Working my Diva down the runway
"It takes a long time to get to be a diva.
I mean, you gotta work at it."
- Diana Ross
Happy 2015 my darlings!
I'm not one to make New Year's resolutions. Every day presents the opportunity to begin something new, something wonderful. I've actually been working on a new and wonderful project for quite awhile, but I figure the new year is as good a time as any to blog about it. The project? All Diva, All the Time...
I am always impressed by how beautifully French women dress. It doesn't matter what age, body, type or income, when I'm in Paris, nearly every woman I see is elegantly dressed, head to toe. And the time of day or location matters not one whit - at the cafe, grocery shopping, picking the kiddies up from school, walking the dog - these ladies work it every inch! But how do they do it? Consignment Boutiques.
"Vain trifles as they seem, clothes have, they say more important offices than to merely keep us warm. They change our view of the world and the world's view of us." - Virginia Wolf
Consignment Boutiques are shops that sell barely worn, pre-owned designer prêt à porter (ready to wear) and couture (handmade, high quality, ridiculously expensive one-of-a-kind pieces) clothes, bags, shoes and accessories - sometimes vintage - at extremely reduced prices. Although the sentiment is slowly changing, in America there's a reluctance to wear 'used' clothing. But those in the know know how 'styltastic' it is to "...resurrect something from oblivion and incorporate it into your wardrobe..." (Gustafson, 2007). And that 'something' is often a piece from Chanel, Armani, Yves Saint Laurent, Calvin Klein, Eileen Fisher, Vuitton, Roberto Cavalli, Dolce/Gabbana, etc.
I call these shops Shangri-La, because they are a Stylista's earthly paradise. There are several in Paris I intend to spend a lot of time in when I return. But, in the meantime, there's this fabulous consignment shop a few miles from my home - Jane Pabon.
Photo shoot with Jane & Christina for Belle Inspiration
Jane and her partner Christina were the subjects of one of my Postcards to Paris. Of course Jane and I became fast friends. Still, I was quite surprised when Jane asked me to join her small troop of fashion show models. I said yes, and that's when the adventure really began.
The fashion on Jane's racks, in her display cases and storeroom are packed to the brim with some truly serious fashion. And Jane has been a wonderful patient teacher to this fledgling Stylista. Best yet, we models are invited to buy what we model and she invites us to peruse before the shop opens (first pick - yay!).
I use the term Stylista (a particular, distinctive elegance)
in deliberate opposition to Fashionista
(an obsessive follower of the latest fashion trend).
The difference is real and profound.
In the last 6 months especially, I have slowly, steadily added beautiful pieces to my closet (my rule of thumb: add a new piece, remove an old piece). And, although it may sound cliché, it's true, finding and nurturing my 'Stylista-me' has changed my life. I had no idea that a pair of designer jeans, paired with a hand sewn blouse, could up the style quotient of the ubiquitous 'mommy jeans & top' combo 1,000%! Moreover, once I had the minimal amount of consignment staples in my toilettes répertoire, it became amazingly easy to throw an elegant outfit together - no matter the occasion.
I'm really digging exploring my 'Stylista-me.' Ms. Wolf is correct: clothes do change your view of the world. But they also change how you view yourself. I've still got a ways to go, but I'm really loving how having my look together. It makes me feel: powerful, elegant, individual, unique, sexy and prepared for anything. And it all began when I started working the runway for Jane.
All Diva, All the Time. I like it.
Note: the most valuable lesson I've learned, thus far, is to have a local tailor or seamstress on speed-dial. Many a time I've found a beautiful piece (designer or 'mundane') that is a size or three too large but so gorgeous and so 'me' it deserved a place in my closet. My fantabulous tailor/seamstress - Theresa - makes sure that every piece I own fits me like a glove. Trust me, it's a good thing.
Below are a few of Mr. Gorgeous' shots of my time as one of Jane's Ladies. We range from 20-something to 60-something and the best part of this journey is that I get to spend time with these amazing ladies and they've become my friend. I can't wait to see what Jane has in store for us.
"Fashion fades, style is eternal." - Yves Saint Laurent
Geneva Concurs d'Elegance, DuPage Airport (July 2014)
Jane Pabon Annual Winter Fashion Show (2014)
Vivre! Rire! Aimer!
|Styled, head to toe (inc. jewelry and purse) |
by JANE PABON.
She makes me look how I feel!