's, wearing heels to play football. It is personality, confidence and seduction. John Galliano
Regarding your own style - Once found it brings complete happiness, It gives you self confidence, always. Yves Saint Laurent
Naturalness is synonymous with stye. Armani
Fashion is all about happiness. It's fun. It's important. But it's not medicine. Donatella Versace
There now follows a short interlude..
I've been on this theme for well over a week but it has led me to such interesting places - sociology, psychology, history, nostalgia.... There are some great books and blogs to explore.
I reminisced in yesterday's post about my family's interest in making things, clothes included. The things they made were more homely than fashionable but in my father's family (coal miners) Great Aunt Jen, Aunt Nan who worked in the fashion department of a big store, and Aunt Margaret who was very pretty had style.
Aunt Jen was housekeeper to a wealthy family, and when she visited home, a two roomed house (that's not two bed-roomed, that's two-roomed with outside toilet shared with another family) I remember her furs, hats, discreet make up, jewellery and perfume - all in the best of taste, and understated, never flamboyant. The lovely thing was she was perfectly at ease about these things and shared her pleasure in them with us all. I think ease with whatever you are wearing is a hallmark of real style. She was quite a character, with a great sense of humour, and I wish I knew more about her. She holidayed in Switzerland. Switzerland!! It might as well have been the moon.
We were thrifty and frugal but knew quality when we saw it. I remember my Mum showing me how some cloth was full of dressings which would wash out and leave the fabric limp. She would also examine the weave for closeness (thread count though we didn't call it that).
Studying Printed Textiles at Glasgow School of Art further refined my eye for good quality, design, and style and when I see someone or something with style I always do a quick analysis - it's fascinating to me, and fun.
What were your influences?
My Mum knitted me this beautiful jacket to a Kaffe Fassett design.
I wonder if you've also been thinking about Linda's questions?
Where do we learn about style and why do some of us become more interested than others in clothes?
I come from a family of makers.
In their free time the men did fretwork and made rag rugs. My mother and her sisters, and their mother, knitted - Fair Isle, aran, Shetland baby shawls, socks, mittens, hats, scarves, sweaters, clothes for us and for our dolls and teddy bears. They even knitted dolls and teddy bears. They did crochet with fine yarn and lacy patterns. They sewed - curtains and home furnishings, dresses, skirts, blouses, (I made a coat when I was in my teens and I designed and made my wedding dress). I have from the earliest age memories of them sharing patterns and ideas and showing each other colours of wool and fabric and discussing the quality and combinations. I was often allowed to choose. I have a lovely memory of the magic of a Fair Isle pattern appearing from the needles and noticing how the colours changed when put in different combinations. My father, a grocer, went to evening classes to learn window display and with a fine hand could paint tickets and prices on the shop window.
They were also a quiet family and much of this activity was conducted in near silence. The click of knitting needles or the gentle sound of the sewing machine were comforting background noise. Reading was the other main home activity. It was all taken for granted really and when I showed some talent for art they would say 'I don't know where she gets it from'.
I was lucky.
The phrase the fabric of our lives occurred to me as I thought of all this. A good title, I thought and looked up Amazon books to see if anyone else had thought of it. They had and I bought a book about allowing grief to become part of the warp and weft of our lives and on YouTube found this...
Thank you Linda.
Style was something else...
I love the comments on this blog! I like that it's a conversation and exchange of ideas - interesting ones from interesting people. Thank you for that.
Guilt! With regard to clothes it's usually that we have spent quite a lot on something and hardly worn it. Evil? Immoral? Wicked? Criminal? No, we just had a splurge for whatever reason. We didn't let our children go hungry to buy it, or risk losing our home. We just splashed out a bit more than usual and now it is sitting there unworn.
a) wear it again, altered perhaps (and practice chutzpah)
b) give it away so several people benefit (charity shop worker has a job, purchaser gets a bargain, end user of charity service gets help and we ourselves no longer feel guilt every time we see it
c) sell it on eBay or similar and buy something we will wear and enjoy wearing.
And I think we can forgive ourselves. That's what you'd tell your best friend, wouldn't you?
Lucille mentioned 'chutzpah' even the sound of it suggests supreme self-confidence. I have looked at my collection of seldom/never worn things to see if there are any that I am simply not wearing because I lack the confidence, and I intend to gradually learn to have more chutzpah. Let's be a bit more daring and not take our clothes too seriously! It won't hurt. Join me?
The interesting question was from Linda who asked in yesterday's comments where our interest in clothes originates. This sent me on a nostalgia trip....which I'll elaborate on tomorrow.
Meanwhile..I am loving these
but they squeak!
The delightful scents of drying lavender and ripening quince are filling the room this evening as I put my feet up after a satisfying day's gardening and consider my next moves on the wardrobe sort.
And the tiny final pickings from the violas cheer me as I do the dishes.
Did you have a good week-end?
A chance lighting effect. Flowers under a lamp are always lovely. These little roses remind me of summer. Yes, as is my habit, I am still resisting autumn!
What I thought was going to be a 'tweaking' of my wardrobe has turned into something more.
It seemed a good idea to put all the things I rarely or never wear - you know the ones you put on but always put back on the hanger - into one pile -it's huge!
Now how ruthless do I want to be? I suppose the answer will be in looking at the pile and asking myself of each thing 'How does it make me feel?' and 'Would I buy it today?'
Reminding myself of how I want my clothes to make me feel....
I think my favourite charity shop is about to get a big donation.
Thank you for sharing your good ideas!
Back to clothes. (I know. From decapitated whales to dresses and skirts is a bit of a leap - you never know what you are going to get on this blog!) Yesterday's post reminded me that a much ignored part of my wardrobe that needs my attention before winter comes is my outdoor outfits...I'll get to that later.
It is fun sharing ideas and from Julia's comment yesterday I got a new one. I will put aside, all in one place, the things I just never wear or use then I will go to that place as if it is a shop and shop there as though I hadn't seen any of it before. And report back! A variation of 'shopping your closet'.
But back to the matter in hand. It will be the work of moments to deal with skirts and dresses. I have two of each! One skirt I never wear - into the 'shop' with it.
Something that I knew would come up and want to find a solution to is the matter of 'good' clothes and in my case 'dressy' clothes. I'm rather fond of dressy clothes but as an artist and gardener living in rural Scotland I very rarely have the opportunity to wear them. Not that I have very many but I'd like to wear those I do have, and I'd like to wear them out!
The secret I think is not so much finding occasions to dress up (though a few would be welcome) but devising ways of dressing down so that I don't feel uncomfortably overdressed but still get the pleasure of wearing my 'best' things.
Today I did jackets and to my surprise find that I have quite a lot of them. But I also realise that I wear them less often as I no longer have a car - I tend to need a coat - though some are thin enough to wear under a coat. I need more time to think about these...
Rather a muddled post today - too many unresolved questions - but that's what the process is about I guess. My little style notebook which I began using in 2013 has been invaluable. Sizes, stockists, quotations, lists of needs and wants....do you have a style notebook?
..if you are squeamish!
Living in the wilds has it's gruesome side.
A dead Northern Bottlehead whale has been washed up on the shore nearby.
Rare in these waters it is thought to have got it's tail entangled in crabpot lines (though there are alternative theories about military exercises and sonar causing whales to suffer from decompression sickness and there has been a big exercise here lately...). It's lungs were full of water.
First word was that men in huge rubber aprons wielding big knives had been seen on a particularly narrow stretch of the single track road. Experts from the Scottish Marine Animal Stranding Scheme were on site but the carcass at almost 7 m long and on a rather inaccessible shore couldn't be lifted, thus the knives. The head has been taken for examination to The National Museum of Scotland, along with samples of stomach contents and entrails. Squid beaks. In the orange boxes.
It is an awe inspiring and very sad sight (and a truly awful smell).
We see seals, porpoise and dolphins, and I know a local boat fishes for prawns (which are sent to Spain!) and when the sea birds are diving you know there is a shoal of fish, but there is so much unknown in the waters of the loch. I did not know there were squid, and I am awestruck at the thought of creatures of this size and larger - this was a juvenile - out there in that other world by day and tonight by the light of a full moon. I wonder how far into the water the moonlight penetrates.
Do the whales look up and take note?
I'm taking the wardrobe sort quite slowly this time. I've considered how I feel now and how I want to feel. (One person I helped felt 'confused' to start with and 'delighted' when we finished. Nice result.)
I've removed everything from the wardrobe that is not ready to wear for whatever reason. I'll examine one category at a time.
I'll start with my problem - trousers. I have many shabby pairs and not many that fit well
There is one beautiful pair I have had for 11 years and not worn for the last five, maybe six? Why am I keeping them? Because they are beautiful, they were quite expensive, I felt so nice in them once....but I try them on but always take them off again and choose something else. I realise they are a bit dated but I could go looking under the same label for an update....
What kind of trousers suit you and your lifestyle best?
Being very small, I suit narrow slim leg or straight leg, full length - jeans/jeggings, one summer dressier pair and one autumn/winter dressier pair, and the one pair which really fit nicely - I am off to buy two more the same to swap with some of the worn ones - that will be the answer for me. I do wear trousers every day.
Because I tried them all on, that took about an hour on yet another rainy day. An hour well spent. Three to donate, one to recycle, two for gardening folded in a drawer, one summer pair to put away elsewhere, five wearable pairs hanging in the wardrobe and one pair on. Nice result.
The tee-shirts took five minutes! Six on the hangers, one on, one in the wash. Some fading and stretched at cuffs and neckline. Could do with three new ones. Standard length, cotton, long sleeves, self colours - a shopping list is developing and the search is on for the right colours. That's my basics.
Are you making progress?
I will change the subject tomorrow - a gruesome tail....
A slightly different angle on questions about your wardrobe ... How do you want your clothes to make you feel?
Comfortable/confident/ attractive/ warm/ dry/ stylish/ creative...
More food for thought in this site - lots to browse if you have the time and the inclination -
Scarves are my favourite accessory and I have lots, hanging on their own set of hangers, ironed and ready to wear. I spend more than I used to on lovely quality fabrics (though I do buy in the sales) and the quick addition of a fresh scarf and perhaps a pair of earrings makes me feel ready for anything!
I am taking out from the wardrobe everything that is not ready to wear now. So, those things that need altered or dry cleaned and the many pairs of trousers that don't fit, as well as the ones which are only fit to garden in because I have way too many gardening clothes.
Do you have things in the wardrobe that you can't or don't wear? Getting them out of there is a great step forward!
Have you thought about your feelings regarding the clothes you have? It's a good place to start. (See yesterday's post.)
So, How do I want to feel when I look at my wardrobe?
Quietly pleased, maybe a little excited? Relaxed, knowing that I have something for every occasion, and that everything hanging there is ready to wear. That I can dress things up or down with accessories I love.
I'm happy to say I don't need to Kondo it - that was indeed a one off - I just need to tweak it a bit.
No big deal.
Just pleasure. If I sound a bit smug, and maybe I am :-) it's because I worked on this some time ago (engaged brain!) and it has really paid off.
Fashion is still my fun!
More favourites. Scarf: The White Company. Necklace: Cos.
Scarf: White Company sale. Necklace: Sahara.
I've spent this rainy day re-reading my own posts under this heading and sorting out, or 'curating' my wardrobe.
There are quite a lot of posts under Simply Stylish. See especially Aug and Oct 2014 if you are also planning a wardrobe sort.
I took my own advice and looked at my wardrobe and asked myself how I feel looking at what is there. Because it has worked so well for me over a few years now I was a little surprised at how many negative feelings came up...
There is the nice dress I wore to Barry's funeral. Will I really ever want to wear it again?
I feel almost taunted by the unworn summer clothes (we have really had no summer to speak of!)
I feel a bit guilty at the number of things I had meant to get altered and never got around to.
I feel enbarassed likewise that there are several things there which are overdue a dry clean.
I feel so frustrated that I cannot buy exact replacements of my real favourites which are wearing out.
And I have to confess there are many things hanging there which I have loved and which have served me well but which I have to accept are past their best :-(
And I may just have crossed the line between subtle and drab!
Work to do, and to enjoy.
Not waving but drowning?
I like the birds shadows on the bed!
Favourite necklace (Topshop) and scarf (Sahara).
Will you join me in an October revamp?
..to all who so generously donated to Ardgowan Hospice in memory of Barry. We are almost at the £1000 mark (and still swimming..).
Scott was cheering Jennie and Laura on on Monday as they swam in Loch Long. The sun was shining but wetsuits were definitely required!
Details on this post livesimplysimplylive.weebly.com/blog/simplya-sparkly-skirt
So proud of them, and so grateful to you. x
So many of York's important buildings were under scaffolding on my last visit (Phoebe the cat lives in York).
St William's College.
The Mansion House.
With photograph. (To show you what you are missing.)
And many many more..
Inluding the Minster which always was and always will be partially covered in scaffolding. It's essential work and it is good that the money can be found for conservation though it must be a bit frustrating for visitors who have come especially to see the architecture.
The east end of the Minster has been covered in scaffolding for many years while the restoration and conservation of the largest expanse of medieval stained glass in the world was carried out. It is wonderful to see it uncovered again.
This buoy way out on the loch has a chair attached to it (?)
Laura said it was 'the naughty chair' !
The stonemason's yard by York Minster has wonderfully carved pieces of stone stacked around. Fascinating.
It's wonderful that these skills still exist.
As does a sense of humour!
And here is a wall worth building.... fantastic.
The very essence of an ideal holiday for me..being out of doors in gentle sunshine, eating out, a total media break, a good book/gallery/concert...simple requirements.
This can be city or country, abroad or at home, any season, and for a day or a week. I could add no timetable, the freedom to change my mind on a whim, and I would always want my camera.
I prefer short breaks and like to think that is because I love home and don't need to 'escape' it to have a holiday.
Are you also torn between returning to places you love and going somewhere new?
I enjoy quite frequent changes of scene and prefer the company of family and close friends to that of strangers, though I'm happy with my own company too.
Childhood holidays at the seaside, away from the city grime were very special and keenly anticipated once a year events, though when an aunt moved to rural Wigtownshire we spent Easters and some of summer there in the bracing air with wide sandy beaches to ourselves and the freedom to go and explore on our own.
I love holidays.
Between the sparkly skirt and those photographs and a motivational book I feel myself moving slowly forward....into the New Life.
Thank you to Dragonlily who in the comments many months ago said 'some things you just have to learn to live alongside with' She was right.
I'm taking a blog break to take advantage of a forecast spell of dry weather - I hope they've got it right!
Here are the first pages of the new life notebook
I accept is by far the hardest.
Wishing you smiles and sunshine.
I could not resist this. People have an occasion coming up and go shopping for something to wear. I bought this on impulse and now must find or create an occasion...
I wore it to the preview of the latest exhibition, though I thought I might feel overdressed (more on that later). I also wore a coat I have had for seven years or so and have worn once!
It felt such fun after what seems like weeks in waterproofs and gardening clothes that I have decided to wear out all my 'good' clothes!
On an entirely less trivial note my daughters and some of Barry's swimming friends are swimming A Mile For Barry (in a quarry, in the sea, and in Dunoon swimming pool!) in September to raise funds for Ardgowan Hospice where my husband was wonderfully well cared for before he died of cancer last year. I know we all have our charities we like to support, but should you feel moved to give a small donation to help others be equally well looked after, I have added the giving page details below. We would be most grateful.
I learned something important (for me) yesterday. I don't mean deep learning in the Artificial Intelligence/Machine Learning sense - I mean it as something imprinted not just in my mind but in my body, in every cell.
I'm not sure I can explain it well...in yesterday's photo taken by Scott I held that pose for maybe 7 or 8 seconds, laughing because it was early on a rainy Sunday morning, we'd only just got out of bed, I was feeling far from exuberant and energetic, and what on earth were we doing trying to copy a pose on a postcard? (When I showed the postcard to Scott and said 'Do you think we could take a photograph like that?' he replied in his polite way 'No thanks' but almost immediately changed his mind...and went to find his wellies.)
But that extravagant gesture brought with it a delightful surge of energy which stayed with me all day, and made me grin every time I thought of it. Just 7 or 8 seconds of physical movement had such a big, positive and lasting effect!
If you, like me, live too much in your head, won't you try it and see what happens to your energy levels and your mood? It helps of course to have a seven year old around, or a dog, or a friend who likes a laugh.
I shouldn't really be surprised because I know (in my head of course) that this is why people run and jump and get into sport but I've never really liked sport, or exercise. And I am surprised and rather delighted to have discovered how this worked for me. It's that 'act as if' thing. I look at the photograph and know that I haven't felt like that in so long...but acting as if I did had this magical effect.
Well this is a long-winded way of saying it made me feel SO HAPPY!
I am reminded of this all-time favourite cartoon - www.pinterest.co.uk/pin/173107179400186336/
Our version of yesterday's post..
Oddly, I think they are better in black and white. Not sure why.
Great photograph for a seven year old, don't you think?
Well done Scott!
And thank you for the inspiration C - it will be yet more fun to try for a sunny day version, a snowy day version....you may have started something here.
An artist seeking a simpler life - (but not too simple!)