2020 Fashion Accessory of the Year

2020 Fashion Accessory of the Year

2020 Fashion Accessory of the Year

D

ifferent colours, different fabrics, different fit.  I do like to coordinate with what I’m wearing but more importantly I want to wear a clean mask.  That’s why I have one for each day.

 

The Necessity of Masks

Masks have become increasingly mandatory everywhere.  To find out the specific regulations where you are, be sure to check with your local public health authority.  In general however, I think we can go by these simple guidelines:

  • wear a mask when you are in public and in contact with others,
  • wear a mask when you are in shared indoor spaces and with people who are not in your social bubble.

 

Masks Around the World

Other parts of the world adopted this mask wearing practice before us as they have experienced previous pandemics. Just think of SARS or MERS in China, Hong Kong,Taiwan or Saudi Arabia.  In some of these countries, even after the pandemic passed, people continued to wear masks.

Their tendency is to be more utilitarian with masks unlike here in North America where masks soon became a form of self-expression through the use of different colours or patterns in the material used to make masks.  Many commercial enterprises also got on the bandwagon by designing masks with logos or slogans imprinted.

 

The Making of Masks

Check out this story at Refinery29 that talks about how the fashion industry has met this new trend.

The making of masks has become something of a cottage industry. Just check out Etsy and Instagram and you will find plenty.  Should you want to make your own, instruction and patterns are readily available.

 

Material, Design and Fit of Masks

Masks should ideally be made with three layers:  two layers of a tightly woven fabric (cotton or linen are ideal) and then one layer that is a filter.  The design of it should snuggly fit over the nose, mouth and chin and be easy to breath in.  Ties and loops around the ears hold the mask in place on the head.

 

Keeping Your Mask Clean

Your mask should be cleaned or replaced daily and immediately, if it is damp or soiled.  To wash your mask,  you can put it in the wash machine in hot water or you can wash by hand using soap and hot water, then allow it to dry thoroughly.  If you have a disposable mask, make sure that you dispose of it properly (in a closed trash receptacle and cut the ties to prevent hazards to wildlife that may get into trash) and wash your hands after handling it.

 

Preventing Problems with Facial Skin

The importance of wearing a clean mask is not limited to minimizing virus transmission but also to prevent dirt and oils of previous wear from coming in contact with your facial skin again.  Also, consider not wearing makeup underneath to prevent skin breakouts.  I use a good moisturizer and instead of wearing lipstick or lip gloss, I simply use a lip liner rubbed gently into my lips.

According to the American Academy of Dermatology Association, to prevent skin problems:

  • clean and moisturize skin before and after wearing your mask,
  • protect lips by applying a lip conditioner,
  • avoid wearing make up,
  • avoid trying new products or skin care routines now as wearing a mask can make your skin more sensitive,
  • monitor and possibly minimize the use of retinoids and salicylic acid as these products can cause skin irritation,
  • make sure your mask fits well,
  • give your face a break every four hours by removing your mask for 15 minutes.  Avoid touching your face when you remove the mask and wash your hands before and after you handle the mask.

We are in a very serious time of this pandemic. This virus is everywhere.   However, I think it is important to not stigmatize people who are not wearing a mask as perhaps they have a valid reason that is related to a condition or disability they may have that either makes wearing the mask difficult or makes breathing especially difficult. 

I encourage you to be vigilant, right now.  Wear a mask, keep your distance, wash your hands and don’t touch your face.  Do your part to keep yourself and others safe.  😷🙏

I love to hear from you. Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

 

“Wearing a mask is better than wearing a ventilator.”

Unknown
Do You Have a Signature Fragrance?

Do You Have a Signature Fragrance?

Do You Have a Signature Fragrance?

have always loved fragrance.  

In my garden, I plant the most fragrant roses and jasmine.  I love the smell of fresh cut grass and walking through the woods after a fresh rain.  In my home, I like to burn a natural lavender or tuberose candle; it evokes comfort and beauty to me. Same for what I like to wear.  Always something soft and feminine, a light floral. 

I have memories, as a child, of a friend of my mother’s who used to wear a clean, soft rose scented fragrance.  When she would give me a hug, it felt like an embrace of safety, comfort and love.  Perhaps, that is still why I gravitate to the rose fragrances.

I like to wear fragrance for myself but I also like that my daughter says that a certain scent reminds her of me.

The Composition of a Fragrance

Years ago I was vacationing in the South of France and in looking at things to do, discovered the town of Grasse in Provence.  This little town is the perfume capital of the world.  You will find fields and fields of flowers, most memorable were the fields of lavender.  There are around 60 companies that have a presence there and if you are interested, you can tour through some of the perfumeries.  My favourite were the Molinard and the Fragonard factories.

I learned that there are four main olfactive (scent) categories:

      • Fresh – think of citrus notes like lemon or grapefruit and aromatic notes like rosemary, basil or lavender.
      • Floral – this is the biggest category and could be described as the scent that is romantic, soft and feminine, I.e. rose, jasmine, violet and berries.  Some of the most iconic scents are floral.  e.g. Chanel 5, Chloe by Karl Lagerfeld
      • Spice – often referred to as Oriental scent.  Spice has notes of smoke, incense, warm spices and leather.  True vanilla when it smells earthy, almost musky, is a spice note.
      • Woody – the smell of cedar and dry wood or even the smell of a forest in the fall are woody notes.  These are the most masculine of scents.

How Do You Choose A Scent?

If you don’t have a favourite, then I suggest taking your time in finding what you like.  Visit your choice of perfume counter and spend some time trying different scents. If there is someone there to help you, they may be able to narrow down choices based on what appeals to you and by your lifestyle.  

Do you work?  Do you have an active lifestyle?  What kind of image do you want to leave people with?  

Don’t spray directly on your self or soon enough you and your nostrils will be overwhelmed by all the scents.  Instead use the strips or blotters that they provide.  Spray a light amount on the strip and let it sit for a few minutes.  Do this until you find a few that you really like.

Once you have a few, then lightly spray a fragrance-free spot on your skin and let it dry.  Don’t rub it in or pat it dry, as you may alter the composition of the fragrance.  After a few minutes, you will be able to tell if you like it or not.  Do this with only two or three, at the most.  For me, even at this point I’m not always ready to commit.  If possible, I like to take home a sample of my choice and then try it for a bit to see how it wears and if I still like the fragrance after wearing it for a while.

Also, remember that what smells good on one woman may not smell the same on another.  We all have different pH levels of our skin so that affects how perfumes smell on each individual.   Another thing to keep in mind is that over time, the way a perfume smells on you may change based on hormone levels.  What used to work for you may not now or the other way around; a scent that wasn’t great on you could be perfect now.

Take your time with this process, don’t be rushed.  If you need to make a couple of trips back to the store, that’s okay.  Above all, really enjoy the process and find that perfect scent that makes you feel fabulous.

Do you have a favourite? What makes it a favourite? Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

 

The appeal of perfume is that it is at once

ephemeral and empowering.

It creates a shimmering invisible armor that lingers in a room long

after its wearer has gone and infuses our imagination

with a subtle power, hinting at a hidden identity.

Mary Gaitskill
Me:  Becoming #sociallybrave

Me: Becoming #sociallybrave

Me: Becoming #sociallybrave

here is a woman on Instagram whom I follow:  Wendy Knipp  (@wendyknipp) whose goal was/is to become socially brave.  I say “was” because as I follow her, I think she’s quite fearless.  When I first started on IG and connected with her, she encouraged me to share a #sociallybrave story.  

I really resisted because I was going through something big in my life that not only affected me but affected my daughter, so I wanted to be thoughtful about what information I wanted to share with the world.

I still feel that way but have found some sort of balance between privacy and sharing.  My desire or goal with sharing is to offer support or encouragement to other women who are transitioning to a new chapter in their lives.  I think we do that for each other when we share.

As I have been thinking about what being #sociallybrave means to me, I have come to realize that it is much more than just putting myself out there on SM.  That, in itself is huge to me as I have always been a very private, fly-under-the-radar kinda girl.  I have never sought attention nor felt that I needed it.  Becoming active on IG was just an offshoot after I started writing, and I must say that initially I was really not comfortable.

You see, for the past 20 years or so, I came to really dislike my photo being taken because I felt I never looked good.  The look on my face most of the time was dull, no spark in my eyes and maybe a half-smile.  Even the photos of mile-stone moments lacked, what I now recognize, as JOY.  I was sleep-walking through my life and it showed.  

Maybe, to avoid facing the truth I avoided being in photos.

I remember a long time ago a dear friend of mine counselling me as  I started this new relationship, “don’t make yourself less just to make others feel comfortable when they are with you”.  

I’m afraid that I did not heed that advice.  Instead, I put myself into this box where I knew what my limits were (I didn’t want to upset or make them feel inadequate) and still I was constantly reminded that I was “too” this or “too” that.  I came to believe that my desires and expectations of a life that was based on goodness, integrity, growth, accomplishment were too much.  

Instead, I should be satisfied with mediocrity and a life that was static.  Intrinsically, this is not me.  Curiosity, learning, growth always were a big part of who I was.  This was part of me personally and professionally.  It was what gave me vitality, confidence, purpose.

I then became solitary, introverted.  I lost my footing.  Socially, I became withdrawn and unsure.  Old friendships were shelved and new friendships didn’t really happen.  

Not sure exactly when I felt an inkling for change.  Maybe about three years ago.  It started with just wanting to connect on some level.  Offering a smile or eye contact with a stranger, getting to know the people who I saw on a regular basis, talking to strangers, reaching out to people socially.  This was the beginning of my shift to being #sociallybrave.  A little more confident.

I’m still figuring it out.  Last year brought me to my knees and forced me to reach out for a lifeline, if nothing else.  I was surprised and touched by the kindness and generosity of spirit of so many.  Without reservation, without any expectation people connected and supported me.  I will forever keep that in my heart.

And then there was this IG community of middle-of life women that I discovered.  So many generous, kind, creative, supportive women.  I think everyone has something going on in their lives, maybe something they are struggling with. No one’s world is perfect but by sharing a bit of yourself, being somewhat vulnerable, but mostly being willing to uplift and empower, we connect as women, as friends.  

I don’t think what I’ve described is unique to myself, I feel that there are a lot of us out here who have lost parts of ourselves as we have worked to take care of others.

So @wendyknipp, I have become #sociallybrave.  I am reaching out and connecting with like-minded women.  I’m making friends and it fills my heart.  It’s healing.  It’s leading me back to myself.  Thanks for inspiring!

Maybe I can get #sociallybrave enough to do an IG story and actually put myself in a video.  

What about you?  Are you being your authentic true self?  Are you happy with you?  Are you connecting with people?  Do you have a tribe?  

Tell me your story.  Share a comment or shoot me an email or DM.

Christina xo

 

“Authenticity is the daily practice of letting go of who we think we’re supposed to be and embracing who we are.”

Brene Brown

Inspired by Men’s Wear: What Every Woman’s Closet Staple Should Include

Inspired by Men’s Wear: What Every Woman’s Closet Staple Should Include

Inspired by Men’s Wear: What Every Woman’s Closet Staple Should Include

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es, it’s your classic white button down shirt.  

             You can dress it up, you can dress it down.  It is exactly right under a jacket with slacks or a skirt for the office.  Make it casual by donning it with your favourite skinny jeans for every day elevated style.  Make it casual, comfy by opting for a tunic style cotton shirt over leggings.

You can even take it formal by wearing a silky shirt and pairing it with a velvet skirt or pants for a night on the town.

Here are a few options for you to check out:

Aritzia has a number of button down shirt offerings.  The tie-front shown here would work well dressed up for evening.  The Babaton button up is perfect for everyday where, either for the office or with jeans.

Canadian fashion retailer SIMONS has many shirt offerings, both in style and price point options.  Here are two very basic ones:  Contemporaine as the affordable option and Theory as the splurge.

NORDSTROM has many options available at many different price points.  The Vince Slim Silk is truly versatile as the style lends itself perfectly to day wear but the luxe fabric makes it a good option to wear with your velvet skirt or pants in the evening.  The Frank & Eileen is an investment but as you can see, it looks really sharp.  The Lysse Schiffer shirt is just right for wearing on top of tights; casual and relaxed yet elevated in style.

As you can see, there are so many options with this one wardrobe staple.  A definite must-have for every woman.  If you are in a pinch, you can always borrow your guy’s shirt and style away.  wink

I’d love to hear what you think. Send me a note, leave me a comment.

Christina xo

If in doubt, anything looks good with a white shirt. 

Victoria Beckham
Tie Die is Summer’s Hot Trend

Tie Die is Summer’s Hot Trend

Tie Die is Summer’s Hot Trend

Believe it or not, the ’60s and ’70s are hot again in the form of Tie Dye.

Before you roll your eyes at me, as you’re imagining cheap T-Shirts haphazardly dyed by your kids as craft projects, think again.

Major designers (think Stella McCartney, Marni, Prada) are doing tie-dye on fabrics like satin, wool and even on puffer jackets.

STELLA MCCARTNEY 2019 Ready-To-Wear Line

Check this out!  I’ve pulled out a few of my fav’s, that are actually wearable for those of us feeling our style is leaning more conservative, and there are some affordable trend options, too.

ARITZIA Wilfred Ruffled CamiTie Die

Check this out!  I’ve pulled out a few of my fav’s, that are actually wearable for those of us feeling our style is leaning more conservative, and there are some affordable trend options, too.

Join me by reading on and sharing your thoughts, questions and opinions.

Christina xo

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself.

THICH NHAT HANH

Spring’s Fashion Staple

Spring’s Fashion Staple

Spring’s Fashion Staple

The one thing that every wardrobe needs for Spring is a Trench Coat. Whether to protect yourself from April showers, windy days or just to add an outer statement piece to your outfit, here are some great ones that I have come across. All of these coats are perfect for the office or dressed down for the weekend with jeans and a sweater or T-shirt. Add some Hunter boots and you are set for whatever Spring brings. 
ARITZIA Babaton Theodore Trench Coat

This is a classic style from Aritzia that is perfect for work or styled down with jeans and a sweater for the weekend. Available in beige or black and is a mid-length.

SIMONS Cotton sateen authentic trench coat

Another classic with a little more polish from SIMONS. I love the large lapels and button details along with the flaps on the pockets and on the back.

ZARA Tailored Water-Resistant Trench

Zara has this cute tailored short trench, water-resistant, removable hood and with great detailing in the buttons, flaps and adjustable belted cuffs. Available in sand and navy blue.

What are your thoughts?

Christina xo

To be beautiful means to be yourself. You don’t need to be accepted by others. You need to accept yourself. 

THICH NHAT HANH