Thursday, January 8, 2015

Black by Popular Demand

How beautiful it is outside today.  My bedroom window makes a pale blue frame around a winter wonderland -- a light dusting on the trees, a white coating on the lake.  Everything sparkles in the noonday sun.  It’s been snowing for two days; the first snowfall of winter is always the prettiest of the season.  It’s the perfect time to wish all of you, my dear readers, a healthy, happy and prosperous 2015. 
The Christmas holidays came and went in a blur of activity.  The gift list gets smaller and smaller every year, which is a blessing and a sorrow.  The children in my life are no longer children; gift certificates have replaced snow globes with dancing ballerinas.   Loved ones lost to me are remembered with sweet sadness.  It gets harder and harder to find interesting and clever gifts for friends and family, but I still do my best and so do they.  In fact, I got a terrific gift (i.e., clever, interesting and practical) from my sister-in-law, Sandy. 

Do you know what this is?  I didn’t. 

It’s a little device from QVC that helps you fasten your bracelet, and it’s positively génial.   Mine has a bulb of clear crystal and comes in a deep blue velvet pouch. 

New Year’s Eve found us celebrating at Tavistock Country Club, an annual ritual for ‘lo these many years now.  There were private parties in the upstairs banquet rooms and over 300 members in the downstairs Lounge and surrounding dining rooms.  I always marvel at how beautifully the Club and its staff handle all this, particularly the members.  We members are a demanding bunch, who think nothing of spilling all over the place, table hopping to greet friends.  I sometimes wonder how they keep up with us, but they always do. 

With no time to shop, at the last minute I threw together an outfit for the evening from some of my favorite pieces.  This Jones New York LBD (available at Macy’s) looks exactly like the one I bought almost 15 years ago, except that mine has a deep V-neck.  (It’s the first thing to get packed no matter where I’m headed.)  I added an emerald and diamond choker that belonged to the late Mme Mère, a chunky, rose-gold bracelet (also hers), Swarovski crystal hoop earrings, high-heeled pumps in burgundy leather and suede, a leopard print, snakeskin clutch and a body-hugging, black sweater with a discreet trim of black and brown mink on the border and cuffs.  (Sorry there’s no picture, but I don’t do Selfies and I hate to interrupt a good time to ask someone to take pictures, particularly of me.  You’ll just have to use your imagination.  Besides, I always look better in my own imagination, so I’ll probably look better in yours, too.) 

I’m often asked if you can “get away” with wearing black when you are a femme d’un certain âge, to which I reply, “Get away with it?  You can absolutely run with it!”  Where is it written that you have to pack away your black after 50?  I have it on the best authority that black is still the chic woman’s best friend, no matter her age or size. 

What would we do without it? 

The Color Black projects sleekness and substance, the ultimate in sophistication and glamour.  It is also associated with power – think tuxedos, limousines, clergy and judges’ robes. 


“We experience all of life’s big events in the little black dress.”  Norma Kamali

While there’s more than a dash of hyperbole in that statement (I’ve never seen a bride dressed in black!), on the whole, it’s probably more true than not, and I love the spirit of her words. 



“Black is the hardest color in the world to get right—except for gray...” Diana Vreeland (1903-1989)
She should know; she practically lived in the color.  My guess is The Empress of Fashion always got it exactly right. 

Did you know that over 90% of the tea consumed in the western world is black tea?  The flavor of black teas can run the gamut from soft and flowery to dark and spicy.   



The Two Sisters on the Terrace (1881) – Renoir
When we think of the impressionist artist Pierre-Auguste Renoir (1841-1919), we tend to think of soft pastels, vibrant reds and blues and women with blonde, chestnut or titian hair.  Yet, Renoir, himself, once said, “I’ve been 40 years discovering that the queen of all colors was black.” 

Lise Sewing (1866) - Renoir
Could that statement, perhaps, have had something to do with the black-haired beauty Lise Tréhot, whom the 24-year-old Renoir met when she was 17?  She would become his mistress and his model until 1870. 

While I have no artistic talent whatsoever, the red satin ribbon in Lise’s glorious black hair inspired me to create an evening ensemble in two of my favorite colors

I have definitely gone a little high-end crazy with the accessories, I know….but, a gal can dream, can’t she?  And so she should.  After all, we are never too old to wear black or too old to dream. 





  1. I'm new to your blog and enjoying it so much! Thank you

    1. Welcome to the family, Babycakes (cute name). Look forward to hearing from you.

      Cheers, M-T

  2. Dearest Marie Thérèse,
    Happy and Healthy 2015 to you as well.
    Oh yes, black is for me; always as I loved it as a teen and still do!
    By the way, my Mom did marry in a beautiful black rayon georgette wedding gown! She looked so beautiful in it and after WWII, even years later, in 1949, a lot of brides of her time wore black!
    It is what the economy at times 'gives' us but if we have the free choice; yes black for any garment piece. Works always well.
    Hugs to you,

    1. How fascinating!! Your Mother wore black on her wedding day. I do know that my Mother wore a suit of blue velvet that she had made for her in Paris, but I've never seen a bride in black. I would love to see a picture of your Mother in her black wedding gown. I'm sure she was just as chic then as her daughter is today.

      Happy New Year to you and your charming husband.

      Big hugs, M-T

  3. How did I miss this post?? I wondered why you'd been so quiet. I'll have to check my spam filter!!
    I'd be in a world of hurt without black. Before my 30's I never wore black. I read that silly book about seasonal color typing and decided I shouldn't. As I broadened my horizons, I realized black was essential to my wardrobe. Years later when I got professionally trained, I learned why I could, should and luckily can wear black.
    Great post!!
    How about a bi coastal series my friend??
    Belated Happy New Year! xox

    1. I knew you and I would be on the same page on this one. So delighted to hear from you. I've had some computer "issues" (still not totally resolved) and Blogger was not allowing me to upload photos (yikes!!), all of which may explain my fairly quiet January.

      I would LOVE to do a bi-coastal series w/you. I'll be in touch by e-mail very soon (a phone call would, also, be lovely -- will discuss).

      Big hugs and a Happy New Year, my friend,

      xoxo, M-T

  4. About gifts.......I am now gifting "foody" choices. There are so many beautifully packaged luxury teas, chocolates, biscuits, jams, honey and perfumed candles. All these items are endless and so easy to find and quick to buy and finally add beauty to the recipients life and will almost definitely not be re-gifted.
    Bonne Année à vous,

    1. Always delightful to hear from you. I, too, have been moving towards foody choices for gifts, mostly from France for my American friends, and they love them. You definitely cannot re-gift foie gras.

      Bonne Année et meilleurs voeux à vous aussi,



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