Monday, July 19, 2010


A Forever 21 opened up here in the fall, and I've been sort of avoiding it since it's too easy to go nuts buying piles of nifty but ill-fitting cheap clothing that you wear once or twice.  I happened to be walking by the other day though, so I had to check it out.  I found a gorgeous sundress with a 50's style print and cut so I bought it to try at home.  The print was so me (sketchy green and yellow 'ugly' wallpaper flowers) that I figured I could make something of it.

I'd heard  their dresses run short, but I'm 5'4, and I checked the hem and there was a good inch and a half clearance to let it out so I figured I was in the clear.  Ha!  I got home and discovered it hit very much in the UPPER MID-THIGH, and the zipper was also sewn badly to the lining and bunched up in the back.  I guess what do you expect for $28 new!  I went back today and tried another in the same size, which was substantially longer, though it did have the same lining problem.  I found a couple of other nice basics I'd been looking for and went home to do a little modding!

So, granted I do have a massive pile of dresses waiting to be tailored into wearability, but if something can be fixed up in the space of evening (and I have time to do it right away) I'll still buy new things that aren't quite right if I think I can do something about it.  Sometimes you know exactly what you want but no one has made it for you- then you just have to take things into your own hands! The advantage to cheap clothing is they're much easier to take apart than quality products- usually there's no lining, and the seams are simpler.  I didn't take any Before pictures, but this lovely frock ("It reminds me of my grandma's ugly kitchen wallpaper"- the man) only needed a quick unstitching, ironing, and slip-stitch hemming to take me to work tomorrow.  Total labor-time- about 1 hour of tv watching.

I've also been looking for a basic floral t-shirt for ages- the trend is definitely out there, but none of the stores seem to have gotten it right. Zara has the right fabrics, but made into bizarre rompers or floppy tanks, and other stores have made more dress-like tees, or with the wrong fabric.  On the hunt for some navy blue, I found a cute navy blue floral tank with a nicely curved hem for $10 at F21.  I didn't want the frilly ruff at the neck- so having checked that the tank was fully finished beneath the detail, I went for it.  Total time to remove the ruffle- about 15 minutes (tv watching time...).  Satisfaction in having completed a project= priceless!

Saturday, July 10, 2010


So, I caved and called Anthropologie in Toronto and had the Licorice Lanes skirt and Patches and Petals top shipped to me!

The top is amazing. I was drawn to it when I saw that the cotton print on the back is the same print as the silk at the front- it satisfies this weird alchemical twitch I get when similar but different things are paired. In seventeenth-century collections, early 'Cabinets of curiosities', they were still figuring out a sort of scientific method for understanding the world (in a beautiful mingling of science and magic- I mean, real things like magnets are pretty magical...).  So they would group things that seemed to belong to the same families of objects,  corals and rocks and  polished gemstones and ornate carved horn would be jumbled together in the same cabinet.  The act of transforming materials into art was akin to understanding the source elements of nature, playing God if you will...  

er..well anyway, I just get a kick out of such fusions!  

Well, it's finally damned hot in these parts, so this top is going to get some more airing this week.  I've already worn it a few times, mainly tucked in, since I find it a bit too long otherwise.  It works well with this ikat skirt from urban outfitters, though a little rumpled aftera super hot day.  It's fun to match the patterns with other things.  And despite the heat, a cardigan is necessary for the air-conditioned workplace!

I like the disjunction of matching it with the licorice lanes skirt as in the catalogue, though I feel like the fabric of the skirt should be a bit heavier.  It's super light cotton, but perfectly sized and hangs nicely.  It looks great with a simple grey t-shirt too (to better bring out the licorice aspect).