Sunday, October 31, 2010


I've always been a wee bit too fond of the dressing up- I have fond memories from childhood of reading around the house decked out in a Prince Caspian costume, or trying out a thifted ascot and blazer for a riding lesson (somewhat oblivious to the sweatshirts and rubber boots of the other kids), while wincing slightly at memories of the 5th grade sweater-vest debacle (when my  school uniform fetish led several times to my arriving at school in the exact same red sweater-vest and plaid tie as my male teacher...oh dear...I was so inspired by the preppy plaids in my sister's Seventeen magazine!) ).

So yes, Halloween is a time of flurry and excitement as I chase down some costume element that I've decided I can whip up in my down time.  This usually means some form of crazed all-nighter near the end .

This year we were invited to a fairy-tale murder mystery party, and I thought it would be fun to put together a Rapunzel costume, with a super long hair piece as the main feature.  I've had a lot of fun putting together an image based on the illustrations of Aubrey Beardsley- when I was a kid it seemed like a lot of the fairy tale illustrations looked (rightly) to period 18th-century costumes for setting, though I can't seem to find many examples of it now!  I love the whimsical grotesque of his late-19th-century deco sensibility, and costume aspires more to the whimsical side than the grotesque!

There has also been a lot of interesting hair art recently- I picked up a few images for further inspiration.  The costume itself?  Well, yesterday was a last-minute rush to get to the party that involved some stapling and  strapping, but I will have to put it all together again for a family gathering to give out treats tonight so photos are pending!

Louis IXV, by Hyacinthe Rigaud,1701
Marisol studio, cul-de-sac hair wigs

Nick Cave Sound suits
Nick Cave sound suits

Miwa Yanagi, Rapunzel 2005

Dancer Maud Allen, 1908

Alice Anderson, Rapunzel 2001
Norma Shearer as Marie-Antoinette

unknown source
Whether the costume should attain the image in my head is well, uncertain, but I've certainly become more adept at braiding twenty-foot lengths of wool recently...!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

fall dessing

So stylish Tara at little girl big closet has come up with a great contest to celebrate the best elements of dressing for autumn.  The season is so fun for colour and mixing and (swoon) layering (and celebrating the outdoors before the onset of winter and nigh-hibernation), so it's nice to see what everyone is up to!

And... um, well, a random generator picked a few posts to vote for and one of my favourite fall looks came up!  So check it out- there's some great colours, and boots, and outdoor inspirations too!

Vintage plaid dress
thrifted Sisley Blazer
Purple Via Spiga tights
Indigo Water Row boots

Precious Materials cardigan, Anthropologie
Ochre pencil skirt, J Crew
russet tank, Topshop
gray Via Spiga tights
leather high tops, Kurt Geiger

Wednesday, October 27, 2010


Tristan bow sweater, thrifted; houndstooth pencil skirt, thrifted; Anne Klein knee socks, Camper Peu boots

This week has been fairly hectic (I`m sensing a pattern...) so I haven't been allowing for a couple of minutes when I get home to document stuff.  Which I usually regret, since you never remember what it was made an outfit work!!

I`ve had this 80`s era lime green houndstooth pencil skirt for a year or so, but never wore it- it was too boxy, and I always just found wearing a dress to be easier.  However the colour is delicious, and now that I am wholeheartedly embracing the idea of skirts (from pencil, to tulip) I thought I could take this out for a spin.  I really just had to take it in slightly at the hip to fit- a couple of stitches.

Something I've been looking for awhile is a black knit with a bow or tie at the neck- just never found many to choose from.  I finally found one at Value Village a few weeks back- it's a Canadian brand- Tristan and Iseut, a pretty good fit and, best of all, magically cat fur repulsing (oh what a sweet characteristic!).  So when I came across a See by Chloé lime green houndstooth skirt online I thought hmmmm....oh right...!

sans star spangled cardigan

Saturday, October 23, 2010

this post brought to you by the letters t, h, c and v! the other night I sat down to type up a little something and look back at my week (the only thing to take my mind off the work week, which was hellishly tiring!)...except suddenly the aforementioned keys were no longer functional!  I've made do recently with the sticky tab key, but it turns out you can't write much without t's and h's.  Anyway, enterprising soul that I am apparently, I googled keyboard fixes, pulled off all the keys on my laptop, arrayed them carefully where the cats were less likely to shuffle them into chaos, and cleaned out the tiny cat golem that had built up underneath the keys.  Perhaps I shouldn't allow Mr. 24-pounder to sit on it so much?

(side note: a friend emailed me the news item on the world's longest cat.  I am eagerly awaiting entry for the categories of 'largest domestic paws' or 'stumpiest limbs per weight ratio' )

Anyway, I may now avail myself of the full glory of the alphabet to say not very much at all!

Busy week that it was, I was fully prepared to pull out all the stops every morning in the 5 minutes I allot for getting dressed (priority #1 is sleeping until the last minute), plus all the good stuff is out of summer storage and I want to wear everything!

Don't recall at all, and didn't take a photo when I got home!  Nothing on the floor (!) corresponds- it's a mystery.  I know I went to work, and I vaguely remember a long grey pencil skirt...but that's it.

Perhaps not the brightest idea to work a 12 hour day with lots of manual labour involved in vintage linen, but so be it.  I love this ochre shift with kermit-y lapels but have never found the occasion to wear it out.  Um, I have definitely worn it out now.  I think it survived, just.  I didn't appreciate the Tinkerbell comment from some wacko in the evening- much prefer to resemble a muppet, thank-you.
Ochre linen dress, vintage; J Crew Jackie cardigan; vintage fabric belt; Camper boots
Feeling the need for cozy and colours when I dragged myself out of bed, this outfit sort of came together.  I love this plaid skirt- somehow the colours in it always make me pull out unusual combinations, and I don't really care if they work or not.  I felt totally comfortable, albeit exhausted, and did manage to leave work early.  My mother gave me these sneakers a couple of years ago- the buckles and leather are truly deluxe!
J Crew V-neck; vintage plaid pencil skirt; purple tights; Kurt Geiger sneakers
I love this vintage wool camel skirt- very seventies, and of course very of the moment.  I can't seem to achieve that elegant look of effortless simplicity with it though- I believe I need more cashmere and er...legs.  I was trying to channel Lara Stone's photo shoot in the September Vogue- the winter is long, I'll keep trying!  The shoes however are Miu Miu loafers I found at the Salvation Army many years ago- love em!
Red Esprit sweater, thrifted; vintage camel wool skirt; thrifted scarf and brooch; thrifted Miu Miu loafers

I bought this silk blouse on sale at Urban Outfitters recently (in both black and ivory)- it's truly horrible in it's original state, with a super wide neckline and droopy décolletage.  But I put a button at the collar and now the ruffles fall in a lovely chevron pattern and the shoulders fit nicely.  Exactly what I was looking for to go under cardigans this fall and winter, for that softer touch.
Urban Outfitters silk blouse; vintage wool pencil skirt; nondescript cardigan; silver tights (a little too shiny with the flash!) ;thrifted Brown's mary-janes

Sunday, October 17, 2010


We all have those days where you suddenly realize a word or a tool or a place has been frequented all along but somehow it's new to you.  I just started playing around with polyvore, and like many such things, I have been spending way, way too much time browsing and acquring images for what I have or would like to try.  Seeing your select closet in miniature is great for perspective.  It's amazing how hard it is to find images of certain products if they haven't been reviewed online though!  Like for instance the Haute Candy tank, which went on sale in August and I just finally scored on a popback.  Can't find it anywhere!  There's a product shot of the back on polyvore actually (!), but I'm not finding much otherwise.  And yet I'm looking forward to how versatile it might be for layering and pattern mixing...(um, I guess I'll have the the genuine article soon).  You can see some of it's potential here.

Half the fun is the search, really, so I've been hunting down old product shots here and there- still no luck on the haute candy, the Maeve brown windowpane dress from 2009 (my first anthropologie!) or the stunning Chie Mihara's I bought on ebay this spring...

I've never had trouble mixing and matching in the morning- I love the process of improvising- but I find accessorizing through polyvore quite handy (and...erm...have already purchased a necklace while creating a set actually!)

freckled 'n scalloped

And if I'd only had this as a reference the other day when I was getting dressed (and feeling uninspired)- I would surely have added a small grosgrain bow at the neck to make it more...snappy. or Kurt-esque- if you will (oh glee... )

dressing Kurt 

 J Crew gingham product shot from summer 2010

The checked shirt I have is from the last of the Isaac Mizrahi/ Liz Claiborne collection in 2009- I got a few on super liquidation in the spring- they have such beautiful contrast accents at the cuff and collar!  And I totally should have worn the Minnies.

Which reminds me, I never did get my hands on THAT dress...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

I'm in love...

okay, so screw today's cute outfit, and yesterday's attempt at chanelling Kurt from Glee...I just received the most gorgeousome dress in the mail, courtesy of ebay!  I remember seeing the J Crew Ink Dot dress a few magazines last year, but didn't take note, just figured it was out of my reach.  Then I saw a few outfit postings by Goldenmeans earlier this year and my interest was piqued again!  I ended up sizing down from usual size thanks to online reviews.  While it's snug on my mini bust, I just don't trust J Crew's sizing to have tried a larger one.  I hate it when dresses are too loose on top (all the time!)

Oh, I am so in looooove with this dress- the cut reminds me of the Louis Vuitton Fall 2010 style of vintage remix.  Er..with a bit less...   

Works with every Jackie cardigan, as far as I can tell, but I love brown with everything!  I just started a Polyvore addiction... 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

readings on clothing and memory...

"Nowadays this is Else's recurring dream: she enters a room whose walls are lined with wardrobes.  She opens the door of the first one and inside on a shelf is her mother's sewing machine with the thick transparent Cellophane draped over it to keep the dust off.  Round it, under it, above it, are drawers. Inside each of them is a complex filing system of folders.  Inside each of these folders is a too-small garment.  A dress, a cardigan, a waistcoat, slacks, a pinafore.  Each piece of clothing has been made for Else.  The folders fill the drawers and the drawers fill each of the wardrobes and the wardrobes crowd the room so that there is almost no space in it, and each piece of clothing is pressed flat in its folder, shrunk and airless as if vacuum-packed.  Else is dizzy with them.  She unpacks the first, and then the next, then one after another after another they pile up round and over her feet and even though she has opened hundreds of them there are still thousands more to unfold, all different, all hand-made, all stitched with care and thousands more drawers of them waiting for her to open them.  Puffed sleeves.  Tapers and waists.  Pinking-shear edges.  Zigzagged black braiding.  Crimplene and cotton, nylon and wool, polyester and terylene and suede, and each of them is useless; too small, too fragile, too clean, too much; the wardrobes go on forever packed with unwearable love, and in her dream Else knows with a sheering hopelessness that she is asleep and that, untakeable as it all is, it will rip her apart at the seams one more time to have to wake up and leave any of it, one single piece of it with its empty arms, behind.

It is a nightmare."

(Ali Smith, Hotel World, 2001)

Thursday, October 7, 2010

more vintage, slight ochre variant...

I can't help it!  It's the only colour that makes my heart zing right now (except olive...need more olive...)!   I realized that I've never even WORN this beautiful ,shimmery, essence of Fall paisley.  It's funny, people have mostly given up commenting on my attire at work, but this dress is so perfectly coordinated with the fall leaves outside my window right now that I received a lot of 'autumnal' comments today.  I guess it's a little delicate, which is why I've always refrained from pulling it out.  The fabric isn't too dressy-  it's sort of a light not-silk, kinda nubby, and I'm definitely going to get some more days out of it while this colour obsession endures.  Plus I finally found some tights that aren't shiny- Via Spiga.  These are a nice bright not-quite-navy (I meant to bring a blue cardigan today, but it was too warm), and I have them in light grey and purple too.  I hate bad tights- I'd rather freeze with long socks if necessary.  The belt is UO and the shoes are Nine West from the salvation army- I love the oxford tassel toes!

This weekend is Thanksgiving and we'll be leaving town for a big family dinner by a lake- I'll have some of my own foliage photos for sure!  Once I'm done baking of course- the 3 required pies are classic apple, strawberry-rhubarb (my favourite) and pumpkin!  My colour allegiance to shades of orange is pretty strong too actually...

I just remembered looking at these photos- one of my favourite outfits as a kid was a similarly shimmery green paisley polyester one piece- zip-up front and bell bottoms to boot.  Oh, I was so sad when the seams gave out!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

vintage week

I've gotten distracted by the 'easy' availability and miraculous 'existence in multiples' of new clothing lately.  Since my closet's been cycled back into autumn/ winter mode, I'm remembering all the beautiful vintage dresses that don't get as much attention over the summer.  It's been a good separation though- I realise I'd gotten into a safe rut of throwing fabulous patterned shirtdresses over tights and boots, and thinking that was enough.  But it got boring- and the Anthropologie tangent has helped me think more in terms of accessorizing and mixing.

Yesterday was COLD waking up, since the landlords hadn't turned the heat on yet, so I ended up in a very warm sweaterdress that I regretted when the afternoon sun started streaming in the window.

Very Velma, I'm afraid!  But she is a fashion icon of sorts, and I do lose my glasses a lot...

(looking bashfully at my feet because I got sick of correcting for the devil-eye effect )

Today I pulled out one of my favourite plaid shirtdresses- I found it on ebay 3 years ago for $12, with the original sales tags on ( $3  or so...).  It's pretty light cotton, but I wear it year round anyway, with its cute little brass Napoleon buttons.  The colour mix of brown, teal and maroon seems to go with everything.

As an experiment, I mixed it with a favourite Sisley blazer I found in a thiftt shop a few years ago- in orange and brown tweed, with an awesome sea-green polka dot lining.  I love these together!  Threw on the orange floral scarf and I was out the door.