Sunday, February 5, 2012

Fashion......stuff dreams are made of.

Did you know that I adore fashion?  The clothes, the shoes, the boots, the hats and accessories.

My younger days were full of dreams to one day be a designer.........or be able to afford other designers' clothes. Instead, my mother, who was an expert dressmaker, spent hours at her old Singer treadle machine (and later a newer electric model which she never really liked), sewing Vogue Designer patterns into gorgeous clothing. When I emigrated to America she continued to sew for me. 

In the sixties and seventies, brown paper wrapped parcels, tied with string and sealing wax, took up to 6 weeks to come by ship across the pond. Later they flew over the heaving Atlantic, and were plonked on my doorstep within a few days of leaving the old country. We never lost a parcel in all those years and I was always thrilled with everything she lovingly stitched for me.

Eventually I became an accomplished dressmaker myself - thanks to good training at home and in school - and I made myself some lovely clothes, again only using Vogue Designer patterns, especially Calvin Klein. Now I rarely sew except to do a few alterations, shortening a hem, sewing on buttons etc. I may make a pillow, a table cover, or some other home decor item, but dressmaking is just a memory.

I guess, like most women of a certain age, high fashion is mostly inappropriate for me now. Skimpy, see-thru, very short, form-fitting - not an ounce of extra flesh permitted  - and sometimes downright ridiculous styling.

Instead, comfort has taken over my wardrobe. Still stylish when possible - I love Vera Wang's affordable bits at Kohl's, and the I.N.C. international styles at Macy's - but now I mix them with the classic and traditional such as good cashmere sweaters and cardigans, J.Jill's always great stylish jackets, and Coldwater Creek's comfy, non-wrinkle basic pants for travel. 

I kick up my heels in nothing more than a comfortable mid-heel shoe, but secretly crave a pair of rusty red 6" heels for a fun night out - and painfully sore calf muscles for several days following no doubt! I like these bronze-brown Joan & David oxfords, my favorites this Winter, back in style again now, and I've had them several years.

I rarely wear dresses, however my Winter comfort piece - discovered at REI - is Horny Toad's warm, fleecy hooded sweatshirt style dress - so cozy worn with leggings, or over skinny pants tucked into my much-loved tall riding boots.  
Yes, comfort matters, but one can be stylish with a little effort. I still love to flip through Vogue - there are some very talented designers out there following their dream. I wish them success. 

Do you look at fashion magazines? If so, which ones?
Are you dressing for comfort these days?


  1. I like your style! Oh yes, comfort is my main requirement these days...I find that I cannot even wear 2-1/2 inch heels anymore without suffering. I fear my style is seriously lacking however, most of the time. I don't even own a dress and haven't worn a skirt in about five years. I don't keep up with the fashions and haven't looked at a fashion magazine in ages (it's too depressing!). It's mostly blue jeans for me these days, and Sketchers for my feet.

    Love those Oxfords of yours!

    I do have a few nice basic pieces if I need to dress up; it's not entirely hopeless! I love soft, flowing garments in beautiful fabrics and can imagine some lovely garments but they are nowhere to be found in the shops. Guess I need to get out the sewing machine and fine a good pattern...

  2. I love what you're wearing, Mary - you look great!
    Weren't you lucky to have had all those years of wonderful parcels from your mother?!
    I've never paid too much attention to fashion but not because I don't like it - it's just that at 5'1 everything needed alteration and I've never been much of a seamstress. Each season I pick a uniform and wear it to death. This winter it was a wooly tunic and leggings (and I love yours!). I have two fashionista sister, and I quake whenever a get together is planned because I am always the Country Mouse.

  3. Just dressing for comfort...sorry Mary, you would despair of me, I have NO interest in fashion.

    Sft x

  4. The only fashion I see these days is in magazines from the UK; Good Housekeeping and Woman & Home.
    Mail order has been my saviour living here in rural Normandy.
    Artigiano is a favourite, Lands End & LL Bean for everyday sweats & comfortable indoor clothes.
    Through you I discovered J Jill but was shocked at the high cost of International shipping, so haven't purchased anything yet although I do still browse their website from time to time!
    Great brogues btw!

  5. I love British Vogue; it always seems on the cutting edge for me. A real treat and inspiring for so many parts of life.

  6. You are one of the most stylish women I know Mary...seriously. You always look pulled together perfectly. I love J Jill and Coldwater Creek too.

    Love that hoody sweater dress!

  7. I love to be comfortable too, but as you say, it doesnt necessarily mean dreary.
    I team a fleecy top in a bright colour with nicely cut cords, pick out matching earrings etc...but no high heels any more. I just find I get tired walking in them, sadly...!

  8. I've always dressed for comfort, but tried to keep a funky, edge to what I wear. Pinterest is a great place to see fashion! That's my go-to place right now. :-)

  9. I like to dress for comfort but I think you can always kick things up with a pretty scarf and stylish boots or shoes. I wear flats or a little chunky heel, I am so short, I need a bit of help.

    How lucky you were to receive those packages from your mother, a very sweet gesture of love. You still have a great sense of style...I love the outfit you are wearing in this picture and I have noticed in other pictures how chic you are!


  10. I've never been too interested in fashion magazines. I dress mostly for comfort but still scrub up quite nicely when it's required:) I've always preferred very simple, classic styles and these days they are the most flattering anyway.

  11. Hi Mary: Thanks for visiting my blog.
    I love your blog, photographs of his travels are beautiful.
    Sorry we have a problem of communication by language. At the top right of my blog I have built a translator and the feedback I get in different languages ​​translate with the translator of Google and so I can enjoy his blog to not speak their language. I like to have as a follower. An affectionate greeting soon.

  12. Hello, Mary! I loved this post and hearing about your mom sewing your clothes. My mom made most of our clothes as kids too, and I love to mess around with my sewing machine now! Love those shoes. I have some almost exactly like only without the shoestrings. Love them!

  13. Mostly I dress for comfort, but still love to see what is in and maybe take something out of my closet that can be worn in a new way. I always used Vogue patterns too. I think my wedding dress was from a Vogue pattern. Love J.Jill and actually occasionally find something that will fit me and on sale at Anthropologie. Found some cool, used cowboy boots in the Fall for only $30 and love wearing them for the fun of it. Scarves are also good still. Your shoes look very comfy. I do need something like that. Of course, I like fashion, having worked in the fashion industry for 25 years.

  14. You have flair Mary!!
    I love love fashion!! I used to buy Vogue like crazy in my 20's.
    I love the clothing boutique stores too.
    How lucky to have had a mom who could sew!!!
    Pamela xo

  15. Mary, there is no question in my mind that you have always had great style sense. I, too, like fashion, but I like to stick with the classics. Love the outfit you are wearing! ~ Sarah

  16. I'm always watching fashion shows on TV as well as home decorating and cooking shows but you could never tell it by looking at me or my home. Comfort above all else is my motto.

  17. Being tall and willowy Mary you are so lucky. My fashion is comfy jeans from M&S and a T shirt perhaps dressed with a pretty scarf.
    I can't remember the last time I pulled on a pair of tights or squeezed my feet into high hells but ............ I have my memories of,winkle pickers and paper nylon petticoats and circular skirts and hot pants and snazzy cocktail dresses. Those were the days.

  18. JJ - you are far too complimentary, quite tall yes, willowy no way!!! But thanks dear old friend - I love YOU just the way you are. Great recalling those old fashions - we did them all, now those clothes are almost vintage, just like us, ha! ha!

    Mary -

  19. Your outfit and oxfords look very stylish and comfortable! I think it's wonderful that your Mom sewed all those wonderful Vogue fashions for you, even on a treadle machine, and that you then followed suit (ooh, a PUN! :-) ) My sister was always the fashionista in our family...she modeled for several years. I can always appreciate someone's great sense of style, though! Great post!

  20. How wonderful that your Mom sent you clothes - made by her! Most days find me in blue jeans/slacks and flats. I have my dress up clothes but my life these days is very casual. Funny thing - this week I'm reading THE THOUGHTFUL DRESSER by Linda Grant.

  21. I'm more into garden magazines than fashion ones! Although I do get dressed up even if I just run out to the grocery store! How wonderful that you mom made and sent! clothes to you. I don't sew as much as I used to either.
    Take Care,


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