Fashion Goddesses

The April 19, 2010 issue of Newsweek magazine included an article about Grace Kelly‘s clothes. For those of you who don’t know who that is, she was an actress (think “Rear Window” with Jimmy Stewart) who married a prince (literally: Prince Rainier of Monaco). While highly acclaimed as an actress, it was her cool and classic look that got her the most press. Fifty of her outfits are being displayed this week in an exhibition at London’s Victoria and Albert Museum. The title of the exhibition is “Grace Kelly:  Style Icon.”

She was an actress for eight years and a political wife for almost 30, but all anyone thinks of when they think of Grace Kelly is how she looked. Granted, she was beautiful and she had a great sense of style that suited her perfectly (no pun intended). But she was also a human being. What do we know of her beyond that?

I remember the “reign” of Jackie Kennedy; I was 11 when her husband was assassinated. She was the fashion icon of the ’60s and beyond. Everyone copied her well-cut clothes and pill-box hat. But, besides being the wife of the 35th president of the United States (and later wife to one of the richest men in the world, Aristotle Onassis) nothing else about her was considered to be newsworthy. Oh, the press regurgitated every bit of information about her that it could find, but their main focus was her style. The week of her husband’s inauguration, it was her picture, not his, that appeared on the cover of Time.

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New Clothes, Part 2

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I committed an environmental faux pas recently. On the 18th I wrote a post extolling the virtues of new clothes and four days later I wrote a post for Earth Day on how we’re ripping off Mother Earth by using up her resources.

Well, okay, one way we do that is by buying new clothes. At the very least I should have recommended buying green clothing. However, one reason I didn’t is because of my own confusion about what constitutes green clothing. Until I found this invaluable article on Treehugger about that very topic.

Turns out buying new is the worst thing you can do for our environment. The only reason to stop wearing old clothes is if they have to be dry-cleaned, which is definitely bad for the environment. What if the clothes are out of style? That’s a good question. There are a few ways to deal with that problem:

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New Clothes, New Woman?

Henry David Thoreau cautioned us to not think that clothes make the [wo]man:

Beware of all enterprises that require new clothes, and not rather a new wearer of clothes…Perhaps we should never procure a new suit, however ragged or dirty the old, until we have so conducted, so enterprised or sailed in some way, that we feel like new men in the old, and that to retain it would be like keeping new wine in old bottles. Our moulting season, like that of the fowls, must be a crisis in our lives.  (Walden, Chapter 1)

For most of my life, I was a woman after Thoreau’s heart. I never bought anything new unless I was absolutely forced to. That included my four weddings: I didn’t buy a new dress for any of them. (I wore my mother’s wedding dress at the first one.) I just realized that the only times I had a new dress for a wedding was the one time I was a bridesmaid and for my third daughter’s wedding almost two years ago (and I’d wear that again for my fourth daughter’s wedding this year if it weren’t for the wedding pictures. It would look kind of odd. I guess.)

I’ve never been convinced that clothes make the woman. I have always believed strongly that a person should never be judged by the clothes she wears. But that was just me making like an ostrich with its head  in the sand. Of course we’re judged by the way that we dress!

As you probably know if you’ve been reading my blog for awhile, I’m a devotee of What Not to Wear on The Learning Channel. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a fashion show where a woman in need of a fashion makeover is given $5000 and a lot of advice to build a new wardrobe that is flattering to her. The core of the show is the “aha!” moment when the woman finally gets that the way she dresses is a reflection of the way that she feels about herself. If she sees herself as unfeminine, she will dress that way. If she doesn’t value herself, her clothes will reflect that.

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The Pregnant Bride

Yesterday I raised some questions about getting pregnant before marrying. I cited some statistics about how many parents are avoiding marriage and how many babies are being born out of wedlock. I also questioned whether it was the most responsible thing to do. Having written all that, however, I have to admit that pregnant brides are becoming more prevalent and accepted. Also, if I had to choose, I’d rather see a woman get married while she’s pregnant than wait until after the baby’s born. Not all brides-to-be agree with me, but I think it’s sweet, and also symbolic of one important reason to get married: to give a child a safe and secure environment in which to be raised.

First off is a video about Destination Maternity‘s bridal fashions for pregnant brides and bridesmaids.

The main thing to keep in mind when choosing a wedding gown is that your shape is going to change, sometimes dramatically, the closer you get to your wedding (and due) date. If you can get a fast turnaround on a custom gown and your wedding isn’t too far off, you can get away with a fitted gown, like the one shown in this video.

The empire-waisted gown pictured to the right is from U.K based Tiffany Rose, which has several maternity gowns at reasonable prices. The Athena, approximately $520 (U.S.)Also check out this article from the Daily Mail (U.K.) for more pictures and statistics.

A particularly exciting (and eco-friendly) source for maternity (and other special occasion) gowns is Jessica Iverson Couture. Check out the 2010 Collection here. [Note: Don’t assume that an empire-waist will fit you all through the pregnancy. You get larger around your diaphragm, too, because of the baby pushing up. So take that into account and consider elastic!]

Another thing to keep in mind is your shoes. You definitely want them to be comfortable; high heels are probably out. You also have to take into account that your shoe size may change as you progress in your pregnancy because of swelling.  Some brides (not even pregnant ones) change into comfortable shoes like flats or even tennis shoes (in white!) for the reception.

Looking for a cake-topper that reflects your situation? Check out Magic Mud for custom-made wedding toppers such as the one pictured here.

Then there are the beverages. There should always be another option than alcohol for those who don’t or can’t drink–like the bride. The bachelorette party will need to be alcohol-free as well. And not too rambunctious!

As for the wedding and baby showers: You could simply have the wedding shower now and the baby shower later. But that depends on how close you are to delivering. If both are imminent, you might want to combine them for a little different twist.

Friday Videos: Women In Film

This video is a departure from my usual videos because it’s not making a political or feminist statement–or is it? I found it fascinating for the over-the-years look at what we consider to be remarkable and beautiful women.

When A Feminist Marries, Part 3: Rings

In January, one of the bloggers I follow (Oh, You’re A FEMINIST?) posted some of her thoughts about her own up-coming wedding, specifically about her ring. I said in my last post that neither my husband nor I wear wedding rings. However, I have a confession to make: we’re not making a feminist statement. In all the years we’ve been engaged and married (we’ve known each other for 12 years and been married for seven), we haven’t been able to decide what we really want, which is beside the point anyway, because we haven’t been able to afford rings anyway.

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