Thursday, July 18, 2013

Unmade in Kind!

Cut-up Coquette skirt, old Gap chambray shirt
I have a confession to make.  My love and obsession for clothing comes with a dark side...I like to cut things up!  I am a cutter of things (and destroyer of structural integrity). From the day I first started buying my own clothing (mostly thrifted), I've cut collars off, and trimmed hems, and added bits and pieces to make them mine.  The truth is I really love the process of playing (hoping), cutting into some fabric with a vague and excited plan for how to improve it.  (Freudian slip- I accidentally typed 'executed' there, which is too often the case, sadly, for my half-baked attempts sometimes remain just that!)

Anyway, I've been having fun with Anthropologie's sale items for awhile.  Sometimes a piece is really well made, but there's just something off, something that needs work. Since I particularly obsess over beautiful materials, I like their "Made in Kind' designer collaborations for this pursuit.  Designer pieces can be just a bit too much sometimes for your everyday person.  All the better then when you can find them for crazy sale prices down the road!

This Coquette Matelasse dress by Tracy Reese was ridiculously overpriced for the Canadian market at something like $450.  I really liked the mix of inky colour in the textured silk skirt, but even when it went on sale it certainly wasn't a dress I had any dressy occasions in life for. When I found it in the sale room one day long after Christmas for $29.95, I though perhaps it was time we reflected on how the skirt part could become the skirt it wanted to be!

A couple of snips later and the upper shell was separate.  I spent a half hour or so hand stitching a thick grosgrain ribbon to the cheapish velvet band at the waist and I was done!  I love how the fabric swishes, and of course the contrast with a chambray shirt just makes me happy.  One day I'll try and convert that fuzzy caterpillar-y top into a bolero of some sort!

I like that now I don't need some kind of occasion to wear this skirt- throw on a t-shirt in summer or a sweater in winter and this thing will be work wear for, well, about as many times a year as most of my clothes get reworn!

Next up?  Another Tracy Reese piece I picked up for $40 over the winter- me and rompers are not friends, but I love the print! True to form, I already unpicked the seams months ago to turn this into a lovely fitted dress.  I just need an evening or two to work on getting the fit just right.  And I just so happen to have a summer vacation coming up!

Tracy Reese In a Day Jumpsuit

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

bright, bright, bright!

J Crew Lucille lace dress, F21 necklace, Sam Edelman sandals

Yeah, it's, like, really hot.  We're now in, uh, day 4 or 50 of a heatwave.  I'm still pretty okay with it, since my apartment is kept just cool enough with a little AC in the kitchen, and of course the workplace is kept comfortably frosty (not too much fortunately!)  But it certainly means planning out your outfits-  airy cotton dresses are best, and it's fun to play with bright, hot colours, like this nigh-neon yellow that had everyone smiling the other day.

This yellow is so bright I had trouble getting the camera to even cope!  That's cool, because it's certainly that hot out in the bright, bright sunlight. I bought this dress in the middle of the winter doldrums- J Crew seems to clean out some warehouses of summer treats every January.  I'm not complaining!

citron yellow and cool celadon green FTW!
I was actually inspired by the bright contrast in this striking image from a film I watched on the weekend, Age of Consent (directed by Michael Powell), Helen Mirren's first screen role in 1969. The colours are saturated and rich, and the sun beats hotly on leafy green trees and soft sandy beaches.  I loved the lime green of her dress against the bright, bright yellow interior of the boat. She just bought that hot pink purse with her earnings- only 35 cents!

I really enjoyed Black Narcissus and the Red Shoes, early movies from Powell and Pressburger.  This is a different film in many ways, sort of fluffy and comedic, but the setting is absolutely beautiful.  Filmed on the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, an isolated island is an idyllic getaway for a famous painter looking to find solitary inspiration. However it is a prison for Cora, a wild child growing up alone, caring for her crazy alcoholic grandmother.  The story doesn't take all the obvious routes, and has some great scenes of emboldened sixties sensuality. Oh the cool waters and hot sand...

Can you tell that I'm desperately dreaming of my vacation that starts next week?  Off to a not-so-isolated island on the east coast. yippee!  Now to find me a yellow boat...

Tuesday, July 16, 2013


Vintage blue travel print dress, thrifted Christian Dior scarf, Anthropologie Ocean Tubes necklace last, a full-on summer heatwave.  I love it!  I have two favourite strategies for keeping cool (and hopefully looking less frazzled)- wearing cold mints and blues, or the alternative, which is embracing hot, hot intenso blasts of colour.  Both are great!

I pulled this vintage travel-print dress out of a pile at the Noordermarkt in Amsterdam (for 5 euro!)  Though the print may be more Italianate in character, the Delft-y porcelain tones are all Dutch to me! This dress has been obviously much loved over the years, with delicatedly darned patches where holes have formed in the soft, soft cotton.  It's slightly large for me, but that makes it just a touch more comfortable when it's hot, hot, hot.

I indulged in a little milk-maid styling since my hair is now just long enough to coax into a semblance of braids.  I have had super long hair in the past, but sadly it doesn't gain much more volume than this.  I think I'll try and stick with the mid-length hair for a bit before chopping it all off again!

So, for year, I've been steadfastly proclaiming my dislike of pale blues, asserting that though I may relent to other tones (pinks and lavenders and even a touch of purple) a soft sky blue could never be for me- yuck, so weak and colourless!  Well, after flirting with navy last year, plus a healthy dose of chambray, and coupled with an entire spectrum of mint tops, I now find myself appreciating this colour for the first time in my life.  weird!  I blame it on the porcelain prints.

Once I'd let the colour in, I started thinking about all the pieces I'd missed out on over the years (oh, Mompos dress...) and so I allowed myself this bit of vintage whimsy from Etsy.  It's divinely soft and quite wonderful in the heat. Okay, now there really are no colours outside my comfort zone!  Can my closet afford it?

Saturday, July 6, 2013

On summer silks...(or maxis and Minis!)

Anthropologie Daleka Day dress, vintage lace blouse, F21 mint braided collar, Sam Edelman sandals
I learned the hard way this week, switching in the space of a day from insanely cold wet weather to insanely hot humidity, that silk blouses do not make the best muggy companions.  However a soft flowing silk skirt is the bomb- light enough to blow away from your body in the mildest breeze! This silk maxi dress was quite wonderfully cool yesterday in probably 100% humidity.

I bought the printed version of the Daleka Day dress back in May when it first went on sale, but was pleased to be able to add the more everyday black version to my wardrobe during the current tag sale (silk dress for $24- woot!)  I was originally dismayed when I put it on, since the pleats were far too crisp and clung to the body.  However a quick steaming relaxed them enough to restore the billowy softness one wants in a maxi dress.  The high heat and humidity relaxed the pleats even more over the course of the day!

I love the coolness that a touch of mint adds to black, and that standby vintage lace blouse always works to make a casual outfit work appropriate!

Today was a beautiful hot and sunny day so we went for a long walk in the afternoon.  I wore a silk skirt once again- I was thrilled to find this brown floral skirt at a thrift store recently, and it was perfect for a more casual outfit, with another touch of cool mint to try and beat the heat (not that I'm complaining- it was glorious!)

F21 mint tee, 90s silk floral a-line skirt, wood necklace  by me
 I tried to have my picture taken with an adorable vintage mustard Mini, but I think the car is cuter on its own! So adorably tiny!

Anthropologie summer sale finds

Anthropologie summer sale finds

Anthropologie summer sale finds by thatdamngreendress featuring petite sleepwear

Ah, summer in the's smoggy and sweltering (and not the good kind-though there is such a thing, I swear!)  Here are a couple of sweet sale room finds from Anthropologie- apparently I've been putting the 10 minute walk between air-conditioned work and heavenly-scented Anthro to good use... I'm particularly pleased that I have avoided the siren song of pretty things that I think I want but don't actually LOVE love!