Thursday, March 5, 2015
A raised voice here, a nasty remark there, a thoughtless comment, a "harmless" observation. . .and chip, chip, chip these every day cruelties slowly, painfully, but surely destroy love.
The other day while surfing the stations on my car radio -- yes, I even surf on that medium -- I heard the announcer say that, "Today, our guests will be talking about those 'small' hurtful every day remarks that destroy confidence and can eventually destroy a marriage."
In the case of this program the focus was mainly on couples, the relationship in which one believes love and kindness trump the often difficult or heartbreaking events that are outside our control.
Guests for the conversation included a psychologist whose expertise is in couples counselling, a psychiatrist and a journalist who investigated the common phenomenon. Callers into the program related their stories. They explained how their partners regularly ridiculed them in private and public with condescending expressions, aggressive words and off-hand snarky rebuffs.
"You're not going to eat that piece of cake, are you?" one woman used as an example of how her husband was browbeating her with remarks about the post baby weight she hadn't lost.
Men were hurt most by remarks that diminished their sense of masculinity and from the number of male callers who told their stories, many women know how to effectively attack in that territory.
Men, according to the women, were most apt to attack on several fronts: weight, general appearance, homemaking standards that didn't meet their criteria and emotional fragility as in: "All you do is cry. All you do is complain,"
As anyone who has ever read a pop-psych article knows there are a few trigger words that are off limits when talking or arguing with someone. They include: all, always and never. One would be hard-pressed to find a human being whose comportment was all, always or never something and clearly that includes "all loving."
The conversation was never about physical cruelty. It was entirely about how words hurt. Eventually the discussion broadened to friendships, work relations and the way in which parents and authority figures speak to children.
The psychologist offered explanations for every day cruelty directed at the person we are supposed to love above all others: insecurity, unhappiness for myriad reasons, narcissism, ennui.
Then add to the poison posturing two more distress inducing behaviors: silence and a refusal to listen.
Of course the experts suggested straight-forward conversations as opposed to confrontations with the offending party, in which the "victims" explain how hurt, diminished and ultimately powerless and insecure every day cruelty makes them feel.
The experts admitted that in their practices they see a disturbing facility many individuals have for wounding with words and somehow feel kindness is weakness. They try to explain empathy and the power of kindness and respect. Sometimes the therapy works, sometimes the pattern of every day cruelty is so ingrained in the construction of a relationship that love is lost. Forever.
Wednesday, March 4, 2015
|The French fashion magazines are calling it a "veste bustier" so who am I to call it a blouse? By any appellation, I think it's absolutely beautiful. By Haider Ackermann.|
|I'm shocked. I love this black and white bolero jacket by Riccardo Tisci for Givenchy and yes, I would break all of my rules and wear it.|
They set the tone. Think about it. Let's say, for example, you're wearing a pair of dark wash jeans or black gabardine trousers with a classic white silk shirt, let's choose the strict classicism of Equipment to set the mood. Now what? You need or want to add a jacket. What's your mood? What's your intention? What image do you feel like conveying? What statement do you need to make for a particular situation or occasion -- serious, playful, elegant, fashion-forward, professional. . .?
Depending upon one's vestimentary objectives, it's a jacket's role to set the tone, add tailored polish or unstructured insouciance.
Instantly a message is conveyed by our choice: blazer, jeans, tuxedo, bolero, kimono, safari and on and on with all the nuances on the themes.
|Let's see. . . I'll take the one on the upper right and the two in the center. There, that's perfect.|
When I interviewed many Frenchwomen for my book I discovered that they tend to buy the same jacket (or jackets) over and over. They know what flatters their figures and they stick to those shapes. No one knows they're wearing the same model because the fabrics, embellishments, colors and perhaps, for an exceptional coup de foudre, a pattern.
I've done my due diligence by visiting the spring/summer 2015 ready-to-wear collections on-line to see what the designers were offering. I discovered the usual suspects, i.e. blazers of one sort or another, and the apparent revival of safari jackets and kimonos plus myriad variations on denim.
Two blazers from Theory that fall into my definition of perfect.
Here's the thing though: Mostly I don't care what's on the runways except for liking the idea of being au courant about fashion trends. I've never liked safari jackets -- waaay too much going on, I have a couple of kimonos, but am not that crazy over them and I'm well-covered in the blazer department, if I weren't that's where I would seek out something new.
|One of my favorite definitions of a jacket, this cashmere version from the Eric Bompard spring collection. (I would probably buy it in the other color on offer, navy blue.)|
Tuesday, March 3, 2015
|Would this be a nice addition to the jewelry box? For more swoon worthy pieces from Ippolita.|
I've moved on, although I still cannot help feeling bad about the beautiful things I once owned that were my mother's or MRFLIF's mother's, or my engagement ring. . .well, you know. Everything was, most of all markers of sweet memories, and they would have been passed on to Andrea and then Ella.
|What's not to love?|
|I'm particularly attracted to the multi-colored gem stone cuffs. They would go with everything wouldn't they?|
Your response is not, "Oh, no I couldn't." It's: "Thank you darling; I'll see you later."
Then you jump in your car and drive to La Place Vendôme or a similar location in your environs that offers one-stop bijoux shopping.
Monday, March 2, 2015
|Again, the one-bottom Stella McCarthy navy blazer with, below, more and more and more of the ways it can be worn. I feel as if I could play with her jacket and trousers for weeks, each day changing the details.|
|Lady-like, but better.|
|The Olympia Le Tan "book" evening clutch adds just the right dose of humor.|
|The red satin ballerinas are back-up when you need a rest from dancing in red satin pumps|
Sunday, March 1, 2015
A French jewelry designer was asked recently, "What is your definition of elegance?"
Having worked in the fashion business all of his professional life, one would tend to expect him to cite something related to the fun-filled world of façade. He didn't.
Elegance for me, he said, is, "La pudeur, une forme de reserve des sentiments."
Pudeur is generally translated as "modesty" but it is more delicate and profound than that in French when used to describe someone's comportment. It suggests discretion, a sort of code of privacy and respect.
Please, those of you who speak fluent French, how would you define pudeur? Perhaps his "reserve des sentiments" is the best translation/definition.
Saturday, February 28, 2015
Random, I know.
Yesterday I was visiting one of my favorite people. I don't know her. I'm talking about visiting her blog as opposed to a real life exchange, but reading her feels more like attentively listening -- with heart and mind -- to a gentle, articulate, private, strong, intuitive, intelligent friend.
I don't even know her first name although it might be Candice judging from one of the comments I read chez elle. We have never exchanged an email. Our only communication has been through the occasional comments on our respective blogs.
She has managed to accomplish something many of us talk about when we're together over a cup of tea or a glass of wine, and that is: "The Balance." We struggle a bit with how much we reveal about our day-to-day lives. We ask ourselves and our blogging friends: Where do we draw the line? How much of our quotidian should we discuss out here in the wide, wide world of absolute exposure the instant we press the "send" button?
We all know that there are bloggers who share what I consider embarrassing aspects of their lives. Some accept payment to do so. Some go so far as to invade the privacy, I'm assuming this, of their friends and family. Many of the most popular bloggers have, it appears, exposed intimate aspects of their lives in this excessively public forum: being (unhappily) single, meeting "the one," marriage, children, health problems, general malaise, and on and on.
Where do we draw the line? How much do those of you who so generously take the time to read and sometimes comment on our blogs want to know about us?
|These two glasses of wine have nothing to do with anything, they are simply a "device" to break up lots of gray text to encourage you to continue reading.|
Therein lies the balance I think. Most of the time we share the best; occasionally we'll talk about our disappointments, but basically we're here to entertain and maybe from time-to-time inform or recommend.
All of our lives have their complications and challenges and sometimes they involve those we love who would be horrified if we exposed their stories in a blog post.
|Another "device" with peonies, my favorite flower.|
Yes, "For The Love of A Dog" . . . the woman whom I do not know, is considering getting a dog because she knows, like all of us who love dogs -- whether we can own one or not at certain points in our lives -- that they can change our lives.
They bring joy, purpose, calm and love. I cannot imagine living without a dog. I think doctors should be allowed to put them on prescriptions
She is a charming, poignant writer (with perfect grammar btw) who makes you feel the emotions she is sharing, for example click here.
Friday, February 27, 2015
|Stella McCartney's one-button navy blazer.|
|Slim navy trousers from Stella McCartney.|
My plan is to play around with these basics for a few days. You'll tell me if you get bored. I'm hoping you won't because this is so much fun.
|Of course the Breton sweater from Yves Saint Laurent could be switched out for almost any other top, but I like this look. Just can't get away from my blue on blue on blue.|
For the moment, I'm just playing as you can see. Please think of these ensembles as idea boards. (I admit though, I can't help wishing some of the pieces were more than ideas in my world, particularly the jewelry. . .) As I become more adept at this exercise, I promise to "merchandise properly" as they say in the retail business, translation: tell you where you can find the clothes and accessories.
|A choice of shoes, depending upon whether one tends to be more of a ballerina girl or a moccasin girl. Many of us are both.|