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Photography by Janet Rogers
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I miss What Not To Wear. During the 10 years it appeared on American television, from 2003-2013, it was easily my favorite show to watch and, yet, the hardest for me to watch. While Stacy London and Clinton Kelly were giving women makeovers, I was struggling with the world of frumpy and in a deep funk as I turned 50. Most weeks I could’ve been the woman undergoing the torment and shopping hell on the show. It only took a few episodes for me to understand the wisdom of what they were saying…

What Not To Wear wasn’t about clothes. It was about confidence and the power and strength confidence can yield.

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Last year I found a vintage bee pin at a flea market in Paris, then found another bee pin when I got home. They'd both be right at home with this Gucci bee purse! Photographs by Brenda Coffee.
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Neiman Marcus La Cantera, in San Antonio, always has the best fall trends fashion shows. This year the trends are “rocker chic,” featuring lots of denim, velvet, great metallics, layered necklaces, plaids, detailed embroidery, hosiery worn with dresses or peeking out of skinny jeans and the color red!

Don’t be afraid to mix them all. Put them together, and create your own style! Continue Reading

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From the UT Institute of Texan Cultures, 'The San Antonio Light' Collection
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I love this 1929 photograph of these Texas ladies who were probably not as old as they appear. The woman on the left looks like she isn’t wearing a bra or perhaps gravity—and nursing lots of babies—shifted everything south. The other thing that jumps out at me is their apparent lack of joy. They seem to be permanently annoyed, which makes me sad, but in many ways, their life was harder than ours. They also lived through World War I and the Great Depression, so that might account for some of their grim demeanor.

If I could go back in time and tell them I’m thinking about what to pack for my trip to Italy next month, they’d think I’d lost my mind. By 1929, Benito Mussolini had dismantled all semblance of Italian democracy and made himself dictator!

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What are the items you wear all the time? You know, those pieces of clothing that are so versatile you find yourself grabbing for them with every outfit. If you were to ask me, it’s my classic blue denim.

Denim is the workhorse of my closet and the cornerstone of most of my outfits.

I absolutely rely on it to look and feel good. Everything else is anchored and made effortless by my denim foundation. Continue Reading

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Darlings, I’m delighted to see you all here again! Well, my Fashionable Friends… The summer festivities are upon us, and there are so many opportunities to dress things up a bit. Whether you’re off to Saratoga for the horse races, the Hamptons for a polo match, or a cocktail party on the lawn, one must celebrate the occasion! I say, why not try something new?

Toss out your tried and true cropped pants and your go-to summer top. Yes you can wear that gorgeous barely there sundress. It’s simply a matter of making it wearable.

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The last time I bought a new pair of sunglasses was 1997, at the upscale Highland Park Village in Dallas. I remember picking up a roundish, Oliver Peoples, tortoise frame with clear glass. Using my best Marilyn Monroe imitation I put them on and turned to my mother and said, “Don’t you think these make me look smarter?”

In all seriousness mother replied, “No, I don’t.” While I knew something was wrong, I didn’t know dementia had already laid claim to mother’s brain. My attempt at humor had bombed.

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Has it been a hot and humid summer where you live? I’ve been tempted to go without underwear, or much of anything else for that matter, but don’t want to add “nudist” and maybe a mugshot to my resume. Just the thought of wearing a bra with elastic, underwires and clasps gives me the vapors.

At least girdles and corsets aren’t in fashion anymore!

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All images in this post are courtesy of the Special Collections and College Archives at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City.
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Meet one of my favorite artists, George Barbier (1882-1932), one of the master illustrators of the Art Moderne and Art Deco eras. Barbier was a preeminent figure of the period who shaped the visual landscape of the Teens and 20’s. A prolific artist, his work ranged from the graphic arts, set, costume and jewelry design, to book and fashion illustration.

Barbier honed his signature style during a revolutionary time in fashion illustration when artistic license was championed over the realistic—and traditional—depiction of clothing.

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No, I’m not a basket case, but I do need to make a case for owning a basket-bag.

The basket-bag, or wicker bag, is an essential summer handbag.

They aren’t just for picnics anymore. They have officially entered the realm of high-fashion.

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