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

33 comments:

  1. I can see you in those photos, but I must say you are like the best wine now.
    Have a lovely weekend, Amber.
    XXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXXX

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    1. Thank you, Sacramento - I'm glad I don't have to go through that again! xo

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  2. Awwww, I love this post. I think many of us who are strong women now had lots and lots of angst as youngers; or at the very least, unrequited loves and feeling out of place in the world. I will blow a kiss back to my former self. She's really not gone; only transformed!

    I can just picture your dreary day. Sigh...

    Love all your recent posts. Your touches of red always cheer me up. Does red dress YOU up, Amber? Well, no, I think YOU have a way of dressing red up! Usually it's the other way around!

    xoxo
    Lynn

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    1. Thank you Lynn! It's important to honour all of the selves we have been.

      This can include questioning terms like "angst" which tend to be automatically bestowed on the young to diminishing and dismissive effect, erasing the very real impact of life events.

      Transformation, on the other hand, is where it's at!

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  3. Actually your youthful photos made me think of a younger, melancholy Robert Smith of the Cure, so perhaps it was your heartbreak at the time oozing through. In this lovely dark outfit you have on now I can see some of your style DNA has stayed through the years.

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    1. "Oozing" is a great word! Like "seeping," too. :) Thank you!

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  4. To say I like those photos of you of years gone by seems so trivializing in the context of this heartfelt post. The embodiment of words with the images is very moving. I like the suggestion of giving our old selves a break and a hug - I know I've been terribly harsh. That said, you DO look beautiful wearing these blacks and greys, even more so with the history. It's so hard to photograph them - thanks for those other closeups. Hope you have a grand weekend of laughs, hugs, and relaxation.

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    1. I am so honoured by your response, Melanie.

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  5. You look very dark and mysterious. In both picture sets (that is you, right? I'm kind of bad at identifying younger-versions of people). I think you're a very beautiful person, Amber.

    I'd like to tell younger self that it's okay to fuck up sometimes. And that I am okay with who I am, what I look like, and maybe tell myself to take a few more risks.

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    1. Thank you so much, Megan - what an awesome message to send back in time.

      (It is me in the old photos!)

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  6. Hey, it's also a good idea for me to send a moment of kindness to my present self. Giving thanks for all I carry myself through using everything I have in the moment, however I am now. Amen. Thanks Amber.

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    1. So true - thank you for the reminder, Pao!

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  7. You're beautiful then and now, and I do feel the sadness in your "young" pictures. Your hair is ethereally gorgeous. How I wish I could go back and be kinder to my younger self - always the self-criticism. I love Megan's comment.

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  8. In my humble opinion, dark gothy clothing done well never goes out of style. Thank you for posting those old photographs of yourself - they are beautiful.

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    1. Thank you Audrey - I agree, it's classic. "Done well" can be the hard part, and you are a master!

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  9. Who broke your heart, Amber? 'Cause I kinda want to punch 'em. The photos of you from 1995 are so beautiful, just like the photos of you today.

    I'd tell my younger self to enjoy being alone more often, and to relax. And to keep all her cool stuff from the 80s, dammit.

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    1. Ha! Thanks, Lynne! There was so much deserving of punching, it was a perfect storm.

      Lovely message!

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  10. I can remember the smell of Dep like it was yesterday. And Dippity Do!

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    1. The smell! And the bubbly colours. :) And the spackly sound of it. :(

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  11. I love the 95 photos. It took me many years--sometime in my late 40s before I could accept all the various selves I've been and to look upon all of them with soft, gentle, and forgiving eyes.

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    1. Thanks, Terri - it's so important and such a relief to reach that place of peace. You've articulated it perfectly.

      (I've corrected the dates on my photos to 85, typo AND copy-paste error, darn it!)

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  12. The boiled wool jacket is a treasure with its embroidery and perfect fit. Your 1985 photos are hauntingly beautiful and remind me of photos from a much earlier time. Your hair is especially appealing and I can feel the sadness that you describe. I have increasing empathy for my self of years past, which got me where I am today. A determination to do what others told me I couldn't is a thread that remains with me today.

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    1. Judith, this comment is so precious to me. Thank you.

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  13. I want to reach through the screen and hug you!! Then and now. I also adore your "staples" and only neglected them at times because I wanted someone to think I was "sexy" or "fashionable". I admire you for being true to yourself. I also agree it's important to embrace our younger selves with the same generosity of spirit we would extend to our dearest friends.

    Your outfits always look extraordinary to me. This one is no exception. All the dark colors ARE hard to photograph, which is too bad, because they often make for the best outfits in real life. Hope you're having a good weekend!!!

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    1. Lovely dearest-friend approach, Jean! There is something to be said for chameleon-skills, if not at the expense of self. Sometimes sorely wish I had 'em!

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  14. I am way behind with commenting, but I had to come back to this post, Amber, which I find terribly touching. You are an incredibly articulate and compassionate woman, Amber, and the fact that you show kindness towards yourself as well as others demonstrates that you are a wise woman too.
    Those 1985 photos do radiate a sepia-tinged sadness. I am trying not to mock and ridicule my past clothing/image choices so much - those younger selves were us, just doing our best, and we should cheer instead of laugh. There is clearly a thread lining your styling choices then and now, and I like that.
    What would I say to younger me? Grow up! Ha! I would say - the rough bits pass. They hurt, but you survive. Look up and out, not always in. Try and be a little braver, it pays off! xxxxx

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    1. Thank you, Curtise - way better late than never, I am constantly going back to catch up! Your generosity is so moving, thank you. I love your encouraging younger-self message.

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  15. I am love LOVING those 1985 photos! I would have wanted to befriend you for looking so damned awesome.I wasn't looking too disimilar at the time, funnily enough. I saw the JAMC in 88 in Sydney,they were awesome,but not infamous!
    I look back with fondness at my Gothy years;I had a blast, mostly.It's just who I was at the time,and I odn't regret much,accepting that I just wasn't as onto it as I would have liked to think I was! I think I would like to tell myself to be a bit more careful with how much I gave of myself, but that's about it.And congratulate myself for not ever being inluenced by my peers.I'm SO glad about that!
    The detailing on that grey jacket is divoon!
    XXX

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    1. Thanks, Helga - I'm sure we would have been fast - and fierce! - friends. I can so relate to the givingness. Thanks!

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  16. Amber, so strange you brought up those posts. Just this morning I got an email from my cousin and she sent a picture of me from the 70's and I looked so dorky, I was cracking up and thought I should post the photo. Then I forgot all about it until now. So funny, I have to post that pic now that you reminded me. LOVE that wool jacket, I could work it many ways in my own closet. :-)

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Thank you for your comments!
- Amber