St. Lawrence University ranked 29th on list of best U.S. liberal arts colleges

St. Lawrence University was ranked 29th best liberal arts college and 10th in best colleges for merit aid in a new list by Money Magazine. [Read more…]

Summer 2016: North Country Notes

A native voice and mentor to other writers is sadly lost

Like every region, the north country has produced its share of mold-breakers. Some, like F.W. Woolworth and Melvil Dewey in retailing and library classification, respectively, achieved wide renown. Others passed their time on this Earth in relative anonymity outside of small circles of the like-minded. [Read more…]

‘500 Miles for Parkinson’s:’ NYC man walking to Toronto makes stop in Watertown

He would walk 500 miles, and he would walk 500 more, just to be the man who raised awareness for Parkinson’s disease. [Read more…]

Spring 2016: North Country Notes

A woman of courage and conviction, ahead of her time

Catherine Keese went to prison in Dannemora. Several times. Voluntarily.  [Read more…]

Spring 2016: Fashion

Prom fashion made simple

Caitlin Archibald, 15, an intern at A Touch of Grace, Watertown, displays an open-back prom dress. Open-back dresses are a popular style this prom season. Photo by AFM Photography.

Caitlin Archibald, 15, an intern at A Touch of Grace, Watertown, displays an open-back prom dress. Open-back dresses are a popular style this prom season. Photo by AFM Photography.

From style selection to DIY, local experts say choices shouldn’t overwhelm when searching for the perfect formal dress

By Katie Machia, NNY Living

Kathy Lettiere, owner of A Touch of Grace, 440 Coffeen St., Watertown, has worked with many mothers and daughters searching for the perfect prom dress since she opened her store 20 years ago.

Mrs. Lettiere offers some helpful advice to avoid potential conflicts.

“The girl needs to express her own individual style,” she said “She really has to love the dress.”

While mothers can give their daughters some guidance, they should be careful “not to press them to choose the style and color that they personally like” if their daughter does not have the same opinion, Mrs. Lettiere said.

“You don’t want your daughter to buy a prom dress and think back in years to come that she liked the dress, but did not really love it,” she said.

Sometimes money may be an issue. If the dress cost more than the parent’s budget, “you could offer to pay half, and have your daughter pay half,” she said.

It’s not unusual for a girl to first come into the store, looking at dresses with her friends and after finding the “right one,” returning with her mother to get her approval, Mrs. Lettiere said.

Staff at A Touch of Grace keep a registry of the prom dresses sold, and they will not sell the same dress to two girls who are planning to attend the same prom. Not only will they not sell the same style, but they won’t sell the same style even if it’s in a different color, said Mrs. Lettiere.

A Touch of Grace offers dresses in sizes zero to 30 and carries designers such as Alfred Angelo, DaVinci, Jovani, LaFemme, Sidney’s Closet and many others. In 2011, the store added a dress showroom to expand its inventory and the number of dressing rooms.

Some of the most requested styles at A Touch of Grace have included two-piece dresses, beaded dresses, and those with open backs, Mrs. Lettiere said.

According to major fashion publications, other prom dress trends this spring include:

  • Cutouts — Cutouts are one of the most popular trends this season. From a subtle cutout on the back to cutouts on the sides of a gown, these will surely be a popular look at your prom. There are so many different variations to the size and shapes of these cutouts, you’re guaranteed to find one that suits you best.
    n One-color dresses — In recent years, it’s been all about sparkly, glittery, shiny gowns. There is more of a movement toward one-color, more simple pieces. If you’re going for a simple gown, make sure there is more emphasis on the shape of the dress. Red, black, white and dark blue are some of the most popular colors for this trend.
  • Two-piece dresses — You can thank Taylor Swift for the popularization of this trend. Since her appearance at the Grammy Awards this year in a colorful two-piece look, this has been predicted to be one of the most popular prom dress styles. Celebrities including Emma Stone, Sarah Hyland and even Rihanna have been seen wearing this style. This is the perfect way to show off some skin while still keeping things classy. You can wear this with a long sleeve or strappy top and a short skirt or long skirt for the bottom.
  • Floral prints — Floral prints are having a moment this year. The ultra-feminine style can be on the bodice, skirt or even the entire pattern of the gown. The bolder the print, the better, it seems this season. This print has always been popular, but seems to be a hit now more than ever.
  • Sheer — The sheer material trend has grown in recent years. This style is a perfect way to get those ball gown aspects in your look without wearing a full skirt. Generally, this style is seen on the bottom of the dress, usually with an intricate floral lace pattern meshing in with it. It can also be used as a top layer over the original pattern of the dress. Finally, it can be used for paneling on a dress, for the appearance of cutouts without the actual cutting out of the material.
  • Off-the-shoulder — This trend is not only big in everyday wear, but also in the evening wear segment. This style can be seen on a one-piece or a two-piece dress. The material can be a beaded, printed, or have a lace design. This is a perfect way to ensure you have a unique cut to the top of your dress.
  • High slits — This style was made famous by Angelina Jolie at the Oscars in 2012. Since then, designers and celebrities have been including this style in their looks for almost every red carpet event. The rule of thumb for a high slit is to make sure there is coverage everywhere else, and this style is bound to make a statement.
  • High-low split skirt styles — Another trend made famous by Taylor Swift is the high-low split skirt style. This style is perfect for dancing. Your legs aren’t restricted by a tight dress, but you have the long material in the back to keep the dress fancy looking.

 


A style all their own

Kyra Philbrick, 17, an 11th-grade student at Watertown High School, sews the lining of her prom dress. “I’ve been planning this since I started sewing,” she said of the dress she plans to wear next year. Photo by AMF Photography.

Kyra Philbrick, 17, an 11th-grade student at Watertown High School, sews the lining of her prom dress. “I’ve been planning this since I started sewing,” she said of the dress she plans to wear next year. Photo by AMF Photography.

Students craft prom, homecoming dresses

Some high school students choose to create their own prom or homecoming dresses, rather than buying them.

Susan Lauraine, Watertown High School family and consumer science teacher, has been teaching for more than 27 years. She has allowed students to make their own dresses as part of a graded project.

“This is a two-semester elective class, and the first semester is clothing core,” she said. “We cover the history and the cycles of fashion, how fibers are made, and how the sewing machine works.”

The second semester is clothing production, and that’s when students have the opportunity to make a dress for a special occasion, such as a prom or homecoming dance.

“There are not a lot, maybe one or two a year, and it’s not every year,” Mrs. Lauraine said. “It’s a lot of work and can be costly.”

But for those who choose the option, it can be a very rewarding way to express their creativity and originality, along with showing off their fashion design and sewing skills, she said.

While the choice of fabrics and designs has changed over the years, “students have always like shiny and glittery,” she said.

“I always say concentrate on what looks good,” Mrs. Lauraine said. “Aim for simple designs with awesome fabrics.”
She recalled some dresses made by former Watertown High School students.

“Donna Sanders made a dress out of netting with hula hooping, there was just a bodysuit underneath,” she said.

“Alex Smith also created a dress three years ago. She had phenomenal skills. The dress was a classic design, fit perfect, and wasn’t outlandish.”

Kyra Philbrick, 17, is a junior at Watertown High School and just recently started working on her prom dress for next year.

“I’ve been planning this since I started sewing,” she said. “I want to have my own original dress.”

Her dress will be a strapless, gold-colored “high-low split skirt” with a russet brown lining.

Although she is not making a prom dress, Chynna Tucker, 15, is working on a dress to wear for the next homecoming dance. She just started it a few days ago.

“I think it’s going to be a fun, yet challenging task,” she said.
Her homecoming dress will be a long style with a chiffon glittery yoke, a bunched midriff and a bunched skirt.

There are 12 students in Mrs. Lauraine’s class, three boys and nine girls. The boys have been making bow ties and pocket scarves, and the girls have been working on evening bags.

Some of her past students have continued on with careers in fashion and costume design, with several attending colleges in New York City following their WHS graduation.

Mrs. Lauraine’s family and consumer science class recently made approximately 50 costumes for the school’s production of “Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat” last month.

An upcoming project will focus on sewing dresses for underprivileged girls in Africa, as a way to help promote self-esteem, Mrs. Lauraine said.

Katie Machia, 18, is a Watertown native and freshman at the Fashion Institute of Technology in New York City. She writes about fashion on her blog, theaisleofstyle.com, and is a regular contributor to NNY Living. She also models for print and runway shows. Contact her at theaisleofstyle@gmail.com.

Winter 2016: Fashion

Fast fashion made greener

Above, an abundance of discount clothing retailers has led to increased low-cost options for consumers. Below, many retailers employ a practice called fast fashion, which started gaining popularity in the 1990s. It refers to the process of creating a garment and getting it into stores as quickly as possible. Textile recycling, or donating used clothes to thrift stores, has helped to eliminate thousands of pounds of clothing from the regional waste stream.

Above, an abundance of discount clothing retailers has led to increased low-cost options for consumers. Below, many retailers employ a practice called fast fashion, which started gaining popularity in the 1990s. It refers to the process of creating a garment and getting it into stores as quickly as possible. Textile recycling, or donating used clothes to thrift stores, has helped to eliminate thousands of pounds of clothing from the regional waste stream.

Textile recycling helps the north country manage an eco-friendly waste stream

By Katie Machia, NNY Living

Photos by AFM Photography

In 1990, the average American household spent approximately 5 percent of its overall budget on apparel. Today, that percentage has dropped to 3.5 percent, which amounts to an average of $1,700 a year, according to a recent article in Forbes magazine. [Read more…]

Catholic Church in Croghan undergoing $1.4m ceiling restoration project

CROGHAN —  While this small village in northern Lewis County may be best known for its bologna, its most visible landmark is likely St. Stephen’s Roman Catholic Church. [Read more…]

NNY colleges program to aid disadvantaged students

North country colleges are increasing access to higher education for underprivileged people and providing services to help them succeed. [Read more…]

Successful New York architect wants to help his native Ogdensburg

OGDENSBURG — An Ogdensburg native who founded a major New York City architectural firm that helped design the observatory at the top of One World Trade Center in Manhattan now wants to return home to help redevelop the Maple City. [Read more…]

New York City ad blitz promotes Ogdensburg’s Remington museum as destination

Thousands of signs and digital images promoting the Frederic Remington Art Museum are now adorning New York City buses, trains and other public spaces as part of an “I Love NY” advertising campaign to promote tourist destinations across the state.

Museum Director Laura A. Foster said the promotional campaign is significant because most of Mr. Remington’s art was made either in the Big Apple itself or within the greater New York City metropolitan area.

As an example, she said, his home and studio were located in New Rochelle, Westchester County, for 18 years, and both foundries with which he worked were in New York, as were his publishers and the galleries where he exhibited his artwork.

“It is most appropriate that the state celebrate the artist and his museum in this way,” Ms. Foster said.

As part of the I Love NY ad campaign, a total of 6,483 signs and images promoting the museum are being placed along public transit routes in New York City to encourage commuters in the Big Apple to travel just “a few hours north” to visit the Frederic Remington Museum on Washington Street.

The advertising campaign was created to encourage New York City residents and tourists to visit and enjoy all of the state as part of an initiative by Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo to bring tourism to the forefront as a major economic driver, according to Ms. Foster. She said thousands of the Remington promotional signs are already in place throughout New York City, and will remain affixed to the sides of city buses and trains through February.

Ms. Foster said she is hopeful the campaign eventually will translate into increased patronage for the city of Ogdensburg and its Remington museum, although she said experience has taught her that it often takes time for new promotional activity to have a noticeable effect.

“We hope this will bring people to the museum, and also engage with our local and regional cultural partners,” Ms. Foster said. “I imagine the effect will be stronger once the winter chill subsides, and we’ll look forward to announcing the first I Love NY ad-inspired visit. I have no doubt that we will see a boost in tourism over time, hopefully a long time.”

The Frederic Remington advertising campaign in New York is being funded through the Division of Tourism at Empire State Development.

The Frederic Remington Art Museum, 303 Washington St., is dedicated to collecting, exhibiting, preserving and interpreting the art and archives of Mr. Remington, and contains an unmatched collection of his works, according to museum officials.

For more information about the museum and its events call 393-2425 or visitwww.fredericremington.org.

In a statement issued this week, Empire State Development said the campaign “provides an exciting opportunity to extend our reach and showcase all of the unique attractions and destinations across New York state, including the Frederic Remington Art Museum.”

 

By Larry Robinson, Johnson Newspapers