Monday, April 29, 2013

in the pink...

When the sun is shining brightly, I can't resist intense colours.  However in these early spring days the sun and warmth are ephemeral things, and it's nice to take a moment to appreciate the soft delicacy of colours just starting to bloom out of the grey.

I am not usually a fan of pink, but the soft shade of this silk blouse coupled with a beautifully delicate scarf print and mix of unusual colours was irresistible. I paired it with the turquoise and red print of this checkerboard beaded belt for texture.

Anthropologie Fontes blouse and Checkerbead belt, F21 skirt

They're calling for a stretch of bright and warm sunny days this week- think I should just call in sick?! :)

Saturday, April 27, 2013

magic hour!

Yes, sunshine and graffiti once again!  Sure it's still a little chilly out, but oh how I love some golden evening sun!  There's a reason filmmakers call it 'magic hour' since the light is so rich and volumetric. There's an area behind my building that is sort of half landscaped for strolling and dog-walking and half-neglected for the pleasure of local spray-can toting youths.  I don't mind the colour and vibrancy it offers to forgotten spaces- I just wish they would stop tagging every available surface!

Anthropologie Lousa shift and Congeries necklace, Indigo lace-up heels
After desiring it for months, I'm pretty happy to have caught the Lousa shift on sale- it's a perfect shade of green and an amazing fabric with a beautifully textured weave.

I also just added this Congeries necklace to my arsenal (thanks Lisa!)- I love the texture and soft sage green of the knots, and the sheen of the coral-toned beads.  In fact, I ended up pretty much obsessed with the colour coral this week...

Blogger's been blocking me from posting images this week, but I seem to have overcome the issue- be prepared for a ton of bright corals, a bit more sunshine and even some bravely bare legs!

Thursday, April 18, 2013

dishevelled dots 'n drifts...

I can't believe I want to equate the lace blooms in this collar with snowflakes, but they seem so poetically so.  Yeah, I just got through a long snowy winter, but I can feel the burgeoning spring warmth in the softness of the earth (er, they call it mud, Sarah?) and the way breezes now caress rather than cut.  Similarly, I think it's pretty the way the dots and white shapes on black and brown so sweetly match the unsightly mess of a snow mound behind me!

So I was pretty disheveled and crabby all day as various workworld annoyances messed with my barely-laid plans.  But through it all I still felt okay because I felt like I had an awesome combo of an outfit.  Take that, world!  (After Tuesday's debacle, in which I ended up having to leave the house in orange tights and a bright green top and just couldn't quite pull it together...oh, and then unexpectedly had to work in public under rather spotlight-y lights...comments were made, shall we say? It wasn't absolutely horrid, but I didn't stop to take any photos at the end of my 10 hour day, that's for sure!)

thrifted brown dotted cardigan and rust pencil skirt, Anthropologie Open Bloom blouse
I succumbed to this blouse finally when I went in to use my birthday discount at Anthro last month and they had somehow restocked and had just one left in my size.  Alright fate, I said, and I don't regret it! The slightly swingy hemline makes it a nice candidate for peplum-like belting too apparently.  I also picked up the pink Fontes blouse (silk scarf print?  yes!) and a yellow cardigan with pretty gold trim (emanations cardigan?) Oh yeah, and then everything on my wishlist ever went on sale and I kinda got many of those too, just not with the technical 'birthday discount'. sigh. 

vintage lace blouse, Anthropologie geotile knit pencil skirt this knit op-print knit pencil skirt- these are usually too clingy for me, but I quite like this piece.  So comfortable and  long and warm for winter, and a great contrast layer in spring and fall as well.  Especially with some added texture in the form of black lace- I can't seem to get enough of that...  What are your spring shopping weaknesses- is it the hopeful purchasing of potential spring and summer lovelies, or stocking up on all the winter wonders once they hit sale?  Ahem, or both...

Monday, April 15, 2013


J Crew Liberty Blazer, F21 striped top, Gap jeans
Ah, that feels better!  I managed to carve out my own little spot in the backyard again, surrounded by the leftover litter and detritus of winter.  That massive pile of snow is finally starting to shrink and flatten. However the graffiti hooligans have really started to step up their interventions in the neighbourhood- I don't know if we may have let it pass for too long!  It adds a lot of character, right...? 

Monday, April 8, 2013

I'll take that with sleeves, please!!


Braving the remaining snows in a 50's style gingham dress from eShakti...
Okay, I totally don't usually do this, but occasionally companies find me in my little corner of the internet and ask me to review something or a service.  Since this poky little blog with it's random and sporadic postings is pretty much a personal visual diary, I always say no. But when eShakti came a-calling I was pretty interested, since I've seen reviews before and I love the fact that they offer a range of personalized options.  As someone who usually ends up modifying her clothes anyway ("oh, if only the zipper was on the back it would fit so much better..." or "I'm totally cutting that collar off!") I couldn't say no.  Plus it also offered me an opportunity to make a statement about one of my big dress-buying pet peeves!

Sure, there are tons of cute pseudo-vintage dress options out there- Modcloth has built an empire on it!  But one of the shortcuts that drives me crazy is the preponderance of sleeveless dresses.   It's a small detail, but sleeves take a cute little dress from something that requires layering to a dress that looks that much more finished and possibly even vintage!  (yes, there are sleeveless vintage dresses, but sleeves just offer that je-ne-sais-quoi of style, no?)

eShakti has a lot of cute dress styles that seem to change-up regularly. They offer a wide range of sizing from 0-36, and offer the option of modifying several details from the sleeve style to neckline, embroidery, pockets and length (depending on the dress).  You can also submit your measurements for a fully customized article of clothing (I would wager the best bet in that case is to be aware what styles are likely to fit you best, since customization just isn't that simple!)

I knew immediately I had to go for this green gingham 50s style dress:

However, soon after receiving my link to the sample options, this gingham dress was listed as unavailable.  I decided to select another dress for my sample, and test the full eshakti service by purchasing the gingham dress anyway, using the $25 rebate they offer to first time customers.The selection changes regularly on the site, but they have since released it in new colourways here and here  (however the retail price for my cotton dress was 59.95 and these are currently listed at much higher- perhaps due to different materials?)

I gleefully selected elbow length sleeves, and stopped myself from ordering it slightly longer "so I would have option of hemming it to the correct length" (argh...incorrigible).   I'd heard that their dresses sometimes ran large, so even though I am holding onto some winter weight, I went for my usual size 2 (technically my measurements run closer to their size 4 at the moment.)

I received the dress within a week, enjoying watching the detailed reporting of every step of the delivery chain from Chennai, India to my apartment via DHL.  I have to warn Canadian customers that you will have to expect to pay duties and taxes on delivery- fortunately I was able to use that $20 rebate to buy the dress since on a $44 invoice I had to pay $27 in taxes, duties and a handling fee. This is sadly the norm for me to ship packages into Canada, but still frustrating.

note the matching of the print at the seams and sweet trim detail at the waist.
The dress is lovely and the fit is perfect (even the sleeves!)  The fabric is a nice heavier weight of cotton, and the quality of the construction is very good.  I wish they had offered the option of placing the zipper in the back rather than the side, but that's just my preference.  I may give in and add a button at the collar since it pulls a little. The only odd thing is that the dress appeared to be a straight green and white gingham online but the final product is actually closer to a pale pink and green.  Something to be aware of- since their selection changes so frequently it wouldn't make sense for them to offer reviews online. I think it's probably important just to really look at the materials listed and reflect on how it may differ from your expectations.  They have many cotton options, but also a lot of polyester- just like Modcloth, I think it's a site where you have to really think about the potential pitfalls before ordering, as the quality of the design and execution may vary.  

I am very happy with this dress, and have a feeling I'll be ordering again someday! They offer regular specials, including the current offer where if you buy one dress the second is 40%, or buy three and get one free (working out to 33% off all 3 dresses...). Keep abreast of these and other comments on their Facebook page or styling options on Pinterest. They also appear to have a generous return policy, even if you have selected custom-measurements...I like that!

So, for my sample dress, I selected this pretty polka-dot chambray halter dress:

So what are the potential pitfalls?  Well, I personally screwed up in ordering this lovely dress to my desired length. The default length was mid-calf, but I misinterpreted the length options and selected 'below the knee' instead of 'as shown' and so I was pretty disappointed to receive a dress that was duly 'below the knee' when I was really looking forward to mid-calf!  The bottom hem is a pretty scalloped edge- it's lovely at knee-length but it would have been such a great midi dress! Oddly, though the dress looks like a straight button-up, in fact the buttons only work from the waist up and there is a side zip to get into the dress.  I would have preferred just the simplicity of a button-up, but perhaps it's made that way since the default construction for most of their dresses seems to be side zip.  I again ordered the size 2 and it fits fine, though a touch loose in the bodice.

I think this will be a lovely summer dress, though I may always be irritated with myself that it isn't a leisurely midi-length.  sigh. Have you tried e-Shakti before?

Thursday, April 4, 2013

tiny flowers!

Like the hardy crocus that emerges from the cold earth before the snows have fully receded, I'm trying to inspire the arrival of spring with some little flowers of my own.  I'd rather turn tail and slink back into my warm cave for another few months.  But one must go out to work, and one must buy groceries with the proceeds from said work.  And since this little bear hates taking photos in her hallway, I dropped my icelandic sweater and bags on the ground and went for the classic "blogger in the cold" shot! So worth it!  The air may be arctic, but the colours are REAL! 

Vintage floral dress, J Crew blazer, Boutique 9 oxfords
I have to admit that this is the first time I've worn this pretty vintage dress in the years since I bought it online.  I was so disappointed to find that it had been clumsily shortened at some point, and even though I was able to let the hem down a bit more it still feels a little 'Urban Outfitters-y' and diminished from it's original period charm. Plus I had to wash it a million times to get the horrible perfume smell out of it.  Yuck. I think I love it now.  I promise to cherish this pretty print.

Of course, I already tried my 'strategic floral defense' last week, but sadly the temperatures dropped vertiginously shortly thereafter.  Oh well.  I love this blazer anyway! It will be a perfect layer through the spring and summer (oh, those air-conditioned buildings...)

J Crew Liberty floral blazer, Anthropologie Swiss dot dress
Sigh.  I love winter, I really do.  It's cuddly and bracing and pretty.  But it's spring now, and these below-zero temps are just...wrong!