Friday, 31 August 2012

Blue Moon

Hello friends! I present to you the Ghost of Trousers Past. This outfit is more loose and flowy than I prefer nowadays, but my activities demanded full range of motion and absolute comfort. Serious Outfits will return next week, I'm sure! 

tired face: not enough sleep, DIY
scarf: Gabii's, TX, near border to Progreso
cardigan: deane & white, Winners
shark-bite hem tank: Bellina, Winners, last worn here
silk pants: Exclusive, now-defunct silk shop in College Park, Toronto
flip flops (I know, sorry - usually farm-wear only! Can you ever forgive me?): Joe Fresh

I acquired these pants in 1995 during my first grad school internship - along with every other clothing item they had in this print: tank top, great wide gathered shorts, long vest. Good thing too, because the pants eventually needed lengthening. Elastic long since sprung, they are held up by foldover + safety pin. Having seen me though so much already, a couple of times each summer they dig deep for one more round, and I will probably wear them until they fall right off. 

watch: Stuhrling Tuskegee Skylancer
usual wrist wear (details here)
vampire juice / sacred space / perfume flask pendant: The Victorian Shoppe, Toronto (mid-90's)
Knowing me, that occasion will be a very public, dramatic, and most inconvenient catastrophic disintegration. I am just so grateful that it was not today. Yay!!!

On the kind of day that rumpled even The Magic Pants, I arrived home to a great surprise - my obi belt and buttonflowers from Megan Mae Designs had arrived!!! I must tell you that Megan's customer service is outstanding, and what a gorgeous treat this package was to open: 

See! I have an incredible urge to decorate myself. As I was emailing Megan, I'm beginning to understand why I find buttonflowers so fascinating - I think it has to do with the blending, through transformation by hand, of things our culture codes "masculine" and "feminine.

Also, to feel like I have friends along with me through these days - buttons which might have come from Sheila, a buttonflower in the same dragon fabric as Lynne's obi, handmade by Megan - is just so heartening. 

Wishing the same to you, and so much more often than once in a blue moon. 

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Yes, My Darling Dotter

I was losing light by the time I got home from work for outfit photos. I loved wearing a couple of my favourite serendipitous scores, and this particular red-belt-and-shoes combination works with so many dresses that it's eerie.

dress: Dana Buchman, thrifted, $8
obi belt:
Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy
shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction, Winners, $14, story here

This silk dress did fit a bit oddly at the store, but at half-price, I couldn't leave it behind - not with those flower-shaped buttons. At home, I discovered the little interior snaps which create the gathers at the shoulders. A perfect fit after all. Hooray! 

wood bangle: random mall store, can't recall
watch: Swiss Army Cavalry, beloved gift (1994)
usual wrist wear: silver Om bracelet (Lollapalooza vendor, early '90's)silver & leather "hands" bracelet (AGO, precious gift, early '90s, replaced 2005), rubber O-ring

The respite from sub-Arctic office chill was brief, so I am back to layering up. Do you have any garments which absolutely have their own fantastic smell? This sweater is one. Besides being amazingly soft, it smells delicious. It also goes over top of this outfit and this one too

scarf: Charming Charlie
sweater: nurture, Dillard's

Now when you run into me wearing it, you might ask if you can smell it. I might let you. 

antique moonstone necklace: a (40th birthday) gift from my mother (and father)
Like many of y'all, I've got some brutally long days happening, and will be catching up on responding to your awesome comments and emails and leaving comments on your fabulous blogs as I'm able. Off to do good self-care: sleep. I highly recommend you get some too, if you can! 

Monday, 27 August 2012

Rainy Days and Mondays

This rainy Monday, I needed comfy-cozy and practical. I took outfit photos immediately upon arriving home, and included all the stuff I haul to work every day. I was feeling a bit utilitarian, yet still reasonably visible - and therefore, I will see you all over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday

jacket: bluepower, Cranberrie Lane (local shop)
travel mug: door prize / peeling-paint water vessel: Superstore
much-mended lunch bag:
Giant Tiger - and how I wish I could find another which would work nearly as well
cross-body bag:
Kenneth Cole Reaction 
skirt: kiora, Winners
Hush Puppies

I've carried a similar messenger-type bag since at least the mid-'90's (again with that time period!). It fits my daytimer, plus it's hands-free. This is about my 5th one - I wear them to bits and it takes me ages to find a replacement.

These shoes bring back so many memories of dance lessons. Whether it's the scent of the rubber soles or the glue holding them together, when I first opened the box, I also vividly recalled getting Buster Brown shoes for back-to-school as a child. Then they stained my heels blue, just like old times. In your mind's eye, can you picture all the girls with their tights so marked? 

antique teardrop necklace: a gift from my mother, close-up here
cardigan: Majora, Colours
surplice-front shirt: Denver Hayes, Mark's Work Wearhouse

Thanks for stopping by! Hope everyone's week is off to a good start.

*** EDITED TO ADD: I'm excited to be included in Manolo's Monday Miscellany over at the Manolo's Shoe Blog - so pleased to be an Internet Friend of the Manolo - and of you! ***

Sunday, 26 August 2012

True Colours / Liebster Award

I dedicate today's post to anyone who sometimes wonders if they might need "less colour and more basic neutrals," including some of the most magnificent bloggers ever, Pearl of Fashion Pearls of Wisdom, and Sheila of Ephemera (who I think has these same shorts in turquoise). 

sunglasses: Ray Ban
scarf: Gabii's, TX near border to Progreso
bag: Fossil, Dillard's
top: local discount / overstock store
shorts: Reitman's, thrifted
shoes: Fluevog Faith Nazareth

My own very easy answer to that question is "NO!" 
Just in case you hadn't guessed. 

I also send my love to Melanie of Bag and a BeretCatherine of Not Dressed as Lamb, and the Advanced Style ladies, for showing us how it's done. Do check out Catherine's post on "age-appropriate" vs. occasion-appropriate dressing. 

I can't think of much more tiresome than the Judgy McJudgy-Pants-ers doing their ever-limiting thing as regards age, gender, and body size, and so right this second, I will leave them to waste their own time and energy. How about that?

Returning straight away to the absolutely fantastic, the above-mentioned Melanie has bestowed the Liebster Award upon yours truly! As my Blogger profile is woefully empty and I haven't even started an "About" page, this honour is doubly appreciated. You will find all of the Liebster-y goodness below the jump. Enjoy your day, everyone!

Friday, 24 August 2012

Wonder Twin Powers

Thank you everyone for your kind well-wishings - I am so relieved to be feeling better! Hot weather has also returned, and my office is suddenly less Arctic, so I'm glad to be getting in a few more wears of summery things. Though I can't believe that "no white shoes after Labour Day" is an actual thing that people care about, can you? 

dress: Jones New York
belt: brand forgotten, Beyond the Rack
shoes: Sam Edelman Kendall

A well-made dress always feels like such a treat to me - the extra hooks and eyes, bra-strap holder snaps, tethers to the lining to prevent it flying up over my head, and even pockets. All these little ways of saying, "I'm looking out for you." Thank you, dress, you are a good friend. And super-floofy besides.  

grey flower pin: a gift from my mother, Dillard's
necklace: a gift from my mother, vintage
scarf: Gabii's, TX, near border to Progreso
pleather jacket: Coffee Shop, My Habit 

I've come across two other fashion bloggers with these same shoes - the wonderful Stacey of Gray Skies, and Jessica of What I Wore. Over at Fashion for Giants, I also lately admired Gracey's belt; it totally sproinged my matchy-brain and made me think of this dress.  

watch: Swiss Army Cavalry, beloved gift (1994)+ usual wrist wear
Together with being on the mend, I'm so happy to have my usual watch restored to me from being fixed - it's another one of those precious early-mid-'90's items I've worn near-daily since. Besides wedding rings, are there any things you wear, any "constants" which you don't feel like yourself without? 

*** I have great news to announce: the spectacular Melanie of Bag and a Beret has generously bestowed a Liebster Award on me! Congrats to my co-recipients, and stay tuned for a reasonable hand-drawn facsimile of reign-fulfilment! ***

Wednesday, 22 August 2012


Greetings from the sodden slopes of Kleenex Mountain! You'll want to stay well outside the ring of orange traffic cones. And hand-sanitize frequently. I do get to stay home tomorrow!

scarf: Charming Charlie
blazer: Bizz Girl, Giant Tiger, clearance - $7
obi belt: goodtimesbarcelona, etsy
wide-leg pants: Max Studio
ankle booties: Taxi

necklace: Tradewinds (local shop)
tank top: Smart Set

In this post (the same one that lit the fire under me to get started with this blog already, never mind that when I look at my schedule for the next three weeks I want to lie on the floor and weep), Lynne of Practical Paralegalism asked: "When your life gets a little crazy, what are your go-to clothes for every day living? (Or working?)" This outfit is a particular one that came to mind for me. 

It's structured enough to feel like it's holding me up when I can't hold myself up, but everything is soft, light, flowing or stretchy, and these pants rival jammies for comfort. Stop looking at my sick sad-face, I'm just feeling a little sorry for myself!
This is the 3rd pair of these booties from Taxi I've owned,
though the others had a different pattern of stitching and studs.

Once, when I was sick in late winter, through a miserable brain-haze I suddenly remembered a tin of Kahlua chocolates left over from Christmas in the top cupboard. I congratulated myself profusely on my brilliance, and then proceeded to eat the whole thing.

Turns out, it was not the genius idea I had anticipated. 

Ever since, despite the decidedly unhappy end to that episode, whenever I approach the self-pity stage of a cold, there is this little voice inside me, wailing, "I'm sick! Bring me Kahlua chocolates!"

usual wrist wear (details in this post)
watch: a gift from my mother

I look forward to seeing you again in a couple of days! xoxo (waves from beyond protective safety glass)

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

Saturday, 18 August 2012

Have Their Picnic

My sweetheart - we shall call him Beary - and I went to the opening reception / picnic for my friend Mary Catherine Newcomb's latest installation project, called Field of Mice (resist). Besides gourds grown into mice-shaped molds, she has previously grown eggplant saints, hot pepper demons, and squash babies; her website is here.

photo credit: S. Newcomb
I swear to you, we did not plan matching red plaid + taupe themed outfits!

on me: 
sunglasses: Ray Ban
scarf: Charming Charlie
dress: Esley, ModCloth
obi belt: ModCloth
boots: BCBGeneration, Dillard's

on Beary: 
sunglasses: safety glasses from work
shirt: Towncraft, thrifted 
shorts: Joe Fresh
shoes: Converse All Star

my other horseshoe nail necklace: The Occult Shop, Toronto, early '90's

usual wrist wear: silver & leather "hands" bracelet:
(AGO, precious gift, early '90s, replaced 2005), silver Om bracelet (Lollapalooza vendor, early '90's), rubber O-ring

watch: Stuhrling Tuskegee Skylancer (just noticed the incorrect date)

wood bracelet: mall store, don't recall 

cropped jean jacket: Smart Set, 6+ years ago

I want to share an excerpt of the comment I made today at Lynne's blog, Practical Paralegalism. In response to her post, I Found Out Why I'm Not Famous, regarding the Independent Fashion Bloggers situation, I wrote:
"All that stuff defined as "success" there - adherence to a very narrow mainstream idea of "beauty," collusion with our mass culture's fetishization of youth, thinness, and consumption, slick "high quality" images, prominent monetization, etc. - I find to be a total turn-off. 

I am exponentially more interested in human connections with other people who fall outside of those exclusive, limiting parameters: this very thing generates unique and often hilarious voices, a welcoming and inclusive spirit, creativity and finding enjoyment in dressing for one's body and life and sharing it with us, and particularly an ability to incisively reflect on those cultural norms and pressures." 

I figured that would tell you a little bit about me, and also let you in on why I am such a big fan of yours. 

Don't get me wrong, I have nothing against high-quality images, only against the requirement of professional-quality photography as a baseline in defining a blog as "successful."

At the close of my first week of blogging, I feel way more successful than I could have imagined, thanks to you!

I'm not getting dressed at all tomorrow, but look forward to seeing you next week. I have lots more outfits.

What is your definition of blog success?

Linking ahead to the future for Holiday Partying and Plaid at Spy Girl!

Friday, 17 August 2012

Grey Lady Grey

Work had me out in the community today - I got to see the sun! - and I needed to be super-comfy for lots of driving. I popped out to the barn for outfit photos before I left. 

sunglasses: Ray Ban
scarf: Becky's, South Padre Island TX
pleather jacket: Coffee Shop, My Habit
dress: En Focus, Marshall's
bag: Charming Charlie (it fits my daytimer, yay!)
boots: Fluevog Presence Intuit

(all new since February)

It's taken years of searching to find prescription-friendly sunglasses which suit me - the homogenization of mainstream fashion, so much sameness, "it gives me the irrits" (a charming Lilli figure-of-speech). 

Of course, as soon as I found workable sunglasses, I had to go and fall madly in love with these, in white.

When I finally started craving more colour and less black in my wardrobe (not that long ago), it was hilarious to find that grey and sandy and very muted tones suit me best.
ring: carnelian, El Disco Super Centre, Progreso, Mexico

Do you remember "having your colours done"? At about age 13, I was diagnosed a "summer" and have a visceral memory of seething with incoherent rage while my "winter" sister sat there smugly flipping through her little folder of pinked-edge swatches, all jam-packed with bright reds and white, solid black, vivid blues and yellows, where I was stuck with ... dusty rose and crap. Man, that sucked!

The amplitude of that sulk must have been quite something to behold.

Happy weekend, everyone!