Friday, November 16, 2012

Easy Thanksgiving Table Cloth

I bought a few yards of burlap a little over a year ago. It remained rolled it into a bundle and moved from room to room never exactly finding my vision for it, but on the fringe of the holiday season and knowing sticky fingers would soon head toward my glass table I finally gave it a home.

It cost me all of something like $2.25 a yard. It was not quite wide enough to reach the edges of my table so it almost looks like a really wide runner, which is fine, it still works. I left about eight to ten inches draped off either side. Since it was going on the table...with food...I cleaned it first. Also, it was pretty wrinkled after the dryer so I did need to iron it. For a less than $6.00 runner/table cloth that complements the pops of orange very nicely, I think the burlap was well worth the purchase in the end.  

If you want to give burlap a try in place of a traditional table cloth for your Thanksgiving meal this year consider a couple things: 

First, if you buy a few yards of the burlap and your holiday party becomes a bit more wild than expected instead of trying to scrub red wine out of an inexpensive couple yards of burlap try reusing it in your garden to hold in the soil moisture and control wash away or protect your plants form freezes, snow, ice and windburn. Second, use some shiny repeating pops of colors like the orange chargers and the orange bow on the vase. The heavy contrast of the black to the light colored burlap gives the whole table a sharper, more modern look. Just be careful not to add too many rugged touches in addition to the burlap because it could become too severely rustic. 

Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday, November 2, 2012

You Are What You dress accordingly

Before you make assumptions that I am telling you to fill your closet with clothing you cannot afford let me explain the title. I am referring to "enclothed cognition" or the effects of clothing on psychological processes. 

I vaguely remember having classes on the psychology of fashion and consumer buying habits in school so in preparation of my line I decided to do a little refresher research. When I stumbled upon enclothed cognition I was intrigued enough with the idea that I thought I should share it with all of you. There had been many studies from the 1970's-1990's about the psychology of fashion in regards to your clothing affecting other people's perception of you, but more recently scientists wanted to know how your clothing causes you to view yourself and if your choice of dress could affect your cognitive ability. 

Since my area is fashion and my hobby interest is in science I will summarize the study and attach a link to a New York Times article that explains the research in more depth because the publishing journal is not available without subscription. The study gave two control groups the same white coat. One was told it was a doctor's coat and the other was told it was a painter's coat. Those wearing the lab coat showed increased performance on attention-related tasks versus the group believing they were wearing a painter's coat. It is thought that the brain's association of a doctor's lab coat to attentiveness and carefulness increase the wearer ability by changing their perception of themselves. 

Another article in Forbes I found very informative featured clinical psychologist Dr. Jennifer Baumgartner. Dr. Baumgartner authored the more informative book than my post, called: "You Are What You Wear: What Your Clothes Reveal about You."

My point, as a designer, is that our clothes affect our perception of ourselves and our perception of others. They tell people "I am put together. I workout and take care of myself" or "This was in a pile on my floor this morning and I may eat that piece of pizza from that pizza box in that same pile tonight." What we now know is that although we may laugh off the stereo-types our clothes give off to others we need to make sure we are comfortable with whatever message we send out to the world because we internalize that person as who we are more than we realize.

Put on a happy color in a flattering fit and Voila! Instant mood boost!