10 Fashion Terms to Know


  1. Leotard- A fitted one-piece knitted garment that is worn around the torso of the body.  Can also cover arms and neck. Mostly used for physical activity.
  2.  Maroon- A color that is a dark purple with brown or red tones.
  3.  Matelasse- A luxury fabric with an embossed effect.  The front and back of the cloth are separate fabrics that are joined together with extra yarns.
  4. Baby doll nightgown- A nightgown made with short puffed sleeves and matching panties and sheer.
  5. Ombre- Tones of a color with monochromatic shading from light to dark of a single color.
  6. Opaque- A term which means no light can pass through it.
  7. Translucent- A term which means semi-transparent.
  8. Transparent- A term used to describe items that light can pass through or been seen through.
  9. Voile- A fabric that is lightweight and open weaved to make a it a slightly rough texture.
  10. Beige- A color occurring in nature. Undyed fabric when it was first made.



My Life With Clothes


Since I am writing more and more about my wardrobe I decided to write a series on my relationship with clothes.  I plan to write about how I related to clothing through the years. How my feelings on clothing changed and what I learned about fashion.

I guess I should start at the beginning. I think my mother was always disappointed in the fact that I never wanted to dress girly.  More specifically preppy, a style which my mother adored. I love dark clothing.  I would often wear the dresses she was so fond of but I would wear them with some moderation like unique socks and shoes.

I came to realize that my mother and I had very different taste in clothes.  I would be a few years before I could get my mother to stop having an influence over my clothes.  At University she was named to the best dressed list. Even today, she gives her opinion.  I try hard not to follow it. I’m never satisfied when I follow her advice for clothes.  I like what I like.  I prefer dark colors with only one of two bright ones.

As the years went on I took classes in makeup and clothing. I even appeared in ads in local and national papers.  I helped style photoshoots for photographers.  At this point I loved fashion.  I would watch and read whatever I could on it.  Each Saturday, without fail I watch the TV show “Style with Elsa Klensch.”  I was transfixed by the beautiful gowns of Vera Wang, Bob Mackie, Ralph Lauren, Chanel, and Christian LaCroix.

I had never seen so many beautiful things. I loved when the designers were interviewed and new jewelry designers were shown.  It was almost fairytale like for me. Everything was presented elegantly.  Even when avant garde. It was like watching a snow globe.  It was a beautiful scene that you could see but never quite be a part of.

As I started to get older I began to think what I wanted to do with my life.  I wanted to do something creative which made my family angry. Creativity was stupid.  I got a lot of things said to me which should have not been said.  I kept my thoughts to myself. I began to plot my escape.

I went to school for two years in the United States taking basic courses. Then I transferred to a design school in London, England. This was the single best decision I ever made in my life.

On to England in Part 2.


June Fashion Terms to Know


It’s time for the monthly article I write on Fashion Terms.  Some of these terms as common place others are obscure.  I hope you enjoy a little jaunt into the world of clothing.  Here are ten terms to know this month.

  1. Baseball Cap:  A cap that has a dome shaped top.  It can be a solid color or multi colored dome.  It can also be made of different fabrics, but usually nylon.  Has an adjustable headband.
  2. Davy Crockett Cap:  A head covering made out of racoon fur with the tail of the racoon attached to the backside of the cap and laying down along the neck.  Worn in Colonial America and re-popularized in the 1950s and 1960s. Named for famous early American Davy Crockett who died at the Alamo.
  3. Chevron: A design which has two straight lines that meet to form an inverted V. These V shapes are worn on the sleeves of uniforms for the military, police and fire.
  4. Couture: Comes from the French and is used to describe a style of fashion which is the ultimate in fabric, construction, and design.  These clothes are shown twice a year and sold to a very limited audience due to extremely high cost.
  5. Androgynous: Someone or something possessing male and female characteristics.
  6. Mantilla: A shawl or veil worn by Spanish women made of lace and worn for special occasions.  Maybe worn over a high comb.
  7. Natural Fibers: Fibers that are from animals, plants or mineral origins.  Different from those that are made of chemicals (manmade).
  8. Organza:  A light fabric which is transparent and stiff. It is made of rayon or silk yarns. Can be crushed buy also it is easy to press into shape.  Often used for dresses, millinery, and trim.
  9. Parachute pants: A straight legged pant with a zipper from the hem up the leg to make it fit to the ankles securely. It has three zipped pockets on each leg and another at the waist.
  10. Signet Ring: A ring with a large stone or piece of glass cut into a pattern that represents a single person or family.  Used to make impression in wax seals.

Stop by next month for another installment.



What is a signature look?


You read about it often in fashion magazines, you see it on television or in the newspaper, it’s everywhere.  It’s the “signature look.”  What is a signature look?  Why do you need one?  How do you get one?  What is it? Why do certain people have it while others do not?  What can is signature style do for you?

First, let’s figure out the definition of signature style.  After consulting several definitions of a “trademark look”, I would define it as characteristic clothing or a unique appearance making the wearer more easily recognized by others.  So it is something that is unique among the masses. When I use this definition stars such as Diane Keaton, Dita Von Teese and Madonna in her early years stand out.  If you saw an item of their clothing on a mannequin you would know to whom it belonged. They are closely identified with certain articles of clothing and how they are put together.

That “look” is so often associated with one person can also be non-clothing related.  Think of Brigitte Nielson and her icy blonde hair, Tammy Faye Baker and her six tons of mascara, or JLo and her posterior.  A look can be anything on the outside. However, for this article, we want to stick with clothing.

Men are a little bit more difficult to identify.  One man that springs to mind is Hugh Hefner.  Hefner’s trademark silk pajamas and smoking jacket are one of a kind.  Karl Lagerfeld is another man who has a unique style;  Sunglasses, suit, gloves and pony tail in all it’s glory.

In interviews, I’ve read about men who are known for a particular look, such as Steve Jobs and his turtlenecks.  say they chose their signature look or “uniform” for reasons other than aesthetics.  Reasons such as comfort and reduced decision making are often the most heard of.

Diane Keaton said her unique style is the result of “not wanting her body to be exposed.” Women often dress for many more reasons than that.  Some to create controversy, some to impress women, some to impress other men.  Clothes can convey everything from elegance to sexiness.  While women have a great variety of dress to choose from, they also have greater requirements from society in how they dress.

So how do you figure out what your signature style is?  First thing is to define what type of life do you lead? If you are a stay-at-home mom you need one type of basic wardrobe.  If you are an executive you need another. Know your life, know what you need.

The second thing is to identify what your style is.  Sometimes it’s easy.  You like a certain style or time period like Mods, Hippies, or Country.  Other times you admire a person like the previously mentioned Diane Keaton or the retro loving Dita Von Teese.  Study their individual looks.  Write down or create a mood board of their look’s individual pieces.

Compare those to your lifestyle requirements.  Does it fit?  If not, can you modify the style to suit your life?  Then leave out anything you don’t like and you have your basic wardrobe list.  Choose what colors you want to wear. Usually 2-4 colors are a good amount.  Remember to also take into consideration climate.  Your wardrobe will have different elements if you live in Montreal versus Rio de Janiero. Not a big need for snowsuits in Rio.

Further your look by adding accessories and shoes.  Finish the look with hair an make up.  Sounds easy right? A signature look takes a bit more time to refine.  This is just a great place to start.  Do you know someone with a signature look?  Who are your favorite fashion icons?

Let me know in the comments below.








Fashion Terms for May


Agile Manufacturing: Technology that uses modular production rather than the normal piece goods method.

Colorway: The variety of two to four choices of color in the same season, for the same print or solid, in each style.

Sourcing: The decision process of determining who, what and where of your textile and apparel products manufacture, or where each individual piece is made.

Zoot Suit: An avant guard style of the 1940’s for men which used high-waisted, pleated pants that narrow at the ankle.  Worn with a long coat shoulder pads and large lapels, a wide brimmed hat, and a key chain or watch chain coming out of the side pants pocket.

Turnip Pants: For bicycling, pants that could be turned down to make full length pants.  Popular in the 1890’s.

Teddybear Coat: Large coat of alpaca fabric worn by men, women and children in the 1920’s.  Today some large, synthetic coats that appear like sheep wool has also been referred to as a teddybear coat.

Cowl-neck: On a pullover garment with extra large rolled collar which forms a cowl neck.

Ankle socks: A short sock that only reaches the ankle. It can be turned down to the ankle too.  First used in the 1920’s in the US for sport matches for women.

Bell Sleeve: A sleeve that is narrow against the arm near the shoulder and upper arm, then flaring out to the wrist or elbow. To be in the shape of a bell.

Tuxedo Pump Shoe: A low heel pump shoe with a rounded toe made of patent leather for the most part.  It can also have grosgrain trim around the top of the shoe or in a decorative bow at the toes.


Clothing · Uncategorized

My Capsule Wardrobe, The Start


So I went through my closet this past weekend.  I picked out a capsule wardrobe.  I combined all seasons together.  So I have long sleeves and sweaters but once I paired down they will be put away for the season.

Once I got my separate capsule wardrobe out from my regular clothes I realized not everything went together. I put this up to my weight gain of four dress sizes when I went on medication for my chronic migraines.  I needed clothes.  I needed anything that fit.  I needed anything that would cover my stomach.

I went from store to store in search of clothing that fit, that I liked and didn’t make me look like a grandma.  I remember my paternal grandmother.  When she was in her late 60’s she wore plus size clothing.  Frankly, it was awful.  She would wear these red and orange medallion pants with a stripped top.  Not because she was colorblind but she had difficultly finding clothing that fit and went together.  While the clothing industry has changed slightly, it is still difficult to find things.  Much of the plus size clothing I find is for office work.  I like to dress up, but don’t need a whole wardrobe of suits.  Much of the casual stuff is limited to tshirts and blue jeans.

Then take into consideration the time of year.  You have more choices in Fall and Winter than you do in Spring and Summer. Then where to shop, the type of stores.  When I mean the type of store I don’t mean plus size vs Misses size.  I mean teenager vs older woman vs career woman vs a little bit of everything.  Then take into account the sizes and the price point and you see there is really slim pickings.  Perhaps, the capsule wardrobe will help me with that.  I won’t feel like I have nothing to put on.

What do I wear now?  I buy things from LLBean Catalog, Eddie Bauer Catalog, Landsend Catalog, JJill, Chicos, Christopher and Banks, Dress Barn, Lane Bryant, Maurice’s and sometimes New York and Company.

Here is what I have chosen for my capsule wardrobe:

Blue Jeans (navy)

A button down shirt (Navy) short sleeve

Jean jacket ( Blue)

T-shirts short slv (Navy) (Black) (Grey) (Teal) (Green)

Cardigan (Navy) (Black) (Grey) (Teal) (Green)

Long Sleeve Tshirt (Navy)*(Grey)*

Blazer (Black)**

Dress Pants (Black)

V-neck light knit sweater (Black)*

Black Lace Shirt (Black)**

Casual Pants (Grey)

Tweed Skirt (Black)*

Spring Summer Dress (Green)

Leather Jacket (Brown)* **

Button down shirt (white)

Print shirt (Navy)

Print Skirt (Black)

*Winter item

**Need to purchase item

What do you think? Do you have a capsule wardrobe?  What is in it? Have you gotten rid of the other clothes or keeping them for a bit.  I’m keeping mine to see if I like this.  Let me know your story in the comments below.









The Very Basic Wardrobe List


There have been so many posts, blogs and tv segments on your wardrobe.  There are capsule wardrobes, French influence wardrobe, monochrome wardrobes, and daily uniforms. I have always had a basic wardrobe list.  A good place to start to build any closet.  You can turn this into a capsule wardrobe or any other type of style you want.  What would you put in your basic wardrobe?

Here is my list:

Dark Jeans :I like that they look more dressed up.

Trench Coat: Classic style and practical.


Button down shirt

Leather Jacket

Car coat


Pencil Skirt



I usually prefer one color.  For a long time it was black, then charcoal grey.  Currently, I seem to wear a lot of navy.  I think I would prefer all charcoal.  Unfortunately, there is not a lot of the things in that shade of grey. Do you have a basic foundation color?  What is it?    Have you tried a capsule wardrobe before? Let me know how it has gone.  I’ve been giving it some serious thought since I gained some significant weight from medication.  It’s so hard to find plus sized clothes that look good and I like.  Have you had any problems with clothing yourself?