2.17.2016

Empowered

Empowered:
Make (someone) stronger and more confident, especially in controlling their life and claiming their rights.

When my youngest son was around nine years old, his ambitions were to become a famous artist. One day he came to me and stated..
"I need a Beret because all famous artists wear berets." 
"Then I'll have to get you one," I replied
Being a family that strongly encourages the arts, many of our weekend afternoons are spent visiting California's museums. Armed with his sketch pad, colored pencils, and beret, the youngest would find his subject among the gallery paintings, and begin to create his own interpretation. I watched as museum guests stopped and smiled at seeing my young man so engrossed with his drawings. I asked him about the beret, "How does wearing the hat make you feel?"
"Like I can draw anything."
"That's cool," I stated. "It makes you feel empowered." He nodded his head in agreement.
The beret has a long and rich history, with mass production beginning in the 19th century in France and Spain. Traditionally, the hat was a part of uniforms for military and police. In later years it became popularized in Europe as typical Basque head-wear, and evolving as the stereotypical image of an intellectual, film director, artist, poet, bohemian and beatnik. The painter, Rembrandt, wore berets, as well as famous jazz artist like, Dizzy Gillespie and Thelonious Monk. By the 1960s and 70s the black beret became a symbol of empowerment, and was adopted by several revolutionary groups, such as the Provisional Irish Republican Army and the Black Panthers in the United States. It is, without a doubt, the most recognizable hat in the world, and conjures several types of images - the artist, armed forces, entire cultures, and empowerment.


For today's style story, I've captured a look which embodies the idea of empowerment. I could thoroughly relate to my son's earlier idea of the beret making him feel like he could draw anything. It goes without saying, when we put on our favorite outfits and/or accessories - we feel like we're empowered to conquer the world! In today's look I feel imaginative, strong, confident, bold, and yes, sexy. The mystique of a woman shrouded in black, but taunts her subjects with her playfulness in a high-voltage silver metallic skirt, and the boldness of a leopard backpack.

Outfit Details - Beret purchased from a vintage shop near my home: Black berets on Amazon; Silver Metallic Knife-pleat Skirt: Talbot's via eBay (similar skirt Do & Be Silver Pleated Skirt from Shoptiques); Black Short-Sleeved Turtleneck: Anne Klein via TJ Maxx (great options on Shopstyle); Black Mid-Calf Boots: Gianni Bini via eBay; Nordstrom 'Everyday' Opaque Black Tights; Leopard Backpack by Liz Claiborne purchased in the 90s (variety of leopard backpacks on Shopstyle); Medium Basic Sunglasses: Loft; Large Silver Hoop Earrings: The Icing.  






      


My son has since replaced his artist ambitions with sports. He gave up the beret in place of a football. What happened to the beret you ask? Well...I'm wearing it. Perhaps I'll take my empower cues from my son and wear it when I feel the urge to write my next book {wink}.

Stay True,
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Whitney Nic James
Photographs are the property of So What to Twenty!

39 comments:

  1. What a great look! I loved the story of your son and his artist's beret.

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    1. Thank you so much! My son's inspire me :)

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  2. Cool,smooth, sophisticated and strength..that's how I see your outfit. . It speaks volume yet there's a gentleness. ..excellent look. . (Keep the beret close. ..he just might change his mind again :) )

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    1. Ha! You're so right, Jamala - I think I'll hide the beret from him :) Yes, I felt all that you mentioned. This was one of my favorite looks.

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  3. Great mix of texture Glenda! I love the story behind the beret. I wished my son was more into arts but even at a young age, he never had much interest in it.

    Alice
    www.happinessatmidlife.com

    Would love for you to stop by & join TBT Fashion link up.

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    1. Alice, my sons grew up immersed in the arts community, so I'm not surprised they both enjoy the world. Thank you for the lovely compliment.

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  4. To me, a child of the 50's, the beret will always be a symbol of creativity and sophistication. (I was also a little disappointed to find the leopardskin backpack was purchased back in the 90's - it's so in style for today).

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    1. Hi Alana! Yes, I keep my really good pieces forever. I recall purchasing this backpack during my retail days in the early 90s. There are still plenty of options on my provided link. I agree, when I think of the beret, I tend to think of artists.

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  5. You look sassy and fabulous....thank you for sharing your beret story!

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  6. What a beautiful lady and I love the look! thanks for sharing the story of your son --lovely story!

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  7. Such a pretty look and I love how you brought in the story of your son! It makes it so much more relate-able!

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  8. You definitely rock this look and especially that beret my friend!
    Nora
    www.jacketsociety.com

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    1. Thanks Nora! This was one of my favorite looks. I like the way it came together.

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  9. You look très chic and perfectly in control! Love this outfit, and am impressed you found that gem of a skirt on eBay! Truly stunning, very NYFW 16! I love the story of your son, and the tale of the beret!
    xx, Elle
    http://www.theellediaries.com/

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    1. Thank you Elle! Can you believe it? Yes, I found the skirt on eBay last year before all the hoopla about metallic pleated skirts. I think I have a 6th sense on what's going to be popular in fashion.

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  10. I love everything about this post. Who knew the beret had such an interesting history. Definitely adding one to my wardrobe. And, that metallic skirt? Fabulous. My first visit to this blog, absolutely not my last. You are one gorgeous model! And, an interesting writer too.

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    1. Hi Debby, wow, thank you so much! I'm glad you enjoyed the content. I try to do my best in writing interesting posts. I'm glad you'll be back for more :)

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  11. Love the beret .... artistic and badass at the same time!

    Thanks so much for sharing with Fun Fashion Friday!

    OXOX
    Dawn Lucy
    http://fashionshouldbefun.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks Dawn - a nice combination, indeed.

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  12. Good and true story. The beret looks good on you. And that skirt made me hold my breath. Divine. And no my lady, the one you suggest is similar, is not. It is not half as nice as yours..... I am swooning...
    Greetje

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    1. Aw, Greetje, you are so sweet. Thank you. I found this skirt last year, before all the hoopla over pleated metallic skirts began. It is breathtaking and very photogenic...the way the light hits it is truly amazing. I tried to find something at a reasonable price. I found others, but the prices were in the $1000s.

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  13. I've always loved and worn berets but I never really thought about their history..until now! This is such a great look for you. In encompasses all of the iconic beret's powers. And that super shiny pleated skirt is magical for sure. I'll bet you anything that as soon as your son finishes high school and heads out into the world he will come back home looking for his beret.

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    1. I wonder if he will ask for it. When I told him I swiped it, he just smiled. This skirt is unbelievably high-voltage. I'm in love with it. I paid $12 bucks for it on eBay!

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  14. Brilliant look! And thank you for teaching me more about the iconic beret. You wear it so well, xox

    -Patti
    http://notdeadyetstyle.com

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  15. I love everything about this post. You really brought history alive. And that outfit!!! I'm going to be on the look out for a beret myself.

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    1. Thank you Stephanie! Your words are so sweet. I enjoy bringing history into my posts. It makes others appreciate fashion even further.

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  16. Incredible post! Loved every word of it and the photo's as well. Perfectly said about the idea of empowerment. Thank you for reminding us as well as showing us how to embrace this quality.

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    1. Thank you so much, Trina! I'm glad you enjoyed the post. I must admit, I really liked putting this one together.

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  17. Cool and elegant outfit, Glenda! This skirt looks awesome on you, and the beret of course is just the perfect touch to your strong artistic self. Are you starting a new book? :)

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    1. Thanks Natalia! I have been entertaining another book...yes indeed. But its only in the idea stage :)

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  18. I think you could tackle anything in that outfit Glenda, it has such a strong feel . Enjoyed the story about your son and the beret and the way it inspired him.

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    1. I felt like a Creative Rebel in this look, Jill. Definitely one of my favorites!

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  19. Love your chic and sexy take on the beret, Glenda! You look amazing! (Great minds ;) )

    Your son sounds like he could be an old soul. His desire to don a beret to ignite his creativity makes perfect sense to me and is really wonderful. Inspiration shows up when we show up fully, even to the extent that we dress the part. I'll bet he's creating some incredible art!

    http://marymurnane.com

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    1. Hi Mary! Yes, great minds :) He draws on occasion, but when he does...WOW, it blows my mind!

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