Writer & Stylist LisaG Photographed in The Evolution Vintage Studio. Image by: Tamara Wickstrom

Thursday, June 4, 2015

Bruce Gender: Caitlyn's Real Message

Image: ( by Annie Lebowitz)

The Internet has been buzzing since Vanity Fair released the images of their July Cover Girl. We bid farewell officially to Olympian Bruce Jenner and say hello to Caitlyn Jenner, gold medal winner for bravery and ironically balls.

Bruce sat down with Diane Sawyer back in April and discussed his transformation as well as all of the personal conflict and struggle he has had internally his entire life (See the story here).

The details of his journey is not necessary to re write here but Caitlyn comes to us with a message that transcends the lines of the LGBT and/or Transgender community.

Image: ( by Annie Lebowitz)

Of course she is an amazing spokeswoman for the Transgender community and I don't want to take anything away from the awareness that is being raised but to me Caitlyn's message is that of authenticity and has an inclusive application. At age 65 she is now beginning to live her authentic life. Imagine waiting so long? I'm sure most of you can as many people I know don't live authentically, not 100% anyway. 

Society and the judgement of others has such a strangle hold on people. Working in the fashion industry I see it in my clients all the time.  A great example is the moment when  someone is authentically or naturally drawn to something, a piece of clothing or an accessory. It kind of goes like this,

"Oh, I love this" ... BUT

But society will judge me.
But someone will say something hurtful or rude to me.
But no one will understand.
But I have no where to wear it.

Its a kin to a what if but its what I call a BUT IF, AKA an excuse.

Let's get real: " Society" or "they" will always be judgemental. Do you really put the opinions of strangers above your own? Recognize it is your OWN fear and take your power back.

Someone may say something hurtful or rude to you or about you, but if you don't believe it, who cares? What others think of you is none of your business.

Someones lack of understanding is their issue, not yours. You cannot be responsible for what someone does or doesn't 'get'. You can attempt to educate but let your energy to convert go no further, you need it for being fabulous.

Lastly, from a person who wears sequins to the grocery store, trust me when I confirm YOU can make "Hollywood", "New York" or wherever else you deem appropriate,wherever you are in the world in that moment. In other words there is a place to wear everything you have in your closet, right here, right now if you so choose. 
Image: ( by Annie Lebowitz)

What Caitlyn has done is started an important dialogue. The press and social media is bogged down with all the details of unimportance like; fake tits, photo shop, shaved adam's apple, reality show, fame whore, Kardashian who gives a fuck?

Her Message (from my perspective):

1) The dialogue that has been started about the legitimacy of gender dysphoria. It is recognized in the DSM-5, Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (by the American Psychiatric Association) as a very REAL condition. "DSM-5 aims to avoid stigma and ensure clinical care for individuals who see and feel themselves to be adifferent gender than their assigned gender. It replaces the diagnostic name “gender identity disorder”with “gender dysphoria,” as well as makes other important clarifications in the criteria. It is importantto note that gender nonconformity is not in itself a mental disorder. The critical element of gender dysphoriais the presence of clinically significant distress associated with the condition." I personally feel people are born the way they are born and it is not necessarily a "mental disorder", however if the DSM acknowledgement will get the Trans community the clinical support they need then I view this as positive and a resource to use as education.

2) The discussion about women. There is much talk online about what it means to be a woman, the issues we face as a gender and our unique set of circumstances. It has also shed some light on how far we have come but also how far we still have to with respect to equal pay for equal work, the scrutiny we are under for our appearance and unique pressures we face as women.

3) Authenticity: People are complaining (mostly religious hypocrites and the ignorant) about being a scam and a lot of people feel that they have the exceptional ability to speak for "god" and knows what "god wants". WOW! Maybe they can give me lottery numbers too? Being who you are ALWAYS comes with some kind of risk or cost. Here the cost has been, thus far, "hurting" the people that she loves and who love her. But let's consider what is gained? A life of non-deception, freedom of expression, freedom of choice that aligns with your authentic self or what I call your source. An authentic sense of happiness and radiating positive energy to those closest to her. When you are authentically happy you can feel it, as can others. A chance to really look at oneself, at the source and become what YOU want. She is also another example of money not bringing happiness. She is extremely wealthy and famous yet she spent decades struggling and living a lie. No money can buy the peace that living an authentic life can provide.

4) Courage and/or Bravery: This discussion about being brave and having courage to stand up in the face of the uncompassionate, ignorant masses. She is receiving the Arthur Ashe Courage award at the ESPYS in July.  Being honest is not always easy and one risks ridicule, hurt, and backlash. for Caitlyn this is on a much grander scale because she is in the public eye. Regardless of who you are there is always some level of risk/cost involved with honesty which could explain why so many people are not.

5) Tolerance and Respect: You do not have to agree with someones choices or understand them to be respectful. At the very least you should respect someones right to choose. In this instance of legitimate gender dysphoria I don't personally believe that Caitlyn had a choice per se. I feel she was born Caitlyn but named Bruce. She did choose, after a long battle to conform to the herd (society) to take the courage to finally become Caitlyn and live authentically.

6) Education: Educating people is the key to Tolerance and Respect. I have a son with Down Syndrome and I can't even believe how ignorant and unaccepting people still are even though this is the most common "chromosomal disorder". I can't even image how it is for people in the Trans Gender community.  Education "normalizes" issues and people who are perceived to not fit into the herd or society's view on how generic we should all be to coexist. The more Caitlyn is out there, the more people are forced to read about, look at and examine my points above.

7) Inspiration.: Caitlyn's story should serve to inspire us ALL. Imagine gender lines and assignments melting away and we all look at ourselves and our source as humans. The authenticity and bravery discussed above has been enough to inspire me. Think of the people who are still living lies. Perhaps this story has helped them come clean and live authentically. There is truly nothing more powerful, even if the story helps one person. She is leading by example and through bold and powerful action, not just words. I feel we are all here, in this shared  life experience with the ability to assist and help others. Service to others comes in many forms, today it comes in the form of a woman. 

Thank you Caitlyn and welcome to your new life.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Judgment: Not For Me

Lady Justice

My husband is back with his second guest blog about judgment (If you missed his first post read it HERE). We all do it, GUILTY as charged. 
What we want you to think about is how your judgments of others impacts YOUR life and energy. 
David share's his personal experience and the tools he uses to overcome the socially embedded 
judgment of others.

I would like to invite you to participate in a practice that I have found to be very beneficial in reducing negativity in my life.  To start I would like to state that I have been guilty of being consistently judgmental without giving it much thought or realization.  In today’s western culture I am but one of the herd in stating this.  

What, me judgmental?  No you must have me confused with so and so.  She is always spreading gossip.  And me, well I am just stuck there listening.  Listen I donate to good causes, I am always there to lend an ear while offering good advice.  I care about my loved ones and go out of my way to support the good in life.   Well guess what?  There is a bit more to our story.  To dive a little deeper I had some fun with this and asked several people who I am frequently around if they were judgmental.  Unsurprisingly most of them said no.    Ironically while judging them on their judgments I saw quite the contrary.  Think about that one for a second? 

Before I go on I would like to hone in on what I am talking about.  I am not talking about big ticket issues that raise major concerns such as child abuse, wars, or even in some cases politics (I will stay away from religions as well).  I am talking about the snap judgments made in so many moments that make up daily life.  

“Learn how to drive you inconsiderate idiot!  Did you just see that guy?”  Moments later I cut someone off while answering my cell phone looking up to see a homeless person with their sign.  I think to myself your sign should say “Give me some of your hard earned money so I can sit on my lazy ass and buy drugs and alcohol”.  I would constantly judge without recognizing any real intention.  This was often just based on appearance even when I didn’t have any knowledge of the person I was looking at.  I didn’t even realize that I was guilty of this.  It had become second nature.  I always felt like a loving and compassionate person yet I would behave this way daily.  My mind would say, “Wow look at that fake chick, fake everything and I bet the nice car is paid for by her husband who aspired to marry the trophy wife”.  My next thought would be of something completely different as though that is perfectly normal (by the way what is normal?).

Even though some of our judgments may be accurate they really are not promoting a well-balanced sense of peace and acceptance.  My personal experience is that these thoughts brought me unhealthy tension.  

In a society with so much judgment it has been ingrained into much of our daily thinking.  Take a moment to ponder the media and advertising especially as it relates to women.  You are expected to have unblemished skin, little to no body fat, a perfect nose, have a big title, make six figures a year, wear designer clothes, have perfect obedient children and the list goes on and on.  Don’t like the color of your eyes?  No worries we can fix that. Don’t like your breasts?  we can fix that too.  As a matter of fact we will suck the fat right off your body so you don’t have to lift a finger just pay the tab.  I see so many good people striving for improvement in their appearance and material lives just to be accepted and not judged in a negative manner.  Many of these people come to realize much later on that they have missed out on life’s precious moments putting forth so much energy into this.
Finally I came to a place in my journey where I realized I needed to address this behavior and thought process.  I won’t go on and list the many examples in conversations I have had with others sharing the commonality in judging others to make ourselves feel superior.  It’s ironic as many of these behaviors being judged we have been guilty of at some point in our own lives.  Most of it is just plain old gossip and ends up hurting others.  As I became more aware of this negative energy I was putting out I became disgusted in how judgmental I was.  Being a father and a business owner I wanted to be a better role model and curve my thoughts to a more positive avenue.

Okay so enough already, you get the big picture! My solution is the simple mantra, “It’s not for me to judge”.  I recite this every time I recognize I am judging others in a negative context. I say it to myself or out loud during a time where a conversation or thoughts turns judgmental.  When I refer to a negative context it does not apply to when I think highly of someone which can be viewed as a judgment in and of itself.  This does not feel like I am judging them as much as it feels more like recognition, inspiration or support.  I notice this has more to do with admiration and love rather than snap judgments based on appearance or unwelcome behaviors.  

When someone is being intentionally disrespectful engaging in their motive only causes me anger and negative energy hence they are successful in bringing me down.  When I say my mantra “It’s not for me to judge”, I quickly move on to thoughts that aligned with my authentic self.  In taking the high road I instantly feel a sense of internal peace and renewed health.  As I practice this application to avoid judgment I often experience a feeling of invincibility.  No longer is it easy for people to get under my skin.  After all it is not for me to judge their behavior.  This way of thinking creates more heightened awareness and a surplus energy. I noticed the negativity in others dissipating as when I simply stopped engaging with their judgments they become frustrated and put their toxic energy elsewhere.   

Next time you recognize a snap judgment rising up in your thoughts squash it to oblivion with the simple statement “It’s not for me to judge”.  Ahhhh, now doesn’t that feel good?  Not only does it feel good it empowers you by eliminating the negative energy suck that stewing on things produces.  Enjoy and share your success with others. If you choose not to, well, “it’s not for me to judge”.

David Hergenroeder

Thursday, April 2, 2015

A Look At Lucite

This material has a wide rang of applications from furniture, jewelry, handbags, windshields and more. I love Lucite in shoe form, not the exotic dancer variety but those that saw widespread popularity in the 1950's. 

Lucite was commercially available by 1937, and the material was soon being used in various designs. It's primary function during WWII was for military use but post war it was widely licensed to many products, including shoes.

Marilyn Monroe made the Lucite platform famous long before your neighborhood exotic dancer did. She took lounging to a whole other level.

With costume designer William Travillia on board she wore her Lucite heels in the film, "How To Marry A Millionaire" (1953)

In recent years high end fashion designers have resurrected the material in the form on heels and platforms. Prada, CHANEL, Stuart Weitzman in season past. 

For 2015 DIOR, Christian Siriano, and Versace are a few of the names bringing back the look of Lucite.  I sent someone a message last August saying how fabulous it would be to re-create the Marilyn shoe with a current twist.  The 2015 runway's are a step in the right direction.


Lucite & Latex at DIOR

Why Lucite?

To me they are feminine and reminiscent of Cinderella's "glass slipper", in this case plexi-glass. Many of the vintage Lucite heels are embellished with stones, engraved with feminine, whimsical designs and are like another piece of jewelry.

When Lucite is done right it can be magic!

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Screen To Life: Cinderella Inspiration

Two days ago I wrote gushing over the costumes for the upcoming release of the Cinderella Film.  I wanted to share a few inspired images and pieces that would be able to capture the spirit of the characters of the film, if they were you, here and now in real life. Pieces I have curated from the Vintage realm, with  a few high end contemporary accessories.

Are you  ...

 Lady Tremaine: 

Similar to something I wore last year to Hearst Castle's Fundraising Event acquired from 55,000 Dresses

A Step-Sister?



Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Cinderella: It's Time

The clock is about to strike twelve making it almost time for the biopic Cinderella! Even though I'm not a little girl anymore there will always be a part of me that believes in a 'Happily Ever After', the rest of me believes in fabulous costumes and the artistry of fashion as a medium to tell a story. The cast looks amazing, I adore the director  Kenneth Branagh, who's seen his EPIC Hamlet c. 1996?
Helena Bonham Carter and Cate Blanchette are both fabulous actors but the character I cannot wait to see on a giant screen is the costumes!

Three time Oscar winning costume designer, Sandy Powell is behind all of the stunning looks of the film, as told to Miss Vogue UK:

"Cinderella's ball gown is always what everyone wants to know about and it's difficult because it isn't supposed to be the most extravagant gown of the ball, but it needs to have that certain magical something. I went over it again and again but it was well worth it to see the end result - Lily looked magnificent," she revealed. "I looked at all of the other versions of Cinderella that have been done and then thought 'I'm not going to do the costumes like any of them!", she laughs. "I wanted to combine eras - for instance, by melding the tradition of 18th century gowns with the glamour of Forties-style dresses." Source

I adore ANY period films for the costumes and this is no exception. The thoughtfulness and consideration that goes into each garment is really on another level. Sandy Powell also partnered with Swarovski on Cinderella's crystal slippers and costumes, which according to the Hollywood Reporter incorporate more than 1.7 million crystals.

I have a soft spot for both Step Mothers and Disney Villains. Since they insist on portraying all step mothers as evil or wicked it is about time they portray them as stylish, sophisticated, polished and gorgeous! Lady Tremaine is all that and then some. Want to get the look of the most wickedly stylish step mother? First go for 1940's inspiration with hair, Vintage gold tone statement jewelry and a red lip. I love her primary color palette of deep, envious green's. Hat's cage veils and gloves are all accessories that are wickedly fabulous!

Also the leopard print / red/berry lip combo

If you want to get some 'replica jewels' inspired by the film directly, Cinderella costume designer Sandy Powell has partnered with Atelier Swarovski for her first jewelry collection inspired by the film. The eight-piece Tremaine collection — including a necklace ($1,690), cuff ($599), earrings ($349) and ring ($299) is reminiscent of the jewels seen on Cinderella's wicked stepmother, Lady Tremaine (played by Cate Blanchett), in the movie.

Sandy say's "Despite her evil role in the story, Lady Tremaine has such an elegant look in the movie, and, let’s face it, the baddie is always the best-dressed!"

Will you see the film in theatres?

Shop this gorgeous Vintage Leaf Cocktail Ring a-la Lady Tremaine  VIA Evolution Rewind