Beauty Rewind

Being as this blog is highly focused on beauty, chances are, those that are reading it are beauty addicts like me. So when I saw an advertisement for something called “The Cult of Beauty” while waiting for the bus in San Francisco, I was immediately intrigued. Turns out The Cult of Beauty is the latest art exhibit at the Legion of Honor Museum in San Francisco. Running through June 17, the display features the romantic, bohemian art of the Victorian avant-garde from 1860-1900.

The Legion of Honor itself is a stunning building, set atop a hill overlooking the Golden Gate Bridge and Marin to the north−talk about beauty. But the display of portraits, textiles, landscapes, furniture and other decorative arts by names such as James McNeill Whistler and Oscar Wilde transported me back to a more genteel era. The era of ladies wearing gloves at dinner, always covering their ankles and swooning at the slightest provocation. The exhibit is filled with portraits of old time beauties, lolling in lacey white dresses against backdrops of flowers and whimsically colored landscapes that inspire tears for no reason except the sheer melancholia of it all. The time period serves up a sumptuous and inspirational use of rich colors that will make you want to redecorate your own space.

The exhibition made me think about society’s standards of beauty through the ages. Where once voluptuous bustles were popular, now we wouldn’t be caught dead without our skinny jeans. But just because styles have changed doesn’t mean that we can’t appreciate the definitions of beauty in the past, and a thoughtful visit to The Cult of Beauty may just open your mind as well as broaden your vision of what makes something truly beautiful.

For more information on The Cult of Beauty, visit famsf.org.

A Simple Equation

 

Beth Naumann is a San Francisco resident who discovered a skill that has led to the creation of a beautiful jewelry line called Hellbent. Needing a creative outlet, Naumann began making mobiles out of steel and brass. She eventually reduced the size of her sculptures, and a jewelry line was born. I love her pieces for their simplicity and elegance. They are formed out of brass and sculpted into geometric shapes reminiscent of the art deco era, and remain delicate due to their free-moving connections. Her designs hint at her background in architectural design. I was lucky enough to be introduced to Naumann's work when I received a pair of earrings as a recent birthday present.

Check out Beth Naumann's work at her Etsy store or visit her website

Rare Device

In the heart of San Francisco lives one of the most fetching small boutiques I've found in a long time—Rare Device. It originally opened in Brooklyn, New York, but the owners brought the store over to the Bay Area, and now this is home for the tiny but adorable store that offers whimsical, modern, funky, stylish gifts, jewelry and housewares.

With much of the stock created by local artisans, you'll find a handful of "must haves" that no one else has—a leather watch, dangly earrings, new stationery, a teapot, as well as children's items. By far, this is a shopping destination if you're in the city. Everything inside is most definitely rare.

Rare Device, 1845 Market St., San Francisco, (415) 863-3969, raredevice.net.

Embracing Curves

After years of mentally struggling with my Kim Kardashian-sized booty and never finding a pair of jeans that would fit me just right, I heard about Curve ID jeans by Levi's. So, on a whim, I decided to stop in at the Levi's store in San Francisco and give this new line of denim a try.

The first thing that happens when you wander aimlessly about the massive store is that a salesperson kindly asks if they can help. And for the first time in my shopping history I finally said, "yes." She boldly measured my hips and waist and without telling me my actual measurements (thank you!), guided me toward the Supreme Curve pile of jeans. (These are the most generous of the four curve options and typically fit a woman who has a 10-inch ratio between her waist and hips. That means little waist, big hips.)

I tried on a pair, and while I had to shimmy to get them on, I was distinctly impressed by their fit. So much so that I bought two pairs on the spot and received a third pair as a gift recently. The inky, dark blue hue can go with anything in your closet, and offers a slimming shape. The black version is crisp and dressy, and the other two denim washes in this curve selection are equally flexible with your outfit options.

Visit a Levi's store or check out us.levi.com to learn more about Curve ID jeans. 

Match Game

There comes a time in every fashionista’s life when even the trendiest of styles remains elusive. A time when you so love the way a particular look transforms an ensemble in the magazines, but the same look falls miles short when you try it on for yourself. My particular fashion bugaboo is attempting to coordinate opposing, seemingly clashing patterns into one coherent package. “Wear nautical stripes with floral patterns,” the fashion magazines scream. Trouble is, when I combine them, I simply look as though I pulled clothing out of my closet blindfolded and in the dark. So today, when I was out to lunch in the Union Square area of San Francisco, I was transfixed by the way this snazzy lady paired her patterns. The jacket is clearly plaid, whilst the blouse is a bold polka dot. But I’ve determined that what makes this work look is the careful color scheme. The standout is of course the mustard colored skirt. Then, she cleverly saw that the jacket contained a thin golden line to complement the base color. Black is also a major player, in the boots, tights, scarf and handbag, but also in the blouse. What seems to make this outfit so meticulously nonchalant is the coordination of the jacket to the skirt and the blouse to the accessories. Because the colors tie seamlessly into each other, the pattern mixing isn’t as shocking as simply a mish mash of stripes and polka dots colliding in a messy rainbow. What did I learn from this girl? The key to mixing and matching patterns is to plan coordinating (but not matching) colors. So even if it takes you hours to choose the right combination of colors and patterns, your matching avarice will fool everyone, and you’ll pull off pattern mixing with tasteful chicanery.