Elegant Winter Dressing with M-J

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Above: M-J de Mesterton in a Tibbett Duffel Coat of Elysian Wool, Insulated Aigle Boots from France; a Mongolian Cashmere Scarf by Johnstons of Elgin, Scotland; a White Fox Hat Made in Helsinki; a Plaid Tweed Skirt, Black Leather Cashmere-Lined Gloves from Italy, and a Walking Stick Made of Scotch Broom

Wear warm clothes when it’s cold outside and inside. The days of women showing their bare arms year-round just because an occupant of the White House does it to show off her biceps are coming to a close in about three weeks.  The current president has, since 2009, kept the oval office at a balmy 85° year-round, as though he were in Hawai’i, while instructing the citizenry to “tighten your belts”. The rest of us, if we have heat at all, keep our places at 68° or even cooler, thanks to the punitive cost of fuel.

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Above: on Christmas Day, I’m wearing a turtleneck under a round-necked dress, nylon stockings, a silk & cashmere pashmina, and faux-fur-lined tall leather boots. Most winter days, I’d be wearing tweed and sweaters.

Elegant Dressing for Autumn: Classic Tweed Travelling Suit

M-J de Mesterton in Aquascutum Tweed Suit, Her Perennial Favourite

Rugged, traditional, and elegant tweed made from Scottish wool is the best material for fall and winter dressing. Easily covered with a trench-coat or embellished with a pashmina or long wool scarves, tweed will keep you warm and dry. Tweed suits, skirts, trousers and jackets are always fashionable.

My husband and I found it odd, if not historically-incorrect, to see the inhabitants of Downton Abbey wearing sleeveless flapper dresses all over the huge, inevitably cold and difficult-to-heat house, at all hours, without wraps or sweaters. Those dresses were made to be worn at nightclubs while dancing the Charleston, where  hyper-activity and body-heat of the crowd made it possible to stay warm while baring arms.

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Dining at Downton: thanks to cocktails, aperitifs and wines, scantily-clad ladies there could abide the evening without shivering. Or maybe not; Ralph Lauren designed wardrobes for the series, and may have just assumed that women dressed like flappers in most situations because it was the Roaring Twenties. I doubt that 1920s women were so silly, but there have always been nonsensical followers of fashion, like the ones who are now wearing peep-toed shoes without stockings all winter long in cold climates. My grandmother, who was born in the Victorian Age, told me that to be beautiful, one must suffer–I know that freezing’s not what she meant. Even body-heat from large groups at table does not take the chill off England’s grand country houses for most months of the year; shoulders are usually covered with something at dinner, such as a little fur garment or shawl that could be removed later in the evening for dancing. And no self-respecting woman would be standing about the house during winter in just a sleeveless gown.

Speaking of winter dressing and silly followers of fashion, here is a post that I made here at Elegant Survival News in December, 2011:

Talking Heads Clad Badly and Barely-Shod

Summer Dress and Peep-Toe Shoes in December?!

Why is the anchorwoman wearing a sleeveless summer dress in cold NYC on December 6th? Are biceps something that female talking heads suddenly find a crying need to bare, even in freezing temperatures? Are they using too much energy, in an effort to keep tropically warm indoors? Is it seasonally appropriate to wear bare-toed shoes on wintry days, as the woman in red is doing, or sandals (the first lady wore sandals at a Kennedy Center gala last weekend) in December? I don’t think so. These women are on a national television show, displaying their irresponsible, energy-inefficient lifestyles before the public, as if to say that a size XXX carbon-footprint is desirable. The rest of us are wearing wool and tweed, living in homes with little-or-no  heat most of the time.

In an Alpine Climate, January: Dressing in Furry Boots, a Scottish Hand-Made Fair Isle Sweater, and an Austrian Wool Skirt

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Elegant Dressing for Fall and Winter: Tweed Suit

Elegant Dressing for Autumn: Classic Tweed Travelling Suit

M-J de Mesterton in Aquascutum Tweed Suit, Her Perennial Favourite

Rugged, traditional, natural and elegant tweed made from Scottish wool is the best material for fall and winter dressing. Easily covered with a trench-coat or embellished with a pashmina or long wool scarves, tweed will keep you warm and dry. Tweed suits, skirts, trousers and jackets are always fashionable.
©M-J de Mesterton

Hatred Makes You Ugly

By M-J de Mesterton

Have you ever noticed that the more resentful and jealous a woman is, the more wrinkles she has? The most important age-preventing measure for your face is being a member of the Clear Conscience Club–you know, the one whose members get a good night’s sleep. When people carry around the burdens of hatred and envy, resentments and greed, these destructive inner elements inevitably manifest themselves on their faces. Here is a quote from an interview by Linda Holmes with elegant, ageless singer Darlene Love, whose work in the 1960s with music innovator Phil Spector catapulted her to fame and made her into the exploited victim of a megalomaniac who was ethically-challenged, and for whom loyalty was a foreign concept:

“I have no reason to hate him,” she says, “and I never did, because I always found that hate makes you ugly. Makes you have wrinkles. Which I don’t have.” Here, she laughed. “But you know what? That has a whole lot to do with your insides. When you hate people, it not only makes you hate that person, it gives that vibe off for everything around you. I really do believe that. So I really did try hard not to dislike him and always be the good guy, and say what I say about him and nothing bad. ‘Cause it doesn’t help.”

 

 

Remember Rational Standard Dress-Sizes?

Remember normal-sized clothing for women, before the American fashion industry started distorting sizing in order to flatter the anorexia cult? Standard sizing no longer exists–a dress with a 36-inch bust is now labelled as anything between size 4 and size 14, depending upon whom the maker is targeting. And today’s size 12 is now sometimes distorted by being labelled “plus” for the purpose of  charging more for it.  Some of the styles offered by New York City’s Bergdorf Goodman in 1948 started at size 12, and went up to size 20. Originally, “plus sizes” were anything above size twenty. In 1948, this black silk dress was offered at Bergdorf Goodman in sizes 10–16. If a woman wanted something smaller, she had to shop in the children’s section.
©M-J de Mesterton 2011

Elegant English Skirt Suit with Velvet Collar

http://www.ebay.co.uk/itm/WOMENS-DAKS-SIGNATURE-BLUE-VELVET-COLLAR-SKIRT-SUIT-12-/290589473334?_trksid=p4340.m444&_trkparms=algo%3DCRX%26its%3DC%252BS%26itu%3DSI%252BUA%252BLM%26otn%3D8%26ps%3D63%26clkid%3D1508367476327866022&_qi=RTM637061#ht_3437wt_905

Be elegantly dressed this autumn in a skirt suit with velvet collar, made in England by Daks. Available through our sterling friend Peter in Herefordshire. Please read the measurements carefully. 

Click Here to Read M-J’s Latest Elegant Survivalist Posts

Indigo, My New Favourite Shoes, by Clarks

The first time I bought Clarks shoes was in the dreadfully hot summer of 1988 in Athens, when my Italian pumps with leather soles did not protect me from the burning-hot pavement, and I stopped to buy some of their thicker-soled shoes at a shop. Clarks designs have evolved, and the company now makes some of the most elegant and comfortable women’s shoes in the world. I particularly like their  Indigo and Diamond lines.~~©M-J de Mesterton
 Here is an excerpt about Indigo shoes, from Clarks:

“Great brands, like great individuals, have their own distinct personality. Indigo® design elements bring distinction and freshness to their collection without sacrificing comfort. Indigo supplies women with exactly what they are looking for – the perfect blend of comfort and style.

Indigo is fashionable. Never trendy. Classic. Never boring. Fusing unique design with premium materials to bring distinctive style to every wardrobe, the Indigo collection is witty and surprising, artsy and stylish. For women who take sincere delight in mixing and matching clothes and accessories to achieve a look that’s unique and expressive, Indigo is a fresh new expression of comfort.

Indigo’s designers take their inspiration from diverse sources including the streets of Paris, New York, London and Milan. For women who take sincere delight in mixing and matching clothes and accessories to achieve a look that’s unique and expressive, Indigo is a fresh new expression of comfort.”

New Elegant Survivalist Posts

Elegant, Modest Swimsuit by Stop Staring

Stop Staring Clothing has had a successful internet presence for thirteen years, purveying charming retro-styles of cocktail dresses, vintage-inspired swimsuits, and other sartorial necessities for women. Here is a swimming costume that I think is particularly figure-flattering. Read Stop Staring’s sizing chart for an accurate fit. There is additional elegant swimwear on offer there, so you may enjoy perusing the category.  Stop Staring has a very helpful staff on-hand for advice–we spoke with the knowledgeable Sarah, who informed us that Stop Staring is developing a custom-sizing system in which we will be able to choose cloth and fit-dimensions when ordering some of their dresses.
©M-J de Mesterton