Style

Fun with Hats (Men & Women)

12th Nov
Want to know how you can kick up your style quotient a notch or two? Wear a hat! Now I'm not talking a baseball cap, especially one stuck on your head backwards. I'm talking about a fedora, beret, beanie, or sun hat, for example. Okay, I get it. Wearing a hat doesn't come naturally to many of us. It requires extra thought, and on top of that, a bit of a devil-may-care attitude. With the exception of cold winter days, the streets haven't been full of hats since the 40's and 50's. So, naturally if you're clad in one, you stand out. The reward, however, is getting an extra boost of confidence. Not a bad trade off, eh? I believe you will see with the muses pictured below that a hat can totally spice up an otherwise more ordinary look. The gentleman pictured above might have been wiser to wear a cycling helmet, but a fedora definitely gives his look a dash of cosmopolitan.  Did you know that the fedora was first worn by women? In the late 1800's actress Sarah Bernhardt wore one to interpret the part of a Russian princess in the play "Fédora". As a result, the hat became fashionable among women. It wasn't ubiquitous among men until the 1920's when Prince Edward of Britain integrated it into his wardrobe. Our next muse pulls off a straw fedora with a sundress. It's a perfect look for hitting the nail salon sans makeup and hair fussing on a lazy Saturday morning (hence, the sunglasses).   These young gentlemen in Oslo, Norway look strikingly more stylish and sophisticated than many of their Californian counterparts - no baggy pants! - especially with the fedora on the center dude.  Don't you think the floppy brimmed fedora on this woman in San Francisco elevates her look from nice to stylish? Our next gentleman muse was featured in a recent post about skinny pants on men, and I must refer to him again as demonstrating a fantastic employment of the fedora with more formal attire. At one time, the fedora was de rigueur for men in business and formal attire. Check out the man in the flat cap! This headgear first came into use in the U.S. and U.K. around the end of the 1800's and (by boys) into the early 1900's. The flat cap is popular among san franciscans of both sexes right now, and you have to admit that it gives this lad's look a cool vibe. A close relative is the mod cap, reminiscent of the mid to late '60s. I love how our next muse styles hers with narrow-legged trousers and pointy flats: groovy! For another slightly retro look, we have this white bell/cloche hat with a black ribbon.     These next two ladies in San Francisco show impeccable taste when it comes to hats. The one on the right gives the wearer a cool, cosmopolitan look, while the hat on the woman her left is of a color that contrasts beautifully with a chic and interesting shorts suit. Finally, we must not forget the fascinator or "cocktail hat"- awesome for formal events such as the San Francisco Symphony performance at which I noticed her. The fascinator dates back to Queen Marie Antoinette, who donned headpieces of jewels and ostrich feathers. A revival of this style was witnessed at the wedding ceremony of Prince William and Catherine Middleton. One piece by Philip Treacy and worn by Princess Beatrice of York led to more than one Facebook page dedicated to the hat. I have to tip my hat to these wonderful hat muses and hope they have inspired you as much as they have, me. Now one last tip for you. Gentlemen, remember to remove your hat upon entering someone's home, a church, theater or elevator, upon entering a restaurant or if the national anthem is being played. Ladies, remove your hat only if it blocks someone's view at a performance or movie theater. Not all hats are equal (yet)! XO, Janea   [line] ? [jetpack_subscription_form title="" subscribe_text="If you enjoyed this post, you can get free updates straight to your inbox by entering your email here. We promise to never spam you!" subscribe_button="Get updates!"]

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Style

Santa Cruz Halloween Style

4th Nov
Santa Cruz has a reputation for being weird, similarly to towns like Portland, Oregon and Austin, Texas. Because of a common penchant for expressing creativity through dress/costume, it is an ideal spot for a Halloween evening stroll. A couple of my earlier posts featured everyday Santa Cruz style. This one shares that Santa Cruz character/weirdness on steroids. I hope you enjoy the following shots of immense creativity and street theater of Santa Cruzans in costume. Halloween or All Hallows' Eve is a remnant of a Celtic festival (Samhain) which originally entailed disguising oneself as a spirit in order to confuse those spirits returning to roam the earth between summer's end (harvest) and winter. Animal heads, skins or masks were worn to avoid being bothered by wandering souls, and hollowed out gourds were lit from the inside to help friendly/family spirits to find their way. Although the holiday carries different meanings for us today, I can easily imagine some of the costumed muses pictured below scaring off a variety of spirits. This lovely lady pictured would more likely lure supernatural beings closer with her jellyfish get-up.  Below, a pair of merry spirits engage in some live improv. Costume-wearing seems like the ideal opportunity to express or even amplify a part of ourselves which lies relatively dormant the rest of the year (at least in public), don't you think? This next woman represents the famous Mexican skeleton caricature, la Calavera Catrina. La Catrina illustrates a rich amalgam of folklore from pre-Columbian times to the present. During the Mexican revolution, she represented impending death of the privileged class (eschewing her own culture in a fancy French hat). Here in California, Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations with Catrina effigies are a big hit even among non-hispanics. In case you are unfamiliar, the day's preparations include flowers, drink, food and candles set on an alter to offer nourishment and delight to visiting departed relatives and loved ones. The corpse bride's eery beauty is an eye-catcher. Notice below a band of chums resembling skeleton figures found in Day of the Dead displays. Their symbolic representation of the cycles of life and death mark the beginning of the dark months. I love this lady's solemn, powerful facial expression as she walks down the middle of the street with ginormous black wings. Any spirits roaming the earth who encountered this damsel surely scurried straight back to the Otherworld. A cool - and creepy looking! - cat pictured below demonstrates an amazing job of face painting. And a gentleman centaur below got just as much attention as a nearby group of ghouls dancing to "Thriller." The woman pictured below seems to be "in character" all evening. I can't help but wonder if this reveals her shadow side. I wouldn't want to cut her off in traffic! The evening was perfect for role-playing. Santa Cruz's proximity to Silicon Valley makes this Halloween contraption regionally appropriate. Dork-reepy! This final costume was spotted on a woman walking in San Francisco one Saturday in the beginning of October (not Halloween). As a friend put it, "I don't know how she put all that together, but I'm feeling like it works!" Yes, it is extremely odd, but there is something about it which makes it captivating, don't you think? I have to wonder what it would be like if as adults, we just played dress up when we felt like it. This is pretty much what I would choose! [caption id="attachment_1116" align="aligncenter" width="310"] Maybe we should add San Francisco to the "weird" list![/caption] XO, Janea

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