White After Labor Day? Yes!!

How many times have you been told not to wear white after Labor Day? I’m sure plenty of us have heard that from our mothers and grandmothers, but it’s no longer considered a fashion faux pas. So, yes, you can wear white after Labor Day. Now, some of you may get flak from your mothers and grandmothers, but it’s a risk worth taking.   Sometimes old rules are worth breaking.

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When I was younger, I can remember shopping for my Easter outfit which most times included white shoes. My sisters and I wanted to dress alike so we had to find the right outfit and shoes for all of us. But, even as young girls, we knew that come Labor Day, no more white shoes or white dresses. My Mom would make us put them away until next summer.

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I love white so as an adult I have always worn it year round and of course I hear people saying, “So, I can still wear my white shoes?” or “I put away all of my white dresses, because I didn’t want to be made fun of.”

History

Maybe we should start with a little history lesson about how this trend started. While no one is completely sure exactly when or why this fashion rule started, our best guess is that it had to do with snobbery in the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. As more and more people became millionaires, it was harder to tell the “old money” which was considered more respectable, from the “new money” which was considered vulgar. In order to tell who was acceptable, the women decided to make fashion rules that everyone had to follow. That way if a woman showed up at the opera in a dress that cost more than most Americans made in a year, but the sleeves were the wrong style, other women would know not to give her the time of day.

Not wearing white outside of the summer months was one of those silly rules. White was for weddings and resort wear, not dinner parties in the fall. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894 and society adapted it as the official end of summer fashion.

Not everyone followed this rule. Coco Chanel wore white year-round. CoCo also launched other huge fashion trends that are still popular today such as, wearing female trousers, the women’s business suit, wearing large costume jewelry, and the little black dress. Clearly, her opinion can be trusted. Even though this rule was originally adapted for a few women, it eventually was accepted by everyone else. Women’s magazines made it clear that white clothing came out on Memorial Day and went away on Labor Day. These days the fashion world is much more relaxed about what colors are worn when.

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Today

The rule is especially ridiculous considering nowadays, all rules are going out the window. Patterns on different patterns, jean on jean, solid colored outfits, and solids on different colored solids, the possibilities are endless! So don’t limit your clothing options this winter. Break out your white pants and white turtle neck shirts. Don’t be afraid to mix summer and winter pieces.

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The trick is in how you wear your white clothing and accessories. As the weather gets cooler, go for fabrics that are a little heavier in weight and blend white with stronger colors. If you choose to wear all white, wear a winter white, which is a creamier white. Light, inherently summery textiles like white eyelet, linen, canvas, and seersucker will look out of place during fall and winter, so be sure you’re reaching for white wool, denim, cashmere, fur, mohair, flannel, silk, and leather. The combinations are endless. Below are some examples for you to consider.

How to Wear White after Labor Day:

Wear white with your favorite statement-making, bright-colored pieces that will provide you with the perfect foundation with which to steal the show.  These strong colors really stand out against the white.

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For a bold winter look, wear bulky sweaters in white or winter white.

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Wear white with leopard print.  I’m a leopard print girl, so leopard with anything works for me!!

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Where white jeans with a sweater or a jacket

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Add white accessories to your outfit, but nothing too light weight

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Blue jeans and a white button down are always classic.  It can take you to the grocery store, PTA meeting or dinner with a friend.  This look is very versatile.

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Add boots.  The boots can be of any color, that go with your outfit.

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Wear all winter white.  Add accessories of another color to tone it down a bit.

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Pair white with leather. Nothing says fall like leather.  These outfits are perfect for late September early October, when the weather is starting cool down.

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Wear white with faux fur.  The faux fur lets everyone know that you ARE aware that the weather has changed, but you are not afraid to rock your white pants.

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Remember that your style should be consistent with the weather.  You may not want to wear white on a day when it is storming outside.  This fall take it as a challenge on how you can include white in your wardrobe.

Making Pesto While the Sun Shines

You may have heard the saying, “Make hay while the sun shines”.  According to Urban Dictionary this means to take an opportunity to do something when the time and conditions are near perfect or available. This applied to my basil plant which, I have to say, grew magnificently this year. My secret: planting the herb garden in the front flower bed where the sprinkler system will water it. Hey, I never said I was a gardener. . . back to my basil plant. It was going to seed (I cut off the tall, spindly, flowering tops to keep from having a million basil plants pop up next year), and it was shading my thyme because it grew so big. Autumn in Texas can be 70 degrees one day and literally freezing the next. One freeze and basil turns black and mushy, so. . . I decided to make Pesto while the sun was shining!

I love basil because it's easy to grow and so yummy!
I love basil because it’s easy to grow and so yummy!

I invited a couple of friends to join me because a “Pesto Party” is always more fun with friends than a party of one and let’s face it, I have more basil than I know what to do with.

Now, some recipes call for pine nuts which can be expensive and hard to find. I use walnuts, they taste great and are readily found in any grocery store; but you are welcome to use pine nuts if you prefer.

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You will want to pick the basil leaves off the stems and wash them in a large colander; make sure and check for any creepy crawlies that may have snuck in! Then put the leaves into a salad spinner or pat dry with paper towels. This last step is important so you don’t have watered-down pesto.

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You’ll want to use a food processor; I love mine for lots of things but for pesto it is essential. Borrow someone’s if you don’t have one – you’ll love it and end up putting one on your wish list!

Put your garlic cloves in whole and give them a whirl – you don’t have to mince with a garlic press. Less dishes to wash, which I LOVE!

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Take the top off of the food processor and add the basil leaves all at once, packing them down if needed. If you have a mini processor you will want to halve the recipe for best results. Let the food processor chop until fine.

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Next the cheese, nuts, salt and pepper go in:

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Pulse ingredients until they resemble a coarse paste. Now here’s where it gets fun! You can add the olive oil for traditional pesto (as I did) OR you can add a log of goat cheese and make a delicious dip to take to parties or just eat yourself. I do have to mention that either way you’ll want to pick up (or make beforehand if you’re crafty like that) a loaf of french or artesian bread because it’s impossible NOT to try your pesto once it’s ready!

With the food processor running, drizzle the olive oil in through the top until it completely combines with the paste.

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Pesto is so yummy on bread, in pasta, add a tablespoon or two to your favorite spaghetti sauce for a richer flavor, use as a marinade for chicken, fish, you get the idea! Let me know how you like to use pesto!

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Because pesto is made with fresh basil it only lasts about a week in the fridge. I don’t know about you, but I like to have pesto all year ’round. You can easily freeze pesto in ice cube trays. Once it’s frozen transfer to freezer bags or plastic containers where it will last anywhere from 6-9 months.  I like to freeze in trays because I can pull out how much I need without having to defrost the whole batch at once. This recipe yields about 22 heaping tablespoons (each cube is 1 tablespoon). This makes it handy when you want to add it to pasta, soups, sauces, etc. It defrosts quickly but if you’re in a hurry you can microwave for 15 seconds at a time until soft.

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 Classic Basil Pesto

  • 4 cloves garlic
  • 4 cups fresh basil leaves
  • 1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
  • 2/3 cup pine nuts (may use diced walnuts)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (I like pink Himalayan sea salt)
  • 1 teaspoon ground black pepper
  • 1 cup extra-virgin olive oil

Using a food processor, finely chop the garlic. Add the basil leaves and chop until fine. Next, add the cheese, nuts, salt and pepper; pulse until the consistency of coarse paste. While the food processor is running drizzle the olive oil through the tube and mix until it is completely combined with the paste. Store in an airtight container in fridge for one week or freeze in ice cube trays and store in freezer bags or plastic containers for 6-9 months.

*For Basil Dip: Omit the olive oil and add 1-8oz goat cheese log. Mix until well blended in food processor. Spread on a slice of artesian bread, top with a sundried tomato slice and broil until it’s hot and bubbly.

(Thanks, Tricia, for the Dip tip!)

Makes about 2-1/2 cups

***BONUS Drying Tip***

So even after making all our pesto I still had basil left. I thought about drying some and put it on a cookie sheet to sit out in the sun. Well, the wind started to blow the leaves off the sheet before I even set it down. Then I had a FABULOUS idea! My new home came with a warming drawer (you could use your oven) and I’m still getting used to the idea of using the thing. Why not dry the basil in the warming drawer?

I spread the basil leaves out onto a cookie sheet so they weren’t touching each other. Then placed the cookie sheet in the warming drawer on low and checked on them every half hour until they were crisp (about two hours). Note: If you dry at too high a temperature the leaves lose their flavor. Patience is a virtue here, friends. I’ve read that virtue is likened to power. The power of patience is a lost art, but not lost on my drying technique!

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*In the heat of the summer I have set a sheet out in the attic and placed the washed and spun basil leaves on it. They will dry in about a week depending on how hot it is. The only problem is remembering it’s up there! Could be a fun “surprise” to find when you go to get your Halloween/Christmas decorations down. . . in Texas we don’t have basements so everything ends up in the attic.

Thanks for reading my post all the way to this point – it show’s that you LOVE basil as much as I do!

Back to School in Style

That time has come again; shopping for school clothing.  Whether you are starting high school or college you want to look your best.  You want to stand out in the crowd and be envied for your fashion sense.  Well, most people do anyway.  It can be tough trying to fit in with the crowd when it comes to attire at school, but never fear, I have come to your rescue.  You don’t always have to fit in.  Trends come and go so why not start your own and have your friends wanting to dress like you.    You can stand out on your own and show others how it’s done.  Your clothing should tell a story about you and you want that story to be a good one.

Here are some tips to get you started on your way to starting your own trends:

Use Embellishments.  This is a simple and inexpensive way to update your look.  You can use what you have already or purchase items from your local store.  Just remember, you want the items to update your look, not over power your look.

  • Add rhinestones to jeans and shirts
  • Add fringes to the bottom of skirts and capris.  Fringes are really hot right now.
  • Add flowers or fun pins to your lapel – especially t-shirts
  • Add patches, pens, fabric art, fur or buttons to clothing

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Alter your Clothing.  Not everyone knows how to sew, but we usually know someone who can.  Don’t forget your local tailor.  Find one that you feel comfortable with and that does good work.

  • Buy items you like and alter them to fit your body
  • If shirts are too short, but you like the design, add fabric to the bottom of it or layer with a shirt under it.
  • Buy shorts in the boy’s department and make them look feminine by adding feminine touches to them or just wear a feminine shirt with it.
  • Don’t be concerned with whether the item is your “size” or not.  Size is just a number.  You should try items on and let the fit determine what size you should buy.

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Use Color to Update your Look.  Using color is one of the easiest ways to update your look, but make sure you don’t go overboard.  You don’t want to look like a clown at the circus.  A “pop” of color can make a big difference in an outfit going from “blah” to “wow”.

  •  If you don’t want to add embellishments to your clothing to update your look, just add color.  Instead of dressing in a monochromatic look, dress using lots of different colors (that go together).

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Accessorize.  Accessorizing can be fun. Accessories can really bring out your personality.  You might be someone who likes minimal accessories and that is fine, but it’s what items you choose that make the difference.  You maybe someone who likes to “go bold” and that’s fine as well.  Just be careful not to look like Mr. T.

  • Use jewelry to add to your look, (earrings, necklaces, ankle bracelets, pens).
  • Use your purse as a way of updating your look.  You can purchase inexpensive purses and add cute items to them.
  • Scarves and bandanas can be used on your head as an accessory, around your neck or around your waist.
  • Use a scarf as a watch band if your band breaks.  Just remove the band, cut the scarf to make it as long or wide as you would like and pull it through the watch to form a band.  Tie it in many different ways.  Be creative.
  • Shoes are a big part of accessorizing your outfits.  Make sure they are clean.  It doesn’t matter how much you’ve paid for them.  They must be well kept.

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Don’t get caught up on buying outfits.  It is easy to purchase an outfit that looks just

like the mannequin, but is that really you?  If you are unsure about an outfit ask the stylist for help.  You want to remember your style and your occasion when shopping.  Always try items on even if you think it is your size.  Some sizes run different depending on the designer.

  • Ask yourself:  What do I have at home to go with this item?
  • Don’t buy an outfit, if you can’t separate the pieces and wear it with another item.  You won’t get as much use out of it and when you wear it, it will look like the same outfit.
  • Learn to mix and match items you already have to give you a fresh look.

Layer your Clothing.  Layering works for warm or cool seasons.  It just depends on the type of material you are wearing.  Know your fabrics and how you feel in them.

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  • Layer with same types of shirts
  • Layer with different types of shirts to add your own personality
  • Layer colors
  • Layer dresses with pants or leggings (looks great on a tall person)
  • Layer with shirts, jackets, sweaters, scarves

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