Monday, January 9, 2017

Lions in Four


Dear Readers, This is the last post that will be on this site.  I would love for you visit me at my new blogging home MeadowTree Style.

I was so happy that Michael and I had a chance to meet and talk with Sheila that day. As a creative who knits, sews, spins and dyes, I felt immediate respect and connection for this foundation and brand.  And the fact that it is based in Kansas City makes it even more special.



Power, Pride, Confidence, and Courage

Good words to live by and the meaning behind the logo of Lions of Four, a Kansas City based luxury brand with a social conscience. Lions In Four is a mission-based company empowering women. It was co-founded in 2014 by designer Julie Martin and Sheila Martinsen as a way to help Julie's Lions In Four Foundation (formerly WE CARE of India).

Julie's story on the beginning of her foundation is amazing. It is a story of how one brief meeting on a train between Paris and Amsterdam with a nun completely changed her life and mission. That is all I am going to say, because Julie tells it very well HERE.


Michael is the one who noticed the Lions In Four's presentation last Labor Day weekend at a1st Saturday popup event at Varnish and Vine in Kansas City. He was attracted to their necklace, its words of empowerment, and wanted to give each of our daughters for Christmas.


We spent quite a bit of time talking to Shiela Martenten about the the foundation's work with the girls and women of India. I immediately knew that they would have to be a blog post after Christmas--not before because I didn't want the girls to know about one of their gifts. 

Michelle and her necklace.

Ten percent of the brand's proceeds go back to the foundation. More importantly, they are helping women become skilled and independent. Recently, the foundation completed its Women's Training Center building and is now working on getting staff and infrastructure in place to teach the art of hand dying. 

Everything is beautifully presented. Hummmm, I wonder what's in the big box? Could it be a Christmas something for Mom?

Oh, yes! Lions in Four's Amsterdam clutch. As described on their website:


The Amsterdam Leather Clutch in bronze has a sleek, modern look on the outside and a rich, unique story on the inside. This generously sized bag is versatile- it can work for day or dressed up for evening; it can be carried solo or tucked into a larger bag. Each clutch is lined with hand woven, naturally dyed mulberry silk. The lining is handmade by artisans in south India so no two pieces are alike.

Details:
• Soft, recycled leather clutch (50% recycled leather, 50% polyurethane) with gold metal studs
• 100% silk lining dyed with all natural, non-toxic dyes
• Alcantara® suede lined interior pocket protects sunglasses and cell phones
• Roomy dimensions: 12″x8″ – fits everything from daily essentials to an iPad
• Manufactured in NYC


The interior of The Amsterdam clutch. The hand woven, resist dyed silk makes one of the most beautiful bag interiors that I think I have ever seen.



Michael and I are going to the Kansas City symphony January 13th. Usually, I post what I wear then on Instagram. Here's a preview. Needless to say, my new clutch is going. It wasn't hard to find items in my closet to complement my new bag. The pants are sewn by me and have already been seen HERE.

My gold silk blouse is a vintage Escada by Margaretha Ley I found on eBay around 2005. In those days, one could pick up wonderfully designed pieces by her at a very favorable price. With the blouse's lace and jewel collar and cuffs, no other jewelry is really required. It also has hidden buttons, a feature I love in blouses. 

I simply tied a chiffon scarf around my waist for a simple sash to complete the main look. The last item would be the shoes which are J Reneé and are black and gold themselves. However, it seems to me that they have a slight holographic personality. It shows up in my still life below. I picked these shoes up a few years ago at Joplin's Sophie's. When we have Thanksgiving in Joplin, the girls and I always try to go to the Small Business Saturday events and we usually find something we like at Sophies.


If it was warmer outside, I would just wear my large cut velvet scarf as a wrap. Can you believe that I got it at Tuesday Morning?

Likely it will be cold when we go to the symphony, so I will add my vintage quilted cotton/viscose Escada by Margaretha Ley jacket, that I got from eBay about the same time as the blouse. It has gorgeous embroidery and beading, not visible in this photo--but notice below.

The velvet gloves with the cheetah edging will be going too. Now, I won't be wearing my sunglasses but it was so bright the day we took this shot, my eyes would have been squinting and you wouldn't have seen them anyway!
 

 


Black and Gold-my still life study that show the jacket's embroidery work and the holo quality of the shoes. You also get a peek of the jacket's black and white silk lining.

The Painted Accessory
Of course on the evening for the symphony, I will wear nail polish I am completely enamored with: a beautiful golden holographic by Literary Lacquer. It's Darcy (yes, Jane Austin's Mr. Darcy). It may be a gold but, oh, there's a lot going on there.


Before I end, I want to include the following from the Lions In Four website. For me, each point makes their jewelry, scarfs, and bags meaningful:

What's Special About Our Products...

  • We only use Riri Italian zippers in our bags. These zippers are found only in the highest end designer bags.
  • The ostrich leather used on our clutches is the same grade and sourced from the same mill in South Africa that Hermes uses to produce its ostrich bags.
  • The Alcantara suede used on our suede clutches is sourced from Italy and is used on the seats of Porsche and Maserati automobiles - it is buttery soft, highly durable and resists water damage.
  • Each pure silk used in our scarves and to line our bags is hand-dyed by artisans in south India using all natural plant and vegetable dyes.
  • The dying techniques used to create the design on each silk are labor intensive and centuries old.
  • The design of each scarf is created by the hand stitching, knotting and/or block printing or resisting of each silk at various stages of the dying process.
  • We chose to line the inside of our bags with silk as a statement to beauty beyond the surface.
  • Our recycled leathers are milled in the USA and the chains and charms used in our jewelry are manufactured in the USA.
  • Our Amsterdam suede and recycled leather clutches are manufactured in the New York garment district.
  • Our products are ethically sourced.
  • Each clutch features a suede lined pocket to protect your cell phone and sunglasses.
  • Your purchase has an impact; when you purchase a Lions in Four product you empower women in India.
I am drawn to Lions in Four mission of empowering women and teaching them a skill that can make them independent. There are many wonderful organizations with similar missions, but this is one to check out. Of course, you can own one of their wonderful designs, but you can also make donations for their work.

Some important links to Lions in Four are:

The Lions in Four Foundation

The Lions in Four Company

The Lions in Four Blog 

The Lions in Four Facebook page 

A close view of the Lions in Four necklace:
This is probably the last time I will publish this blog on Blogger platform. I have a new home at
Meadowtreestyle.com. I hope you will join me there.

That's all I have for today so...

Adieu until the next time and in the meantime...
Happy Styling!



I usually link up with Patti's Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday HERE Cherie's  Style Nudge's Shoe and Tell HERE, Catherine's Not Dressed As Lamb's I will Wear What I like HERE, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish Turning Heads Tuesday HERE, Living On Cloud Nine's Style Perspectives HERE, Shopping My Closet's Style Me Wednesday HERE, The Pleated Poppy's What I Wore HERE, High Altitude Style's Link-Up HERE, Fashion Should Be Fun's Fun Friday Fashion Link Up HERE, Nancy's Fashion Style's Fancy Friday , Color and Grace's Fashion Link-Up HERE Rachel's (Rachel The Hat) The Passion For Fashion Link-up HERE and Style Crone's Hat Attack HERE (when I have a hat on!)


Photo credit for this week goes to Michael  for my portraits and myself for the nail photo and still life.

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Tomboy

Happy New Year! Is everyone rested from Christmas and ready for 2017?   

I have one word for today: Tomboy! Tomboy is a fashion label out of Kansas City created by Laura McGrew. Laura has been a constant on the Kansas City creative scene since 1999. She studied painting at The Kansas City Art Institute but always knew her real calling was fashion design. I feel Laura creates timeless pieces that are versatile. 

When I saw this long asymmetrical vest at a recent KC Collaborative Holiday Popup event, I couldn't keep my eyes off it. I knew it was a very limited edition piece but I felt guilty getting something for myself right before Christmas. Michael took care of that. Sometimes husbands are pretty handy! Supporting locally designed and produced fashion is high on my list of priorities. Priced at $135, this vest seemed to be a very good investment for me.

There are so many ways I can wear this piece. Deciding of which three to show today was hard! 

Look #1. With Jeans



This look was worn to a charity event and is probably my favorite. Styling with my Tomboy are Madewell Skinny jeans, a ChiChi black layering shell and Adrienne Vittadini boots (TJ Maxx about a couple of years ago). 

The highlight of the accessories today is my M2 earrings by Mary Morris, a "new to me" Kansas City jewelry designer. I discovered her pieces at the Jeweled Gypsy's  popup shop on the Country Club Plaza. The Jeweled Gypsy usually travels around the city in their store on wheels. 

Next is my matching necklace/bracelet set that I found at my hospital's gift shop (when I got my mammogram this summer), leather gloves from TJ Maxx (years ago) and a black leather bag from Adrian Kriestler Drugs (again, you never know where you are going to find great things) and finally the Marc Jacobs sunglasses, from The RealReal.




Look #2. The Black Column



I decided to try a little dressier look. This black column has been on before (HERE). I changed the bag to my vintage Koret, probably the first vintage bag I ever bought. It was a great deal on eBay because it was missing its strap. I just bought a chain from Fire Mountain Gems and Beads and was good to go. My heels are Manolo Balhnik's (eBay years ago). They are such classics and I have worn them steadily during the years. 

My black hat is an old friend and have had it forever. I think it came from Signals.



Look #3. Dressing It Up


My final challenge to answer was if I could wear my new Tomboy vest with a dress. What do you think? The black sheath dress dates from the days when Issac Mizrahi had a line for Target. Wow, how many years ago was that? It's a great little dress that I still wear. 

I added an Alfani patent leather clutch (eBay), Etienne Aigner pumps (Dillards, over 12 years ago), long black faux leather gloves, a thrifted burgundy patterned scarf, a cuff that my youngest keeps leaving at the house and a beaded collar necklace (see below). 



A close up of my beaded collar-necklace that I found at Kansas City's The Hat Store. The polish shown is Unfaithful Red by Nubar. Unfaithful Red is a metallic with a golden sheen and was perfect for the Christmas holidays. 



The Painted Accessory

One of my biggest surprises is how much I love green polish. I found myself wearing it often during the holidays. The base green on this post is Ray by Zoya (discontinued-but Zoya has plenty other greens). 



I then topped it off with Meow by Rescue Beauty Lounge. RBL is no longer but their polish can still be found on eBay. But, of course, they are very over priced.



Bonus Look For Today

On the subject of Tomboy, I am compelled to share my Tomboy asymmetrical navy knit skirt. It is perfect for that red, white and blue combination.  





That's all I have for today so...

Adieu until the next time and in the meantime...
Happy Styling!



This week, I am linking up with Patti's Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday HERE Cherie's  Style Nudge's Shoe and Tell HERE, Catherine's Not Dressed As Lamb's I will Wear What I like HERE, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish Turning Heads Tuesday HERE, Living On Cloud Nine's Style Perspectives HERE, Shopping My Closet's Style Me Wednesday HERE, The Pleated Poppy's What I Wore HERE, High Altitude Style's Link-Up HERE, Fashion Should Be Fun's Fun Friday Fashion Link Up HERE, Nancy's Fashion Style's Fancy Friday , Color and Grace's Fashion Link-Up HERE Rachel's (Rachel The Hat) The Passion For Fashion Link-up HERE and Style Crone's Hat Attack HERE.


Photo credit for this week goes to Michael and my Grandson William for my portraits and myself for the nail photos.

Sunday, December 18, 2016

One Thing Connects To Another

First off, I don't buy anything unless I like it. And even then, it has to somehow fit what I already have. So if I'm intrigued or distracted by an item, I try to visualize how it might fit with what's in my closet, how it might be styled. One item connects to another and then to another. Over time, a look or style emerges. My style. 


That is how the outfit came to be that I wore recently to a meeting of Missouri Retired Teachers. I started with five base items: the beret, gloves, leggings, bag and boots.

A quick shot and away I went-I was late and it was cold!


The gloves and beret came along years ago. The black beret has been in my closet so long, I have forgotten the when and where purchasing details--but I knew it was safely there.

When I ran across the fur-edged, leather gloves on eBay about six years ago, I knew they would fit  nicely with things I already owned. 

The story is the same with my B Makowsky bag which has been with me for about four years. I like this bag a lot. However, I probably won't be getting too many more B's: the quality just isn't there with the newer ones, plus the company no longer seems to stand behind their product.

If I think something is a bit on the short side, I add leggings. When I was younger, I wore my share of tights. I remember the days of donning a mini skirt and having a matching turtle neck and tights. Did anyone else sport this look back in the day?

The last basic element would be the Ann Klein faux fur topped booties. Rarely these days do I visit Marshalls, TJ Maxx or Ross (unlike ten or so years ago) but I may occasionally drop in. These booties were found at the Ross store in Joplin, MO. I really was taken by them but they weren't cheap. And I just had trouble visualizing how useful they would be with what I had. 

After three days, I could not get them out of my mind. If I can't stop thinking about something, it is best to just give in, go get it and have faith it is going to work out. I had to be back in Joplin later that week, and they were still there! Sometimes, I lose out on an item taking this approach but I just usually don't go for impulse purchases.

For me, these were five great accessories. Still  they needed an anchor point to work together.

It's a sunny-cold day. That's great because it gives me a chance to wear my Marc Jacob sun glasses that I picked up from The RealReal 
last July. Does anyone else find wonderful things there?


The anchor points were to be found at Good Will and Salvation Army. I have never shied away from telling folks that I shop at these two fine establishments--which could lead into my concerns about the fashion industry and the environment. Let me come back to that later. 

Last winter, at Good Will, I ran across an Ann Taylor Loft grey dress with ribbing below where the natural waist was. I think the top was supposed to be a little blousey and hang over the skirt. After trying it on, I understood why it was donated. The dress didn't flatter a body at all. But I liked the color, general design and I loved the dolman sleeves. It was probably senior discount day, so I didn't pay over $2.50 for a dress that looked as if it was never worn. 

Well, I guess I need to add, for me, impulse purchases are OK if it is senior day at Goodwill! 

I now have something that looks like a matched sweater and skirt. This look was very popular when I was in high school.

What to do about the way it looked? I first tried to put a belt with it as in this photo below and still wasn't happy. 

Last week, I had the answer. I just tucked and tacked the ribbed band in place and now it is a faux two-piece look that would flatter any figure. It took just a little time, some thread and a needle.

I just didn't like the way the dress looked in this shot.


The next to the last item for this look is the Diane Von Furstenburg purple and grey herringbone patterned wool jacket with the faux fur collar and raglan sleeves. When I found this one, at Salvation Army, I knew it would look great with my fur topped boots! The purple adds a color that is rarely seen in my closet and the grey anchors it to all my neutral colors--a nice twist.

Shopping at Salvation Army takes a good eye and a lot of patience. Whereas, Good Will is arranged by color, Salvation Army is arranged by item style and you just have to keep looking. Another  difference, is that Good Will charges the same price for similar styles without consideration of brands. An Armani Exchange silk tunic will be the same price as something from Walmart (and yes, I did find this silk tunic). Salvation Army, on the other hand, knows who the designers are. If it is something by a designer such as Calvin Klein, expect to pay extra (it was and I did).

Taming the scarf a bit with a modern art pin allowed me to experiment with an asymmetrical look.

I wanted a black scarf to go with this look. Last year, I picked up some stretch black velvet at JoAnn's with the intention of making some kind of head wrap--which never happened. I took the velvet and backed it with some black silk from my stash. To me, this scarf goes well.


Art accessories are important to me. This is especially true when it comes to my jewelry. Featured on the left is my newest necklace Sticks and Stones by Cydney Ross. I'm wearing it in today's shots, but its not very visible. Cydney is a Kansas City jewelry designer who uses porcelain in her pieces. The pin on the right was purchased at Agora Arts in Decorah, Iowa, years ago. 

My Changing Purchasing Philosophy

During the last four years, I have changed how and from whom I source my garments. My thoughts on buying habits changed when I read Elizabeth L. Cline's book Overdressed: The Shockingly High Cost Of Cheap Fashion. I just really liked this book and highly recommend it. (see my review ). (By the way, it now is available for less than ten dollars, which includes shipping, from Amazon's used book section.)

After reading Overdressed, I have settled into a general pattern of shopping:
  1. thrift shops, consignment shops and eBay-this gives me extra money to spend on #3.
  2. making it myself-this is no longer about saving money like it use to be in the 60s and 70s. It is about having something unique and being creative.
  3. Midwestern designers-my designers more than likely create their own designs. Purchasing their products is one of the best ways I know to support Made In The USA
  4. and finally, smaller local boutiques, TJ Maxx, Marshalls, and online stores such as ASOS and Mango, etc. 
There will always be exceptions. There will be days that I will pick up a pair of socks at Walmart or maybe see a cool pair of jeans at Cato. But those times far and few. I honestly try not to buy "fast fashion".

Looking out for things to augment my style is like cleaning my kitchen because it never ends. I set limits, know what I need, and occasionally make one of those instant decision purchases. 

 I do weed or either pass things along to my daughters if we both think it would be useful to them and, if not, its donation time to the DAV. I realize I have not mentioned sourcing bags and shoes. That needs to be left for another time.

The Polished Accessory


I know this has been a long post but I wanted to share this new gorgeous a-england polish. Look at that scattered holo! This is  one of the most beautiful vampy burgundy's I have ever seen and it's In Robe and Crown from Adina's new collection Tennyson's Romance. I picked it up during Color4Nails Black Friday Sale.

That's all I have for today so...

Adieu until the next time and in the meantime...
Happy Styling!



This week, I am linking up with Patti's Not Dead Yet Style's Visible Monday HERE Cherie's  Style Nudge's Shoe and Tell HERE, Catherine's Not Dressed As Lamb's I will Wear What I like HERE, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish Turning Heads Tuesday HERE, Living On Cloud Nine's Style Perspectives HERE, Shopping My Closet's Style Me Wednesday HERE, The Pleated Poppy's What I Wore HERE, High Altitude Style's Link-Up HERE, Fashion Should Be Fun's Fun Friday Fashion Link Up HERE, Nancy's Fashion Style's Fancy Friday , Color and Grace's Fashion Link-Up HERE Rachel's (Rachel The Hat) The Passion For Fashion Link-up HERE and Style Crone's Hat Attack HERE.


Photo credit for this week goes to Michael for my portraits and myself for the nail photo.