Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Guilty blog pleasure of the month

Sometimes you happen upon a new blog and start looking back at all those previous posts -- and the next thing you know, it's time to go to bed.  You keep reading back, and clicking on internal links to old posts, and then you have to go to Google to figure out who she's talking about, and time passes....

That happened to me a couple of weeks ago and I am well and truly lost down the rabbit hole.  The blog is so different from anything that I thought I was ever interested in, but here I am looking for it first thing in the morning when I turn on my computer (and since it emanates from Europe, five hours ahead, it's usually there).

I discovered it on one of the sidebars on Sandy Snowden's blog.  And the winner is -- The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor, which describes itself as "purely frivolous and perfectly harmless snark and admiration for all things stylish and royal."  It comes every day and keeps you posted on the public appearances of kings and queens, princes and princesses, dukes and duchesses, counts and countesses and lord knows what other varieties of royals.  You wouldn't believe how many of these are out and about, mostly in Europe but also in Asia.

Usually the blog talks about the clothing and jewels worn by the various fancy folks, with particular joy when they show up in tiaras.  The blogger is a fashionista, knowledgeable about designers as well as about clothing construction.  When a gown doesn't fit right, or a zipper pull is too obvious, we'll hear about it!!!

I have learned so much in the hours clicking through this blog's archives.  I have learned that a "parure" is a big matched set of jewels, such as a necklace, brooch, belt clasp, tiara, comb, bandeau, bracelets, pins, rings and earrings.  If you own one you can wear several pieces at once on fancy occasions.  Or you could mix and not match if you own a bunch of other stuff.  And often the tiara is constructed so you can take it off its headband armature and wear it as a necklace.  So convenient!!

I have learned that tiaras come in specific styles, such as these "kokoshniks," which echo the traditional Russian headdress.  Whether you wear your tiara up on the middle of your head (more height) or down on your forehead or partially buried in your hairdo makes a big difference in the overall effect.

(All photos from The Royal Order of Sartorial Splendor blog.)

I have learned that even royals have limited wardrobes, and wear their favorite outfits many times.

I have learned about wearing the sash of your noble order.  For both men and women, it goes under the belt, which is handy to prevent it falling off your shoulder or drooping into your soup (perhaps the reason why so many royal ladies choose dresses with belts?).  For men, over the jacket if your uniform coat is buttoned up, but between jacket and vest in formal dress and unbuttoned uniforms.

I have learned all kinds of gossip: which royal married a former almost-nude model, which royal didn't bother to get married until after the baby was born, which heir to the throne married her personal trainer, which royal had to step out of the line of succession because his sweetie lied about her relationship with a gangster.

Did you know that three European monarchs abdicated recently?  And that all three of the new kings have wives who are drop-dead gorgeous?  And a good thing, because queens have a demanding day job, which is to show up at various events wearing beautiful clothing and looking drop-dead gorgeous.  (A lot of queens happen to be taller than their kings -- just saying.)

The blog loves royal weddings, and had I not read it, I would not have realized that Prince William's red coat didn't fit right, causing nasty wrinkles around his right shoulder.  And if you want a whole lot of comment and opinion on royal wedding gowns, this is your place to go.

Why am I so transfixed with this blog and its subject matter?  Hard to say.

For one thing, it's lovely to see beautiful women wearing decent, beautiful clothes.  I am usually grossed out by the ridiculous hookerwear that is touted in the name of fashion, both on the runway and at entertainment-world events like the Oscars.  I am glad to see that big-name designers can also make clothes that you or I might happily wear out in public.

As a fanatically committed small-r republican, I have an evil fascination with the people who cling to the obsolete rituals of royalty.  Sometimes I wonder how ordinary people (usually women, but not always) allow themselves to marry into such formal and meaningless lives.  Could you stay sane and feel your life was worthwhile if you had to go open a senior citizens center today and attend a royal do in Sweden tomorrow?  On the other hand, do countries with royals get better hands-on attention to worthy causes than we do?

Too much to ponder.  I can hardly wait for tomorrow's dose of royal hemlines.  Check it out and see if you agree.


  1. Kathy- this is a great post! I am afraid to follow your lead down that rabbit hole right now. I am trying to stay on task without a deadline, and that can be very hard for me to do. Reading about royalty sounds like a perfect way to waste time.I have to know-what is a fanatically committed small r-republican? What a fantastic description.

    1. A republican is one who believes in government without hereditary rulers. A democrat is one who believes in government by all the people. You can be one, the other, or both. Or neither.

  2. HaHa! Down the rabbit hole. That was me when I discovered it! Fascinating stories that go with the history of the different jewels.
    And you are right on drop-dead gorgeous Queens and Crown Princesses.
    I think for me it feeds my fascination with history...besides looking at beautiful things/people. ;-)
    Glad I put it on the sidebar. It was one I went to now and then before, but took too long to catch up.

  3. earlier today I was absolutely smitten with the dress and little blush colored cardigan the little princess Charlotte.