Sunday, 17 March 2013

Bundle of Joy

Oh heavens, that's not what I mean! I wore this outfit earlier in the month to celebrate my Beary's birthday, when we enjoyed a late lunch and afternoon visit with his family. Happiest of Happy Birthdays also to the incredible Judith of Style CroneJean of Dross Into Gold, and Tamera Beardsley

hat: no label, Burlington Coat Factory
merino wool turtleneck: Italtempo, Winners, mid-2000s
leaf-print bell-sleeved peplum jacket: I.C. by Connie K., 

Becky's, South Padre Island, TX, worn here
most loved / hated pencil skirt of perfection and poor quality: Smart Set, worn here
patterned tights: Calvin Klein, outlet store
shoes: Fluevog Mini Gorgeous, also worn here with skirt

Though many bloggers are posting their signs of spring and already enjoying sandal weather, the ground here remains frozen, and despite my summery getaway, am I ever weary of piling on a lot of clothes every day. Today's post is mostly in stereo because of this outfit's layers! It's a time of year for faith in the not-yet-tangible - we have placed our order for new day-old chicks, which will increase our flock following a tough season of losses. 

amazing vintage plaid coat: Bromleigh New York, passed along by dear friend
grey faux ostrich clutch: Charming Charlie, seen here
pashmina scarf / shawl: from same dear friend's box of treasures
leather gloves: can't recall

depending heavily on open-work, leaf-motifs, and pattern-texture mix
to suggest warmth and growth

Further to bundles of joy, I was also thrilled to come home from Texas to a wonderfully huge box of passed-along treasures from the closet of an incredibly dear and stylish friend. Among them was this other lovely bear of a vintage winter coat in furry multi-coloured plaid with buttons like snack bowls. Yum! Just when I am so tired of my other one!

A quick bit of online research didn't yield a lot about Bromleigh, the coat's maker, but The Hub department store tag was a portal to a location integral to so many peoples' stories, active as it was in Steubenville, Ohio from 1904-1980. I found an article about a 500-plus-page reference work about the store (based on the scrapbooks of a 47-year employee who lived to be 103), and came across photos in a book about the town's history and on the website of a local memoirist. I am fascinated by garments' contexts and stories - my own, others', and vintage, all.

Between the joyful bundle of clothing, handful of things brought home from Texas, and a small but mighty shopping excursion with the Forest City Fashionista, my closet's already precarious situation exceeded critical mass. I took the opportunity to do some (but not nearly enough) clearing-out - donating, sending away, and consigning. In some cases, having worn things on the blog helped me feel finished with them - thank you, blogging! 

Despite the sorting-through, and an intention I set early on for blogging to encourage my wearing a broader range of the things I have (rather than just the same few things all the time), I feel like I'm still under the spell of front-of-closet-itis: I find myself mostly wearing the stuff that's "on top" - hat and jacket from my travels, skirt and shoes from this recent post. Thank goodness for the impending season-shift to shake things up.

I'm headed over to Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday to see what hints of spring might be found there. Do come and look too!

Saturday, 16 March 2013

Travel Capsule in Action part 2 of 2

Regular outfits will return following these two features on my recent travels to Texas. 

Saying a pre-dawn goodbye to my parents at the airport, 
prior to that darn eye-mist blurring everything: 

Yesterday's post showed three of the four pieces that my travel capsule organized itself around: grey-and-black striped maxi skirt, giant Thai fisherman pants, and the large-print maxi dress. Together with the patterned skirt below, all of the pieces layered well with t-shirts and / or tank tops, the button-front shirt, long cardigan, and / or grey motorcycle jacket. They also played nicely with all of the accessories, and if necessary could be worn with any of my three pairs of footwear - the dreaded flip flops or sneakers, and these green Fidji shoes: 

giant crushable ribbon hat: Sun 'N' Sand, Tuesday Morning
sunglasses: Ray Ban, worn here
necklaces: seen in yesterday's post
button-front shirt: Reitman's, worn here
shark-bite hem tank top: Bellina, Winners, worn here
red leather obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy, last worn here
patterned skirt: Max Studio, Marshalls, last worn here
shoes: Fidji, last worn here

Two weeks is a nice amount of time to develop a bit of routine while away, and I started my days with sunrise over the Gulf before going to the gym, between which fell the waiting-to-see-if-there-would-be-internet interlude. This was my outfit for that process, which involved precise triangulation of laptop and balcony doors, hence the screen-shading hat: 

3/4 sleeve scoop-neck top: Zellers
enormous pint glass of start-me-up:
Gevalia Morning Roast
yoga pants: can't recall
sneakers: Nike Free

When I visit my parents, my mom and I enjoy to do almost all manner of window shopping, and the decline in regular retail / new clothing quality from last year to this was dramatic. A more substantial proportion of garments were disintegrating on the hangers, and designers previously associated with classic looks and quality construction were un-appealingly "on-trend" with dated-out-of-the-gate stuff. 

handsome fellows ready to light up your life, loved and left, consignment store

What didn't disappoint were thrift and consignment stores, where I picked up the rectangular ring and wool skirt already shown in this post. Despite the generally sad state of things, I somehow managed to find nice items all over the place which overcame my powers of resistance. 

I was pleased with the going-home travel outfit created by piling the bulkiest and the most fragile things on my person, but still had to check my bag, darn it! Practise makes perfect, and we'll see if I can both bring less and buy less next year. 

straw hat: Charming Charlie
green flower: Dillard's, clearance (99 cents)
P.O.'d expression: courtesy of the 4-hour delay to accommodate my suitcase's unplanned side trip to DFW rather than DTW 
green scarf: a gift from my mother
leaf-print jacket: I.C. by Connie K., Becky's, South Padre Island
blue beaded necklace and bracelet: Gabii's, Progreso, Texas
olive cowl-neck jersey dress: Signature by Robbie Bee,

More gorgeous island architecture, and images from a day trip across the border to Mexico, below the jump. It's back to the snow-bound barn from here - thanks for coming along!

Friday, 15 March 2013

Travel Capsule in Action part 1 of 2

Regular outfits will return following these two features on my recent travels to Texas. 

I hesitated about these posts because I'm not consistently looking or feeling my best in what I had on, and they are mirror-portrait-heavy, but such is actual life. Plus you get to meet my parents! Contrary to my usual approach, I packed in a hurry the night before I left, though with my secret weapon of previous years' packing lists it worked out fine. Whew! 

Travel outfit: 
striped scarf that goes with everything: Lupita's, Harlingen, worn here
long open-front cardigan: Shana K, Becky's, South Padre Island, worn here
grey pleather jacket: Coffee Shop, Haute Look, worn here
leather cross-body bag: Kenneth Cole Reaction, shown here
striped maxi skirt: Kiora, Winners, worn here
green suitcase: Traveler's Choice Sienna, Beyond the Rack
sneakers: Nike Free

The customer reviews on Amazon tipped the balance in favour of this suitcase when it came up at a good price, here is my favourite: "... I was able to fit my suite [sic] and two button up shirts in the luggage along with the Mrs. Brides Maids dress. (She had one of those poofy God awful ones too)." I felt like I knew that person - and that dress. 

Thanks to, despite preparing for any weather from ice storm to +30s C / 80s F, I'm getting better at travelling with just a carry-on. However, I clearly need more practise at leaving room if I'm going to be shopping - I had to use the bag's expansion feature and check it on the way home. Again. 

Speaking of people I know, and my FAVOURITE-favourites, here are my parents: 

Practical, ultra-casual looks are so NOT my favourite:
button-front shirt: Reitman's, worn here
green scarf:
Lupita's, Harlingen, a gift from my mother
striped tank: Joe Fresh, worn here

jointed leaf necklace: 
Tradewinds (local shop), worn here

This ensemble got a lot more milage: 
faux red coral necklace: Lupita's, Harlingen, a gift from my mother
maxi dress: Damoa, Beyond the Rack, worn here
red leather obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy, worn here
flip flops: Joe Fresh

While flip flops use little suitcase space, I'm still on the hunt for walk-able, non-orthopedic-looking actual sandals. How can it possibly be that I have a gap in my shoe collection? 

I have a hard time with fit in summer shoes, so can't order online and must shop in person where the shoe selection in my size (10-11) is crud. Further, shoes that are gorgeous in small sizes suffer terribly from the vagaries of pattern translation, which equals serious fug by the time they hit size 10. I'm envious of countries that have free-shipping-free-returns! I'd rather not pay just to try something on. 

On a spectacularly brighter note, check out a couple of outfits 
by my beautiful and glamorous mom:  

mom's floral solid-sequinned jacket: Quelle Boutique, Harlingen

I love the intentional shot of green in her ring

Some travel photos and, even better, things I didn't buy, are tucked below the jump. Part 2 of 2 in the Travel Capsule in Action series coming up, stay tuned!

Sunday, 10 March 2013


I had the most marvellous day with Shelley, the Forest City Fashionista, who in person is even cooler, wonderfully elegant and willowy, so kind and funny, and altogether luminous. She recounts our adventures here.  

photo courtesy of Heather

Over the tremendous swooshing and flapping sound of us walking, punctuated by the clatter of rings, we commiserated over closet space, talked textures and coats, art and belting, labels and buttons and vintage construction, and, of course, got into matters TOP SEEKRIT which will be revealed in time. 

we appear to be Up To Something, pic courtesy of Heather

Shelley wore amazing boots and jewelry, and an utterly fabulous jumpsuit, the details of which had to be seen to be believed. I was so caught up in the moment that I didn't get more photos, darn it - bad blogger!

vintage hat: Madelon, Netty Vintage
vintage grey leather coat:
Derbers Voco Leather-Fashions, Netty Vintage
grey felt bag:
Merona, passed along by friend
Gianni Bini, Dillard's, last worn here 

In addition to being touched by the warmth with which Shelley is greeted everywhere she goes, being rooted in community and activism as she is, I so admired her ever-ready style-spotting skills - check out the gloriously-attired young person she encountered while we were shopping. Wow!

Another great fun aspect of visiting the Forest City itself was its outgoing citizens and their enjoyment to connect - at every turn, it was "Awesome hat!," "Are you two sisters?" and "I remember you from the '80's!"

scarf: Charming Charlie, last worn here
grey knit top: Ricki's, thrifted, last worn here
plaid wool skirt: Kasper for J.L. Sport, Ltd., thrifted

As Shelley highlights as well, one of the greatest side-effects of blogging is the friendships. Having a chance to meet in person is the icing gravy accessories - essentially, the best ever.

rectangular ring: consignment
buttonflowers: Megan Mae Designs

Further to connecting, decreasing isolation, and celebrating excellent style, I'm joining up with the Visible Monday crew over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style. Come join us!

Monday, 4 March 2013

Pelican Palette

Despite being desperately homesick, I had a lovely time away visiting family in South Texas. I'm glad these outfit photos, taken before I left, were on hand to post (hooray for backlog!) because I am flattened and having a hard time getting out of jammies. 

Due to very limited internet access, I wasn't able to comment much during my trip, but keeping up with some of the style-related discussions gave me much to mull over, as always.

green-yellow shirt: Typhany, thrifted ($2), last worn here
grey pleather motorcycle jacket: Coffee Shop, My Habit, last worn here
vintage wool / alpaca sweater dress: Lo Ri, Netty Vintage, last worn here
deliciously soft and comfy boots: Fluevog Presence Intuit, last worn here

Lisa's blog post at Privilege, "Can Middle-Aged Ladies Wear Biker Jackets?" poses a question I'd never even considered as a question - there are seriously people who question this? and would I be just as judgemental to label that position uptight and judgemental? - and is a must-read for the best workplace dress code ever, plus check out her spectacular jacket for which she got to go shopping with Audi. Wow - the complete and utter coolness just knocks me right over!

necklace: a gift from my mother, last worn here
yellow vegetable turquoise bracelet: Gabii (Progreso, Texas), last worn here
usual wrist wear: detailed here
watch: Stuhrling Tuskegee Skylancer, shown more clearly here

What I always appreciate about travelling, both in real life and on the internet, is bringing home a fresh perspective on all the things I am so privileged to take for granted. 

And the integration of connections, finding bits of home away from home - the pelicans reminded me so of my hens in their preening, sunbathing, impossible folding / unfolding of outrageous wingspan, and flock behaviours, their birdnesses-in-common.

The pelicans are hauntingly prehistoric in their own ways: great mossy throats and leathery feet, the architecture of beaks and necks and air-chambered bones and bodies, but their intent gaze of curiosity and optimism - in full anticipation of the delicious - and their very palette are well-known and touchingly familiar to me. 

brown pelicans loafing, South Padre Island, Texas

Hope y'all have been well! I look forward to catching up with everyone's posts over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday, such welcome breaks from the process of unpacking.