Saturday, December 31, 2011

happy new year!

Anthropologie Button-Belted dress, Chie Mihara oxfords

Well, another year is passed and this damn green dress wearing gal is preparing to stuff herself with some New Year's Eve feasting (Chinese take-out, a glass of wine or two, and a film with the lad and the kitties on the couch, but dressed-to-the-nines of course!).  Best wishes to all for a spectacular year ahead- let's not think on those self-improvement goals just yet, just enjoy the last of the holiday cheer!

Friday, December 30, 2011

pie and catch-up!

Okay, so the real reason I keep ordering stuff from Anthropologie?  Their boxes make PERFECT pie carriers!  I've tried pizza boxes, but the sizing is just off, and since I am always baking until the last minute, I need some way of transporting seriously hot pies, direct from the oven to wherever!  I am always in mega pie production through the Christmas season but sadly could not find any frozen rhubarb this year (I keep meaning to stock up on the fresh stuff in the summer, but never do), so my favorite strawberry-rhubarb pie didn't happen.  Actually, this meant I could enjoy my Christmas afternoon, with a manageable number of pies to produce!

A couple of weeks ago I wore this outfit and totally felt like a strawberry tart myself- something about the mousse-y colours helped put me in the Christmas mood.  I won a 50$ gift certificate from Couture Allure Vintage in November, and jumped on this vintage sweaterdress right away- it's something I've been looking for awhile.  The shop has spectacular finds, like this amazing silk polka dot dress, and the blog is a constant source of fascinating vintage fashion photographs!  Thanks Jody!
Vintage sweaterdress from Couture Allure vintage, Raspberry Hue tights, Indigo boots, vintage brass acorn brooch and ochre scarf, F21 bronze belt
Otherwise, well, I guess I've been wearing a lot of my staple J Crew pencil skirts, with some Madewell thrown in for good measure, and those chartreuse and rusts certainly ain't going anywhere!!
Madewell rust safari dress, J Crew golden chartreuse cashmere cardigan, F21 bronze belt, Indigo boots
Madewell checked boiler shirt, J Crew pencil skirt, olive tights, Chie Mihara oxfords, fuzzy critter #1
vintage brown checked cowboy shirt, J Crew ochre skirt, thrifted belt, Fornarina green bow shoes
And because a couple of pairs of pants have recently entered my life...what surprises will 2012 hold? What colours will we thrill to this spring? (sounds like more orange, but I don't know that my wardrobe could handle any more!)
Anthropologie Sepviva pullover and Checked Crops, Gap silk-blend yellow cardigan, Camper booties

Friday, December 23, 2011

jingle all the way! or not...

I used to totally love Christmas, but it gets harder each year as life speeds up- it's difficult to let go of those nagging worries of work and everyday life.  It really means trying to let it go and embrace the season.  Christmas being what it is, the desire to please also leads to new stresses.  I hit my rock bottom yesterday.  Like the endless search for the elusive Turbo Man in Jingle All The Way, I found myself trudging through freezing rain across miles of icy parking lots in the hunt for this year's hard-to-find must-have, a Nerf Vulcan machine gun for a couple of eager boys (yeah, that's right, this mo'fo shoots 30 foam pellets in under a minute....)  Actually, I think I'm still too traumatized to talk about it!  But I feel remarkably cheerful now- I can't possibly break down again, right?

Um, so yes I find comfort in the cozy familiarity of It's a Wonderful Life, Rudolph, A Christmas Story, and A Christmas Carol (Alistair Sim version, of course).  But sometimes you just want something different!  So over the years I've been 'collecting' a list of alternate Christmas movies. I guess you could could say most of these are characterized by focusing on the darker, more melancholy side of Christmas, contrasting the upbeat cheer of the season with depression, murder, and attacks by ferocious furry beasties (but hmmm, aren't these an integral part of Christmas movies anyway?  See It's a Wonderful Life, Rudolph, and Home Alone...)

The Thin Man, 1934
The original 'delightful pair' I'm sure-  Myrna Loy and William Powell are the most charming drunks ever.  Probably the first and last time someone could be the 'charming drunk' on film!  Anyway, it's Christmas and amidst the hillarious repartee and non-stop drinking of these sometime finder-outers, a bumbling inventor has gone missing and a couple of scheming platinum blondes, a scarred villain and a sweetly inquisitive daughter are involved. Besides, the real reason we watch movies is for sartorial inspiration, and this one's a doozy.  I could and should devote a whole post to the study of collars that the costumer evidently intended this to be!  Not to mention Myrna Loy's adorable striped frothy chiffon dress!

The Apartment, 1960
Jack Lemmon is a sad sack office drone, eager to please his bosses by loaning out his apartment for their extramarital affairs, while Shirley MacLaine is the luminous elevator operator he secretly loves. Oh, and she's sleeping with the boss. Over the Christmas season, the status quo has got to change...

Die Hard, 1988
"Yippeekayay, motherf*cker!"  'nuff said?  Maybe you need a little action in your sweetness? A no-nonsense New York cop deals with a hostage situation involving his family, the office Christmas party and some crazy German terrorists.  I haven't seen this in years, actually...maybe this year!

Gremlins, 1984's where the cute and scary beasties come in.  I remember thinking the gremlins were horrifyingly creepy as a kid, now they're just as adorable to me as Gizmo the mogwai.  Though I'm still secretly unsure if I should feed the cats after midnight...  This is a total Christmas movie, with all the heartwarming terror it requires!

Blast of Silence, 1961
I love the terse simplicity of the IMDB description on this one: "A hired killer from Cleveland has a job to do on a second-string mob boss in New York. But a special girl from his past, and a fat gun dealer with pet rats, each gets in his way." Did I mention it's also Christmas?  If I remember correctly, the action happens entirely over the course of Christmas Eve to Christmas day...And it's very noir.

Batman Returns, 1992
Apparently Tim Burton's films are all full of Christmas references, and if you've watched The Nightmare Before Christmas too many times since Halloween and are looking for another fix...well, it's Christmas-time in Gotham and the Penguin and Catwoman are on the prowl.  Note: can penguins really prowl? I guess they march...

Brazil, 1985
I hadn't realized it until it was pointed out to me recently, but throughout this dark and dystopic vision of corporate dronery it is most definitely Christmas!  I love Terry Gilliam's movies, and this is one of his best. I will definitely be rewatching this one soon!

All That Heaven Allows, 1955
Oh my, I find Douglas Sirk films tough to watch.  They are Melodramas that fully deserve the capital M.  Oh the drama!  But Jane Wyman is a wealthy widow who has fallen in love with the hunky and much younger Rock Hudson to the general dismay of her family. Can they be together at Christmas when everyone disapproves?  Lots of awesome plaid flannel in this one!

movies I plan on watching now:

8 Femmes (8 women), 2002
This recent French ode to the fifties and musical romps could be too much, but I think I want the adorable vintage-meets-Kate Spade wardrobe of every woman in the film!  The male head of the household is found murdered and all the ladies are potential suspects, stuck together in the house over the holidays until the identity of the murderer is uncovered.  It looks like a remake of the madcap Clue (1985) actually!  With singing!

Lady in the Lake, 1947
Another Film Noir, this adaptation of a Raymond Chandler novel is shot entirely in first person, so we see it all with the eyes of our detective Marlowe.  He is hired on Christmas Eve to find the missing wife of a publishing magnate.  I believe another office Christmas party is also involved! And check out that hat!

So that's what I'll be watching, alongside all the classics.  What about you- what are your seasonal essentials?

Monday, December 19, 2011

what I edition!

Anthropologie Gathered Together dress, Christmas tree
So I really appreciated your feedback on what dress to wear to the office party!  Many of you suggested going with the Gathered Together dress, and boy were you right!  Since I also stupidly volunteered to make cookies for a bake-off, I found myself at 3 am the night before cutting out smirking gingerbread men, about to go to bed without having planned how or what to wear (beyond ordering a couple of cute accessories from Forever 21...) so the ready-made cute green dress was it!
Forever 21 teal feather hair clip and bronze belt, layered vintage necklaces
 The cotton simplicity and luxurious colour were a great combination- I did realize a little late that the top is quite loose-fitting, which caused me some worry while dancing ferociously.  Fortunately the layered and tasselled necklaces helped cover some of the potential embarassment of the keyhole neckline.  Man, I spent 2 full hours on the dance floor and there is not one picture to document it.  We were looking back at previous years and I think that is pretty much the only place you ever see me in pictures.  I may not be good at it, but I like to shake it!  Plus I hate small-talk.  The dance floor: secret hiding place of the introvert.
J Crewification: Silk Blythe blouse, Nutmeg Traversa cardigan, Grey pencil skirt, teal Chie Miharas
And because I have an enormous backlog of outfits to post before the end of the year, here's what I wore that day before morphing into the dancing lady.  My uniform colours of grey and rust, uniform elements of pencil skirt and silk shirt, and unintentional uniformity of brand: J Crew.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

before night falls...

Anthropologie Trace the Stars blouse, J Crew Nightfall pencil skirt, H&M cardigan, teal Chie Mihara Livia

I am not a big lover of the colour blue- it's one shade that is, uh, dead to me if you will.  However I do love the mix of dark teals and navys with black.  It's such a luxurious, shimmering combination, like sapphires on velvet, or the irresistible sheen of Veronica Lodge's hair.  I'm glad I succumbed to the sweet constellation pattern of this navy silk blouse before it sold out online in my size- it was reasonably priced for a structured silk top, and you know I can't resist linear patterns!  I also couldn't resist the temptation to pair it with another evening nomenclature, the Nightfall pencil skirt from J Crew fall 2010.  I threw in a cardigan and nubby silk scarf for the requisite blacks (and some warmth at my desk- the heating doesn't always compensate for a 15-foot tall window at my back!)

The blouse has a wonderful cut, with darted waistline, gathered sleeves, and the illusion of a peplum hem that goes spectacularly with a fitted pencil skirt.  I imagine it would be cute with  a nice pair of jeans as well...I may yet get there!  The top fits TTS to a bit small- this is a size 0, and would fit larger-chested gals than me too.  The waist is small though, without any give.
Oh my, has it really been that long since Javier Bardem so hotly channeled the writer Reinaldo Arenas in Before Night Falls?  11 years- yikes!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

office christmas party: decisions, decisions...

I have but one "Christmas Party" to attend that isn't a more casual family gathering, and that's the ol' office Christmas party.  It's a bit of a bummer since it occurs at the end of a workday, and at the workplace (though not quite like the debauched celebration of 'The Apartment' thankfully!).  I have so many pretty frocks that are worn regularly to work, so it`s hard to decide on something that is festive, not TOO dressy, and that allows for lotsa eating and dancing.  Because of the dancing, I don`t want to wear something really vintage, since they`re more delicate, but then so many other pieces have been worn to work as my everyday garb!  Oh what`s an overdressing gal to do...
Painted Plaid dress

Everything points to wearing the Painted Plaid dress, since it`s gorgeous, comfortable, great for dancing, and hasn`t been worn as just a dress to work (I've worn it covered with a cardigan or blazer).  Except it`s difficult to dress down for everyday as it is, and I don`t want it to be indelibly associated in my mind with Christmas and as a party dress!  I think I would pin one edge up a bit to show the cute crinoline...  Argh!  But then it already seems to be THE Christmas dress:
New Girl Christmas photo
Other options include:

Gathered Together dress
I have never worn this dress- it's super cute and I bought it used awhile back for a very good price.  Too short and frilly for work- which makes me think this would make a splendid party dress.

Take Action dress
But then I also got this recently- it's so beautiful, and I haven't worn it yet.  I like the idea of wearing yellow instead of festive green (for once)!

M Missoni scoop dress
I'm contemplating this one since I like the idea of wearing something a little shorter than my usual dresses.  This would be VERY comfortable for eating, drinking, and dancing, and would be pretty without standing out too much.  But then, is that what I want?
Vintage dust motes dress
On the other hand, here's a beautiful brightly-patterned vintage dress I've never had occasion to wear.  It's very heavy because it's reversible, double layers of thick textured cotton (plain red on the other side) so not quite appropriate for summer, and definitely not something I would wear to work otherwise.  It's a bit yellowed, but I gave it a tea bath last night to even out the colour a bit.  The full skirt would be very fun to dance in!  I love the print because they're fuzzy polka dots, kinda like the dust creatures in My Neighbour Totoro (sigh): I love how this helps in the decision-making process- I'm now thinking either I go safe and pretty with the plaid, or all-out with this vintage dress I've neglected for so long (which will require a little bit of sewing touch-ups first).  What say you?  And how do you decide what to wear to your various Christmas parties?

Oh, and I have a whole slew of  OOTDs to catch up on from November- this posting once-a-week thing is too lazy!  Plus my goal for the year was 100 posts and I could get there with a bit more discipline (man, some of you manage that in 1/2 the time)!!