Instagram Inspiration

Being a highly visual person, I find myself gravitating to Instagram (IG) over other social media channels.

Founded in 2010 and owned by Facebook, the site and app allow users to upload photos and videos that can be organized with hashtags.

However, IG is rampant with fakery and product placement, and has been justly criticized for “Kardashian-izing” beauty, as discussed in this column last August. (Link to https://www.castanet.net/news/Fashion-File/233981/Insta-Fake)

Can you find realistic style inspiration among the thousands of so-called influencers with their obviously-staged photo shoots hawking lip plumpers?

Yes. Here are some inspirational and informative fashion feeds:

@goodbyecroptop - Wendy Euler hails from Bozeman, Montana and proclaims “50 is the new 50”, reasoning she would never want to be her younger self again.

Her pictures are refreshingly candid, featuring wearable clothes from affordable vendors. I aspire to look as good as her in my 50s.

@iconaccidental - I’ve mentioned Lyn Slater before. This 64-year-old New York professor was discovered after being mistaken for a celebrity, and has since become a style icon in her own right.

Her clothes are designer and the photo shoots are professional, so I can’t say her style is achievable for everyone.

But what is so admirable about Lyn is how unique she is. She wears whatever she darn well wants to and pulls it off with 100 per cent attitude.

@daphneselfe - At age 90, Daphne Selfe claims to be the world’s oldest professional model and she is still at it. Her grey hair and facial wrinkles only add to her beauty. The epitome of aging gracefully.

@diet_prada - I have no idea who this style genius is, but I love every post. With seemingly encyclopedic knowledge, Diet Prada takes aim at the fashion industry itself by showing side-by-side comparisons of designers copying each other’s looks and exposing gluttonous commercialism. Very eye-opening.

@unitednude - This is the only brand I’m including in this list simply because their photos are so gorgeous to look at. United Nude was founded by the nephew of famous architect Rem Koolhaus and a member of Clarks footwear, and they create incredibly unique and colourful shoes. Though I have very little need for high heels with my lifestyle, one day I simply must have a pair of United Nudes.

@diamondsinthelibrary - Becky Stone calls herself a professional jewelry lover. Her feed is a feast for the eyes featuring all things glittery and shiny, while also being very informative about gemstones and vintage jewels.

@vintagefashionguild - The Vintage Fashion Guild is an international organization dedicated to the preservation and promotion of style from decades past. Their feed highlights dresses, shoes and jewelry at museums around the world as well as vintage designer finds that are up for auction.

What about my own IG account? I actually feature very little fashion on my personal feed, but if you like images of nature, humour, and a cute meximutt, follow me at @mobsworld.


White is the new black

Though winter doesn’t seem to want to vacate the Okanagan, retailers are starting to bring in their spring collections.

And it certainly feels good to put away those heavy dark, winter clothes and bring out crisp, paler hues.

The brightest of them all is pure white.

White gets a bad rap for being hard to keep clean, but despite this tendency, it has become a hot fashion trend in both classic and unexpected ways.

Online luxury retailer Net-a-Porter has even declared the LWD — the little white dress — as a key spring/summer trend for 2019.

Some of the looks I’m loving this season:

A white handbag — Any practical person will tell you to never buy a white handbag, that they are impossible to keep clean. Yet every purse designer under the sun is crafting carryalls in bright white this year. They go with virtually everything and look equally stunning in silver or gold hardware.

You may wish to apply a protectant before using and be especially careful when wearing with dark denim. A pressed saffiano leather will be easier to keep clean than a soft nubuck.

Sneakers — the sneaker trend has been going full steam for a few years and shows no sign of slowing. Crisp white sneakers like the Adidas ones above co-ordinate with so many styles of clothes while providing comfortable wear.

Google “how to keep white sneakers clean” and you will find a million tips depending on the brand and fabric of your kicks.

Booties -—White ankle boots starting appearing everywhere last year. Not sure that I’d have the courage to try this trend — I’d probably have them scuffed within minutes of putting them on — but I must say they look incredibly chic with jeans and dresses.

If you are going for this look, I imagine a white shoe polish is going to be your best friend.

Denim — white denim capris are synonymous with spring in my book. For a new look, get a classic denim jacket or skirt in crisp white.

Hair — as I wrote about last spring, white and silver hair is being embraced by everyone from millennials who are bleaching their locks to seniors who are refusing to dye.

Pearls — these creamy shimmering beads are associated with the 1950s and some still think of them as matronly. But jewellers are coming up with fresh and contemporary ways to wear pearls, such as the Pandora ring above.

Especially for those with a June birthday, a pearl ring, bracelet, or necklace will add meaningful bling to any outfit.

T-shirts — the ultimate classic is a simple white cotton T-shirt. Numerous odes, articles and blogs have been dedicated to this wardrobe staple. Wear with everything from casual jeans to a fancy skirt.

You can still buy a three-pack of Hanes classic tees or you can opt for the pricey designer ones that claim to be softer (a hotly debated topic).

I’m a big fan of the 100 per cent cotton EveryWear line from Old Navy. The weight, drape and cut of these
T-shirts just seem about perfect to me, and they also come in petite, tall and plus sizes.

Tunic — looser and more multifunctional than a blouse, a linen tunic in white has become my new long sleeve staple. It hides any muffin-top worn with jeggings or leggings, can be used over a swimsuit as a beach cover-up, or belted with a skirt for dressing up.

Australia-based retailer Sassind creates a beautiful array of white clothing in silk and linen, such as the ensemble pictured above.

To protect your white clothes, it is best to wash them separately in the hottest water the fabric will stand plus bleach or enzyme alternative.

And take my advice, don’t cook spaghetti sauce while wearing your whites.

Would you wear fur?

During these recent Arctic temperatures, the thought of wrapping up in a cozy, ultra-insulating, fluffy fur seems somehow less appalling and more appealing.

But is fur the ultimate fashion faux pas?

Animal pelts are one of the oldest forms of clothing, and Indigenous cultures in cool climates have always relied on the heat-trapping properties of fur to survive harsh conditions.

A key function of fur is thermo-regulation, keeping fur-bearing animals cool in heat and warm in the cold. Some animal pelts, such as elk and deer, actually have hollow hairs that trap air for insulation.

Marine mammals such as seals have pelts that are waterproof.

So it is little wonder that our ancestors relied on fur to cloth and protect themselves.

It has only been within the past century that inexpensive synthetic insulation has been invented, causing fur to fall out of fashion.

In the 1950s and 60s, fur coats were considered the height of luxury.

Mink and fox were the most popular choices among those who could afford them, while muskrat, beaver, lamb and wolf fur were cheaper.

Then, in the 80s and 90s, several anti-fur campaigns, some involving celebrities, were launched calling out fur as cruel and unnecessary.

In Canada, many were disgusted by the images of baby seals being clubbed to death during the annual seal hunt.

So real fur is pretty much out, right? Actually not so. 

Though it is rare to see anyone local donning fur, sales of animal pelts have actually skyrocketed worldwide in the past two decades, in large part due to increased wealth in Russia and China.

Fur is still part of the traditional clothing in Baltic and Scandinavian countries, and Japan.

Most of the world’s fur is now bred at 5,000 mink, fox, and rabbit farms located across 22 countries in the European Union, and China is opening new farms.

Though there is always controversy, farm operators claim the animals are treated humanely and killed without pain, often using carbon monoxide.

Their carcasses can be used to create pet food, organic compost and fertilizer.

Compare this to any other livestock used for food or products. If the animals are purpose-bred, treated well, and don’t die suffering, is wearing fur really any different than wearing leather, or using a goose-down duvet, or eating a hamburger?

I can’t answer that question; people have their own opinion and moral compass. But what got me thinking about it is because I’ve inherited my mother’s short mink coat.

It saddens me that I can’t wear this beautiful vintage piece without fear of insults or getting paint thrown on me. And it would be a tragedy, even an insult to the creatures that once lived to make this coat, to throw it out.

For those in a similar quandary there are online consigners that will convert your fur into funds, including the appropriately named BuyMyFur.com and CashForFurCoats.com

As for those who love the look of fur but don’t want real, of course there are tons of faux options.

Though it is ironic that some items made to look like exotic animals such as tiger or zebra are actually cowhide, which technically is real fur. 

And there is still much debate whether faux products are truly more environmentally-friendly and sustainable.

It depends on factors such as how the synthetic fibres are produced, if the farmed animals are herbivores or carnivores, or if the fur is wild or from an invasive species. Some enterprising companies are even making accessories from the hides of roadkill.

It may seem easier to say “I love animals and therefore I’m anti-fur,” but it must also be recognized that non-biodegradable acrylic fast fashion hurts the earth and all the animals on it in other ways.

Coral: Colour of the year

For 2019, the international design and colour institute has declared Pantone colour No. 16-1546 as its top pick.

Whereas last year’s deep blueish-purple reminded us of evening skies, 2019’s colour pick takes us to the depths of the ocean to embrace the soft warm orange of coral.

On Pantone’s website, they state their colour of the year choice is based on our desire to seek authentic and natural experiences against the onslaught of digital technology and social media.

That’s a pretty lofty goal for a colour. However, I see some truth to their reasoning.

The colour of coral is, of course, most closely associated with the multi-hued marine invertebrates found in the oceans. Marine biologists may disagree, but as far as animals go, corals seem decidedly low tech.

Thanks to its beautiful hue, red coral has been prized for centuries as a gemstone for jewelry.

For 2019, I’d suggest the best way to incorporate the colour of the year into your wardrobe would be with coral jewelry.

That comes with a huge caveat though. Coral reefs around the world are under threat and over-harvesting has depleted much of the coral left.

It is simply not responsible to buy new real coral pieces. Fortunately, there are a ton of eco-friendly and affordable alternatives. 

Carnelian, red obsidian and red onyx are gemstones that look similar in hue to coral. Glass, resin and other polymers can also be crafted to mimic the orangey-red hue. 

I especially love the coral glass tile beads mixed with turquoise and neutrals tones in Julie Rofman’s Mesa bracelet cuff, pictured above.

In addition, all these alternatives are actually more durable than natural coral. 

If you prefer real coral, let it be vintage. Search Etsy for estate and repurposed coral jewelry.

Other great ways to enjoy 2019’s colour of the year:

  • Coral is a beautiful and flattering lip colour for spring and summer. Check out MAC’s Lipglass in Lychee Luxe for a warm coral shimmer.
  • A coral handbag is surprising neutral, and looks especially fun as a lady-like mini-bag such as the one pictured above by Manu Atelier. 
  • Coral-tinted sunglasses add just enough shading for spring days and brighten the face. The ones pictured above are from Aldo.
  • A flowy dress in coral chiffon or silk is a warm weather classic.

Mix and match your coral accessories with colours from the other side of the colour spectrum such as teal, mint green, and navy. Or use it as a colour pop against neutrals such as cream, gold, and brown.

More Fashion File articles

About the Author

Marla is best known for her 19-year career in the local charitable sector as a fund development and marketing manager with the Okanagan Regional Library, United Way, UBC Okanagan, and Kelowna Community Resources. 

In 2014, Marla and her husband decided to take a break from the work world, and, four years, later they are still enjoying Okanagan summers, winters in Mexico, and extensive travel. 

Marla has had a life-long passion for fashion, designing her own graduation dress and formal gown for the 1990 Miss Interior competition before age 20.

In 2014, she was named one of nine Style Ambassadors for a year-long marketing campaign at Orchard Park Mall. Her motto is “Life is short...you might as well go through it looking good."

If you have a style question or topic you’d like Marla to cover in this column, contact her at [email protected]

The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet does not warrant the contents.

Previous Stories