Saturday, June 29, 2013

The ABC's of Chic Sightings: Detail-Oriented, Elegant, Fit


This is really a biggie - the woman with loose threads dangling about, run-down heels, just a generally ill cared-for appearance, will never be one of my Chic Sightings.  You may not have money, you may not have access to the world's most amazing assortment of clothes, but you can always be clean, tidy, and well-maintained. Anything less just doesn't cut it!


By elegance, I don't mean decked out for the opera in the most expensive, high-fashion swank garments available.  To me, elegance is a reflection of clarity and simplicity.  I always feel a bit twitchy when I'm confronted with too many ruffles, studs, grommets, and other gee-gaws on fast fashion.  Pile on a couple of busy prints, and I'm getting a migraine.  Sleek, simple, elegant, with the focus on the person rather than on the garments and accessories.

And by fit I don't really look for someone who could finish a marathon - I'm thinking more of the way garments fit.  In our current world of "buy it, wear it three times, toss it", the idea of the alteration seems to be forgotten.  But the truly Chic Sightings I see never have dragging pant legs, or sleeves drooping down over the hands, or any of the other more elusive, but unmistakable signs that a garment needs the attentions of a skilled tailor.  Perfectly fitted clothes are an art, the people who help us get our clothes that way are artists, and we thus are walking works of art when our clothes fit us  perfectly.

11 comments:

  1. Great summary! I'd add that a woman can have these covered but if she looks anxious anf is continually shifting and plucking her clothes, smoothing down her hair and checking her makeup, the charm is lost. When she relaxes and smiles, ahhh- she is beautiful.

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  2. Ruffles? What is wrong with ruffles?..I always thought ruffles were classic and elegant. I love ruffles. It gives that added touch to a plain blouse and makes it interesting to look at.
    I agree with everything else you have stated though.

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    1. I don't mind ruffles, if the ruffles are the focus of what's happening on a garment. It's the current fondness for ruffles, with sequins, with appliques, with fringe, with grommets, with studs, and a little bit of embroidery thrown on for accent... THAT sort of clutter is what gives me a headache. Any of these ornaments on their own is great, but too much of a nice touch is too much.

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    2. I agree. Ruffles need to be worn with great caution.

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  3. Armani said "Elegance is not about being noticed, it's about being remembered."

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  4. It's amazing how often these crucial three elements are missing on so many people one sees out and about, both men and women.

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  5. For years I heard about the virtues of tailoring and alterations but it always seemed like an extra expense on a limited budget. Fast forward to the present. Wow! Tailoring and alterations are necessary and wonderful! When you buy less clothing at better quality tailoring is possible and important. Tailoring saves me money too! When I consider that great bargain on the sale rack but then mentally factor in alterations it's not such a great bargain! No matter our size on the tag there are so many body shapes wearing that size there is no way manufacturers can make each size a perfect fit for the various body shapes. For my body shape I know that all skirts and pants will have to be taken in at the waist. The result is that everything in my closet fits me beautifully and several things have been customized to me (via tailoring). I have had a $20 pair of Old Navy jeans tailored as well as a 5 year old skirt. I even have a hint in finding a good tailor. Find a small, high end boutique that is too small for their own tailor on staff and ask who they use. And don't give up! My first experience was someone who was expensive and took a long time. And then I found 'the one'! Even though this shop does the alterations for our most pricey boutique they charge less and take less time. Tailoring makes clothes look high end and expensive and makes my body look it's best! So... happy alterations! Linda

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  6. hello Janice-
    I love love love your blog. I have a special request, though, can you build a wardrobe for a sporty young mother (rides a bicycle everywhere, spends weekends camping or doing outdoor activities) in grey lavender and sky blue? Everything must be easily washable and I can't always count on being able to wear something more than once.
    I would really appreciate it if you could take a look at some of the sporting/travel lifestyle brands like lole, royal robbins, icebreakers, etc. Their clothes could be quite sporty-chic. Thank you in advance and always.

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  7. Thank you Janice! I completely agree with you about fit and tailoring, but what is the best way to find a skilled tailor who knows how to best make a garment fit properly (and without causing any damage)? Do you have suggestions about how one can find a talented tailor?

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    1. Someone up-thread had a great idea - go into a small, but high-quality clothing store in your area, and ask who they use, or suggest. Also, you could search on the Internet, on sites like Yelp that are designed for user reviews. The best tailor and the best shoe repair in Chicago have hundreds of review on Yelp, and there's a pretty good consensus to that effect.

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    2. Great ideas - I will try again. Thank you so much!

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