Entries Tagged as: fashion

Fashion and Color (or Colour): Interview with Andrea

April 28th, 2009, Comments (10)

For the month of color, I really wanted to interview my blogging pal, Andrea, of a cat of impossible colour. Andrea is a fabulous writer, but much of her blog is dedicated to her gorgeous outfits, combining beautiful colors, patterns, and vintage fun.

I hope this interview inspires you to play with color in a new way!

andrea yellowpurple

L: First, please tell us a bit about yourself:

A: My name is Andrea, and I’m a Zimbabwean writer now living in New Zealand with my husband and cat. I have a blog where I indulge my hobby of collecting vintage clothing, post daily outfits and record the progress of my books!

L: What do you enjoy most about putting together your outfits?

andrea redblue

A: Well, I see getting dressed in the morning as a creative exercise, just as much as painting a picture or writing a poem, and putting together an outfit I’m happy with gets me in a great mood for creation of other kinds! If I’m wearing something I really love, I feel like my writing goes better that day as well.

L: How does color inspire you creatively?

A: To me, colour represents emotional energy. That sounds a bit pretentious, doesn’t it, but all I mean is that each colour comes with its own set of emotional associations. Colour is food for your eyes, and it can transform or dictate your mood. I have always felt a connection to this passage from George Eliot’s Middlemarch, where Dorothea Brooke is entranced by colour:

‘She was opening some ring-boxes, which disclosed a fine emerald with diamonds, and just then the sun passing beyond a cloud sent a bright gleam over the table. “How very beautiful these gems are!” said Dorothea, under a new current of feeling, as sudden as the gleam. “It is strange how deeply colours seem to penetrate one, like scent. I suppose that is the reason why gems are used as spiritual emblems in the Revelation of St John. They look like fragments of heaven.” … She thought of often having them by her, to feed her eye at these little fountains of pure colour.’

andrea purple

L: Do you have a favorite color combination at the moment?

A: I tend to favour colours that are complementary – that is, hues that are opposite each other on the colour wheel. Purple with yellow and green with red (in moderation, because it can be a bit Christmassy) are favourite combinations. I also love red and blue together. In fact, red with almost everything looks great, so long as you choose the right shade – I wear red shoes and belts with everything from yellow to purple.

L: Where do you get your inspiration?

A: I get a lot of inspiration from other bloggers, and from the wardrobe_remix group on Flickr. I don’t read a lot of fashion magazines – I’d rather see what real people are wearing in real daily situations.

L: Do the colors in nature inspire your outfits at all?

andrea red

A: They do, but not in the way you would expect! I grew up in Zimbabwe, which was a very colourful place – blue sky, golden bush, bright birds and flowers, the gorgeous multi-coloured clothes of the Shona people and the city markets full of fruit and fabrics. When I first came to New Zealand, the landscape seemed pale and colourless in comparison. Now I can appreciate the subtler beauties of a grey sky and autumn leaves, but I still crave the bright, jewel-like colours of Africa. So I compensate with my outfits! People here tend to wear a lot of denim, grey and black, and they blend into the landscape. I would rather add a bright splash of colour.

L: What would you say to someone who is wanting to start playing more with their own ensembles?

A: I would say to be brave and experiment. If you’re not a big colour-wearer, start with accessories – I wear my red heels to death, and they go with nearly everything. I’ve also recently become a big fan of coloured tights – they’re a wonderful way to inject colour into an outfit, although the lighter shades can make your legs look bigger (if you’re like me and don’t have long, skinny legs!). If you’re not sure about colour combinations, the girls at Academichic have done a wonderful series of posts on colour theory and how it applies to dressing.

Scarves are the perfect way to add colour to outfits, as well, and there are so many ways to wear them: over your hair, around the handle of your handbag, as a belt, or, of course, around your neck. They always make an outfit look chic. My favourite way to wear scarves is to tie them in a pussy bow around my neck. Lately I have started wearing big square scarves tied over my hair and under my chin when I go for walks – it’s a great alternative to wearing a hat.

I think it’s important to have fun with your clothes. When I’m having a blah day and feel like hiding away in something grey or black, I resist the urge and throw on something brightly-coloured instead. It always makes me feel better.

andrea pink

L: Do you have a favorite color? Is it the same color as when you were a kid?

A: When I was a kid I always said my favourite colour was blue when asked, because that was the only ‘cool’ colour in my class and we all pretended to love it! In reality, though, it has always been red. I find red strong, energising and optimistic, and I always feel good when I’m wearing it. Purple, green and yellow are also favourites. I think the only colour I don’t wear is orange, but that may all change if I find some wonderful orange item next time I go thrift-shopping.

L: Did you have a favorite outfit as a child?

A: I was a huge tomboy when I was a child, and didn’t bother much with clothes. Looking back at old photos, though, I can see I was a big fan of dungarees, colourful T-shirts and socks with cartoon animals on them. I’m still hoping to find a wonderful grown-up-sized pair of dungarees one day! (And I still wear cartoon animal socks).

L: What are some of your favorite books, blogs, shops, websites?

andrea dress

A: I find old children’s books very inspirational when it comes to outfits; Alice in Wonderland, The Secret Garden, Milly Molly Mandy, the Enid Blyton books and Madeleine have all inspired outfits of mine. There’s a charm to the way children used to dress, I think. I find old films very inspirational, too. As far as websites go, I love Orla Kiely’s clothes! The mixture of colours and prints is just gorgeous. I also love browsing through Andrea Moore’s website – she’s a New Zealand designer, and I’ll probably never be able to afford anything she makes, but her garments are just lovely.

I only shop second-hand, which makes for a good deal of experimenting! If I find an amazing dress in a colour I would not normally seek out, I buy and wear it anyway. It’s a great way to be more adventurous with your clothing and colour choices – after all, if it doesn’t suit you and you don’t want to keep it, you have only wasted a few dollars.

I have many, many favourite fashion blogs, as evidenced by my bulging blogroll. I’m drawn to people who have colourful, optimistic styles. Some that I think have a particularly inspirational use of colour are:

- Keiko Lynn
- Casey’s Musings
- Dotti’s Dots
- Strawberry Kitten

Thank you so much, Andrea!! I'm feeling inspired!

Celebrate Every Advance!

November 6th, 2008, Comments (18)

Ah, my migraine left and today felt productive. I did some serious de-cluttering as part of my work with Soul Coaching, choosing a corner of my bedroom that has been bugging me for ages. I put my favorite cleaning mix on my ipod, blasted it loud and got to work, sweeping up the cobwebs and dust, separating out the trash, putting things away, and cleaning the surfaces. It kind of amazed me how much time and energy it took to do this one corner and it was overwhelming if I thought about doing the whole room. But I didn't think about the whole room. Baby steps, baby steps!!! As author Denise Linn suggests, "Celebrate every advance!" Woohoo! I'm celebrating my clean bedroom corner! While cleaning, there were a few funny little synchronicities in the things I came upon, including a list of values I'd written out over a year ago. I need to check that list against the one I wrote this week and see how they match up!

I had fun with some art-making time this evening. I did a small piece on a 4"x4" canvas in acrylics based on a sketch from my sketchbook. I don't always bring my sketches to fruition, so it's nice when a little push gets them done. I'm calling it, "By the Light of the Silvery Moon."

This piece was all play and experimentation. It's not quite done, but I'm liking it. I put two leaves on the image at the end, but they're not attached. I really love the way it's come together. I'm calling it, "Walking in Circles."

In need of some inspiration? Check out Design for Mankind's latest zine! This month, the theme is the handmade market. You can view it for free online or purchase a print copy. If you're looking for something to listen to while you create, check out the latest Craftcast podcast which features an interview with Daniel Vosovic (from season 2 of Project Runway!) who has a new book out called, Fashion Inside Out: Daniel V's Guide to How Style Happens from Inspiration to Runway and Beyond. It sounds like a great read with lots of discussion about the creative process. And I'm sure it's visually inspiring too!

p.s. I love Ugly Betty!

A Little Travel Shopping

September 9th, 2008, Comments (5)

Swim_2 I don't know about you, but swimsuit shopping is not my most favorite activity. Nothing like a bathing suit to point out all your flaws and make you feel fantastic about your body. I put it off all summer under the guise that I'd get a better deal by waiting til the last minute to shop for them, but unfortunately I waited a tad too late and the department stores have sent their swimsuits away (just this morning in fact.) Poo! Well, I found a couple suits at a store that only sells swSwim2Swim3im-wear. Definitely more expensive, but also much easier to find a variety of suits in my size in every color of the rainbow. The trying on of suits was not as dreadful as I had feared and I found a couple cute swimming trunks to wear to the beach and pool. I may return one of them as they were pricey. This one on the left was sort of Marilyn Monroe-ish. It has a flattering cut that's sexy without being over the top. I've never really worn a tankini, but this one (on the right) was cute. I love the little art deco details around the edges. I got a colorful bikini too on clearance. Not all suits need to be black. I'm looking forward to being a living mermaid in the ocean and the pool and hopefully on a few waterslides too. Ha, that just reminded me that I dreamed about the most elaborate waterslides last night!

I also picked up a big straw hat (heh...I feel a little silly wearing it, I'm not a big hat wearer, but I like it) and a couple cute dresses for the wedding we'll be attending in San Fran and surrounding events. I saw this dress atOldnavy_2 Old Navy online and it's wonderfully cute in person. I'm liking the color blocking trend going on right now. It reminds me a bit of the early 90's, which means junior high, but it's not bringing back any horrid memories. I was keeping my eyes open for a pair of color blocked shoes, but couldn't find a pair I liked. This cute little dress is inexpensive, versatile, and it has pockets. Gotta love a dress with pockets I say.

I also found this fabulous dress (at a fabulous price) from Yoana Baraschi at T.J. Maxx. All this shopping cameYoanabaraschi about in a search for swimsuits. I'm really not a big shopper, but what can I say? I found some cute things today and I'm quite pleased about it. You'll just have to trust me when I say this dress is infinitely cuter in person. The grey part is a jersey knit and the shawl and bottom are this silky satin that feels so nice against the skin. Oh, and it has pockets.

Since I'm on this little fashion kick today, I couldn't help but share a link to this post from Bridget in which she uses her masterful sewing skills to recycle a sundress and transform it into a super cute shirt. I'm so impressed! I must learn how to do this sort of thing. 

There are loads of cool fashion finds on etsy to peruse such as:

Completely unrelated to shopping and fashion, I'm reading a fantastic book by Craig Ferguson right now. Yep, the same Craig Ferguson who hosts a late night talk show. I picked up the book, Between the Bridge and the River, randomly in the library and it's quite good! I really enjoy his sense of humor and the wacky web he's weaving with his story-telling. I also love that Carl Jung is a character in the book. It's in a similar irreverant style of Tom Robbins, one of my favorite authors. I was thinking it would be honeymoon reading, but I think I'll gobble the rest of the book up before we leave. I have a few books in the wings, but may opt for something light and beachy for well...the beach. We shall see. In the meantime, I'm taking my book and heading to bed. Sweet dreams!

Head to Toe. Or Toe to Head.

August 28th, 2008, Comments (7)

I haven't been feeling very bloggy lately, so I'm a bit behind in blog reading and responding to emails. Enough of that, how bout we check out my new sneaky sneakers:

Nikeshoe_3 I've been focusing a lot on yoga and walking and exercise in general lately. As the days get darker, I need to focus on these things. They make a huge difference to my mood and mindset. I've been in desperate need of a new pair of sneakers for awhile, but wasn't interested in picking up the same style of sneakers I've been wearing for the last 10 years. I originally started wearing this particular brand and style when training to run a marathon. I wore them because they're made specifically for people with flat feet and feet that roll in (motion control shoes). They served me well as a runner and just in general as a good sneaker, helping my feet feel all sorts of secure. Unfortunately, they were also hideous (and they're pretty bulky and heavy too.) While reading an article about sneakers for different foot types recently, I was excited to read about a Nike shoe that utilizes Nike Plus. Now these new shoes may not be winning me any fashion prizes, but you'll have to trust me that they're ten million times better looking than the last pair. They're sort of silvery and blue and very comfy. And the cool part is the little hidden pocket within the shoe where you can put a sensor that communicates with your ipod nano and facilitates your workouts if you like to walk, jog, or run. On your nano, you can keep track of the times of your workouts, the distance traveled, and the speed and then upload it all to Nike Plus. On the website, you can post your workouts (if you want), join challenges (the website seems more geared to runners, but they have walking challenges too), or just use it as a place to keep a record of what your feet have been up to. Pretty shnazzy, I think! I saw on the Nike website that they have a line of customizable sneakers called NikeiD. This wasn't an option for the shoe type I was going for, but how fun to make your own funky sneaker design!

Speaking of funky customizable shoes, have you seen Keds customizable shoes? You can choose the colors, pick a design they supply, OR use your own imagery. Imagine a shoe covered in your own artwork? I may have to get myself a pair of these. I think they'd make for very happy feet!

Christine_large And just so your head doesn't feel left out, I just ordered this beautiful feather headband from Pluma. I've had my eye on these feather headbands for awhile, but was afraid it would look silly on me, so I was unsure about spending the money on one and not liking it. Well, I tried on a small one in a shop the other day and totally loved it, so after some looking around online I found Pluma and ordered the "Christine."  Yay! I'm planning to wear it to a wedding I'll be attending in San Fran in just a couple weeks. Ack, where has the summer gone to? Time is flying and I feel behind. I'm most definitely behind in emails and hope to be all caught up in the next few days.