A Date With Destiny? Wise Words From Coco!

I love quotes, and this is one of my favorites regarding one’s personal appearance:

“I can’t understand how a woman can leave the house without fixing herself up a little, if only out of politeness.  And then, you never know, maybe that’s the day she has a date with destiny and it’s best to be as pretty as possible for destiny” – Coco Chanel

Coco was oh-so-wise, and judging from her many male suitors she had no problem of lack of dates with destiny!  I think it’s also wise that she says that fixing yourself up is a polite thing to do.  I, for one, quite frankly get tired of seeing a sea of sweats, baseball caps and either too baggy or too tight clothes on everyone. Men, women, children, old and young have all seemed to have adopted a universal uniform of blandness.  Gray, navy and beige reign supreme.  Blah, dull and sloppy are paramount.

I really, really try to “fix myself up a little” each day.  I like to mix vintage pieces with contemporary and add some cool accessories.  I try to wear COLOR! each day.  I love wearing textured “tactile” clothing such as cashmere, angora, linen, and silk.

I sheepishly admit that I haven’t had many “dates with destiny” lately…but as Coco says…maybe today will be the day.  I try to be ready for any possibilities. 😉


A Boring Marimekko?

I love Marimekko designs!  I love the brightly-colored printed fabrics and simple styles.  Being half-Finnish, I’m always interested in what my Finnish kinsmen are designing and I’m always excited to run across something made in Finland.

Marimekko was started in Finland in 1951 by Armi & Viljo Ratia.   They had artists apply their graphic designs to textiles and the rest was history!  Jackie Kennedy brought Marimekko to the forefront in 1960 by wearing several different Marimekko dresses during the 1960 Presidential campaign.

Marimekko designs flourished in the 1960s and ’70s.  Bold, bright and graphic!

I’ve never run across a Marimekko garment before, but I found one the other day.  Uh, dare I say, boring?  Not exactly the exciting color explosion I was expecting.  It is a linen jacket in a pale oyster gray.   Superb design and construction…very simple and spare.  It reminds me of what the Finnish landscape must look like in winter.

I shall keep and wear it despite its plainness.  I keep anything that I find that’s made in Finland.   I have a Finnish black wool hand-woven cape and a moth-bitten Finnish reindeer sweater that I wear.   Finnish designs are rare and hard to find.  I like to keep a little of my heritage, even if it’s boring.  😉


The Chanel Faerie Visited Me Twice Today!

I am an unabashed, unapologetic Chanel freak! Anything Chanel is on my list of holy-grails, and I’m always in search of those ever-so-elusive authentic Chanel items. Sometimes I just forget about actively seeking them, going back to finding “realistic” items because Chanels are so few and far between. That is, until today! 😆

I was on the hunt for angora sweaters. I was searching high and low in the store and none were to be found. I walked around the entire store twice and just before leaving, decided to look at the jackets. What do I see but a gorgeous jacket with a large Chanel Boutique label!!!! The original handwritten size and material tag was still attached. Amazing navy blue wool tweed, huge gold “woven” buttons, longer in length and form-fitting. I almost wept with joy. Size 40, so it is too small for me…some lucky buyer will get it on ebay…that is, after I sit and admire it for a spell (I like to be in the presence of Chanel, at least for awhile.)

Okay, I was really, really happy! I decided to continue my search for angora sweaters at another store. I’m going through the sweaters and what do I see? No, it cannot be! YES! Another Chanel! A beautiful blue, white and gold sweater. I look at the tag…yep…cashmere!!! Again, too small for me so it will eventually join the jacket on ebay.

Sometimes the Chanel Faerie decides to pay a visit when I least expect it…now, is it too much to ask for the Hermès Faerie to pay a visit? 😀


A life-long Second Hand Rose!

I’ve been thinking about how much I love vintage clothing, and where this love affair started!

I grew up in a family of six kids.  Money was tight, but I always had cute, stylish clothes to wear.  My parents both grew up on Midwest farms during the Depression so they knew the value of a dollar, frugality and hard work.  These lessons were passed on to me, not so much by lecturing but by example.

My mom talks about how a cousin of hers who worked as a nanny for a wealthy family in New York, would send her their stylish castoffs.  I smile when I think of my mom, who has always been stylish, wearing ’30s designer chic clothes to school after milking all the cows in the morning!  We are talking TINY town on the North Dakota prairie.  Those clothes were much appreciated, as there was very little money to be had for clothes during the Depression drought.

My parents got married in 1945 after World War II.  They have no pictures of their wedding, but an engagement picture shows both my mom and dad in fabulous 40s suits.  My dad was an Army G.I. and my mom had been a teacher in one-room school house and a Defense Plant worker in Detroit.  They quickly settled down and started raising a family…four boys, two girls.

My mom was an excellent seamstress and sewed for herself, my sister and I.  It is entirely possible to be incredibly chic on very little money.  I look at all the old family photos and we all look so great and put together…always in dresses!  I remember that every Easter my mom would sew my sister and I matching dresses.  Usually in frilly Dotted Swiss fabric with matching hats and gloves!

Being the younger daughter, I often wore my sister’s hand-me-downs.  There is 6 years between us though…and quite often, 6 years in fashion time is a little too dated to be current and a little too short to be vintage!  I remember getting clothes from various friends, neighbors and relatives.  Some great, some not-so-great, such as the brown oxfords that I absolutely refused to wear…I remember throwing a fit and sobbing hysterically when my parents tried to persuade me to wear them (I said they were “boy” shoes!)  I can’t remember wearing them so the histrionics must have worked.  😉

I remember searching thrift stores for finds in the ’70s.  Of course, back then, pretty recent vintage was ’40s and ’50s!   Lots of pinup sweaters, furs and platform shoes were to be had.  If only I knew then what I know now…that that stuff would be a goldmine in the 2000’s!

My love and appreciation of vintage has not waned.  If anything, it has gotten much stronger over the years as the amount of true vintage clothing is slowly disappearing.  It warms my heart to see that more and more people have true appreciation for these lovely works of art.

All the best,

Love Those 50s Beaded Cashmere Cardigan Sweaters!

I was shopping today at a thrift store that I frequent about twice a month. Lately the pickings have been very slim there, so I wasn’t expecting much at all. It gets discouraging but sometimes just when all hope is lost, something marvelous appears!

I’m going through the racks and I espy a black beaded cashmere sweater… 50s, made in Hong Kong, and loaded with beaded flowers—gorgeous! Then I continue on. I feel the MOST exquisitely soft cashmere and pull out another 50s beaded cream sweater! This one is also heavily beaded. The most amazing thing is it still has it’s DALTON and SAK’S FIFTH AVENUE labels. 🙂 (100% Pure Virgin Cashmere to boot!)

I just adore these magnificent, wearable works of art! They usually are too small for this tall Finn, but I love looking at them and holding them. It is getting harder and harder to find these beauties, but I’m glad I run across them from time to time.

It certainly made my day!

All the best,

Spring is around the corner!

I feel the faint stirrings of springtime here in the Pacific Northwest…warmer temps, sunnier days and longer daylight hours.  After months of what seems like semi-hibernation in a swath of gray and darkness, it’s time once again to start thinking of shedding some of my “comfort clothing”.

I spend the whole winter wrapped in colorful cashmere sweaters, down vests, scarves, tall boots and the occasional Norwegian sweater.  There is a certain amount of security for me in these clothes.  Like my own little cocoon…no worries about having a tan (or lack thereof), shaved legs, or even a couple extra pounds! 🙂

Now here comes spring, and then summer…less clothing, more body.  More warmth and sunshine, more grooming worries.   There is always a trade off in life!

All the best,