Sunday, 25 August 2013

The Plane!

Wendy Brandes recently issued the challenge to try wearing just one earring. For some of us the word "again" would apply here, and this arrangement also lately cropped up on Advanced Style. Here's my version with a homegrown vintage '80s airplane earring, decidedly not missing its mate which I gave away or lost years ago:

multi-colour feather print blouse with bell sleeves: Joseph A., gift from dear friend
wrap belt: thrifted at the Kitty Cat Store, worn here (2nd look)
pencil skirt: Urban Behaviour, thrifted, worn here
tremendously awesome orange shoes: Cydwoq Instinct, ebay, worn here

As previously demonstrated, I usually feel over-decorated if I switch out my constant set of mis-matched silver hoops (2 plain on the right, 4 ornate on the left, most visible here and here) for a pair of larger earrings - but wearing just one felt just right. 

airplane earring: lone survivor of the '80s
antique orange amber bracelet: a gift from my mother, worn here
black watch and other bracelets: detailed here

I remember '80s style as quite wonderfully campy - a time of greater connection with the concept of daily wear as costume. The incorporation and explicit re-imagining of all kinds of symbols (religious and otherwise), including elements of uniform (across eras, military and otherwise), was directly referential to world and pop culture events of the time. There seemed much greater scope for creatively developing one's unique version of image rather than selecting from among a few narrow branded and pre-packaged looks.

I also loved the rampant asymmetry - one could even buy mismatched earrings in "pairs." I've been on a few hunts through various stashes of stuff, but sadly haven't come across these floral cloisonné earrings - one is a moon and the other a star:

winter 1984/5 (slightly earlier than these photos)

I didn't find a picture of myself wearing the airplane(s) either, but we were walking hieroglyphs as a matter of course - here is a fake diamond stud and a silver snake from the post-Mohawk Year of the Hairband:

spring 1986 (same time period as here)

Back to single earrings - remember the soap opera affectation of taking off one giant earring to answer the phone? And how they wore clip-on instead of pierced earrings all the time when barely anyone in real life did anymore? Do they still do that earring-off-to-get-the-phone thing? Do they have cell phones yet? Do they take off an earring to answer their cell phones? And have they ever put the earring back on after? (I don't have TV, help!)

Is there an aspect of style from any era that you miss? I'm taking my nostalgic self over to Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. See you there!

*EDITED to add P.S. guess what else! It's '80s week at Spy Girl too!

Monday, 19 August 2013

In Triplicate

Behold, three typical work outfits, two from June, one from this month, all atop red-shoes-of-legend. Despite a decade of heavy rotation, I'm still on my first pair of these sporty Mary Jane pumps: scored for $14, and yes I did go back and snag another - further reduced to $11. Beyond outrageous durability and comfort, they strike a lot of exactly-right balances: all-season wearability, dressy vs. casual (good with jeans too), quality yet not over-the-top fancy-lookin' (as you know, left to my own devices I'd wear nothing but the latter), and colour, colour, colour. 

vintage stylized fish skeleton necklace: a gift from my mother, worn here
vintage oversized blouse: Al-matari Top Fashion, thrifted

black leather obi belt: Elizabeth Kelly London, etsy, worn here
favourite red skirt: Odille, thrifted, worn here
favourite red shoes: Kenneth Cole Reaction, Winners ~10 years ago, worn here

With perfect colours and awesome pattern, this blouse has lots going for it too - light, soft, non-wrinkling weave, full-range-of-motion fit, and buttons with sparkly guitar-pick shapes. Plus I found it while shopping with the Forest City Fashionista. I think I often wore red in June to coordinate with my grotty rash, or was perhaps aiming for it to pale-by-comparison, which kind of worked: 

Next up is some of my usual functional layering, all stuff I've had for years. We got a bit of hot weather this year, but since my office's micro-climate tends toward February, I keep temperature-adjustable measures on hand:

sunglasses: Ray Ban, worn here
goes-with-everything striped scarf: Gabii's (Progreso, TX), worn here
antique silver and mother-of-pearl necklace: a gift from my mother, worn here
sleeveless blouse with ruched waist: New York & Co.,
silk recycled sari skirt: Alchemy Eco-fashions, The Circle Game (local shop)
cropped denim jacket: Smart Set, worn here
baggy grey leggings: can't recall

This is a go-to combo in melting weather - without the scarf, jacket, and leggings, even with a closed shoe, this top and skirt are airy and don't do that horrible sticking-to-the-body-with-sweat thing. I like how the gathers and knots create shape from a loose fit. 

And here, finally post-rash-and-droopy-posture-and-exhausted-grimace (hooray!), is another combination of more wear-all-the-time old stuff that I had on just last week:

jointed leaf necklace: Tradewinds (local shop), worn here
bolero cardigan: River Island, Colours, worn here
shark-bite hem tank top: Bellini, Winners, worn here (another de-layered glimpse here)
black / ivory sofa-print cotton skirt: Triangle, Winners 7+ yrs. ago, worn here 

All extremely comfortable outfits, soft and easy to move in, lots of simple-care fabrics that don't wrinkle - or if they do, not badly - and practical for long days. I do find all this practicality lends itself to over-frequent wear and dulled enthusiasm (except for outfit #1 which I still love - a new-to-me top, and I save my favourite red skirt for when I really-really need it), but functional is functional.

Okay, that last collage is gratuitous except for capturing my morning side-eye sneaking out through incomplete caffeination. Though not following the rules, *because I am such a rebel* I'm linking with Anne's Triple Play round-up over at Spy Girl. Thanks for dropping by - hope everyone's week is off to a great start!

Saturday, 17 August 2013

Two Left Feet

I've been wearing my blue glass bead necklace and bracelet a lot this summer, often along with these Melissa Toffee Apple wedges. Here are a couple of outfits from back in June which also feature shorts.

blue glass and wood necklace and bracelet: Gabii's (Progreso, TX), worn here
tunic: TRF T-Shirt Collection, thrifted, worn here
together with same tank top: Smart Set and silk obi belt: ebay
cargo shorts: BC Clothing, "borrowed" from Beary
blue ankle-strap wedges: Melissa Toffee Apple, ebay

Acquiring these shoes was a bit of a hilarious process - I initially received a left shoe in the correct size (UK 8) and a right shoe which was comically smaller (UK 4). Fortunately, the very responsive seller had good in-stock availability and offered to send me both corresponding shoes.

Because I had a feeling, this is what I said: "Thanks for your response. I look forward to receiving the other shoe(s) as soon as possible - I ask that care be taken to send the correct 'other' as despite what some may say about me, I don't literally have two left feet. :) I appreciate your taking quick action to address the situation." They assured me that they could see from my photos it was a RIGHT shoe I needed - but I bet you can guess what happened, can't you.

Luckily, they kept being really nice about the whole thing and were able to send two rights in my size, so I ended up with a backup and a wee pair to send to my friend Megan Mae. Yay! (Check out her awesome wedge stylings here and here.) Our contrasting shoe sizes are pretty sweet, eh?

sleeveless trench coat dress thingy: Cynthia Rowley, Marshall's, worn here (with pics showing all of its previous outfits)
gear-print top: Snazzie, defunct local shop, worn here
red shorts: Reitman's, thrifted, worn here
goes-with-everything striped scarf: Lupita's (Harlingen, TX), worn here

I finally got around to wearing the sleeveless trench coat dress thingy with more colour, red in particular, which made me happy. The Melissa wedges made it a perfect outfit for a mild rainy day - speaking of things that make me happy, dry feet and un-wrecked shoes are on the list too.

I just noticed that August 14 was my one-year blog-o-versary - thank you all so much for reading and becoming friends! With post #100 also imminent, I'm soon due to rustle up a little retrospective in celebration. An extra thank-you to folks who've been along the whole time, and to those who recently went over to read my tobacco farming poems and see old family photos at Numéro Cinq - your extra time and generous feedback means so much to me. 

I'm very glad to be feeling better than I was during my time-of-feeling-lousier-than-usual when I took these outfit photos. Because life is such that we are sometimes visibly beyond tired, I'll be joining the crew over at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday. See y'all there!

Sunday, 11 August 2013


Fruitane Bananvil here, deeking in last-minute to Tutti Frutti week of 52 Pick-me-up over at Anne's Spy Girl. I've never played slots (just learned they're also called "fruit machines") but generating this post called up embedded imagery from cultural consciousness. I'd likely be more inclined to have a go if one could win a jackpot of accessories:

vintage oversized silver beads: a gift from my mother, worn here
red belt with giant grommets: thrifted, worn here
super yellow clogs of tremendous fug: Fluevog Ask Response
faux coral necklace: a gift from my mother, Lupita's (Harlingen, TX), worn here
red leather belt with silver conchos: Netty Vintage
toy-like red clogs of tremendous fug:
Swedish Hasbeens Strong Lady T-Strap

I'm already working out my next combo for this dress - these blue clogs, belt TBD, and borrowing my mom's big necklace of little fruits that she just showed me yesterday. With even my internal organs sporting decorative bits, no wonder I'm driven to accessorize like I mean it. Inside and out, through-and-through - I was made this way, can't help it! 

ultra-vivid floral dress: Leota New York, My Habit
(L) black-edged blue silk scarf: Netty Vintage
(R) turquoise rose scarf: Gabii's (Progreso, TX), worn here
vintage crinoline: Netty Vintage

The dress is even brighter than it appeared online, it is way-comfy and has kept me and everyone else in the building alert on a few long work days already. Overall of quite nice quality, it doesn't gape, and has enough fabric in the skirt to allow for a crinoline (with the red clogs outfit on the right) but a wonky hem, grr. Part of the gamble of steep-discount internet shopping.

one-armed bandit: the blogger pretending

For years I've had a heck of a time finding walkable sandals - anything I've seen in person is grotty, and since my giant feet are apparently oddly-shaped for sandal footbeds, or makers just don't translate sandals into larger sizes very well, I hesitate to order online. I love my Canada, but we really need some free-shipping-free-returns action here, I'm not paying just to try things on. Besides almost everything d'Orsay cut, my fit issues seem to be with sandals only - as y'all have seen, I don't have nearly enough trouble fitting into all kinds of other shoes and boots. But it's clogs to the rescue!

With both these pairs, I applied my usual strategy of waiting several seasons a.k.a. forever for last-pair and clearance pricing. Since I do not care one iota about things being "this year's" or "the latest" or "on-trend" (shudder!!!), well worth it - right out of the box into perfect comfort for over-long days, hooray! A FAVOURITE-favourite surprise feature of the red ones, which, unfortunately, I don't believe will persist beyond breaking-in, is sound. I'm going around looking deceptively cheerful, all the while accompanied by a fabulously ominous soundtrack:

I was just saying to Megan that I'm sometimes grateful for my odd combinations of long bits, short bits, and giant feet, because if more clothes and shoes fit acceptably, my closet would burst even more dramatically than it already is. Ka-blam! I am also taking my eye-searingly visible, creepily creaky, and extremely wakeful self over to Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday!

Friday, 9 August 2013

My Own Horn

I can't seem to help cranking up the search term fun. I'm thrilled to be sneaking in to Gracey's Literary Stylings link-up at Fashion for Giants with not a book (yet?) but my series of tobacco-farming poems, BRIGHT: Tobacco Butts, Behind the Needle, and Baleful Tales of Barn and Bunkhouse, recently published online at Numéro Cinq Magazine (content notes: photo of worker wearing Confederate flag t-shirt, language). Douglas Glover generously included a snippet of his memoir, and you may also find everyone's favourite tobacco-farming song. 

fish milagros necklace with orange glass beads: a gift from my mother and father, Rio Bravo Gallery (Port Isabel, TX), worn here
cropped denim jacket: Smart Set, worn here
grey t-shirt: Michael - Michael Kors, thrifted
giant grey flower pin: a gift from my mother, worn here
plaid maxi dress: BCBGeneration, Dillard's
grey leather belt: brand forgotten, Beyond the Rack, worn here
silk recycled sari skirt: Alchemy Eco-Fashions, The Circle Game (local shop), worn here
ancient grey leggings: Jacob, worn here
orange suede shoes: Fluevog Starboard, worn here

If poetry is not your thing, there are some old family photos to look at too - pop over to see if you can spot a certain surly 17-year-old wearing a Rocky Horror Picture Show t-shirt at the helm of the tobacco tying machine. These days, I take my blog photos in the well-windowed former "strip room" of my barn, which was used for sorting / grading / "stripping" the dried ("cured") tobacco.

I felt farmer-licious (happy to be not wearing actual farm gear) in this outfit with denim, plaid, and heather grey, which I wore on a celebratory afternoon outing with my mom: I was lucky enough to win a ticket to the 2012 Vintage Red Wine Release Party at the Burning Kiln Winery, which is a fantastic re-purposing of tobacco land, buildings, equipment, language, and legend. My family donated an antique "boat" (horse-drawn wooden sled used to transport loads of tobacco leaves from the field) to the winery a few years ago. Burning Kiln wines have experienced tremendous success in a short time, and my favourites at the event were the Broken Needle Rosé, Strip Room, and Kiln Hanger - The Sequel. 

Back to literary matters, I'm honoured to be among very fine company at Numéro Cinq, which I'd been enjoying for a while (even more since the shuttering of Coilhouse) for its wide-ranging curiosities including art and music as well as its anthology series. Check out Childhood and Fathers for great short prose.

For more tobacco farming history, I love the National Film Board of Canada documentary The Back-breaking Leaf (30 min.). And there is another poet in our midst - visit the amazing Emalina at Kiki and the Gypsy who has made a stunningly beautiful post called Summer Story: A Mermaid's Tale. Thanks for reading!

Sunday, 4 August 2013

You're Giving Me A Hat Attack

Better late than never to everything: together with some of my favourite bloggers, I'm so glad to be part of Judith's inaugural Hat Attack link-up at Style Crone. (Now I will be able to stop singing Olivia Newton-John with a Boston accent - right?) In other hat news, in the city of Utrecht, Dutch artists adorned surveillance cameras with party hats to celebrate George Orwell's 110th birthday. All of the above is as awesome as it sounds.

grey felt hat: Fair Weather Accessories, Burlington Coat Factory
polka dot scarf: local discount store, worn reverse side out here
blue glass and wood necklace and bracelet: Gabii's (Progreso, TX), worn here
grey-brown t-shirt: WalM*rt, worn here
grey striped vest: Dynamite, thrifted, worn here

rectangular ring: consignment, worn here
vintage brown polyester pleated maxi skirt: La Dear Canada, Netty Vintage
grey motorcycle boots: Zodiac, Dillard's (75% off sale a.k.a. Shoepocalypse), worn here

I was relieved for the spell of cooler weather we had back in June, which meant I could pile on all the accessories at once to give folks lots to look at other than my raw blotchy self. Though at the time it was dramatically sad in person, the situation is mercifully barely visible in photos. Amid all of the medical poking and prodding, I was reminded of the fun fact that even my insides like to be decorated: I am the proud host of an accessory spleen

A quick search of spleen symbolism reveals associations with snake (consuming prey larger than oneself - such an accurate reflection of my appetite), yin, earth, stable substrate, getting everything done while doing nothing (well, one can hope), fluid balance using ditches rather than dams, and the processes of transformation and transportation. 

On the other hand, spleen is also connected to melancholy, fear, agony, malaise, moral degradation, destruction of the spirit, and ill-temper. A ticket straight to grouchy-pants-town, a place I was clearly headed on a different day I wore this skirt in June: 

black heart flip flops: Vivienne Westwood + Melissa, ebay

Further to themes of accessories, guts, and celebration - but sticking firmly to the brighter side - I'm also going over to Patti's Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday!