The Way to Wear the Leather Skirt

The way to wear the leather skirt 
There is just one way to wear the leather skirt that’s acceptable to me, no in-between: knee-length. It must also be teamed up with a pair of flats or kitten heels and a simple top, be it a plain t-shirt or sweater, or a classic shirt for a balanced, timeless look, not too edgy, not too basic or too feminine either. In short, right up my alley.
photos: clockwise, from left to right: 1,3: Net-a-Porter / 2-Garance Doré

Posted by classiq in Style | | 3 Comments

Interview with Adina Grigore, Founder of S.W. Basics

Interview Adina Grigore SW Basics  
Their mission is simply this: to help people have healthier skin naturally. S.W. Basics is an all-natural, five-ingredients-or-less, sustainable (the bigger goal is to make products that contribute to supporting family farmers, small American manufacturers and value-driven partners) skincare company based in Brooklyn, the kind of company that’s still very rare to find and that I, for one, am finally relieved to put my complete trust in to deliver simple, real, active, whole ingredients that are as good to put on your body as they are to put in your body – yes, those very ingredients that you find in your kitchen. That’s exactly how founder Adina Grigore started out: by getting rid of all her make-up and turning not to a pharmaceutical counter, but to her kitchen cupboard to help her sensitive skin.

I have reached out to Adina to learn more about her inspiring story and brand, and to pick up a few beauty tips that you don’t necessarily find in a beauty jar. That’s what I love so much about Adina: she is just as passionate about creating her products as she is open to sharing DIY recipes and letting you reap the awards by encouraging you to make them yourself. The even better news? She has put all her natural beauty secrets into her new book, Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin.
S.W. Basics
What prompted you to start S.W. Basics?
I have really sensitive skin and a background in holistic nutrition. I felt like so many beauty products on the market are super complex and full of unknowable ingredients. I wanted to make something simple and completely natural that would work for my skin, and decided to sell it so that people like me would have an alternative as well.

What does beauty mean to you?
It means feeling good about yourself. I think beauty is about so much more than how you look (or how your skin looks), and we should all be making each other feel more beautiful.

How is S.W. Basics different from any other organic skincare brand on the market?
Every product is made from 5 ingredients or less, and all of the ingredients are super wholesome, gentle, and potent. Nothing is in our products for the sake of the product, it’s all there for your skin.
Skin Cleanse by Adina Grigore

Healthy, glowing skin is lying in your kitchen.
Adina’s book, Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin
is a simple guide to switching to an all-natural skincare regime
and to developing healthy habits that will last a lifetime.

You started your company by quitting make-up and turning to the organic ingredients you had in your kitchen to give a new life to your face. What is your philosophy towards make-up now?
I’m 30 now and have started feeling the pressure to wear makeup in order to seem more professional. I think that’s an unfortunate reality, though I resist it as much as possible. I think wearing makeup sometimes is really fun though. I don’t wear any most days, but I wear some mascara on the weekends, and foundation or BB cream for big meetings or events.

Do you have a favourite ingredient you use in your products? Why?
These days I’m really loving the rosewater in our cleanser because it’s so cooling and soothing, but usually my all-time favorite is shea butter. It heals virtually all ailments. It’s magical.

If someone decides to go green today, what is the first product from your line you would recommend? Why?
The makeup remover for being the most affordable, or the cream for being most versatile and healing.
S.W. Basics makeup removerS.W. Basics cream

Left: S.W. Basics make-up remover (organic sweet almond oil,
organic extra-virgin olive oil, organic jojoba oil)
Right: S.W. Basics cream (fair trade Shea butter,
organic coconut oil, organic extra-virgin olive oil)

What do we need to look out for when we buy organic Skincare products to make sure we get the real thing?
Check the ingredient list. Can you read everything on it? Or are the ingredients translated so you know what they mean? Is there a lot of “derived from”? (If so, skip it.) Is the natural ingredient at the bottom of the list or the top? Aim for products where you can really tell what’s going on.

Can we make our own skincare treatments? Would you care to share with us two recipes we can mix up in our own kitchen?
Absolutely! DIY is by far the best way to control what goes into your products and to make sure your skin likes them. Here’s a couple of really easy ones:

1 T coconut oil
1 T honey
Mix well until they combine, and apply like you would face wash, then rinse with warm water and a soft washcloth. You’ll feel clean and dewy!

S.W. Basics

2 tsp apple cider vinegar
1 cup warm water
Take this combo into the shower and let it run over your scalp, hair, and face to help balance your pH, deal with flakes, and leave a fresh rosy look!

Any beauty secrets you can let us in, the kind we don’t find in a beauty jar?
Drink more water. It is the fastest way to improving your skin.

Are we what we eat? Your products are made from five ingredients or less. What are five foods that should be part of our beauty routine?
Absolutely, 100%. Dark leafy greens should top your list, followed by avocados, fresh fruit like papaya, coconut oil, and fermented foods like sauerkraut.

What is the most common mistake women make when it comes to their beauty regime and that they don’t even realise?
Using too many products without stopping to see if they’re actually working (or alternately, making their skin worse).

Can you share a few stress-free skin tips for the summer?
Moisturize often, remove your sunscreen and your makeup, and cut back as much as possible. Let your skin breathe and show!
S.W. BasicsS.W.Basics

S.W. Basics exfoliant (organic oat flour, organic almond flour, sea salt)

How do you feel about aging in today’s society (especially the American one) obsessed with staying young at all costs?
I understand the pressure and think it’s terrible that it’s so suffocating, but I think it defeats the purpose to judge women making very personal choices for themselves (like to get Botox or plastic surgery). I will say that our hate for wrinkles mystifies me, but I’m not there yet, so I’m probably not one to talk.

Who and what inspires you?
My family, my hubby, my coworkers, and all of the people we get to interact with each day thanks to the brand. People are fighters, and they work so hard. I’m constantly impressed and inspired.

The most important lesson you’ve learned:
To be patient and resilient, and to meet people where they are. I’ve learned to listen and that it’s best to permanently withhold judgment.

One thing you can’t start your day without:

What makes you happy at the end of the day?
My couch!
Interview with S.W. Basics founder Adina Grigore
You can find the S.W. Basics products here and you can also purchase Adina Grigore’s book, Skin Cleanse: The Simple, All-Natural Program for Clear, Calm, Happy Skin, also available here.

photos: S.W. Basics and Pinterest/swbasics

Posted by classiq in Beauty & Beautiful Living, Interviews, The Makers | | 3 Comments

Doris Day’s Shirt Dress Look in The Man Who Knew Too Much

Doris Day's shirt dress the man who knew too much  
Doris Day was not the typical cool Hitchcockian blonde in peril. Day’s character of Jo McKenna in The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) is resourceful, self-reliant, grounded, warm, and she did a marvelous job in the film in my opinion. The film was entirely shot on location and I particularly liked the beginning part, filmed in Marrakech. The climax part of the film towards the end is much too long, I think, and failed to have the effect these suspense sequences usually have when it comes to Hitchcock’s movies. Maybe it’s the attraction of exotic, sunny, colourful Morroco, a background which also makes for the perfect contrast with the escalating underlying tension and dark plot that’s about to unfold, but the film loses some of its charm once it gets to London.
Doris Day's costumes The man who knew too much

Doris Day's shirt dress The Man Who Knew Too Much

Doris Day's shirt dress The man who knew too much 
Although Doris Day’s wardrobe (designed by Edith Head) also includes the tailored grey suit that would be reproduced and pored over by film historians when Kim Novak wore it in Vertigo two years later (with the additional mention that I liked the way Doris wore it more), I have chosen to focus on the shirt dress look she wears to the market in Marrakech. It’s simply because I love the genius invention of the shirtdress: a garment imbued with the insouciance of a man’s shirt, only with more length and polish, and, in this fifties version, a cinched-waist and full structure. But even in this silhouette (I, for one, prefer the more modern, more linear style) and buttoned just to the waist, it still carries a feminine-meets-tomboy charm, perfect for the film location. There is nothing more feminine than a piece of clothing thought to be used in the male universe, that has been reshaped on the body of a woman.

The most interesting part of Doris’ outfit is the white basket bag. It was 1956, long before Jane Birkin popularized her basket bag. Once again cinema foresaw fashion, but nobody seemed to take notice of this original piece of accessory before the 60’s.

photos: 1-5: movie stills captured by me from the blu-ray available in Alfred Hitchcock: The Masterpiece Collection | Universal Pictures / 6-still from the movie set

Posted by classiq in Style in film | | 2 Comments

Sedotta e abbandonata

Sedotta e abbandonata 
A beautiful opening scene (not the one above, but speaking of which, can you, style-wise, detect an inspiration for Dolce & Gabbana’s collections and ad campaigns?), the result of deep black and brilliant white cinematography enhanced with inventive techniques (the film was shot in the town of Sciacca on the southwestern coast of Sicily, with white alleys perfectly contrasting the actors’ black costumes) and the absolute beauty of Stefania Sandrelli, the main female character. There is an incredible aesthetic to the entire film and the background and architecture are more like co-protagonists in the story.

The follow-up of Divorzio all’italiana (a film that coined the term comedia all’italiana) Sedotta e abbandonata (Seduced and Abandoned, 1964) is even better and even more audacious – a series of escalating comic calamities that occur in a small Sicilian town when sixteen-year-old Agnese (Stefania Sandrelli) loses her virginity to her sister’s fiancé. The things Don Vincenzo, the father, will do to restore the honour of his family! Eloquent, devilishly smart and stylistically executed to perfection, the film is a bitter social satire, ironically criticising the hypocrisy of family values, mores, religious and political conditions of a society undergoing massive changes in the early 60’s. Sicily is portrayed as a fairly conservative, backwards society, with its own rules and pompous patriarchies, which lead to gunshot weddings, kidnapping and misogynistic crimes in the name of familial honour, with lawyers and police only corrupting the matter further. One of the many works of art of a director who was never appreciated at his true value.

photo: movie still | Lux Film, Ultra Film, Vides Cinematografica, Lux Compagnie Cinématographique de France

Posted by classiq in Film | | 6 Comments

Spring 2015 Trends I Can Work: Khaki

Spring 2015 trends I can work khaki- proenza schouler  
Always a key colour in my wardrobe, khaki is one of the neutrals conjured in the creations of many designers this season. Most inspiring for me? The flawless Proenza Schouler all-American sportswear look – those roomy-tailored, navy-style trousers have found the perfect match in the striped sweater atop the white shirt, and with their cropped silhouette and dressed-up with heels they bring a feminine feel to a tipically mannish piece. And Ralph Lauren. Khaki took up much of the colour palette in the collection, usually in monochrome ensembles, but it was in combination with bright pink that stood out for me. Complemented by a messenger bag, it refreshingly plays out the urban safari look.
Spring 2015 trend khaki- Ralph lauren

photos: 1-Proenza Schouler SS 2015 / 2-Ralph Lauren SS 2015 / images via

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