An interesting event takes place in St Tropez each Autumn!
In the southern French fishing village of St Tropez, made famous in the 1960's by the movie star Bridget Bardot, there is a yearly event at the end of October worth knowing about.
The "Braderie de St Tropez" which translates as the "Sale" is a fabulous event in which the entire village is involved. Hundreds of bargains can be found, with items for sale ranging from well know designer brands to profit share schemes and local talents.
Read More on the sale, the village, Melissa shoes and sustainable development . Where St Paulo meets St Tropez
African Fabric or Dutch Wax Print:
A brief history:
It is fascinating that the stunning fabrics sold in West Africa and worn across the African continent were originally manufactured in Java by the Dutch, then later in Holland and England.
The fabric is often referred to as “Dutch wax Print” and the inspiration behind the technique is batik-dyeing (a technique involving dripping hot wax onto cotton before dyeing it) originating from Indonesia.
Wax cloth is an industrialised imitation of the Batik technique.
Once completed the printed fabric was taken to Africa and sold.
Initially Dutch Wax Print designs were inspired by nature, however during the 20th century, the designs became more representative of the African culture and the prints began to tell
stories that related to African communities. Portraits of important political personalities were added and later the prints were given names.
These days the Dutch Wax fabric is still produced in Holland, England, Ghana, Nigeria and the Ivory Coast.
Recently China has started to produce wax print fabric but this is regarded as an inferior quality and does not have the same status as the other fabrics.
The beautiful fabrics made by Vilsco and Woodin are regarded as the "Haute couture of African fabric and design.
The stories the fabric tells:
The textile designs on wax fabric are interwoven with meanings. They tell a story, convey metaphors or well-known African proverbs.
They tell tales of the trials and tribulations of women, including their love life, home life and children. An example of this is the Togolese design called “Wounded heart” Some are inspired by nature, depicting flowers, animals, insects, birds and trees.
Many motifs such as corkscrews tell tails of power in the context of modernisation and development, discussing the pros and cons of the modern, technological world. This can be seen particularly by the inclusion of televisions and computers in the designs. Others provide a visual dialogue, depicting musical instruments, and rhythm. The sound of African drums steadily beating through the design.
When beads are included in a design, it is representative of the African saying “Precious beads make no sound”. This can be transcribed as meaning a successful person shouldn’t blow their own trumpet! In other words don’t boast about your achievements!
Certain designs such as the dice motif represent noble status within the community and senior woman are often seen wearing this traditional print.
Colours have important implications and signification and can be representative of a particular province or region. Some combinations of colours belong to individual tribes.
Ochre is generally used to represent the earth.
Some fabrics are worn as uniforms to show that people belong to a certain group, church or club.
Nüshu script is an ancient form of simplified Chinese that illiterate women used to communicate with each other in the early nineteenth century in the Provence of Hunan. The literal translation of the word Nüshu is "Women's writing".
The intricate characters of this phonetic language were woven painstakingly into hand fans which were then beautifully decorated and sent from one house to another as a way of communication. This enabled secret messages to be passed at a time when women were incapacitated with bound feet and deprived of the freedom to move around independently.
Nüshu script and the secret language of hand fans is an example of the ingenuity that develops when people are repressed, and shows us how historically, textile design has been used as a means of communication.
A brief history
The Pareo consists of a square of beautifully decorated material usually made of fine cotton.
It’s is an invaluable item to include in your beach bag, and even if you're not a beach person it can be a wonderful multi purpose item to put in your suitcase when traveling.
Little information is documented on its origins but it's generally believed to have originated in Tahiti and Polynesia.
The word “Pareo” is a Tahitian word that translates as “wrap- around -skirt”. The Pareo was worn by women whilst men had their own traditional dress such as loin cloths.
The designs, which were originally hand printed, are inspired from nature, particularly flowers such as the Hibiscus with its exquisitely formed flowers and dazzling bright colours.
At last summer is here. Along with the exciting prospect of hot weather, sun shine, lazy strolls across sandy beaches and swimming in the clear turquoise sea comes the huge question of what swimwear to select?
If you still look good in a bikini at fifty plus, good for you , go for it.
Even so it's advisable to avoid thong bottoms as this is just about the most unflattering look on mature ladies. Thongs are a fantastic solution as underwear but don't look good on the beach.
Other ladies may find that a swim suit is more flattering. or prefer the "tankini ", a combination of a tank top and bikini bottom, a great solution for topless sunbathers with a matching top for stomach coverage when sitting or standing up.
The above images illustrate some fashionable beach wear coverage solutions .
If walking along the beach in your swimwear brings you out in a cold sweat, invest in a couple of beach cover-ups to slip on giving you that extra confidence boost.
Selecting the correct size:
When selecting the correct size of swimwear the same rules need to be applied as when selecting lingerie. Never be tempted to buy a smaller size, this will dig into your flesh and cause unsightly lumps and bumps.
When buying bikini bottoms and swimsuits choose a cut that flatters your shape.
Boxer style bottoms can be more flattering than skimpy briefs if you have a fuller figure.
Swimsuits that have a high cut leg will make your thighs look slimmer and longer.
Swim suits and tankini's are an excellent way of camouflaging cellulite on the tummy or caesarian scars.
Ladies with a more generous silhouette may feel more relaxed in swimsuits that have a short Lycra skirt built into them. These are extremely flattering , giving a youthful feel and avoiding too much flesh exposure.
Wearing the correct lingerie under your clothes is essential. Strong foundations are required when building a house, and underwear, in the same way holds and supports your body where needed, consolidating your total look.
As the body ages, gravity pulls us down, so good supportive underwear becomes more important. Women tend to put on weight around the middle and lay down extra fat on the stomach area and find that the flat , pre-baby stomach they once had, has disappeared. Boobs tend to sag or droop and suddenly lumps and bumps appear from nowhere.
It can all be very depressing, but fortunately there are some fantastic under garments available now that can really help these typical female complaints.
Sometimes, no matter how many abdominal exercises you do in the gym, you just can't bring back that firm, flat stomach you had when you were twenty five.
However, the practical issues are not the only ones to consider when it comes to buying lingerie. Wearing beautiful underwear is a moral booster! It makes you feel attractive and this in turn bumps up your self esteem. When your self esteem is boosted, life takes on new dimensions, your horizons widen and new opportunities are created! So treating yourself to a new sexy two piece lingerie set could bring you more than you bargained!
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Art work © Alison Devaux
Dress to reflect your personality. The clothes we choose to wear say a lot about us. Ask yourself if the way you look is giving onlookers the right message about who you are. Overdressing is as bad as under-dressing. A well groomed, impeccably turned out woman will give the impression of someone who is in charge of her life and knows in which direction she's moving. A mature,chic woman who is happy and content with herself.
On the other hand, turning up for an outing or appointment in inappropriate clothes just looks stupid ; Be pragmatic! You wouldn't go hiking in stilettos! Most of my friends keep a pair of flat healed shoes or training shoes in the car so they are prepared for anything that comes up. Put a pair of leather flats in your bag when you know you're going to have to do a lot of walking.
Power dressing works, if you're going for an important interview or meeting the bank manager, people automatically respect you, take notice and listen to what you have to say if you are smartly dressed. If you're cowering in the corner with dirty hair and a pair of baggy leggings unfortunately nobody out there will give you the respect you deserve.
It is also important to embrace the fact that you can no longer dress in the same way as you did twenty years ago! Avoid "mutton dressed up as lamb". Think classy, chic, tasteful, elegant, not tight, short, clingy or sexy. A more mature woman is physically attractive in a more sophisticated way.
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Begin to add some colourful items to mix and match with your basic wardrobe. Remember that colours can either flatter you or make you look washed out and tired. Experiment with colours to find out what suits you best. Which colours complement your skin tone, your eyes and your hair colour? Inspire yourself from art and nature. We are surrounded by combinations of different colours that look incredibly beautiful together. Avoid wearing too much of the same colour, this can be ageing and not very chic. If you do decide to wear a red jacket or dress it's important to match both your lipstick and nail varnish to harmonise the look.
Horizontal stripes (these inevitably make you look larger) and large floral prints should be avoided, as should any other item that is instantaneously recognisable.
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