Searching For the Positives

More often than not, we tend to focus on the negative areas of our life such as the things that aren’t working out as nicely as we would like them to or how we aren’t necessarily where we thought we would be 5, 10, or 20 years ago.

Admittedly, I am just as much at fault as anyone else for having these Debbie-downer thoughts, but today, I am viewing the glass half full and focusing on the positives.  Sure, I may not exactly be where I want to be within my career, but in
these difficult times of high unemployment, at least I have a job – in fact, 4 jobs, that keep me busy and involved within the fashion industry. One of my jobs involves working for a company that is more than one hundred years old, founded in 1909. This company is Pendleton Woolen Mills, headquartered in Portland, Oregon.

I guarantee that about 98% of people around the Midwest who are under 20 years of age have never even heard of Pendleton. Most people under 30 and even 40 years of age don’t know what the name Pendleton stands for or what their 6th generation, family run business is all about because we’ve been taken over by the masses of department stores and ready-to-wear businesses who care more about changing out the looks in your closet 6 times a year instead of offering consumers lasting product.

Known for their incredible quality all around, Pendleton is originally associated with fabulous woolen blankets and rich Native American history they incorporate into their goods.  As they expanded into menswear followed closely with womenswear, they soon became famous for their classic board shirts, worn frequently by none other than The Beach Boys (who originally were to be named, The Pendletones) and beautiful plaid 49’er (because they originally came out in 1949) wool jackets.

The Beach Boys wearing the iconic Board Shirt

A Pendleton is never something you receive and then dispose of a year later.  Every day, customers and clients of mine come into my store, regaling to me stories of their past, wearing their beloved Pendleton plaid skirts and 49’er jackets in high school or to work and that still, to this day, hang in their closet 50 plus years later, simply because they do not have the heart to get rid of them even though they no longer fit.

Well, while the older and wiser generations might be well aware of Pendleton’s worth, the world’s younger generations are about to be educated and fed a line-up of treats with Pendleton’s first debut of their younger, more contemporary clothing line, Pendleton, The Portland Collection.

This collection, which was created by three Portland-based designers, is fresh, vibrant, creative, and inspiring.  Across the United States, it is catching the eyes of an entirely new customer base and showing them what real, quality clothing looks like; the kinds of pieces that won’t fall apart after just one season and that make a statement on their own.

After having learned about the collection long ago and admiring the pieces via web, we received the look-book in our store. The corners might be bent and the pages about to fall out, but one thing is for sure, every set of our customer’s eyes that the collection was shown to gazed in amazement and instantly asked where it could be purchased. While I sadly had to report that it would not be coming to actual Pendleton stores, The Portland Collection will be sold in boutiques across the United States and a certain selection in Anthropology stores.

As my readers, you know I would never lead you to a collection that I do not 100% support myself.  I urge you to feast your eyes as soon as possible because before you know it The Portland Collection is going to spread like wildfire across the world and it’s nice to know that American heritage is still taking a stand.

*A little tidbit for those of you who don’t know, all Pendleton wool is still woven in the USA today!  I have to say I’m extremely proud to work for a company that takes such a pride in what they create and stand for.  So keep your chin up, look at the positives, and if you’re ever fortunate enough to come across one of Pendleton’s legendary blankets in a thrift shop, don’t think twice about purchasing. Simply feel sorry for the poor soul who didn’t understand what they were giving away.

Check out Pendleton, The Portland Collection for more information on location the collection can be found at!


Fashion Myth-busters

For working in an industry that prides itself on creativity and individualism, fashion certainly has a lot of rules to follow! Scratch that…myths that people believe they need to follow!  This week let’s known down the barrier wall and straighten out the facts.

As we have just passed Labor Day, it seems only appropriate to begin with the long standing, “No wearing white after Labor Day,” myth.  Toss that rule out of your fashion book because it faded in the wind about 20 years ago! Go ahead! Wear white all year round if it makes you feel happy! I suggest, however, steering clear of bright white in the dead of December or January and instead wearing what we call a winter white which is a much softer shade. This allows helps so that you don’t immediately disappear when standing next to snow!

Aura Taylor Collection

Alberta Ferretti

Black and blue will never work together. Say what?! Black and blue have to be one of my all-time favorite combinations together – one of the greatest
combinations in my opinion!  I suggest sticking to darker versions of blue such as navy to pair with, cool and chic, black.  From a silky blouse to tuxedo
stripe pants black and blue are like bees and honey…they just go together.

Rochard Nicoll

Bianca Jumpsuit

Horizontal stripes are a no-no. Well, I say they’re a go-go! For years and years we’ve heard nothing except to not wear horizontal stripes because they will make even the tiniest girl appear heavier. Rubbish! While certain stipulations apply, this is a rule that can easily be ignored. Stick with a classic and narrow French stripe and stay away from large stripes as they can add the appearance of extra baggage wear it is most unwanted and also make you look like you’re part of the rugby team. I also like colors that complement each other well such as camel and black, navy and black, and classically, navy and white.  I very much
dislike the “tween-ish” combinations such as pink and purple or red and yellow.

If you’re short, maxi dresses aren’t for you.  Quite the contrary, maxi dresses help create the illusion that you are longer and leaner than you actually may be.  The key is to wearing the appropriate size and cut for your body type. You may love spaghetti straps, but they may not like you or your well-blessed chest. Opt for a racer back with larger straps.  This not only supports your girls but makes
your back look fantastic! Also, print and colors matter! Choose a print that
doesn’t suggest you still color in coloring books (even though you might) but
instead makes you feel confident.  For a little extra help, pair your maxi dress or skirt with a comfy pair of wedges!

You must be skinny to wear skinny jeans.  I have to say that when skinny jeans first made their appearance years ago, I was extremely hesitant to ever try on a pair for two reasons: the first being that I would look into the mirror and cry,
feeling only worse about myself, and the second being that my ankles wouldn’t
even fit. Well, miracle-be-had, my ankles fit as did my calves, thighs, and
waist! And, they felt great, made me feel great, and fit me to a tee! Go
figure! After that, I’ve been convinced to educate the masses of women who only
think that tall supermodels and wear the skinny pants, that they, in fact, too
can wear this trend which is fast becoming a fashion staple.  It might take a little bit of searching to find the correct cut for you but trust me,
ladies, they are out there! With different amounts of spandex and cotton in
every pair, there is a pair out there just for you. If you’re a little hippy or
blessed from behind, wear a longer tunic or sweater (which just so happens to
be in vogue currently) and wear with your favorite pair of shoes.  You can feel like a supermodel too!

While other fashion myths remain to be busted, these are a good start to brush up on. Fashion may have its rules or “suggestions” to be followed, but creativity will always reign in its world and the world will always welcome a challenger.