Monday, August 30, 2010


I am finally back from Asia, though on a somber note.  My biggest style icon - my Mom - passed away.  As my sisters and I were going through her closets, we remarked what a gorgeous wardrobe she had designed for herself.  Someday, I will take pictures of her gowns.  Meanwhile, these pictures give the essence of her style back in the '70s.

Joy Stevens vintage jersey dress;
Mom had similar gowns, some in mixed prints with contrast accents

Mom was an intellectual who thrived on witty debates on any topic.  She disliked High Society and preferred the company of the academic elite at University.  However, her station required her to attend many social functions at the Presidential Palace or similar events.  Her bohemian streak led her to design and create many gowns elevating the hippie batik fabric to evening status.  A weak spine, causing a curvature in her back, also honed her talent in using asymmetry and visual tricks in clothing.

Mom would mix prints - floral or batik - with solids or beading to create interesting combinations
Her preferred silhouette was a column gown topped by a halter, to emphasize her broad shoulders.  The halters could be cleverly asymmetric, made of a beaded applique, or adapting the edge of a batik print for emphasis.  She also loved big, chunky, and cheap bohemian jewelry.  It didn't matter if she was at a State dinner receiving foreign heads of state!

Mom could cleverly make the halters asymmetric
We also found unique '60s shift dresses that she had trimmed with batik fabric, as well as chiffon disco dress styles.

Mom designed several '70s disco dress styles
with similar long sleeves and flowy skirts
As my sisters and I reminisced about watching Mom get ready at her dressing table, spritzing perfume and clipping her earrings on, we realized we owed all our sense of style to her.  In fact, the day after Mom was laid to rest, our family got together for a dinner to celebrate her life.  We sisters all wore Mom's clothes from various stages in her life.  I was so proud to put on one of her '70s evening gowns.

Catherine Malandrino gown
Mom liked mixing printed fabric with accents like this gold braiding

We love you, MOM!

Monday, August 9, 2010


I am still in Asia but realized that summer break in the Northern Hemisphere is nearly over.  If you believe the old adage "Never wear white after Labor Day", it's time to make the most of your whites.

Remember the elegant, white pants suit (see Summer Pants Suit)?  Let's see how we can transport this look from elegant to casually stylish.  You can sport it in an everyday setting using pieces from your closet.  It can be as easy as mixing the top and bottom (unmatched suit) to make the look  more casual.

For casual environments, or for a chilly summer evening, try this combination reminiscent of Amelia Earheart.  A white tank top and white jeans are a great base:

Buttery leather jacket, white jeans, gauzy scarf and heels


The following looks can go from work to a night out depending on your office dress code.

Jacket with silk ruffles tops white slacks
Jacket has slimming pleat details; denim wedges with suede bow add fun

There are so many combinations you can pull from your own closet.  Remember how much fun paper dolls were to dress up?  Do the same with your own wardrobe!

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