Signifiers Tell us What is Expected as Well as What to Expect…Sometimes

July 29, 2013 at 8:50 pm (Excellence in Business, Style, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , )

A few years ago I dated an artist who had a well paying day job and yet he dressed in rags when not in work uniform. Although a very handsome man, when my younger daughter saw his photo (in rags) she teasingly ask if I had taken to dating the homeless.

I have been having an ongoing discourse amongst my colleagues, friends and fashionistas regarding the purpose and meaning of signifiers in dress. We have covered such topics as watches, fabrics, skirt lengths and more and have even had additional revelations regarding skirt or slacks in the business environment.

Last evening while watching the popular british series Downton Abbey Maggie Smith’s character the Dowager Countess of Grantham is shocked at seeing two of the gentlemen at an evening dinner wearing black ties. She looks as though she may pale and faint at this social faux pas and remarks ” are we having a barbeque”? as though they were dressed so far from the occassion she was madly confused. Her comment made me giggle and giggle until I was laughing so hard I was nearly apoplectic!

Dowager Countess

To many this attention to detail of dress with the British aristocracy is nothing short of pointless…or is it? haven’t we always been taught to make a good first impression? Dress for success and are given social cues when invited to event s such as black tie or dressy casual. We all know what these terms mean or least we need to find someone who can interpret for us so we don’t show up to the formal in our barbeque casual dress.

Think about how you interpret the signifiers set before you the next time you meet someone and then what message you were sending with your choice of wardrobe and accessories. More on this topic in another blog.

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Can I be Green and a Fashion Lover?

April 22, 2013 at 8:20 pm (Art, Local Made, Remanufactured goods, Style, The decline of Civilization) (, , , , , , , , , , , , )

The short answer is maybe.

Paul Rico

My ability to be green depends on some less trodden paths down which will make all the difference…

So as I focus on being a green fashionista I will continue to buy from local designers who make their clothes and accessories locally as well as shop my friends discards, thrift stores, consignment shops and swaps for charity. I m often complimented for my outfits and I believe selecting my clothes through time and space gives me greater freedom than just relying on what is new in the shops. This photo above is of myself and Paul Rico Fashion Week San Diego 2012 for Spring 2013. This is THE little black dress I ordered from Paul Rico who is an amazing local talent. I will post a photo of the one he made for me with a longer hem and made to fit my body not just a “size”. I can combine the latest and vintage for the look which can only be me. : )

Where is my fashion designed and manufactured? What types of safeguards are in place to minimize pollution in the creation process. Am I buying a pretty dress made in a not very pretty sweatshop employing humans who will never be able to afford this item and struggle to meet basic needs or was it made locally by independent artisans who determine their own working conditions? These are questions I want to ask at my favorite local boutique at home or when visiting another city.

That brings me to another thought. I like to buy things made in the area where I am. I don’t want to buy made in China in Paris, I want to buy made in China in China. I like to buy southern California made swimwear as the designers and manufacturers understand my lifestyle and how that one piece may become my top later at dinner with a wrap and a skirt. ┬áMy daughter bought me a beautiful cotton wrap while living in Thailand…they know sarongs.

Am I willing to buy remanufactured? I am because the cutest jean jackets ever have been cobbled together from others with patches, embroidery, changed collars and yet they are timeless and add fun to any casual outfit. My favorite turquoise mules have been repaired more times than I can count but they still get compliments and fit better than ever.

This photo taken with some phone that was still primarily a phone back when was taken in downtown SD after four hours of dancing at the EL D and walking back to my car parked a zillion blocks uphill away. My friend lent me one half of her flip flops she had in her purse should this need arise. The blue shoes have seen many a dance floor since as well and with the scalloped trim in light green they go with so many outfits. I haven’t had those jeans in years and the DJ from that night is big time in LA these days.

What can you do? Feel free to comment with your ideas, experiences and thought on this topic.
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