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Eco Fashion

Have you heard about the ‘Red Carpet Green Dress’ competition?  The contest is aimed at showing great design can have green credentials. Suzy the wife (pictured below) of Director James Cameron an ardent environmental advocate came up with the idea.

Image of Red Carpet Green Dress 2010 winner via RCGD website

This year the winner will be announced in February and the winning dress design will be worn at the 2012 Academy Awards. Designers need to submit a design to be made up in a sustainable fabric. For example organic cotton, hemp or peace silk. Or dresses can be created from reworked vintage pieces. In line with eco principles fabrics should be sourced locally.

Image of Red Carpet Green Dress winner 2011 via RCGR website

I found this information via a twit by Eco Fashion Week which led to the Red Carpet Dress website. The site is a great site to visit if you are into eco fashion. Fabric manufacturers in the past have been focused on the beauty, feel, flow and the durability of a product at the expense of sustainable issues. There is a growing momentum to address this with competitions like the one mentioned above.

If you are interested in the topic Dr Kate Fletcher’s ‘Design Journey’s’, Prof Sandy Black’s ‘Eco Chic’ are books recommended by Dilys Williams Director of Sustainable Fashion at The Centre for Sustainable Fashion at London College.

Fashion Concept Board created by Rosena on

In this blog are some images of the winning entries for 2010 and 2011; really look forward to seeing this year’s winning dress. All this inspired me to have a play around creating a concept board on the www.sampleboard website. If you are interested in fashion you will find loads of images on the sample board site; have ago creating a concept board just follow the links on the right it is easy and fun.


Vintage and Retro Handbags

Designer label handbags became very popular in the 1940s. My love affair with handbags started when I stayed with my granny in Ireland. She had a wonderful curved door sideboard in the lounge room. Stored away in this beautiful piece of furniture were a number of exquisite handbags. They came in amazing sizes and colours my favorite was a square red bag with a large clasp. I spent many a happy hour playing with this exciting collection.

Sample Board created by Rosena on

1920s small metal mesh bags and flat envelope evening purses

The bags of the 1920s were small many made of metal mesh. The first bag to have a zipper was the Bolide Bag. One of the most popular bags of the era was created by Whiting and Davis. Also during the 1920s and 1930s custom made luggage became the rage. The bags of this period were usually very well made. Other handbag styles during the 1920s were flat envelope beaded evening purses, Celluloid bags and metal vanity cases.

Larger envelope bags of crocodile and other skins in 1930s

During the 1930s bags made of crocodile, snake and other sorts of skins became popular. They were made up in a style similar to the 1920s envelope purse only larger. The evening bags of the era were smaller and decorated with beads and faux jewelry. Toward the end of the decade bags were often custom make to match shoes.

Sample Board created by Rosena on

1940s cloth, plastic and rayon bags satchel style popular

The war years of the early 1940s saw bags made of rayon, plastic and cloth instead of silk and leather. At this time one of the most popular styles was the satchel bag. Women still tended to match shoes and bags. Towards the end of the 1940s the wrist-strap bag and the box style bag made of leather became popular as did the New Look fashions. Evening bags were embroidered or made of brocade, feathers and beading.

The 1950s Kelly and 2.55 bags

The 1950s saw a new age of glamour and elegance emerge. Bags were made of wood, straw and plastic covered with beads, jewels, sequins, hand paintings or embroidery. Mesh styles bags from the 1920s were revived. Princess Grace started a trend when she was seen with a bag designed by Hermes. The bag became known as the Kelly bag. In February 1955 Chanel created her famous quilted bag which she named 2.55.

Sample Board created by Rosena on

1960s space age and hard plastic bags

In the 1960s the silver space age style bags were designed by Pierre Cardin and Andre Courreges became popular. Also in vogue were the bags designed by Emilo Pucci with psychedelic swirling prints. Mary Quant made her mark with hard plastic handbags with a daisy logo. PVC Op Art bags in black and white were also the rage. Edith Collins’ fun bags were created in wooden box or buckle styles and decorated with paint, sequins and rhinestones.

1970s clutch and 1980s flashy designer bags

During the 1970s the clutch bags in unusual fabric for example mimicking a glossy magazine were in vogue. In 1980s the most popular brands were flashy designs created by Gucci, Chanel and Louis Vuitton. So if you are looking for a vintage or retro handbag check the bags designed by the designers mentioned in this blog. It a great place to start your search.

The difference between vintage, retro and antique

The terms vintage, antique and retro are often used incorrectly. When buying clothing labeled as vintage, antique and retro it is important to know the difference. I thought I would write a number of blogs on this very topical subject.

SampleBoard created by Rosena on

Before 1920s Antique

Clothing created after the 1920s to the early 1980 is considered Vintage. Garments created before the 1920s are referred to as antique. 1960s and 1970s casual wear is often referred to as retro clothing. Clothing created after the 1980s is just known as secondhand. Anything less than quarter of a century old is not considered vintage.

SampleBoard created by Rosena on

From 1920s to early 1980s Vintage

Clothing can be quickly identified into a particular era by remembering some key feature/s. For example the drop-waist dress of the 1920s, psychedelic prints in man make fabrics like polyester of 1960s, nipped in waist with full skirted dresses of the 1950s.

SampleBoard created by Rosena on

1960s and 1970s Retro

Rounded Peter Pan collared shirts are from the 1960s as are empire line dresses. Sleek full length bias cut silk gowns were popular in the 30s. The power suits with gilt buttons, wide shoulders and nipped in waists are from the 1980s. Also a popular style of the 80s; the above the knee pencil skirt and dresses with sequins, beads and studs.

How to disguise your figure flaws and flaunt you assets to create your own unique style

Very few women have perfect figures. In order to shine and create your own sense of style it is so important to know your flaws and how they can be disguised. Also knowing what is working for you will allow you to enhance your assets to full advantage. I am amazed at how many women are slaves to fashion at the expense of dressing to suit their figure type. For example the tight fitting leggings now in vogue are flattering to very few women.

Necks the long and the short

Short necks can be disguise by V-neck tops, scoop neck lines, strapless tops and open shirts. Avoid high turtlenecks unless you have a double chin. It is best to keep hair short or if you have long hair wear it up. Wear long necklaces not chokers and small earrings. Dangling earrings will attract attention to the neck. When wearing scarves don’t tie them around the neck; wear them loose or knotted below the collarbone.

Long necks can be attractive if they are not too long. It is best not to wear a short hairstyle to shorten your neck wear your hair to cover the neck. To disguise a long neck wear tops with high necks; cowls and turtlenecks. Avoid V-necks and off the shoulder styles. Scarves are a great way to disguise a long neck attractively.

SampleBoard created by Rosena on

Shoulders broad and narrow

Broad shouldered then tops with V-necks and deep scoop necks are a great way to draw the attention away from the shoulders. It is best to avoid halter tops as they emphasize the width of the shoulders. Also avoid horizontal lines, shoulder pads, wide scoop neck lines, square neck lines and strapless dress or tops.

If you have narrow and/or sloping shoulders you can use shoulder pads. But make sure they are well fitting not too large or they can tend to move around. Boat necks, cap sleeves, halters and off the shoulder styles. Avoid neckties, tight tops and long necklaces.

Bust large and small

If you have a large bust it is best to avoid dresses with empire bodices. Also avoid boxy jackets, pockets and buttons on the chest, tight fitting tops and jumpsuits. It is also best to avoid off the shoulder, strapless and halter tops. V neck lines, flowing tops and jackets that gently fit the body work well for ladies with large busts. With regard to belts avoid wide belts.

If you have a small bust wear tops that are in brighter and/or lighter colors than those used on the bottom. Loose tops with pockets, ornamentation or layered will accentuate the upper part of the body. Tight tops and off the shoulder styles can also be worn by the small busted women.

Heavy Arms

Heavy arms look best in long, bell or angel sleeves. Avoid anything that reveals the upper arm.

Waists thick, long, short and small

If you have a small waist you can wear wide or plain belts to draw attention to this wonderful feature. But take care not to nip the waist in so much it emphases and draws too much attention to the hips. If you have a short- waisted figure you can make the figure seem more elongated by using belts in the same color as the top. If you have narrow hips you can wear the belt below the natural waist line. Avoid wide belts and belts with attention getting detail. No-waistband and hip hugging pants would suit this figure type. Avoid wide waist bands and high waisted pants and skirts. Tops and jackets that hang below the waist will make the body appear longer. Deep scooped neck lines and long belted tunics also work well with this figure type.

If you have a thick waist it is best to avoid belts altogether. Drop waist, empire, A-line or sheath dresses are the best options for this figure type. With jackets and tops it pays to emphasize the shoulders and neckline. Over sized loose-waisted blousy tops, tunics and wrapped styles all work really well. Avoid tank, tube and cropped tops and fitted blouses. Vests below the waist can also work well. Skirts can be long and full, short skirts will also draw the eye away from the waist.

SampleBoard created by Rosena on

Legs short, long, thin

Wear short coats to make short legs appear longer. Short skirts can emphasize shapely legs and give the illusion of length. Avoid wide- leg, pleated or cuffed pants. Capris, pedal-pushers, cigarette, stirrups and legging pants can make legs appear longer.

Long legs can be a great asset however if they are also thin you may want to disguise them. Wide legged, pajama-style, bell bottomed or harem pants can make thin legs appear thicker. Long skirts with a slit or with buttons up the front can make long thin legs attractive.

Bulging tummy, big thighs, large buttocks, flat buttocks

To overcome the tummy bulge it is best to avoid tight pants, front pockets, button fly and front zippers.  Hip length tops over narrow legged pant will also disguise a tummy bulge. Wear A-line or pleated and sarong style skirts instead of tight fitting or clinging skirts. Select jackets and tops in boxy shapes to cover the tummy.

Large buttocks can be disguise with long coats, capes or swagger back styles coats and jackets. Wide-leg pants in darker colors also work well. Avoid back pocket or tight fitting pant styles. Loosed draped skirts are flattering. Avoid Lycra and bias-cut skirts. Vests and tops that cover the buttocks are a better option than cropped tops and jackets.

Anything waist emphasizing in tops, coats and skirts can overcome the problem of flat bottoms. Belted coats, bias-cut skirts and pants with pockets, pleats will work well for this figure type. Avoid fitted styles and tops or jackets cropped above the bottom.

SampleBoard created by Rosena on

Big thighs, wide lower body, saddlebags

For ladies with big thighs go for soft styles with little detail, wide-leg pants and jodhpurs. Also wide straight leg pants in heavy fabrics can cover this problem area. Avoid tapered, pleated, or side-pocket pants. Loose skirts draped or with pleats can overcome the big thighs. Avoid narrow or Lycra skirts. Off the shoulder tops and long fitted tops in bright colors can disguise big thighs.

Beltless straight lines and dresses that drape from the shoulder or bodice work well for the figure with a wide lower body. Tight fitting pants are a no, no. Also avoid tight tops and short jackets. Shoulder pads to make the shoulders appear broader and can balance out the figure with a wide lower body.

Baggy waist-widening pants and skirts with pleats below the hips can disguise saddlebags. Avoid wearing slim, narrow-leg pants and patterns. Flaunt the upper half of your body with scoop necklines and off the shoulder tops. Exposing your arms and shoulders will distract the eye from the problem area. Avoid any style that ends just below the hipline.

I have found I need to revisit and reassess my figure every so often to make sure I am selecting clothing that will allow me to dress with style.

How to be a Retro Swinging 1960s Bride

An icon of the swinging 60s was the mini dress. A dress is considered a mini if its hemline is above the knee. They include slip and shift styles still in vogue today. I well remember folding over the waist of my school uniform skirt as soon as I was out of the school grounds and changing my long skirt into a cool mini skirt.

Slip, shift, sheath style mini dresses

Mary Quant took the world by storm when she raised the hemlines high above the knee and created stunning op art and geometric patterned dresses. Soon the strapless mini sheath became a popular wedding style. Sometimes brides teamed mini dresses with a suit jacket. Mini slip or shift dresses cut just above the knee were also popular used with a sheer wrap or a cocoon coat.

Suit jacket, sheer wrap or cocoon coat

Very short mini dresses look best on slim, petite and athletic figures. If you have a curvy figure then a knee length dress would be suitable. The fabrics for wedding dress in the 60s; damask, brocade, wool jersey, faille, gabardine, textured pique or chunky lace.

Damask, brocade, chunky lace fabrics

Other styles included for example white satin and lace dresses with metallic thread. Also short dresses in French machined embroidered satin with a rich floral motif in gold and cream floss silk thread with a boat neckline with a bow on the waist band. Often the dresses were covered with a fine cotton machine laced coat.

Boat neckline, bow at waist, laced coat

Some of the stars who favored the mini as a wedding dress were Cilla Black, Sharon Tate, Audrey Hepburn and Mia Farrow. Sharon’s mini wedding dress was made of moiré in a puff sleeved style. Audrey chose a space-age funnel neck mini wedding dress. Cilla wore a white maribou feathered mini dress with a belt. None of the brides wore a veil.

Puff sleeves, space-age, funnel neck, feathers, belt, no veils

The mini has been revived a number of times. It became popular in the 1980s when Azzedine Alaia created the tight micro mini in stretch Lycra knits and the mini-crinis and puffball skirts were also in vogue. During the early 21st century designers like Vera Wang have re-launched the strapless mini dress. She also created a beautiful mini slip style dress overlaid with sheer sequined lace.

Puffball skirts, strapless mini           

Another trend during the 1960s was for romantic, nostalgic themes from peasant styles to historical dress. These styles have continued to the present day Vivienne Westwood set the standard for this style in 1980s and 1990s. Also popular were Empire Regency style dresses inspired by Jane Austin novels

Mood Board created by Rosena on

Romantic, Jane Austin Regency styles

Hesta Singlewood’s designs for head dresses also reflect the historical interest. She designed a feathered half style hat head dress a popular style during the late 1950s and early 1960s. Veil’s if used were often short and made of three layers of tulle stitched onto a plastic comb. Sometimes two large decorative organdie flowers were fixed to the comb. Hats were popular made up of artificial flowers and leaves in pink, cream and white with a coarse net veiling. Shoes were cream lace or mushroom suede with pointed toes and high stiletto heels.

Short veils and hats

Slim narrow empire line style dresses in ivory rayon satin with jacquard pattern in a spray of lily of the valley and fern design have been popular from the 1890s to the 1990s. During the 1960s if a train was used it was separate from the dress and attached on the waist seam at the back of the dress.

Empire line dresses

Bridesmaids often had romantic dress styles. Simple posies of white daisies as a peasant theme were a popular choice in the 1960s. Also in vogue were formal bouquets in lace collars. Flower balls were very popular and often attached to the wrists of young bridesmaids with ribbons toned to match their dresses.

Bridesmaids romantic style, white daisies, flower balls

Heavy white satin dress with broad sashes in pink and other colors. Bridesmaids dressed in the empire style dresses in jacquard patterns in colors like hyacinth blue satin. Bouquets in shades of cream and blue were in vogue colors selected to match the dress. Trendy bridesmaids wore Grecian perm or pixie elfish crop hair styles. Instead of dresses short culottes suits in colored or black crepe often a frilly blouse and white boots to finished the look.

Mood Board created by Rosena on

So there you have it you can be a quirky swinging 60s bride or a romantic regency bride. You can play around with your wedding themes as I have on the digital mood board editor. It’s a great way to find out what you like and what goes with what. There are hundreds of images and creative options.

One of the keys to stylish dressing is to know how to figure out what size you really are

To do this you will need a tape measure, time and a trusted friend

Mood Board created by Rosena on

If you want to be stylish it is important to have well fitting clothes this can only be achieved by knowing your own body proportions.

To find out your bust measurement; measure the broadest part of your chest. Also keep the tape measure high under your arms and make sure you encircle your shoulder blades and breasts. It is best to take this measurement with you arms lowered.

There are two ways to measure your waist. Firstly measure around the narrowest part of your waist. Some people think it is better to measure your waist from where your belly button sits. To find the correct waist size in belts, skirts and pants if your waist is an odd number of inches; for example 33 inches buy the next larger size 34 inch not the 32 inch.

With your hips and buttocks stand with your feet together and measure the hips at the widest point. This is approximately 20 cm (8 inches) below the waist. An easy way to determine the correct measurement for ankle length pants wear some well fitted pants and measure from the crotch seam to the end of the pant leg.

To find out your glove size measure around all your fingers at the broadest point. Do not include the thumb in the measurement. If you are right handed measure the right hand if left handed measure the left hand.

If you need to measure your neck make sure to measure around the base of your neck where the collar will sit. When measuring your shoulders; measure from tip to tip.

Hats come in and out of fashion and are very much in vogue at the moment. To find out the size of hat you require measure the crown of your head just above the eyebrows. You can determine the size of hat you require by using the charts below.

I found this brilliant online conversion tool . It is important to note manufacturer’s sizes even in the same country can vary.

In the next blog I will give some tips on how you can disguise what you feel are the least attractive parts of your body and how to enhance and make the most of your most attractive features.

Oz fashion scene has come a long way; Australia is a great place to start a fashion business

Australia is considered a great place to start a fashion business states Glynis Traill-Nash in her article oz fashion written for the February edition of Virgin Blue Voyeur magazine. Young designers find the Aussie fashion scene supportive, innovative and a place of opportunity.

Aussie fashion scene is a place of opportunity, support and innovation

Designers like Therese Rawsthrone and Bianca Spender have set up business after time spent in European fashion houses.  They come back because Aus is a great place to start if you have very little capital. The market here is less competitive and the media welcoming. Josh Goot states  “….you have opportunity to get recognition, tell your story, build your wholesale distribution and maybe retail in a small period of time, which is unusual globally….”. Nash found designers could enter the international market from a strong Australian base. Included in this blog are some examples of fashion mood boards created on This is a great way of playing around with your design ideas.

Create an Aussie fashion base then the world’s your oyster

A new stock of innovative designers includes Romance Was Born, Friedrich Gray, Gail Sorronda, Konstantina Mittas, Christopher Esber and Dion Lee. Lee creates unique trends instead of following others. Aussie retails like Tanya Stevanovic supports local and New Zealand designers by stocking their designs in her Pretty Dog boutique.

Aussies are creating unique fashion trends not following others

People are tending to support local brands this trend has taken over ten years to develop. Tanya states “…Most of the designers I stock stick to their own style; they’re not trend based”    Young designers have found more experienced designers happy to help; people like the Zimmerman sisters. Nicky and Simone Zimmerman are doing big business overseas with their ready to wear and swimwear designs.

Local fashion designers tend to stick to their own style they are not trend based

In the Australian fashion scene everyone gets excited when anyone else does well; all feel happy when an Aussie fashion designer succeeds. I have placed some links below you may like to visit the sites for some inspiration. I just love Josh Goot’s colourful blazer.

SampleBoard’s New Site & Creative Buzzing

Sample Board Online ended the year of 2010 with the launch of a new improved brilliant website renamed SampleBoard Roz and the team have designed an awesome digital mood board editor for the creative industries.
The basic creator is free and the advanced creator is only $9.99 per month. The SampleBoard site has been extended to include the design disciplines of Graphic and Web, Fashion and Textiles, Wedding Planning and Landscaping as well as Interior Design. This is what the new site looks like. Awesome !
The Creative Buzzing blog replaces the old Sample Board Online blog. The aim is still the same to promote the brilliant SampleBoard website and design. As we start the new year of 2011 I make a new start too. I lost control of 2010 in October. The reasons are numerous. We had a three week holiday, we again considered putting our house on the market and moving interstate and I had health issues to deal with. I am sorry to say I let Roz at SampleBoard down.
But I am now back on tract and hope to redeem myself with Roz. I plan to try to stay within my limitations this year. I will now limit my blog posts to one a week and plan to write one article a month. I do love to write but I must limit my time on the computer. Maybe you are like I am; once I start to research and write I get lost and can be at the computer for hours then suffer later.
Sometime this week I will write a blog about the Edwardian era. I am consulting with an architect on the renovation and extension of an Edwardian house. When he first offered me the job saying the house was built in the 1920 I assumed the house would have been built in the Art Deco style. When I visited the house I discovered it was built in the Edwardian style. So I have been on a voyage of rediscovery into the Edwardian era. I thought I would share my journey and findings with you.
If you haven’t visited the new Sample Board website I invite you to do so. It’s brilliant and great fun. Maybe it will help you start the year with a creative buzz. I hope you have a wonderful, blessed, creative and successful 2011.
‘There are two kinds of failurers:
those who thought and never did
and those who did and never thought’
Lawrence. J Peter
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