Tuesday, July 16, 2013

To Grandmother's Style We Go

Regardless if you know me beyond the pages of my blog or not, I am sure you have gathered that I am a fairly traditional, modest, and classic dresser.
I cite the beginning of my personal style dress code when I was 12 years old. I hated shopping, leaving my mom to pick out clothes for me. I detested shopping so much that when my L.L.Bean khakis grew too short, but fit in the waist (I wish that was still a problem!), I wore them nevertheless. I paired my "ankle length" pants with a white tee, sweater tied around my neck, drivers mocs, a trio of gold bangles, and a colorful ribbon belt. The look only changed in the summer months when I substituted pants for boy's khaki shorts.

I have become a bit trendier since my junior high and early high school days. My wardrobe has expanded, I have diversified my collection...but I still cite the same inspiration.
I have always striven to be a timeless dresser. I want to wear things that I can have for years and years to come. I want to look effortlessly chic, at any age, and I have sought much inspiration from women decades older.

I think that my Grandmas, both deceased, had tremendous style sense. Today is the one year anniversary of my Grandma's passing...and I think recognizing the inspiration both matriarchs of my family had on my style (and life) couldn't come at a better time.

My Grandmother's had different personalities, were from different regions...and, fittingly so, had different dress codes (although similar in their timeless nature).

My Grandma lived in Cincinnati her whole life, spent time working at a flower shop, drove around in her cadillac, played cards, and was my favorite couch-chat buddy. She was a fan of pastels, festive reading glasses, broaches...and no one looked better in a St. John's suit.

My Grammy lived in Maryland, raised five boys, took painting lessons, and had a larger than life personality...drawing attention and interest wherever she went. She was quintessentially prep. Monogram sweaters, espadrilles, headbands, and in true prep fashion...she pulled it all off effortlessly.

Both have influenced my style more than anyone else.

Although I will go through periods where I my inspiration sources vary form the likes of: a lady shopping at an art museum gift shop, a woman walking her dog on the rocky beaches of Maine, or a madam preparing for a gala reception; my grandmothers remain my primary "style icons". 

 Several weeks ago, my dad came across the article "Gran Larceny" from the Wall Street Journal. The editorial argues that rebellion in the fashion industry is actually shopping your grandmother's closet, believing that more is less, and that looking beautiful is far more valuable than looking sexy

Even though I have been embodying this trend for half of my life, I don't plan on changing anything too soon. 

Below you can find the article by Alexa Brazilian.

I'd love to know what you think:

"IS CONSERVATIVE THE new radical? The fashion world certainly seems to think so. This season, designers filled their runways with restrained silhouettes that echo the graceful, showing-less-is-more aesthetic of generations past.
Designers are reimagining soignée staples for spring and summer—skirt suits, twin sets, below-the-knee dresses, kitten heels and frame bags—that appear anything but moth-eaten. In fact, fashion's neoconservative coup d'état feels deliciously defiant, given the excessively revealing styles pop culture celebrates. A quick flip through any supermarket tabloid yields an onslaught of oversexed stars and their indelicate fashion choices, which prompted a strict dress code for this year's Grammy Awards. When you factor in over-the-top street style and the all-round oversharing that has become pervasive, the reeled-in restraint of a bygone era looks more and more like a cool, quiet revolution.
This dignified uprising can be spotted on many of today's most influential style setters—British fashion icon Alexa Chung, Russian supermodel Natalia Vodianova and Moda Operandi co-founder Lauren Santo Domingo, to name a few.
"A young girl now doesn't want to dress like her mother; she finds her grandmother much cooler," said Nina Ricci creative director Peter Copping, who designed skirt suits inspired by his own nana. "She wore little smart, tweedy suits. I always had a romantic notion of that." But the designer, who modernized his separates by cutting them in a light-as-air bouclé woven onto organza, also drew inspiration from a much younger source. "Someone told me a story about the [22-year-old] model Eliza Cummings and how when she got her first big money job she went straight out and bought a Chanel suit," said Mr. Copping. "I thought, 'Wow, that's really clued up!' "
In his spring collection, Bottega Veneta designer Tomas Maier, who has long imprinted the brand with a classic femininity, crafted sheer cardigans, calf-grazing dresses and a coat in the sort of rose print one might find on the walls of a '50s-era powder room. "I never liked the obvious definition of 'sexy,' " said Mr. Maier. "I actually don't even like the word. I prefer a woman to be sensuous and in charge—definitely in charge of what she's wearing."
Twenty-six-year-old designer Wes Gordon agreed. "In serious times, you need serious chic. Anything cute feels bad right now. A grown-up, covered-up silhouette is the anti-cute," said Mr. Gordon, whose signature long-sleeve gowns and full skirts have been worn by bright young things such as Jessica Biel and Rita Ora. His spring collection had a red skirt suit worthy of Nancy Reagan. Among Mr. Gordon's inspirations: a book of Valentino Garavani's designs from the '70s (the house's current designers, Maria Grazia Chiuri and Pier Paolo Piccioli, are also huge proponents of the conservative-but-cool look) and Greta Garbo. "But late Garbo, when she was running around New York City with a popped collar, hiding from people," he said. "It's good to be a little mysterious in the overcrowded, overexposed world we live in now."
"What feels new is being a bit quieter and more discerning."
Even London's resident bad boy Christopher Kane is of a similar mind. "Ladylike is the ultimate sexiness," said the designer. "It's clean, elegant and in control. The famous saying, 'It's the quiet ones you need to watch,' definitely applies to this style."
Although the movement centers on mature silhouettes, it's the accessories that carry it over into phenomenon territory. From the delicate stampede of pointy kitten heels and sensible block-heeled sandals to the flood of frame bags and collar-grazing necklaces, little touches are capable of creating big changes in attitude.
"There is a shift in sensibility happening now—shoppers are moving away from conspicuous It-bags, the vertiginous platform heel and gaudy in-your-face jewels," said Kate Davidson Hudson, co-founder of the newly launched accessories shopping site Editorialist. "What feels new is being a bit quieter and more discerning—having your subtle gold studs, cat-eye glasses, proper box bag and most importantly, the mid-heel shoe.
"Indeed, low-riding heels—from Louis Vuitton's Magic Square pumps to Miu Miu's squat, crystal-encrusted patent-leather numbers—have been star sellers for spring. There has also been an attendant uptick in popularity for the shoe brands that your grandmother and great-grandmother loved. Roger Vivier, the brand known for its low, pilgrim-buckle pump made famous by Catherine Deneuve in "Belle de Jour," seems more popular than ever, both for its shoes and the book on its 75-plus-year history released last month with publisher Rizzoli. Ferragamo, another perennial ladies-who-lunch favorite, is celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Vara, its sweetly iconic gold bow-topped shoe, with a new campaign featuring of-the-moment women such as Ms. Santo Domingo and Chiara Clemente wearing the classic, dainty-heeled slippers. As of this month, they can be customized to one's liking on the brand's website with a choice of color combinations and materials, and the option to monogram the soles.
One longtime Ferragamo Vara fan is Ms. Chung. "I think one of the first times I was photographed, I literally sneaked into a Topshop [fashion] show and I was wearing a cardigan, some white tights and Ferragamo heels," recalled Ms. Chung, host of the music TV show Fuse News on the Fuse channel, and author of "It," a book on her personal style and inspirations (out from Penguin in late October).
She's also emblematic of a certain brand of young-fogy dressing that has become popular with the next generation of taste-makers, including 27-year-old sister-designers Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen, whose discreetly polished and structured bag designs for their label The Row have become industry favorites."

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