Wednesday, August 16, 2017

Glitter Gala 2017

I attended the 1st Annual FirstLink Glitter Gala last night at the Delta Hotel. I must admit, I didn't know anything about FirstLink or what it was. I only saw 'glitter' in the event and I was intrigued. - I often search through community events to see what our 'big city' is doing in the world of fashion. I met up with one of my friends I met through a mom group. I felt completely underdressed in my vintage sequin blouse and boyfriend jeans, compared to what she was wearing. She had a black formal dress and more bling than the richest rapper, tastefully worn of course. She was beautiful, I was lucky to stand next to her for pictures.

As I sat and talked to her more, I learned what FirstLink was about. Her husband had committed suicide several years ago and FirstLink was there to help her and the emotions that go with that. I have never been directly affected by anyone who took their own life, but I believe it is a condition that is kept very quiet and needs to be talked about more.

The theme of the event, glitter, fit perfectly. We are to show the shine and sparkle of those we love, lost to suicide. There was so much glitter, sequins and rhinestones, it was as if the girls bathroom of my high school blew up. Doesn't anyone remember that glitter eye gel we used to all wear? I can remember the little Carmex size jar I had.

Besides my friend's dress, a few of my favorites were these two beautiful ladies. The nude color dress and sequins are such a classic look, even if they are covered with sparkle.

I had a wonderful time and it was amazing to hear inspiring stories from my friend and others who have been affected by suicide. I am excited to attend this event next year and bring even more awareness to this cause.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

With every fiber of my being.

Threading a sewing machine or even a needle can become old news and routine when I do it over and over. But something that I don't often think about is how that thread came to be. I went to the Fiber Arts Festival on Saturday and was not prepared for what I saw. When I first stepped into the park where it was being held, I saw several older women knitting and I didn't think it would be like this.

But that changed at the next area of the festival. I found something called Crazy Quilting that I'd never heard of before. Essentially, it's putting anything you want on a quilting square and creating a quilt based on those individual squares. These squares had beads and several different types of fabrics sewn with no real pattern. My fashion eye immediately thought of creating those crazy blends of materials on a garment, similar to the Dior Fall 2017 collection.

Not only did I learn something new with quilting that could be used in fashion, I saw different types of materials that are used for dying fabrics. Green ferns, red cabbage and cochineal bugs were a few of the things I hadn't seen used for dye before. Tea and coffee as dyes were common, but bugs? A couple fabrics were dyed using marigold flowers and it was such a beautiful golden color. White muslin fabric is always cheaper, so maybe next time I'll dye it with flowers instead of buying a already printed floral fabric. This will be more of a unique print compared to those in a continual pattern at every fabric store.

I was so inspired at this festival. I can't wait to try some of these techniques on designs. While I was walking out, I already had sketches going through my head with what I'd like to create. And you thought quilting was just for your grandma!

Sunday, August 6, 2017

Project Fargo Fashion Week

Do you have those friends that give you a compliment and while they may be telling the truth, you think they are totally lying?

So many times my friends and clients have told me that I should apply to Project Runway. Each time I hear that, I'm flattered because I don't think I would even make the top 50. I enjoy sewing and designing, but let's get real. The last time I actually created the pattern myself was when I went to college at NDSU in 2003-2005. Over 10 years ago! That is definitely not like riding a bike. Arm holes, darts, bodice, there's no training wheels for that.

I tell you this because I finally did something similar. No, it's not Project Runway. But it's the North Dakota version; Fargo Fashion Week. I applied to enter one of my designs into the competition. I applied before I decided which one I would enter, before I had a chance to back out and before I could nit-pick each of my designs thinking it wasn't good enough. I found myself entering my name, address and email for the registration.

Now, how do I decide? Do I pick something I've never worn before and not sure I can squeeze into after baby? Or do I pick something that I've worn to a Christmas party? The first splatter print on the left is a jumpsuit with wide mid-calf legs. The second green dress is short and has petal-like ruffles on the skirt. The third is one of my favorite pieces that I designed inspired by a dress Courtney Cox had on at an award show. I've worn it to a Christmas party last year and loved it. Or lastly, a floral mix of prints dress? The bottom knee length skirt is floral and the top is plum with gold rose accents.

I know I shouldn't play favorites, but I think the jumpsuit and the navy/black dresses really embody me as a designer. I like prints and color. These 2 pieces show this.  

The competition is August 17th and the Fargo Fashion Week is September 18, 2017. I'm sure I'll have something narrowed down by then. If I have an extra 48 hours, I may even create something new. Nothing like a Project Runway style challenge for this competition.

Thursday, August 3, 2017

World Breastfeeding Week

As the World Breastfeeding Week comes to an end, I wanted to share about my two passions; breastfeeding and fashion. It's not always easy to be fashionable and still feed an infant or a toddler (as I plan to). They are always pulling at your clothes and jewelry or demanding the boob on cue. Just one of the many joys of motherhood.

After 23 months (between Edison and Linus) and still counting, here are some tips I have for dressing your best self while nursing.

Dresses. I'm a total dress girl. But, it can be hard to nurse in a dress because you can't pick it up from the bottom. You could, but that would be a whole other topic. This green sage one is from Old Navy and is a stretch jersey that can be stretched under the bust. I bought a size larger than I normally would to make sure there was enough stretch. P.S. It's on sale right now. Get it.

Some other dresses I've worn are button down dresses, spaghetti strap and strapless dresses. With the thin strap, I pull it down and take the strap off my shoulder. Those are often not a stretch material, so pulling down the strap seems to help better than stretching it. When the one strap is down, the other stays up and keeps you covered.

I've seen dresses that you can nurse from the side. This might be a halter type neckline. I would love to find one that I can nurse from the side. This one from Forever 21 might be fun if you don't mind showing this much skin.

Button down blouses. These are some of my favorite tops to nurse in. The top 2 buttons can simply be unbuttoned and still have the other side covered. Most nursing women will use the layered method and have a tank top underneath the shirt to keep their stomach covered. A button down blouse does the same thing while only wearing one layer.

We often think of button down shirts as a business casual look, but this could easily be your favorite flannel or chambray shirt. Check out this from Maurices. With this price, you won't be worried about sneaking the bag inside the house in front of your husband either.

I never thought that this would become my life. It's something I'm so passionate about and love to encourage other women to succeed at. It's a good thing that it is so important to me because it sure hasn't been easy. At least I look good though the pain and struggles.

Tuesday, August 1, 2017

Do you have a library card?

When I was in college at NDSU for Apparel & Textiles, I used to love going to the library. I would often do research through books and text instead of online. Having a book in my hands made it feel like the information was somehow better. I could spend hours at the library looking at new books. It's a good thing that my dorm, my first year was within a block of the library.

I headed to the public library today. But unlike my college days, I brought my 3 boys with me. After playing eenie, meanie, minee, moe with the children's books, we finally decided on 3 that we would bring home. In addition to those 3, I grabbed 3 fashion books for myself.

The Big Book of Fashion Illustration. The painting on the cover of a woman in a bumblebee dress stuck out to me and made me want to open it. Who says we don't judge a book by the cover? It had pages and pages of drawings. Women, men, children and accessories. Some had me more interested than others. Here are a few that drew me in.

Man Repeller: Seeking Love. Finding Overalls. When I worked as an intern for a brand showroom, I got familiar with the Man Repeller (Leandra Medine). She would frequently give press for the brands we sold and so I started following her on several social media outlets. She's quite influential in the fashion industry. She's interviewed and sat with Sarah Jessica Parker, Iris Apfel and Betsey Johnson. She is all about flaunting your own style. If you want to wear a bra outside your shirt or carry a pom-pom handbag, it's your style so own it.

Barbie: The Icon. I still have my first Barbie. I remember the day I got it, as a Christmas present in 1993. She has long brown hair and a short red Lee jeans dress. I'd dress and accessorize them in outfits for any event. It's easy to see now that I was always meant to love fashion. Fashion and singing. I always thought I had a talent for both, I'm not 9 anymore. I know singing into a vacuum handle will never make me a star.

I'll be starting the Man Repeller book just as soon as I finish Wildflower by Drew Barrymore. Check it out!

Friday, July 28, 2017

A tribute.

Fashion really does repeat itself. There is evidence of that when you look at New York designers and the classes like, Intro to Fashion History at NDSU.  But do we think about our own family history when thinking about fashion? Not all of us come from extreme fashion icons or those who let their personality show through their clothes.

I am lucky enough to have amazing photographs of my great grandmother, great grandfather and grandmother. Some of these pictures you can see fur coats, sheer bodice dresses and hats, lots of hats. My grandma was never one to consider herself fashionable. But I still remember several of her outfits that stuck out to me. A blue and white polka dot dress, a white sweater cardigan and I even wore her bright sunshine yellow dress to her funeral in 2014. This was my favorite piece of hers, including the gold pearl goldfish pin that she pinned in the center bow.

While we might not wear fur coats as much anymore (especially today - who else is enjoying this 85 degree weather?), you still see some items that may stem from fur coats of the 70's. And with the hundreds of different types of hats, there's gotta be one that's flattering on you.

There is absolutely still a trend with sheer in everything; dresses, blouses and even pants. Sheer is one trend I can get on board with. When it's done tastefully, it could even be worn to work. Sheer doesn't have to be trashy or show everything. Check out this blouse from H&M. This mint color gives a demure feel with a skirt or dress up some jeans.

If you are want to add some sheer to your legs, it can be tricky to find an area that can be shown. Kate Hudson's Fabletics brand mixes in some sheer in the yoga leggings. The sheer cut outs are specifically around the knee and show just enough. If you're like me and leggings aren't your style (shocking, right?), check out these sheer palazzo pants from Macy's. I think I remember my mom wearing something similar, that covered her whole leg, to a wedding. Don't they look comfortable? There are 2 completely different women in these two pairs of pants.

It's one thing to wear leggings with sheer cut-outs, but it's another thing to wear a vintage style dress with a sheer neckline. It has to be tasteful. First, is the color flattering? It's not bright red or black leather? Those two colors stick out in my mind as being something that could give off the wrong impression with a sheer panel.

With this dress, even though skin is showing, it's covered and gives a modest look. (Modest? Modcloth? A connection?) always has the best vintage and retro style clothes. I found this white maxi dress with a sheer bodice that even my grandmother would approve of. Remember to wear an appropriate bra! A red one is not!

I used to struggle with finding a hat to cover my huge hair. I was jealous of those girls who wore fabulous hats with ease. Until I finally just gave in and decided not to let my crazy hair control me! Break the curl chains! I've had enough! Hallelujah! And this was even years after I cut my hair to a pixie cut. I still have crazy curls, but finding something that fits and still lets my curls have a voice of their own is the perfect combination.

A few years ago, I had the pleasure of meeting Anna Lee, a hat designer out of Minneapolis, MN. Her stuff is simply gorgeous and I am in awe of the work she creates. She is one to never let the vintage hat go out of style. If my grandma were still alive today, I have no doubt that she would be transported back in time after seeing Workerby hats. They bring me back to these pictures of my relatives and I am so grateful that Anna Lee continues to remind us never to forget where we came from.

When I look at these pictures of my family from years ago, I remember that even though a lot separates us, (war, economy, black & white tv, cell phones - to name a few) we are still family and this is where I came from. Oh! And we all still need to wear clothes. How will your style be remembered?

Sunday, July 23, 2017


I was scrolling through Facebook the other day and one of those ads popped up again, for the 50th time. You know the one. The one where you absolutely love what it's offering, but you think, 'Do I really need another one?' I was totally suckered. I did need another one, or another 4. PuraVida bracelets. I already have 6 or so from when I was an intern at a showroom for PuraVida, so I knew the quality of them and continuing to support this brand was important to me. For each bracelet, a portion of their proceeds are donated to several different charities they are involved with. An obvious selling point to share with my husband who would later ask about the charge on the credit card bill.

I added them to my cart, where it sat for 3 more days until I finally decided I would make the purchase. I can't be the only one who fills their shopping cart with no intention of entering my credit card. Right? I bet I have 15 websites just waiting for me to make the leap and enter payment. Forever 21, Target, H&M, Ulta, Etsy, to name a few.

I'm in love with these bracelets. Stack a few or only wear one. They are perfect. For only $5, you can start building your stack with PuraVida. But they are sold everywhere and for a similar price. They are available with Etsy, Chan Luu, Rebecca Minkoff or get in the DIY spirit and make your own.