Friday, April 18, 2014

Cinema Style: Rear Window

Rear Window (read the full review here), among other things, is a story about the tension of love- the give and take of the indivdual. Can this person fit into my life? Grace Kelly stars alongside James Stewart in this thriller as a glamourous socialite and her adventure-seeking photographer boyfriend. Though Kelly wears only seven costumes thoughout the movie each one is a stunner, as is hinted at early in the film when Stewart's character quips that she never wears the same dress twice.
Screen Shot 2014-04-14 at 9.51.12 PM
Shirt (Popbasic), Skirt (Similar Here), Necklace (Debenham), Bracelet (J. Crew), Purse (Amazon), Shoes (Old Navy), Belt (Similar Here)

Such glamour can be hard to pull off in the every day, especially the decant glamour of 1950s couture. But you can marry the elegant with the everyday when emulating Kelly's first costume, a New Look dress with a full tulle skirt. Making it two separate pieces instead of a dress, and using simple flats in the place of heels help make the ensemble more casual. Add pearls- larger and more statement-making than  Kelly's discreet ones- to keep it feminine, but modern. Now, you're ready for anything: murders, adventure- or a night in reading fashion magazines, which ever you prefer!

With it's sleek lines emphasized with a pencil skirt (another of Doir's New Look creations), this light green suit gives Grace Kelly a whole other type of glamour. You could wear this out- or into the office. Use mint green to give it a more modern flair, but don't be afraid to include some playful retro elements too. Some fun shoes and an outerwear jacket that matches the skirt gives a cheeky nod to the 50s time period that inspired the outfit.
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Jacket (She Inside), Skirt (Jane Norman London), Shirt (White House | Black Market), Shoes (Modcloth), Belt (Debenham), Earrings (Oliver Bonas)

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Remix: Bow Shirt


Boater Hat | Grey Sweater | Jean Shorts

bowshirt3 Collage.jpg

White and Black | Wool Skirt


Tweed Jacket | Mustard Sweater

Do you have any items in the back of your closet, you're just not even sure where it came from? That would be this shirt. But it's served me well; layered, or loose, tucked or untucked, bow or no- it's neutral color makes it a shirt for all seasons.  So, shirt, I don't know where you came from or where we're going, but I think we'll be going together.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Letter Writing: Letters to Politicians

Writing letters to politicians (or others with the power to affect change) can be  great way to make your voice heard- and action taken! Though many feel email can be quicker, it is more likely to be deleted (or labelled spam!) before ever being read. A letter will, eventually, make it to the intended person’s desk.  They show more effort and therefore will have more weight. Here are some tips to make your letter to a politician more effective and likely to affect the change you want.

First- focus your topic to write about one specific topic per letter. If you write about too many issues or ideas your purpose will get lost and you will not be able to achieve the depth needed to make your arguments sound.

More than one person could be writing a letter as part of a campaign. You could write one letter that everyone signs, which should be typed, or each person can write their own letter to the same person on the same topic. In that case, the letters should be handwritten, as they show a more personal touch.

Letters to Aussie MPs - No Clean Feed Please.
photo by Donna Benjiman
Research the person you are writing too- not only will you then be double checking that this is the man or woman you want to spend time on, but you can find out what their voting record is like, and what issues matter to them. Do they tend to vote affirmatively to be fiscally conservative? Do they care about education? Natural resources? If writing to politicians, find out what committees they sit on; they will have both greater knowledge and greater influence in those areas. It might also be worth it to find out a bit about the politician's personal background, such as whether they have children, and if they grew up in a certain area, as these things can influence people’s outlook.

Once that’s done,  you’re ready to  start writing your letters.  Use a formal, business letter format, which includes your address on the letter itself. This can be helpful as envelopes can be lost! Remember, if the person you writing to is a legislator, they are entitled to be called “The Honorable _________.” Even if you do not agree with the person’s politics or actions, this is a courtesy you need to  use in your greeting.

The first paragraph introduces why you are writing. If you are writing about a specific bill or other piece of legislation or document, make sure to identify it according to it’s number, so the legislature will know what you are specifically writing about and which legislation to vote on.

The next few paragraphs are where you support your request with compelling arguments and evidence.  There are likely very compelling reasons you are writing to get something done- these could be an anecdote to share, to use as a reason to vote. However, most people respond best to arguments that have been tailored to what they feel is important. This is where all your hard work researching will pay off. If you’ve done that, you know what the politician finds important and can write with that “angle” in mind. Also, if you have an expertise on the issues (you are, for example, in the medical field and are writing about a medical issue), this is the place to mention that!

Be polite and show the person respect. End by thanking the person for something, anything, - whether it is for their support or their time in reading the letter, if nothing else.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Presenting: Anna of Melodic, Thrifty and Chic

Let me introduce, if you don't already know her, one of my favorite bloggers, Anna from Melodic, Thrifty, and Chic. It seems right now, many bloggers (including myself) moving towards more simplicity in dress.

Anna is not that way. Her outfits are complex, and compelling. They are reflective of many moods and styles.  We throw around the term "sartorial choice" a lot, but everything Anna does really is based on a sartorial choice; in a way, her outfits are art because they are always saying something.

One day, she might be dressed in what she terms "post-apocalyptic fashion;" on another she is in rainbow-bright colors. She might be a bit punk one day, and wearing something with a print like Grandma's couch the next. I feel like she aims for beyond pretty and gets interesting instead.

Likewise, conversations about clothes with her (which, of course, style bloggers tend to talk about from time to time!) are analytic and smart, which makes her blog all that more fun to follow. Check her out for yourself :) 

P.S. In addition to fantastic outfits, you'll also find through reviews of shops on her site, as well as music. Plus, she runs a great monthly series about other bloggers; this month she was nice enough to feature me. Thanks Anna.


Friday, April 11, 2014

Film Flick: Singin' In the Rain

Few scenes in film history could be more iconic or carefree than that of Gene Kelly dancing in the streets as  water pours down in Singin’ In The Rain. Filled with songs like “Make ‘Em Laugh” and “Good Morning,” it is considered by many to be the greatest movie musical of all time. Yet, co-star Debbie Reynolds claimed that making this movie and childbirth were the two hardest things she’d  ever had to endure, and for all the sweat, blood and tears, it received only modest accolades at the time it premiered.

Singin’ in the Rain not only starred Gene Kelly but was co-directed by him. Debbie Reynolds was only nineteen and still living with her parents when the part was given to her, after Judy Garland and Ann Miller were both deemed too old. She would get up at four and take three buses to make it to the set and often worked nineteen hour days; sometimes she would even sleep onset to avoid that arduous commute. She’d been scouted out at a beauty pageant and had a background in gymnastics, not dance. The lack of dance training made Kelly critical. Stories go, that one day Fred Astaire found the young actress sobbing under a piano after a run in with Kelly. To cheer her up, he coached her on her dancing himself. That helped, but the dance number “Good Morning” still took so many takes that Reynolds’ feet were literally bleeding at the end. Fellow co-star, Donald O’Connor, also worried about making a mistake in front of perfectionist Kelly. He came through though- even when Kelly asked he reprise an old stunt from his vaudeville days of walking up a wall and flipping around in midair. O’Connor did it- but being a heavy smoker, the stunt put him in bed for the next three days! Though Gene Kelly required a lot from others; he required no less from himself, and did the "Singin’ in the Rain" number while fighting a fever of one hundred-three degrees!

Singin’ in the Rain is a story of Hollywood spoofing itself a bit. Don Lockwood (Gene Kelly) is a star of the silent screen, but when sound comes to town, he and the rest of the studio is flummoxed- especially since his co star Lana Lamont (played by Jean Haegen) has an accent leagues apart from her cultivated image! Can he, his buddy Cosmo (Donald O’Connor), and their new gal-pal Kathy (Debbie Reynolds) save the day? Or are all their careers facing a sudden, downward turn?

Since the film is set in the 1920s, all but two songs are ones reused from earlier movies of that time; the plot was built around the music. Despite the hardships endured to get them there, and despite the fact that this film was largely overshadowed by Kelly's previous film, Best Picture An American in Paris, what resulted was something magical, something fun. It’s a musical that works like no other- it has a plot that hangs together better than many musicals, and a sense of friendship between all the characters that makes you cheer unreservedly for them. In fact, its upbeat message will make you too, want to be Singin’ in the Rain.

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