sweetofstyle

Style is knowing who you are, what you want to say and not giving a damn – Gore Vidal

Archive for the tag “Jamaica”

Saving the Economy a Sandal at a Time

I love Jamaica. I adore the culture, enjoy the people and am mesmerized by its bewitching beauty. But the economy sucks. In fact, it’s the only thing that would make me want to leave. Believe it or not, a sucky economy impacts many other important things in a nation.

So… I have to do what I can to make some improvements. According to a popular Jamaican saying, ‘one one coco full baaskit.’ This means, ‘every little bit adds up.’ And when I bought my latest pair of sandals from a craftsman who has a cute little shop tucked away in a little corner of Mobay, I did just that. The store is callled Klass sandals. All the sandals are made from leather and each one is individually hand crafted.

I love that. I love the feeling I get when I know that  a bit of care and  extra attention to detail has been put into something I purchase. I also feel good because instead of running online to go buy sandals (that probably wouldn’t last long anyway), I supported a small and local business. And the icing on the cake is that people LOVE my sandals. I get compliments everytime I wear them! 🙂

When Fashion becomes Frivolous

In the United States of America, it is common fashion knowledge (or whatever) that one should not wear white after Labour Day. The reasons for this are varied, but below is an excerpt from the most widely held belief as to the origin of this rule.

The wives of the super-rich ruled high society with an iron fist after the Civil War. As more and more people became millionaires, though, it was difficult to tell the difference between old money, respectable families, and those who only had vulgar new money. By the 1880s, in order to tell who was acceptable and who wasn’t, the women who were already “in” felt it necessary to create dozens of fashion rules that everyone in the know 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 it had the wrong sleeve length, other women would know not to give her the time of day.

Not wearing white outside the summer months was another one of these silly rules. White was for weddings and resort wear, not dinner parties in the fall. Of course it could get extremely hot in September, and wearing white might make the most sense, but if you wanted to be appropriately attired you just did not do it. Labor Day became a federal holiday in 1894, and society eventually adopted it as the natural endpoint for summer fashion.

tumblr_mh1r7rxBxC1qeb6upo1_500

Things have gone so far that this tradition has been touted as a matter of etiquette… I would beg to differ. In fact, I believe that is utter rubbish and I consider the rule to be unnecessarily archaic! For me, the only justifiable reason for not wearing white after Labour Day is the fact that fall welcomes colder temperatures and black is said to attract heat, thus keeping one warmer.

Image

Coco Chanel

Renowned style icon Coco Chanel wore white year round and as for me…Well anyone who knows me knows that I will never subscribe to any fashion or even style rule if it makes no sense to me. I had a white turtleneck sweater that fit like a dream and I used to rock all hell out of it in the winter when I lived in New York! Thank God, I have an independent and well functioning mind!

That said, I must mention a most ridiculous caption I read below a photo in a Jamaican newspaper (The Jamaica Observer). Making reference to a woman who was dressed in white, the caption stated that though she had flouted the rule of not wearing white after Labour Day, she looked great (unfortunately I can’t find the link). To say I was seriously irritated is a gross understatement! What’s worse, I’ve seen similar references in the same publication repeatedly.

Image

The Jamaica Observer’s Page 2

Why I’m extremely irked to see garbage like that in a Jamaican paper is that:

1. Labour Day in Jamaica is in May!

… and we have no fashion rule as it relates to same. All the captions I’ve seen in said paper have been after September (Labour Day in the US), so clearly reference is being made to the above mentioned American rule – which is just plain DUMB!

2. We live in a tropical climate!

While it generally gets colder from November to about January (Christmas breeze) and plants blossom heavily in April and May, we have no seasons. It is pretty much always warm!

I should perhaps pen a letter to the lifestyle editor of the Jamaica Observer, so that if she is not cognizant of the fact that it is ludicrous to allow such hogwash in the paper, she may learn!

white-clothes

I don’t know why people think that every trend or idea that pops up in Europe or North America must be copied on this island. We need to put things into perspective, emulate what is practical and allow common sense to be our guide in knowing what to leave by the wayside.

While I was Planning…

There’s a regular saying in my island home that goes thus: ‘Man a plan, God a wipe out.’ I believe it really translates to mean that as man makes (writes) his plans, God erases them.

Surely this is what happened to me as I made plans to buy all these fabulous items to compliment my new uniform for the 2012- 2013 work year. If you recall, I did a whole post about it!

Well, the new uniforms arrived but I got ABSOLUTELY NOTHING from my list! The money was there and everything was in place and then suddenly, all sort of things came up and I didn’t have the money anymore, had to scale down plans, fell in love with a whole new set of stuff!!

So the first new thing I fell in love with were these tres chic vintage inspired oxfords! Aren’t they gorg?!!! They compliment my new uniform (which is heavy on navy blue) so well and I get loads and loads of complements on them.

IMG_8778

Restricted Betsy Oxfords (whiskey)

And after I found they were sold out at DSW (which seems to be my go to shoe store these days), I persistently hunted ’til I got them on sale at Kohls  for a fraction of the price I had seen them for originally 😉

They creased at the sides the first day I wore them (giving a worn appearance), but it adds to the vintage appeal - I guess!

They creased at the sides the first day I wore them (giving a worn appearance), but it adds to the vintage appeal – I guess!

Photos of my new uniform and accessories to come soon (can’t wait to share)!!!

Proud Jamaican!

I’m a Proud Jamaican.

Myself and the big man himself Usian Bolt!

I’d like to think I’ve always been that way, but I know for sure that until I lived away from my beautiful island home for nearly three years, I never realized just how special it is to be Jamaican. It was only when I was way up in the neck of the woods of upstate New York that I realized how truly unique Jamaicans are. How special is our native language, our patriotism, our genuine friendliness and willingness to help others (which at this point in my life I think is second to none) and that’s only the top of the list!

Warm, genuine Jamaican people make our island special

This year is very momentous for us as we celebrate 50 years of independence on August 6th!

Logo for Jmaaica’s 50th Anniversary

It goes without saying that I’m quite excited about our involvement in this year’s Olympic games! We have some very fine athletes and what makes many of them even more remarkable is that they have endured many hardships (such as very little funding) and beat the odds to be at the Olympics.

Jamaican delegation at the opening ceremony of the 2012 Olympic Games

This year we have sprinters defending their titles in a number of categories! We’re defending all three spots for the women’s 100m dash and Usain Bolt will be defending his title for the 100m dash (men)! Veronica Campbell 200m dash (women) and Usain Bolt 200m dash (men). Melaine Walker 400m hurdles and a team of four men will defend the 4x100m relay (men)! I feel a surge of pride just writing that!

Of course the whole world seems to be infected with Usain fever (haha) – the poor lad was apparently mobbed by fans at the Olympic village one day!

To di worl’! A classic example of Usain fever 😉

This year we were represented by our first equestrienne Samantha Albert! She did not do as well as she would have liked, but I’m happy that in a country which can’t place much emphasis on such sports due to a serious lack of resources, she made it that far. Alia Atkinson yesterday placed 4th in the 100m breaststroke final. Although she didn’t medal, the whole country is overjoyed with her performance and perseverance and rooting for her in the 200m tomorrow!

Even at the Olympics style reigns supreme and I had to share a photo of Alia looking fabulous in her swimsuit! Donning all the Jamaican colours (black green and gold) the swimsuit is accented by a smiling Bob Marley with his signature dreadlocks!

Alia Atkisnson in her black green and gold Bob Marley swimsuit!

Love the swimsuit and would love a wheelbarrow (well maybe a mini one) to haul away our medals at the end of these games!

(from left) Shelly-Ann Fraser-Pryce gained 1st place and Keron Stewart and Sherone Simpson tied for second place in the last Olympic games 100m dash!

As we say down here on the rock – To ‘di worl!

 

 

High Tops Rock

My very first pair of High tops were Sasson’s by Jordache. It was the 90’s and I was in 4th or 5th grade. My uncle bought me those sneakers and while I was really skeptical of them in the beginning, they grew on me like leaves on trees!

I fell in love with them and kept them looking fresh and clean. I wore them after they had become too tight for comfort and only stopped when they threatened to cut blood circulation from my feet to the rest of my body.

High top sneakers (and other shoes) have evolved since then and the pickings only get better!  Last year I fell in love with the Brendi sneaker by Coach and this year I fell in love with a pair of shoes I believe to be Kickers after I saw a Jamaican artiste (Mavado) wear them in a music video.

I think high tops ooze personality all their own and if worn by someone with spunk and style provide even more pizzazz!

Sexy One-Piece Swimwear – Is It Out There?

My dear friend is coming to Jamaica and with much talk and growing excitement about visiting the beach in Negril, soaking up some sun and possibly snorkelling, I figured the time had come for me to get some swimwear.

So I set out in search of a fabulously sexy one-piece – and with the options in today’s marketplace you’re thinking the same thing I was – “This shouldn’t be too hard.” Except I was looking for something that covers my back as much as possible.

Well, it’s like… I kinda have a progressive & irreversible ‘skin condition’ which makes me way less than confident about showing skin ‘in back’ – so I decided to vigilantly go on the prowl and find exactly what I wanted!

I was on the net all gung-ho trying to find something (why I didn’t go ‘store shopping’ is a different post for a different time), ’til I saw the frickin prices and was like ‘whoooooaa.’  The first thing I realized is that the more skin you show is the less you pay! I was like “daaamn, yea you had to use more material to create this, but… daaamn.”

Let me tell you how I saw some show-stopping, breath-taking bathing suits. I would picture myself in these gorgeous garbs; running along the beach, ‘hair blowing in the wind’, guys raising themselves and their jaws off the sand as they asked, “Who’s that girl?”… RECORD SCRATCH, then I’d see the prices and my breath would stop (instant headache) and the beach scene I was about to star would end abruptly. Too many times it happened 😥 That shit breaks a girl’s heart!

I also realized that there are barely any sexy swimsuits that provide back coverage! When I would run into one, it was always sold the f@(! out 😡

My goal was to find something sexy under US$100, but I was having no luck and just when I was about to throw in the towel – voila – I found something!

Victoria's Secret Ruched One-piece Swimsuit DKNY

Look out for my next post of the top swimsuits I found!

Everybody Asks About My Clarks!

Today I saw my brother wearing a pair of Clarks that he has had for at least four years. Yea, they’re a bit stained from construction work, but they still look decent. When I asked him how he’s managed to keep them for so long he said it was because he hardly wears them. He did mention though, that they’re simply strong shoes. He reminded me that he had a black pair of leather Wallabees (high tops) that he wore until he gave them away (in good condition).

My brother's old suede Wallabees

I too have a pair of Wallabees (with the L-stitch). I was partly inspired to buy those shoes when I was going through a period of ‘enlightenment’ and positively identifying with the Rastafarian movement. I bought those shoes in ’06 and was positively shocked at how expensive they were, but I still wear them today.

My L-Stitch Wallabees: Expensive but worth it!

What can I say? Not only are Clarks fashionable and trendy, they are strong and durable as well!

Below, I have added excerpts from an article written by Jesse Serwer on the 30-year love affair between Jamaican ‘rudeboys’ and Britain’s premium sensible footwear.

Clarks Originals have long been a staple of Jamaican fashion. Back in the spring, the Jamaican dancehall artist Vybz Kartel released a single paying tribute to his favourite consumer goods. He was, he says, recognizing a great Jamaican tradition. The song was a huge hit on the island, and stores across Jamaica reported selling out of the very thing Vybz Kartel was hymning. Vybz Kartel’s single was called Clarks, and its cover carried pictures of his favourite Clarks shoes – the Wallabees, Desert Boots and Desert Trek shoes of the Original “heritage” range – of which he claims to have more than 50 pairs.

If Clarks have long been in Britain the shoes of schoolchildren and pensioners, in Jamaica they are a long-standing symbol of upward social mobility, valued for their versatility and – important in a tropical climate – their breathability.


“The generation who had immigrated to England to work in that period after the Second World War would return to Jamaica wearing these Clarks, and people developed a fascination,” Ranx says. “You go back to Jamaica on holiday, the first thing they ask you for is: ‘Bring back a traditional Marks & Spencer string vest, or a pair of Clarks.'”

Desert Clarks

By the time reggae exploded internationally in the 1970s, Clarks were the preferred footwear for Rastafarians and “baldheads” alike. Rummage through LPs from reggae’s golden era, and you’re likely to turn up at least a few photos of rude boys with their trouser legs rolled up to reveal ankle-length desert boots. But it was in the 1980s, as the social consciousness of the Bob Marley era gave way to dancehall’s rampant materialism, that the shoes gained iconic status.

Siick!! Wallabees are my favourite type of Clarks.

Post Navigation

%d bloggers like this: