Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Tippi Zeitgeist!

A costume I've been dying to do for years has been Tippi Hedren from Hitchcock's The Birds. Here's a little teaser of this year's costume!  I finally made it work, after an 'eighties secretary' failure from a few years back that never left the house.  I just found out thought that there are currently TWO films about Hitchcock and his blondes.  And the one that just aired on HBO stars Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren, recounting the horrific experience she had on set.  I've seen rather a number of people doing this costume this year.  Must be something in the air. It's also a fun costume to play with- you get to look super classy in pea green and walk around with an array of birds on your shoulders!

More pictures to come.  This is just a tease while I go through a million shots! 

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Peplum crazy...oh, and Anthropologie reviews!

I am so very happy to say that I finally have a real live anthro store in my city, which means I can now see, touch, and try things before buying!  On my first visit, I saw this knit blazer that I had been eyeing online.  I tried it on and was pretty smitten, but I put it back on the rack to think it over.  Well, I did have a nice credit after returning a failed summer dress, so a few days later I had them pull the last XS from the stockroom and thus I made my first of many purchases to come! The Chandelier Sleeves blazer is by Tabitha, and I love the heavy knit, as well as the detail at the cuffs.  The fabric is polyester, but a nice weight and I think any snags in the future could be easily fixed with a stitch or two. The seams are trimmed in a gorgeous hot pink. The cut works well with both skirts and pants, and somehow the peplum ruffle helps minimize my hippiness.  I would say it is a bit high-waisted, but otherwise pretty true to size. I've been looking for a unique blazer for awhile and this absolutely, totally pleases me!

Anthropologie Chandelier Sleeves blazer, J Crew striped dolman sleeve top and Vibrant Flame pencil skirt, Aldo shoes
My store is small, so they are rotating stock pretty quickly, which means I kinda have to visit regularly not to miss anything. However it's also about time I started offering some fit reviews from time to time, since I have benefited from the kind work of others for the past three years! So here goes. I'm still working through some issues, like coming home and realizing the pictures from my phone are really, really, really blurry if I'm not careful...

Just for the details, I'm 5"4 , roughly 34-26-38, and about 126 pounds.   I usually take a 2 or 0 in dresses, XS or 2 in tops, and a small or 4 in bottoms. 

I just had to try on the Caridad Ruffle dress, even though I have a million party dresses. The fabric, colour and  details are gorgeous and have a beautiful vintage feel.  A size 2 fit perfectly, sleek, but with enough room to breathe and dance. The silk is quite delicate, but since it's sleeveless movement is still very easy. Sorry about the extreme blurry...

I may not need any more green party dresses, but I have been looking for the perfect orange jersey dress.  The store had just received a bunch of Ruched Basketry dresses from Bailey 44 in 'red' (really quite a rich vermillion orange).  I tried a small and it felt wonderful-  the drape is perfect and the skirt is two layers for good coverage.  The basket detail is lovely and I am heavily in love because of the full sleeves! I am a little leery of pilling though- I returned Velvet's Whirligig dress last summer for that reason.  Keeping an eye out for sale potential versus stock quantity versus whatever dress might make me love it more (or the power of whim).

Ah, and sometimes you try something on and it really confirms that the love is just not meant to be.  I've long desired one of those classic Casch boiled-wool sweaters with the asymmetric buttons.  Enter the Boiled Wool Draped Sweatercoat...and exit.  I'm taking this beauty off my wishlist, sadly- even in a size small it would have been awkwardly tight over the hips, and was way too big at the shoulders.  Sigh.  moving on...

Like many, I fell immediately in love with the Honeycomb Lace dress from Tracy Reese. It is very, very,very pricey, but the colour is gorgeous.  It also runs a little small so I tried it on in a size 4, which was pretty perfect (even if I was too lazy to remove my pencil skirt...). I wish the slip was a little longer, and I do wonder how well the fabric will deal with hanging in a store for a while.  However I will keep a close eye on this when it goes on sale...maybe the mustard colour will turn others off!

So, this set of reviews feels like a cautionary tale about dressing for hips.  I love a good lace top, and am always up for a peter pan collar, however the sleeveless and bell-shaped Open Bloom top is just all wrong for me! This was a size small, and I could have worn either XS or S, just not out in public with my wee shoulders.  You may note the sleeveless Maia dress beneath was not a winner for similar reasons!

I did find a lovely, lovely top that did work for hips- the Lace Peplum blouse.  It's available in black, mustard and this bright orangey red. A size 2 was lovely- I had read that the bust was too large for some, but I didn't seem to have that problem.  (one caveat, it was tough to remove...and not just because I liked it) I really, really (really) like this top...keeping an eye on it...

 ...especially after trying on the Dotted Jaquard sweater skirt.  I couldn't find this one in store anymore so I asked, and they said that it pretty much sold out right away and they had one M left in the stockroom.  I tried it on to see how a size small might fit. Well, I hate a sweater skirt to be too clingy and you know what?  I REALLY liked the way the medium fit, more of a gentle a-line.  I also really loved the thick knit and deep navy colour (yeah, the online description says black. nope!).  I think the contrasting bands will coordinate with a lot of different colours

I was happy to find the Lace and Lines pullover in store since I've been drooling for it online. I tried on the XS to confirm the sizing and thankfully I love it!.  The striped portion is actually a soft and substantial knit- I had expected the usual t-shirt fabric!  The rust lace portion doesn't stretch much but it's not uncomfortable.


 As for the skirt...well...I had to bring it home! Maybe one day I can recreate this delicious, delicious combination.  If only I had her eyebrows...

Saturday, October 27, 2012


Ah, yes, so finally getting around to it, recently I got to spend a couple of days roaming around Amsterdam.  I love travelling on my own- I can go wherever I want, changing plans where I wish, pop into whatever stores strike my fancy all day long (though the shopping hours are so short in Amsterdam!) and eat whenever and wherever I like.  Though actually one of my least favorite things about travelling is eating- I often have a terrible time finding a likely restaurant before I become starving and irritable.  I usually try to note a few decently priced places in neighbourhoods I'm likely to be!

Amsterdam is perfectly sized for wandering- I had a wonderful time slipping in and out of all the beautiful little shops in the "9 streets" area, and took the advice of my B&B hosts for some excursions further afield. I did find it ironic though that such a noted people-friendly urban space turned out to be rather more bike friendly than pedestrian-able.  There were some intersections that were almost impossible to cross due to the predominance of bike lanes over sidewalks, and on a lot of side streets the sidewalks seemed to be just a set of paving stones a foot across (and frequently bisected  by posts).  I therefore found myself often in the way of very aggressive cyclists when there seemed to be nowhere else for me to legitimately walk.  One woman crossing with me at a big intersection expressed her own confusion, admitting that usually she just cycled! Ah, but it is a beautiful thing to see- lovely ladies in dresses, mothers with babies and toddlers in tow, stylish gents- everyone on bikes.

On my first morning, I made a beeline for the nearby Noordermarkt, which was a vintage cornucopia, and packed to the gills with people.  I don't have many pictures of the vintage goods, because there was no space ( and I had to dig for my own finds!) but there were literally piles of dresses and coats and blouses.  Most of it was unsorted and dreadfully polyester, but I found a few nice pieces for 15 euro.

I also visited a ton of wonderful little shops- finally got to see the goods in a Cos store (upmarket H&M) and it was very nice.  I hope they start bringing the line to North America! I came away with a pretty white blouse from their sale section, which you'll see in an outfit soon, but I really loved their outerwear.  I'm dying over this mustard coat.

And there were some fabulous designer boutiques to drool over.  These shoes!  I didn't even bother to ask the price, but they were delightful.

 And just wonderful bookstores and vintage everything everywhere.  sigh. 

The following day started out particularly rainy and cold so I decided to forgo a print dress and wore my cuddly 'airplane' dress instead, but like the rest the day eventually turned into lovely sunshine.  I arranged for this swan to photobomb my outfit shot along a quiet canal.

Thrifted merino dress, grey gingham button-up, Gewoon necklace, Anthropologie Elkanah coat, J crew rust tights and thrifted Italian leather loafers.
And of course I wandered some more, visiting the new wing of the Stedelijk museum, where I took my picture in front of some de Kooning colours. Make a mental note to wear bright yellow and sickly pink together (and get a haircut!)

And then in the evening I found just the right place to stop for dinner, watching people ride by on their way home.  Amsterdam at night is just magical.  The lights along the canals are beautiful, and have a sulphuric glow that seems to come from another time.  I ended the night back where I started, under the lampost.

Ah, and the next day I got on a plane and dragged myself home.  But I'll be back!

Monday, October 22, 2012


I guess I may have wasted some prime autumn colours in September- it took me awhile to get in the groove while the rains fell and my wardrobe seemed dim and grey.  Now that all the reds have fallen off the trees it feels like it's my turn to add to the hues of the season.  This morning, I grabbed a woody-print button-back fifties blouse I found at the Noordermarkt in Amsterdam (picture-filled post to come!) and somehow ended up sauntering out the door in bright raspberry tights and orange pencil skirt.  I even turned down the saturation on these images but there was just too much colour to manage!

 thrifted blouse and pencil skirt, Abercrombie maroon cardigan, Hue tights, Indigo boots
I'm glad I've got my colour groove back.  If only I could keep posting shots with such glorious outdoor lighting year round! But I also have a lot to catch you up with- a couple of days roaming the canals of Amsterdam, and then...a couple of visits to my very own much anticipated Anthropologie store!

Monday, October 15, 2012

moody frankfurter!

I've been away on a marathon trip to Frankfurt for work.   My time outside of massively enormous exhibition halls has only been about an hour and a half per day, ergo just enough time to forage for food in the dark of night and then collapse into a deep sleep! Though the city is very business-focused, the riverbank is a lovely treat and I find myself drawn there after a long day. The splash of the dark waters is refreshing and calming.

Now, my packing for this trip was a total fail.  I knew it would make more sense to just take four knit dresses, but I was determined to play with the idea of separates to maximize the potential for each piece.  bah.  The first day, a skirt that was an essential piece all summer turned out not to play well with tights and a slip, if you know what I mean.  The second day, my other skirt just felt frumpy and ill-fitting with tights (argh...another summer piece I thought would work).  But ah...on the third day I wore one of my favorite vintage poly print dresses and I was me again.  Even started the day with a compliment on both dress and shoes by a stranger!

I didn't realize at first that I captured the dark and moody poster for an exhibition in this shot.  I went to see the show just before leaving Frankfurt and it was indeed lovely in it's history of dark romantic painting.  Also, check out the surreal disappearing man walking by behind me!

Even though Frankfurt is a big-time business town and a site of constant construction, there were a number of picturesque modern ruins near the waterfront. I guess they don't love 60's brutalist concrete anymore...

And I also found a lovely array of greens in this subway station.

Now I have escaped to a delightful B&B in Amsterdam for a couple of days before heading home.  My reward for making it through the week in  hostel (albeit one with bright green walls and fluffy white bedding).  Did you know Amsterdam is, like, a vintage mecca?  I may never leave...