5.19.2015

By the Bay



What little discussion is needed about this outfit and location. 
The modern Breton stripe is just at home next to a briny bay as it is paired with a khaki a-line skirt. 

And the scarf? My way of disguising a much abhorred crew neckline and put to use my ever growing scarf collection.
Here's a reminder to find a genuine boat neck Breton top.







Striped top-- thrifted
Skirt-- thrifted
Belt-- thrifted
Black moccasins-- Rack Room, mystery brand
Scarf-- unknown origin, not vintage
Sunglasses-- Forever21




5.12.2015

Sailors & Chanel

In the evenings, my beau can be found unwinding from a busy day at work firmly planted on the couch, craft beer in hand, in his Marine Corps camouflage trousers and green undershirt. 

While the plain green undershirt of the modern Marine Corps uniform is far from inspirational, sometimes, while looking at my beau in this state of undress, I am reminded of Mademoiselle Chanel. 

WWI French Navy Rifleman & Gabrielle Chanel

What vision it takes to look at the underpinnings of a very masculine uniform, an object of utility, and find inspiration for fashion!

 Looking back now at the classic stripes of the undershirt of a French sailor, it is so simple to say: yes! this is fabulous, the absolute epitome of nautical fashion. 
The modern eye marvels at the fact that the man above is wearing something so stylish under his uniform (and with such a jaunty hat!), when, in truth, sailors had been doing so for more than half a century before this photograph was taken.

As the legend goes, Mademoiselle Chanel was inspired by the undershirts during a trip to the coast of France and, in 1917, introduced the shirts to the fashion world in her nautical collection, single-handedly altering women's fashion (consider what women were wearing in 1917! certainly not unstructured striped blouses). 


Embracing the Breton: Audrey Hepburn, Marilyn Monroe, Natalie Wood, Jean Seberg. 

Now, nearly one hundred years after the conversion from uniform undergarment to fashion staple, the Breton stripe, and it's variations, are still immensely popular, widely available, and essential for stylish seaside living. 
A must-have for modern and vintage gals (and gents!) alike, the Breton stripe is where decades of fashion meet, under that wonderful umbrella of classic style. 
There's just something about stripes that appeals to everyone.




While it's unlikely that anyone will ever look at my beau's olive drab undershirt, find inspiration, and revolutionize fashion, it's lovely to think how much our current fashion landscape has been shaped by the past and by visionaries like Chanel, who found inspiration in the most surprising places.



So tell me, dear readers, has the Breton stripe found its way into your closet? How do you wear it?


4.22.2015

Spring



Twenty-eight spring seasons and still I'm left breathless by its beauty.
 Sometimes I feel that I didn't know spring until I moved south. Each year I'm overwhelmed by the abundance of blooms-- the azaleas, the dogwoods, the wisteria, and the myriad of wildflowers that pop to life overnight. 

I am a wide-eyed Dorothy Gale and the beauty of spring is my technicolor Oz.





As much as I love the season, making the transition to a spring wardrobe was hard this year. How difficult it was to separate myself from the comfort and safety of my woolly winter wear, especially my tights.

Navigating my closet sans hair is both a struggle and an adventure. Outfits that once felt genuine now feel like costumes-- it is as if my hair was the key to pulling it all together. 
Suddenly, I'm looking at my wardrobe through new eyes.





Before I went in for the chop, I had dreams of gamine glory-- my hair would fall away and suddenly I would be Audrey Hepburn or Jean Seberg.
 Instead it fell away and I felt like-- a man.

Since the initial cut, I've decided to go shorter and shorter still, seeking that classic, feminine, elfish crop. Finally, after a change of stylist, I think I'm on the right track. 
And, after a trip to the thrift shop, and a re-evaluation of my closet, I'm feeling much better about pulling together an outfit without my long locks.

What an education this haircut has been.







My recent details post featured Lauren Bacall wearing a coin bracelet which got the wheels turning and inspired me to sort through the bin of metal detecting finds that was collecting dust in the garage. 
After an afternoon spent with a Dremel and all those old crusty coins, I had my very own coin bracelet.










Filled with coins corroded by salt and sand, and coins from both my travels and my beau's, this bracelet is a nice alternative to my usual charm bracelet
In the future, I think I'll pair it with my mercury dime bracelet, which has somehow escaped being logged here at the Sea.




Outfit Details
Blouse-- Lands' End
Skirt-- Thrifted
Shoes-- Ralph Lauren
Belt-- Thrifted
Pearl earrings-- Gift from my parents
Coin bracelet-- Made by me, inspired by Lauren Bacall








4.10.2015

The Details: Lauren Bacall

Like many a vintage lovin' gal, I enjoy time spent perusing old images, scanning them for details-- the brows, the lashes, the lips, and these days, I've been paying particular attention to the accessories. 

full image here
I was surprised to notice these coin bracelets on Lauren's wrist. A bit bohemian, they give the air of a well traveled woman with eclectic taste. 
While picking a vintage coin bracelet, like these, would be lovely, collecting coins while traveling, or finding weathered and worn ones at the beach, would make an interesting bracelet with some personal significance.




full image here
A more anticipated accessory, Lauren's classic rhinestone-studded flower brooch coordinates with her dress. I really like the placement of the brooch on the seam of the dress, something to keep in mind!





I'm loving the color scheme here-- the color of Lauren's massive ring with her slacks, the gold of the ring with the golden bangles she wears on each arm; I'm also loving what looks to be an orange-red on her nails-- so summery! This is definitely an image you want to view in full.




full image here
There's that ring again, gosh it's gorgeous! 
And note that feminine wrist watch. 
Accessorizing is kept minimal with the loud pattern of this summer suit.



full image here
I had to include this shot from The Big Sleep; look at those talons! I also can't help but notice the shading on Lauren's lips and her bottom lip is overdrawn to create the illusion of a fuller pout.


If you want to view more high quality images of Lauren, and hundreds of other stars, I highly recommend visiting Dr. Macro.



3.03.2015

Kirby




Way back in October, after months of discussion, my beau and I finally decided the time was right to add another pup to our pack-- a friend for our dog Sam Fisher. So, one chilly Sunday morning, we stopped in at our local Petco and visited a number of dogs in need of a home. Metal crates lined the sidewalk, their occupants eagerly wagging their tails or barking, trying to gain our attention and affection, all except one little blonde dog, Kirby.

I had read about Kirby online, she and her mother and brother were saved in the 11th hour from a kill shelter and brought into foster care with this rescue. The shyest in her family, and seemingly a challenge for potential adopters, Kirby had been passed over for months as her mother and brother and other more sociable dogs were adopted around her. 




For a shy, scared dog, the hustle and bustle of an adoption fair, especially one held in front of a busy store, is torture. Huddled in the back of her crate, quivering with fear, Kirby stole my heart. 

The thought of leaving her there, to return weekend after weekend for more torture, was more than I could bear. But, there was a lot to consider: were we capable of taking on a dog this shy? Could we give her what she needs to become a confident dog? Would she fit into our family?
We left the adoption fair with a lot to think and talk about.



The next weekend, thanks to the wonderful people at the rescue, Adopt-An-Angel, and Kirby's fantastic foster mom, we brought Sam Fisher to meet Kirby in her own yard. Kirby hid while Sam explored the new space; the joyous play, the interaction we hoped for, didn't happen but neither did the growling and snapping that we feared. 
After a bit, we loaded Kirby and Sam into our car and drove home. 




We didn't have a trial run with Sam, we agreed to adopt him before meeting him and brought him home with the idea that, regardless of the challenge, we were going to make it work, and it has worked-- Sam has grown into a sweet, affectionate, albeit stubborn, dog.

With Kirby we were granted a trial run, and the option to think-- "this is too hard, we can't do this."

By the end of the first weekend, Kirby had spent hours hiding behind the couch, cowering from my beau, and joyously playing in the yard with Sam. For every positive, like the fact that Sam liked her, there was a bundle of negatives. 

Walking her was a challenge (and still is) and by the first Monday morning, she had already spent time lost in a swamp thanks to my poor decision making and inability to control her on a leash. 
That Sunday evening, as we called and called for her, I had decided, through tears, that this was not the dog for us, she was just too much to handle.

Thanks to neighbors that heard some crashing in the woods, we found her, up to her neck in brackish muck, stopped only because she couldn't run any farther. Climbing through the thick brush of the coastal swamp, my beau waded into the waist deep mud and scooped her up, emerging with a cold, scared, now black dog in his arms, and carried her home.

 In the next hour or so that it took to bathe her, something changed. She was quiet and scared but calm, letting us clean the mud from her body and gently wipe the muck from her ears. Covered in towels on the bathroom floor, she looked up at me and I imagined that there was a glimmer of thanks among the fear, and in that moment, 
I decided "this is hard but we can do this."  


First trip to the beach!


From then on, we've tried our best to help her conquer her fears. Progress is slow, but each little bit of confidence she gains is something to be celebrated. 


Catching snowflakes

While there's still plenty of progress to be made, after four months, she no longer cowers from my beau, nor hides behind the couch, and while she still loves to play with Sam, she is now venturing into the yard on her own to chase squirrels, dig holes and catch the occasional snowflake.

She's a happy dog.