I don't really think of our lives as an attempt to fulfill our predesigned destiny - or rather, I have been moving away from such thinking which is quite typical for people, no matter what countries and cultures we are from. I like to think of our destiny as something we design ourselves. The stories we hear about people that fascinate us only prove that anything is possible if you set your heart on it, if that is what you truly want and are willing to work on. A runner who runs without legs, a writer who writes without arms or eyes - you probably heard stories like that. Those people are extraordinary not because they were born that way, but because they decided that living a life in a box that was offered to them is rather dull. We still can live in that box, or any other box for that matter - we can even change boxes if we want to. Or discover that we are also given wings to fly. They need some training, just like birds' wings. They get rusty, because sometimes we forget that we have them. But they are there - they always were and always will be. It is up to us whether we decide to use them, our wings.
There are things that we discover about ourselves as we grow and live. If we try different things and pay attention, we'll see something about ourselves we did not know was there - one of them to me, was a discovery that I'm rather a good bridge maker. I don't like an "either - or" approach to life. I don't like exclusion. I don't like gaps, disconnections. So many things that seem disconnected at the first glance, at a closer, deeper look have actually deep common roots. As a student of languages, you discover it simply by learning two or more languages - so many words have the same roots in different languages. As someone who has lived in different countries, met not even hundreds - thousands of all sorts of people, and studied different cultures, you discover that people and their traditions are not all that different, that with all the superficial differences, there is something profound which binds us all.
My approach to style is no different. There is no "either - or" for me, but rather combining both contemporary and traditional, classical and new, practical and beautiful, businessy and bohemian together. To tell you the truth, I'm not looking for "one true style", or as they call it "a signature style" - I love diversity, variety above all. But if there is one look that feels very "me", then it lies in the combination of such opposite elements as sleek modern form with soft, whimsical traditional form as I did in this outfit (another good example of it in the earlier post Who I Am). And that is exactly why I like the times in which we live - I like that the world is coming to more acceptance than ever, and fashion reflects it. If you think of it, up till very recently fashion was so much more puristic and uniform. Now we are free to create any mixes that were not just unacceptable, but unthinkable before. Granted, there is still a long way to go to embrace all the variety that there is in the world - but the important thing is that we are moving in that direction.
When my parents were getting ready to visit us last year, Mom asked what I would like for a present. I said, Russian platok. When she asked me what I would like for my birthday, I said again - Russian platok. So the day before my birthday, I received a package from my dear parents with two new beauties for my collection.
I wrote about this gorgeous traditional Russian craft in my early post Russian Platok back in 2013. The word "platok" is a generic term we use for usually a large wool or silk shawl, typically square shape, though can be a triangle too (while the word "shawl" - шаль - more often used for a triangle shape, and usually knitted or crocheted). Pavlovoposadsky platok sounds way too long for you guys to remember (it literally means "from Pavlovsky Posad", the town where these fine shawls have been manufactured for over 200 years), so I simply started calling them Russian platok on my blog, and by the way even the manufacturer calls their web site platki.ru ("platki" being plural for "platok").
Two shawls in my collection are thrifted (oddly enough, found at the same antique mall, at different times), but the rest of them are bought in Russia by my parents. When a platok comes to you new, with the manufacturer's label, you learn the name of the artist who created the particular design of your platok. You also learn that each design has its own unique name. For instance, this out of thw ordinary beautiful smoky platok is called Secret of the Heart ("Тайна сердца") and was designed by Elena Favoritova. The label will also tell you what grade the product is - the finer the wool is (and they all are made of 100% wool), the higher the grade. Mine is quite fine, and the fringes are silk.
You can see that my new platok matches an old beloved set of earrings and pendant, another famous Russian craft - hand painted enamel (called also finift) and filigree. I rarely wear them together, but this time I wanted to. It's a pity that the fountain in Justin's business courtyard is turned off just a few minutes before I arrive to pick him up. But still, it was such a lovely day, and even a bunny came out to play and greet us in the middle of a busy business area, as we took these photos.
Without my whimsical Russian additions, the outfit is totally office appropriate - just throw on a cardigan or a blazer for more coverage if you need to. I love office style, always did and probably always will - but with a twist, not as conservative.
The form hugging skirt with a faux leather trim I've shown before (with a black ruana and chunky jewelry here and double leopard print and sequins here). The blouse stole my heart recently, thanks to its vibrant color and unique layered design - pleats over pleats, flowing beautifully as I move. Just like wings!
Blouse and skirt - Lane Bryant
Russian platok - birthday gift from my parents
Enamel hand painted earrings and pendant set - via eBay, years ago
Shoes - Rockport
Clutch - Cole Haan (old)
Linking up with Turning Heads Tuesday,