And some days the magic just happens…

Just like a perfect first date, sometimes things just work out the way they are meant to.  All the separate parts fall together into a cohesive whole and a little flush of goosebumps washes over you. Last Wednesday was one of those days…..

It was Barb’s idea….”Diane I think we need to do a little informal shoot of the clothes. You know we’ll just put them on the dummy and do it.”  I was a bit skeptical, I’ll admit. Then Genesis said, “Well you know I could put them on”…….

So Bria, my design assistant, with a camera in hand, and the girls set off outside on a perfect sunny day. They wheeled the rack down the street in our neighbourhood just east of Gastown and found all manner of cool backdrops to shoot against. There was the newly restored heritage building with a big brick wall,  a weathered concrete block wall and even a pink garage door.

Then the wind picked up and blew her hair just so and the sun cast it’s spell…….

“I Want It” Tunic in Navy
 
 ……………….doesn’t she look lovely?
 

"Covert Vest" in Black over the "Allure Tunic" in Blush and the "Rejuvinate Legging"

 
 

The "Mystique Tunic" In Merlot

I was thrilled with the results of this impromptu shoot! Thank-you girls!  Afterwards while we all sat around to look at the photos, it occured to me that this was the smallest model we had ever used for our website. But, one of my greatest pleasures is seeing women of all sizes wearing my clothes;  anyone from a size small to a 3x.  Size acceptance is about inclusion of all shapes and sizes of women….

Boudoir Beauty: Cathy Empey Photography

Remember the pin-up style boudoir photoshoot I did with a bunch of girlfriends before Valentine’s day? We had so much fun primping and posing, and got some great shots that made us all feel sexy, glamorous, and beautiful! As more and more women are embracing their natural bodies and sexuality, boudoir photography is rapidly gaining popularity.

Cathy Empey, a friend and local photographer who specializes in Boudoir, is truly passionate about helping women recognize their innate beauty and love the bodies they have today. But she doesn’t just create pretty pictures. Through her work, Cathy empowers women to feel confident, strong, and gorgeous in their own skin…lumps, bumps, and wrinkles included! “Every woman is sexy,” she declared during an interview with Urban Rush. “I find it in everybody, doesn’t matter your size or age.” Cathy’s passion for boudoir and capturing a woman’s natural beauty is deeply rooted in personal experience. Towards the end of her last pregnancy, this mother of six (yes you heard correctly!) decided to commemorate the experience with a maternity photoshoot. The experience was transformational—for her self-perception and her professional direction.

“At the time, I didn’t feel great about myself. I was swollen and uncomfortable and somewhat awkward. But something magical happened after that shoot. When I got the pictures back, I saw a glow; a beauty. The happiness I was feeling on the inside was reflected back at me through the images. I couldn’t believe it was me! In that moment, I knew what I wanted to do – I wanted to help other women feel the way I felt looking at my maternity pictures.”

With her vibrant smile and fun-loving nature, it’s not hard to feel at ease around Cathy. From her subjects she extracts a raw femininity and softness, while also captivating their strength. This ability is undoubtedly the mark of a truly talented and passionate photographer, artist, and woman.

Barbie and Fashion: From the Beginning

Easily my favorite toy as a little girl was Barbie. I look back now and ponder the effect she had on ‘shaping’ my life. I had several dolls and many more ‘Barbie’ suitcases used as portable closets for all her clothes. And man did I have clothes! Endless dresses—styles for day wear and for evening wear—play clothes and SHOES galore. I would sit in the middle of the floor and surround myself with my Barbie world, which was, essentially, an endless closet. One of my earliest memories was of being babysat by my cousin and having her leave the room only to come back with Barbie in a new bathing suit that she had whipped up in a matters of minutes on her sewing machine. I was three. By age 4 I had my own miniature but fully working sewing machine. It’s not too difficult to imagine where my love for fashion came from.

But Barbie’s influence didn’t stop there. All through my teens I always thought I was fat. Funny, now I look back and realize that the size 3 that I wore was hardly ‘fat’. Nevertheless I had this perception that I was not the ideal size. Back then, nobody ever talked about different types of bodies, shapes and heights being acceptable. I don’t even remember how old I was when I first went on a diet. But I can tell you I did it often. Grapefruit with cottage cheese and the like; I remember the low fat craze… then the Atkins ‘lots of fat’ diet, and so on.

Perhaps I thought I needed to look like Barbie, which would be totally impossible in real life.  6′ 0″ tall, weighing 100 lbs, and a size 4. Her measurements would be 39″/19″/33″. She would probably have had to have back surgery from being so top heavy.  (By the way, the average woman is 5′ 4″, weighs 145 lbs., and wears between a size 11-14. Her measurements are approximately 36″/30″/41″.   There’s also a fifty-fifty chance that she is on a diet right now.)

After spending my childhood playing with Barbie, I moved on to fashion magazines featuring models and actresses who stand 5′ 11″ and weight 117 lbs. It’s no wonder I had a complex…  Barbie did, however, instill the idea of having a career and independence. Along with that came the need for material wealth and consumerism. After all, she did have the perfect wardrobe, convertible car, dream house, etc.

“Advertisements targeting children in the 1950s and 1960s sought to lay the groundwork for a lifetime of consumption… Mattel’s teenage Barbie with her closets full of fashionable outfits and accessories taught the importance of how you dressed and what you owned.”

Reflecting on my past, I probably spent a little too much money collecting ‘things’.

Let’s talk for a minute about shoes. Man do I love shoes! Barbie’s feet are permanently formed to wear high heels. I remember getting my first pair of high heels in grade seven—they were at least 3 1/2 ” inches high. All my adult life I’ve worn stilettos…until recently when my shortened Achilles tendon gave out (surgery and flat shoes ever since). I remember when I started wearing make-up too. Blue eyeshadow. Where ever did I get that idea??

It’s really quite astonishing to sit here and think the effect that a little plastic doll has had on my life. How has Barbie shaped yours?

What to wear for a first date after 40?

You would think that as we get older (and supposedly wiser) we would at least have this question somewhat figured out by now. Alas, “what to wear” remains one of our biggest—and most time consuming—hang-ups, especially in the face of dating.

Here are a few of my styling tips on meeting a man for the first time. More