Jan 6, 2010

Dancing at the Cafe - Bande à Part aka Band of Outsiders

How to Tie a Scarf

wrap long end around twice and on the second wrap push the end through the top knot and pull down - like you're knotting a tie.
Voila - a knot that slides. For an ascot type look pull the knot tight and tuck it in.
via Esquire 1969.

Quote of the Week - Christian Dior

Simplicity, good taste and grooming are the three fundamentals of good dressing and these do not cost money.
Christian Dior

Jan 5, 2010

Design Lover: Harry Bertoia Spray Sculpture

Leave it to Antiques Roadshow to install this beauty into the gallery of my mind. How many designers can bank roll their careers off the royalties made on one of their first commercially available designs? Harry Bertoia did. In 1950, Bertoia began collaborating with furniture makers and marketers Florence and Hans Knoll. Bertoia's first piece he designed for Knoll was the chromium 'Model 420 Diamond' chair. The royalties made from the 'Model 420' enabled Bertoia to further pursue his love of metalwork and sculpture - which was put on hold during WWII due to metal shortages.

Bertoia seldom named his sculptures and some are unsigned. Nevertheless, most of his sculptures are now known by the identification given them by the Allentown Art Museum's 1975 catalogue accompanying a Bertoia exhibit (he passed away in 1978).

'Sprays' are bunches of stainless steel wires that sway when touched or are moved by air currents. They always have a twist where they are connected to their concrete base. Sizes vary from 12 to 50 inches.

You can buy one here .

How to Get a Runway Look for Under $200

Those of you that are friends of Bijou Living on Facebook will remember that I spent Boxing Day shopping on Etsy. I poked around a bit more and put together a Fendi Spring Summer 2010 inspired look for under $200 for you. For this look, wear your hair in a loose bun - see The Return of the Bun.

Fendi S/S 2010

Shopping online can be fun and save you a fortune but remember caveat emptor. Ask lots of questions, check feedback, ask about return policies, and get insurance for your package. In my 12 years of shopping and selling vintage online I've only had one bad experience. Remember, 99.9% of people are honest.

Jan 4, 2010

Men's Classic Look

If by some strange reason you get caught up in an unknown vortex that deposits you in another time, place and reality know you'll be ready to confront what awaits you if you're timeless in your dress and sensibilities.

On the other hand, if you've decided to consign all your old clothes and start fresh - buy the timeless pieces first (see above).

Dec 30, 2009

Dec 28, 2009

Cigarette Cases - Who Knew?

Would you believe me if I told you a cigarette case sold for £612,250** at the beginning of December and it wasn't the only one to pass the six digit mark? See the story here.*

I've always loved the look of vintage cigarette paraphernalia** - ashtrays, match tins, cigar boxes, cigarette cases, lighters, holders, smoking sets, tobacco jars, smoking jackets and slippers, the list goes on. Turns out there's a resurgence of the cigarette case/tin. With cigarettes now in those ridiculous zombie mouth picture packs and credit card slim technology the cases have become highly collectible and more difficult to find.

Some of the more collectible cases are those carried by soldiers in WWI & WWII some of which have been claimed to have stopped bullets - such as the one carried on D-Day by James Doohan aka Scotty (Star Trek), sterling silver and those with historical provenance. I'd go for the sterling silver ones as they'll only go up in price.

I've assembled a few photos of cases I found on Etsy. There are more to be found if you go to my Etsy men's favourites widget on the left. As Etsy is an online shopping source remember - caveat emptor.

Mid-century sterling silver grooved case. Available on Etsy here.

Pre 1949 sterling silver case from Siam. Available on Etsy here.

English sterling silver engraved case from 1916. WWI was 1914-1918.
Available on Etsy here.

Sterling silver case available on Etsy here

Post Korean war souvenir set. There are collectors out there that specialize in 'Japanese souvenir'
Available on Etsy here.

* I believe this is the big money case here.
**For the record, I don't smoke.

How to Choose a Collar Style

I've been watching a lot of late 30s/early 40s films lately - the men are so impeccably stylish and the women so confidently sexy.

What really has caught my eye in these films are the men's collar styles. Not only are they a means to showing off a great tie (and its knot) but also a great way to show off great facial features. So, which collar is best for your face?

from shirtsandties

button-down collar
Keep the buttons done up - that's what they're there for. Looks good under a sweater because it keeps the collar in place. Shouldn't be worn by full, angular or long faced men.

Tab collar (what a great tie he has on). Long and angular faces should stay away from these. Spread collar (popularly known as the albany collar in the 30s). Not suitable for a round or square face as it will make it look fuller.

straight collar
You'll see these on most shirts from the 70s. Not so good on a long or angular face.
Note the waffle weave straight bottom tie - for similar.

James Coburn - which collar works best for him?

Dec 22, 2009

Quote of the Week - Victor Borge

Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people once a year.

I've been saving that photo for you all year! From my little family to yours, 'Happy Holidays'.
btw that's not my family in the photo.

Top 5 Best Last Minute Gifts

1. custom made wine basket
Fill it with smoked salmon pate, olive tapenade and antipasto, savory crackers, premium chocolates, decadent cookies, exquisite olive oils and vinegars, glass ware and decanters, and a fine selection of wine chosen by experts in the field. Skip the wicker basket if possible and go for something a little more chic.

2. a night in a five star hotel
sometimes it's just nice to sleep in different sheets.

3. classic appetizer/service plate with knife
I received one of these as a thank you gift and it is the best gift I ever received from someone I hardly knew. It's glass with silver trim and the knife has an abalone handle. I'm surprised by how often I use it and how many compliments I get on it. It's a little something to add flare to simple cheese and crackers. This is a nice looking one.

4. tickets to a show
I'd love to get these as I'm too cheap to buy them for myself. If they're into sports go for tickets to a game.

5. honesty
I'm sorry but our finances are a little tight this year.

Top 5 Worst Last Minute Gifts

1. Jams, jellies, preserves
I have about three jars of grape jelly in my fridge 2005-2008. They even moved apartments with me. I wish these could go to the food bank. Why is grape jelly purple?

2. Starbucks's paraphernalia
I'd rather have the cash than the gift card.

3. Mittens, scarves, toques
We have one month of not even really that cold weather in Vancouver. Do you know how many itchy toques I have?

4. Cheap wine
Unless it's a case of Bluberg I can use for risotto.

5. Scratch and win cards, lotto tickets
More desirable than the Starbuck's card though.

Oh - I'm so ungrateful.

Dec 21, 2009

10 Household Items to Use on Last Minute Wardrobe Malfunctions

  1. clear nail polish - Stops runs in your tights from going further. Dab some at each end of the snag.
  2. hairspray - Removes ink from vinyl fabrics. Test a small area to make sure it doesn't take the color out. Spritz a small amount on the ink and dab the spot out.
  3. petroleum jelly - Buffs up patent shoes and bags. Good for a little extra shine on the lips as well. Not too much though or it'll look like you just ate pork chops.
  4. candles - Rub on a sticky zipper to help it slide.
  5. fabric softener sheet - Gets rid of static from your clothes in a hurry. Rub it on the inside of the clingy piece of clothing and the part of your body it's clinging to. Curb fly away hair this way too.
  6. shaving razor - Use to shave pilling off sweaters or wool coats (check your sleeve bottom, I bet it's pilled). Shave in one direction. Don't push to hard or you'll make a hole.
  7. stud earring - Fix up a neckline that's plunging just a little too much by pinning it a bit with the stud.
  8. elastics - Keep your pants tucked in your boots by wrapping the elastic around the bottom.
  9. tape - Instant hem.
  10. pencil - Use it to push through pulls in a sweater. Put the tip of the pencil on the pull and push it through to the other side. Pull the yarn through from the inside.

Dec 20, 2009

Do you have any papers?

Oil - not so valuable when it's on your face.
Guys don't fear them - use them - they're called blotting papers. A forehead beaded with oil is not attractive. Tea tree papers are nice because tea tree has antibacterial qualities that may help your enlarged pores (because that's where the oil is coming from) ward off blemishes. Make sure you get the ones without powder or you'll look like Amadeus.

30 Things Every Man Should Have

  1. good wine glasses
  2. nose hair trimmers
  3. a vase
  4. a bottle of good bubbly on hand
  5. black jeans
  6. a bathing suit - in plain black
  7. a hardcover dictionary (bonus points for a thesaurus)
  8. a black suit
  9. needle and thread
  10. extra shoelaces
  11. white well tailored shirt
  12. black and brown cream shoe polish
  13. cedar shoe trees
  14. a great set of knives
  15. a blender
  16. top coat that comes below the knees
  17. a bottle of wine ready for a last minute dinner invite
  18. extra deodorant and shirt/sweater in the car, locker, or bag
  19. cuff links
  20. a big umbrella you can use like a walking stick
    unbreakable umbrella by Real Self Defense

  21. wooden hangers (including pant hangers)
  22. a belt where the prongs go through the third hole
  23. sturdy garlic crusher
  24. serving bowls that don't look like mixing bowls
  25. hand cream
  26. boxers and briefs
  27. black silk knit tie
  28. calling card on the heaviest stock - seriously stand out
  29. extra sheets
  30. a sense of humour
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The Satanic Majesty's Request