Stylish Thoughts – Privilege


Today I’m lucky enough to have Lisa from Privilege share some of her thoughts about style.  Lisa lives in Northern California, USA.

1. Who inspires you?

This may sound platitudinous, (big word of the day) but it is in fact my mother. I remember her as well in a black Donald Brooks 1960s cocktail dress – u-shaped necklace embellished with enormous emerald-cut rhinestones – as in her bandanna, jeans, workshirt and sneakers. Because the bandanna, as you might imagine, set off the blue of her eyes and coordinated with denim. White Keds added a certain snap. That’s mom above, BTW, in Paris in the late 80s. Her black skirted suit almost certainly worn with boots. The bag, unlogoed, her high collar adding an original and perfectly proportioned touch. Above all, the complete lack of concern about what the wind was doing to her hair.

My mother dresses perfectly and appropriately for all occasions. She never shows off, she never throws in the towel, upon seeing a piece of clothing I always know what mom would think of it. To be both memorable and appropriate seems like a goal.

2. What’s the secret to looking polished? What’s your favourite short cut to style?

The two best things you can do to have immediate impact on your style quotient are a) get a good haircut b) buy a few classic jackets, i.e., a peacoat, a 3/4 trench, something leather. People skim the world and make snap judgments. Your hair and jacket may be all they ever see.

3. What is the one thing you would spend a lot of money on?

I confess to a luxury addiction. What? It was all the fault of my childhood. Isn’t everything? So I spend money on whatever I know I really want, can afford, and believe I will wear. One can’t always know in advance what clothing will lift your spirits. Nor what pieces will resurface in your wardrobe over and over again. Although improved by common sense, style isn’t always rational.

4. That said, I wouldn’t spend a lot of money on a trend breathing its last. I wouldn’t buy expensive gladiator sandals right now. Nor expensive leggings.

5. What is your current obsession?

A non-black leather jacket. In my 50s, I find while bombers and blazers are out, a jacket with moto-styling can still play a role. Besides, I think it’ll look great with my brown Aerosoles. No, I am not kidding. They’re edgy, for Aerosoles. While I covet this:

Balenciaga Red Leather Motorcycle Jacket From Net-a-Porter

I am likely to end up with this:

Or this.

All Saints Leather Motorcycle Jacket

I like to covet things and then say never mind. I have learned not to mind giving up objects, as long as I persist in other dreams.

6. What’s the best piece of style wisdom you’ve ever received?

Dress your body for your life.

7. What is your favourite current trend?

Bits and pieces of 1970s Edwardia. (Is that a word? Or should I say Edwardiana?) Jackets with tails. Velvet for daytime. Brocade.

8. What’s the worst current trend?

I’ve grown annoyed with leggings/skinny jeans ending in a pair of round-toe ballet flats. The scarf wound round one’s neck doesn’t compensate. Not a bad trend, at all, when it started. But, just as we flung our low-cut jeans aside, time to move on to other silhouettes.

9. What are your favourite websites?

My favorite style blogs are:

New York Magazine’s The Cut (funny, up-to-the-moment, fashion business and goods to desire)
High Snobiety (like The Cut, only edgier)
The Preppy Princess (for all things preppy and classic, The Princess has a background in news reporting and manages to slip quite a bit of intelligent perspective and commentary on fashion in amongst the pink and green)
Already Pretty. Sal’s musings on body image and creative shoes warm one’s spirit.
For my true addiction, i.e. pictures of jewelry, Catbird, Beladora, Wendy Brandes, and Ylang23

To say nothing, of course, of Inside Out Style. The advice here feels like data, rather than sheer opinion, and I believe there’s nothing better for the science of living than data.

Thank you Imogen, for your insight, and the invitation.


Balmain, via net-a-porter
LOT78 via The Outnet
All Saints


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  • This was a great post!!!! if I could get my hands on a hot pink leather jacket… I would be in heaven!
    Have a pretty day!

  • Wow. I am sorry to see this on this blog. I thought it was much more inclusive than this.

    After going to this person's blog and reading what this prviledge really is, I was sadly taken aback.

    Obviously not everyone has white privilege and I avoid people who are so concerned about it that they go to this length. It more than hints at a need for supremacy. Much like Hitler and Stormfront.

    Imogen, I know you are under the weather and reaching out for help keeping your blog current. But this is not the type of thing I want to be associated with, so I will be passing on your blog from now on.

  • Imogen, I am happy to see this on your blog.
    Also because I did not know your blog before.

    Lisa, good points, lots of food for thought.
    #1 I need to change my hair stylist. It is not a good haircut I get there and I pay way too much
    #2 yes, the jacket and the hairstyle, I will keep that in mind
    #3 the jacket: red red red! You would look so cool, wearing the red jacket. But Aerosoles, really? Why not some boots?
    #4 the flats and skinny jeans – in April you noticed them on the streets in New York. What will be the new trend? There has to be a new trend
    #5 oh mother! I nodded when I read you words, my mum is/was the same. Why didn't I turn out like her? Maybe the style decreases from generation to generation: my grandmother had more style than my mum etc. And of course the unlogoed bag. While my sister and I logo "up".

    What I like about guest-postings: people write differently, like visiting another house.

  • Excellent post with Lisa. She is a down to earth friend who knows both what matter and shares her experiences!

    Art by Karena

  • Excellent post. I'm also a fan of 'Edwardiana'. I have struggled over the years with keeping touches in my daily outfits without looking as though I'm wearing a costume.

  • Thank you everyone! Lorrwill, you and I should discuss on my blog, and on a post which does not mention my mother. Or in email. Feel free to say these things to me, but please let's do this some place not presided over by a picture of Mom.

  • Love this post LIsa, I really love what you said about style not always being rational–it's so true. And what you think might be a passing fancy can end up being your tried and true staple. It's also sadly true about people just seeing your hair and your jacket–so much so that my stylist once said if you're going to curl your hair start in the front because that's what people are going to see and if you run out of time to finish your hair you'll at least be passable. Can't wait to see which leather jacket you end up with!

    xo Mary Jo

  • Super post. Considerations will be made. Thanks for sharing.

    BTW, to be sure, I am neither "white" nor interested in "white privilege" per se. I simply find the perspective expressed at Privilege on lifestyle, fashion and such to be thought-provoking, inspiring and loads of fun. Indeed, it was this very Lisa who commented recently that "privilege is having clean water and electricity."

    At any rate, I am not quite so courageous as to don a leather jacket in a color other than black (or perhaps dark brown). I'm afraid I would feel conspicuous as I'm not particularly lean or edgy. I think it must take a certain personality to carry it off.

    Regarding Edwardiana (wink), I am watching the Masterpiece Classic mini-series called "Downton Abbey" which is currently running on PBS in my corner of the world. The dresses, accessories, furnishings, manners, etc. are circa 1912 England and are exquisite.

    Finally, Inside Out Style looks very interesting. Will bookmark and return soon. Thank you.

  • First of all, so sorry to hear how ill you've been and how glad I am that you're on the mend — and trust you to find humour and colour in a bag of vomit!

    Next, so pleased to see your guest post here and to see your well-designed questions prompt some new info from Lisa, offering another perspective on one of my favourite bloggers. The picture of your mom is wonderful, Lisa — and I can easily see you in her face.

    Lorrwill — while I can understand that an upfront declaration of Privilege can be off-putting if one makes the usual assumptions about it, you might be surprised if you read three or four posts carefully. I'd say that anyone who finds much to like at Imogen's blog could also find it at Lisa's. I also wish folks were more careful about throwing around comparisons to Hitler — the Holocaust is far too serious to be minimized by sloppy equation.

  • Oh, that picture! Really is worth a thousand words.

    Speaking of words, may I impose and contribute a few? Crickets, crickets… Ok, I shall do so, thank you very much.

    This thought is 100% based on my experience and not meant to be a blanket statement.

    Women seem to be the forward observers of injustices in the
    world. The maternal instinct(and I do not mean just the maternal nature of a
    human, as I include childless by choice and not by choice
    in my immediate family and friends). The instinct to shield, protect, nurture are inherant qualities are amongst us. Not to disclude any male readers at the moment.

    Sometimes when something jumps out at me such as a term, slogan or agenda, if I sniff just a hint of something that might hurt someones feelings, or possibly disclude someone or a group. My justice antenae can pop up.
    I will look for other reasons to confirm my thoughts.
    Not quite the same intention but,
    for instance, way back (my youngest is 10) when I was pregnant. I looked around and everyone was pregnant. Really, or was I looking for it? Looking for it I believe, because I was in touch with that.

    Maybe this is what LorrWill saw when she read the word "privilege"?
    I urge you LorrWill to please review some of Lisa's posts. I have read for over a year now. One of my favorites is the post on her visit to some family in Sweden. I don't think Lisa has any pre-requisites to her reader base. However, a love of aesthetics, mind travel, serendipity..those trancend socio-economic, gender, political, religion etc. barriers to me.

    Best to all.
    I am off to reconsider my jackets and can I get a new one before tonight as I am going to a downtown dinner with my husbands out of town bosses and swing volleyball carpool, tax filing preperation, futsal for son. Exciting, non? Would'nt change a thing.


  • Imogen I have to thank Lisa for introducing me to your blog full of great tips..I will be back!

    Lisa,your mother is beautiful and natural,I envy you as I lost my parents very young,and brought up by my grand parents…my wish was always to have a 'Mum' hope you are close & have fun time. Ida x

  • It's appalling that some can be so instantly critical of those who come from a different background. Making fast judgments is not being inclusive, just, or reasonable. There is such a thing as reverse snobbery, and it seems that one reader of this blog, Lorwill is indulging in it. Must we be poor, disadvantaged, and nonwhite to qualify as bloggers?

    Lisa is an astute and compassionate writer. She causes her thoughtful readers to reflect anew on issues of human relationships as well as on more frivolous subjects. I value her perspective.

  • great picture of your mom lisa.

    blazers are out? i did not know that, i', in big trouble.

    def the red jacket.

    hitler? REALLY?


  • SO true about a good haircut. Crowning glory and all that.

    "To be both memorable and appropriate seems like a goal." – I love how that sounds… and definitely something to keep in mind when it comes to attiring ourselves.

    I love how Lisa always manages to find just the right words.

  • Excellent snap of your Mum with the Notre Dame in the background. I love that part of Paris.

    I have to embrace leggings and round toe ballet flats because at a million months pregnant it's become a sort of uniform- I am severely and frighteninly limited in Outfit Options!

    I love luxury too. So soothing during life's trying times. Remember Old Barbara Amiel said "I have a taste for Luxury that knows no bounds"? well I do too, although not to the point of stealing from my shareholders pension funds or anything sinister.

    Loved the post x

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