Thursday, April 28, 2016

Crown Princess Mary of Denmark in Pearls

Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark.

I know these pictures of Mary, Crown Princess of Denmark, are from 2003, but they are new to me and I love the vibe of this whole look on her—it seems so 60s with that big hair on her head and the one-shoulder gown (what a great color on her), and I especially love her unusual necklace, made of white and black pearls with a diamond and sapphire clasp! I read that this was a present to her from her future father-in-law, Henrik, Prince Consort of Denmark, and I think these photos are from a dinner that took place the day Mary and Crown Prince Frederik were engaged in the fall of 2003, but I admit I don’t really follow Denmark royalty (I can barely keep track of the British royals, you see, and sometimes that little family in Monaco too), so if you know for sure, tell me in the comments.

With her husband-to-be, Frederik, Crown Prince of Denmark.

I don’t know that much about Mary except that she hails from Australia, is the mother of four, and looks pretty good in most photos I see of her. I love her elegant style, which seems was in place right from the start!

Notice the sapphire and diamond clasp in front. I love this necklace!

Let Mary’s gorgeous look be your friendly reminder that May’s “How I Wear My” is all about pearls! Send photos to Adrienne and me at howiwearmy@yahoo.com by May 2, 2016 and be sure to tell us about your outfit or the jewelry!

Monday, April 25, 2016

A Fashion Recycling Tip from the Duke of Windsor

Love this golf ensemble on the Duke of Windsor, back when he was the Prince of Wales!

I just finished reading The Heart Has Its Reasons: The Memoirs of the Duchess of Windsor. I enjoyed it more than I thought I would for its retelling, straight from Wallis, about her upbringing and life and, of course, the events leading up to the abdication of King Edward VIII in 1936. I will admit I was hoping for a bit of description from her about her fabulous jewelry collection, but there was nothing about it in the book. Maybe she considered it too private to write about it, or thought it would be gauche. While she didn’t write about her jewels in her memoir, she did pen many interesting passages in which she analyzed the character of her husband, David, the former king. There was a paragraph that caught my attention that speaks to everything I love about well-made things and how they are used by a man of style:

Looking great in a double-breasted suit. The shoes seem to match!

“David had another attribute that I also envied. For some time after our marriage I was puzzled by the fact that while he was the acknowledged leader of men’s fashion, he rarely bought a new suit. To be sure, he had a dozen or so, most of which I vaguely remembered having seen before, although each time I saw what I thought was the same one, it was oddly different. I happened to mention this phenomenon to Mr. Carter one day. He replied, ‘There’s no mystery to this at all. Take, for instance, that tartan dinner suit His Royal Highness wore last night at dinner. According to the tailor’s marks on the inside pocket, it was made for his father in 1897. Now, I am happy to see the suit still looking so well, after being refitted to His Royal Highness, even though I never did hold with His late Majesty’s insistence on having his trousers creased on the sides.”

Pensive in a top hat and tipped jacket.

The Duke of Windsor was a dapper guy from the time he was a young man and certainly set the fashion tone for men in his day, but what I love knowing is that he reused suits made for his father, King George V, by having them altered to suit his purpose and taste. Talk about making secondhand first, royal style! This is such a great reminder as to why it’s important to buy (or thrift, or inherit) things that are well-crafted—they can serve you, and maybe the next generation too, for many, many years.

I am including a few photos of the Duke in his younger days that I found around the web and sure enough, he is great in every single one. His good looks, touched with melancholy, and the easy way he wore his clothes must have had a huge impact on men’s fashions of the time.

In the Prince of Wales check he made famous.

Whether he was in full regalia, as shown below, or more in tune with what a wealthy and privileged man of the day might wear, he really knew how to express his personal style through clothing and accessories.

In formal regalia.

With a high collar AND a double-breasted suit. Can anybody wear this today? (No.)

In 1919 on a tour of Canada. I love this picture of him, finally smiling!

Love this picture of Wallis and David.

Let me know if you have read Wallis’s book or what you thought of the way David dressed or how he recycled clothing belonging to his father. If you have ever had something originally belonging to a parent that you had remade to suit you, tell me all about it!

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Fascinated with Fascinators

Fascinators for my daughter and me to wear on Kentucky Derby day.

After all the excitement of watching last year’s Triple Crown winner, American Pharoah, racing at the Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and the Belmont Stakes, I decided to go full-on racing fan this year—my grandmother was a big racing fan, so it’s in my blood!—and have a small viewing party for the Kentucky Derby on May 7. While I do like horses and think they are beautiful animals, I have a small confession to make—my drive to watch the Kentucky Derby among friends is probably more motivated by my desire to wear a fascinator and drink champagne—though I will cheer on the ponies and my pick to win the derby this year is Gun Runner! I was also inspired by racetrack fashion after an article I wrote on the subject. Who doesn’t want to get dressed up like that?

Love the swirling rosettes, feathers and paillette sequins on this one.

Picking out a bottle of champagne is easy, but I did not realize how daunting it would be to select a fascinator. There are so many on the market! I decided on a fascinator instead of a hat because most hats are too big on me and I want something to stay secure on race day, not flop around on my head. I decided to get my daughter a fascinator to wear too and found both of these on eBay. The navy fascinator is mine and I like the three swirly rosettes, the paillette sequins dotted here and there, and the slender feathers attached at different points. My daughter’s has a light blue flower in the center, iridescent midnight blue feathers, tiny gray-blue beads sprouting from it and black polka dot netting. I think I like hers a bit better! She likes it better than mine too though (darn it), so there will be no trading with Charlotte of Brooklyn!

Love this fascinator I bought for my daughter!

A side view. I am crazy for the polka dot netting.

Pearls and “Plumberry” by Essie.

I’m going to pair my fascinator with a navy dress, black satin peep-toe heels, lots of jewelry—probably pearls!—and pinky-red nails. This is “Plumberry” by Essie. I can hardly wait for May 7. Riders up!

My little pony! Gun Runner winning the Louisiana Derby, March 2016. Photo by Eliot Kamenitz.

Are you watching the Kentucky Derby this year? Have you been to the actual race before? Do you like a hat or a fascinator better? If anyone has tips on making a Mint Julep, please send them my way. I made a practice one last week and did not like it at all. If I can’t get a better recipe I am serving champagne or Maker’s Mark to my guests!