Wednesday, January 18, 2017

With Gratitude to Debbie Reynolds

The Wizard of Oz, 1939.

I was so sad to hear of the passing of George Michael, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds last month. While those stars meant a lot to me at different times of my life (George especially), I feel a special debt of gratitude to Debbie Reynolds. Anyone who loves movie costumes owes that lady a thank you. Big time!

Dorothy’s Ruby Slippers.

There is a great article over at The Hollywood Reporter that gives an overview of the Debbie Reynolds costume collection. She was interested in costumes from the time she was a young actress, first at Warner Bros., then at MGM, and she became a serious collector when she bought many items at MGM’s famous 1970 auction of costumes and props. Notable pieces she owned included Dorothy’s ruby slippers from The Wizard of Oz—part of a recent, and successful, Kickstarter campaign to raise $300,000 to help curators at the Smithsonian save them, (I donated and hope you did too!)—the white pleated “Subway” dress by Travilla that Marilyn Monroe wore in The Seven Year Itch, the white and black Ascot dress and hat Audrey Hepburn donned in My Fair Lady, and a headdress Elizabeth Taylor wore in Cleopatra. Those were just a drop in the bucket, the collection contained 3,500 articles and 20,000 original photographs.

Marilyn Monroe (with photogs) trying to shoot the famous scene from The Seven Year Itch, 1955.

Debbie’s dream of a costume museum came true, but it was a short-lived venture in Las Vegas, housed inside the hotel she briefly owned there, and after that folded she was rebuffed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, not once, not twice, but FIVE TIMES, when she wanted to donate the items to the Academy’s museum (click here to read more). They were not interested! Can you imagine? When the collection became too costly to continue to store herself, Debbie was forced to sell it all, which she did in three separate auctions. The pieces fetched unbelievable prices. The “Subway” dress alone sold for $5,658,000! Audrey’s Ascot dress? Oh, that went for a cool $4,551,000.

Another costume Debbie saved was this Cecil Beaton vision from My Fair Lady, 1964.

Debbie’s husband, Eddie Fisher, may have run off with Elizabeth Taylor, but that did not stop Debbie from saving this headdress that Liz wore in Cleopatra.

Liz in Cleopatra, 1963.

I loved Debbie in The Unsinkable Molly Brown and also as the voice of Charlotte in Charlotte’s Web. As a fan of Hollywood and its history, I am so grateful to Debbie for saving these costumes that are part of our shared American heritage, even if they are not all in one place.

Debbie herself (with Harve Presnell ) in The Unsinkable Molly Brown, 1964. Photo from IMDb.

All photos except for Dorothy’s slippers and Debbie and Harve came from Doctor Macro.

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

How I Wear My: Tall Boots

Happy 2017 and welcome to the first “How I Wear My” of the year! Whether you wear them for function or fun (or both!), Tall Boots are such a popular item in January that Adrienne of The Rich Life in Wine Country and I wanted to dedicate this month’s roundup to them. We bet you are getting a lot of use out of yours right now and we wanted to see how everyone styles them!

I do believe we have checked off all the boot categories in this roundup: over-the-knee boots, riding boots, high heels boots, even sitting boots (look for Nancy). You are going to want to add several more pairs of this wardrobe staple to your closet after seeing this post. Enjoy!

Adrienne of The Rich Life in Wine Country.

Adrienne of The Rich Life in Wine Country, my lovely “How I Wear My” partner, writes, “I have loved tall boots for a very long time yet I have only ever owned black tall boots until recently. I finally decided to buy a pair in a color that works as well as black does with my wardrobe: cognac. I find this color looks great with just about everything from grey to black to navy and even non-neutrals like pastels. These boots were reasonably priced (around $100 on sale at Macy’s) and they are super comfortable...right out of the box, even! I wore my boots with jeans, a creamy white top, and a Peruvian alpaca wrap I have had for years. I am a hat lover so I added my favorite Australian outback hat which I can wear in light rain.”

Greetje of No Fear of Fashion.

Greetje of No Fear of Fashion writes, “I bought these over-the-knee boots to go with a rather short dress. Mistake. Made it a bit slutty. But with jeans and a beautiful top, I think they are heaven.”

[Editor’s Note: Greetje never fails to make me laugh with the way she puts things. Also, I want to add her to my Bob Hall of Fame. Membership is ongoing!]

Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo.

Suzanne of Suzanne Carillo says, “This outfit features beige Miu Miu boots and a beige hat, both are 100% secondhand. The boots and hat were bought at estate sales. The jacket skirt and blouse were all thrifted. The hat, jacket and blouse are all vintage. I adore how this outfit came together to create a cohesive look that is contemporary with a nod to vintage styling.”

Linda of A Labour of Life.

Linda of A Labour of Life says, “50 Shades of Grey. I used to think it was such a blah colour ‘til I realized how many variations there were. Wearing a knit skirt and cardigan with some fun tall boots helps me get winter ready.”

Michelle of Retro Chic Mama.

Michelle of Retro Chic Mama looks so elegant-yet-edgy in her AllSaints knit dress and boots, with a vintage mini Chanel bag worn cross-body. I love this look on her!

Tamera of Tamera Beardsley.

Tamera of Tamera Beardsley says, “These tall vintage cowboy boots were a passed to me from a friend. They inspired not only my outfit, but a fabulous road trip to the desert!”

Dawn Lucy of Fashion Should Be Fun.

Dawn Lucy of Fashion Should Be Fun writes, “Loving the OTK boot trend, though I get a bit disappointed when they only come up to the knee on me. And I’m only 5’7! Anyone else have this issue? Still love these burgundy boots I found on sale at Nordstrom Rack and wearing them with my Karina dress and new Kate Spade satchel.”

Jodie of Jodie’s Touch of Style.

Jodie of Jodie’s Touch of Style says, “Living in Denver, Colorado, it would be just plain silly not to have a couple pairs of tall boots in your closet. Needless to say I have more than a couple pairs—ha ha! This is a pair I picked up at a consignment shop last year. I love how they are lighter than the normal black & brown boots! I recently wore this pair of boots with this colorblock dress for our “Animal Prints as an Accessory” post. My talented mother, Charlotte (the 70s model on my blog), actually made both the dress and the purse! Isn’t she amazing?”

[Editor’s Note: Charlotte is indeed quite the amazing lady. I love that she made Jodie’s dress and bag.]

Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb.

Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb writes, “These are my oldest, oldest pair of knee high boots (about 7 or 8 years old?) and they’re still going strong. I’ve always loved the studs on them - even now they get so many compliments and I reckon their cost per wear is almost in the minus figures for them by now. They always look good with an A-line midi skirt as here... There are a lot of colours and textures in this outfit but as many people know I’m rarely a minimalist!”

Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style.

Nancy of Nancy’s Fashion Style says of her boots, “These are…Sitting Boots. They walk awful! But they are so beautiful. I never chosen shoes or boots by the way they fit, only by the way they looked.”

[Editor’s Note: You have no idea how much I love the idea of an entire category of shoes made for sitting in. I think I own a few pairs of Sitting High Heels, ha ha! Thank you Nancy for your honesty!]

Shelbee of Shelbee On the Edge.

Shelbee of Shelbee On the Edge writes, “I styled my navy blue knee-high boots with my retro-inspired patchwork swing dress from Shelbee’s Shoppe. I layered an ivory swing cardigan over the sleeveless dress to keep my shoulders warm. I was hesitant about purchasing tall boots in navy blue, thinking I wouldn’t get much wear out of them. But it turns out they are so versatile and I have definitely gotten my money’s worth out of these super comfortable boots!”

Ana of Mrs. American Made.

Ana of Mrs. American Made says, “This is a fun look for work featuring a festive floral print dress by Nanette Lepore with a wide leather belt and worn with my vintage American-made Laundry off-white wool coat. The boots are tall brown leather and made by Frye quite a few years back. I take them every year to the cobbler to be spruced up so they have lasted a long time. And I am wearing the tassel necklace that I made from some beads that came from a piece of my grandmother’s jewelry.”

[Editor’s Note: Ana brings up a great point that a well-made pair of boots can last for years if cared for properly. Get to know your local cobbler or shoe repair shop!]

Rena of Fine, Whatever.

Rena of Fine, Whatever writes, “I’ve challenged myself to wear my OTK boots to work and this is the first outfit I styled with them. With a skirt, the boots are neatly tucked up under my hemline which tones down the edginess of the OTK style and yet adds a little extra flare to the standard pairing of a skirt and cardigan.”

Malia of Style by Malia.

Malia of Style by Malia says, “This midi dress called for tall boots. The dress is from Gwynnie Bee. The cardigan is one of my favorites from Eloquii and my tall boots are Nine West.”

Valerie of Now I’m Sixty-Four.

Valerie of Now I’m Sixty-Four pairs her tall boots with a horizontal stripe dress for a feminine yet cozy look. And that is one serious oven she stands next to.

Nicole of High Latitude Style.

Nicole of High Latitude Style says, “In interior Alaska, the cold season lasts about seven months. Thus, investing in nice boots is a must. Last summer, I was looking for a statement color, red or burgundy. When I saw these turquoise Jimmy Choo tall boots, I thought that this color is even a better statement, as I have many items in my closet that have turquoise accents.”

Claudia of Happyface313.

Claudia of Happyface313 writes, “I don’t wear boots very often, only if I really have to. And while I was still wondering on how to stage a pair of boots, it began to snow. Quite heavily. So the decision was basically made for me. Here I’m wearing my black boots with a black wool dress, a purple long sleeved T and matching purple tights. To give this wintery outfit a bit of glam, I added my Kachinas shawl in various shades of purple.”

Trina of Tea Time with Trina.

Trina of Tea Time with Trina says, “This is a casual everyday look with skinny jeans, an oversize white button-down and blanket scarf. This look can and does fit almost any occasion for one who is on the go, it’s casual yet stylish and just a tiny bit edgy due to the OTK boots.”

Colette of Styled Comfort.

Colette of Styled Comfort writes, “I love wearing my tall boots with my favorite pair of jeans and a statement piece like this faux fur vest. The boots by Ecco are super comfortable and I love the rich brown color, soft leather, and double zippers. The faux fur vest from the cabi Fall 2016 collection keeps me nice and warm during these chilly winter months.”

Cheryl of Northwest Mountain Living.

Cheryl of Northwest Mountain Living says, “These Michael Kors boots are so versatile and elevate any outfit I put them with. I loved them with this fun faux fur vest and leggings.”

I like a monochrome look when I am wearing tall boots so I pulled out my trusty Old Navy skinny jeans, a long black cardigan, and a great new T-shirt I recently got from J. Crew.

So crazy about this green lace insert on a very casual T-shirt.

I love the emerald green lace panel against navy blue. I probably should have bought more than one of these shirts since it’s so easy to wear. I love it with black jewelry, including a floating bead necklace from Macy’s, my Hermès Hapi 3mm bracelet, and my new Fitbit Flex (I am obsessed with this thing, forget how many steps I get in a day, I finally know for sure how bad I am sleeping at night!).

I hope your 2017 is off to a stylish start and you are wearing your tall boots everywhere!

With Valentine’s Day in February it can seem like pink and red are THE colors for the month, but we want to show some love for one of our other favorites—Blue! We have a feeling you heart this color as much as we do, so whether you prefer Cobalt, Turquoise, Royal, or Sky, style your most adored hue and join us for “How I Wear My: Blue.” Photos are due by February 6, 2017. Send them to us at and be sure to include some text about your outfit, which we will use directly in our posts. Our color roundups make especially appealing posts so we hope you will join us!

Please stop by Adrienne’s to see even more terrific looks featuring tall boots.

And THANK YOU to all the fine foxes who joined us this month!

Thursday, December 29, 2016

Fine Jewelry Collecting Tips from Jennifer Tilly

Jennifer with Frank Everett of Sotheby’s. She wears a 1941 Paul Flato necklace once owned by Norma Shearer.

I was researching vintage Bulgari brooches when I found an interview over at the Hollywood Reporter called “Jennifer Tilly On How She Collects Fine Jewelry.” Jennifer made me laugh so much when she admitted in the documentary Crazy About Tiffany’s that she has taken on film roles just to pay her jewelry bill. I love that! She has some great tips about collecting in the article and my favorites are her recommendation to purchase from auction houses and to remember that there are shady people in the jewelry world! When I attended Lueur NY in October of last year I recall one of the vendors looking around at his fellow dealers in the room and saying with a slight sneer on his face, “There are a lot of liars in this business.” Jennifer Tilly apparently agrees with him!

A still from Crazy About Tiffany’s. Jennifer wears her Schlumberger brooch. Liz owned one too.

A great shot of Jennifer wearing a David Webb ring and Bulgari bracelets. Photo courtesy of Jennifer Tilly.

The interview was to garner some press for the Sotheby’s “Magnificent Jewels” auction earlier this month so there is also a quick and fun video of Jennifer in Los Angeles with both Frank Everett of Sotheby’s and Cameron Silver of Decades, the upscale consignment boutique with vintage couture. She tries on a few nice gowns and of course, some amazing gems! Have a look if you get a chance, it is less than five minutes.

Jennifer tries on a necklace by René Boivin, circa 1960, once owned by Babe Paley!

The necklace converts to three clips. I weep! Photo courtesy of Sotheby’s.

I cannot think of another modern actress who is so vocal about her love of jewelry and has put serious cash toward the collecting of it so I always get a kick of seeing what pieces Jennifer is wearing and learning what she knows about jewelry in general, and also about its use in old Hollywood. I always learn something new from her and she makes it so entertaining too.

Thanks to both the Hollywood Reporter and Sotheby’s for giving Jennifer a platform to share her jewelry knowledge and stories with us!