Monday, April 10, 2017

The Yin Yang of Fashion

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

I love a good contrast. The lace and leather of this feminine lace dress and black leather jacket is the perfect example of the Yin Yang concept on which I base most of my looks. The two principles bring darkness, femininity, positivity, and masculinity together, and this combination influences each part in the perfect balance. I have always felt the we speak to the world in the ways that we get dressed each day. Whether we make an effort or hide in our clothes, how we feel is often portrayed in a subtle (or not so subtle) way through our attire. Show your many sides by mixing them together and you will always have authenticity.

I consider myself to be a fan of femininity in dressing, but with a twist. I love the details of a new season, in particular the ruffles, feathers and lace that signify a feeling of lightheartedness. Alone these details are lovely, but I think they are even better paired with the unexpected toughness of a stronger aesthetic like denim or leather. It seems to be a more interesting way to wear a dress, more original, more me. You can always shed the tougher layer, and show your softer side, right?

On the lighter side, I absolutely love this Parker Black lace dress, which I scored on sale at Neiman Marcus. I really love the Parker label because the clothes seem unique and edgy, but with a girly twist. The dress isn't available on their website, but here is the same dress in a summery peach color, and a similar ones here.  Self Portrait also makes absolutely gorgeous dresses and tops. Last year they did a yellow Azaelea Guipure-Lace Illusion Cocktail Dress that was amazing. This year's version is a brilliant cobalt blue. Guess has done a version of the yellow Self Portrait one, the Marina Lace Dress, which I spotted recently at the recent Style Goes Pop Spring Trend Show at The Bellevue Collection. You can check out all the latest from The Bellevue Collection's spring cookbook and more right here!

This dress seemed to need an equally strong shoe to stand up to the boldness of the black and white details. These Miu Miu patent cage kitten heel pumps are from MBs Finds Designer Consignment, a place that I mention often because designer consignment has changed my closet. Follow them on Instagram to get a daily update of the latest finds. I also have these Valentino Rockstuds, which would be gorgeous. They are an investment shoe, although the comfort and non stop wear I have gotten out of these make it worth it to me. You can find a more wallet friendly pair in these little Sole Society Tamra Pointy Toe Pumps. The leather moto jacket works well when it is cropped, becoming an edgy jacket that makes the dress into a skirt. 

For this shoot I was lucky enough to showcase the beautiful jewelry collaboration between Seattle paper cut artist Lauren Iida and jewelry designer Aimee Oberstein of Leia Beila Jewelry. This dynamic duo teamed up to create one of a kind jewelry created with designs that are hand cut in paper by Lauren, and then electroformed by Aimee. The process of electroforming creates a thick coating of copper that encases each paper design, transforming the artwork into jewelry. The results are absolutely stunning. You can purchase these original designs pieces here. 

I met Lauren when I saw a piece she had done of a three dimensional dress made from Cambodian newspaper that I purchased, and a friendship was born. Cambodia has Lauren's heart and is a major influence of her artwork. In Cambodia she leads art tours, writes and illustrates bilingual books for children and works in her cut paper studio, the ‘mobile atelier. ​Other major influences to her work include her family's Japanese American heritage and incarceration during WWII and her Pacific Northwest home, making the Seattle Japanese Garden a fitting place for our photoshoot. 

Aimee Oberstein is also a Seattle based artist, and she and Lauren are both graduates of Cornish College of The Arts. After graduation Aimee started her company, Leia Beila which specializes in handmade jewelry she designs herself that use semiprecious stones and metals. Her pieces shine with positive energy and light and her philosophy that "Art is more than something to hang on the wall… Leia Beila believes it’s something you wear" translates in her beautiful work.

If there is anything that I love more than writing about fashion it is connecting with all the creative people in this community. I love to share my perspective on what it is like to be stylish and be yourself, no matter what age you are. And I feel grateful to learn something new every time I write a blog post or do a photoshoot with Krissi. If anything I want to be a champion for the many talented artists, writers, creators and lovers of beauty in my community and beyond. When we support each other we all gain something. 

Our Seattle weather has been a bit Yin Yang too these days, but that is the beauty of living in the Northwest. Have a lovely week. xx

Friday, April 7, 2017

Trend Reinvention: Past Trends in A Modern Wardrobe

Photography by Kirsten Beeksma Morse

There is an old fashion rule that states that once you have worn a fashion trend when it reemerges you shouldn't give it a second go round. Let's just get one thing straight, I don't believe in fashion rules. If most of us, even the younger of us, followed this "rule" than we would have nothing to wear, at least nothing interesting to wear. The best part about fashion trends coming round again is that they are almost always reimagined, and usually better. I am loving the revisiting of the 70s and 80s, even 90s this year. If there is one thing I have learned, getting dressed is way more fun if you wear what you love, and trying new things is all part of that process. Even if they are new takes on past trends.

Tweaking styles to work one's body type is important, and often it can take wearing a look in your own way to make it the most flattering. Real or imagined, I have never felt that I looked that great in a shift dress. I am a curvy girl and felt worried that a dress without a waist would make me look giant. I love the look of this iconic style fro the 60s and 70s, but haven't always thought it was best on me. But when this gorgeous SEA New York dress showed up at MBs Finds Designer Consignment, I was smitten. Plus, it had me at "pockets", which are essential in a great dress. Having a pattern in a shift dress takes away from the focus of its looser shape and gives the piece more life, so once I put on the dress, I felt awesome. Even though I consider myself fashion fearless, I too need to keep an open mind about what I think I can and can't wear. The most important thing is, do I feel great in it? If the answer is yes, wear it.

For this shoot I wanted to portray a retro vibe with a modern edge. The high collar of the dress definitely has that late 60s vibe, but the collar is pointed instead of Peter Pan round, and the edges of it are rough, not sewn in a perfect edge. A classic style reimagined in the details.

And speaking of the details, how about a modern take on a classic shoe to up the style game of this dress style? These Gucci Marmont fringed metallic cracked-leather loafer were a birthday present to myself, and can we just have a moment to feel the love for Gucci re-inagined? Gucci has long been iconic, but since under the direction of Creative Director Alessandro Michele the brand has evolved into a new phase of creativity. I had been looking at these loafers for so long. I put them in my shopping cart, took them out. Then one day I clicked "Buy" and it was a done deal. They look as amazing with this dress as with a pair of denim, elevating my outfit literally from the ground up. Talk about retro cool.

And what to do about this soggy, crazy weather? The seasons are changing so slowly this year. April in this part of the world is not winter, not quite spring, which means all my black clothing seems out of place and it is too cold to wear much spring. The answer for me is layering. Springy florals or pattern but with a jacket or long sleeves. Yesterday I pulled the brightest cashmere sweater I own in a brilliant coral and layered it over a striped man's shirt, which gave me the look of spring without freezing to death. Layers, people. Patterned, colorful layers. Or a great fringe coat over your springy dress. April showers do bring May flowers, remember?

The best part about seeing things reinvented from decades past? It is a second chance to try it out, to get it right, to make it yours. I love pulling things out of my old fashion playbook, like big belts, chunky heels, or even the Peter Pan collar and making them part of my part of what I like wear right now. The creative reinvention of fashion trends, of looking at things with a fresh eye, is at the heart of what fashion is all about.

I like to think of fashion trends as being like those sushi dishes that go around on the conveyor belt at the can pick your favorites, or let things pass, then when they come around again, you have a second chance to either go for it, or decide it is not for you! ;) Have a great weekend! xx