Monday, April 14, 2014

What are Majorica Pearls

I remember seeing Majorica pearls as a child in window shops all over town. They were always placed on top of some sort of red velvety material, and Majorica's red and gold banner was always prominent. My mother, of course, was interested in pearls, as any self-respecting Spanish woman of a certain age had to be, so she owned some cultured pearls and some Majorica ones. Buying pearls was then considered a true investment, and a possible heirloom for the family.
If real pearls or even cultured ones are as out of your reach as they are of mine, these are a great faux option.

Vintage Majorica ads. Majorica pearls have been for decades at the top of the simulated beads market, next to Pearlfection. Both brands are collected by costume jewellery fans.
What are Majorica Pearls
Majorica pearls (not to be confused with Majorca pearls) are high-quality faux pearls produced in a small factory in the Balearic Islands in Spain, in the town of Majorica. They are faux because they are man-made in a factory. To be more precise, they are, and have always been, "woman-made". What probably started because female labour was cheaper than male's (it still is, but we are not going there now), is now probably a tradition. They use solid glass beads as nuclei for the pearls that are then coated with multiple lacquer layers (much as a cinnabar object would be), using what is known in the trade as essence d'orient or pearlessence. They keep the secret of their pearlessence formula zealously, obviously.
Majorica pearls look and feel real or, at the very least, expensive. Apart from their more conservative models (ie. regular pearls in expected colours, frequently in matching sets), which are a bit boring, they have started producing edgier ones, usually either with gold-plated, or in silver or rhodium findings. Slightly more than half of their products are still sold in Spain, although many to tourists, and the rest in the USA. For instance, Neiman Marcus and Saks Fifth Avenue both carry them.

Follow the label Pearls to learn about how to take care of pearls and more.

  • For all the photos in the post,
  • Their story, as told by themselves:
  • Their recent history, in El País (in Spanish): You can use to translate the page.

This post contains no affiliated links.
The label Pearls is a TRL series that is ongoing.
This post was first published on April 19th 2012. The information has been edited and the collages are new.

Friday, April 11, 2014

New Labels: Body type D, E and F and Plus

Fashion democracy? Think again
Finding the right garment for anyone but that elusive model who only is one out of a million is quite a challenge. If you are long waisted, short waisted, a Petite or Tall or Plus woman the difficulties are increased.
Choices are ridiculously limited for everyone who is not a slender teen in the high street, especially in Europe. Although not in the UK or the US, a lot of high street brands do not even carry size 44 (14UK), when that is actually the average size for women in a lot of countries. Also, most brands only produce for one body type in mind. For instance, you will search in vain for a pair of trousers in a size 44 or that is not for a Body type C in a Zara shop. Sometimes they theoretically exist, but you never get to see them... We all have a Petite friend who is forever scouting the hangers of Stradivarius or Forever21, fashion suitable for teenagers only, or a Tall friend who celebrates finding a long enough pair of trousers after a long search.
Things are fortunately starting to change, albeit slowly, and there is a new world out there of online shopping that makes things a little easier, and sometimes it is a question of knowing what is out there, so I encourage you to search and, if you feel like it, share your Petite, Tall and Plus size resources with me.
Introducing Body type D, E and F and the label Plus
For everybody, finding the right fit is not really a question of size, but of proportions. Petite women need shorter proportions, Tall women longer, and Plus women wider. Let's remember the ideal all clothes should ALWAYS achieve for ALL body types:
  1. Strike up a balance between upper and lower body. Your clothes should help you achieve a balanced silhouette and make your body look proportionate.
  2. Create a long unbroken line.

I propose Body type D, E and F as fuller variations of Body type A, B and C, respectively. For instance:
  • Body type A and Body type D will look their best in an empire cut dress that extends their shoulder line and has a full skirt so a long, unbroken line is created.
  • Body type Bs and Es should never loose their waist as the focal point of any outfit they create.
  • Body type Cs and Fs will both have great legs but will have to accommodate wider shoulders...

I am also introducing the label Plus to accompany Petite and Tall whenever I talk about styling a particular item (a jumpsuit, a full skirt), together with the label How to wear...

New labels

My Plus Girl by Caroline Grant. An empire waist dress with wide sleeves that widen slightly the line of the shoulder is a great option for Body type As and Ds, with a hem hitting at the slenderest part of the leg, under the knee.
Sandals with a small platform and a medium heel are a good complement to most legs, but especially for those with wider calves and ankles.  
Women of size and stature should not wear dainty handbags or jewellery but rather substantial pieces that will not overwhelm them as they would Petite women (I'm thinking on some celebrities that sometimes carry bags in which they could literally fit!). Anton Heunis produces such serious costume jewellery with a sense of fun.
The absolutely lovely pill box hat is another Milina designs creation in a wonderful colour.

H&M Trenchcoat / Anna Scholz Double Silk Deep Pleat Dress /  Max and Co. Handbag / Söfft Portia Sandals / Milina designs Pill-box Hat / Anton Heunis Necklace and Earrings / NARS Lipstick in Funny Face / M.A.C Nail lacquer in Steamy.

This post contains no affiliated links.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

DOs and DONTs of swimwear: Fit and cut

When you choose the right swimsuit for YOU, the right fit will put you half way there.


Swinsuit Democracy collage by Caroline Grant. [Photos from] Ladies, it's not our size that counts when wearing a swimsuit, but the fit. Tell me if they do not all look wonderful in the photo on the right!
  1. Choose a colour that flatters you. Those that are fair will look better in dark blue or a rich brown than in black.
  2. Forget about the size tag. The important thing is how the swimsuit looks and feels on you. Consider that separates may adjust to your needs better than a one-piece suit.
  3. Look for the right amount of support.
  4. Avoid too much exposure, you may want to leave something to the imagination.
  5. Avoid too much coverage, you may not want to look ancient either. Full-on coverage will make your butt look bigger, go for a bit of cheek better.
  6. Let the activity dictate the suit: if you are going to be active -dive, swim or play with children or do any sports-, a one-piece suit will be your best bet, because even bikinis that look secure will move and even fall off. If, on the contrary, you are going to be lounging by the pool, you can go for strictly "parade" pieces.
  7. Go for a brand you trust.

SUPPORT is the key word here. Check the side and front view to see that you are getting it. Center and aligned is what you are going for. This means that:
  • String bikinis are only for self-supporting breasts.
  • Sizable straps are a must for cups D and above. Tie-yourself halters that offer full coverage or a racer back are also good.
  • The bottom band needs to be wide and somewhat firm.
  • Coverage: enough that there is no side or rear exposure.
  • A high-cut leg opening at the widest part of the hip will make your legs look longer and slimmer, as it will create an upward angle.
  • A low-rise waist will add curves to narrow hips and minimize wider ones.
  • Go for a customized fit: a tie-it-yourself will let you adjust your suit to your needs, and so will separates in different sizes, if that is what you need.
  • Let your breasts spill out or point south or east and west.
  • Flatten your breasts or create a uniboob.
  • Wedgies: always a NO.
  • Bottoms hitched up high so they dig in front and back. Ouch!
  • High rises: the higher the rise of the bottom, the bigger the difference between the waist and the high and lower hip for those with saddlebags. A high rise will round up your belly and make it more visible, while a medium to low rise (but not extremely low: your belly will hang out) will create a horizontal line that will divide the space visually.
  • In general, boyshorts: they cut the leg straight across instead rather than at an upward angle. They only work on the narrowest figures.