Saturday, 17 September 2016


Today I rediscovered a page from a Times Colonist advertising flyer under a pile of paper on my desk.  I believe it is from Hillside Centre.  It triggered a blast of annoyance in me both when I saved it and now again when it resurfaced.

The page I am referring to is a Sarah Baeumler interview A Woman of Style.

Now, let me confess straight away that I didn't know who she was.  I rarely watch television unless it's to watch Rafa play tennis.  I have over 100 hours of PBS and the Knowledge Network shows saved to watch 'later' and have never watched GHTV's House of Bryan.

I am clearly not a follower of the current who's who and what's what.

I did a google search and found information of her early dance study and a dance studio she opened.  Pictures of her 4 children and other facts about the full life she leads.  She appears to be a very capable woman.

In the photograph, Ms. Beaumler is posed looking into the camera,  head tilted slightly to the side, legs crossed and hands showing her matrimonial ring.

Her make up is flawless, emphasizing her eyes.

Okay, so far.

The annoyance I feel relates to her clothing.  I am not suggesting that she chose her outfit for the photo shoot-  that isn't generally the model's prerogative.   I am suggesting rather that dressing in factory-torn jeans rolled at the ankle, pink and blue patterned high heels and an over-sized sweater does not represent style to me.

Style is expressing your individual self through what you wear. calls style 'a distinctive quality, form, or type of something'.

Baeumler is dressed in recycled grunge- replacing the combat boots with high heels.

I took a side road on my style journey, and found an interesting article on
        Even in Fashion, History Repeats Itself
        BY: MICHELLE SCHUMANN | 8.5.2014 |

There’s no denying that fashion is cyclical. Because of this, some of today’s trends are decades—even centuries—old. We dug up the history behind three of today’s most popular, and mapped out their connections to philosophy, politics, economics, and youth culture.

Its roots: Bohemian’s younger sister, grunge was another countercultural movement started by impoverished, anti-materialistic artists. Those artists were the breakout stars of grunge music’s first wave, led in the late 1980s by Seattle bands such as Nirvana and Soundgarden. The musicians’ habit of layering flannel shirts, dirty tees, ripped jeans, and combat boots was thought to be influenced by both the region’s chilly weather and prominent logging industry.

There is nothing stylish in Baeumler's outfit. She is wearing a near carbon copy of the unexciting, unimaginative costume worn by many young women on the Canadian West coast. It doesn't seem to me to be a distinct expression of who they are.  Rather it is a trend, a fad.

Style is something all together different.

A friend recently told me that she had taken her granddaughter shopping for school clothes.  As they drove to the shopping mall, Deb asked her to consider what her style was.  The question was "what is your style and how would you like others to see you".  She followed with a number of choices - casual, sporty, bling, gothic, hippie, business.

A discussion followed and the young teenager decided it was 'casual & elegant'.  So, as they went from store to store, there was a guiding focus. Gone was time spent looking at frills and low cut tops. This was replaced by trying on clothing that suited her style and self-image.

My style revolves around a restricted colour palette and simplicity: black leggings and simple black or dark navy tops take most of the space on my shelves.  Black dress pants and tops are for special.  When I feel like it, I wear an amber necklace. Simple, relaxed with a wee touch of sophistication. Other women wear similar clothes, but I don't look to them for confirmation.

Laying out my clothes to pack for our Montreal trip, I see that the only white things are the wrappers on Lindt chocolate bars!

I believe that the photograph of Baeumler shows not 'A Woman of Style' but rather a copycat fashion-driven appearance.  It is a safe, media-approved look that says nothing about how she perceives herself as an individual.  This sameness casts a veil over her intrinsic beauty.   It diminishes rather thsn enhances.

                     be bold             or not             but choose