This may come as a surprise to those who know how much I love vintage style, but I do actually keep up on contemporary fashion trends too. The house often contains more than one copy of Vogue, Harper's Bazaar, and, yes, guilty pleasure, In Style. So here I present to you what I believe is a completely modern outfit (despite a few vintage accessories), along with the recent designers' lines which influenced it.
It started with a pink dress so pale and floating that it felt ephemeral.
|Dress: Jessica Simpson; Cardigan: Mod Cloth; Boots: Ecco; Cape coat: London Fog; Socks: Denver Hayes; Headband: Stylize; Bangles: Forever 21; Rings, necklace, brooch, scarf, and sunglasses: vintage|
In the right/wrong light, it can literally hurt the eyes.
|Marc Jacobs, one of my favourite designers|
Besides, this past summer, I actually had some success with pale pink's close cousin, pale lavender, and I looked pretty great in ivory at my wedding, so I thought maybe pale pink might be worth a try. I thought I'd go for it.
The dress is part of Jessica Simpson's line. I had a real bias against her and therefore against her designs, but Alicia of Spashionista wore something so pretty by Simpson, that she changed my mind. Now that my mind is opened, I quite like some of her stuff. She has a nice plus size portion of her line, but it actually runs too big for me. I absolutely swim in one of her 1X shirts and should have sent it back. Knowing this, I felt safe ordering this dress in a 14 and, as you can see, it fits.
I think what first won me over to this dress was the sleeves. Don't they look great in the light?
I don't know why, but that kid of sleeve just knocks me out. I find it terribly chic and sophisticated. Lucky for me, it's been all over the runways for a few seasons now, so it's not impossible to find at affordable prices.
Such a sleeve is well suited to a floaty, feminine, pink dress ...
... like, oh, say, mine!
I wish the sleeves didn't bind over my upper arms but I've always had that problem, even when I was thin. My arms are probably even more muscular now that I'm disabled because they often do the work and take the weight that my crippled back can no longer handle. My body is so very weak, that I'll take what strength I do have over a perfectly fitting sleeve any day.
Once I got past the paleness of my new dress, my main concern was that, at 45, I would look too old for such a "girly" dress, with its lace and frills. Until I'd read Catherine Summers' great style blog, I'd never heard of the British expression, "mutton dressed as lamb," but that's exactly what I wanted to avoid: looking like an old woman trying to look like a young one. Given the average life expectancy of a sex trafficked child, I'm quite proud of my age, and consider it a victory over the bad guys who hurt me. I have no desire to disguise my age. But I liked the dress ...
... and, man oh man, dresses like it were absolutely all over the runways this season.
Even women my age, like Thandie Newton, are jumping on the fluffy, lacy bandwagon.
With its high necks and lace, it's being called the Victorian Revival, but it really doesn't look very Victorian to me. To be honest, it can get to be a bit much. Take this dress by McQueen for example: nothing I do could top its overstatement.
No matter how frilly and lacy and pink I get, I can't beat Alexander McQueen, and I'm completely and totally okay with that.
I'm more impressed with Gucci's take on the trend. Alessandro Michele just took over as Gucci's creative director and I really like his girly, refined take on geek chic.
And I love that he's not afraid to put men in frills and women in suits. I've always been a big fan of gender bending and once fell head over heels with someone before I knew if s/he was a boy or a girl.
I was also somewhat concerned with the shortness of my dress. That too seemed little too girly for me. Show my knees? In winter? Oh my goodness!
But short dresses and skirts are so popular these days that it's hard to even find ones to cover the knees so, if it's mistake for me to wear a short dress, I'm certainly not alone in doing so.
I decided to just go for it.
My solution to my concerns about girliness, though, was to butch up the outfit a bit with some less feminine accessories. It started with the boots.
I thought pairing tough boots with a frothy dress was all my own idea, but, when I was doing research for this post, I realize that this too was all over the place this season. It's a variation on the grunge look of the early 90s and it is indeed fun.
My boots matched the autumn leaves ...
... and my earrings ...
... my really fabulous, Lisner, thermoset earrings. For my money, Lisner was the king of thermoset.
But my earrings and boots did not really match my cape coat.
I've had my cape coat for about three years but cape coats only seem to really be catching on this year. I swear to you that I had not seen this Chloe outfit when put my own outfit together.
Great minds think alike?
Now, little capelet things, cape coats, great capes ...
... and ponchos are springing up like mushrooms in damp weather. I started wearing my great cape when I started using a mobility scooter. It's a stylish way to stay warm and dry on the blasted thing. People always compliment me on it and say how unusual it is but, this season, such things are much more common.
But back to the boots not matching the cape coat. To solve this problem, I just pulled my dark brown socks up high and, presto, a touch of dark brown with my boots.
I did not see the trend of "boot socks" on the runway much this season ...
|From Whitney Gets Dressed|
... but it is absolutely all over the place in the style blogosphere ...
... and I'm sure that's where I got the idea.
It was a cold day, so I wore sheer stay-ups under my socks. I'm trying out stay ups this winter instead of tights because the waist bands on tights can cut hard into my lower back and cause me all kinds of pain. Such is the sartorial creativity required by disability style.
I'm still getting used to stay-ups. Every time I got up from my scooter, I worried that they'd fallen down and would show.
And I worried that they'd show when I was on my scooter but they didn't seem to do so. Did I mention I'm a worrier? I think it's genetic, but PTSD doesn't help.
But I digress. I think brown and pink is an under appreciated colour combination. My brown cane was another addition to the pink and brown look. (I hope you've noticed by now that my canes always match my outfits.)
|Bally (and no, I don't wear fur)|
I think it works well ...
... and I'm clearly not the only one.
To me, pairing brown with silver is a kind of fashion crime, so, of course I went for gold and bronze jewelry and wore a gold headband. I'd been practising a sort of finger wave when my hair was wet. Can you tell?
To cap off the brown, gold, and copper look, I wore some funky, vintage rings.
I've always felt super hip in my Raphael ring, long before I knew it was a Raphael. My little pinkie ring matched every component of my outfit, and I love how it crawls up my finger.
I'm quite sure Alessandro Michele would approve. These are his own hands in the September Vogue ...
... and these are some models for Gucci's Resort 2016 collection.
Of course, it would have been weird if I had paired this dress only with brown. This little pink cardigan seemed a good tonal match.
The runways were smothered in pink on pink and, though I didn't go all out with it, tonal matches like mine do work.
I like how this cardigan nips in at the waist nicely accenting my curves. I own three of these Mod Cloth cardigans in different colours and will probably get more.
For some added pink and gold, I wore these bangles that Beau gave me a few years ago. They match the dress perfectly but don't detract from those fabulous sleeves.
Since my cape coat created a sea of dark brown on my upper body, I thought I'd better bring a dash of pink into that sea. Brooches with aurora rhinestones are really hard to photograph well. Their splendour is diminished by the camera.
Trust me, this brooch looks better "in person" than in photographs.
Brooches make periodic comebacks in high fashion. This year, it was Prada that went all out with the brooches. In my humble opinion, theirs don't hold a patch on vintage ones, but I'm sure there are those who would disagree with me.
My berry pink scarf was a kind of a compromise between tough and super girly. It's not pale pink but I like how it brings out the peaches and cream that are the complexion goal of every super fair skinned gal. I think this scarf was my motivation for wearing flowers of similar colours in my hair at our wedding.
I waffled a bit on the pink sunglasses, thinking maybe I should opt for brown ones. I thought I needed some more brown near my face.
But Beau pointed out the obvious, "Your hair is the brown." Oh, right. Silly me. I love how wearing true brown near my hair makes it more evident that my hair has a lot of auburn in it. It's a vanity thing for me. I like my hair. There: I said it!
And so we were ready for our big outing ... to our local café.
Coffee for me. Tea for Beau. Hot chocolate and ice cream for the boys. And a decent excuse to try out some of this season's trends.
(I'm sharing this with Elegantly Dressed and Stylish, Sydney Fashion Hunter, Adri Lately, Rachel the Hat, Fashion Should Be Fun, Not Dead Yet, Not Dressed as Lamb, and Happiness at Midlife.)