Saturday, 29 December 2012

Dot Dot Dot

I always have this idea that I will accomplish so much this time of year, but I'm getting better at releasing expectation as I come to accept that it simply never happens that way. This go-'round, my best intentions have been foiled by more car trouble, dental work, and the need to sleep and sleep and sleep.

articulated cicada pin: Ricky Boscarino of Luna Parc, last worn here (way-better detail shots, go see)

dark grey blazer: Scoop - Amazing and Amusement!!, consignment
grey dress: Joe Fresh, last worn here (still haven't mended
that awesome turquoise coat either)
obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy, last worn here
peacock scarf: street vendor, Progreso, Mexico, a gift from my mother, last worn here
polka dot tights: Joe Fresh
red shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction, Winners, last worn here

Good thing I still have outfits I wore to work and photographed earlier in the month to share, because I've barely been out of pjs all week. I missed out on some fun stuff, but resting, re-balancing, and fixing things up are necessarily for the best. I'm trying to think if I have ever managed to grow to enjoy something that has frustrated me so.  

I do love this blazer's lop-eared collar and vents at the bottom front princess seams, and that it came with each size of extra flower-button still attached to the label inside. The seasonal incongruity of grey wool and flowers begs to be amplified with a high-summer cicada and autumnal scarf. 

This outfit was a favourite last winter (pre-blog). Though the greys are more harmonious than they photograph, the polka-dot tights I tried with it this day don't work so well - I'll go back to plain (or a more subtle pattern like these checks or these stripes) next time.

Since it's just not possible to completely hate on dear old polka dots, I will add that they helped keep me from feeling totally over-dressed. Acceptance is a step toward enjoyment, right? And starting somewhere, as long as I start, is all I need to do. 

One thing I absolutely enjoy, no question, is joining all the other fabulous bloggers over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday - and no way am I missing out on that!

Monday, 24 December 2012

Cigarettes and Toads

Cheers to those who are farther from their loved ones than they'd like. Une femme has my other favourite Christmas song for you, Megan Mae shares her kittens, and Joni offers a poem. Judith embodies the flow of radiance in sun on snow. And now here are some giant pants: 

polka-dot Western shirt with contrast stitching and snaps: Ariat, Cavender's
stupendous high-waisted wide-leg pants: Spiegel
adjustable belt: Cleo, thrifted
patent shoes with piping and button: Fioni, Payless

Since there can never be enough giant pants, I also encourage you to tap into the motherlode right here via this Tumblr: Giant Pants of the '30s. So awesome, eh?

This outfit has a bunch more of my favourite things - shiny snaps, contrast stitching, polka dots, and piping - it was seriously so much fun to wear, what with all the sashaying and slouching and big flapping steps.

Over the years I've assembled a bunch of looks incorporating Western and retro details - I'd say these boots started it all, and now lookit (plus there are a couple more pairs yet to be blogged, eep!) - today's ensemble has the most in common with those in the posts Dark and Linty Heart and Grit and Mettle

Do you have style themes you're drawn to 
and it's not even like you're doing it on purpose? 

I must tell you that choosing a belt for this was a challenge - I have one with a black-and-white rectangular buckle (my matchy heart goes pitter-pat), and several with oval closures, but all of them teamed up with the shirt pocket "eyes" to become a "mouth." 

You can't un-see it now either, can you?

In case that didn't jolly you sufficiently, did you know that Complete Control by The Clash is a holiday tune? It's my favourite:

There. That's better.

Sunday, 23 December 2012

Edge of the Wedge

It's been a little echo-y 'round these parts! I've lately been hopelessly lost in the foothills of Paperwork Mountain (I share a distinctly similar relationship with Mending Mountain), though I have still been wearing clothes and taking outfit photos. While I will yet be deeply engaged in avalanche-management and forest-fire-containment on my way towards summiting, I'm looking forward to putting together a few posts here in the coming week.

I notice it's a little echo-y all over the place, but I'll also be glad to get caught up on everyone's blogs, and there are a few of us yet holding down the fort (hi Sheila!). Hope y'all are keeping warm, and enjoying - or at least getting through - your holidays and celebrations, as the case may be. 

This outfit was awesome for a day full of very long drives and sitting in meetings: soft and stretchy, plus killer footwear. I previewed these shoes together with the sweater - and chickens! - in a post about wedge sneakers early on in the blog. 

sweater: Gianni Bini, Dillard's
necklace: Tradewinds (local shop), last worn here
long black t-shirt: Joe Fresh
skirt: Urban Behaviour, thrifted, worn here
green suede wedge sneakers: Gianni Bini, Dillard's (75% off clearance, a.k.a. Shoepocalypse)

bracelets: detailed here
watch: face and info here

The sweater also deeply satisfies my enjoyment of unusually-shaped garments

A highly entertaining side-effect of blogging is getting to see the search terms by which people find you - check out the adventures of CurtiseMegan, and Bella (who wrote a stunning poem with hers). As a wee giftie for you, here are my own Butane Anvil favourites. Notice any themes?

wanted to shave my head - yeah! do it!!!
"size 11" feet - you too, eh? Sucks for selection, huh! 
can a 40 year old wear wedge snea - YES. 
but i lump them - I know! Me too!
embarrassed wearing picc line - oh honey, please don’t be. It’s a totally nifty contraption which delivers life-saving treatment. Hope you feel better soon! 
color associated with horrified - for me, that would be ... salmon. 
socks with clogs - but would they work with orthotics or dogs? 
wonder twin powers haircut 
cut off all my hair - go for it! 
work hard look like mature skirt blouse - I do, but I don’t
dana buchman and smelly pants ch - oh dear. 
as seen on t.v. hair grow anvil
dust bunny bondage - man, I hate cleaning too! 
hoser hats green corduroy - AWESOME! 
normal whorl in harsh light
dress flying up
what is the evidence of gauchos - I have some here, here, and hereNot nearly enough, is it! I need more gauchos, MOAR. 
boots winklepickers femme
grama likes to cut my bangs too short - poor sweetie! 
butane anvil love hair - hey, thanks!
bondage nurse clogs
black velveteen gaucho - ooh, those sound nice! 
better off without em - ha, probably! 
how to prepared the pattern of anvil
hoser - YES!!!
nice compliments for your grandma - aren’t you a dolly! 
drawings of farmers hoeing a field - but don’t just be sitting there while they are working, those things are weapons. 
outdoor raincoat bondage
gauchos - and you need more too, don't you! 
charming ladies in red shoes 

I hope everyone finds what they're looking for. 

Monday, 17 December 2012

Horse With No Name

Thank you to everyone who weighed in on my last post - I love how your comments broaden our conversations. Y'all are so smart and thoughtful! 

And guess what, you guys - I learned a scarf tie. Though my "How To" bookmark list is crammed with scarf-tying tutorials languishing and gathering dust, this video for the Four Corners Cowboy Knot (h/t Sal) is sufficiently adorable and hilarious that I could watch the requisite million times it took to get it done. 

This knot worked especially well for my triangular beaded scarf, which can be draped any number of effective ways - but in the past, try as I might to arrange it with only the soft bits contacting skin, I found the beads to be a quick road to Scratchy City. Of course I've already forgotten how to tie it, but it stayed put over a very long day and the beading was much less of an issue, yay! 

beaded burnout velvet scarf: Lupita's (Harlingen, TX)
buttonflowers: Megan Mae Designs
"I love it when Mr. Cicada says REEEEEE" pin: beanforest, etsy

Okay, it wasn't hot enough for cicadas, but bare knees in December? Perhaps a lingering numbness below the waist is a remnant of Catholic-school-uniform winter survival. Kind of the point, isn't it. In any case, this was a gorgeously sunny and mild jewel of a day. 

green-eyed flat cat socks: Zellers (7-8 years old)

Trying to self-portrait the backs of your legs is humorously awkward - 
I highly recommend it.  

cape: Utex Design, Winners (turn of the century)
denim shirt dress: Bluenotes, thrifted
skirt: Joe Fresh, last worn here with same boots
fabulous cowboy boots: Brown's I.D, Holt Renfrew (2005), legend here

Like my awesome bell-sleeved turquoise coat, this cape is retrieved from Mending Mountain and something I always promise-promise-promise myself to fix before wearing again. It needs reinforcing at the button, and I will give you three guesses as to where it is right this minute. 

excellent for twirling, dashing, and crusading

I remember lending it to my grandma - she was freezing, but stubbornly refused a blanket as beneath her dignity. I personally have no such reservations (as documented in the blanket-head picture of me at the park during wedding photos), but her glad acceptance of my cape that day remains a warm spot right here. 

Sunshine or no, I hope you're keeping warm too - by whatever means necessary, because it might as well be fun. See you over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday!

Sunday, 9 December 2012

Primarily Merrily

Well, it's definitely time to brighten things up a bit around here. When I scored this blazer for $1, I hadn't a clue what I'd wear with it, but eventually remembered how much I dig "alternate primaries" - combining versions of red, yellow, and blue in the same outfit. See the fantastic Sally McGraw of Already Pretty do them up here (as well as here and here and here, I suspect she likes them too), and check out another FAVOURITE-favourite blogger, Gracey of Fashion for Giants as she rocks them with super-stylish nun shoes and polka dots. Read her comments for the best nun story ever. I mean it.

greeny-yellow shirt: Typhany, thrifted ($2), last worn here
awesome iridescent blue-yellow blazer: New Woman Design, 
thrifted ($1)
red tooled leather belt: Rodier Paris, thrifted, (<$4)
my favourite red skirt: Odille, thrifted (<$10), last worn here with same ring and shoes
shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction, Winners ultra-clearance ($14) many moons ago, 
last worn here

necklace: thrifted beads ($ 0.75?), DIY re-strung, last worn here (better detail)
carnelian ring: El Disco Super Centre (Progreso, Mexico), last worn here

I love that this get-up is somehow reminiscent of my mother's style back in the early '80s, for all that we gave each other's outfits the side-eye at the time. My giant grey flower (to coordinate with my hose, natch) would make it full-on-80s-my-Mom, and you know I almost did it, but figured that All The Big Red Accessories would be sufficient. Just.

I don't usually post how much things cost unless there is something unusual about it, but this here is a particularly bargainous ensemble, especially for one so chock-full of colour happiness. (Lynn of Dylan's Dress recently thrifted an entire outfit for $1, how fabulous!)  It does not matter to me that the blazer is a Giant Tiger (Canadian discount store) label and so very likely wasn't expensive to begin with. I find the concept of caring greatly ("greatly" being the operative word) about brand / source / 'season' / trend just terribly limiting. 

In North American-centric mainstream culture, I'd hypothesize that for lots of people, branding has come to function as a substitute for internal worth and values. I'm talking prominent logos and layers of emotional meaning attached to consumer objects which the objects do not inherently have. This makes even less sense given economic realities as well as the declining quality of new clothing, most markedly women's clothing, over the past ~10 years, as recently discussed at Une femme d'un certain age, and again at Sally's in the comments below this post

Brand can provide some information about a garment, but over the years it's becoming a less reliable indicator. Like binary gendering, human values / worth-linked brand-consciousness - regardless of its ever-greater dissociation from quality - begins at infancy, and I see it in action most frequently in young people and those in their 20s and 30s. I personally find not-caring-where-something-comes-from (except of course where there are ethical concerns) and using excellence as a North Star (which I recognize as a privilege) to be marvellously freeing. The relief of being old enough, eh? I also acknowledge - and deeply appreciate even as I maximize wherever possible - the privilege of experiencing relatively few social sanctions arising from dressing expressively as I please.

Recognizing too that many or most of y'all likely also do not give a rat's posterior about brand-name wearables or much in the way of trendiness in your excellent personal stylins (and I love you madly for it), and are in the process of consciously negotiating your own relationships with consumerism as well, I ask: When would you estimate the major points of cultural shift towards substituting ownership of branded goods for self-worth / human value-qualities to have occurred? How similar or different is the situation outside of North America? I'd make googly eyes at comments involving industrialization and the history of advertising, the movie Back to the Future, and Naomi Klein's No Logo

Thanks for listening to me natter on! Also feel welcome to disregard the chit-chat entirely and stay for the outfits. Speaking of outfits, see you over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday!  

Saturday, 8 December 2012

A Different Stripe

Oh man, I haven't dropped off the face of the earth on purpose - just been sick. Thursday I stayed home, went back to bed, and didn't get up until 4 pm; Friday had only a couple extra awake-hours. As you can imagine, this isn't exactly conducive to getting much accomplished. Please know that though I haven't been around visiting much, I have been wallowing in your kindnesses with much gratitude.  

scarf: Charming Charlie, last worn here
striped tank top: Joe Fresh, last worn here
grey surplice-front pullover: Reitman's, thrifted
belt: thrifted
jean capris: Garage (~8-9 years ago), last worn here
shoes: Fidji

The crushing fatigue freaks me out, but poor Beary is in worse shape than me - soon we will be comparing bedsores. 

sweater: Nurture, Dillard's, last worn here

necklace: Tradewinds (local shop), last worn here

This outfit (from last Friday) is a more casual look than I prefer, but I got over having to be practical by deploying new shoes. Yay! 

I hadn't tried any footwear by Fidji before, and after eyeing these up for quite a while at the sale price, found that I couldn't let a further 20% off coupon expire. I'm very happy with them: immediately comfortable! Lots of compliments as well. 

My "reduced shopping" is a pretty informal situation with plenty of exemptions - hats are 100% allowed, awesome shoes and exceptional items are carefully considered on a case-by-case basis, and there are some very specific things I'm looking for. Also keeping things in check is being too busy to go anywhere besides work and essential errands. 

Even before I took to my bed with the plague, I was desperately behind on so many things both at work and at home, and together with being downhearted over missing our girl MJ and dreading decorating for xmas (though I have skipped it entirely two years in a row already), hiding under the covers remains ever so much more appealing than springing into action. Alas, I am (kind of) a grown-up. 

At least that means I can also bribe myself with wish-list dresses.  
Off I go! 

Monday, 3 December 2012

Circles and Circles

I want to thank you all so much for your kindness and good thoughts about my favourite hen, Maryjane Frystack, to whom we said goodbye on Saturday. She was the most awesome chicken ever, and we were so lucky to have had her. MJ also generously participated in my tulle-and-teacup photos (welcome Lynne and Veshoevius to the series!) - though I just brought her along to Ally's Halloween party and didn't put together a whole post, it's been on my mind to do in conjunction with the Sunshine and Liebster Awards I have been totally neglecting. Stay tuned. 

scarf: Becky's (South Padre Island, TX), last worn here
grey bolero sweater: Costa Blanca (~ 8-9 years ago)
knit tank top: Gabriella Vencini, Winners (also ~ 8-9 years ago)

vintage felt circle skirt: Fran Koret Montreal, consignment
shoes: Arche Gayal, last worn here

This skirt was a lucky find last month, and met my criteria for "new" purchases: that sweet spot taking into consideration cut / fit, quality, condition, colour, and cost vs. my crammed closet. Being such a special piece in perfect condition and its exact and comfortable fit balanced out the cost, and even trumped my really, really not needing anything else in black.

Well, those things together with all the running, jumping, and twirling 
that went on in the store. 

I woke up this day - last Thursday - knowing my heart would be needing a bit of a lift, and that this was just the thing to wear. 

I totally forgive it for not having pockets 
and for the embellishment not continuing all the way around. 

Especially because it's Canadian-made, and at one time belonged to a lady by the name of Freda (which research later revealed to be short for her given name, Aphrodite) - how could I not fall in love with everything about it? 

You know what's coming, don't you? 

While I was taking these photos, I could see Maryjane Frystack through the window. Though the wind was cold and she had lost so many feathers, she found a sheltered spot in which to enjoy the hell out of her last dust-bath - a chicken-equivalent of twirling (in the dust-bathing video at the bottom of this post, MJ is second from the right between the two white hens).

Good-natured and finding joy in life right to the end, all suffering, failed treatment, and our heavy hearts aside - she was loved, and the only thing luckier would have been more time.

See you at Patti's for Visible Monday.