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September 2014

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Shoes…a girl can’t have enough! As I write this post, my feet are covered by a gorgeous, comfortable, high-heeled mix of shoe and ankle boot, and yes, they are suede.
Okay, black suede, not blue, but I don’t want anyone to step on my black suede shoes! Ouch, and you might scuff the velvety finish.
Suede is a type of leather with a napped finish, commonly used for jackets, shoes, shirts, purses, furniture and other items.  Suede leather is made from the underside of the hide, usually lamb, although goat and calf are sometimes used. However, to save animals, suede is often a man made, manufactured fabric with a brushed or napped finish to resemble suede leather.
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Suede Fun Fact: The term suede comes from the French “gants de Suede” which means “Swedish gloves.” Suede fabric was originally used for women’s gloves.
Suede gives a softer appearance of crushed velvet. Suede’s softness, thinness and pliability make the material suitable for clothing, shoes, handbags and other accessories. Suede is a mix of casual and fancy.
Step out in, not on, your blue suede shoes!
Step out in suede shoes, step out in style!
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Shoes, although worn on the feet, can be the crowning glory to any outfit, adding just the right touch. Much like a hat on the head. Turn a dressy garment into fabulous and a kick-around outfit into sporty and sharp merely by wearing suede shoes.
Suede Not So Fun Fact: Due to suede’s textured nature and open pores, suede may become dirty and quickly absorb liquids. Best not to wear your suede shoes in the rain. I remember wearing a pair of  suede moccasin boots in the rain once. The suede bottoms got slippery and I fell flat on my tushy. Ah, what we do for fashion! Worth it!
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Fabrics manufactured with a brushed or napped finish to resemble real suede leather often provide a similar look to suede, but have advantages, such as increased liquid and stain resistance.  And saving animals!
Microsuede is a microfiber knit blend fabric with a soft finish, but is easily distinguishable from actual suede leather. Microsuede has a great deal of stretch and is used in both garments and upholstery.
What’s a fashionable, smart thing to do? Step out on the town in a snazzy suede shoe!
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Whether you prefer heels, flats, boots or shoes, investing in a pair of suede shoes is a great choice for you! A stylish, trendy thing to do!
Suede Fun Fact: Sueded silk, sueded cotton and similar sueded fabrics are brushed, sanded or chemically treated for extra softness. Suede yarns are generally thick and plush.
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Suede Leather Fun Fact: Because suede doesn’t include the tough exterior skin layer of leather (the process called splitting) suede is less durable, but softer than standard, full-grain leather!
“Excuse me, but you just stepped on my black suede shoes!”
“Learn the words!”
Roll your eyes and continue walking on, knowing that you and your fabulous suede shoes know the words to the song! Ah, the person who stepped on your foot is completely wrong!
Be swayed by the fashion buzz to wear suede!
Suede shoes? Snazzy and super pizzazzy!
Author Nancy Mangano is the author of two riveting Natalie North murder mystery novels, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. Nancy’s next Natalie North book is scheduled for a tentative 2015 release date. Nancy  has blended her love of detective work and her lifelong relationship with fashion in her books. Visit Nancy on her author website www.nancymangano.com, her author Facebook fan page Nancy Mangano, Twitter @nancymangano and her fashion/style/beauty/book blog www.passionforprying.wordpress.com

Leather garments look lovely all year round, but we’re getting to the time of year when the weather begs for wearing leather! Autumn and winter weather wonderland!
Leather clothing in fashion looks trendy and stylish, and also provides a degree of warmth to the body. Leather is a durable and flexible material created by the tanning of animal rawhide and skin, often cattle hide. Leather is produced through manufacturing processes ranging from cottage industry to heavy industry.
One of the most popular leather garments is, of course, the leather jacket!
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Leather jackets are considered high end apparel and make a statement without saying a word.
Not into wearing real leather? Synthetic alternatives offer the same great look and comfort without using animal hide. Vegan microfiber, polyurethane materials, pleather, Naugahyde, NuSuede and Hydrolite provide features similar to leather.
Looking lovely in leather!
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Look luscious in leather jackets, skirts, shoes, hats, belts, shirts, purses, gloves. Leather is the look I’m thinking of!
Leather Fun Fact: Leather can be oiled to improve its water resistance. This supplements the natural oils remaining in the leather itself, which can be washed out through repeated exposure to water. Frequent oiling of leather, with mink oil, neatsfoot oil, or a similar material keeps the leather supple and improves the lifespan dramatically.
I remember when I bought me a gorgeous pair of knee-high, high-heeled leather boots to tuck my jean legs in. At the time I bought the boots, they gave me a container of leather cleaner/oil, and my boots stayed new looking for years. Finally tossed the boots…in hindsight, I gave my darling boots the boot!
Out with the old, in with the new, I guess.
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Leather Fashion Tip: If you only want to wear a hint of leather, that adds coolness and glamour to your ensemble, try leather gloves. Everyone loves leather gloves! Especially your hands – warm, gripping, cozy!
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The four main types of leather:

  1. Full-grain:  Hides that haven’t been sanded, buffed, or snuffed to remove imperfections on the surface of the hide. The grain remains, which allows fiber strength and durability. Totally natural leather, baby!
  2. Top-grain:  This is the second highest quality and the most common type of leather used in products. The split layer had been separated away, making it thinner and more pliable than full-grain.
  3. Corrected-grain: Leather that had had an artificial grain applied to its surface. The imperfections have been corrected and sanded off.
  4. Split leather:  Created from the fibrous part of the hide left once the top-grain of the rawhide has been separated from the hide.

Split Leather Fun Fact: Splits are used to create suede. The strongest suedes are made from grain splits (grain completely removed). Suede is fuzzy on both sides. Suede gives off an elegant appearance, a softer look than leather.
I love me my leather, and as a fashion buff, I also swing for suede. Ah, another blog post!
Leather…it’s just a cut above!
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Get the look – the leather look!
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If you’re not into wearing leather, or you find leather to be too tough for your girly taste, go all out knock-out in a mix of leather and lace!
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Less-common leathers include:

  1. Buckskin
  2. Patent leather (shiny and bright)!
  3. Fish leather
  4. Vachetta leather (think luggage and handbags)!
  5. Deerskin
  6. Belting leather
  7. Napa leather

Doesn’t matter the type of weather, you’ll always look magnificent when dressed in leather!
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Leather Fun Fact: Bonded leather and bycast leather aren’t true, organic leathers, but the materials contain leather fiber. On labels, they may still be referred to as “Genuine Leather.”
Real Leather Not So Fun Fact: The natural fibers of real leather will break down with the passage of time. Acidic leathers are particularly vulnerable to red rot, which causes powdering of the surface and change in consistency. Damage from red rot is aggravated by high temperatures and relative humidities and is irreversible.
Are you in the market for a clothing article that is modern, durable, fashionable and never goes out of style? Why not try strutting in leather for awhile?
“Excuse me, but you’ve got the look!”
“The London look?”
“The leather look.”
“Ah, glad you noticed!”
“Noticed? I’m hooked.”
Author Nancy Mangano is the author of two riveting Natalie North murder mystery novels, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. She has finished her third Natalie North novel, with a tentative 2015 release date. Nancy has blended her love of detective work and her lifelong passion for fashion in her books. Visit Nancy on her author website www.nancymangano.com, her author Facebook fan page Nancy Mangano https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Mangano/362187023895846, twitter @Nancy Mangano and her fashion/style/beauty/book blog www.passionforprying.wordpress.com
 
 
 

If you were to ask me what three clothing items are a must have for any closet, I would say a black dress, a pair of killer high heels, and high-waisted pants (preferably jeans and dress  slacks). Okay, theoretically that’s four, so let’s say what four things should live in your closet.
I find high-waisted pants to be adorable, whether they are the latest trend or not. I know hip hugger pants are stylish and fashionable, but there is something about high-waisted pants worn with the right top and shoes that just makes a fashion statement. For those of you with small waists, adding a belt around your waist shows off your hour-glass figure. For those of you with a wider waist, tucking a blouse or top inside of the high-waisted pants creates a break in the symmetry (as opposed to wearing a long shirt over the waist) that adds a slimming effect.
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High-Waisted Pants Tips:

  1. If the pants have a straight leg and are tight at the ankles, a closed pump adds class and style to the look. If you prefer flats, a slip-on flat shoe will do. Generally, wearing clogs or clunker type heels takes away from an elegant look with this type of pant leg.
  2. For flared or bell-bottom waist pants, a high platform heel, clogs, wedges, work well.
  3. Ankle boots or high boots make for a great look on both straight legged and flared legged high-waisted pants.

However, if you read my style blog, you know me, and my bottom line fashion advice: wear whatever shoe you want that makes you feel good and look good. The best rule of fashion is that there are no rules! Clothes should be fun as well as practical. Enjoy!
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A real plus of high-waisted pants is that the same pair of pants can be made to look casual or dressy, merely by what you choose to wear the pants with. The high-waisted pants that look professional in the office can be turned into sexy evening attire by changing the cotton blouse to a satin, ruffled blouse, and kicking off your sensible shoes, sliding your feet into 5 inch stilettos. Grrrreat!
Add a touch of jewelry, and you shimmer and shine. Simply divine!
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High-Waisted Pants Fashion Tip: If you are wearing a pair of high-waisted pants with wide, flared legs that flow, an extremely sexy, chic look is to have the hem of the pants almost drag the ground, even when you are wearing stilt stilettos. The wide material draped over the shoe looks beautiful. This is the complete opposite of the “expecting a flood” look!
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High-waisted pants are never a waste of money, because they never go out of style. Rain or shine, day or evening, mix and match to make your high-waisted pants worth every precious penny!
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For those of you who love crop tops, but don’t want to show much midriff, wear the crop top with high-waisted pants. Crop tops are darling on their own, so when you add the fashionable top to a great pair of waist pants, the fantastic look is magnified. This ensemble is playful and pretty.
For a head turning look that is elegant and sharp, dressy high-waisted pants with a flared leg and a feminine top is the cats meow. Classy and comfortable! Cool and chic!
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You can’t deny that this is a haute couture, polished look!
High-Waisted Pants Fun Fact: When wearing high-waisted pants with a tucked in top, you tend to look more slender and taller. The eye moves completely up and down, and the waist is accentuated. If you wear a large, untucked shirt, the body looks the same size from the neck to the feet.
Tapered waists equals thinner waists!
If you don’t own a pair of high-waisted pants, don’t waste one more minute. Invest in a pair of the modern, stylish, must have slacks. Your body and your closet will thank you!
Get in a good place, with exquisite fashion taste, dressed in pants with a high-waist!
 
Author Nancy Mangano is the author of the Natalie North murder mystery series, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. Nancy has blended her love of style and detective work in her novels. Visit Nancy on her author website www.nancymangano.com, her author FB fan page Nancy Mangano, twitter @nancymangano and her fashion/style/beauty/book blog www.passionforprying.wordpress.com
 
 

Wow, it feels good to be back. I’ve been busy with my next Natalie North novel and in the process, focused my attention on the book series. The faithful followers/readers of my blog have continued on with me, and for that, thank you. I’ve been notified that my fashion/style/beauty/book blog has been read in 174 countries around the world. I’ve received so many great, encouraging comments from you readers who enjoy my writing and posts, and you make this blog worthwhile.
So on that note, I tip my hat off…although I’m not really wearing one right now. I suppose I should be. And, as long as I’m on a sidebar, if you’ve never listened to Joe Cocker’s song, You Can Leave Your Hat On, you should take a listen!
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A hat is a head covering that can be worn as a fashion accessory, for ceremonial and/or religious reasons, for weather protection, safety, etc. For all of the fashion divas that want to make a statement or top your outfit off, the hat is the perfect accessory. Hats add the ooh la la and the va va voom to your signature look.
Hat Fun Fact: James Lock & Co of St. James’ Street is a famous London hatter. In the United States, the cowboy hat manufacturer Stetson made the headgear for the Royal Canadian Mounted Police and the Texas Rangers. Philip Treacy is an award winning Irish milliner whose hats have been commissioned by top designers and worn at royal weddings.
Some of the more common hat styles are the baseball cap, beanie, Gatsby, hard hat, sombrero, straw hat, turban, umbrella hat, wide-brimmed hat.
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A hat consists of four main parts:

  1. Crown – the portion of the hat that covers the top of the head.
  2. Peak, Visor, Bill – a stiff projection at the front, to shade or shield the eyes from sun and rain.
  3. Brim – an optional projection of stiff material from the bottom of the hat’s crown that runs around the circumference of the hat.
  4. Puggaree, Sweatband, Hatband – a ribbon or band that runs around the bottom of the torso of the hat.

When your head is covered with a stylish, adorable hat, you look all that! And then some!
Hat sizes are determined by measuring the circumference of a person’s head about 1/2 inch above the ears. Some hats run standard sizes like small, medium, large and some hats are adjustable (think hard hats, baseball caps).
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Hats are frisky, fun, fashionable, fantastic, fabulous pieces of head gear!
Hat Fun Fact: Extravagant hats were popular in the 1980s, and in the early 21st century, flamboyant hats made a comeback.  The tradition of wearing hats to horse racing events began at the Royal Ascot in Britain, which maintains a strict dress code. The tradition caught on at other horse racing events, most notable is the Kentucky Derby. Let’s also think Lady Gaga.
Dress for yourself, dress for the horses, baby. Everyone likes a little fashion and flair! Part of the fun of any event that you attend is deciding what you will wear!
Decorate your head, decorate your  hair. A hat is the perfect fashion piece to wear!
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Hat Not So Fun Fact: As respect and courtesy, your rocking cute hat should be removed in a restaurant, movie theater, concert arena, etc. Especially hats that sit high up off the head!
“Excuse me, the back of your hat is blocking my view.”
“The back of my hat is the view!”
Topping your outfit off with a great hat shows confidence, glamour and style. You ought to try it once in a while!
Guys rock great hats too!
So once again, to all of you who read/follow my fashion/style/beauty blog…
I tip my hat off!
Now I’ll go put one on!
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Nancy Mangano is an American fashion journalist and author of the Natalie North murder mystery book series, A Passion for Prying and Murder Can Be Messy. Visit Nancy on her author website http://www.nancymangano.com, Twitter @https://twitter.com/nancymangano, her fashion magazine Strutting in Style! at http://www.struttinginstyle.com, and her Facebook fan page Nancy Mangano https://www.facebook.com/pages/Nancy-Mangano/362187023895846