Saturday, 16 February 2013

Vested Interest

I'm taking a break from packing to get this posted - I'll be away visiting family for the rest of the month, and will be missing my Beary and the hens, home, and y'all just madly. 

In theory, this outfit was going to have wide-leg dress pants on the bottom, which didn't work so well in practise. By the time I figured that out, it was too late to change into something else altogether - though this felt great on, it seemed a little form-fitting for my role at work. Luckily I got over it, and everyone survived.

scarf: Charming Charlie, last worn here
shirt: Fred David, Giant Tiger, last worn here
grey striped vest: Dynamite, thrifted, last worn here
crud quality but otherwise heartbreakingly perfect pencil skirt:
Smart Set,
last worn here
plaid tights: Joe Fresh
shoes: Fluevog Mini Gorgeous, last worn here

I've had these shoes for about eight years, they are holding up beautifully. 
Thank you, John Fluevog! 

In stark contrast, this skirt makes me grouchy. It has been pilling brutally since the first wear, but because everything else about it is exactly right, it's a giant pain to replace. 

I've been blogging for six months (whoo!) and have come up with two ways to create a significant backlog: 
  • managing to take outfit photos as I go but not having time to post, or 
  • lately being even more in a hurry during the week and having to put outfits back on for photos over the weekend when time and daylight seem a bit easier to come by. 
I haven't yet figured out which is less efficient! Are you a re-dresser, or an as-you-go-er? Tell me your secrets!

It didn't occur to me until just now - right while I'm packing even more last-minute-like than usual after the traditional working-myself-into-the-ground-in-preparation - that travelling would have been an opportunity to blog about a capsule wardrobe and such. I didn't use to be any good at packing light, but now I do fine with just a carry-on for two weeks. Except for last year when I shopped too much and had to check a bag on the way home. Oops!

antique silver and mother-of-pearl teardrop necklace:
a gift from my mother,
last worn here
usual wrist wear: rubber o-ring, silver and leather "hands" bracelet (AGO, precious gift, early '90s, replaced 2005), silver OM bracelet (Lollapalooza vendor, early '90s), Swiss Army Cavalry watch (beloved gift, 1994)

Okay, must dash! I leave early in the morning, but hope to be able to join up with the amazing folks gathering at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday from the road, fingers crossed. Wishing safe journeys to you as well!

Friday, 15 February 2013

Be Mine

I couldn't help it:

Cementing the total love for style-blogtopia in my dark and linty heart, there have been so many great antidotes to the over-the-top smarmy commercialism of Valentine's Day! Should you also need some sweet-relief, here are just a few of my FAVOURITE-favourites: Ulla-Marie, Curtise, TFB-Megan, and MMD-Megan

turquoise rose-motif scarf: Gabii (Texas), last worn here
black shirtdress: Smart Set, thrifted, last worn here
obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy, last worn here
tulle skirt: no label, ebay
rubber cowboy rain boots (with green soles!): Yippy Natural Rose Skull, 

Nomad Footwear 

Thank you everyone for your wonderful stories of garments which have become memory-rich, named, and legendary items. In a moving piece over at The Taxonomy of My Wardrobe, Veshoevius shares how personal and cultural geography, ancestral history, memory, relationships, and art came to be woven together in a sarong. Our symbolisms and meaning-makings associated with how we clothe our bodies are endlessly fascinating to me.

Being that rainy days and getting dressed both fall under the umbrella of "things that might as well be fun," I had to have these boots, which I love for their green soles and rose-bedecked pop-eyed skulls grinning back at me. As is usual, ease of acquisition was inversely proportionate to desire - there were a couple of issues with my order, but Nomad's customer service was top-notch throughout. And yes, it was incongruously way sunny at outfit-picture-time.


These thoughts are inspired by my friend Debbi's aversion to skull-decorated garments: Out of all the increasingly-prevalent skull-motif stuff I have seen over the past 20 years, some of it pretty cool, I can't think of a single other 'skeletal' item I've acquired. No real reason; I'd say my feelings are on the pleasant side of neutral. 

I do associate skulls and bones with the time period previous to that, my teens - loved 'em then! - knuckles loaded with rings, glow-in-the-dark earrings with red rhinestone eyes, (dis)jointed bits dangling from motorcycle jacket zippers and drawn everywhere. I even made myself a bone-shaped hair barrette out of papier-mache, which I'm sure went a treat with my school uniform. 

Other patterns / motifs I admire on others but wear very little of or not at all myself include - for no particular reason other than "don't think it suits me" - animal prints of any kind. My single accidental item is the surprise leopard lining of a trench coat I bought online. 

Also not for me - but with reason - are designs which may have cultural appropriation issues were I to wear them out of context or without specific connection, such as those belonging to Native, African, or other Aboriginal people. 

How about you? Any motif(s) you love, give the side-eye to, wear tons of, or avoid? Why? 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

Mountain Song

Coming to you live in a special dispatch from Paperwork Mountain!  May I just say that - despite needing my trapper hat, wool cape, and Sorels at the office today due to weekend energy conservation - to work for hours in uninterrupted silence was glorious? Though perhaps that is the altitude sickness further affecting my introvert brain. 

turquoise rose-motif scarf: Gabii (Texas), last worn here
vintage floral dress: A DressTown Original (style 3545), Netty Vintage
twist-front pullover sweater: European Culture Knitwear, Yoox
suede cowboy boots:
BCBGeneration, Dillard's (75% off sale, a.k.a. Shoepocalypse), worn here (there too is a better detail photo and info on these-here wrist doo-dads)

In way more exciting news, my pics were included over at one of the best Tumblrs ever, Giant Pants of the '30s - thanks!!! Y'all know how much I love giant pants

I'm so happy with this union-made-in-Canada dress, which passed the "Can I wear it to work?" test question with flying florals, plus it's the comfortable silky-and-cool  kind of polyester - as opposed to the suffocating-plastic-jogging-suit-plus-vintage-funk-you-know-the-stuff - which you sometimes can't tell until you wear a garment for a day. It was a special dress to at least one other someone before it was mine, and I love it too - I already have two more outfit ideas, and hopefully next time I'll grab a photo of its very dear labels.

Under my last post, the brilliant Curtise of The Secondhand Years (currently kicking her own Alterations Alps's behind, well done!) asked why my hematite necklace from the mid-'90s is called a "mermaid necklace." It was so-christened by a classmate related to its effect together with my waist-length hair of the time, and this became its name to me, an internal reference I missed clarifying. It's been a while since my last historical outfit photo, so I've stuck another (with the mermaid hair) below the jump here. 

What's your favourite personal name for a garment, pair of footwear, or piece of jewelry you own or have owned? 

I'm continuing this head-start on my week by joining up with Visible Monday over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style. Wishing everyone massive productivity in the coming days! 

Saturday, 9 February 2013

In Circles

This is a super-comfy outfit, perfect for work - whether I'm sitting in meetings, driving a lot, playing on the floor, or getting messy with art supplies. Or scaling Paperwork Mountain, but we won't talk about that, because guess what's on my agenda this weekend? 

black shirt: Reitman's (2002), last worn here
dress: En Focus, Marshall's, last worn here
hematite mermaid necklace: can't recall, mid-90's
boots: Franco Sarto, early 2000s, last worn here

I've had the hematite mermaid necklace for ages, but my earliest recollection of it is during the second summer of my graduate studies. It lately seemed too long so I had the idea to shorten it. Fortunately, I figured out this way to wear it as-is, because, like the Paperwork Range with its endless switchbacks and deadly crevasses, Mending Mountain (and the surrounding Alterations Foothills) is a vast, long-unexplored, dusty-climed territory which is growing yet. 

Sooner or later I'll mount a big expedition, 
which may yield a series of pretty decent outfits. 

The blouse is a comfortable layering standby - a bit baggy to wear on its own, but easy-care, and its substantial collar-and-cuffs are a good outfit element. The dress, just a year old, is reasonably well-constructed and has some neat details, though the fabric won't last super-long - the kind of inexpensive piece that works well for a limited time (and therefore one needn't be over-careful wearing it), but which bumps up against ethical and environmental concerns. 

What has had surprising longevity are my Franco Sarto boots. Over the years, I've had several pairs made of similar stretchy synthetic material, including one other of this same brand, which succumbed to peeling, sole separation, and dramatic elasticity failure. These soldier on, with their substantial-enough-for-stability heels, excellent grippy bit under the whole bottom of the toe box, and exactly-fitting calves - the latter a rare commodity in general and exacerbated by all the pattern-translation issues at size 10+.

Hope everyone's having a good weekend, whether or not yours may involve shovelling snow or paper - or both!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Feathers, Flares, and Fleece

Okay, I so love talking and talking to y'all, but I have to shush because this morning I caught myself repeating an outfit I'd already blogged on purpose so I wouldn't have to do outfit photos and thus contribute to my blog backlog. 

The day I wore this was bitterly cold but I was fantastically warm inside and out, the top half of this ensemble being gifts from a special aunt, my sister, and a friend. Plus: feathered toque, mohair, velvet, and polar fleece! 

crochet cap with feather ornamentation: Aldo, gift from Auntie D
purple-red-black burnout velvet scarf:
gift from my sister, ~10 years ago
mohair / wool sweater with flared sleeves and pin closure: Esprit, passed along by friend, ~6 years ago
polar fleece skirt: Theory, Winners, early 2000s
wicked-pointy cowboy boots: Brown's I.D., Holt Renfrew, 2005, last worn here,
legend here

This sweater is so light and soft and warm, and way better suited to dramatic gestures than to buffet dining. Overall, I felt a bit fancy for work, but at least my toque and polar fleece weren't like everyone else's. Really, it might as well be fun. 

My amazing friend Jean of Dross Into Gold is wearing a similar (but more wonderfully flared!) skirt in her post here. Mine, bunch slightly unbecomingly around the hips though it may, is a mitten for my legs, and so I forgive it everything. 

I'm not so much piling on the all-black on purpose, or in relation to  a rumoured resurgence in popularity (the horror!), just that these warmest winter clothes last forever and I came by them during my Dark Ages. 

I often joke that every age I've experienced has been "that awkward age," but here I see the edges of the rather grand old lady I might yet become.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Blanket Statement

Thank you all so much for visiting, reading, and following! I've got a logjam of outfits I've worn and photographed, so the next few posts may be brief. Or just as likely not, but one can hope. 

This was a snowy day, and I put on some more really old things and layered outerwear. It's all stuff I've had for ages, but haven't combined before. 

wool hat: The Snow Lion / Tibet Shop, late '80s, last worn here
black fun fur jacket: MBasics, Mariposa, early 2000s
olive wool cape: Dem Hats by Lou, a gift from my mother (~15 years ago)
striped wool wrap skirt: Daniel Hechter, Fairweather, mid 90s
thermal leggings: Elita, Sears

shorty cowboy boots: Rudy2, WalM*rt, last worn here

Just about everything I'm wearing has been on the "donation" chopping block at some point 
- but I find myself glad to still have them. 

The green cape which I've lately been keeping at work for when my desk-drawer-stashed merino wool wrap isn't enough (and which goes perfectly with the dress Beary got me for Christmas), light wool sweater with sweet button closure, and the skirt I remember from my undergrad studies. 

black collared shirt: Fred David, Giant Tiger, last worn here
wool pullover with shoulder buttons: Tristan and Iseult, outlet store, early 2000s
ancient camel bell necklace: last worn here

Oddly, a lady at my current workplace has the exact same skirt. The fun fur jacket takes up a lot of space for how infrequently I wear it, but it appeals to my sense of humour.

The problem with developing my outfit-creation skills is that it becomes even more difficult to let go of things as I keep discovering new ways to wear them. 

I have few regrets but no closet space. 

Saturday, 2 February 2013

To Do What I Want Any Old Time

Do you have anything in your wardrobe which brings back such visceral memories of a gold-lit time period with an intensity that is almost painful? 

Picture these boots with the same tights, frayed jean shorts, a purple tank top, and Mardi Gras beads. Or black hose, black velvet mini skirt, and sheer black top with amazingly huge flared sleeves, and a round deepest-cherry-red stained glass pendant from Camden Market. There was a whole lotta-lot of dancing then. 

blouse: I.C. Paris, Dillard's
burgundy velvet vintage blazer: Marjorie Hamilton, from among my grandma's belongings
buttonflowers and obi belt: Megan Mae Designs
burgundy suede skirt: Danier, early 1990s, last worn here
blue floral tights: early 1990s (I'm serious!)
my #1 favourite ankle boots of all time ever: Fluevog Swordfish, fall 1991

Today's outfit required a combination of other emotionally rich and weighty pieces to counterbalance the pull: my first-apartment-by-myself skirt, grandmother's blazer, shirt from a shopping excursion with my mom, and obi and buttonflowers made by my friend Megan Mae - the belt and bluest flowers generous gifts.  

Staying nearer to the present moment, I was stoked that my blog was highlighted in Marianne's article at together with Megan, Sheila, Melanie, and Helga (some of my FAVOURITE-favourites!). The author concluded with a hope to identify blogs with greater body diversity, and asked in particular, "Do you read any style blogs from women who aren't white, middle class Canadians?"

The huge excited comment I tried to leave was so jam-packed with delicious links that Disqus ate it whole - several times - and seems now to believe me to be the motherlode of yummy spam. Here's what I wanted to add to the discussion (note that not all of my recommendations fit every single one of Marianne's criteria): 

"Thank you so much for including my blog in your fantastic article, Marianne - I am thrilled to be in such stellar company, AND there are lace jeans! For everyone! The certain freedoms and relief which can result from outsider status are beautifully articulated, as is the effect of more intentional media consumption on our 'normal.' One small correction - I do not identify as able-bodied.

In addition to the divine Helga, and other commenters’ many marvellous recommendations, folks may enjoy:

(Unfortunately, neither Style Agent 909 nor Big Girl. Small Budget. Tiny Town. seem to be posting at present, and the latter is further invite-only.) 

The +40 Blogroll at Citizen Rosebud and Visible Monday weekly link round-ups at Not Dead Yet Style are also goldmines of unique voices."

A quick note further to not identifying as able-bodied - I don't go into detail here, as that's not what my blog is about. Though I do sometimes talk about serious things, "the serious seriousness" that my sidebar indicates me to be taking a break from is an umbrella which covers a mega-ton of personal and work situations.

To put it another way (as I was saying recently to the Forest City Fashionista) "Sometimes the outfits are the only benefit to not being a head-in-a-jar." Or, even less maturely, "Can SOMEthing in my LIFE just not BE about that. GOD."

Style on, my friends! See y'all at Visible Monday, and thank you so much for visiting.