Orange Ya Glad?

Quote of the Week:

Okay. . . so  maybe it took til almost three o’clock this afternoon, but this day’s sky did become quite a glorious one with the colors of yellow and orange enhancing the beauty of its milky blue.  I think Van Gogh meant that blue becomes its most vibrant when it is enhanced by its complements (opposites on the color wheel) yellow and orange. That seems to be especially true at sunrise and sunset. 

The “fashion” colors of this year are turning toward a palette fit for a painter.

From lemon yellow to tangerine orange to bubblegum pink, these deliciously bright pops of color bring a feeling of joy and happiness. And that was purposely planned by fashion designers, as they wanted to exude a sense of optimism and positive spirit into their 2021 seasonal runways. 

I love color so choosing a favorite is impossible but orange is right up there in my color wheel of favorites. For goodness sake…. I have an orange sofa in my living room. Not at all what I was thinking when I walked into the showroom of the furniture store… “I want an orange sofa” was not on my agenda. But, there it was right in front of me and I was stopped in my tracks by its happy energy, its warmth, and its evocative feelings of Autumn. 

Since the rest of the room is relatively neutral, I felt safe in adding a pop of color with this sofa. It worked out great and I and my kitty, Gracie, love that sofa. I had to find an orange throw blanket to drape over the top so Gracie could curl up and sleep without leaving too much “debris” behind. Doesn’t hurt that Gracie is an orange calico so she fits right in. Designer kitty!

And then there is this! A spring birthday bouquet of exquisite beauty with one bright orange parrot tulip as its centerpiece.

Oops! I digress! But… you know how one picture is worth a thousand words and, in this case, make it two pictures. It’s definitely impossible to write an essay on such a vibrant color, or any color, without visuals. So. . . perhaps we can learn a lesson or two from my living room decor, minus Gracie, of course. And from a birthday bouquet of definite distinction.

Yes! By all means, orange is a bold, attention-getting color not to be worn by just everyone. If you can, DO! But, if you can’t, then go for just a touch of orange in an accessory that pops the more neutral outfit and, by all means, don’t be afraid to wear orange, if only just a touch. And no. . . orange is not the new black, at least fashionably speaking. But it is out there in force and represented by nearly all the fashion vendors so, if you need to brighten your day, bring some orange into your life. It evokes happy and energetic feelings that just lift you up and help you find and embrace life’s vitality.

WOW! Just to showcase my little essay on orange: here is one of Shelly’s “Van Gogh” moments in her photo of an Edmonds skyline on an Autumn’s evening sunset. Spectacular and makes me happy to be in our small corner of the world.

Dolce Far Niente

QUOTE OF THE WEEK:

Sound Styles has been cooking with fashions for over 35 years, but did you know that we have our very own cookbook? Developed by Ollie Bjorback, aka the Sound Styles Gourmet, this cookbook features family recipes and culinary ideas from customers over the years! Come grab a copy, $15 each and take home a piece of Sound Styles memorabilia.

Of Lavender and Linen

Quote of the Week:

Be still my heart! Give me a moment please to wax poetic about the simple, yet complex, beauty of that figure of speech comparing two unlike things . . . Reed’s simile “Like a leaf of lavender in a store of linen, so does memory make life sweet.” Both a leaf of lavender and memory sweeten life. One with a tangible and immediate sensory perception. The other in an emotional reckoning with the passing of time after the pain of heartache. Would that my writing could conjure up a simile of such unexpected and pleasant surprise. I feel a challenge coming on. Am I up to the task? Stay tuned!!

Let’s see. Where was I? Ah yes! Thank You! I am back to reality and why I even found that quote to begin this post. My intention here is to offer up a few pointers about the qualities, benefits, and wearability of linen.

Don’t stop reading now please!

Give me a chance to plead linen’s case. I do know that many of you love linen and wear it with ease and beauty. However, there are many, like myself, who have had a love/hate relationship with linen over the years. Love it in the store and on the hanger but not so much on our bodies. . . for all the obvious “wrinkly” reasons. Then there are those who just plain dislike it and won’t go near it. Perhaps it is to the two latter categories that I write here and did some research in hopes of us all becoming more accepting of what is actually a very remarkable fiber.

Turns out that once upon a time, linen clothing was worn only by the upper eschelon of society. . . monarchs, knights and priests. Us commoners were denied the luxury of linen until the propagation of flax plants became widespread sometime during the 16th century and led to everything linen from bedding to kitchen towels to clothing. There are even those who claim that linen has healing powers and wouldn’t wear any other fabric, especially in hot and humid weather.

So… just what is it about linen that makes it so sought after and superior to other fibers? I learned some interesting details while searching for an answer to that question.

Ready! Set! Go! Here comes the infamous list!

  • DURABLE: If the strength of the fiber directly contributes to the strength of the fabric that a garment is made of, then linen has optimum longevity. Buy a linen top or dress or pair of pants and you can count on it to stick around for decades ’cause linen is considered the strongest of natural fibers… much more so than cotton.
  • SUSTAINABLE: Linen ranks high in the category of environmentally friendly and ethically sourced clothing. Flax plants are resilient, can grow in poor soil and require very little water or fertilizer. Being a natural fiber also makes it biodegradable and recyclable. Buying and wearing linen means you won’t be adding to the growing pile of textile waste all over the world. With all that said, you might be wondering why linen is considered a luxurious fiber and thus more costly. While easy to grow, the process of getting the flax plant ready for spinning is a lengthy one requiring several months of softening before it is ready to process as fabric.
  • SUITABLE: What do I mean by suitable? Here’s something new that surprised me. Hard to believe but one of linen’s more magical properties is that it can keep you both cool and warm. Because it is breathable, moisture wicking and lightweight, linen is the obvious perfect summer fiber. But think Spring and Autumn as well because flax/linen is a natural insulator and capable of releasing excess humidity. You won’t get sweaty in linen clothes as you can in cotton or wool because linen retains the heat from your body and releases the excess making you feel nice and cozy during cooler transition months.
  • EASY-CARE: While considered a luxury fabric, linen doesn’t need special or expensive care. Machine wash in cold water just don’t use bleach or detergents with whiteners in them as they tend to weaken the fiber. You can tumble dry your linen or hang them to dry naturally. As for ironing, much of linen’s charm is in those wrinkles so ironing is not necessary. A smoothing out by hand can accomplish much in the way of softening the look. Now, whether you succumb to its charm or not is a personal choice.

I hope that I’ve given you some new thoughts to ponder and consider when looking for or deciding whether to choose a new linen garment. Right now Sound Styles has a great selection to choose from so come see us before the weather heats back up again.

Remember to wear your linen in seasons other than just Summer.

Suits of Armor

Quote of the week:

Seems like we’ve needed a lot of armor during the past sixteen months. While fashion is not, of course, a full suit of armor. . . I do believe it might just be an accessory to the full panoply that helps us hold up our resolve to overcome the challenges presented by our daily lives.

Does that sound trite? How can what you wear on any certain day help you survive that day?

Okay. . . so survive might be just a bit melodramatic. 

Simply said. . . I’m a great believer, from personal experience, that what you wear, be it clothes or make-up, directly influences your thoughts, behaviors and self-esteem. It also impacts how others perceive your personality and actions.

Does that make sense? Certainly, in all the days of our lives, there are going to be those where we have no choice in the matter and wardrobe and make-up don’t win.

However, if at all possible, I make every attempt in the morning to go through a routine that includes picking out something nice to wear and applying at least a bit of blush and eye-make up even if I’m staying home that day to nurse an “owie.” I don’t want to look in the mirror, by accident or on purpose, and feel worse because of the reflection staring back at me.

These last few days of heat have challenged my resolve. What a relief tonight to feel a cooler, natural breeze wafting through my windows. Nature beats the electric fan any day of the week. And, in all honesty, this post was started last week and meant to be finished and polished by Tuesday morn (of last week).

Best laid plans as they say. While sitting in front of my computer with 100 degrees bearing down on me, my “fried brain” just couldn’t deal with it so. . . Alas! No post last week and I’ve kind of forgotten where I was even headed except that I do like the beginning so I will re-group here and offer up some advice.

For me, some days just go right and I feel good in what I chose to wear. Other days, however, find me putting on and taking off in rapid succession ’cause just nothing “feels” right. I did a bit of research on this dressing dilemma that I’m supposing presents itself to most of us. Based on my research, let me offer up a few tips to help us all dress with confidence and feel great in what we wear.

  • APPEARANCE: On those days when I’m taking on and taking off, it’s usually because I’m over analyzing my so-called “body flaws.” This top doesn’t camouflage the tummy area enough or cover the arm where it needs covering the most. That sort of “talk” goes on in my head. But if I really think about it, it’s not my clothes that are giving me grief, it’s my attitude towards my body. Acceptance of who we are on any given day can go a long way towards feeling good and confident in what we wear.
  • KNOW YOUR PERSONA: I used to get frustrated when shopping with a friend who would say “that looks just like you” as I reached for something off the rack to try on. “Am I that predictable?” I’d think to myself. Now I actually think that’s a good thing because it means I have a strong sense of what I like and want to wear. These days when I answer the question “does that look like me?” I’m glad to answer “yes!.” I’d much rather look like myself than a victim of trends. Let’s face it, there are lots of styles out there that won’t be right for me so knowing what suits my personality contributes to feeling confident because my clothes become a good reflection of who I am.
  • LET’S HAVE FUN: Sometimes when I’m struggling with what to wear I find myself muttering “Lighten up, Julie. Getting dressed in the morning isn’t brain surgery.” If I stop the over analyzing, and give myself permission to just have some fun with what I put on, my options open up to new ideas and possibilities. A lighter, more playful, attitude goes a long way towards feeling and looking great in what you wear. Your ability to discover new looks and try out fresh ideas should be fun. And, who doesn’t like having fun?
  • OOPS! You know the old adage “Learn from your mistakes.” Well, that goes for clothes as well. We’ve all had them. Days where you feel awful in what you are wearing. Back in the good old carefree days of college, I took a fashion design class where we had to make our own pattern and sew a garment from the pattern. I’ve always had the propensity to buy clothes for which I have no lifestyle that would possibly give me an opportunity to wear that garment. That’s a mistake it’s taken me some time to learn from. It started in that class when I designed a slightly formal dress of white lace that should have been worn to a prom. After modeling it in the class fashion show, the dress never got out of the closet again. It was way too formal for me and the lace was scratchy and itchy and stiff. The point being that learning from fashion mistakes is a gift you give to yourself as those mistakes teach us what we feel and look good in.

When you feel confident and happy with what you are wearing, others see you that way too. So, accept your body, know what suits your personality, have a little fun with fashion and remember to learn from those times when mistake were made.

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