Our Common Thread

The blog title is the title of the June/July 2020 Vogue. It is a special issue on Creativity in a Time of Crisis.

I want to quote from two people whose photos and quotes grace the magazine.

I use the quotes to encourage readers to buy Vogue.

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Cynthia Erivo – Atlanta:

“I’m still picking outfits that make me feel good–even if I’m just going downstairs,” says the actor. “I’m still getting up and doing my little facial and skin care regimen. I’m still wearing my jewelry because I love that, and it’s a part of who I am…So that stuff hasn’t fallen by the wayside yet. I would say I’m staying fashionably cozy.”

Alessandro Michele – Rome:

“I’ve rediscovered knitting and the sacredness of manual work. Knitting is my way of praying,” says the Gucci creative director. “I’m also learning how to play my classical guitar, feeling the connection with my dad’s love for music. I’m aware of the privilege I have–I can slow down, while lots of other people are working tirelessly to help each and every one of us make it through these agonizing times.

We would not be here thinking about what this pandemic is teaching us without their priceless effort. From my windows I can hear the birds singing as I’ve never heard before; seawater in Venice is clear once again.

These are the little signs we need to look at once we go back to inhabiting this fragile world.”

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What I have to add to the dialog:

Be grateful for what you have. You have everything right inside you that you need to succeed. Respect the natural world and the human beings living alongside you on this green and glorious earth.

Each of us gets only this life to live on this one planet. Live for today and focus on the present moment before it’s gone.

Today is the greatest day. Only today matters.

The past had an expiration date–it ended. The future isn’t guaranteed.

Today is a gift to open and rejoice in.

Pay attention to the birds singing on your fire escape. Listen to the song of life.

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Living through this terrible and tragic pandemic I’ve decided not to play it safe when returning outdoors.

What I wrote in here years ago:

There’s no safety in playing it safe. The path of least resistance leads to a dead end.

Dare beautiful readers–dare to be yourselves and strive to make a difference.

More than ever the world needs us to band together for the common cause of humanity.

The Circle of Life

What I’ve been thinking about:

In the time of the pandemic where a lot of people struggle with food insecurity I have a well-stocked refrigerator bursting with food.

When you have plenty what else could you need or want?

My goal when I’m able to get a FreshDirect time slot for food delivery is to use the link on that website to donate money to the Common Pantry in New York City.

I’ve become grateful today for the only thing that counts to me in this time: the grocery deliveries coming every week.

It’s not the Caudalie face scrub I bought that I really care about.

My thoughts go out to people who are  unable to get food.

The New York City government has been delivering food boxes to anyone who needs food in the time of the pandemic.

Like Lyn Slater the Accidental Icon I’ve come to question the things I took for granted on an ordinary pandemic-free day.

As I’ve always thought those of us who are fortunate should be doing everything we can to help others who aren’t fortunate.

Now more than ever being grateful for your fortune in life should be the rule not the exception in how people think.

This is the circle of life: giving back what you have been given.

I will always talk about clothes and makeup in here. To cheer up readers. To make readers feel good. To spread joy.

Perhaps a spoon full of this sugar can make the medicine go down like Mary Poppins sang in the 1970s movie.

The fact is in America people are going hungry.

Actress Viola Davis revealed that she battled childhood hunger.

She has championed the Hunger Is campaign for No Kid Hungry.

In my view even donating canned goods like soup and vegetables to your local food pantry is a valid form of charity when you can’t do anything else.

My goal when I retire from my library job is to volunteer my time and money to social causes more so than I do today.

Hunger. It’s a real issue. No one should go hungry.

In America The Fruited Plain food should be plentiful. The fact that it’s not is a shame.

Living and Shopping with Intention

To live with intention has taken on new meaning during the pandemic.

To shop with intention is my new mantra along with living with intention.

I’ve come to realize that retail therapy isn’t what it’s cracked up to be.

Choosing and using what you buy with care and judgment makes what you bring home more special.

An edited collection of items is better managed and improves your mental health.

Having too much stuff can weigh you down.

My intention is to do only one thing: upgrade my lounge wear.

To throw out the old worn-out items.

I want to buy a few new outfits that will cheer me up.

It’s so easy to feel down in the dumps when you’re wearing pajamas at noon.

There might be a rebound of the coronavirus in the fall and early winter.

This is why I want to plan ahead and buy a few new at-home outfits.

The Dressing Well website is having a $99 virtual styling special through May 31, 2020.

The original cost was $250. You’re able to use the service within the year of first buying it.

I recommend this service as I’ve been using them for over 10 years.

It’s hard for me to find clothes that fit.

So I have the stylist e-mail me links to items she has referred me to buy.

In the spirit of Conscious Chic acting as an empowered consumer makes all the difference.

In coming blog entries I’ll talk more about things I’ve learned living through the pandemic.

My adventure with online food ordering has gotten me to think long and hard before going on a shopping spree.

 

Conscious Chic in a Crisis

Yes–I’ve been thinking about what I termed Conscious Chic in a blog category.

The Accidental Icon Lyn Slater talks about this in her latest blog post [see below].

Who needs 10 pairs of the exact same pants?

Who needs a bursting closet and overstuffed dresser drawers?

The manufacturing process of garments has long been a destroyer of our natural world.

It’s time to act in a considered fashion like Lyn Slater believes.

Though I’ve bought an eye shadow compact I intend for this to be the only beauty buy for the foreseeable future.

As well I have the intention to dress in the clothes hanging out in my wardrobe today.

I’m not a Green saint as far as this goes.  Like Lyn Slater I’ve been thinking about this.

She talked of being creative.

Acting creative can do a world of good in transforming a simple wardrobe of clothes and collection of makeup into a stunning reflection of individuality.

You don’t have to be rich or thin to express yourself through beauty and fashion.

You can trust that you’ll look good without needing a trust fund.

Read the Lyn Slater Accidental Icon blog entry here.

 

Beauty and the Boots

purple boots

I’m thinking more about the confessions in the Patti Smith article in Harper’s Bazaar.

She invests in coats and boots which has been my game plan in recent years.

The idea that your fashion gives you freedom resonated with me. Boots aren’t traditionally sexy when they’re the type Smith wears.

This is what cheers me as a cisgender woman. That you don’t have to wear stilettos to make a statement about who you are and what you stand for.

The boots above I bought in December in a shoe-buying frenzy. I decided that boots were going to be my thing since I really don’t care to totter in stilettos and pumps.

I”m not keen to wear classic pumps. Not after having worn them for 9 years to legal and corporate office jobs in the 1990s.

A lot of guys on internet dating websites express an interest in meeting a “sexy” woman. The definition of sexy is erotic. I don’t want to walk down the street with everything hanging out for men to see.

It gives me hope that if Patti Smith had a husband and was an iconic rock star that I can meet a guy without having to wear a skintight cleavage-baring dress with a slit up to there.

I’ve decided to wear booties and boots on dates. Mid-heel black booties and the purple ones shown above.

The Bazaar article is right: fashion gives you freedom.

On the cusp of 55 today I think about how we can use fashion as a means of expressing who we are and what we stand for.

There’s a beauty in expressing your Individuality. That’s the ticket to living in health harmony and happiness.

I want to talk more in coming blog entries about searching for Mr. Right. A person that in my case should be Mr. Left in terms of politics.

 

 

Fashion and Freedom

Venturing outside I bought the April Harper’s Bazaar. There are great articles peppered throughout this book.

A feature on rock innovator Patti Smith stated:

“For Smith fashion has always been about freedom.”

In the singer’s own words:

“Even as a kid, what I was wearing was always very important to me. I very much identified with my clothing.”

Decades Later I too remember the clothes I wore that were imprinted on my mind about who I was and what I wanted to tell people.

In the 1980s and 1990s I dressed in an Avant Garde fashion precisely to rebel the strictures and sanctions imposed on women where I lived.

On Staten Island the standard fashion fare was a pink sweater and the original Guess jeans.

I shopped in Unique Clothing Warehouse in Manhattan. My goal was to make a statement via how I dressed–it was how I wanted others to perceive me.

The photos of Patti Smith in Bazaar I tore out to insert in my fashion binder. Once a week I view the photos in the binder to get ideas on how to style outfits.

What I know:

It’s always right to dress in your own style even if it differs from what is popular or has become a trend.

I’m glad the 1980s and 1990s are gone and with them the bizarre outfits I wore then.

In the 1990s I bought a blouse with this quote on a hang tag:

You say much more when creativity speaks for itself.

Today I’ve learned that my outfits don’t need to scream for me to command attention.

I say: do your own thing with fashion. Speak your truth through your clothes.

The April Bazaar also features fashion designer Marc Jacobs wearing clothes that women traditionally wear.

His quotes are a must-read as well.

In the next blog entry I’ll talk more about the Patti Smith article which to me was so empowering as a woman.

Living through This Crisis

I don’t intend to make light of the seriousness of this exceptional time in history that we’re living through.

To get through this it pays to be practical. Yet certain things I’m doing touch on the idea of using beauty and fashion to pull through a hard time.

Engaging in rituals of self-care is even more imperative today. It’s the method I will be using to protect my mental and physical health while I ride out the COVID-19 outbreak.

Luckily, I am free of the illness and expect to remain in good health.

What I’m doing to stay healthy:

I’ve ordered 3 black and 10 red bandannas from Amazon. It will take 2 weeks for the items to be delivered and possibly longer. Amazon has delayed order times because of the COVID-19 outbreak and increase in online shopping.

I will use the bandannas to cover my nose and mouth diagonally when I must go outside to a food market or an ATM at the bank.

You’re supposed to remain six feet away from other people when you’re outside. As I think everyone is aware of this.

The unintended effect is that the bandannas are a fashionable alternative to regular masks. I was told it’s the surgical masks that are the ones you should use for maximum effect.

So, I’ll stick with the bandannas.

An image consultant sent me the link to a lemon sugar body polish that I can order online. I had told her my skin is pasty like it’s winter even though the spring is here. Staying indoors will do this.

I discovered I had a tube of St. Ives apricot scrub for the face. I’ve started to use this even though it might have been in the drawer for two years.

Along with doing positive healthy things to feel better I talk to my mother on the telephone.

Too if you ask me it’s critical to keep up healthy habits: get out of your pajamas, take showers, and dress in clothes.

I’ve been wearing dark jeans and colorful sweaters while indoors. I was able to buy for only $27 a blue-and-black striped sweater from Banana Republic that arrived two weeks ago.

Now I don’t advocate for going into debt buying things online while we’re cooped up inside. What I recommend is the judicious use of adhering to a spending plan when you’re tempted to splurge on goodies.

To occupy my time I’m reading a book that a friend published–Madolina’s Daughter.

The goal as I see it is to protect our mental and physical health living through this time of crisis.

The things I’ve detailed here have worked for me.

 

 

8 Rules for Conscious Shopping

I’ve been as guilty as anyone of amassing a ton of clothes.

In a coming blog entry I’ll review the book Wear No Evil.

I read this book straight through in one week. It’s great to have on hand as a reference guide to responsible fashion.

My Fashion Challenge is to not buy another shirt, pant, skirt, sweater, or dress for the next two years.

In my own way I do use and wear about 30 to 35 items of clothing per season.

To make it easier to choose and use wardrobe items I’ve come up with 8 Rules for Conscious Shopping.

It really isn’t that great to lose track of how much you spend and what you spend it on. Whether that is clothing, food, or entertainment.

My contention is that you don’t need to have hundreds of items to choose from to be well-dressed.

Editing out the skeletons of wardrobes past that you no longer wear or fit into is the start of reclaiming your style power.

Here I offer my 8 Rules for Conscious Shopping:

  1. An item of clothing you buy should be able to be worn with at least two or three other items in your wardrobe.
  2. Shop to fill in missing items in your wardrobe instead of shopping for impulse buys as a weekly hobby. If you have ten sundresses and work in a corporate office, maybe you need to buy a power suit.
  3. Buy clothing that flatters your body and your color type (a warm or cool undertone).
  4. “Shop in your own closet”—the guiding principle of personal stylists everywhere.
  5. Reject buying clothes that don’t fit your lifestyle—that either don’t fit your life or your style. For help figuring out your style I recommend two books: The Curated Closet and Nothing to Wear? The 5-Step Cure for the Common Closet.
  6. Treat your clothes kindly, and they’ll remain in good condition for the long-term. This will save you from having to constantly replace fast fashion items that can’t withstand numerous wash cycles.
  7. Just say no to a neon green coat. Is neon anything a great look? Only if you’re a pop star touring America with an entourage.
  8. If you’re iffy about purchasing an item, leave it on the rack. The clothes you buy you should absolutely love at first sight. You’ll wear the clothes you love often and get more compliments.

Shouting to Be Heard

I’m a Visionary who first advocated for recovery over 16 years ago. And I’ll continue to champion the rights of people who historically haven’t had a voice.

In 1988 I shouted to be heard–in my choice of wild clothes and then in my fight to have a better life. This is chronicled in Left of the Dial.

It’s no coincidence that achieving fashion freedom and female power are inextricably linked as drivers of recovery–either from a mental illness or any societal illness.

How you style yourself is an act of love for yourself. Dressing well–in your own inimitable style–is empowering.

What you wear can change the dynamic between you and another person.

I’ll write about this in more detail in the next blog entry.

Sometimes investing in an item of clothing is a way to invest in yourself. It gives you confidence to meet the challenges that arise in your life.

In this holiday season I want to write about the true spirit of our humanity, which must override greed, religion, and political ideology if humans are to survive for another millennium.

My experience simply wearing a new coat attests to the power of kindness.

Creating Yourself at 50 and Beyond

I find myself wanting to talk about fashion more often in here. To talk about topics central to being a woman in today’s world apart from fashion too.

I will recommend again the book Nothing to Wear? A 5-Step Cure for the Common Closet. In it Jesse Garza and Joe Lupo walk women through the steps of discovering our style and dressing in a harmonious way.

Julie Morgenstern is quoted in the book after the two consultants gave her a makeover:

“Wearing clothes that nurture and embrace me is a way to love and care for my body.”

I couldn’t have said this better.

I checked this book out of the library and have been reading it over and over for its sage advice. At some point I’m going to buy a copy of the book.

At 53 I reckon with not wanting to wearing stilettos and a cleavage-bearing mini skirt.

In the September issue of Bazaar jeweler Gaia Repossi talks about gender fluidity and fashion choices.

Perhaps you can relate to thinking that you fall down in terms of what is accepted in the mainstream?

Using Nothing to Wear? to find your style and having the courage to flaunt it could be the antidote to feeling sub-par in mid-life.

I say too: having the courage to flout convention in a sartorial or other way shouldn’t be frowned on.

Am I the only woman who has hit mid-life with the sudden desire to remodel her self and her life and her clothes?

I want to talk more about mid-life matters in the coming blog entries.

Cleaning out your closet and restocking it with a few stylish pieces could be the start of feeling better.

This is not frivolous. It’s also not the only worthy goal at mid-life.

Coming up I’ll talk about other things I think might strike a cord in readers.