Sunday, July 31, 2016

According To The Dress Doctors.......A Book Review With Fashion

In 1913, the secretary of agriculture, worried about declining farm population, sent a survey to American farmwomen asking what the US Dept of Agriculture might do for them to make rural life more "comfortable, healthful, and attractive."

The department was pretty surprised by the responses.

From Tennessee, a lady wrote that a girl would not be be so eager to leave the farm if she could "really see that there is an art in the farm life, and that she can dress as prettily and have her home as neatly furnished as the city girl can."

A woman from Idaho thought that information on “the art and appropriateness of dress" would be much appreciated.

Beyond questions on practical matters, efficient kitchens and pest control, women across the county hungered for education on style and beauty.

From their responses to that survey, The Women’s’ Institute and the Dress Doctors were born. During the first half of the 20th century these women with degrees in the arts and sciences helped women dress through fads, wars and The Great Depression. 

Names such as Mary Brooks Pickens, Mary Schenck Woolman, Harriet and Vetta Goldstein wrote books and pamphlets, created radio broadcasts, and headed college departments to help and guide women to dress stylishly. The dress doctors sincerely believed if all women were armed with knowledge, they could dress well. Their theories put everyone of a level playing field, weather they were rich, poor, middle class or upper class. 

If  a woman understood the Principle of Dress, she could be elegant, even on a budget. This illustration is sourced from the book.

The pioneers have been forgotten. That is until  Linda Przybyszewski, PHD. wrote the New York Times bestseller, The Lost Art of Dress; The Women Who Once MadeAmerica Stylish. 

This book is a social history about the efforts of these remarkable women to reach out to American girls and women. Dr. Przybyszewski follows progress from freedom from corsets to the sixties when the Baby Boomers (yep, my generation) told "The Dress Doctors" to get lost with all their rules, which led to the Doctors eventual demise. 

Author, Linda Przybyszewski, PHD.

The Dress Doctors’ teachings were formed around their own developed Principles of Art, which were crafted from the leading art educators of the time. After being a 32+ year public school art educator, I can pretty much guarantee three things that are going to be hanging in an art room: the color wheel, The Elements of Art and The Principles of Art. These are the big three. The fine art elements are: line, shape, form, value, texture, and space. The Principles of Art are: Pattern, Rhythm, Movement, Proportion (scale), balance, unity and emphasis. I always told my students to think of the elements as the ingredients for a cake and the principles were how they mixed the ingredients together to make their own unique cake. Food analogies always worked for me! A great chart for reference can be found at Project ARTiculate.
So what was the Dress Doctors’ list?  First and foremost was Harmony. Harmony had four sub-headings under it, which were: Shape, Texture, Idea and Color. The list concluded with Rhythm, Balance and Proportion.  They took words from both the elements and principles of art and even made up one new one (idea). Although, I think Idea is just another word for Emphasis. 

My challenge was to find items from my closet and put together something I thought the Dress Doctors would approve. I will discuss it more at the end.

The Dress Doctors were the the originators of the capsule wardrobe and they would teach you how to make it yourself. Above are Vogue patterns from 1937 showing women that with just three patterns, they could have a wardrobe for all seasons. Hats were paramount in this wardrobe. This illustration is sourced from the book.

The Dress Doctors believed in helping women help themselves. One of their main goals was to teach anyone willing how to sew. Sewing one's own garments freed women from the fads that come and go and could help a family get through hard economic times. These sewing courses also created many home-based businesses of seamstressing. This gave some women independence because they could support themselves with their new found skills

They also believed that women only needed a few great garments (three dresses at most) and add variety with different cuffs and collars. This sounds very similar to what a lot of us do with scarfs today. Hats were seen as a necessity for bringing out individualism. There are some great quotes in the book about hats.
One dress could have many different looks-just change the collars!
This illustration is sourced from the book.

The Dress Doctors celebrated the older woman. Only she could look truly sophisticated. I'm not too crazy about the fur complete with the animal's head, but the rest of this look, I love. The color is called "Raisin.
This illustration is sourced from the book.

The New Look by Dior just show that animal prints never go out of style!
This illustration is sourced from the book.
The Dress Doctors helped American women in transforming their original wardrobes during 1947, after Christian Dior dropped the "New Look Bomb". Financially, this could have been and probably was devastating for many women, my Mom included. During the 60's she told me that she had just bought a new winter coat before all the news came out of Paris. Immediately, it was outdated. She and Dad had just been married and, of course, she didn't have money to buy a new coat, so she just wore her new shorter one. I think that is one thing we are free of today. There's not one person that call the shots like that anymore. 
Rules were so old school. We just wanted to have fun!

The 60’s generation viewed the Dress Doctors and Home Economics as too much a part of the Establishment. Unfortunately, it seem that in the end, the Dress Doctors lived one way (working independent women), but told young women that their greatest achievement was in the home. Remember, Feminism was just around the corner

Another downfall of the Dress Doctors is that they ignored anyone who was not Anglo-Saxon. That attitude just could not keep going. Towards the end, I think they tried to address this problem, but it was really too late. 

Now it is time for a brief intermission from your hostess. I mentioned earlier that I would discuss what I had put together in the spirit of the “Dress Doctors”. They would have been proud of my dress. This 100% Linen International Concepts (Macy's, I think) dress was thrifted about three years ago and was a size too large and reached the floor. I trimmed the hem and took in the side seams

The belt has been on here before. It is by Liz Claiborne and I have had it for 30 years because it is an incredible classic piece.

The brown cloth Fedora is from (again) my favorite KC hat store Exclusively For You. I added one of my vintage Poodle pins to the matching flower on the side. The poor little guy has lost a rhinestone eye over the years. 

There are a few quotes from the "Dress Doctors" about hats in the book. One of my favorites is: "A smart and becoming hat will buoy up a woman's spirits, give her confidence, increase her powers of repartee, and make her wit scintillate." 
My silk scarf was hand printed by me using thicken natural dyes and yes I am very proud of it.

The gloves and bag are both vintage. My bag is a straw and leather vintage Rodo and comes with a chain if I don't want to wear it as a clutch. The gloves are cotton

Tamaris came out with these tri-colored suede sandals this spring and it was love at first sight. I ordered them from Simon Shoes in Boston. I thought the suede and cork were such a great combination. 

Shoe closeup

I recommend this book, especially if you are American. This is part of our “style” history. These pioneering women gave some valuable information that is still relevant today. It’s funny, but for about a week after finishing this book, I would get dressed, look in the mirror, and think,” I wonder what the dress doctors would think?”

If you listen to podcasts, Thread Cult had an interview with Dr. Linda Przybyszewki a couple of years ago and it can be found HERE. This is where I first found out about her book
I will warn you, I am not through with the "Dress Doctors". This article is long enough already so I am stopping here. There is a color chart in this book that interests me. Some of the color names were not familiar to me and I have started researching them. This research has led to me putting together color example charts. They will eventually be finished and I will be putting them in a post someday. I think my goal is to take these charts and style outfits according to their suggestions. Will this actually be done? I'm not sure, but am thinking seriously about it.
  This is enough for today, I think, so I will bid adieu until next week. In the meantime, Happy Styling!

This week, I am linking up with The Style Crone's Hat Attack HERE, 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, High Altitude Style's Link-Up HEREElegance and Mommyhood's Moda Linkup HERE, Fashion Should Be Fun's Fun Friday Fashion Link Up HERE, Shelbee's Edge of the Week Link Up HERE and Nancy's Fancy Friday HERE.

The photography credit and head editor this week goes to my hubby, Michael.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Printed Cold Shouder Top

I kept putting this photo shoot off because it is so hot and humid here in Missouri. These are truly the "dog days of summer." It's so bad that my dogs and my rabbit, Mr. BB, my old Angora bunny, spend their afternoons sleeping not far from one another on my kitchen floor. When it's not too hot, I put ice bottles in Mr. BB's rabbit run. But when it's so humid like this, it's chillin' indoor time.

OK, on to style. I finally found a cold-shoulder top that I wanted. Off the shoulders styles are just a no go for me. With all that I have in the "top-shop," I would have to wear a strapless bra. I tried those back in the day and absolutely hated the strapless. They were so uncomfortable and I felt very insecure in them. So when I saw the cold shoulder design, I knew it was a style I could wear. 

There were things that I wanted and didn't want with this top. It couldn't be a solid color and the fabric couldn't be jersey. I was looking for a print. Also, I am suspicious how long this look will be in and so didn't want to spend that much money. Those kind of parameters usually send me looking on eBay and I think I looked for a month before this one popped up. It is 100% Rayon (which means it's super soft) by Entro. This particular piece was being resold by a lady because she decided it was too small for her.

I liked everything about this top. The pale neutral pink with the dusty blue pattern and front crochet makes it so different than anything else I have. And can we say Hippy-Dippy? It hearkens back to my glory days in the 70's. I've been wearing this top for two weeks now and it has passed the test. I was worried about the Rayon being warm, but with the cutouts, I can feel the air on my arms and it's delightful. The extra contrast pattern of the bottom ruffle is just icing on the cake. This company has Boho down.

The starfish cuff was found somewhere online, but I can't remember where. I would have to ask my oldest daughter, because she found the place and I just put in a few things on her order. We do that a lot.

This leather bag is one of my favorites. I found it drastically reduced at a small Kansas City boutique a year ago last spring. There is no tag with a brand name, just "made in Italy" and it is lined with leather. The ostrich embossed leather and the braided corded edging adds those little details that I look for. My Ellen Tracy slings and the neutral pink of the bag match like they were made for each other.

A closer view of the print and my Erin Paige Kansas City crown necklace.

Stella and Dot earrings. I have had these for years and they are so perfect for this look. I have no idea what's going on with my hair in that brown streak.

The Polished Accessory

This part is probably the least interesting to my readers, but I started out as a nail blogger and still love the stuff. Just blogging  about nails ended up soooooo boring for me. I already had on Julep's Cassidy (I know, here she goes with another blue). I am a Julep Maven and don't have any trouble with the company. I say no when I don't like a box and probably only get three boxes a year. 

I thought the blue was a tad too strong for this blouse, so I went with one of my favorite glitter toppers; Love, Lace and Lilacs by Lynnderella.  It's one of her classics and I think one of the most beautiful polishes ever made. If you don't know about Lynnderella, for nail polish, she single handed started the Indie movement. She is the Queen of glitter, as far as I'm concerned. But I only have a few bottles. She's pretty expensive, so my collection is very limited. 

Back to fashion, my straight legged stretch jeans are another one of my thrifty finds. I didn't think too much about them when I picked them up from Good Will last summer. They ended up in the basket because there were no zippers or elastic, but they fit like a dream. The secret lies with the magic cross piece that overlaps in the front.  Now, I wear them more than any other jeans. If they ever wear out, I am going to have to take them apart and cut a pattern. I will always need a pair of jeans like these!

That's the end of my adventure with my new cold shoulder top.   So, it's goodbye until next Sunday. Take care and 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, High Altitude Style's Link-Up HEREElegance and Mommyhood's Moda Linkup Here, Fashion Should Be Fun's Fun Friday Fashion Link Up HERE, Shelbee's Edge of the Week Link Up HERE and Nancy's Fancy Friday HERE and Spy Girl's Summer Link Up HERE.

The photography credit this week goes to my hubby, Michael, for the portraits of me.

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Digital ASOS Long Vest

Hello, I hope everyone is having a nice summer. With all the horrible stuff going on here in the US and the world, I work harder in finding the good in life. Our garden is coming in now and so far I have made Plum Preserves, Plum Conserve (with raisins and oranges) and probably my favorite, Corn Relish. The boys have spent a lot of time with us on the farm and with our three ponds, William, the oldest, is in fishing heaven. That catches you up with a little news from MeadowTree, so on with the styling.

Remember my post on my digital ASOS summer dress? Here's the results, a new vest by Liquorish ! I featured this vest in that post and loved it so much I ordered it. If you really like it after this post, it is still available on the ASOS web site. 

I don't see the digital quality of this piece as compared to digital prints that see at Mood Fabrics (click here to see what I mean). However, I love this print and don't think I will tire of it. The vest is nice and long, has inset pockets, two back vents and has ties in the back. For now, I just leave them tied in a bow (there's a back view below).

When I'm wearing something this dramatic, I downplay the under layers, so I did a black column with long slim pants by Mango (old but here's some similar) and a very old but super soft tee shirt that I think I picked up at Walmart during the last decade. I might try something sleeveless later, but I wanted this look for now.

Black was my my choice for the shoes and bag as well. The sandals are by Clark and were purchased over ten years ago (I was going through  Clark mania about then). My bag is an Eric Javets Squishee that I bought second hand from eBay. It's in perfect shape and looks as if rarely used. I was on a hunt for this particular one for about a year and just had to wait for the right one at the right time. 

Beaded jewelry came out for this one. I love beaded collar necklaces, especially for summer (this isn't the only one I own). This necklace and earrings came from Target and the bracelets was, oh yes, another eBay find.

Had to do a still life of this one

 I really need to keep my eyes open more on a sunny day or just put the sunglasses on. Sorry for the squinty eyes but this photo really shows how the vest flows. The two vents in the back are really important to this piece. 

The Polished Accessory 

This print called for a dusty medium blue and I had it with Signet's Blue Lagoon. Signet was an Indie polish that I just adored. It's maker, Lauren, is from Mississippi and has that southern charm and hospitality the the South is famous for. She always listened to what her fans wanted and even let us name some of the polishes. Hey, I even won one of those contests. But small Indies have a tough time making it, and last summer Lauren hung up her mixing bottles and returned to her first love, which is ceramics. 

I had to show the back, that's all.  

It's a short one today; a little news, styling my new vest, a new still life, and one of my favorite Indie polishes.  So, it's goodbye until next Sunday. Take care and 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, Living On Cloud Nine's Style Perspectives HERE, High Altitude Style's Link-Up HEREElegance and Mommyhood's Moda Linkup Here, Fashion Should Be Fun's Fun Friday Fashion Link Up HERE, Shelbee's Edge of the Week Link Up HERE and Nancy's Fancy Friday HERE.

The photography credit this week goes to my grandson, William, for the portraits of me. The still life is by me.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Going Golden To Tallulabelle's

Here I go again, wearing my white pants. I just think they go with about every look I have been wanting to style this summer. This will be the last of them (for a while). Promise, next week is totally the opposite. 

I attended a reception for two of my favorite KC designers at TallulaBelle's. TallulaBelle's was founded in 2011 by Melanie Coleman to showcase artisan crafted pieces but I have certainly missed them on my radar. TallulaBelle's is located in Park Place in Leawood, Kansas which is another place I have completely been in the dark over. It is probably because Park Place is a smaller retail center tucked in behind the larger Town Center Plaza. 

Let's start with some photos I took at TallulaBelle's and I will discuss what I wore at the end of the post. The interior of TallulaBelle's is an artistic expression within itself. It's such a perfect canvas for the gorgeous creations that reside inside its walls. 

Heidi Herrman was showing her new line of KC Icon totes and her pillows. The bags and pillows are off shoots of her Spring '16 Kansas City Icon dress collection. At this point in time, I do not have any Heidi Herrman designs in my closet. That could possible change but that is all I am going to say at this point.

My apologies to Erin because I didn't get a photo of her and her beautiful jewelry. I shall blame it on the frozen Margaritas. Erin has two lines; an artistic copper patina line and one that features smaller gold and silver pieces. I already have three pieces of Erin Paige Designs jewelry but my eye is on the gold crown pendant. If you know anything about Kansas City, you will know what this means. Here's a sampling of her jewelry. I am wearing one of my necklaces and snapped a picture of my earrings. 

A photo with the ladies of the hour; Erin Paige, Heidi Herrman and me.

Something extra because this bag lover was drooling over these lovely wood veneer purses by Hammill-Diebolt Studio (Treeborne Woodworking).

Now we can get to the nitty gritty of what I picked to wear for this early evening event. First, the Target pants which have already been seen two other times. I will have to say that when I finally buy something new, I make sure it gets its wear time. 

The White House Black Market shirt (97% Polyester/3% Spandex) was thrifted this past Spring. I bought it to wear it with my red Madewell jeans but its been put with everything else but them! Its satin finish can take it dressy but I can certainly downplay that if I want to.

My bag is Coach in a gold bronze (the color I call it) and I've had it for a while. It comes with a removable strap which gives me some options. As usual, I came by it through Coach's online outlet store.

Now for the problem child which is my Ralph Lauren espadrilles. They are a silk gold shantung and I fell in love with them and thought they would be easy to style. So far, in the past three years, I may have worn them three times and I really don't think they are quite in sync color wise for this look. However, I am determined to wear these shoes! I will keep trying different things with them. Maybe they will pop up here again.  

The Polished Accessory

I don't think I have ever had a-england on the blog before. It's a British polish line created by Adina Bodana. A-england is A+ when it come to formula and is highly regarded in the polish world. With collections titled The Mythicals, Gothic Beauties and Heavenly Quotes a-england the most romantic polish line I know. The golden color I am wearing for this post is and the moonbeams from the Heavenly Quotes collection.  Unless you live in Britain, the only way to get a-england is from an online company that specializes in a world selection of polishes such as Color4Nails and Beautometry. 

I am closing with a shoe still life. This is inspired by Cheri of The Style Nudge. She always presents her shoes in such creative ways. I am showing my silk espadrilles with a few of my books.

Just in case you missed them and want to visit, here are the links for TallulaBelle's, Erin and Heidi.

Erin Paige Designs
Heidi Herrman Designs 

So, a little fashion styling, a couple of KC's finest designers and a unique shop for today and that is that. So, it's goodbye until next Sunday. Take care and 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, Elegance and Mommyhood's Moda Linkup Here, Fashion Should Be Fun's Fun Friday Fashion Link Up HERE, Shelbee's Edge of the Week Link Up HERE and Nancy's Fancy Friday HERE.

The photography credit this week goes to my Grandson, William for the portraits of me. Everything else is by me.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Hanging With Pirates and Drinking Rum, Arrrr...

Happy 4th of July!

This 4th, I am celebrating with my family, eating and drinking well (more about that later), and hanging with a certain little pirate (among other four legged members of the family). I will admit that he is much higher on the cuteness scale than the ferocity one. 

I'm wearing a new top that I made just for the 4th and drinking a new cocktail based on, you guessed, Rum. Today's post is about three things: styling, the cocktail, and sewing my top. So, let's get started...

My Style For the 4th

With my little sock stealing pirate, Niki the Ornery

I'm leaving my top for the end of the post in the sewing section. I'll talk about everything else now. The pants are a repeat. They were originally purchased for the dress white party my daughter and I went to and are 95% Cotton/5% Spandex bi-stretch Meronas from Target. I love these pants. I just feel elegant in them and have been wearing them way too much. I think they are even going to be in next week's post.

The blue sandals are the third pair of a Tod's deal from eBay a couple of years ago. I got them from a lady who was selling a three-pair deal of her old Tod's so she could get new ones. The other two have already made their appearance on the blog, but this is the first for these. Aren't these sandals perfect for the 4th?


The purse is Coach. I've been wanting this color forever and finally got it at a great price at Coach online. Is anyone else in this group? I think it's hard to get in now, but it's worth it if you like Coach.

I guess I'm a sucker for Coach. During the early 70s, we had no money (Michael was in graduate school and I had just finished my student teaching). We had our daughter, Michelle, eleven months after we were married (I can tell you, my Mom was counting the months). Michael gave me the smallest Coach bag there was for Christmas even though we really couldn't afford it, because he knew how much I wanted one. I still have that bag. So now, maybe, you can understand why I relish my Coach bags.

The shoes and bag almost match. It's good enough for me!

How can you not wear a polish called Liberty on the 4th? I love this blue PixieDust by Zoya. But then again, there are few PixieDusts I don't love. Zoya said last year they were discontinuing making PixieDust. Now they have a Summer PixieDust set called Seashells. I guess that everyone griped so much, they finally asked themselves, "Why stop a good thing?"

Rum Poodle Rum - The French Poodle Martini Lounge

My recipe for my cocktail, Rum Poodle Rum, is inspired by the ease of summer's lazy days and our own little pirate and sock-thief extraordinaire, Niki The Ornery. I can't think of any spirit more associated with summer than Rum. Just the classic rum drinks take you to a place of summer and island paradise. Names like 'Mai Tai,' 'Bahama Mama,' 'Daiquiri' and 'Piña Colada' give a feeling of swinging in the hammock and taking in the salty sea breeze.

So let's get on with the drink. You will need a tall glass for this one. It can be shaken or just stirred around in your glass, before or after adding ice. The ingredients are easy and few. With everything having equal representation, the alcohol is not overpowering and also makes it easy to mix up a big batch.

Rum Poodle Rum

2 ounces dark rum, my favorite is Goslings Black Seal
2 ounces pineapple juice
2 ounces cranberry juice 

Mix or shake. Serve in a tall glass with a lot of ice.


This drink was originally published on Time For Poodles and Friends. Visit us there to see more photos, especially of Niki. 

 Sewing With Burda

This top is a first for me. I finally made something from my Burda Pattern magazines (July '16) and I finished it within a week rather than weeks. I scanned the three different ways the T-top was styled and although I didn't care for any of the styles in the magazine, I really liked the pattern. It only had four pattern pieces, which made it even better.


The dress version shown is too 70's Disco and too short for me. The blue and white eyelash yarn top? I didn't even like eyelash yarn when it was trendy during the early 2000s. I do like the pink and orange color combo on the bottom top, but my belly button bearing days have been over for decades (if I even had any).

What I did want was a standout top for the 4th that was also something that I could wear for the rest of the summer. I wanted red and white stripes, but not insipid ones. There would be the possibility that I might look like an old box of popcorn, but I was willing to take the risk. 
I found my fabric at Mood Fabrics. They call this Brick/White and it's so soft to the touch.

Brick/White Striped Cotton Jersey Knit

Product #: 308105

I added cuffs because I wanted to see what they would look like and can always change them later if I tire of them. The neck was a little wide. Although I thought I fixed the problem when I cut the fabric out, I had to do some on-the-spot redesigning with the addition of some cross-pieces of fabric. Also, I added a binding to the neckline rather than just turning it under and stitching. I just like a bound edge better. 

At first glance, the Burda pattern sheet looks intimidating, but really they make it easy. I didn't have a problem, but will admit that I started with something that had minimal pieces on purpose.

Michael snapped a photo of me when we were doing our grocery shopping for the 4th. Same top with jeans and navy kids and my red Horse Bucket Bag by Coach. My top passed its test. I can wear it with other things, and yes,  I am checking out the rum!

So, a little fashion styling, cocktail mixing  and a sewing for today and that is that. As usual, it's a crazy long post. Hopefully, there is something that everyone could enjoy. I'm just a retired art teacher doing her thing. With that, it's goodbye until Sunday. Take care and Happy Styling!

These are my linkups for this week. I keep these current as I join so its the latest party!

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, Color and Grace's Link Up Party HERE, Elegantly Dressed and Stylish Turning Heads Tuesday HERE, Sydney's Fashion Hunter's Fresh Fashion Forum HERE, High Altitude Style's Link-Up HEREElegance and Mommyhood's Moda Linkup Here, Fashion Should Be Fun's Fun Friday Fashion Link Up HERE, Shelbee's Edge of the Week Link Up HERE and Nancy's Fancy Friday HERE.

The photography credit this week goes to my husband, Michael.