Thursday, May 16, 2013

Round Adds Pounds

My taste in fabric is neither wild nor way out there. I tend toward solids, texture, and the occasional soft print that is typically on the timeless rather than the trendy end of the spectrum which means I usually love my stash except...

... when I've bought several colors of a fabric that turns out to be a poor choice, like this rayon blend knit. A few years ago, I bought it in two shades of turquoise, a purple, and a fuchsia. It's beautifully soft only it clings to every lump and bump in a most unflattering way and turns white where it rubs against something like the button on the waistband of your jeans. I'd forgotten until I started working on the purple version.




It's mostly done. Only the hems are left to stitch. After raising the bust point on the last five t-shirts, this one probably should have been lowered but I'm not worrying about it too much because it's destined to be another pajama shirt. It's soft and pretty and looks terrible on me. Besides the cling, it's not a great neckline except...




... for the binding. I discovered a new "trick". Do you see how the left needle is sitting into a curve in the edge of the foot? By moving the needle over while using the inner edge of the foot as a guide against the binding, the left needle stitches in the groove and the right needle stitches on the binding. SO EASY. And the binding looks great. It's just the wrong neckline shape for my face. Too wide. Too round.

In Staging Your Comeback, in the section on maximizing or minimizing a bust line, Christopher writes round adds pounds - an oval, a wide scoop, or a rounded jacket collar creates a fuller upper body. He gives similar round statements about the shape of other garments, hair cuts, and accessories. I'm enjoying re-reading this book. I'm even learning some new information that will be helpful.

Like most of these books, there's a quiz to find out which fashion personality you are. I'm perhaps too literal for this particular quiz because I found the descriptions categorized me better. And - not surprising - because it happens frequently - I'm a dramatic with a touch of classic. Christopher offers descriptions not only of the fashions that suit the different personalities but also of the hair styles and the make-up that suits them. Of the Dramatic and her hair, he writes...

You like a hairstyle that makes a statement. People often compliment you on your hair because you have taken the time to learn how to do it just right. You want a cut that is "a look," avoiding trends and opting for a signature style. You're one of the rare women who will spend the time necessary to make your hairstyle great. You take your hairstyle very seriously. It is your look and you want it to make a statement.

Yes. And after waiting three months to get in with the hairstylist I saw last week, I wasn't thrilled with the cut and after a week of playing with it and getting nowhere, I called and made an appointment with my regular stylist. The new one had cut my hair into my "typical" shape and that makes sense considering the criteria I gave her only there's not enough inner detail. It's not a look. It's a blob of hair on a head. And that's not me.

One thing that keeps coming up in the book is the tendency of most women to let things go as they age. I've been doing that. With my clothes, my make-up, my hair. Not intentionally. It just slipped up on me and made sense... sort of... like with my hair. I've been letting it grow long between appointments more out of economy than a desire for long hair and I need to quit and get back to going regularly because how my hair looks has a big impact on my mood.




For most of my life, my hair has been a darker shade of blond only it's gotten darker as I've gotten older and now it's more of a dark brunette with little grey. It seems a shame to color over that and yet it's started to feel like a dark blob stuck on my head - LOL - a dark, round, blob. Christopher notes if you want to keep your hair dark, you should balance it with make-up. The key is to create brow, eye, lip, and skin colors that balance the dark hair. OH. New learning. This is an area to update because I've been using the same colors and wearing less make-up instead of new colors and more. It's so easy to do when you're mostly home all the time. This picture impacted me because of my darkening hair.




The fear with aging is that we're going to end up looking like some kind of caricature of ourselves. Not attractive. I want to look attractive and approachable like the larger photo above and not clown-ish like the inset picture. It's the same woman with an updated hairstyle and make-up. This picture impacted me because I really like make-up but I've been wearing less and letting it go and because I like a very done look that can tend toward fake. This woman's make-up is done but looks more natural. 




The make-over above is so incredibly flattering. This woman has an Alluring fashion personality and all through the book there are images of her in short skirts, tight tops, and fishnet stockings that would be unflattering even on a younger woman never mind on one over forty-five. Her new look is absolutely gorgeous from hair to make-up to clothing. It's alluring without flashing. This picture impacted me because I've always been attracted to "big" hair and I love how her new style shows the lift, texture, and vitality of fuller hair in a flattering way.

It's fun reading... and I'm learning... which is fabulous. Do you enjoy make-over books? Which is your favourite? Along with Staging Your Comeback, I've really enjoyed Looking Good by Palmer/Pletsch and Nothing to Wear by Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo.  I'll probably reread them in the next few weeks since it feels like time for a makeover of my own although it's more updating and refining than making over completely and - apparently - a reminder to not let things slide but - overall - I am - mostly - on the right track. How about you?

Talk soon - Myrna

Grateful - literature and learning

16 comments:

  1. I don't know if I am on the right track. Probably not. But I want to be. I just turned 34 recently and I realised (for a couple of years already) that I need to do better to put my best foot forward. I think most of the time I don't, and I've gotten away with it (or plainly just not thinking about it) when I was younger, but now that I am older, that attitude is actually aiding towards making me seem to wanting to go down the path of "letting go" and i I totally don't want that.

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    1. I'm not sure there's a right or a wrong track. I think it's all a process of learning and if you're aware and don't want to go there, that's a big part of the battle. While you're younger than the target audience, I still think you'd find the book helpful. It's quite well done.

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  2. Hah! I'm probably Classic with with a side of Stubborn (uh, I meant Artistic ... LOL).

    I haven't ready any of the books you've mentioned, but I'm gearing up to. There are some new ones out there that are intriguing, and the ones you've mentioned are new to me.

    And yes, I totally agree about keeping up with the hair. It makes a huge difference to my mood as well. I'd rather cut back ($$) in other areas.

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    1. LOL - a side of stubborn. Love that. What are the new books you've heard about. I've always loved books of this nature but what I especially liked about this one was the age of the target audience and the fact that all the illustrations are of women I could relate to.

      Today, I put on a darker shade of foundation and did my eyes and made my best attempt with a bad hairstyle and I definitely felt better and got some nice compliments. It's worth it.

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    2. "Lessons from Madame Chic" is on the radar. I think you mentioned another, "The Truth About Style."

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    3. I really enjoyed The Truth About Style. I'll check out this other one. I also found What To Wear For The Rest Of Your Life: Ageless Secrets of Style by Kim Johnson Cross on my shelf. I don't remember the details but I do remember that I enjoyed it enough to keep it so - LOL - I'll read it again.

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  3. Thanks for the book recommendations. I ordered 2 of them and look forward to reading them.

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    1. You're welcome. Let me know what you think.

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  4. I admit I only do make up when I'm going out somewhere. I don't do it when I'm home all day and it really doesn't bother me!

    Hair. That's one thing I get done regularly because a bad hair day is a bad day period! My biggest problem is the top started thinning several years ago and trying to work with it can test my nerves some days.

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    1. One interesting aspect of this book is that the descriptions focus on fashion, hair, make-up, and so on individually. There's more info. Some fashion personalities are more or less inclined to the individual aspects although apparently we all need to work harder at looking natural as we age. That's certainly been my experience. The author talks a lot about thinning hair and how to work with it. He's a hairstylist first.

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  5. Can you post a picture of the binding to show what the completed stitching looks like? I can't quite get how this falls in the groove as oppose to being a line alongside the and in parallel to the binding? Thanks!

    Also I recommend Peggy Saggers' book "Dressed to Kill Gently". One of the interesting aspects of the wardrobe-type books can be directives like "long skirts do not look good on older women". I wonder if this is because most women add circumference to the midriff as they get older although the hip size remains the same. When purchasing RTW, a larger midriff sizes up alongside a larger hip size, thereby making the garment dowdy. But a sewer can alter the pattern to adjust for the waist size increase without adding to the hip and so has more flexibility in creating a flattering long skirt (or whatever garment).

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    1. The lines of stitching are parallel and the one just happens to fall in the groove because the edge of the presser foot pushes the binding over and lets the stitches be in that space. I need to practice. They wobble a bit. Picture in today's post.

      It seems to me that wearing long skirts is all about the correct style and proportions and not about age however they can look incredibly frumpy if not done correctly - on any age - but worse as you get older.

      Peggy's book contains some really good information only I couldn't finish reading it. Too many errors. IMHO if you're going to self-publish a book, you need to invest in a professional editor. I can handle one, maybe two glaring errors but after that, it starts driving me crazy to the point that I can't see the information any more. I felt the same way about Beverly Johnson's The Bra-Maker's Manual and considering it's five times as expensive... I wanted to yank out my red pen and get to work - LOL.

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  6. I was able to find a copy of the Staging Your Comeback at the library yesterday and am thoroughly enjoying it. Typically such books never use examples of women in their 70s, and I found it to be encouraging.

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    1. I know. I loved looking at the profiles and realizing she was close to my age, my height, my size, and so on. It gives a lot more impact to the information. Enjoy.

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  7. My hair seems to be doing the same thing as yours, getting darker, but mine has a lot a grey. I just don't know if I want to get into the coloring routine again. I have not heard of the book "Staging Your Comeback" before, but will get it from the library. The makeovers are amazing. You are so right that the right hair cut seems to increase how we feel about ourselves. I found someone great nearby but he is expensive ($50 per cut) and my hair grows so quickly that I would need it cut monthly. My preferred style these days is what is called an inverted wedge in this area, where the back angles higher than the sides. As far as my "type" goes, it always comes out to be classic/romantic and I tend to stick with my "soft summer" colors. I have really confused a lot of the color analysis people because at first glance, they always think me a warm season with freckles and green eyes with a lot of gold, but the pale Irish skin gives it away that I am definitely in the cool seasons. I want to know where one can find fabric in the colors that Pantone shows each season as "the" colors for the season.

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    1. I know what you mean. In my twenties when I was a hairstylist, I coloured my hair all the time but now, that's not something I want to do so I'm thankful I don't have much grey but I was wondering if I needed to lighten the colour. Now, I can "just" balance it with make-up.

      The author talks a lot about why a wedge type shape - diagonal lines - is good for women in the second act as he calls it. Similar to dressing. Diagonals are softening and lift.

      Let me know what you think of the book. I'll be interested in your take on how he dresses the classic/romantic. I can see struggles with that type as one ages although all categories have their issues because aging and dressing seems to have innate struggles BUT... we sew... we can do this. Second act sewing - VBG - what fun!

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Thanks for commenting. I appreciate the feedback and the creative conversation.