Pleated items are very in right now. Every fashionista who likes this material is probably over the moon about that and even those who don't follow trends must be satisfied when a material they like becomes more available. I'm quite happy because I do appreciate the way pleat adds texture to our outfits. This expensive looking trend can be surprisingly affordable, especially if you're good at shopping second hand or just finding good discounts. Pleated items are simply perfectly for creating romantic, elegant and even whimsical outfits. Pleat can even make old school glam seem easy!
Pleated items come in many shapes and form. I personally have a shirt I adore. However, perhaps the most practical incarnation of the pleated trend (for us ladies that is) would be the pleated skirt. A pleated maxi or midi skirt is such an easy way to add some femininity, texture and chic into your wardrobe. Today I'll show you how to style a beige pleated skirt for cold weather. Now, this beige pleated skirt isn't new. It isn't vintage or secondhand (for vintage pleated items check out this and this post), just old as if bought a few years ago. I wore it previously here, here , here and here (in all seasons). Typically I don't wear this maxi in the colder months as often as I do in warmer ones, but inspired by the pleated trend, I decided to give it a try and this is what I came up with.
THE STORY OF AN OUTFIT
Let's talk colours first. While I do admit that black has its charm and remains classic for a reason, I personally love to see some light colour in the colour months. I decided to pair this pleated skirt with a beige coat. I figured that beige and camel would make for a lovely colour combination. For warmth, I wore a blue turtleneck sweater. This knit sweater proved a good choice. Besides it being very cozy, I also happen to like the cobalt shade of it. I never noticed how well cobalt blue looks with camel. I need to make a mental note of that, especially since my skin tone is very similar to camel which can make my face look washed out. I need to remember to wear turtlenecks or scarves in a more flattering colour when I choose camel. It looks like I will be able to incorporate this camel coat in my wardrobe without any difficulties, despite the fact that it's not something I would choose myself. That would be the story of the main pieces of this autumn styling, let's now move onto details. I wore printed tights to add some visual interest and I paired them with square heels. This pair of shoes is second hand you could say (it was a gift) but it is new to me. Square heels are in right now, so why not? This particular pair isn't the most comfortable choice but they look cute, don't they?
Besides clothes, today we will also talk books. I'll share some of my recent reads with you. If you know me, you know that I can't read without reading. My goal for this year is 100 books, I'm not sure will I get there, but I'm pretty close. It would be probably easier to achieve if I haven't had the preference for long novels. So, let's take a look at what I have been reading lately. From childrens' books to new authors, I've been doing quite a lot of reading.
THE WAY I FOUND HER, A NOVEL BY ROSE TREMAIN 1/5
Fortunately, I didn't buy this novel. I found it in one of those charming wood boxes that people here in Jelsa use to exchange books. Such a clever idea for making the most out of books! I applaud them for their ecological and sustainable thinking. I'm a bit reluctant to put this copy back where I found it, though. It is because I don't see how anyone could possibly enjoy this novel, but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself. Let's me explain. This novel turned out to be such a disappointment. Initially, I felt drawn to this story. The writing didn't seem bad and the characters were promising enough. The premise was pretty good: A thirteen year old boy named Lewis travels to Paris with his beautiful mother Alice. His mother is to translate a novel while Lewis perfects his French. The two of them will stay in an apartment of a wealthy French writer of Russian descent (Valentina) whose novel Alice (the boy's mother) is to translate. Immediately, the boy becomes smitten with Valentina. Not long after that the novel stops to make sense.
We never learn why or how the boy becomes smitten because the author doesn't really care about character development or giving us some background information about the main characters. Yes, the novel does go on about Valentina and her past at times, but even she remains a mystery. As for the boy's mother Alice, she doesn't seem a real character at all. She disappears all the time and the interaction between her and Lewis seems odd and natural. I get that Alice has something to hide, but you can't just leave a character unfinished like that. The dialogues feel very unnatural and the boy protagonist sounds and talks like an intelligent forty year old women. Yes, a woman! His speech patterns are distinctly feminine, Lewis sounds like an eloquent middle aged lady who is prone to passive aggressive patterns in her speech.
Perhaps the main problem of this novel is that Lewis (just like pretty much everyone else in this book) is not a well developed character. It was hard to sympathize with him because Lewis is never explained to us. We do get to know what Lewis is thinking and doing, but it is very awkward most of the time because he sounds like an adult and yet he is supposed to be thirteen. When another character disappears, Lewis decided to investigate. The police and everyone just let him do that and answer all his questions. How does that make any sense? Would you let a thirteen year old boss you around? Moreover, Lewis' fantasies about Valentina were unpleasant to read and there was altogether too many of them. His relationship with Valentina puzzled me. Does he have some kind of mental problem? Does he have issues with his mother? What makes him form such an unnatural attraction? At times it seemed to make sense because he might be looking for a mother figure and his mother is more than a little distant, but altogether Lewis doesn't make much sense. If Lewis was seventeen, the novel would have been more credible (but not significantly better because there are so many things wrong with it.).
The plot of this novel is a disaster. There are a lot of hints but nothing much happens. Towards the end it seems like things will get interesting, but the ending really disappointed me. Hardly anything interesting happens in this one and the ending makes little sense and feels rushed. A boy and his beautiful mother go to a foreign country. One immediately assumes something interesting will happen. At first it did seem that it will, but soon I discovered that just isn't the case. To conclude, I really didn't like this novel. The only thing I liked about it were a few clever sentences, but on overall this book just doesn't make any sense. I'm still willing to do give this author another chance, though. If you have read any good books written by her, do share.
THE STORY OF DR. DOLITTLE, A NOVEL BY HUGH LOFTING 4/5
I'm so happy I decided to read this one, for it proved to be absolutely charming! I actually listened to an audio version of this book and it was lovely. Sometimes classics are not what you had hoped for, but this one earned its cult status. What a beautiful story this is! I'm sure I would be head over heels with it if have had the opportunity to read it as a child. Even as an adult, I really liked it a lot. The writing is beautiful and imaginative without being complicated and complex. Simply perfect for children. Moreover, I liked how the character of Dr. Dolittle is as dependent on animals as they are on him. I found that aspect of the book quite realistic (if you can call an aspect of a book where a man speaks with animals realistic).
For instance, it is the parrot that teaches Dr. Dolittle how to speak with animals. She is the one who points out the existence of animal languages to him. Dr. Dolittle is a clever and kind man, but without the instructions from his parrot, he would never have learned the animal languages or realized the importance of body language. That's another aspect of the book I liked, how the parrot teaches the doctor that animals can communicate without the words. Mostly, because well they do! Animals are capable of communications, every pet owner knows this. Sure, this book takes it a bit further and it's a tale for children, but one that is build on a logical foundation and I quite liked that. This story is the perfect mix of logical and imaginative! I would recommend it to both adults and children. Both the book's protagonist and other characters (the animals) are well portrayed.
Dr. Dolittle of the book is a kind but not very practical man. Without the help of animals, this doctor would be lost. Fortunately, the animals return the love he gives them and all is well. What is so wonderful about this is that it teaches children that it is alright not only to help but to receive help as well. Only by working together, we can achieve great things- that's the moral of the book for me. It teaches us about the importance of kindness, even when we have been wronged. It instructs that money shouldn't be the motivation but that one should be practical with it. All very good lessons, I should say.
The only downside to this book is that there are a few episodes that contain what could be described as racism and they all occur once Dr.Dolittle ventures to Africa. At the time, these episodes were probably not perceived that way and were definitely on the mild side of European negative perception & stereotypes of Africa. The author itself even excuses the actions of the black King against Dr. Dolittle and company by pointing out that it was the white man who took and stole things from Africa and never bothered to say thank you for the help he received. The reason why the black King acts hostile is because white people betrayed his trust. Therefore, he is not a cardboard villain, unlike the pirates who are just rotten to the core. So, in that sense at least, there is a bit of critique of white colonialism. Still, the episode featuring a black Prince who wanted to be white feet very awkward and there were a few unpleasant words along the way, terms that feel offensive today (such as darkies). Nevertheless, when reading this book to kids make sure to explain the cultural context, omit the N* word or explain why it shouldn't be used and so on. I'm sure every parent or educator who will read this book to children is perfectly capable of explaining these things to children and teach them why stereotyping on the basis of race is not a good thing.
THE LITTLE PRINCE, A NOVEL BY ANTOINE DE SAINT- EXUPUERY 4/5
Now, I obviously read The Little Prince before. I distinctly remember listening to a lovely Italian audio book in the public domain. Not being able to speak French, I sometimes read Italian copies of French books because these two languages are somewhat related. I read this book in Croatian too. However, recently I saw a copy of it (with original illustrations by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry) up for sale so I had to bought it. While I was reading it aloud to kids I gifted it to, I remembered why I loved it so much to begin with. There are so many lessons one can take from this little gem of a book, the most important one perhaps being: “And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.”
Beautifully written, The Little Prince is an allegorical story that reads like a fairy-tale. This legendary tale of a pilot who meets and befriends a wonderful boy named 'Little Prince' in the desert, deserves its iconic status. Poignant with meaning and life lessons, it is a short read but a memorable one.
I would recommend it to both children and adults (I first read it as an adult myself). I kind of wish I had read it as a child, but maybe it is better this way for I think we all need to be reminded of the child within and not only for sentimental seasons. When you reread books that moved you as a kid, there is always that element of remembering what being a kid feels like. What is precious about this book is that even if you haven't read this book as a child yourself, you feel like you have, because it really evokes that child like innocence. Moreover, there is truly something timeless about this story. As I mentioned earlier, I actually bought a copy recently (with the original illustrations that I simply adore!) and gifted it. I hope they will like it as much as I did.Jelsa (on island Hvar) and my book reviews. Have a nice day!