November 30, 2009

Quote of the Week - Bette Davis


Old age is no place for sissies.

November 26, 2009

How to Wear a Hat

Hats and suits that fit with those little added touches to make it all that much better.


A few posts back I mentioned my dislike of the undersized fedora.
The undersized fedora is the one you see those - 'dudes' let's call them - wearing in Hollywood. Personally, I think they look like Fozzie Bear.

The other night I saw a gentleman standing in the rain in a long black overcoat and a perfectly fit hat. Boy, did he look sharp. I pointed him out to my husband and he asked me why I thought he looked so sharp. Well, both his hat and his overcoat fit him properly and were very flattering for his figure type. Henceforth, this post on hats.

The first step to wearing a hat is to measure your head. Take a measuring tape and wrap it around your head just above your ears. Take a look at the chart below. The average man's hat size is 7 1/4 US.



Deciding which hat style suits you:


Don't worry I'm not going to post any pictures of Johnny Depp.
First you have to know what shape your face is and if there are any significant facial features such as a long nose or prominent jaw. Ask someone else to tell you.
  1. Deep full face - Wear a medium height full crown hat, narrow to medium width band and a wide brim snapped fully across. Slight side tilts are good. Avoid wearing the hat too far back, both too high and too low crowns and tapered crowns.
  2. Short full face - Wear a medium crown hat with a slight taper, contrast hat band and wide brim. Avoid full crown hats, extreme tapers, extreme snaps or tilts and matched hat bands.
  3. Long Slender face - Wear a tapered moderate height crown, wide hat band and moderate width brim. A side tilt with a back tilt looks good. Avoid wide turned up brims and brims that are too narrow.
  4. Square face - Wear a medium full crown that is rounded with a full snap wide brim. Side tilts look good on a square face. Avoid both tapered and square crowns, short snaps and wearing the hat too far back on your head.
  5. Pear Shaped face - Wear a full crown with a matching hat band and extra wide brim snapped fully across. Avoid narrow brims, and tapered or low crowns.
  6. Top Heavy face - Wear a medium height tapered crown with a narrow or medium width band. The brim should be medium wide with a good roll. Avoid wearing the hat too far back off the face. Colorful or wide hat bands are not recommended.
  7. Short Slender face - Wear a low or medium taper crown with a turned up brim. A contrast band looks good with a low crown and a matched band looks good with a taper crown. Avoid everything that gives too much attention to the hat. Avoid full crowns, high crowns with self bands or a snap brim too far over the face.
  8. Long Nose - Wear a crown of medium height that's not too tapered or pinched too tight at front. Tilt the hat to the side. Avoid a high taper crown and a very narrow brim.
  9. Heavy Eyebrows - Can wear most hats. Turned up brims look good. If you have a unibrow wear a hat with a wide brim and low front tilt to cover it.
  10. Prominent Jaw - Wear a moderately low crown with a slight taper and medium brim. Avoid a big crown and big brim, small crown and brims, and wearing the hat too far back.
  11. Receding Chin - Wear a low crown with a slight taper to balance off the chin. The brim can be medium sized or flat. Avoid high full crowns, extreme brims, snap brims and tilting the hat too far forward or too far backward.
  12. Big Ears - Wear the widest flat brim your face can handle to make ears look smaller. Avoid turned up brims, narrow brims and tapered brims.
Right and wrong pics are available on the the Miller Hats site.

November 24, 2009

Her A-Z of Personal Style



Style isn't just about what you wear.

A - Attaché case - sounds so much more elegant than briefcase. There are some great vintage attachés to be found. They're usually quite old and well worn hence the leather is perfect. This is an ordinary accessory I'd like to see more of but used and dressed in a not so ordinary way.
acrylic - No sweater, or any other piece of clothing mind you, should be made from this. It pills, stretches and actually stinks.


B - breakfast - If you don't have time for a sit down breakfast you better reexamine your life - enough said.
black - There have been many great quotes about the color black. Which is a color and it's my favourite. Christian Dior in his book, The Little Dictionary of Fashion simply says under the heading of B, 'I could write a book about black.' I recommend that you have one in black of everything in your closet. I recently lost about 95% of my wardrobe (long story) and because most of it was black I was still able to go out for interviews, dinners, and events looking put together.


C - curves - Ac-cent-tchu-ate the positive. There's a whole song about that. Sure, my husband has nicer legs than I do but he doesn't have a waist or butt like mine - sorry honey. Our curves are what set us apart. May I direct you toward the winding curves of Ms. Monroe & Ms. Russel in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes.
compliments - We all like to receive them but so few of us give them. When you are the recipient of a compliment say 'Thank you" don't get into a discussion pointing out the negative. For example, "I love your dress." --> "Oh, this dumpy thing? I've had this forever!"
confidence - To me, confidence is the most important thing you should learn in your life. Confidence is sexy. Don't ever let anyone take that from you.

D - demi cup - Whomever designed the bras that are out there today should be strapped in a padded bra straight jacket and put into solitary confinement. Why would I want padding up to my collar bone? Or padding at all? My bra of choice is the demi cup. Accordingly, they've disappeared and have been replaced by these football shoulder padded monstrosities I'm supposed to strap to my chest. Maybe I'm happy with the size and shape of my breasts as they are. Heaven forbid. Anyway - the demi cup is a sexy little bra that lifts and cups. The demi cup gives the gals a little jiggle instead of a lot of stifle. I found some great ones at Agent Provocateur the other day along with some sexy wireless ones that are also impossible to find in mainstream shops.

E - etiquette - I'm currently reading Emily Post's Etiquette and to tell you the truth I'm feeling rather embarrassed about some past situations. The book is worth a look. It's in the library and probably hasn't been checked out in a long time.


F - fabrics - It's important to know which fabrics are flattering on you. For example, velvet, satin and corduroy add weight. Lace and jacquard can only be worn by certain people without looking sleazy or elderly.


G - grooming - You only make one first impression. Proper grooming takes too long? Well imagine how long it took those people in the 1700s with their powdered wigs and such. I'll be the first to admit it takes a long time - even to achieve the eau naturelle look. This tip fits in with the age old saying, never leave home without clean underwear in case you get in an accident. I have my own mantra, never leave home in socks with holes because you never know when you're going to try on a pair of shoes.


H - hair stylist - They are your Rainbow Skittles on an Eat-More day. Before I met JD I passionately loathed going to the salon. I'd even cut my own hair so I wouldn't have to go. What I like about JD is that he understands the importance of personal style and he accentuates this in his clients. There's nothing worse than watching a make over show that presents the made over woman in a look that should've been her before picture.


I - intimacy - You've heard it before but I'll say it again - once we've slept with one person we've slept with every single other person that person has been with and vice versa. If that's not enough to creep you out how about some nice close ups of STDs. Some STDs you can get rid of some you can't. Talk to someone that's got one for life and they'll tell you straight up how awkward it can be trying to get back into the dating scene let alone letting a potential partner know about it. No glove, no love.


J - jeans - Songs have been written about these (see Dr. Hook's perversely titled Baby Makes Her Blue Jeans Talk). I think women buy so many shoes and bags because jeans don't fit properly - my husband believes this too. Once you do find a pair stick with that style and brand. I've had a lot of good memories in Levi's. I've gone from the faded out tuck and roll 501s in the 80s, to the grunge boy's orange tab in the 90s, to the boho 70s vintage 578s in the early 2000s. I'm currently wearing black Hudson skinny jeans but they sure lose their shape fast.


K - keeping your cool - Imperative. Once you lose your cool that's all they'll see and remember. Just because you're having a bad day doesn't mean you should ruin someone else's.

L - labels - You have your own style and need not define yourself with someone else's initials.
lip balm - With SPF twice a day at least.
lip stick - Don't test the color on your wrist, it's not the same color as your lips.
lip liner - Danger. Proceed with caution.

M - moisturizer - Like your hair stylist, this can be your best friend. Like your best friend, things change over time. It's difficult to find a moisturizer that's right for your particular skin type but try. If you don't find the right one you'll end up with clogged pores or dry patches. I've been using Avalon Organics Oil Free Vitamin C Moisturizer for the past couple years and am quite happy with it. I have sensitive skin and use a separate sunscreen I bought from a dermatologist. Remember your skin changes as you age and so should your moisturizer.

N - No - It's the opposite of yes. It's only two letters but it can be difficult to say. Practice saying, "No" to a mattress sales person (these are the new used car salesmen). It's quite educational listening to their many ways of handling rejection.

O - obsess - Obsess is a dangerous word. Beware of it. Obsession is when your mind is preoccupied with an idea while addiction is when your body is chemically dependent on a chemical. Obsession can mess up your life and cause things like panic attacks, phobias, and social anxiety. The best thing to do is acknowledge it when it's knocking on your door and tell it to go away. Our mind can play with us, let it know you don't want to play that game.

P - personality - There are a lot of adjectives out there to describe one's personality. I was part of an exercise once where a group of us, that knew each other well, were set up in pairs. Each person drew a portrait of their partner. The portraits were then passed around the group and each person wrote an adjective on it that they felt described the person. Talk about an eye opener. The question comes up time and time again in interviews, "Describe yourself in five words." I can't stand that question. Wouldn't it be fun to throw them a curve ball by saying, "Obnoxious, ignorant, vain, self destructive and underhanded."
purse
- I think your purse says the most about your personal style out of any piece of clothing or accessory. My mom carries a purse the size and weight of a bowling ball bag. I have no idea what is in there. I only use a purse if I'm going out to a show or special event and in that case it's a vintage one. The rest of the time it's a wallet - I just make sure I spend a lot more time grooming that eau naturelle look before I leave home ;) Even though I don't carry a purse I still love them. From here I can see eleven of them just in my closet.

Q - quote - There is no exquisite beauty without some strangeness to its proportion. Edgar Allan Poe. That has been my favourite quote my entire adult life. Find a quote that fits your beliefs, is significant, reassures you, puts you back on track or just makes you feel good. Plus, you never know when someone, somewhere is going to ask you what your favourite quote is.

R - recipe - Everyone should know enough recipes off by heart to prepare a three course meal - as well as the wine to go with it.
recognition - Start giving recognition to people that do a good job. Fill out those customer service questionnaires in your hotel room. Everyone deserves to be recognized, even your boss.


S - slip - Wear a beautiful silk and lace slip under a dress for a day or evening out and you'll make it a staple in your wardrobe. I think slips are sexy. Plus, it feels a little frisky knowing you have a sexy little number on under your dress that no one knows about but you.
silk - Sure it feels luxurious and makes you feel elegant but it also keeps you warm, (that's why they make long underwear out of it) which also causes you to sweat and silk turns a darker shade when it's wet. Do you know how many silk tops I've disposed of after realizing this? Yuck. If you're going to go silk keep it in a slip, camisole or sleeveless shirt. Remember it's not you, it's the silk.

T - toast - Like a quote you should have one that moves you. I love proposing toasts. It's a chance to let someone know how you feel about them and makes you proud to stand up and say so.
tact - Don't ask someone why they aren't married, if they are pregnant, why they don't have children, why they are in a wheelchair. Never tell a person they look tired or ask whether they've lost weight. Mind your own business and if you don't have anything nice to say don't say anything at all.


U - undress - Vivienne Westwood once said that sexiness is the most important thing about fashion because fashion is eventually about being naked. I agree. Learn how to undress as sexy as your clothes make you look and feel. Find a song - have some fun.

V - volunteer - Why not? Volunteering is fun. Everyone is very grateful and polite. It's a totally different vibe than the actual work force. It gives you a chance to work in the industry that you've always wanted to work in but could never even get an interview for. I knew a woman who volunteered at a record label at 4 am every Saturday morning doing some sort of stats. She went from that to personal assistant, to manager, to A&R and now she lives in LA doing big wig record label stuff. All that started from volunteering one morning a week.


W - water - Drink it. To make it easier to keep track of how much you drink in a day fill a 2 litre bottle (a big soda bottle) with water. I prefer the clear ones because I can see how close I am to my goal. One of these is just about 8.5 cups. I've also read that by dividing your weight by 2 gives you the total amount of fluid ounces of water you should drink in a day. For example, if you weigh 120 lbs/54.5 kgs you should drink at least 60 fl. oz/7 c./1.6 L. of water per day. If you don't like the taste of water slice some cucumbers or lemons in it. In the evening, drink hot water with honey and lemon it'll help you relax before you go to bed.


x - This will be your code name only you and your best friend know is fake (because she has one too). It's the alias you tell the sleazy guys. I'm Sarah.

Y - yacht clubs - <-- believe="" can="" i="" just="" span="" style="font-weight: bold;" that="" typed="" you="">yourself - It's easy enough to say but do you really know yourself? I don't think we ever really know ourselves because hopefully we're always learning and opening our minds to new things or opportunities.

Z - zzzs - Get your sleep. As someone with insomnia I urge you to please cherish your ability to sleep and not to take it for granted.

November 23, 2009

Vintage Herbert Levine

cheetah print boots
1970

Quote of the Week - Joseph Addison


There is nothing that touches our imagination so much as a beautiful woman in a plain dress.

November 20, 2009

Mood Lighting - Take it Personally

Eaton's catalog 1973

One of the most important and personal things in your home is the lighting. For example, we have dimmer switches on every light switch - even the kitchen. However, we went to a dinner party last week and the hosts had installed fluorescent tube lighting aka office lighting throughout their entire apartment. We dined under the hum of excited mercury vapor.

Rothschild & Bickers

You've probably gotten a good sense of my style by now and would've guessed I'd be a fan of 1970s swag lighting. The colored glass throws off a beautiful muted light that some refer to as either 'comfy' or 'sexy'. Both adjectives sound good to me. The lights are still quite easy to find when I go out thrifting however its day will come, and like the West German pottery, it will be impossible to find. When that day does arrive Rothschild & Bickers will be there to console me with their bespoke services (via Styleture).

You wouldn't believe me if I told you I paid $1 for the light below so I won't tell you.

I've put this one in our bedroom now. It used to be in the living room.

PS I've finally put a Bijou Living page on Facebook. I'll be adding things to that page that I wouldn't post here. It's a place where you can share your inspiring links, photos of cool stuff, and meet like minded stylish people. Come hang out - www.facebook.com/bijouliving

November 18, 2009

Yes, I want to drive your car

Those of you who are regular readers of Bijou Living may remember that I grew up in a body shop. My Dad rebuilt many a classic car. Those that I remember are a 1957 Chevy (aka The '57 - it was always a trophy winner), a 1967 Camaro SS Big Block (another trophy winner), and a 1966 Corvette (rebuilt and sold right away). Needless to say, I like vintage cars.

On a road trip down to Palm Springs last January, which wasn't in the 1975 Porsche 911 I dream about, we made a three day pit stop in Napa Valley, California. One of the touristy things I wanted to do was to check out this roadside attraction known as Litto's Hubcap Ranch. We were greeted by Bosco, who also substituted as our tour guide. I'm not sure if we were actually supposed to be on the property but Bosco liked us and let us in. Apparently, there are over 5000 hubcaps on display at Litto's.

image stacy reynaud

Litto's Hubcap Ranch in Pope Valley, CA (eastern Napa Valley)

1958 T-bird and '67-71 Camaro at 8 Mile Creek Designs on Etsy

My Dad, regrettably, sold The '57 in the 80s and has been searching for it ever since. In 1989 he suffered a brain aneurysm and has heartbreakingly been unable to work on cars. While surfing around the web for pulltab tab art I came across these hubcap clocks that 8 Mile Creek Designs creates and sells on Etsy. I've always said that when I become a millionaire, which hasn't happened yet, I was going to surprise my Dad with his original, beloved 1957 Chevy. Well, since I'm not a millionaire yet how about surprising him with a custom made 1957 Chevy hubcap clock? I could give him a rain cheque for the rest of the car valid until 2050.

Bosco - Litto's Hubcap Ranch greeter and tour guide.

Fur in the Bedroom - Not just for John Holmes

Faux real.

Years ago I would've thought faux fur in the bedroom was reserved strictly for my Speedo wearing friends and porn stars. Oh, how times change. Not only have I grown to appreciate those updated little bathing trunks the guys are wearing but I've also developed a fondness for the furry stuff in the bedroom. *purrrrr*
Pierre Frey has been doing beautiful faux fur home accessories for some time now. It's available online and in France.



November 17, 2009

How to Propose a Toast


As a kid, did you ever have that uncle, grandfather, or the eccentric relative that you had no idea how you were related to them, give amazing toasts? Toasting is an art and, like your kiss, you will be remembered for this. Toasts can be to love, friendship, health, wealth, or happiness.
  1. They need not be long. Something as brief as "To Dave, a great friend and an amazing musician," will suffice.
  2. When toasting you rise, lift your glass and look the person you are toasting in the eyes. Make the toast and take a sip all while keeping eye contact. To break eye contact is disrespectful. You need not rise when there are only two of you.
  3. Add a reminiscence, praise, relevant story or joke to appear more poised and eloquent.
  4. The toast should always be in keeping with the occasion.
  5. At a dinner party a host or hostess offers the first toast. A guest may propose a toast to the host if a toast is not offered by the host. A guest may also propose a second toast after the host.
  6. At less formal dinners anyone may propose a toast as soon as the wine or champagne is served.
  7. A small sip allows one to drink numerous toasts from the same serving. It's tacky to get drunk at a dinner.
  8. If you don't drink alcohol participate in the toast by raising your empty glass or whatever beverage you are consuming. Not to do so and remain seated would be extremely discourteous.
  9. If you are being toasted you remain seated and do not drink the toast. After the toast you rise and drink to your toasters.
  10. The practice of toasting in different languages has grown quite popular. Here are seven that all mean, "To your health."
French - A votre santé
Spanish - Salud
German - Prosit
Swedish - Sköal
Yiddish - L'Chayim
Polish - Nazdrowie
Italian - Salute

I propose a toast to you, my reader and friend:

May you
have warm words
on a cold evening,
A full moon
on a dark night,
And the road
downhill
all the way to your door.



November 16, 2009

Vintage Yves Saint Laurent

1970
model Francois Hardy

November 15, 2009

Quote of the Week - Oscar Wilde


If in doubt, overdress.

November 10, 2009

Life after the drapey cardigan

Okay, so you've put away the drapey cardigan - now what?

The same woman in a
drapey jacket
and a tailored jacket.
Double or single breasted- they both work. If you're bustier up top go for a single breasted jacket as the double breasted adds girth.
What's that? You're going to miss all those bulky folds up front on your draping cardigan sweater? How about a draping light weight jersey top with a long chainor five with your jacket? I wear a cashmere sweater under mine.

A well tailored jacket is never too dressy.
Yes, you can move around in it as easy as the drapey cardigan.
You'll be surprised how differently people respond to you.

Why not try it and find out for yourself?



November 9, 2009

6 Womenswear Trends to Put Away Now

top: monogrammed trophy bags, cosmetic enhancements, red soles
bottom: indigo skinny jeans and tan/brown boots, overdyed sprayed on denim with gold designer detailing on the pockets (Jordache 1970s), the draped cardigan (ladies, it looks like a housecoat)

Quote of the Week - Bill Blass


When in doubt, wear red.

Vintage Jaeger

1938

November 4, 2009

The Family Elan -They're a Musical Group


There's just something in Monumental that reminds me of Joy Division's Love Will Tear Us Apart. Could be the sparse recording, bass-baritone I don't know. Who cares really, it's good.

Check them out. While you're at it go discover The Incredible String Band if you haven't already.
  • lute
  • Egyptian tablas
  • paper
  • wooden flute
  • thigh slapping
  • vocals
  • medieval folk

November 3, 2009

The Best Mens Style - An A-Z

A - attitude
Cheesy but memorable: The world is like a mirror reflecting what you do and if your face is smiling it smiles back at you.

B - breath
Remember that teacher in school? Well, you don't want to be them - even when you're married. Carry some breath mints, floss, go to the dentist, eat parsley but heavens to betsy don't spray that Binaca in public.

C - colour coordination
...cause every girl's crazy bout a sharp dressed man. You can look like a million bucks if you match. Matching, matching, matching. Someone told me once, 'Blue and green should never be seen except for the sky and the grass.'.

D - dress shoes
Like colour coordination, a good pair of dress shoes can work wonders. Don't go cheap in this department. Go for the simplest, most classic pair you can afford. Don't leave the shop without polish, a shoe horn and forms. Nothing looks sexier than a man's closet with neatly lined rows of shoes displayed on forms. Yes, men's shoes are sexy. To keep your shoes and your feet their best, don't wear the same pair two days in a row. The leather needs time to breathe and dry out.

E - elegance
Male elegance has seemed to have gotten confused somewhere in the late 70s and hasn't fully recovered yet. See my post on the men's pinky ring. Of course, society itself has changed considerably since men actually considered themselves elegant. Elegance doesn't mean the greasy haired guy in the suit with turtle neck sweater, wearing an obtrusive gold watch sipping his 18 year old scotch in a boutique hotel lounge. Offhand elegance is what you're looking for. Denzel Washington, Ryan Gosling, and Christopher Walken all have great offhand elegance. They're well spoken, well presented and they carry themselves well.

F - fresh air
Take even the pastiest chain smoker throw them outside for a few hours and voila - a shade of health. There's a reason it's called fresh air. What's the opposite of fresh? Right. You are what you breathe.

G - gym
The gym could rightly be your living room. Push aside your coffee table and make room for squats, crunches, kick backs, calf raises etc. If you don't like the gym, don't go. Do something else but do it. Remember, muffins make you have a muffin top. Don't give up on yourself, there's no excuse.

H - hems
Pant hems are quickly becoming one of my obsessions. I know I told you to get good shoes but your hem doesn't have to be five inches above them to show them off. Hems should be kept long enough at the back to touch the top of the heel yet short enough in the front to form a break. See Pant Hems: What you need to know.

I - individuality
Don't be the imitator. Be the imitated.

J - juxtaposition
Once you learn that you can mix up your wardrobe you're three quarters of the way there. Don't be afraid to mix textures, patterns (with caution) or style. One of my favourite looks is the meeting of rugged and delicate textures.

K - kiss
You will want to be remembered for this.

L - leathery skin
You'll also be remembered for the touch of your hand. Make sure it's not leathery, or clamy for that matter. My husband sometimes asks to borrow my hand cream. How can I tell him creme brulee really isn't his scent when it makes his hands feel so soft?

M - manners
You don't think people are watching? Well, it may not be the whole room but someone definitely is. You don't think people care about that stuff anymore? Snap out of it! Discover etiquette books or online sites, they're reputation savers.

N - nose hair trimmer
No man, or woman for that matter, should be without. While you're at it trim that mole hair.

O - objet d'art
A small piece of art placed at a focal point in your favourite room not only highlights your personality it also becomes a conversation starter.

P - proportion
Think of a really big guy sitting in a Smart Car. My husband recently refused to buy a suit from a sales associate in an 'oversized monkey suit'. He didn't trust him to make choices for his attire when he couldn't dress himself. Make sure your clothes fit your proportions. Accentuate the good.

Q - quantity
How many drinks until you call it a night?
How much do you tip?
How long is acceptable to wait for your meal before you speak to the maître d'?
How many days till you call?
How many roses are appropriate in relation to time spent together?
How much do you spend on a bottle of wine as a guest at a dinner party?
Life's full of them...

R - roses
Each color means something.
They shouldn't smell like plastic.
Skip the baby's breath.
One in the lapel in the evening beats a carnation.
It takes a certain type of woman to wear rose perfume so investigate before you buy.

S - simplicity
It is always better to err on the side of simplicity rather than be extravagant in your dressing. Christian Dior
The K.I.S.S. principle - keep it simple, stupid

T - tie knot
There are 85 ways to tie a tie. Know more than the Windsor.

U - underwear
Holes, stretched out elastic, comic book characters, pickles and anthropomorphic characters are not attractive. Boxers, briefs, comando - don't knock 'em til you've tried 'em. Have you ever experienced absolute horror (insert Psycho music here) on the first sight of a partner's pants? Strawberries with smiley faces is all I have to say.

V - valour
Valour today is more than showing courage in battle. It's about speech. Be accountable for your actions, speak for those that cannot speak for themselves, whatever it is you choose to do you'll feel better and it gets easier and easier the more you do it.

W - the white shirt
Just like the classic shoe, the white shirt should be the best you can afford. Well fitted, crisp and not polyester. Try something different and go to a tailor to have one custom made.

X - The unknown.
Your next topic of conversation over dinner.

Y - yourself
Know. Love. Be.

Z - zest
Dior once said; ' There is no beauty that is attractive without zest.'. Your get up and go, your gusto, your piss and vinegar, whatever turns your crank, blows your horn - this is what makes you different and attractive.

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