Sunday, March 30, 2008
Is there nothing we can't learn from the French?
Saturday, March 29, 2008
I suppose, since it's out of my comfort zone, it's more intriguing to me than a stock basic. And, bien sur, it's given me so much enjoyment on the styling front, motivating the purchase of shoes and new ways of looking at the contradictions (hard/soft, prim/strong, old/new) in fashion.
So here are two looks for your review:
Neither is a terribly flattering photo, but I personally feel that the gladiator is a) too flat and b) not quite as cherry red as it needs to be to suit the very bright red dress accent. So I'm voting for the prim shoe.
Now, the question remains, do I return the Gladiator? It's insanely comfortable, and it looks much more expensive than it was ($115.00). My friend Jennifer, who was with me when I bought them (and who's as iffy on the whole gladiator look as I am), decided that she too thinks they're a chic and wearable look.
Maybe I should ask: If you were going to return one pair of the 5 new shoes I've purchased this spring, which would it be and why?
Now, I promise, onto other looks...
Friday, March 28, 2008
Apparently, there are some seriously organized bloggers out there, who bring their uniqueness and creative process to more than just dressing. And they do it at some length, go figure. So get out your pen and paper OR do up that schematic OR meditate on the things you can't live without.
Remember: As above, so below (Or as I like to paraphrase: Do get your ass organized; you know you're gonna feel deliciously superior while effortlessly outfitting yourself in 5 minutes flat!)
Thursday, March 27, 2008
So K, if I understand her correctly, is looking for some pointers about how best to set up one's closet. And, while I do love to tell people exactly what to do all the time, it seems - given my deeply held opinion that the closet is an expression of one's true self - I can only speak for my own process.
First let's start with the pics:
Yes, that's how much space I have, to store my clothes, my husband's clothes, a bag collection (it's up above the top of the door frame - the ceilings are high - so you can't see it, just like I can't reach it...), shoes, belts and other assorted accessories. And you know how I like to shop.
I should disclose that I also use a part of my daughter's closet (what?, it's bigger than mine) and this chest of drawers, also shared with my husband:
The keys for me are colour-coordination, season-sorting, keeping the dresses all together (in the other closet) and folding things perfectly. Perfect folding makes your clothes look better - like you're in your own fancy shop every morning getting dressed. It also allows you to fit in more per square inch than you ever thought possible. What could be wrong with that?! Of course, if it manages to be an overblown expression of your OCD, well all the more "real you", I say.
My excellent friend Sandra, who is a stylish vixen bar-none (and whom I love dearly, to be sure) has the worst way of folding shirts I've ever seen. I mean, it's a torture to me. She actually puts them away INSIDE OUT - like it's a strategy or something...
And I know that some, K being one of them, like to organize the closet by "thin" and "forgiving" sizes. I suppose I do that too, but it's not my overriding hierarchy.
So, fabulous fashion bloggers and readers, do you arrange your closet in some way that will give us EITHER a new, great organization pointer OR deep insight about you?
Wednesday, March 26, 2008
Let me start with a few details about me which, until now, you may not have discerned:
- I love order.
- I hate clutter.
- I'm efficient in a compulsive way.
- I'm compulsive in a compulsive way.
Then I'll throw in a few details about my closet:
- It's small - having been carved out of a room 15 feet wide, under a staircase.
- It's oddly shaped.
- It's been "home renovated" by my husband and a close family friend.
- It's still not large enough for my clothes and my husband's.
- My husband has more clothes than me - but most of them are crap from 1987 and are taking up space at the awkward back end of the closet. I would love to twitch my nose and have it all end up at a thrift shop. Trust me, he would not miss a single item.
Here are a couple of additional facts, thrown in for good measure:
- I live in a Victorian rowhouse (over 100 years old).
- Every built in closet (of which there are none on the main floor or basement) was added in - when the house was restored about 10 years ago.
- I had no idea about the importance of closets until I found myself living in an environment so unaccomodated by them. My house, while long and tall, is 15 feet wide. So I get to choose between things like couches or an add-in wardrobe.
- I love my challengingly narrow, old home and do not intend to move.
- I don't have 60-100k lying around at the moment with which to do a wholesale reno, and trust me, I'd be starting with the kitchen if I did.
My long-time friend Martha has been known to say of me "She gets rid of September's magazines in August." And it's true. Given my nature, and infrastructure, I can live surrounded by clutter and crap the likes of which would make me truly insane, or I can institute a policy I like to call "Get Something-Give Something". For everything I bring in, I give something away via one of the following channels:
- Putting it out front for the many, many, many lawn pickers who troll the downtown core.
- Giving it to Goodwill or to a shelter.
- Giving it to a friend.
- Putting it in the recycle (when appropriate)
- Throwing it out. (And yes, this has to happen now and again. You can't do much with old underwear and socks and decimated shoes and certain other things.) This is, of course, my measure of last resort.
Now that I've set the scene, please stay tuned for tomorrow's closet installment, wherein I will provide photos and talk about the specific way I like to organize my things.
Monday, March 24, 2008
And here's a gratuitous close up showing off it's colourful, finely knitted deliciousness:
Sunday, March 23, 2008
Saturday, March 22, 2008
Also in a post coming soon to a browser near you: I must tell about the fun I had with my great friend and longtime shopping partner Jennifer. Not to give anything away but it involves small feet, great deals and yellow.
(Admit it, you're crazy intrigued.)
Let me start with my own tagees - some bloggers I've recently discovered. I realize that I should name 8, but many I would have tagged have already been tagged by someone else...
Etoileee at So much to come
S at I Want A Lux Life
Yulanda at little thoughts
Nadine at Strawberry Kitten
Other fellow bloggers, if you feel motivated to do this, please be my guest.
And now for some answers...
8 Things I am Passionate About (in no particular order)
Sex and Food (Appetite)
Getting a bargain
Taking care of my health
Individualism and one's right to express it
8 Things I Want To Do Before I Die
Live in Montreal
Speak french absolutely fluently
Travel regularly in high-style in Europe (aks Go back to Villa Serbelloni, which looked exactly like this 20 years ago, fyi)
Travel to all the other places in the world I want to go to that I haven't seen yet (too many to mention)
Get rich enough to give most of my money away and still live well
Write a book that gets published
Work on some initiative that will have meaningful benefit to the world - even if it only touches a few people
Live to see the re-stabilization of the ecosystem
8 Things I Say (Too?) Often
The thing is...
Are you high on drugs?
I heart analogue
Mummy needs a glass of wine
Don't touch the walls!
It would be so great if you'd rub my feet
________ plus (pron. ploose, a la francaise)
8 Books I Have Read Lately
(Note: I used to read a book a week. Now I blog.)
Good Calories, Bad Calories (Gary Taubes)
Yoga Anatomy (Leslie Kaminoff)
The Little Black Book of Style (Nina Garcia)
On Beauty (Zadie Smith)
Tipping the Velvet (Sarah Waters)
Moon Palace (Paul Auster) - Easily my 3rd read of this one...
It's Vintage Darling! (Christa Weil)
Dead Famous (Ben Elton)
8 Songs I Could Listen To Over and Over
(This is just my most recent batch of faves, of course... I'm going with mellow/moody in this mix)
Lessons in Survival (or practically anything from For the Roses - Joni Mitchell. I've had this woman on repeat for 20 years.)
Crowd Surf Off A Cliff (Emily Haines & Soft Skeleton)
Landed (Ben Folds)
Les oreillons (Tricot Machine)
Jesus, etc. (Wilco)
Please Hold My Hand (Kinnie Starr)
The Moment I Said It (Imogen Heap)
8 Things That Attract Me to My Best Friends
Sense of Humour
Educated perspective and willingness to debate
So that's me. Can't wait to hear about more of you.
Friday, March 21, 2008
This one - by some brand I've never heard of (Next? - $59.00) - was purchased specifically to go with the Sasson dress. While I recognize it is prim, I feel that the buckle-y, shiny redness does up the ante a smidge.
And the angled kitten heel is adorable.
And, furthermore, I can walk in these and look chic in them - even if I don't end up pairing them with the (fairly conservative, let's face it) dress that might lead the whole outfit into suburban mom territory. Please note: I mean no offense to suburban moms, who are an important part of our cultural demographic. I just prefer to dress like a single urbanite pursuing my options...
You should know that, in a fit of shoe-craziness, I have also put aside one more 9West shoe - a matte red gladiator (ankle high) - that is in no way shiny, girly or sleek. I feel, given that I've run out of spaces in my closet now, if I get that one (and it would go with the Sasson in a very eclectic, jolie meets laide kind of way), this one's going to have to go back. Unless I change my mind and find some woman-with-a-fashion-problem justification for keeping it all.
Now's just about the right time to finish that post on closet organization, non?
PS - If you have opinions about which shoe would be better with the dress, you know I want to hear about them...
Thursday, March 20, 2008
This is the (flashier) nod to the Camper shoe, at half the price and with somewhat better fit (on my particular foot). I'm not going to lie to you. The Camper shoe is subtle and fine - beautifully constructed (as you would imagine) given the brand and the pricetag. It whispers "hello, shoe-wearer, are you delicate enough for me". This shoe kind of hits you over the head. It is much trendier - shiner, bucklier, moving toward the gladiator thing with the ankle strap. It says "get your money's worth out of me now because you have no idea if I'll be a pariah next summer - oh, and I might not last much past then".
Nonetheless, I was really impressed by the fit. From every angle I found it flattering and, well, eye-catching. With a mini-dress, it will add a sexy something without looking trashy. And, while I realize the ankle wrapping is not ideal for every shape of leg, this is one "challenging look" I feel I can pull off (for a change)...
PS - Our bride-to-be Enc, of observationmode, has kindly nominated me to do that fascinating meme called "The Eight". I'm so psyched to do it, but it does take quite a bit of thought and prep. Please stay tuned for my take on this fun game.
Wednesday, March 19, 2008
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
I decided to start with the office appropriate one, for no apparent reason. It's reasonably nicely constructed, despite the shoddy (what is it with me and the puns, lately?) look of the heel in these pics. The brand is one I've never heard of: n.d.c. And it's claim to fame, apparently, is that the shoes are made by hand. The soles are leather and the shape is lovely. They fit small, but well, esp. for a shoe that will live in the office, very likely, as I am not going to torture myself by walking miles in a 2.5 inch heel.
Here's a bit of info about the brand I lifted from online:
n.d.c. was created to open a new dimension to men's and ladies footwear, offering luxurious materials, comfortable lasts, and rejuvenated classics. n.d.c. is attractive to a wide group of customers; trendsetters, classic dressers, luxury lovers, and quality freaks who are in pursuit of understated individualism.
Each n.d.c. shoe is painstakingly hand-crafted by artisans. n.d.c. uses only the finest leathers. The designs are simple, yet elegant. The quality is unsurpassed. n.d.c. shoes are "works of art". Undisputed leaders in their category, n.d.c. creates timeless classics that outlive trends or fashions.
I don't know that I buy into the painstaking. I mean, I just finished scruitinizing these things and I've seen better made mass-produced shoes. I suppose the proof will be in the wearing, if I opt to keep them. What's cool about them is the colour and pattern of the patent. The upper is comprised of royal blue, patent strips that affix to the heel. The front part is closed (a patent toe box lines the strips), but the sides are slatted.
Nonetheless, apparently they're sold at Barney's - so the brand can't be lousy - and they were originally $300.00 on sale for $99.00. Thoughts or feelings?
Monday, March 17, 2008
Saturday was one of those herald-the-coming-of-Spring days. Sunny, comparatively balmy, calm. Every Torontonian and her sister was on Bloor Street browsing. The crowds of fair-weather window shoppers would ordinarily irritate the crap out of me but, so gorgeous was the scene, I could scarcely begrudge them. We all need a little vitamin D, ya know.
Bloor street has, square foot for square foot (ha ha, pun intended), more shoe places - in all the price points - than anywhere else I can think of. There's Town, Brown's, David's, Brown's in Holt Renfrew, Aldo, Zara, H&M, Feet First, Winners, Capezio, 9West - and I'm sure I'm forgetting a couple. It makes it very effective for the girl who wants to throw the Visa around efficiently.
I browsed at Holt's, taking inventory of the chic - absolutely unaffordable - merchandise. Good for discerning what I'm trying to imitate. I do love the artfully displayed hanging racks of Alexander Wang and Dries and Yves St. Laurent. Then I started the shoe crawl.
Let me interject, at this point, that the real reason I didn't buy the Camper sandals (see previous post), aside from the pricetag, is that they didn't fit 100% perfectly. I mean, they were 90% of the way there but I am very discerning. My large toe was just the tiniest bit over the (very narrowed curve) tip. It was entirely comfortable to wear but, even going up a size, my foot was a bit at odds with it. My feet are not ugly - I've done yoga for many years / read 8 zillion fashion mags over the last 25 years - and I know how a shoe needs to fit to maximize a) the aesthetic and b) structural support. This is why I struggle so with sandals. The most gorgeous ones seem to be the most unkind. Unkind eventually wrecks your feet, leaving them ugly and painful. The practical, yet vain, girl in me can't take it.
I should also mention that it has been years , I estimate, since I went shopping for shoes at the beginning of the season. You know I am the original bargaineer. You know I have the mortgage and the kid - I never seem to shut up about it. And, I find, that shopping in season is a recipe for spending. But the challenge with shoes, especially the summer ones, is that - by the end of the season - they are so hideously picked-over you're largely left with granny or bridesmaid options. Never was it so easy to find the shape, the size, the colour I covet. I could get used to this.
I landed at two places that really seemed to do the trick: 9West (thank you for suggesting this IWantALuxLife) and Winners (Canadian discount shopping chain in which others seem to do better than me). Each yielded 2, IMO, great pairs of shoes, for a total of 4: a sexy lady pair (for office), a flat, "perfect for my walking lifestyle" pair (which I hope manages to be hip while practical), a cherry red, (for all intents and purposes) flat, patent and an electric blue, ankle-strapped, silver heeled (small heel, mind you) pair. I intend to show each to its full advantage, on my foot, from a number of angles, to get the popular view. If you think I should return any of these in favour of the Campers, please do tell.
Additionally, I managed to find a great, mega-sale dress I will discuss in a post coming shortly.
Oh, and K, a friend whom I haven't spoken with recently, delightfully emailed to ask for a post on closet organization. I have a lot of ideas about this and I want to do it justice. Something on this topic will be coming up soon.
Sunday, March 16, 2008
To give you a bit of backstory, I've know Hilary (and therefore Heather) since the summer after Grade 6. In all of those years, Heather has been a pillar of stylishness the likes of which one rarely encounters. I mean, she has been dressing with effortless, designer chic for decades. Ageless style is this woman's calling card. She really knows what she likes, how to put it together and what suits her frame perfectly. So I felt like such a success when she told me she reads my blog! (Did I mention that she was also an English teacher?)
What ensued was a fun trip to the glasses shop to check out a few options she's considering. Happily, the most gorgeous ones (though they all looked good, as she'd narrowed them down to a shortlist already) were also the most affordable. Who can go wrong with that?
Please stay tuned for some fun tales about springtime shoes!
Saturday, March 15, 2008
PS - You should know that this is not my usual style of shoe. This is my friend Hilary's usual style of shoe (Camper, kind of flat, cute and girly). She does happen to be more than 7 inches taller than me, though. It's just that the leather is so almost black, but blue. And so shiny, but not over the top. And so walkable for miles at a time. It's also $190.00 in Canada. I think, even with shipping and border taxes, I might get it cheaper online, esp. with the US dollar being what it is.
Enc: Any feelings about this one? (Don't be shy, now. It's not like I've bought it.) Thanks to all for their insightful red shoe ideas. I'm going out again tomorrow to see what else I can drum up to suit the spring which, please weather fairies, is around the corner. There is, no joke, 6 feet of snow on my postage stamp sized lawn.
Friday, March 14, 2008
For those of you who expressed a fondness for my Hobo grey clutch, here are a few details (and a pic which highlights the delicious lining)
- It's too small to fit much other than some money, a bit of makeup and a pair of sunglasses. I did carry a very small umbrella but the poor bag looked like an overstuffed boa constrictor.
- It was originally $200.00 at Girl Friday on College Street. I got it on final sale for $100.00.
- It manages to be rugged and rocker chic with an elegant kick at the back end.
- The handle folds in, by design, so the bag can be a streamlined classic clutch or a (sensible) handle bag.
Thursday, March 13, 2008
I don't know. They're a bit shiny, but I love the heel and the t-strap and they might just be a good juxtaposition with my Sasson McCardell-inspired shirt-dress. Hell, I love the whole freakin' outfit. If only we knew from whence any of this stuff came.
Wednesday, March 12, 2008
My husband just took these pictures of a spring-inspired tulip bouquet on the dining room table. Can't you see the Roksanda I. in them?
Tuesday, March 11, 2008
Monday, March 10, 2008
I know, I've been promising to show you a few pieces in my (moving towards unwieldy) purse collection. In a recent post I spoke a little bit about my bag philosophy but here's the expanded rationale:
For the lady who lunches:
Hobo Leather Clutch, Handle folds into the bag
For the Disco-era lady who lunches:
Vintage clutch with detachable strap
For the pseudo-academic, bulk-carrying hipster:
Vintage Leather/Skin Clutch
For the would-be Montrealer (oohlala chic plastique):
No name brand from Simons, rue Ste. Catherines
For the Torontonian:
For the fearless wearer of unwearable colours:
Kensington Market Thrift Find (People, this is so far from leather...)
For the intrepid weekend errand-running girl (hands-free
M0851 - The strap lengthens enough to use across the body, over the shoulder or around the waist...
Sunday, March 9, 2008
Friday, March 7, 2008
Having given you the sob story, you should know that I'm a person who still manages to mix the technical with the creative in her career. I lead a fine life which, while not perfect, is a work in progress towards the end-goal of personal satisfaction. I am unimaginably fortunate (and grateful) for all my opportunities.
Nonetheless, there's this little aspirational game I've been known to play with friends called My Next Career. The rules are self-explanatory, you talk about what profession you wish you'd gone into in the first place, or which one you'd like to get into now, and describe a bit about what makes you want to move in that particular direction. I get a lot of mileage out of this, choosing a new (imaginary?) career every 5 minutes. The one I keep coming back to, however, for all-out frivolous pleasure, is the stylist / personal shopper combo.
Ask any of my pals - all of whom have been on the receiving end of this skill - and they'll tell you it's unavoidable. I will dress you up. You will love it. Or tolerate it, anyway. (Thank God I had a daughter! Thank God she loves clothes.)
Saturday was a delicious day, because my friend B - a woman who's always giving to others and less often giving to herself - decided to go shopping and invited me along. She suggested Winners (a good discount chain, to be sure), but I felt she'd be perfect in some vintage, so I convinced her to check out I Miss You and wow, what shopping kismet ensued!
B is a petite, fair, freckled red-head with a beautiful demeanour and a lovely shape. I only wish I could make her dress up in all the things we bought so I could put her pictures on the blog! Some standout items include a fantastic knit dress in deep robin's egg blue with a fantastic v-neck and a fitted waist / flared skirt, an amazing pair of boots from the 70's in burnt orange with a super-slim fitted calf and round/square toe. The heel is stacked but completely walk-able. She walked away with 2 dresses, 2 pairs footwear, belt and a coat for a veritable steal!
For my own part, she let me indulge the stylist fantasy by trying on absolutely everything I put in front of her. (Would that everyone were this easy!) And she totally left her comfort zone in the pursuit of new looks - which managed to make her look more like herself than ever.
All this has got me wondering if others out there are weekend personal shoppers or photographers or fashion designers. Do you have a next career lined up? If so, I'd love to hear.
Wednesday, March 5, 2008
But, while surfing The Glam Guide recently, I saw a few options that are so adorable, I'm actually thinking of giving it another go:
Rich & Skinny
If only the average price weren't $175.00 a pair, I'd be right on it. Can't wait for Club Monaco to interpret these...
Tuesday, March 4, 2008
In addition to that Yaya maxi-sweater, I also found this merino/cashmere blend fitted, cropped turtleneck in a slate-y jewel-toned blue. Paired with new, spring shoes (some nondescript brand I've never heard of and can't remember the name of) - which were on sale for $40.00 - I hope I've got a youthful, but luxe, thing happening here. The sweater (Karoo by Mark Eisen)was $300.00 on sale for $79.00. Oh, and those are the H & M wide jeans I was going on about a couple of weeks ago...
Monday, March 3, 2008
Sunday, March 2, 2008
M went back to school a couple of days ago - her idea - upon realizing that the alternative was not so much webkinzworld.com as napping with the blinds shut. Which liberated me to go on a little "K's on vacation" lunch and shopping jaunt. The shop I hit, I only had energy for one, was American Apparel, a place about which I am highly conflicted. In general, I think the clothes are cheap, the staff negligent, the corporate policy dubious, the figurehead appalling and the ad campaign offensive.
What can I say, I'm an unprincipaled woman who embraces contradiction.
In truth, the reason I made the trip (it's in my neighbourhood, across from the cute lunch place, so really not such a stretch) is because I've been somewhat influenced by the rapturous reviews of bloggers everwhere of late. Admittedly, most of those bloggers are 15 years younger than me and they live in Europe, but I've got to say that I like what they're doing with those retro leggings and pull-up socks.
Cut to me, in a brightly lit changing cubby with a canvas drape that doesn't close, preening in a pair of black matte, high-waisted lamé leggings, singing Love Is a Battlefield (quietly). You know, there's something compelling, as I stand at the cusp of middle age, about a tight pair of rocker pants channeling Pat Benatar or Patti Smith or some other anthem chick originally christened Patricia (by her presumably pious mother), whom I remember hearing on hit am radio circa 1979.
Reader, I bought them. Lord knows what I will wear them with, though the blogs will no doubt show me the way. Call it a sad case of me going Crazy on You :-)
Saturday, March 1, 2008
PS More outfit posts on dresses to follow. And I've had a fascinating few days on the shopping front (I'm on vacation this week) with some purchase fever stories and pics on the way. Living vicariously through someone else's excessive spending has never been easier!