M-J de Mesterton on Classic, Elegant Dressing
Fashion may, on occasion, derive its inspiration from classic, elegant style, but classically elegant style does not follow fashion. A classically stylish person is not obliged to wear the clothes of a uniquely tasteful era, such as the 1930s--classic style is timeless. Choose beautifully made clothes and accessories that are useful and relevant to the life you lead, whether or not they are currently "in fashion".
Classic style is based on the clear understanding of proper time and place. For example, gentlemen who wear hats remove them when entering private homes, restaurants, and even bars. (An exception to that rule is the cowboy hat, at certain venues.) Sure, the fedora is back, but a gent shows his elegant taste and style if he knows when and how to wear it. Women who choose sundresses for work, luncheon or city streets have no understanding of classic style. A mini-skirt that may be all right for nightclubbing is not welcome at an elegant luncheon. Dressing with classic style guarantees absolute confidence night or day, anywhere in the world.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2007
Photo, left: This is a very tight-fitting pencil skirt that hugs every curve--but it is respectably sexy, made from thick, stretchy fabric which supports as well as it reveals.... If you have a shapely body, this skirt will accentuate it. If you are slim, this skirt will give you more curves than you normally show--highly recommended for a tasteful '60s look! ~~M-J
|M-J de Mesterton in Elegant Evening Dress: Long-Sleeved White Satin Blouse, Mid-Calf Black Skirt|
In 2004, I photographed myself in an elegant dressing gown made of black velvet with white satin trim. It was the sort of thing which one would not be embarrassed to be seen in on an impromptu basis--answering the door to package deliveries, for example. I miss that old robe, but I still have my silk dressing gown by Sulka as a consolation.
©M-J de Mesterton 2015
Above: M-J in a Classic Sweater by Dale of Norway
M-J de Mesterton, Dressed in an Aquascutum Tweed Skirt-Suit for Fall and Winter
Above: M-J de Mesterton in Elegant Attire for Winter Tea, Cocktails or Dinner
Elegant Men's Shoes
M-J de Mesterton wears a hat by Eric Javits of New York, a J. Peterman skirt, a T.M. Lewin Blouse from England, Silk-Knot Cuff-Links by Brooks Brothers, and white nylons.
"Casual, Elegant Dressing at a Summer Cocktail Party"
Classic, Elegant Winter Dressing
If you wear only classic clothing, it is bound to come back into fashion. This jacket, made for M-J in England, has already been somewhat mimicked (not duplicated) by Dior for autumn 2010. M-J wears her Harris Tweed burnt orange equestrian jacket with Gun Club Check breeks.
Elegant Dressing, Elegant Woman, Elegant Tweed, Elegant Ja
Count Hubert de Givenchy
Hubert de Givenchy
Count Hubert James Marcel Taffin de Givenchy (born February 20th, 1927) is a French aristocrat and fashion designer. He founded the House of Givenchy in 1952. Having met Audrey Hepburn in 1953 while she was filming "Sabrina", he continued to design most of the actress' personal and professional wardrobe. They became close friends. Some exemplary Givenchy designs may be seen in William Wyler's movie, "How to Steal a Million," starring Audrey Hepburn and Peter O'Toole.
Photo: Kerry Taylor Auctions on Pall Mall, London
Hubert de Givenchy made clothes for the Grimaldi family, and for Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis.
Count Hubert de Givenchy retired in 1995. The House of Givenchy, which he founded in 1952, is now owned by Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton S.A.; its head designer is Riccardo Tisci.
Hubert de Givenchy designed clothes to flatter the female figure. He created elegant silhouettes that did not rely on extravagant trims and details. His clothes were the epitome of elegant simplicity.
Hair-style is the final tip-off whether or not a woman
really knows herself.
~~Hubert de Givenchy
Basic, Classic Clothes for Women
Have a look at Butterick’s Retro and Out-of-Print patterns, as well.
For daytime: an A-line or flared skirt with a waist, landing just below or in the middle of the knee. Fabric choices include tweed and other wools in cooler months; silk, cotton, 10-ounce wools and corduroy in the warmer ones.
Fuller, longer skirts for evening, made of silk, changent and velvet; again, a skirt must have a proper waist (up above the navel), where you can cinch it with a belt for an hourglass figure.
Blouses that are either sleeveless or long-sleeved, made of either silk or cotton. Short-sleeved shirts, dresses and blouses have an extremely casual look that should be reserved for daytime, as well as a problem with proportion (they remind me of bowling and tee-shirts).
Drawing by the Late British Fashion Artist Francis Marshall: "Intermission at Covent Garden"
For evening wear, diaphanous blouses with long sleeves are elegant, and to balance a long, full skirt, a lot of ruffles work well.
Resist the empire-waisted blouses that are popping up in current fashion. Not only will they make your stomach pop-out, but they are awkward when tucked-into trousers or skirts. A tucked-in shirt or blouse will enhance the waist. Men's shirts are very attractive on women; if your husband has grown out of his, commandeer them for your own use. They ought to be made of cotton with a high thread-count, and the larger number of stitches per inch or centimeter, the better the quality.
If you have a sewing machine, it is easy to make a shawl of shantung silk, reversible with two different colours, if possible. The wrap will be useful to wear with evening gowns (see drawing by Francis Marshall; also notice the shape of the pale dress).
To Be Continued....
Copyright M-J de Mesterton May 15th, 2009
M-J on Classic, Elegant Style
People who golf in tee-shirts and low-ridin' pants look like rubes and slobs. Respect for the traditions of the game includes dressing in a dignified, classic style. Golf Knickers is a treasure-trove of traditional golfing trousers, shirts, hats, socks, et cetera. It's refreshing to see their old-fashioned prices, as well as the wide array of golf classics.
Elegant dressing begins with a good foundation: lingerie with structure, which includes waist-enhancing and bust-sculpting designs. Luxurious dresses, blouses and skirts that emphasize your positive attributes will complete your beautiful look. Silks, tweeds and velvet, hound's-tooth and herringbone will always be in style because they are classics. Top this off with an old-fashioned, wide-brimmed hat and you are off to the races! Oh, and don't forget the sensible shoes; a well-constructed shoe doesn't have to be a clod-hopper. A two-to-three-inch heel with a simply styled leather upper will take you anywhere (flip-flops will take you to the podiatrist).
Advice for summer: wearing fewer clothes--exposing more skin--will not necessarily keep you cooler. You ought to dress to prevent the elements from getting to your skin. Loosely woven fabrics such as linen, and breathable ones like silk, can keep you cool and protect you from sun and insects. You'll never see anyone (except maybe the odd American tourist) walking out in the desert nearly naked.
Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2007
Don't Short-Change Your Image
What's the logic behind the American obsession with shorts? They're now worn year-round, in all sorts of weather, and in nearly every venue. These overgrown children in short pants don't even bother to wear socks. There was a time when Bermuda shorts and lederhosen had to be accompanied by knee-socks. A few years ago, I worked in a medical research company where writers came to work in shorts and sandals. That was in Princeton, New Jersey--which is as far from a resort town as one can get. Hairy legs are on display by these misguided fashion victims, who apparently believe that to expose themselves this way is to demonstrate an attitude of "casual chic". I have another term for it, which I cannot print here.
Socks were meant to protect shoes from feet and vice versa. If one is going to wear shorts, at least wear socks, and remember: a sock that stops halfway up one's leg shortens that leg visually. Why not acquire some traditional knee socks in cotton for summer? Again, showing more skin won't keep you cooler, but it will prevent you from looking cool!
Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2007
A trip to the airport last week was instructive. At least one hundred women walked by as we sat and waited for friends to come in from abroad. A total of three women among the hundred were wearing actual shoes. The rest were wearing flip-flops. My husband remarked about the basic unattractiveness of the human foot, while I pointed out the unsanitary practice of bare feet on airport floors, once-daily "sanitizing" notwithstanding. If you're not on crack, you realize that it is window-dressing; there's no such thing as a sanitary floor, not to mention city streets with their ubiquitous doggie-walkers. How shoe manufacturers can survive when few women actually wear their products is a mystery. The only ones doing well when it comes to feet are podiatrists! And nary a stocking or sock was spied among the throngs of mothers, teenagers and other females during the aforementioned ill-shod parade. Stockings were invented to protect both feet and shoes. Shoes are a means of protecting feet from the environment, and of providing support for the foot and ankle. A stout shoe, with or without laces just might save one the cost of treating chronic foot-pain and/or infection.
How to Dress for a Formal Luncheon
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton, 2008
M-J wearing Scottish Tweed and English Ventile in Banff, Alberta. Alberta is the oil-producing province of Canada. (Photo copyright M-J de Mesterton 2005)
Coming soon: The History of Ventile
It's time for designers and marketers to stop calling a true waist a "high waist".
Just because the industry bastardized the waist for so many years (actually eliminated the waist altogether), and it was nearly impossible to find anything but the old, tired hip-huggers from the sixties and seventies, they assume that anything which actually lands on the waist is "high-waisted".
Innumerable are the times have I explained to both men and women that to wear trousers starting below the navel is to seriously truncate one's legs. How many people are lucky enough to have very long legs? Only they can afford to sport this fashion foolishness without looking short and dumpy. Have a look at Page Six of the New York Post, where models and movie stars alike are photographed. The big-head, small-body images are even more exaggerated when the subjects are wearing low-slung pants and skirts. George MacDonald Fraser, the late British author of the Flashman series of historical novels, ridiculed men who "wore their breeches below their bellies", because, after all, it is an ugly look has been laughed-at since time immemorial.
The History of the Mac
Mr. Charles Mackintosh patented his process of dissolving rubber and binding it to cotton in the early 1088s. His earliest attempts raised comments about the strange smell, the stiffness and the tendency to melt in hot weather.
By 1843 when he had perfected the vulcanization process, Mr John Charles Cording had just set up his business in the Strand as "Waterproofer". While fabrics have dramatically improved with time, the process of making mackintoshes remains the same.
Source: Our Old Cordings Catalogue, 1999
Tom Mix Publicity Photo
In the days when the American west was being settled, men and women wore tweeds from Scotland, British-inspired suits, long, luxurious skirts, long-sleeved blouses, shirts, and waistcoats made of durable, thick fabrics. Naked knees, elbows and plumbers' cracks were rare sights. Combined with rugged yet elegant cowboy boots and hats, these tasteful clothes served two functions, affording both ladies and gentlemen dignified self-esteem out on the range, and protection from the elements.
~~Copyright M-J de Mesterton 2008
M-J in the Cotton Clothing of Summer
For the unofficial last Saturday of summer, I'm wearing my husband's Turnbull & Asser shirt from 1992.The white cotton skirt was made in Denmark, 2002, by Blue Willi.
The watch is an extra-large, white G-Shock Military.
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