Style

The Evil Eye

In cultures all over the world- but mostly in Asia, Europe and the Middle East- folks believe in (or did) the “evil eye”  It’s the idea that a person can look at you or stare at you in a way that will bestow evil on you.  It’s a jealous or covetous look- it is often unintentional- but not always.  People worried that being successful in business or having a large number of children might bring “evil eye” looks and eventually bad luck or experiences.  In order to counteract the “evil eye” people began would say charms or spells or wear the “evil eye symbol”.  It was common practice in the Jewish faith as well as the Muslim faith to wear the an evil eye amulet to ward off danger associated with “evil eye” looks.

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Ancient Egyptian Makeup and Beauty

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in the 1963 film

Elizabeth Taylor as Cleopatra in the 1963 film

When I think of ancient Egyptian makeup the first thing that comes to mind is Elizabeth Taylor in Cleopatra.  She’s shown wearing heavy black eyeliner all the way around her eyes, with lines coming out at the corners to create a cat eye.  She’s also wearing heavy blue eye shadow over all of the eye lids all the way up to heavily darkened eye brows.  Her lips are neutral as well as her face makeup.  While some of what Liz’s Cleopatra is wearing is historically accurate- its not totally correct.  Today I’ll show what would have been more standard in ancient Egypt.  Hollywood has to take poetic license to ensure it’s stars still look beautiful according to modern times.  Beauty is a concept that changes with time; what was considered beautiful in ancient Egypt isn’t necessarily the standard today.

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Current Makeup Faves- Roller Lash & Pur Minerals

I love makeup- I have since I was little.  I have an older sister and I spent a lot of time in elementary school sneaking in her room and messing with her makeup.  As you can guess it was extremely annoying to her and I was her little pest!  After I grew up the love didn’t fade and now I’m discovering the world of makeup history- check back in a few weeks for my upcoming post on makeup in ancient Egypt (or follow me on instagram @orange_tree_fla)!  Today I’m sharing a few modern 😉 products that I’m currently in love and highly recommend!

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What’s a Kaftan?

Imagine yourself sipping a rum drink out of coconut while relaxing in the shade of a palm tree; you have on stunner shades, a wide brimmed straw hat, and you’re wearing a kaftan…..what a sec…… what’s a kaftan?

Kaftan’s are trending right now and they are the hottest in beach cover up wear this summer.  You know if I’m writing about it on this blog that it has some sort of historical story- so here goes!  According to Encyclopedia Britannica “A kaftan is a man’s full length garment of ancient Mesopotamian origin (which means they’re like 5,000 years old), worn throughout the Middle East.  Usually made of cotton or silk, or a combination of the two.”  Characteristics of one are: wide/long sleeves, can be open at the front and tied with a sash, and loose fitting and breezy.

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Off The Shoulder Style: Then and Now

One of the things I love about fashion is how styles come in, go out, and come back again.  As a historian I love looking for elements of historical style- or details that were stylish in the past now becoming en vogue.   So, when I saw that off the shoulder tops were the it item for the summer I immediately connected this style trend with a popular look in the 19th century.

In the mid 19th century off the shoulder gowns were the dominate style for ladies evening gowns and/or ball gowns.  The off shoulder look was not wore during the day, as it was not conservative enough.  When wearing an off the shoulder gown a woman’s bodice or corset would push her bosom up giving her lots of cleavage!  I know- it seems a little scandalous for that time period- but it was accepted and widely worn.  In addition to being very low cut, the dresses were also very tight and low across the shoulders.  They were so tight in fact that when wearing one a woman couldn’t lift her arms above shoulder height.  From the should down the gown would taper down to the waist tightly, and then balloon out over ample petticoats and a wooden frame hoop skirt.  Can you image wearing a dress like that in August?!?

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How to Wear Double Denim

Denim Jeans- The FactsThanks to Levi Strauss (the inventor of blue jeans) we Americans and now the whole world love love love our denim jeans!  They’ve been around for about 150 years- and they are not showing any signs of slowing down in popularity!  In fact these days its totally acceptable to wear a denim bottom and top together.  We’ve come a long way from waist overalls- the original name of jeans!

Spring is a great season to jump on the double denim train because it is often chilly in the morning and a jean jacket is easy to throw on before leaving the house.

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Cashmere Couture: Cashmere in Western Culture

A vibrant red colored cashmere or pashmina wrap.
A map showing the regional boundaries of the Cashmere (Kashmir) region.

A map showing the regional boundaries of the Cashmere (Kashmir) region.

Cashmere- synonyms with luxury, soft and warm, beautiful and sophisticated; more than just a material- it’s a lifestyle.  A cashmere garment grants the wearer the power to feel unique- surrounded by warmth, beauty, and rarity; it always stands out in a crowd.  Cashmere is also a place; a land in India- tucked away in far north.  For centuries it was a place of mystery to Westerners; a place of exotic people, things, and practices.  The fabric first began to grace the bodies of rich Westerners in the 19th century- beginning in the Napoleonic era and gaining even more popularity during the Victorian age.

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Victorian Inspired OOTD

I have been so inspired by my Victorian Month that I decided to write my first ever style/ Outfit of the day (OOTD) post!

First, a few things you should know, 1- I am NOT a stylist (nor do I claim to have any sort of super styling talent) I enjoy putting different pieces together and playing around in my closet.  2. – I am not a millennial (although I think I might be borderline) so taking selfies is not second nature to me.  Back in the day we used to take selfies with our yellow disposable kodak cameras (you know what I’m talking about) and then wait until we got the film developed to see how they turned out.  More often then not half of your face was missing.  Please be kind to my selfie efforts- cut me some slack- this is an art form not easily conquered overnight 😉

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