Gracey HitchcockClick on the topmost title to open and scroll

How do you define luxury? The definition is changing all the time. Not too long ago, one simply bought seat on an airplane. It was first come – first served. Now, luxury may be an upgrade to a slightly better seat in a crowded economy cabin. 

Given these changes luxury is often the space and sensations we create for ourselves. It may be setting aside time to think, walk or to enjoy a favourite hobby.  This time-out can feel blissful –like playing hooky.    Luxury can also be simple. Languishing clean fresh sheets or a hot bath with exotic oils are two of my own luxurious indulgence. Cashmere, good perfume, and grown up toys are all very nice too –and please some of my favourite people. 

So now when things seem to be all about leaning in and cutting back – I am going to tell you to luxe up a little. Create a little softness around yourself.

Life is too short not to be sweet. 

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Gracey Hitchcock

Editor, DolceDolce

Follow me @graceysays

All contents copyright © 2015



Bad taste, what a waste!

Darlings, the Oscars left me feeling sad. Seth MacFarlane is so talented. He sing, dances, and sparkles. He is exactly the type of star you want to host a big Hollywood spectacle. So, it was shocking that so much his material was offensive and sophomoric. I’m not a prude, but his jokes were very anti-woman and just hostile at times.
It is really a shame, because unlike other newcomers who have attempted to host this career-killer of show, the man is talented. I would like to see him try again next year, but this time do the show with humor, class, and style .
On other note darlings, my online store is finally open!
I am so excited for you to see it. Please stop and check it out. I want to know what you think, and I would love you to like us on Facebook.
Until next week, please sign-up if you haven’t already; email your info to domore@dolcedolce.comDolceDolceis free. And please forward us to all your friends. And please give us your comments by emailing us at the same address. We want to know what you think. Please LIKE us on FACEBOOK Look for our logo! Let’s start the conversation!
Gracey Hitchcock
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Rodarte for Target - Budget- friendly fabulous or another disappointment?Darlings, it is fabulous that good design is now available at all prices. What one considers inexpensive is relative. Recently, I saw a wool skirt by the GAP priced at more than $200, but, it was a classic and it looked sharp. If the quality of the fabric is good, it will last for years.
What concerns me is quality. A few years ago lower-priced lines by designers were exciting. Now they are often disappointing. They look shoddy, fit poorly, and are not fun to wear. 
Granted if you pay $50 or less for an item you can’t expect to get more than a season from it.  For many trendy items that is enough, but if it looks tacky from day one what is the point?
It’s not all bleak; H&M still does a good job, although a couple of years ago it was looking a bit sad there. The clothes are cheap and you do have to try everything on. Be ruthless about fit. But, H&M it does have the goods if you want the latest look fast and cheap. Many of their guest designer lines by the likes of Matthew Williamson, Stella McCartney, and Karl Lagerfeld have exceeded expectations.
I have seen nothing that I would buy or wear in the last few rounds of ballyhooed designer lines from discount department stores. I have not seen the Vera Wang at Khols. Nor is new Anna Sui line for Targe out. The Rodarte line for Target is causing a frenzy among the fashionsitas.  It looks promising from the runway photos full of avante garde touches, but what will it look like on the racks? Will it be budget –friendly or just another disappointment?
The shoes and bags are especially awful. The look and feel cheap. I cannot imagine any good reason fashion editors are reviewing them so favorably. What’s worse are most lines by so-called celebrity designers, who are not designers at all. I will exempt Kimora Lee Simons, as her line Baby Phat is wearable and trendy. Jessica Simpson’s line of shoes and bags are trendy, cheap and not that well-made, but I have seen worse.
Not mine, but the vintage Coach bag is still chicDarlings, luxury is not about designers, brands, or names. It’s about materials, construction, feel, and design. I carried black Coach hand bags throughout high school, even though my mother complained they were pricey (although inexpensive by today’s standards). My father bought me a new one every year, telling her that while I got just a single bag each year, my sister went through three or four cheaper bags.  He understood that I adored the fine calf leather used in the bags — you could polish it to a high shine — and the wonderful workmanship.  In college, I switched to classic Marc Cross bags.  I have never regretted the purchase of any quality item then or since. 
GAP skirt-- a timeless classicSince the money mad 1980’s, too many people have mistaken logos for class and style.  Manufactures have been quick to part them from their money with the help of   this mistaken idea. Watches became the badge of success for many in the financial world.  Never mind if the house or salary doesn’t match the timepiece, the watch is a banner of identity. For many young women it became necessary to have an “IT” bag, designer sunglasses, or $500-plus jeans. In the hood, “kicks” or sneakers are the must-have totem.
I do not want to disrespect anyone’s chosen status symbol, but in the quest for brands darlings, much true luxury has been lost. A fine watch is a lovely thing. If you can afford it, enjoy it.  I adore a good handbag and I loathe cheap shoes. And I stand by the fashion dictate that good accessories can elevate the simplest outfit. But a brand name on substandard merchandise is not luxury, it is a mockery. Even some major designers’ secondary and bridge lines make me wonder if they designed them — or simply took the licensing money as so many designers did in the 70s. These days too much junk is branded as “designer merchandise”.
Susan Farber bagLuxury is about quality no matter what your budget. There have never been so many real luxury goods available at good prices.  Even the resale shops are busting with good stuff.  Be ruthless about quality, fit and style. Forget about logos and brands. If you love a brand or designer for the right reasons, you still have to be vigilant about buying only what flatters. Use the Internet to hunt down deals.
Develop your own style and discover lesser known designers. Susan Faber for example makes stunning handbags.
And there are many more smaller and new designers worth knowing about.
Find well-made, well-priced basics that work for you.  I like inexpensive knits from Hue. I also like Wolford and Fogol tights which are very luxurious.  I have worn them for years.  Tights are very in this year. I usually buy them online or in bulk at my favourite departments store’s discount outlet. I find Hue tights and basic kits are perfect to slip into for errands.  I add a scarf, jewelry, heels – and I am dressed. It is the height of luxury to have a stack of laundered tights and knits at the ready.  You might relish a stack of super-soft turtlenecks, perfect jeans, or maybe a couple of pairs of black Spanx pants. 
Luxury is not one or more "status" items. The saddest and most ridiculous thing I ever heard of is Bag, Borrow or Steal, a business that rents designer items. I find it sad that anyone would spend $85 to rent designer sunglasses. How desperate for identity they must be, and sadly lacking in math skills, too. With a little shopping, the cost of two rentals would more than pay for the sunglasses. Alas, I doubt they would meet the expectations of anyone who believes you can rent luxury and identity for $85 a month.
Remember darlings, luxury is quality.  Demand it at any price. It is also a lifestyle that you create for yourself.  Make your home an oasis of pleasure: light candles, arrange pillows, and rearrange your objects and books.  Take time to pamper and groom yourself.  Darlings, time is greatest luxury of all.

Caress your body with sumptuous scents

L’Art du Soin from Diptyque Paris is a luxurious collection of body products from the French perfumer known for elegant home scents. There are five products, each understated and subtle. 

Aleppo Creamy Body Wash is rich with olive oil and Vitamin E, lemon, rosemary, and bay laurel, to give it a fresh scent. Alexandria Fresh Lotion for the Body is redolent with the scent of orange blossom and enriched with macadamia oil. Byzantium Rich Body Butter is scented with exotic Turkish rose, myrrh, and Peru Balm. It nourishes the skin with a formula of organic honey, rose water, and Argan oil. Florence Precious Oils for the Body and Bathis scented with the elegantly sexy Iris blended with Cedar and Vetiver. Cordoba Luxurious Hand Balm replenishes and protects with apricot kernel oil and Argan oil. The scent of apricots and almonds perfume your hands.  
                                                                                                                                                                                                   Diptyque Paris luxury bath range
Darlings, these products are addictive as the scents linger seductively on the skin for hours. Prices range from $38 to $90. The products do not contain any phthalates, parabens, synthetic coloring agents, TEA, DEA, glycols, silicones, PEG, aluminum or sulfates.