Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Absurd Is The Word

*** WARNING: fashion blogger made chatty by cold remedies. Regularly-scheduled mostly-outfit posts will resume shortly***

So the amazing Wendy Brandes has written an article and a blog post about wedge sneakers, her blog post featuring the phrase "a woman in her 40's" in relation to this trend and other things. Taken together with her philosophy of "Never is the next new thing (tm)," I was compelled to revisit what in the heck happened to me this spring when I suddenly ended up with not one but two pairs of these things.

I first thought it mostly had to do with coming across them on clearance (75% off) and at a thrift store for $9 (the latter pair being just the thing to summer-ize a favourite outfit while simultaneously satisfying the matchy itch in a not-so-secret corner of my brain). However, that didn't fully explain the shift in me from "Oh dear!", "Ew!" and / or "Nooooo!" to "Interesting shape!" "Try 'em on for the heck of it!" and "Coming home with me!"

scarf: Charming Charlie
sleeveless trench coat dress: 
Cynthia Rowley, Marshall's
chicken: egg
t-shirt and skirt: Joe Fresh
wedge sneakers: thrifted


a sleeveless trench coat may be as pointless and non-
functional a garment as wedge sneakers,
but I couldn't argue with the back detailing. 
What happened to make the very kinds of absurdity which so repelled me in the past now freely available to me to enjoy as I please?

The sweet relief of not needing to take myself so seriously.

A greater disregard for being judged as caring too much about appearance: a ridiculous judgement, really, considering all of the effortful, boring, repetitive, painful, and expensive labour which often goes into performing that which we assign to "femininity" - and about which we must also apparently perform a certain nonchalance.  

I felt pretty neutral about turning 40, it didn't seem like such a big deal. I had a really fun party, to which everyone wore a unibrow.

Sometimes changes are subtle, like a bit of chill on the breeze. Other times they are unmistakable and joyfully absurd, like wedge sneakers, or chickens.


There is this idea, and please please please tell me if you know its source because I so wish I could attribute it properly. Was it Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes? Jane Fonda? The Style Crone? They said, specifically of women, that it is a good thing  we continue to grow in courage and wisdom as we age, because each stage of our lives will demand more of these things than the one before.

Does your experience bear this out?

I am bleary with a summer cold, and glad I did my photos of today's outfit yesterday, because now my nose is even sadder and redder. I most wanted to wear my new Fluevog Guides with the trench coat dress, but needed to talk about wedge sneakers first, as Wendy B has put a call out for pictures of bloggers wearing them and I haven't been blogging long enough to have any pictures on hand to send. I figured that if Sheila can wait until next month's capsule to wear her new Fluevogs, well, I can wait a couple of days.
hair: DIY
glasses: Oakley
earrings: Lollapalooza vendor, early '90s
necklace and amber pendant: Lando's, Progreso, Mexico

What was it about the early '90's that my earrings and
wrist-wear have remained constant since?
Something in me fixed in place?
A bit of my heart left behind? 
A bonus fall preview outfit to show you my other sneakers.
sweater: Gianni Bini, Dillard's
necklace: Tradewinds (local shop)another chicken: another egg
shirt: Cotton Ginny Plus (ancient)
pants: Dalia Sport, Winners (10 years ago)
wedge sneakers: Gianni Bini, Dillard's 
These are two of our seven hens. Poor Maryjane Frystack's foot needed tending, but it looked much better today when we changed the bandage. Though they may disagree as to quantity, all fowl models were generously compensated for their labour with sunflower seeds. 

A distinct advantage of doing outfit photos in just a few minutes - before or after work or at lunch, and without animal friends - is not ending up with too many photos to choose from! Out-takes are below the jump. I hope everyone is well, and thanks for listening! 

See you over at Patti's for Visible Monday






















41 comments:

  1. I adore the trench dress! So so much. It looks fantastic layered up.

    Also before we get to the sneakers - Can I just squee for a little while over your chickens!?! OMG CHICKENS! So freaking cool. I'm a silly city girl who still cries "COW!" or "LLAMA!" when we're driving down the road since I now live in a more rural town.

    As for the wedge sneakers, Maybe my eye has adjusted to them, maybe there are just worse shoe options, but I think you and Wendy found some good kicks. I like your beige ones best, tbh, but the boot versions are pretty cute too. I'm still not a super fan of the regular trainer-style wedge sneakers/high heels, but only because they tend to look distorted. The chuck-taylor style wedge sneaker looks more intentional.

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    1. Thanks, Megan!

      Being enthusiastic creatures themselves, my chickens do love a squee!

      I agree about the regular trainer-style - like they're caught at an unfortunate spot mid-morph.

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  2. I love reading your posts - lots of good stuff in there!

    The heeled sneaker...I did that a couple of years ago (2008) with these crazy psychedelic ones: http://sheilaephemera.blogspot.ca/2008/08/casual-friday-some-green-stuff-going-on.html

    I haven't really found another pair that have rung my bell yet. Those ones fell apart.

    I pretty much wear whatever I like, don't really follow trends except to emulate with what I've already got. I adore Wendy's philosophy. "Grow your own vintage" is another one of my favourite sayings of hers. She is one of my oldest blog-friends!

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    1. Oh Sheila, those were suuuper-psychedelic! So frustrating when otherwise-great things don't hold up.

      I was really surprised to find myself with these trendy items, since I think of myself as way more often disconnected rather than a follower of / participant in trends. It will be interesting to actually see which of my perceptions hold water as I blog along. No mullet skirts so far though! (whew!)

      I am a big fan of Wendy's! Love that concept of hers too!

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  3. Oh, and duh, love the sleeveless trench! I like it worn as the overdress with the other clothes. I think it has some distinct possibilities.

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    1. Thanks! When I got it, I didn't actually know that sleeveless trench coats were a "thing!" There are a few other combos I wear it with. I thought it was hilarious that Wendy's bog post has a photo of a blogger wearing a sleeveless trench and wedge sneakers together. I wonder how we even get the idea that these things "go" together!

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  4. Yes, I know what you mean about wedge sneakers. The first time I saw them I thought, you're kidding me. The next time I thought, hm, and the next time I thought, I can't wait until you go on sale - and sadly that sale has been eluding me ever since. So I love your wedge sneakers. I am pleased to make the acquaintance of a couple of your fine chickens, especially Ms. Frystack. You look fabulous, by the way! Love that sleeveless trenchcoat dress. I hope you feel better soon.

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    1. Sorry Melanie - I think I bought all the sale-priced ones!

      Yes, our MJ is a particularly fine hen, a friendly layer of huge dark-brown eggs. Starr Ethel Steele is our skittish and intense alpha chicken, but she is always pristine. Our other white hen, Mrs. Gloria Carscadden, is calmer but always filthy.

      Thanks for your well-wishings!

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  5. My favourite photo is of your finger and the hen. =) Priceless. I love that you keep chickens.

    Sleeveless trench!? Yes please. What brand are those thrifted wedge sneakers? I think those are the first pair I've seen that I've liked. Must be the mary-jane style.

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    1. Yes, that is some art right there for sure!

      Oop, forgot that detail on the shoes - they are "Rebels" brand.

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  6. Yes, Never *is* the next new thing (TM) - because I am loving those Gianni Bini sneakers on you. And also (TM Sarah Palin), the trench dress is glorious. Hope you are well soon, colds are so dreary. Thanks for sharing your fab with Visible Monday.

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    1. Thanks, Patti! I think that Visible Mondays are one of the best things ever, and thank YOU so much for creating and holding that space!

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  7. You are brilliant in the wedge sneakers and I don't think that wearing them should be limited to those under 40. Along with a lot of other rules that we hear about what to wear and when. The addition of animal friends makes me smile and happy to hear that they were generously compensated.

    Thank you for the mention and with the likes of Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes, I am honored and humbled.

    By the way, your hair is outstanding!

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    1. Thank you Judith - rules, schmules!

      Speaking of honoured and humbled, I so appreciate such kind words from my favourite specialist in crowning glories!

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  8. Smart post. You describe two sophisticated concepts of life experience. The first is a common psychological shift many women have when aging: lessening concern for the opinions of others, particularly over their appearance. This is a good thing, a sense of growing freedom. Why should we care what people think of our purple hats or wedge sneakers? Our own happiness is as important as the judgment of others. The second concept is the notion of femininity (and gender-identity in general) as a performance. It is, but few realize that.

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    1. Being able to talk about these things is one of the many reasons I liked you immediately, Ally! Thank you for pulling out these highlights.

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  9. My eye changes without my realizing it until I suddenly NEED the thing I previously scorned. Probably won't do wedge sneakers, although I love them on you, but I'm circling around a few items like a vulture, just waiting.

    I also love Dr. Estes and Judith "Style Crone". Way back in the day strangers used to call me Fonda Face which sort of put me off dear Jane, but they also said I looked like Vanessa Williams when I was younger, so I liked that. Of course then there was Mariah Carey....well, oh well. As great as her voice is, I'm just not feeling her.

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    1. Wow, what a poetic first sentence, Jean! And so interesting how those comparisons stay with us.

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  10. Awesome chicken balancing there Amber!! I find myself occasionally picking up something (shoes, a piece of jewellery or a hat) and thinking that even though it was a style that I had eschewed all my life, suddenly, it held great appeal for me. Who knows why this happens. I'm 50 so I figure I don't have to explain anything anymore ;) I am kinda liking the grey wedge sneakers and think I could pull them off, maybe.....

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    1. I feel like it's taken me this long to start to learn how to dress myself! I maintain that is the '80s' fault. I gave up on dresses for the longest time because I thought they fought my figure - only to find out relatively recently that I'd never even tried the styles which, it turns out, suit me the very best.

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  11. LOVE, LOVE, LOVE that sleeveless trench dress. Don't tell me where you live, or I will be over in the dead of night to steal it! I am an absolute sucker for taupe. (Go figure!)

    Many thanks for your lovely comments on my blog. It's so nice to see you and your gorgeous outfits. What flair!

    Love from England,
    Rosemary from foreveronthecatwalkoflife.blogspot.com

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    1. Thanks, Rosemary! I couldn't resist it myself. :)

      I'm so glad to be crossing paths with such incredibly kind, funny, brilliant and stylish people!

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  12. Love your sneakers and who knew chickens were such awesome accessories? Chickens are the next new thing!

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    1. Thank you, Wendy! I agree - chickens are where it's at!

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  13. Two of seven chickens? We must see ALL THE CHICKENS!! Please? They are so silly and wise at the same time; good role models for us aging chicks.

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    1. Oh Louise, to see some awesome chickens, check out Terry Golson's www.hencam.com - I love her description of chickens' outlook the best: " ... they are forever curious, optimistic, and in the moment."

      We could do a lot worse than that for sure!

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  14. Oh my dear, you take the banter of fashion to a point of such introspection and meaning...all while still talking a wedge tennie and chickens! Such a refreshing and inspiring perspective!

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    1. Thank you Tamera! Your comment means a great deal to me.

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  15. Yep, that's what I thought. You're holding a chicken! TOO CRAY! LOVE IT!
    XOXO
    -Daisy Nguyen from PS BANANAS fashion blog:
    http://psbananas.com
    BLOGLOVIN
    FACEBOOK

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  16. PS - these photos are so ADORBS, I had to take another long gander. LOVE them!
    XOXO
    -Daisy Nguyen from PS BANANAS fashion blog:
    http://psbananas.com
    BLOGLOVIN
    FACEBOOK

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    1. Thank you Daisy! I appreciate your coming by to visit, and then visit again!

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  17. I just had to smile when reading your post, first time Ive seen a style blogger posing with chickens, how cute and fun! :) Im living on a farm myself, alas we dont have chickens anymore but perhaps I can use a cow instead :p Kudos to you for wearing wedge sneakers!! :) They are not for me cause I would look like a teen again but on you they are perfect! :) far from mutton dressed as lamb for sure! :) I love the back details on the trenchcoat and you are the queen if layering dresses/skirts, sooo inspirational. :)

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  18. Cows in a post would be wonderful!!!

    Thanks for the kind compliments! :) It is so cool to inspire others - you are an inspiration to me as well.

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  19. Amber I love BOTH these outfits equally and yes to the wedge sneakers!! (I too have a couple of pairs.) The autumnal outfit is wonderful, the layering is great and I think I need to Pin it right now! Though the best accessory of all is your chicken ;))

    Catherine x
    http://notdressedaslamb.com

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    1. Thank you so much, Catherine! I have a decided interest in organic accessories. ;)

      I've followed you as well, and under your wedges label, found you in your fantastic denim pair - with red piping - wow!!!

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  20. I followed you from Manolo the shoeblogger. Now you're part of my fashion blog feed. Chickens! the perfect accessory. Goes with everything. I love your style.

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    1. Thank you, Nomi! I really appreciate it!

      I highly recommend chickens - they do need kind care, but none of your other accessories will actually make you breakfast, right?

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  21. You are so right about the wedge sneakers, if we hadn't already been talking about them I'd have just thought 'what amazing outfits' and the heeled sneaker issue wouldn't even have crossed my mind. Maybe it is just getting our eyes used to seeing them. I really like the idea of wearing them with a sleeveless trench, I have one too some where must find it and try mine with it. But you know the chickens stole the show, they are the perfect accessory, arent they so well behaved to sit still for photo's I can't get any of my dogs to sit still I end up with noses right up the lens of just shots with a tail poking in ha ha!

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    1. I found it so interesting that a blogger shown in WendyB's article has also paired her wedge sneakers with a sleeveless trench. I knew that (regular, sleeved) trench coats were more popular than usual but didn't know sleeveless trench coat-dresses were even a mini-trend when I acquired this one - and how did I "know" to put the sneakers with it? All so interesting how we absorb ideas, even with widely varying levels of exposure to different types of fashion media.

      MJ is a calm and friendly hen, but I was most impressed with Starr's perching - she settles once you get hold of her, but she's usually so skittish. They are a hard-working and generous "eggs-cessory" for sure!

      P.S. I would LOVE to see some puppy-nose photos - so very dear!

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  22. I'm still catching up on my blog reading, but I have to say, I am bewitched by both your chickens and your wedge sneakers, particularly the ones with the Mary Jane feel.

    I think the quote is correct. Women do acquire more wisdom and courage as we age, because we're sure as hell going to need more of it. I just wish we'd get just the right amount we need for the given situation. I don't think mine has caught up to the given situation(s) yet.

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    1. Thanks, Lynne - through getting to know them, I've been surprised by the comical and endearing qualities of both chickens and wedge sneakers!

      Yes, that quote really struck me, and I hope I will come across it again. In retrospect it can be a good thing to have some sense of one's developing capacities, but I sure wish it weren't necessary to be tested so deeply. I think you are already amazing, and me too on hoping to someday be old enough to handle all the crap with greater equanimity. :)

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Thank you for your comments!
- Amber