Tuesday, May 31, 2011

red 'n white

I'm not usually a huge fan of red- it's hard to find those perfect vibrant shades.  However when I saw the red ikat Ackee pencil skirt in the Anthropologie catalogue a few months ago, I knew it was a winner.

I almost didn't wait out the sale price- I was pretty much on the verge of ordering it when it suddenly went on sale, so I'm super happy to have worn it a couple of times already.  I have plans for some more colour variations, but for the first few outings I've stuck with classic red and white, to let the skirt speak for itself.  The fabric is a nice rich linen blend (yes, it wrinkles, but that's just the nature of linen, so I don't mind!)
Old Navy blouse, Anthropologie Ackee skirt, Camper shoes
 I guess this is also the first time I've gotten a shot of the lace blouse I found awhile back as a substitute for Anthropologie's Back Porch blouse- this one is actually a little better for me because it has a little peter pan collar (love) and sparkly antique buttons (adore).  It goes with everything so I've been wearing it a LOT actually!
vintage lace blouse, Anthropologie Ackee skirt, Clarks wedges
I think next up it's time for some soft lavenders with the red...I may just have such a blouse already....

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

that damn green...skirt?

I am a frequent, possibly even compulsive, modifier of clothing- collars, hemlines, pleats, even the wholesale destruction of undeserving dresses can be laid at my feet.  It's so much easier to make something from an existing piece- maybe that's just 'cause I'm lazy and can't conceive of all the steps involved in starting from scratch.

That being said, I have a great collection of vintage dress patterns- I think of them as hope for the future when we run out of mid-century vintage (it's gonna happen, ladies, it scares me).  They're also kinda like tasty little candies that will pacify me temporarily when I'm jonesing for a new vintage dress.  I'm just a little hesitant to actually make that first step.  Oh, and it's really hard to find the right fabrics, damnit.

When I saw the gorgeous skirt that Steph at Anthroesque made, I thought that maybe it might make a nice 'training wheels' piece for me, so I asked her what pattern she'd used. and was totally shocked to actually find it at my fabric store, and on sale to boot!  It's McCall's 5591, for the record...

Of course, then finding the right fabric wasn't as fun as it should be. Most of the pretty fabrics were in colours I have way too much of-  I certainly lack no orange or yellow skirts (why do fabric stores have such crappy selection?), but then I found a beautiful weighty, nubby, green silk that feels like linen- this should do the trick.  yummy.

Now with aid of public shaming (um, and I guess a little 'discipline' on my part) I hope to have a lovely green skirt to debut for you in a few 'weeks' or so.  right.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

a chambray kinda week...

Yeesh...how many hours does my neighbour spend out on his deck barbecuing...it's very hard to take outfit pictures when you know someone is overlooking your outdoor studio...

I finally managed to grab a couple of shots of some recent favourite pairings- I've been really enamoured by the tone of chambray this spring, and that Gap tuxedo blouse has turned out to be quite versatile with the right kind of skirt.  I've been loving the styling of pale blues with bright reds lately- I can't think of examples at the moment, but I daresay they include the pale beauty of Anthropologie's Mompos dress and the Tiered Chambray maxi.

This polka dot scarf, which has never worked well as a scarf since it's too short and wide, has now become a stylish and serviceable cummerbund, kinda in keeping with the tuxedo style of the blouse. me likee.
Gap chambray tuxedo blouse, thrifted polka dot scarf, thrifted velvet skirt, Clarks wedges

Seeing the lovely Tiered Chambray dress on others reminded me of another old favourite in my closet, this chambray linen Mexx skirt I've had forever.  I wasn't quite sure how to style it before now, but I think I love this combination with the stripes and patterned belt to tie it together.
ancient Gap linen blazer, thrifted striped blouse, Anthropologie Agadya belt, thrifted Mexx linen skirt, Clarks wedges

Oh that belt...I picked up one in the NY store last spring and desperately tried to order more when it went on sale- they were beautiful cloth belts of varied african prints.  Alas, when I finally managed to order 2 more online they just sent me 2 of the same pattern.  grrr.  I suppose I should try and make some of my own...

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

a rarity...

Anthropologie To A Tee blazer, Ginger bow sweater, Buffalo jeans, Campers boots
Brrrr....it is some cold out there again!  I got so used to last week's sunny nigh-summery weather, with the light cotton dresses and bare legs, that when the temperatures dropped drastically this week I didn't quite know how to dress myself.  I am loathe to wear tights again (yuck), and too chilled to brave knee socks, so I was reduced, absolutely desperately reduced, to throwing on jeans instead of a dress!  You won't see this very often here, that's for sure.

On those 4 or 5 occasions a year that I end up going to work in denim, I basically throw on a patterned top and basic cotton blazer.  I have a total addiction to big bows on sweaters and blouses, so I quite like how this big cashmere bow interacts with the pale mustard blazer I picked up in the fall.  I hardly wore this blazer all winter, but it seems much more seasonally appropriate now- I hope to find a few more simple options for it before we hit summer.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Ode to Bill

You know, THAT Bill.  I was a little confused as a child because all the grown-up men I knew were named Bill- my dad, grandfathers, godfather...I thought that all boys grew up to be named Bill, regardless of their childhood name! 

I saw the new documentary on Bill Cunningham  the other night- it's just an incredible portrait of a truly authentic man driven by his love of fashion.  And not just capital-F Fashion in the couture sense, but absolutely passionate about capturing the way everyday people dress and express themselves through clothing.  I've loved him since I first came across his weekly On the Street commentary videos on the New York Times website- but I absolutely adore him now.  It's hard not to be in awe of his simple, ascetic lifestyle and cynical yet somehow purposefully naive perspective.  What characterizes his photos is that he lets the street fashion speak for itself, rather than setting out himself with a story to document.  The range of people he's captured in his vibrant on-the-street column over the last 30 years is an astonishing archive- I don't just want a reference book, I want to invest in the catalogue raisonne!

I often have a hard time with documentaries- I'm too aware of the artifice of the production, how the narrative is constructed to tell the story the director has predetermined- but I think here they've allowed his character and personality to drive what is really a reverent and beautiful portrait, or at least what Bill has allowed us to know about the elusive man behind the camera!...

So, I am a lazy blogger, to be sure- I haven't been getting many OOTD shots lately as it's now too bright out when I get home to take an indoor shot (backlit and all), which means it's time to actually find a summer location out of doors.  Here is my half-assed experiment in the backyard- it will soon be greener and a bit less grim I hope!  I've been trying to get around to some  little sewing tasks every weekend- I recently picked up this adorable Field Flower cardigan through the EA board and switched the buttons to vintage brass ones today.  They feel like they've always been there now!  I also fixed a couple of dress hems and tailored a cute yellow pencil skirt that will debut any day now as the temperatures rise!
Anthropologie Field Flower cardigan, thrifted BCBG denim skirt, Aldo boots
I love Field Flower cardigans- the details are always so soft and whimsical but never over-the-top.  I also have the Parted Petals cardigan from last spring.  Does anyone know what this navy one was called? 
Field Flower- Parted Petals cardigan

mystery Field Flower cardigan

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

sunny floral: EBEW

Liberty for Target dress, J Crew Jackie cardigan in Hawthorn, Clarks wedges

All winter long, whenever anyone brought out a floral number to break the monotony of winter squalls, I thought of this dress.  The pale daisies of this Liberty print should have been the perfect antidote, and the thick fabric would have been sufficiently warm to make winter wear appropriate.  Alas, it was deep in storage-  I won't make that mistake next year!

As the early spring days, while sunny, are still cool, this was my first thought when I thought of everywearing florals with everybody today!

Florals </P>
<P>Everybody, Everywear

Saturday, May 7, 2011

sunny uniform

Anthropologie Field Scout skirt, Old Navy checked blouse, Aldo flats, handbag from Dear Golden Vintage
I swear, everytime I go to get dressed on weekends lately the dayglo orange Anthropologie Field Scout skirt is the first thing to come to mind.  I recently wore it for Easter dinner, with a striped shirt and vintage pink Vera scarf, and last Sunday's warm sun (20 degrees! or uh, 68 fahrenheit...) brought it out again, with a tan checked shirt from Old Navy.  I swear I wear other colours too...some other OOTD from the week to come...

Needing a huge dose of vitamin D after those long dark winter months, manfriend and I went on a walking excursion out to a nearish 'Dawn of the Dead' zombie mall (home of Winners aka TJ Maxx) and to our local Value Village around the corner.  Dinner was a plate of mixed vegetable curries at a fabulous hole-in-the-wall joint.  yum.

Actual Dawn of the Dead zombies
Dawn of the Dead is one of my favourite movies- it's a horror film, yes, but with a stinging indictment of 70's consumer culture and, well, of  humanity.  George A. Romero's zombies are never the greatest threat to living people- it's the suspicion, cowardice and greed of humans that will ultimately bring down civilization when a threat is introduced.  An interesting article on the growth and demise of mall cultures can be read at Design Observer, and if you haven't seen the original Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead, well, I highly recommend them!  Fun AND tragic!

This walk reminded me of what strange things urban neighbourhoods are too- across the street from our place becomes a beautiful tree-y land of brick mansions and leafy parks.  However, take off to the left, and you're bounded by a highway, walking through mixed neighbourhoods of duplexes and industrial buildings.  This used to be a very residential neighbourhood, but the sunken highway was put in during wild growth plans for the city in the sixties and entire communities were displaced.  I don't think it ever recovered any sort of organic sense of place- the roadway just cuts straight through, defining the neighbourhood as a throughway.

Friday, May 6, 2011

bowing to internetz pressures!

Folks, I broke down and switched to disqus for comments.  Not 'cause I'm, like, a tech adopter or anything, but I just couldn't leave comments on people's blogs anymore without having to reload the page 6 times.  I hope you don't have the same problem here now (uh, if so, I guess create a disqus profile?)

I must say, it was incredibly easy- I didn't even need any troubleshooting advice.  It's just there now, as are all of your delightful wonderful comments through the past year.  Thanks- I read them greedily, and I guess now I can comment more effectively!

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

fate, fast-fashion and a five-dollar fix...

I'm sure thrifters everywhere have had this dilemma- you bring a bag of clothing you've painstakingly decided to get rid of, drop it off at your local thrift store, and browse a little for something new.  You come across a pattern or colour that looks interesting, and realize it was actually your own sometime before?  I feel like this has happened to me so often- maybe even it's something I was only thinking of getting rid of, but there it is, hanging in the store.  Sometimes that helps me realize I actually don't need it anyway...sometimes it's hard not to just buy it back!  The stores are definitely full of fast fashion items these days- I have a beloved striped dress I bought maybe 8 or 9 years ago from Jacob that I wear all the time in the summer- I've since come across it second-hand a few times and have happily purchased a back-up 'copy'...

I was walking down to the Salvation Army this weekend, with a big bag of pants I never wear and a few sweaters I just don't love.  It was sunny, and warm, and all I could think about was the mint green pleated Old Navy skirt I had been looking forward to pulling put of storage.  I picked it up in the sale section years ago for about $7, and never wore it despite loving the fabric, colour and cut.  I think it was just too pale for me, and I was out of my sage/mint green phase by then.  Except now I am way, way, way back into the sage/mint green phase , and I was devastated to discover last weekend that I must have finally gotten rid of the skirt in some ill-conceived cleaning binge last fall.  sigh.

But then I walked into the Sally Ann, and what did I see on a hanger, swaying lazily in the breeze from the door?  A $5 second-chance at love. It's not even the one I donated- this one is a little snug- but even if I only wear it once, but at least I'll know I did my part!
J Crew smouldering brick cardigan, Le Chateau mint jersey tee, thrifted Old navy mint skirt, Aldo flats
I feel like I should be playing lawn tennis in this...if only the May showers would let up!