Monday, 29 October 2012


An enormous thank you to the incredibly lovely and talented Jean of Dross Into Gold who has so generously honoured me in her Ode Series, #5 post! Welcome new visitors! My heart is full. 

Sending good thoughts to everyone in the path of Hurricane Sandy. In contrast to tonight's heavy winds and rain dumpage, last Thursday was so beautiful and sunny, and a normal, regular work day felt like such a treat after the disproportionately gruelling earlier part of the week. I really hoped it would be beautiful enough to wear my Canadian, eh? shorts-and-a-sweater combo (these shorts!) - but in the end it wasn't the weather which scared me off, but good ole office chill. I was still well overdue for some teeth-hurtingly saturated colour though. 

sweater: Point Zero, local discount / overstock store, $6
necklace: thrifted, worn here
skirt: C.O. Design, Winners (2000, when I started at my current job)
shoes: Fluevog Mini Dollface, worn here and here

This sweater is such an unusual and puzzling tubular garment, which is why it's my favourite: a cylinder as long as I am tall, vertically slit halfway to create the "sleeves," and at that halfway point opposite the slit appears the cowl/turtleneck. I believe the wee pockets in front are there solely to indicate that there is a "front," which is good to know. Plus it's twirly AND flappy! 

Good thing my necklace is heavy, I can clutch it in an attempt to contain myself. 

But then there are my shoes, which were my treat to myself when I returned to the job I love after a two-and-a-half year medical leave spent lying on the couch in rotting pyjamas. I had been saving up for these, scored the January sale price, and wore them first on the occasion of returning to perform spoken word in front of an audience after a six-year absence. 

That empty stretch in between stands as evidence of how my life had shrivelled down to only-work in the years leading up to incapacitation. I hate that it is still such a major fact of my life and that I ever mention it at all and even keep going on about it, but if all that being over doesn't just call for some running around making airplane noises: 

Guess my necklace isn't that heavy. 
I was also whispering "fly-fly-fly" like Anthony Hopkins playing Hannibal Lecter in Silence of the Lambs

Late to the party as usual, I'm off to elbow-flap my way in and mix it up way down at the bottom of Patti's Visible Monday - let's go see all the awesomeness over there!

P.S. I just noticed that this outfit does exactly the same thing I admired on Gracey over at Fashion for Giants - black as grounding for brights at both ends - cool!

Saturday, 27 October 2012

Ring My Bell

I so love and appreciate all of your comments - thank you! I corrected the date of last post's vintage-Amber-photos to 1985 - and I am way long overdue for an intensive round of visiting you! I've been taking outfit photos but not managing time to post, as my major non-work writing project has also been at a peak this week. Here is me catching up to Wednesday, when I had to dress for 2+ hours of car travel and 3+ hours of meeting - I'm telling you, it was definitely time for Giant Pants

scarf: from among my grandmother's belongings, worn here
amber necklace: a gift from my mother
grey pleather motorcycle jacket: Coffee Shop, My Habit, worn here, here, and here
shirt / blouse: Fred David, Giant Tiger
grey belt:
thrifted, worn here
giant burgundy-rust striped pants: tag long gone, a shop in College Park, Toronto (1995)
bag: Charming Charlie, shown here (with same jacket)
grey motorcycle boots: Zodiac, Dillard's (75% off sale, a.k.a. Shoepocalypse)

I picked up these super-comfy elastic + drawstring-waisted Enormous Pants of Stripey Goodness (and, incidentally, colour-of-sudden-trendiness-beginning-with-"o", though they have been this same colour for the almost 20 years I've been wearing them) during my first year of graduate studies - around the time I also acquired these here other Stupendous Pants

They have faded ever so slightly and the hem needs repair now and then, but otherwise they show nary a sign of the usual imminent, extremely awkward and absolutely catastrophic public disintegration. But just watch - now that I had to go and say something, right? 

What makes the difference for you between whether you refer to a garment as a blouse or a shirt? My best guess has to do with gathers & ruffles = blouse, and menswear styling & not much more than the odd dart or bit of seaming for fit = shirt.   

I am wearing one of these thingys which is mostly shirt but has a gathered under-bust seam, edging it toward the blouse end of the spectrum. Seems we are forever at the mercy of dichotomous language. 

Hope everyone is having a fantastic weekend. Are you looking forward to Patti's Visible Monday and Ally's Halloween Party too? I'm excited to see you there!

Friday, 26 October 2012

and I don't even worry 'bout the state I'm in

Oh my dears, I did not mean to disappear - it all started on my 11-hour Tuesday, when this is what I wore. Man, was it ever dark and rainy in the morning, but I knew it would be pitch black by the time I got home. What's funny is how the drear of the day combined with trying to photograph a black and grey outfit - and some of its particulars - called up so much in the way of memory.

skirt: M Collection, Mariposa
Fortunately I gave you the deets on the boots last post when you could actually see 'em. 

burnout velvet scarf: a gift from The Divine Aunt M, worn here
vintage teardrop silver and mother-of-pearl necklace: a gift from my mother, worn lots, good close-up here
blouse: Reitman's (2002)
boiled wool grey blazer: Deane & White, Winners (early 2000's)

I promise you that the jacket's embroidery continues all the way around the back, and that the skirt's side slits are the perfect depth, for all its inexpensive, wrinkle-free washability. 

I was so moved by the gorgeous retrospectives of very dear photos recently posted by divine and stunning lovelies both - Catherine of Not Dressed As Lamb, and Jean of Dross Into Gold. I wonder about our tendency to cut down with harsh judgement our adorable and gorgeous younger selves who were so perfectly of the times. I feel really lucky that any horror I might harbour is tempered with quite a deep affection.

photo credit: Ross Mayer, spring 1985
hair: Dep gel, Final Net hairspray, DIY
sleeveless ribbed white turtleneck: mall store
fine-rib-knit black jersey top with deep v-neck: worn backwards
blazer with torn epaulettes: borrowed from Ross
floor-lying boy: next town over

I figured out that a long black stretchy skirt and ankle boots have been wardrobe staples of mine for almost 30 years. Eeep! That is a long time! Check it out (and jeez, no wonder I have a hard time thinking of different ways to stand, or things to do with my arms): 

photo credit: Ross Mayer, spring 1985
hat: Le Chateau
trench coat: thrifted at the Sally Ann
long black stretchy skirt: probably Le Chateau
granny-style flat pointy ankle boots: were so freaking cool - they fastened with hooks like ice skates

But you guys, I am SO SURE that I link to Ross in a post with blurry, dark, grainy photos and while wearing a borderline-schleppy-11-hour-grotty-work-outfit. Dammit. And not an Aw, DAMMIT either! Figures, eh? Such is the way. 

Do you have those people with whom you bonded at times of such significance that you will love them with your whole heart ever after, no matter how sporadic your contact over the years? The only tough thing about these photos was that I was heartbroken and grieving so hard then that the devastation continues to radiate from the images across decades. The weight of the pain in my bones was such that I could hardly speak. 

Nothing for it but a bit of the old soundtrack, right? Here we go: 

I was at the infamous Toronto JAMC show a couple of years later in November 1987, and still have the funky sacroiliac and t-shirt as souvenirs. We spoke to the guy who got mic-whacked after - though his elbow was bleeding profusely, his sole motivation for making a fuss was that he wanted to meet the band. 

Hey, would you send a moment of kindness back in time to your younger self? With thanks for all they carried you through using everything they had at the moment, however woefully inadequate and half-formed those tools may have been.

xo, y'all.

*EDIT: corrected date on old photos to 1985

Wednesday, 24 October 2012

These Old Things

Good morning everybody! This week will feature a few outfits chosen via the question, "What can I tolerate to wear for 11+ hours of meetings, driving around, sessions, and hauling stuff, that is temperature-adjustable and washable (or mostly so)?" Similar to travel-wear needs, I'm balancing the demands of the day with resistance to that grotty schleppy feeling, you know the one. 

sunglasses: Ray Ban, last worn here
peacock scarf: street vendor, Progreso, Mexico, a gift from my mother,  last worn here
bag: Kenneth Cole Reaction, also worn here
sweater: Shana K, Becky's (South Padre Island, TX), worn here
striped tank top: Joe Fresh
khaki skirt: Sarah Spencer, Winners (2002 or older)
shorty cowboy boots: Premiere Collection Rudy2, WalM*rt (men's, clearance, $15)

I was so lucky to get home a couple of hours earlier than expected on this day of brilliant fall sunshine - I didn't even mind so much that it was due to a no-show. It being my last commitment of the day, having time to sit still in the warmth while waiting, the minimal resulting documentation, plus getting home in time for naturally-lit, non-rushed and easy photos helped offset the internal grumbling about better uses of my time and mileage - though I am incredibly privileged that both of the latter are covered anyway. As many others have noted, the shortening days are fast closing our window of low-effort photography lighting.

This skirt is an old, oft-worn favourite, and I love everything about it, from its elastic-cord drawstring with silver dingle-dangles (awesome to fiddle with), grommet-vents at the knees, its all-season wearability and washer-dryer-ness, to its sail-like flapping sound. It has a similar magic and travel-happiness to my red shoes, but I am sad that it is finally showing signs of wear - fading and seam-puckering. Now I try and save it for when I really, really need it. 

leather & silver teardrops necklace: Gabii (TX, near border to Progreso)

My ratty boots are another of those items which just work so well that I end up wearing them into the ground for years. Inexpensive, low-heeled, entirely comfortable, sufficiently stylin' to finish off many an outfit - and particularly, zero concerns about weather-and-wear-damage means that you'll be seeing them a lot starting now, including in my next post. Also as with my red shoes, I went back and got a back-up pair at an even steeper markdown. 

Too bad about that piece of my soul I handed over by engaging in commerce at the place-beginning-with-W I would really rather avoid altogether - whenever I even think about it, I need to take a restorative page out of Helga and G's post-mall-shopping recovery strategy book! I kind of hate and feel apologetic about how much I love these crappy vinyl boots from poisoned source. 

All righty - Monday's outfit done. I am missing visiting y'all and am so looking forward to catching up everybody else's posts, which will equal many, many glorious hours of zoned-out bliss, can hardly wait! Thanks for coming by!  

Monday, 22 October 2012


Hope everyone's week is off to a great start. I'm a little behind - this outfit was from last Thursday. I've been outside digging in the dirt while there's still time. We planted some native species of trees from our local forestry station to (eventually) fill in for a dying stand of jack pines. Poor old trees - their demise is exposing our little house at a shocking pace. Poor wee naked thing! 

scarf: Lupita's (Harlingen, TX), worn here
dress: Merona, thrifted
obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy, worn here (with same shoes and sweater)
shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction, Winners, worn lots and lots of times 

These shoes are happily comfortable for multi-day-wearing. Though a bit higher than my other low-heeled (yet still stylish!) shoes, the materials and finish are less fragile and have lasted incredibly well through 7-9 years of frequent wear, only needing a little touch-up on the heels but not even the lifts replaced. They are magic.   

The weather was really changeable (both indoors and out) this day, and I used every permutation of my scarf and sweater layers as usual - one or the other, both and none. I'm hanging on to summery-wear (like this dress) for dear life, knowing that by winter's end I'll be weary beyond words of my cold-weather gear. 

vintage stylized fish skeleton necklace: a gift from my mother, worn here

I had a slip and camisole underneath for warmth. With my workplace so chilly all summer (keeping it temperate on the window-wall side of the building has a decidedly February-ish effect on my subterranean chamber), sweaters and scarves remain necessary year-round. As a result, I have proportionally less severe summer-clothing ennui. 

sweater: Nurture, Dillard's, worn here and here (with same belt and shoes)

"Transitional" covers a lot of ground for me. I may yet get to rock my sweater-and-shorts combo, though I've never seen such a quintessentially Canadian outfit as I did once on a child riding a bike: shorts, rain boots, parka and a toque. It was adorable. 

Farmers are always inventive based on the weather, and practicality is key: my grandma wore a shower cap with her wetsuit, and my dad's discovery was when the sandy soil got too hot for bare feet yet filled the shoes painfully, well, hoeing the field in one's socks was just the ticket. 

In my windowless underground office (which can be seen in my first four blog posts), I am entirely separated from nature yet still experience unique and unpredictable weather systems. Despite my best layering preparations (and keeping a merino wool wrap in my desk) at desperate times I swipe the blanket from the play therapy room and drape it over my head. My colleagues tease me about looking "pious," but I know that I am scary. SCARY!!! (Am too, Lynne! Am too.)  Are there any unusual and hilarious - yet practical - combinations you enjoy wearing?

I also know for a fact we can find all sorts of combinations - tending toward unusual and amazing rather than hilarious - over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. I'm headed there myself - come with me, check them out!

Friday, 19 October 2012

Groucho Gaucho (and my No-Show Mojo)

Hi everybody! This is my first total repeat of an entire outfit - I wore everything here in my second-ever post, back in the early days of tiny pictures taken in my office. I looked at switching out something, anything, but really liked this combination the best. 

peacock scarf: a gift from my mother, street vendor, Mexico 
dress: Fat Beauty, thrifted, $7
belt: thrifted, worn here
gauchos: Larry Levine, Winners (mega-clearance!), worn here
shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction, Winners, clearance, $14

This outfit is excellent for work - the full skirt and gauchos make it easy to get down on the floor to play / make art / music / dance or be comfortable at my desk for paperwork marathons, plus both are easy-care and have a nice structure / stretch balance, yay! 

More favourite low(ish)-heeled awesome, amazingly comfortable shoes!
Worn here, here, and here in addition to the original outfit-go-round which tells their happy story. 

The only thing I might have done differently is not wear it the day after yesterday's outfit, which incorporated a belt of very similar width and stiffness - fine for one day, but not two in a row. Back to supple obi belts tomorrow.

jointed leaf necklace: Tradewinds (local shop) - I wear this one an awful lot - I love its shape, size, and pattern, adjustable length, and how the joints make it so comfortable. Close-up and other outfit links here

In my line of work, people book appointments to see me and I've always had an absurdly high rate of no-shows. Likely in direct proportion to how big a pet peeve of mine this is, right? As a result, I worship the ground that cancellations walk on, and it probably freaks folks right out when I thank them so effusively for letting me know ahead - that they are not coming. 

A brief but shining pre-wrinkled moment -
marked contrast from that earlier post's poor crumpled bum

In thinking on why no-shows might be grating a little harder than usual these days (despite my long, multi-strategied development of direct and indirect methods of managing them) - the paperwork overload, growing demands that I book appointments outside of regular working hours, peaks in urgency and complexity, my lately-unhinged relationship with time, lingering fatigue and limited energetic capacity - I realized that this month marks two years that I have been back to work following seven years of battling illness, having spent two-and-a-half of those years incapacitated and unable to work at all. 

I am reminded again that every day I feel well enough to get dressed and go to work - even on the crappy days when people miss appointments, every conversation leads to an Incident Report, pointless new and evil paperwork processes are piled on, there is shocking and outrageous rudeness, resistance is futile, and I have a hard time not bringing the serious seriousness home with me - is a victory.

Wednesday, 17 October 2012

Truth is Stranger

Okay, THIS is my favourite outfit! Well, one of many. I've participated in a lot of conversations lately about shoes which are totally lust-worthy and completely excellent - but also have a reasonable heel height. Why are they so rare? Besides my green-soled Arche babies, I think this here pair is my best example: 

vintage scarf: Glentex, thrifted, $1.50
shirt: Typhany, thrifted, $2
long velveteen jacket: Della Spiga, Winners (2005 or so)
belt: thrifted, $3
jean capris: Garage
Fluevog Truth Britta

Right? Thank you, John Fluevog, for knowing just what we mean! 
More, please. 

vegetable turquoise bracelet: Gabii (TX near border to Progreso), worn here and here

whorls which soon turn into brutal cowlicks: DIY
earrings: Lollapalooza vendor (early '90's)

See, I am still hopeless at scarf-tying, despite all of the excellent diagrams, tutorials and step-by-step how-to's I have been over. There are probably about a million fancy foulard-cravat-neckerchief-thingamajigs I could have done to totally elevate this outfit. 

What happens is I always leave the how-to's all warm and glowy and confident, but in the morning somehow only have less than 30 seconds to get it right and my mind goes completely blank and my hands turn into baseball mitts and there starts to be sweating and swearing and everything. So I ended up with the, um, double knot. 

Yeah, that was a hair elastic securing the flappy end of my belt too. I am starting to suspect that -maybe- my only actual deficit is in really, really caring! 

Hope everyone is getting through the week all right. Tell me about your favourite super-stylin' low-heeled shoes! And / or what are you really, really persistently bad at?