Friday, 9 March 2012

Shades of Blue

I am so sorry I haven't been able to post more often recently. Things have been a little hectic; I've been swamped with work, and I had a wisdom tooth pulled (ugh!). But now I'm back!

It looks like spring is finally making its way here. Well, I shouldn't say 'finally', because it really hasn't been much of a winter. We haven't had much snow at all, and just by looking at our heating bill I can tell that it hasn't even been horribly cold. It still feels wonderful to see the sun and some early croci (yes, I think 'crocuses' is the more common plural, but I just love 'croci'). I took these pictures on Wednesday. It was an amazing day, 65 degrees - that's about 17 degrees celcius. We're back to a-little-above-freezing today, but oh well.

In terms of style-related matters, I've been wearing pretty much the same clothes every day for the last three or four weeks: black jeans with a navy turtleneck or a chambray shirt. I've been giving a lot of thought to what makes clothing timeless and what makes me want to wear a particular piece of clothing again and again. I've also embarked on a mission to figure out what it is about menswear: why does menswear appear to age much better than womenswear? Chris and I watched a couple of movies (Great Gatsby, Talented Mr Ripley, Annie Hall), where the menswear actually looked somewhat current, but the womenswear appeared to reflect the period of time to the dot. The few pieces of actual menswear I own (sweaters, mostly - I've bought them because of the sleeve length) seem timeless year after year, whereas  what might have been considered womenswear basics at the time I purchased them, appear dated a year or two later, almost without exception. This bothers me.

In order to get my head around "menswear vs. womenswear", I'm currently reading Bernhard Roetzel's Gentleman - A Timeless Guide to Fashion. Even though I usually steer away from all sorts of style guides, I can't help but feel fascinated by this one. The title of the book says it all - it has chapters on smoking jackets, hunting suits and all sorts of useless aristocratic nonsense - but it is very refreshing to read about style in relation to appearance alone, with no consideration given to trends, body image or identity. It is certainly giving me a lot to think about, and I'll probably end up writing a series of posts on the topic.

Speaking of menswear, Jess provided a great link to this Wall Street Journal article, which suggests that women would benefit from shopping more like men. If you are not familiar with Jess' blog, Empty Emptor, check it out now. Her writing is phenomenal! She is currently tackling issues such as the phenomenon of wardrobe purging, and what happens to clothes after we get rid of them. Seriously, her blog is one to watch!

Anyway, since the topic of this post is 'Shades of Blue'... well, of course I had to include my favourite Blue. You may not remember, but Blue has struggled with her weight for some time. The picture above was taken two years ago, when she weighed over 17 pounds. This is what she looks like now:

Down to about 10 pounds! The transformation has been incredible to watch. She is so much more mobile and active. It has taken a lot of time and effort to get to this point, but Chris and I couldn't be happier that we've made it through.


Sunjo said...

Glad to see you back!! Wisdom tooth extraction is the worst. My husband just went through it last month and he drew a little tooth drawing that you might like:

Jessie said...

I was just discussing the beauty of the possible plural 'croci' with my brother the other day. Sympathy for the wisdom teeth, too; mine grew outdated horizontally, very painful!

Shey said...

You look beautiful, classic and comfortable. I'm so glad Blue was able to lose all that weight, our Jingles is an overweight cat too, he's lost some weight since he came to live with us, his previous owner fed him a lot of food all the time and he is a lazy boy and an inside cat only so it's kind of hard to keep him active. Until recently I didn't know that cats could get diseases from being overweight just like people.

Robin said...

I am comforted to know I am not the only blogger out there that wears the same thing for weeks at a time. Also: Bluuuuuuuuue!<3

lin said...

I think the things in menswear that look timeless - tailored jackets, trousers, trousers, shirts, coats, jeans, sweaters - are found in womenswear as well. Menswear dates too - some collars, jacket lapels, trouser shapes shoulders look more costume-y than others. But yes, it dates to a lesser extent than womenswear. I attribute some of this to hair and make-up.

For me the difference lies in attitudes towards clothing - why womenswear has such a trendy, disposable approach, while menswear is grounded in something functional, and heritage and durability is respected and coveted.

I hope you're feeling better!

Anonymous said...

Our black cat is about the same size as yours. I'd be curious to read a series on menswear...and thank you for introducing me to a new blog.

Jess said...

I count myself lucky for liking menswear as much as I do - if you want to make the effort to buy pieces that don't date quickly and obviously, menswear is certainly the way to go! I've started paying attention to more menswear runway shows recently because they're a good source of style inspiration, and so often they're just quintessential menswear with a couple of adjustments or flourishes, rather than being as specific and idiosyncratic as the womenswear collections (and those specifics and idiosyncracies are often ugly, impractical, pointless or some combination thereof).

So while Prada's putting out this sort of thing for women:

They're putting this sort of stuff out for men:

Despite that menswear collection being quite Edwardian-inspired, the pieces still wouldn't look too out of place in any era since the Edwardian, styled in the right way. The womenswear collection - yeah, definitely not.

I'd be very keen to read any thoughts you write up about menswear vs. womenswear and not dressing for trends or body image or identity. There's a lot that feminism and feminist theory would have to say on those topics, especially the trends (why women have been targeted to follow trends so much moreso than men) and body image (why women feel pressured to dress in a way that flatters their figure and hides their "flaws" since society tells them their appearance is of utmost importance and it's their duty to look good for the male gaze). It would make for very interesting discussion.

I'm glad you've been enjoying my posts! Thanks for your kind words.

lapindelune said...

I wonder if it has anything to do with the over saturation of women's clothing in magazines, red carpet events, etc, in the sense that there is so much more focus upon women's 'trends' that we are able to differentiate between seasons much more clearly than with menswear.
I don't really know, but your post has made me think. And women are encouraged to renew trends by the season, so there is always a difference if only subtle. Perhaps nothing ever really becomes 'dated', because in the end a piece of clothing is simply....a piece of clothing. Someone has taken it upon themselves to set the rules and MAKE us feel that our basics are dated if we have worn them for over a year. A ruse to get us to buy more, no doubt, whether we need to or not. So I am more concerned with the concept of an item becoming dated than how it compares to menswear - because I'm awkward, haha!

And what a beautiful kitty, at either weight!

Hope you are healing well x

Madeline Quaint said...

Ough, wisdom teeth... After years of struggle I just got rid of the last one before Christmas, finally! I'm so glad it's over... Hope you won't have to suffer much with them!

The weather here still cannot decide over winter or spring, I can't wait for the croci to appear. :)

I'm sure you'd look great with short very hair - I went for quite a shocking change too! :)

Anonymous said...

I have thought the same thing about menswear, although I've heard dudes lament that there is never anything interesting for them (which I find false - just look at Simon Doonan).

I agree that women's clothing is quickly dated. Even when people recommend buying for longevity and a LBD sheath dress. I'm sorry but you can tell the difference between a '60s, '80s, '90s and aughts little black sheath dress. I always find it really interesting when you find something vintage that is cut exactly as it would be produced today because so rarely is retro cut from the same pattern as actual retro.

Blue looks great! Great job! She'll be so much happier in the long run.

Thank you for the Empty Emptor link - very much appreciated.

jesse.anne.o said...

Sorry - that anonymous was me. I accidentally hit the wrong button as I hit publish.