Fashion, intrigue and strong women

Fashion, intrigue and strong women

Happy Budget Saving Tuesday!  Where…YES!… I will discuss fashion, intrigue and strong women.

 Just stick with me on this one!

Inflation and pandemic business shut-downs have driven the prices of entertainment sky high.

When time to renew our theater seats, I was shocked at the cost.

With so many productions taking liberties with the traditional theater presentations, I said to Mr. B…this is not worth it.

Of course, the movie theaters have also increased ticket sales dramatically.

My favorite entertainment includes touches of fabulous fashion, intrigue and strong women.



Fashion, intrigue and strong women Up until this past spring, I had never binge watched television.

While working a professional job and blogging for the past eleven years, I was just too busy.

I did not understand when Mr. B and my sons would binge watch a series called “24,” or “How I Met My Mother.”

Usually, I would walk by, shake my head and go to bed.

However, this year, I have binge watched two series and been captivated…so now I get it.

Really, binge watching is the same as getting caught up in a great book and reading it through the night!

Note: I will explain the hat picture in a moment!


Fashion, intrigue and strong women 

My hair stylist was the one who introduced me to Velvet (2013-2016) and Velvet Coleccion (2017-2019).

This is a television series produced in Spain complete with sub-titles and it is excellent.

It’s a love story between a woman who begins as a humble seamstress at a high fashion clothing store in Madrid and the son of the store owner.  They grow up in the store together.

Velvet is the name of the store which is described as the most glamorous women’s clothing store in the 1950’s.  Similar to a Saks Fifth Avenue.

Fashion, intrigue and strong women

The seamstress, Anna, works hard and eventually becomes a top clothing designer with her own line.  The stories follow the store employees and the wealthy family members as the two love birds struggle and make sacrifices to keep the store afloat.

If you love fashion as I do, you will love this show and classic, vintage styles it showcases.

It is for those of us who appreciate the art and design in fashion history.  And when it takes us to the 60s, I immediately experienced memories ….including those white go-go boots.

The story is so well written that you want to stick with it and find out what eventually happens.  The characters are likable and the villains are deplorable.  Some of the sex scenes were a little too much for me, but watching at home…you can fast forward.  It moved quickly and rarely dragged.

Fashion, intrigue and strong women

I also loved that the finale was at Christmastime.  A perfect way to bring this saga to a close.

Both of the Velvet series are on Netflix and Amazon Prime.

My only consequence of binge watching was I began to dream in Spanish and say HOLA to everyone…no one in San Antonio really noticed though! Ha!



Fashion, intrigue and strong women

Velvet was such an enjoyable experience that I began to look for another one.

Then I saw an advertisement for the new Downton Abbey: A New Era movie and thought…I need to watch the series.

I am certain some of you will be appalled when I say that I had never seen Downton Abbey.

But, Immediately, I was attracted to the fashion, intrigue and strong women of the script.

Fashion, intrigue and strong women

To date, I have watched all of it except for the movie released this summer.

Honestly, there were times it moved a little slow, but the fashions kept me in the game.

Also, the deaths of Sybil and Michael were so ghastly that I had to make myself keep going. 

I do not like ghastly or violent or scary!

But, I hung in there and am glad I did.   You can find it all on Amazon Prime…it recently left Netflix. 

Fashion, intrigue and strong women

I loved watching the fashion…especially on Cora and Edith who most often wore designs in the autumn palettes. 

Here is a Town & Country slideshow you might enjoy about the costumes: Best Costumes in Downtown Abbey.

While I preferred the script writing in Velvet, it was Downtown Abbey that affected me with fashion inspiration applicable to my modern-day wardrobe.

I was reminded of my enjoyment for:

  1. Long Lean styling with long necklaces
  2. Rich print fabrics complemented by beautiful jewel-toned solids
  3. Fabulous toppers of all types over dresses
  4. The elegance of good posture and manners.

Oh yes, and I have enjoyed trying on hats like you see in today’s post.  It is fun to just play! 

Here are a couple of recommended cookbooks…I am certain tested by Mrs. Patmore!

Fashion, Intrigue and strong women

The Official Downton Abbey Christmas Cookbook

The Official Downton Abbey Afternoon Tea Cookbook

In both series, the women are strong and persevere through difficulties …that is always inspiring.  Personally, I believe the strongest women depicted in both series are the store employees & seamstresses and the staff of the Downton house.  But, I agree the Crawley women are exceptionally strong in character and deed.

At the moment, I am not binge watching anything.  I was so pleased to attend the movie I spoke of in the birthday post because it is also about fashion, intrigue and strong women.

It may be difficult to find something to follow up on these with the same theme and quality.  Anyone have a suggestion?

My desire was to show you that it is possible to find some good entertainment without leaving the house and be pleasing to your budget.

I have not given up reading and just refreshed a reading area of my front room, but it was fun to binge watch these two and see the fabulous fashion designs.

Thanks for being here…I will return tomorrow with lifestyle headlines just for you!


By Pamela Lutrell

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Fashion, intrigue and strong women



  1. I jotted down the velvet series, I have prime, I will try it…..I never watched greys anatomy, but I’m on season 17 now. I had caught up with downton back when Netflix sent dvd/s in the mail, lol.

  2. Let me know if you like it, Sheryl. I think it is very well produced! Happy Tuesday!

  3. I have never binge watched anything, but I did watch every episode of Downton Abbey and bought the DVD’s. I loved the fashions and the drama!! Can’t tell you the last time I went to a movie…. maybe 15 or 20 years ago? I love the movies from the ’30’s and 40’s. I do like the hat you tried on! I wish hats would become more of a thing in this country.

  4. Yes, I am surprised you hadn’t seen Downton Abbey! I found the fashions moving into the ’20s most interesting. I will take your advice on Velvet and start watching this evening! Another fashion series I enjoyed, although skewed way younger, is Emily in Paris (Netflix). Keep cool!

  5. I know I am one of just a few who had not seen. But working two jobs kept me too busy for Tv. Glad I have seen it now.

  6. I love these shows with the vintage fashion. Too bad our society is dressing down more and more.

  7. We are just picking and choosing plays that intrigue now, no season tickets anymore. I think it makes it more of an occasion when there are just a few per season for us. Thank you for including the link to the Downton slide show, it was wonderful. I did go to the movie with a bunch of friends, and thoroughly enjoyed it, but there was a bit of sad in it as well. I love to watch movies or a series for the fashion as well.
    Trying on hats is fun, and I used to wear them alot, to church most times and then the sun hats still to this day. I wish more people wore them. I actually tried on a few at a thrift store last week, and my friend said ‘get it’ to one but it was a wee bit too small and that would be a problem. With your vibrant autumn style, perhaps try a darker colour in your palette and swing the bow/ornamentation to the side or back. Playing around makes a real difference. I am almost embarassed to admit how many I own.

  8. I was just playing with the hats! If I intended to actually wear one it would be in my palette! Thanks Diane!

  9. I adored Downton Abbey for its history, house decor, daily routines, and of course the fashion. It had some brilliant writing (Lady Violet’s lines) but the plot descended into soap opera cliches far too often. For one you might not think of watching, try Ted Lasso on Apple TV (some profanity, not bad by today’s freewheeling standards). My son suggested it to me. At its core, it is a story about what true optimism and a determination to bring joy to people’s lives can do. Do not be turned off by the subject matter (British football).

  10. My son watches this one. I can try it, but I am funny about profanity. A little is Ok but I have turned away from many shows that crossed the line. We will see and thanks for sharing!

  11. As a transplanted Brit here to Texas I devoured the Downton Abby series and the fashions were definitely my favorite part to watch how they evolved. That being said, the hats that they wore were exquisite! I do not consider myself to be a hat wearer but you look just beautiful in the one you have on, it really draws attention to your lovely hair!!

  12. Oh goodness. I used to feel guilty watching tv but no longer with all the good content being played. PBS has so many excellent historical dramas as does other streaming services. Oh and I have fallen for so many overseas dramas, excellent. (The Crown, Outlander, Bodyguard, Derry Girls, Call the Midwife, Last Tango in Halifax…..I could go on and on). I do still read a lot and listen to audible on my walks. (I am lucky to be retired, I know, so I do have time).

  13. I think a lot of people aren’t dressing at all! From pajamas to bras in public.

  14. I agree, Mary Ruth…it is shocking. Mr.B and I like to be the best dressed in the room!

  15. If you can make it through a series with Spanish subtitles, try The Gran Hotel! It was my covid lockdown binge. I too came away from it answering “Si” to every question that was a yes! I never thought I would be able to watch a whole series with subtitles, but I got so sucked into the twists and turns of the story, that I forgot that I was reading. It was a similar but slightly more scandalous version of Downtown Abbey with the whole upstairs downstairs drama. Now I have Velvet on my list!

  16. Good morning. I will definitely look into Velvet! My husband and I have watched Downton from start to finish twice. Such characters, both upstairs and down. We even saw the traveling exhibit in NYC. It travels around the country. Looking for good clean stories and fun, All Creatures Great and Small fits the bill (the recent PBS remake). Have a nice day.

  17. Well you and I must be the only 2 who never watched the Downton series. I believe Netflix has it back again, perhaps because of the summer movie. Maybe in the winter I will try to watch. In Canada our summers are so sweet and short that watching TV is cutting into time best spent outdoors. Golfing, cycling, kayaking, hiking, gardening…I love it all. And, I have a hat for all occasions. I faithfully wear one outside mainly to protect my face from the sun. I felt a little self conscious at first wearing one but now, being a woman of a certain age, doesn’t bother me and people often comment on how great my hats are. Love your blog. I faithfully read each day.

  18. I have to admit that I had never binge watched until the pandemic. First I found the talking dog, Pluto, who was and still is, even though she went to the Rainbow Bridge earlier this year, a joyous, funny, uplifting and adorable little pup. Thanks to her Mom, NJ Wight.
    Then I found, and bear with me on this one: The Last Ship. I found it around June of the first year of the pandemic. Now this tv series, five seasons, is all about a global virus that is devastating the planet. Now I know some of you will say, OMG! not that one! But it helped me tremendously in taking an overall look at the human responses to such an event. Being shut in it really helped.
    So like many of you, before the pandemic, I didn’t “binge” watch anything, except for my daily dose of General Hospital, but now it’s a financially, and health conscious to stay in and soak up movies, series, and great reads.

  19. We watched Downton each season, pajama-clad down the street at our neighbor friend’s house each Sunday night, settling in for each episode with tea and cookies. It was such a delight, and our husbands got very caught up in the storyline as well. 😁 No cheaper form of entertainment or shared frivolity than that! I agree that bingeing a series can feel rather like reading a good book, but in a lovely shared way with family. My husband and I enjoy all kinds of historical shows ( and books, of course), and Netflix makes it easy with their categories to find intriguing picks. I recommend ” Turn” for a peak into the Revolutionary times, and “The Spanish Princess” for a dose of gorgeous fashion mixed with political intrigue and royal life long ago.

  20. Once when I was in college, my BFF and I tried on every hat in the local department store. The clerk so wanted to throw us out, but, of course, couldn’t! One thing that occurs to me when you talk about theater seat pricing is that it may actually be a good thing. It may mean that they are finally paying people a decent wage to work there — just a thought …

  21. Hi Wendy, I believe Downton left Netflix to join Prime. You might check it out!

  22. I love the idea of a pj party to catch a series! How much fun. I will check out the Spanish Princess!

  23. I hope that is true. I know businesses are struggling. It is just too much for us. I bet the seats will be filled!

  24. What a great post! You look fabulous in that hat. I don’t watch a lot of TV either, but love Downton, Midwives and the Indian Doctor. We also get movies with our library card. No cost. I read the book “THE Bookshop” by Penelope Fitzgerald and loved it. Then I saw the 2018 movie, and it is great, too. We have a free zoo and art museum in our town. There are a lot of ways to have fun at a minimal cost.

  25. Happy to have all of these good suggestions! Could you perhaps compile them into a single list in a future column?
    I binged “Younger,” a light comedy/romance about a recent divorcee (forty-ish) struggling to get back into the book-publishing job market…until she passes herself off as a much younger twenty-something. Hired! One of the ways she pulls it off is through fashion…dressing younger. Lots of thrifted artsy designer stuff. A very New York literary milieu. Since you’re a theater fan, Tony-winning song-and-dance actress Sutton Foster plays the lead.
    For another “Downton Abbey,” try “The Pallisers,” based on a series of novels by Anthony Trollope. Follows a Victorian arranged marriage and the couple’s subsequent unfolding love story…and their family life over many years. It’s intertwined with British politics. Lively and enjoyable characters. My husband really enjoyed it! It’s old-school Masterpiece Theatre from the ‘70’s. Production values have come a long way since then! We bought the DVD set on eBay…not expensive and well worth it.
    Also: “Poldark” (PBS), the original “All Creatures Great and Small” (on DVD), the first 2-3 seasons of “Grantchester” (PBS).
    Our current fave is “The Office” – episodes stream on Peacock. It’s based on a British comedy with a darker, more caustic tone. For American TV they softened the characters to make them more appealing. Still very funny in a subtle “did-you-catch-that” way. Some broad exaggeration, sure, but if you ever worked in an office, you will find yourself nodding!
    It’s probably not up your alley but one of our all-time faves is “Breaking Bad.” It’s fascinating to watch a normal, decent husband and father take one small step after another that lead him into a very dark situation. He aims to secure his family’s financial future after he receives a cancer diagnosis. But perhaps he enjoys the secrecy, risk and excitement a little too much….way more than he realizes. Couldn’t stop watching!

  26. Sorry for a second comment, but … Signora Volpe has fabulous scenery (Tuscany) and incredible outfits. There are only three episodes and the plots are okay, but fashion and Italy — what a combo!

  27. Love this post! I’m always on the hunt for a good series and will check out velvet. In that quest, I recently took a 7 -day trial (thru Amazon) of Acorn and found an engaging Australian series “A Place Called Home”. Set in the early 50’s has a stunning cast of strong women across classes navigating the life (and class) changes and struggles experienced at the close of WW2 – some issues we are still dealing with in current times. And I love 50s style. For me, this is a total win ( currently on season 3)! Have a joyful week!

  28. I know I’m late to the party today, but I’ve just finished watching all the seasons of “ Grace and Frankie” on Netflix. I watched the first several seasons when it first was on, but never finished it until recently.You’ll certainly see some interesting clothing on Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin, and of course, they cannot stay out of trouble. It’s funny, and relatable as we older ladies can identify with their troubles, grown children, and attitudes. I was sad when I finished the last season.

  29. Two lovely films set in the 50’s focused on high end and couture fashion are ‘The Dressmaker’ and “Ladies in black’. Set in Australia and on Netflix, hoping American Netflix has same as here in New Zealand. Enjoy!

  30. You are the only other person I know who has watched Velvet. I loved that series. In fact, I watched it twice. A great love story, great fashion & music!!

  31. There’s a Danish series I really enjoyed called Borgen about a woman who becomes prime minister or some such position. I thought it was really intriguing and made me forget I was reading subtitles. I think it was on Netflix. Others – The Detectorists, Seaside Hotel. Netflix or Amazon Prime.

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