Monday, 28 January 2013


It was the kind of weekend I'd be jealous of if it weren't mine. 

scarf: Charming Charlie, last worn here
shirt: Reitman's, last worn here
necklace: a gift from my mother, last worn here
obi belt: ModCloth, last worn here
sweater: Nurture, Dillard's, last worn here
dress worn as skirt: Trendyland, Winners, last worn here
boots: Gianni Bini, Dillard's, last worn here

Of the extended deep-freeze came one very big, very good thing: the irrigation pond in the little wind-protected valley at the treeline behind our house frozen solid and mirror-smooth. 

On Saturday, Beary made a run into town for skate-sharpening and the necessary supplies - hotdogs and marshmallows and such - and we loaded up the truck and the three-wheeler and headed across the field. 

After sunset, the pond was lit by a full moon bright enough for us to keep skating, and our musical accompaniment was the Saturday Night Oldies show on local radio. I hate to rub it in, but we just about died of awesomeness.

I'm sharing this Great White North moment with Visible Monday
over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style

on me:
plaid trapper hat: TSC Store
burgundy wool scarf:
gift from my sister, 12+ years ago
plaid quilted flannel jacket: Dickies, TSC Store
concert T (not shown): Jim Rose Circus Sideshow, Brunswick House (Toronto, early '90s)
camo gloves: Rocky, Canadian Tire (I can't find my gloves!)
polar fleece pyjama bottoms: Giant Tiger
skates: Ice Life, Figure Skating Boutique (Toronto ~15 years ago)

on Beary (who also brought a generous serving of ham): 
insulated coveralls / jumpsuit / onesie: Work King, gift
toque and Bauer skates: 
origins lost to the mists of time

Friday, 25 January 2013

I Spy

Eh, I just threw on some black clothes with awesome boots. It was cold and wintry and a day that called for casual-comfortable. More better outfits coming soon! 

Though the days are getting longer, it was already too dark to easily capture the details of one of my favourite sweaters: 

It's about an inch thick, has a slight shawl collar and deep ribbing along the cuffs and hem, and its internal-tie-and-snap wrap fastening is usually flattering. Except of course in today's pictures, when it had come loose and given me a less-flattering-but-dramatically-sculptural super-cool bulgy thingy on my left. 

wool hat: The Snow Lion / Tibet Shop (Toronto, late '80s), last worn here
scarf: Lupita's (Harlingen, TX)
super-thick wool/mohair wrap sweater: Banana Republic ~10 years ago
skirt: Joe Fresh, last worn here
leather gloves: can't recall
thermal tights: Elita
awesome boots: Fluevog Adrian Heidi, last worn here

Such is the downside to being in a hurry to capture the dregs of daylight while simultaneously attempting to not take too many pictures. Ah well. 

top: Love, Winners ~10 years ago

I don't remember how old the vendor estimated the bell part of this necklace to be. I was charmed that this design / construction style of bell has persisted for more than a millenium, and that the function of camel bells is to signal the driver by their absence if part of the convoy has dropped away on a trek. So, togetherness, and this little bell still ringing. 

ancient camel bell necklace: booth which otherwise sold mostly U.S. Civil War artifacts, early '90s

This top, purchased about ten years ago, was one of my earliest deliberate attempts to inject more colour into my wardrobe, so I guess I've been at it for twice as long as I thought. In my case, it's apparently a lengthy process - I suppose the recent shift is buying fewer black items, a factor which had been holding up the works. I find all of this hilarious.

My favourite bit of the top is that it has a little secret, can you see her? 

Regardless of the dreariness of the day, may you too be accompanied by bells and exuberantly dancing women wherever you go!

***EDITED TO ADD: outline of dancer below the jump - now you won't be able to NOT see her. Hee. 

Tuesday, 22 January 2013


As recently noted, this sleeveless trench coat has become a favourite, and I've worn it in every season. I suppose I shouldn't be surprised by its appeal to me - its sleevelessness makes it playful: a coat which is no longer wholly outerwear and becomes a dress or a vest, plus both the indoor and outdoor climates in which I live necessitate layering. 

patterned blouse: Joe Fresh (clearance, $10, purchased with gift card)
sleeveless trench coat dress: Cynthia Rowley, Marshall's, last worn here
buttonflowers: Megan Mae Designs
scarf: Charming Charlie, last worn here
gauchos: Larry Levine, Winners, last worn here
tights: Joe Fresh
shoes: Fidji, last worn here

the frogs were part of my special Christmas gift package from Megan Mae
- so perfect! 

Being able to look back to previous outfit combos - see below - generates even more ideas: now I can't wait to pair it with red. Last spring (pre-blog) I tried it with blue jeans tucked into my tall sand-coloured boots, an outfit that worked very well as a combination of garments, but not so well with my particular proportions.

Further to one combination inspiring or linking to another, how we as humans see patterns and make connections, tend to repetition, and establish common cultural frames of reference fascinates me. (This article - "The trench talk that is now entrenched in the English language" - speaks of ways that whole clusters of meanings evolved and became shared as a result of World War I.) 

watch and bracelets can be better seen here 

Is there a combo you like the best? Links to original posts are below. What would you wear with a sleeveless trench coat? Or maybe don't tell me, I have other items in my closet that are starting to feel neglected and the last thing I want going on in there is any pouting.

L-R: Absurd is the Word
Blue Language
Patterns of Secrecy
Sweet Home
In the Navy
today's post

I'm catching up to the fabulous bloggers already over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. There are so many, come and see!

Saturday, 19 January 2013

Darts and Dingle-Dangles

Having a lot of black clothing means that most everything goes together well enough when you throw it on in the morning. This outfit is one of those. I was warm and comfortable. Except for my face, which was frozen shut. As often happens in January. 

boiled wool hooded jacket: Linea Domani, Winners, early 2000s
perfect length cruddy quality pencil skirt: Smart Set, last worn here
shorty cowboy boots: Rudy2, WalM*rt (men's, clearance, $15)last worn here

A dark palette also frees me somewhat from the spectacular klutziness to which I am prone - not only because spills and mishaps are less likely to show, but because "trying to be careful" actually makes it worse. 

I find too that there is a de-cluttered spaciousness, a restfulness, allowing my focus to be elsewhere. Though I am increasingly drawn to adding colour to my wardrobe (and this day was bundled up in my bright blue scarf the whole time except for photos), the all-black remains an old friend. 

in which I surrender to the painful yet sculptural qualities of static cling
and show you some darts and dingle-dangles

Speaking of friends, the big event of the week was a special gathering in honour of Megan's 23rd Birthday. It was enormous and awesome, there was mayhem, check it out!
Here's what I wore:

... rubber boots to dancey-dance, rubber boots and party pants! (link nsfw)

This was taken back in October. I tried to give some of my other hen pals opportunity to be in outfit photos, but it turns out that chickens aren't such fans of poufy tulle ballerina skirts. I spent a good part of the day chasing them around the yard while Beary laughed at us. Maryjane Frystack alone was as ever happy and content, minding neither giant fluttery layers nor the glint of madness around the edges of my expression.

Sunday, 13 January 2013

Cold Snap

Another brutally cold day from a bit ago, and I'm so layered up under this outfit that I can't put my arms down. Ah well, all the better to greet my Visible Monday co-participants at Not Dead Yet Style with open arms!

I couldn't pinpoint why exactly, but something about today's outfit and / or photos reminded me of my maternal Lithuanian relatives. 

wool hat: The Snow Lion / Tibet Shop (Toronto, late '80s), shown in old photo - with long hair! - at bottom of post here
turtleneck: Sarah Spencer, Winners, 2005
vintage wool / alpaca sweater dress: Lo Ri, Netty Vintage
fleece-lined thermal tights: Zellers 

boots: Franco Sarto, early 2000's

bunching and clinging: side effects of layering
static electricity: temporarily (and magically) averted right this second

antique necklace and amber ring: gifts from my mother

I've often wished that traditional Lithuanian and Ukrainian modes of dress felt more everyday-wearable, but looking at pictures today, I spy some of my favourite outfit elements:

  • crown-shaped or floral headgear, "statement" necklaces, bell sleeves, waist definition, wide belts, full skirts, ribbons, fringe, and embroidery, vented peplums, and super-duper pattern mixing, hooray! Ukrainian costume additionally features black accents, red footwear (including tall boots), midi lengths, and giant pants. 

Do you incorporate your cultural heritage(s) into your every-day personal style, whether consciously or unconsciously? 

I leave you with more Randy from A Christmas Story, who in this scene replicates - with eerie accuracy - my internal dialogue about winter layering: 

Hope y'all are staying warm - or cool, as the case my be in your particular hemisphere. Thanks again for all of your comments and input!

Saturday, 12 January 2013

In The Navy

Here's a way to know it's well past time for a fresh post: since these photos were taken earlier in the month, I've already worn and photographed this sleeveless trench coat again. Back then, the temperature was -12C (10F) - note the red ears and frozen face -but today we're in the midst of a January thaw, going up to a balmy +12C (54F). 

scarf: gift, handmade by my aunt R. 
sleeveless trench coat: Cynthia Rowley, Marshall's, last worn here
black 3/4 sleeve scoop neck T: Zellers, 5+ years old
navy/beige plaid jersey skirt: Lapis, most likely my mother's, found in childhood bedroom closet (Hi, Mom! I'll put it back!)
boots: Gianni Bini, Dillard's, last worn here as well

I'm pleasantly surprised how much wear I'm getting out of this trench thingy. Just in the past year I've incorporated more of these sandy-taupe-beige colours. On the other hand, navy and I continue to have a much more complicated relationship. While the black t-shirt I have on is fine, I noticed I don't have a single thing in navy (or even dark brown) to better coordinate with this skirt. 

vintage amber necklace: a gift from my mother, last worn here

We've been through my thoughts on pink, but I've been narrowing my eyes and curling my lip at navy blue at least since age 13 when I "had my colours done" and was pronounced a totally grotty "summer." Gag-me-with-a-spoon, the whole bit. But why? What had a colour ever done to me? 

Ultra-conservative. Stuffy. Mean. Judgemental. Polyester pants, plastic pearls, orthopedic shoes, a rain bonnet and soggy Kleenex up the sleeve. Elbow-shiny blazer with brass anchor buttons, pinky ring on fleshy finger. Condescending. Derisive. False fronted. Self-important. Holier-than-thou. Mocking. Harsh. Power-poisoned. Like black, but sneakier. Ah. Not the colour, those bearing it. No wonder.

Even so, last summer I on-purpose ordered a navy dress from eShakti. True to navy-blue form, what ensued was a months-long, incredibly time-consuming, ridiculously terrible experience complete with abysmal customer service, eventually culminating in a 22-page .pdf document of all the emails including photos and additional measurements. And I never did end up with a wearable dress. 

What are your thoughts on navy blue? 
Do you have strong symbolic associations to certain colours? 

sunglasses: Ray Ban
winter coat: Pizazz, Winners, 5+ years old

Moving on from frustration but not entirely from the frigid blues, I quite like my not-navy winter coat. It serves me well with its functional sculpted-plush edging, lining, and hood, deep slightly-flared cuffs, room to layer seasonally-appropriate clothing beneath, and just enough shaping to not bunch up over clothes and under the seat belt. 

Though I barely had to wear it at all last year, and not much this year so far, there have been winters I've grown so weary of the thing despite all its good qualities that I still have to consciously shake off my whining. This picture, taken down the road from our house a few years ago, was during one of those: 

The fields used to flood and freeze smooth-enough much more often when I was a kid - going skating after school with my sister, which it seems to me we did all the time, was my favourite. Improved drainage and changing weather patterns mean we only get good ice every few years anymore, but when we do, I'm out there as much as I can manage, even if I spend more time shovelling it off than swooping back and forth across it. Despite the heavy work and bitter cold, puddle-skating is always a solid path to peace in my heart.

Saturday, 5 January 2013

Keep Falling On My Head

Raindrops, that is. Or they did, back in mild, over-worked December, when I managed to keep up with taking outfit photos but not with posting. This is my final leftover 2012 outfit. 

I admire bloggers who are able to be really consistent. I'd like to be posting more than once a week, and enjoy to do so when I can amid revolving priorities, that pesky "time" business, and all of those unpredictable variables which apparently keep life interesting. 
You know the ones. 

scarf: Lupita's (Harlingen, TX), a gift from my mother, last worn here
cropped denim jacket: Smart Set, last worn here, detail of pins here
obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy, last worn here
skirt with diagonal tiered ruffles: Nygard Collection, thrifted
shorty patterned rubber cowboy rain boots: Corky's, Becky's (South Padre Island, TX)

If you are a daily or near-daily blogger, what choices or routines do you find most helpful in streamlining the process? 

necklace: Tradewinds (local shop), detail here
cardigan: Deane & White, Winners, last worn here together with same shark-bite-hem tank top: Bellina, Winners

Some things I am learning: 
  • don't take too many pictures
  • if there are aspects I don't mind at all of blogs I love to visit (a standard set of poses, frequent repetition of clothing / footwear items, f'rinstance), I am free to let go of worries and any self-inflicted pressure about doing / not doing those things too
  • easy there on the verbiage, cowgirl
  • fun does not deserve to be strangled by perfectionism, that is mean
  • and don't take too many pictures 

Oh right! You probably want to see a bit more of the boots: 

I like for my rainy days to have a sense of humour, a touch of the absurd, a whole lotta colours, and a soft red lining too. (Stay tuned for spring - when the skies open I also enjoy some skulls and roses, and a green, green sole. Can't wait!) 

I initially passed on this skirt because it felt a bit "old-timey me," but when I went back to exchange another item, there it was, waiting still. In all its fluttery-black, semi-sheer-ruffly-layered, pretty-draping, well-made goodness. While it's true I haven't worn it a lot, my affectionate soft spots endure. 

I so appreciate your taking the time to visit, and your comments! I'm also very grateful to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for hosting Visible Monday, and to all the other participants. It's always a high point of my week - and it does wonders for my baseline post frequency. See you there.