Saturday, May 31, 2008

What I Wore to SATC

Damn, I'm glad I had the foresight to wear a statement belt!

In full disclosure, I should mention that I am ambivalent about the TV series - which apparently makes me an optimal "adopter" of the film. Thanks to my smart friend Lisa, who just knew it would be terrific fun. Cuz it was.

I realize, by now, you've been inundated with articles and reviews so I won't harp in this addition to the pantheon. It boils down to awesome fashion porn. Turn off the sound and you will still get hot watching it. I mean, if you don't have 3, designer-induced orgasms just sitting through the montage, I can only advise you to get to a specialist stat.

The glib reductionist in me calls it a perfect exercise in consumer and lifestyle marketing. Those cinema snobs may diss it on the basis of its inauthenticity. And Lord knows, there's a vat of subtext about post-feminism - not to mention bourgeois elitism - to consider.* But please, gorgeous readers, can't you just love it for the shoes?!?

*Secretly I love bourgeois elitism. Some of my best friends are bourgeois elitists :-)

The Reveal

So - whatcha think?? (Remember, the back 1/3 is not done yet. That's part of Phase 3, 2009.) Of course, it's very "new garden" and nothing has grown in and the trees look like shrubs but take the long view :-) I have my very own Japanese maple now, a lifelong dream! Note: The path needs more flagstone so the landscaper will return in the next month to sort that out.

I sent my parents some pictures last night and they were truly impressed by the change. My mother said she wished I'd posted a before, before shot, just to give you a sense of the degree of improvement. Then she added, "But I can understand that would have been too embarrassing". More to the point, no such picture actually exists.

Friday, May 30, 2008

(Re)Construction Zone

If I were one of those raw, hardcore journalists, I would have shown you a photo of the "original" backyard. However, that would have burned a hideous image onto your (presumably) delicate brains - Lord knows, it did in mine - and I couldn't be responsible for something so mean. Oh and also, the need to protect my image trumps honesty. Honestly.

Let's just say my mother was traumatized by the "before".

Y'all get to see the "in between":

Afters to come as soon as I have a moment to take the shots.

(And one more thing, the "after" is just the "after for this summer". You'll note that a third of the space is untouched - waiting for patio hardscaping and a panel of lilac trees next year. A gal has only so much debt tolerance per season...)

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Tired in Toronto

I'm so numb with tiredness right now. From a day-long conference (wherein I was supposed to determine some kind of intelligent, strategic perspective that will assist a program area in moving forward) to a doctor's appt. (for the foot) to a recital for my daughter to a dinner out with said daughter and her friend (whose single father asked for some tactical support this evening - they're upstairs singing / screaming as I write this) to the work going on in my garden. Man, I'm knackered. And tomorrow, it's a super early day for a super early meeting before which I need to fix (nay, veritably rewrite) a time-sensitive document and think about how to cohesively present myself and my ideas.

So, in lieu of comprehensive - much less exciting - text, here's a photo of some of the tags that came with the great things we got at Apt. 909 on the weekend:

A few weeks ago, Dreamecho wrote about a great vintage store in the Boston area that tags its items in a similar way.

Now if one of these could simply explicate modern living...

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Ecru Brute

I know - I'm pushing it with the title.

So, in addition to art and children's clothing (more examples to come), I managed to find some of the best vintage loot ever at Apt. 909. Pls. note that yesterday I erred by calling it Apartment 909, which isn't technically its name. (I've linked to it in my Places I Love to Shop roll on the right. Aparently, they'll have a website up and running soon.)

In short, you really must visit this place. Even if you live in California, please do yourself a favour, hop on a plane and come check it out. I'm sure the lovely owners Ria, Beth and Dai will appreciate it as much as you do.

Chic cohabits with kitsch and some of the most delicious designer finds around. I saw (and tried, natch) awesomely well-preserved Lanvin, Pucci, Chanel, Gucci, Pierre Cardin, Louis Feraud, Yves St. Laurent, Givenchy, Thierry Mugler and the list goes on... These people care and it shows. Oh, and while not cheap, it's reasonably priced given what's on offer.

Here are a couple of (accidentally coordinating) things I bought on Saturday - and wore today:

Vintage 1950s silk scarf NEW, vintage 1960s polyester shorts skirt w/asymmetrical pocket NEW, AA above the knee tights, Jacob burgundy wool sweater

Apologies for the the scowl and muffin head. It's challenging to look cheerful and fresh at 7:30 p.m. Marth, if you're reading this, I'm going to come in for a haircut soon!

PS, Today's subtext: If you care to look like a waif, don't wear a plaid poly skirt with a polka dot scarf :-)

Monday, May 26, 2008

Prom Night

My most intriguing Charlotte experience occurred at a fancy restaurant called M5. It’s new, open 4 weeks now, and it’s fantastic. Hailing from Toronto, land of delicious food diversity, I’m a critical restaurant-goer. I’m a challenge in that I expect fancy dining to include excellent ambience, amazing food, terrific service and great people-watching opportunities. Oh, and I don’t like it to be “pat” i.e. artificially orchestrated to make your heart flutter. I want it to hit me over the head - incomprehensibly - like the scent of Impulse body spray used to hit those unsuspecting cute guys in the commercials from the 80s. (I should mention, I met my husband on a streetcar and he ran after me as I debarked, yelling my name – which I’d had the foresight to tell him – just like those Impulse guys, but not with flowers. And we’ve been together for 13 years.)

At any rate, this restaurant was spot on with the exception of, perhaps, a smidge of orchestration. I did feel the slightest bit pandered to, but the service, atmosphere, great food and super table more than made up for it. It even had this great wine tasting format I’d never seen before (sorry to seem provincial), wherein you could order 3 different vintages from a particular region in order to savour complimentary flavours simultaneously. Perfect for the foodie with commitment issues who likes to drink a lot. We had 9 glasses of wine on the table at one time!

But one of the surreal joys of the evening was in the people watching. We happened to be out on prom night and, although this restaurant was rather cher (one would imagine) for the teen crowd, it was plein de rich kids on the path of inculturated debauchery. Such fun! Groups of begowned girls and boys in tuxes - whom, my mother was horrified to note, removed their jackets during dinner, couples – whom, my mother was horrified to note, each in turn contributed to the payment of the bill… You name it, we saw it. I didn’t realize prom girls of this day and age wear designer gowns and clutches. And, as the girl in the room, formerly, with the biggest rack, I was shocked by the number of girls who had obviously had their boobs enhanced. I mean, tiny gals plus large breasts plus no bra plus no movement plus no sag = no question. The pomp and circumstance were riveting. They went perfectly with the booze.

Not to mention the other, “regular” people in the place who were wearing some truly glamourous things – black and white, sequined tops, slips as dresses, mega heels. People in TO don’t do themselves up like this for dinner. I guess they’re too jaded, playing up the playing it down. It was a feast for the eyes, being exposed to a whole new kind of dinner dressing. And when you add this to the delicious food and conversation, gotta say it was a super night.

Sunday, May 25, 2008

Sometimes There's Just So Much Exciting Stuff In My Head that I Feel Like It Might Explode...

Unsurprisingly, given the title of this post, today happens to be one of those days.

I'm not even going to try to get it all out right now. It's going to take some careful consideration over a few different posts. So sorry for the tease, Dreamecho, but maybe these few details will suffice:
  • My husband bought me a cell phone for my birthday (which is coming up soon). It's some kind of fancy Sony Ericsson that is so complex I still haven't figured out how to pick up my messages or answer the fucker before the voicemail kicks in. However, I have discovered how to take pictures with it - and how to get those pictures from the phone onto the blog. I'm feeling so FaceHunter right now!

  • Then, last night, en famille, we had the kind of shopping fantasticness that rarely happens - much less in the humdrum milieu of one's own town. Seriously, it was a vacation-style stealth mission to one store - Apartment 909, perhaps the best vintage place EVER!, discovered in the most fun way at 8:00 p.m. still open! More special deets about the gorgeousness of this place to come. Let's just say we all ended up with some dream finds. And you know you are hardcore when you buy the art off the walls and walk it home...

  • Meet Exhibit A, taken of the new art, with the new cell:
  • Then meet Exhibit B, my daughter in one of her amazing new vintage dresses:

What you can't see here is that the dress has a high ruffled collar and the ruffles continue down the left side of this adorable drop waisted, blue and brown plaid piece.

On the Other Foot

In the event that you either just started reading this blog or you really don't pick up on nuance, allow me to disclose that I am rather vain. In particular, I am vain about my legs. But legs, as you know, end up at feet, and I (former yoga teacher and long-time practitioner) have worked very consciously with these feet, lo these many years, to forge a relationship based on balance and proportion. Not to mention that lovely feet are a thing that runs in my family.

Indeed, I'm not simply telling you this to highlight the fact that I am high on myself. What, I ask, would be the fun in that? And y'all are smart enough to sense that, ahem, the other shoe's about to drop.

Why Fashion Goddess, is vanity rewarded with zits and bad hair days and, yikes, a potentially emerging bunion? You heard it here first, peeps. I appear to have developed an (albeit very small), bony protruberance that shoots numbness and pain sparks at the slightest, lightest touch. It's on the top of my large toe metatarsal joint. Now, admittedly, I'm one of those "internet medical site surfers" that doctors seem to treat with such derision. But, it's not the first time I've ever seen something like this and the sites do tell it like it is, non? (Note to reader: I have a doctor's appointment scheduled for next week to look into this further.)

Can you believe I'm discussing this in polite company? I so hope that no gorgeous guys are reading this right now.

Let's be honest: Whatever it is, it's been a long time coming. Between my recently sporadic practice of standing poses (the ones that are so good for your feet), advancing age - egads!!! - and a walking habit that borders on compulsive (look, it keeps me sane), I am apparently a candidate.

So, having taught many a gorgeous yogini with less-than-perfect feet, I'm going to start applying the tricks of the trade to my own little tootsies. And, not that my footwear was ever ridiculous for walking, but I'm wearing Nikes to get to work for the next week or so. (They're the walking shoes with the velcro - not hideous, I swear). And I'm going to start getting biweekly acupuncture on the area - I am a staunch believer in acupuncture, which I get regularly anyway. Oh, and I'm going to buy those little toe separators to realign the bone. And yesterday I went out and got - have I no shame? - bunion bandaids, just to shield the area from friction.

Why am I telling you this, aside from the fact that I'm an intrepid reporter who doesn't sugar coat the bad stuff? In light of the fact that I imagine your average twentysomething reader with still-perfect feet couldn't ever even vaguely find this interesting? (She's moved on, I realize.) Well it's cuz I need your input.

Has anybody got bony, podiac protruberances of their own? And, if yes, what have you done about them? How do you continue to walk 5 miles a day (because that's not going to stop) and wear cute shoes (not crazy heels with narrow toe boxes, just fashionable reasonably flat shoes) while catering to "the issue"?

Any and all feedback would be so appreciated. Or pity would work too.

Ed. Update: Went to a chiropodist for a consult today and was told that it is not a bunion, but perhaps a preliminary manifestation of osteoarthritis. The bone protrusion is not in my mind. Neither is my intuition that this is something to take seriously. Xrays and, potentially, orthotics to follow. I'll keep you posted...

Friday, May 23, 2008

It's Like Fashion For Your Backyard!

Alas, that is not my gorgeous garden. Thanks to Nicole for snapping this lovely picture on a garden tour we took last summer of a neighbourhood in TO known for great gardens. And, if you can believe it, this house wasn't even on the tour! Since then, I’ve made the image my screensaver and every time a colleague sees it (s)he assumes it’s my garden and then I have to disclose that it’s not, which makes me feel like crap because I’m one of those modern idiots who suffer from status anxiety and who desperately, irrationally, wants a garden that looks like that. I should mention that the house above would probably sell for close to a million dollars in our housing market. Sheer insanity.

Those of you who know me know that I have spent the last 8 years threatening my husband with divorce over the hideous state of our backyard and his unwillingness to work with me to improve it. He feels it is beyond repair – unremittingly ugly by virtue of its positioning and that which abuts it (the excuse for a satellite dish holder cum pigeon farm on the one side, the untended overgrowth on the other and the “laneway” – a strange TO phenomenon - on the third side. Laneway is code for wretched alleyway in which people indulge in alcohol abuse and garbage scattering – I mean “throughfare for parking one’s car at the back of the house”.) I feel that if you throw 12 grand at something the size of 3 postage stamps, there is always hope. Call me an optimist with a line of credit.

Finally, in a moment of lucidity (or insanity, depending on your take), I researched and hired a landscaper, worked with her to develop a design, and advised my husband – unilateral afterthought-style – that we were about to do “a little work”. And I am thrilled to tell you that over last week and next, my backyard is undergoing its own version of a makeover a la “The Swan”. We’re talking the garden equivalent of new teeth (hideous chainlink fence replaced by pretty wooden one that’s tall!), lipo (excavation of Dandelion Village, as I like to call it, to be replaced by tall grasses, flowering trees and beautiful beds), botox (hardscaping with flagstone and rocks from the lake district) and rhinoplasty (a new deck).

It occurs to me that you imagine a backyard of such dubious positioning must be attached to a house that isn’t much better. In deference to my aforementioned status anxiety, let me assure you that my home is really quite nice. All Victorian with tall ceilings and good bones and attractive – if eclectic – design. And that downtown TO neighbourhoods are very heterogeneous: beauty here, squalor there. So I’ve just been walking the line!

My intention is to take some artful photos (code for: ask my husband to take some artful photos) of the finished product – though I’ve been warned new gardens are not lush at first. Has anyone out there undertaken a landscaping do-over? And, if yes, please advise how it has improved your outlook / changed your life / made you an uber-hostess overnight.

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Tennis Anyone...

While visiting one of my favourite vintage locales (Refinery Vintage) lately, lovely proprietrix Cher suggested I try this on:

How awesome is this 1960s Ports dress - sweater on top, pleated skirting on the bottom - replete with the slightest drop waist?

It's so of its era that it was almost "trop jolie", too kitschy for me. But with the 9West patent, ankle-strap sandals, the look toughens up a bit.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Did You Know...

...that Neiman Marcus - those irritating folks who brought you online shopping as first year biochem - only takes American Express and the Neiman Marcus charge card?!? Oh, or cash if you prefer. Cuz I always like to buy my Prada dresses with bills.

There are so many reasons why I loathe that place.

Unfortunately, the stuff they sell is gorgeous.

Monday, May 19, 2008

Good Charlotte

As you know, I went to visit my family in Charlotte last weekend. It was a bit whirlwind (arrival on Thurs. eve, departure on Sun. aft) but a useful opportunity to see my sister, nieces and mother (father was away), not to mention my parents' new home. My mother and I did have a half-hearted shopping day on Friday - more of an excuse to walk around, talk and get cappuccino - but (and this is like a first, people), I didn't buy a single thing.

In fact, when I checked through customs on the way home and put down $50.00 on the claim card and the customs guy asked me what I bought, I shamefully had to tell him that I'd lied on the form because I didn't think he'd believe that I could have gone away without bringing back something. He asked me how many bags I'd checked. I said none. He looked at my modern rolling suitcase - modern in that it's basically the size of a backpack - smiled exasperatedly and advised that it's okay to put $0 down. I'm still not convinced but seriously, if he'd opened up my suitcase there would have been 4 well-worn things in it. (On the way down I stuffed it full of good preloved items for my sister and nieces.) And I was so shot from the (delayed, natch) flight that I didn't have time to make up a purchase on the spot.

I've been to NC a few times before. My family hasn't lived there for that long, and I haven't been as many times as I'd have liked to, but here's what I have observed about Charlotte from a bird's eye view:

  • The weather is perfect. Summer, winter - it doesn't matter. Those people hit the weather jackpot.
  • The planning is beautiful. All that good weather makes for some spectacular plant life which is gorgeously respected - and ameliorated, even - by gorgeous architecture. This is not a town that hides it's beautiful homes in the hard-to-find enclaves. Every thoroughfare is perfectly manicured and maintained with absurdly beautiful homes and churches.
  • The downtown core, while clean and lovely, is not particularly lively. (Ed. Note: I do happen to live in one of the most lively cities on the continent, so I'm biased.)
  • The people seem friendly and polite. And relaxed.
  • It's a rather religious town. On Sunday morning (when my sister and her kids were at church, fyi), my mother and I ran into a neighbour on the road. She, in hat and gloves, asked if we were going to St. _____. We said, no, we were off to Starbucks, which is kind of like a church. Deadpan, she rebutted with "I've heard a lot of people are joining up there." It was a friendly moment like many I experienced over the weekend.
  • Point is, this is one wholesome crowd. (Or maybe I'm just particularly deviant in the way only North Easterners can be! :-))
  • Seemingly in contrast to mores and (dare I suggest it) primness, there were a lot of breast implants. On really young people. And, while people are always on about the increasing girth of North Americans, this is a slim town. And a blond town. So there were a surprising number of wholesome looking, buff women with proportions and colouring like Barbie.
  • Again, in contrast to the implants, the style is super-conservative. Dresses seem to be the norm, apparently, unless you wear J Crew-style jeans, Ts and over the shoulder sweaters. The dresses are below-the-knee. The styles are "proper". The colours are cheerful and they match. There was a remarkable prominence of black and white graphic patterns on wrap styles. I felt a bit freakish in my eclecticism. And I was so toned down I shocked myself. Hello, I wore an over the shoulder tied sweater. It was electric yellow, but still!
Among other relaxing activities, my mother, sister and I went out for a fantastic dinner - that surreal experience to which I alluded yesterday. Deets will follow soon, so pls. stand by.

Check Me Out!

Just back from a great weekend vacation with my family, about which I will post over the next few days... There's one particular fashion experience, bordering on the surreal, that I can't wait to tell you about.

However, exciting news du jour is that Super Kawaii Mama has made me over high-style here. As mentioned, I won a contest a couple of weeks ago and here's but one example of how Ms. SKM would dress me up:

What I love about this - aside from the me-centricity and FANTASTIC pieces - is that SKM has really taken my shape and my needs into consideration. Any of the outfits she worked up is ideal to go from work to fun, from early morning to hot-as-hell afternoon. And the delicious eclecticism with which she's paired things echoes my own. I like to call it "crazy put together". Perhaps the French (or Australians) have another way of saying it.

Oh, and though I didn't mention this to her, anyone who actually knows me knows that I am pale as death and I NEVER leave the house without sunblock 30 and a huge-ass hat. So how ESP-stylist is she?

At any rate, I am so thrilled to have had the chance to see some new looks, just for me, I might not have considered. BTW, if you are short and curvy, they may be just the thing for you too...

For your viewing pleasure (and my own), I'm going to see how I can work some of these ideas into my wardrobe - mindful of budget, natch. Thanks again SKM. I'm so appreciative of your creativity.

Friday, May 16, 2008

It's Time For a Holiday...

Darlings: I'm off to see my parents in North Carolina for the long weekend. How I'll function without a computer for 4 days remains to be seen. Have a great time and I'll be back on Monday. K

Thursday, May 15, 2008

Happy Hunting...

Miss C suggested I mention few brands or places to find the aforementioned white T. In no particular order, here are some places I've found really good options / brands I like:
  • Danskin (These contain lycra, which improves the shape but makes them less slim.)

  • Club Monaco (Some batches are great - but not the cheapest...)

  • La Senza (Strangely, when this place is on it's super on - and cheap!)

  • H&M is my new fave...

  • Never bought at Zara but a friend of mine swears by the Ts.

  • James Pearse, when purchased on mega sale, can be a great score. (Note: When not on sale they are just too pricey, IMO. You should also know they're very thin so you gotta be on the buff side.)

  • Jacob, only in CA, is a great option.

  • American Apparel (I have my issues with this place and it's too expensive given the workmanship, but if you're looking for a layering T or a "slutty" see-through look, it's spot on.)

  • Lululemon (Also too pricey for a T - unless you work out in it also / get it on sale - but these garments very durable and structured and they veer from "regular" shapes. They won't moisturize your skin though :-))

  • Ideal is a brand I like but I've only seen it in TO.

  • Rebecca Beeson does a black crewneck I LOVE (though the colour fades) and which I would totally buy in white if I could find it. Note: I've only ever purchased this brand at Lohmann's in FLA or NY, where it was super discounted. I did a bit of surfing and it looks like regular price is steep.

If any of you have any other ideas, please do let us know. (You might want to briefly describe what kind of body shape you think the T would fit most optimally.)

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bridge(r) Line

It's a rare designer who interns for Vivienne Westwood and then teams with Lululemon (on its "fashion" offshoot Oqoqo), non? It's less rare, admittedly, for a Vancouverite to produce a brand known for "sustainability", as Ms. Bridger defines it, ethical and local manufacturing:

"We create designer clothing and the socially conscious thing is just how we think everyone should be living his or her lives. We use sustainable fabrics and strive to have a positive relationship with everyone who works to create our clothing. You can trust that we are doing whatever we can to make our garments and company as eco as we can, and are always looking for ways to do it better next season."

I am thrilled to tell you this line is manufactured exclusively in Canada. I'm less thrilled to say that you can't find it in stores in TO or Mtl. and, if you order it online, unless you link up with the design office directly, you have to purchase it in USD. Which is fine if you live in USD. (To its credit, the company will deal with you directly to order in CAD.)

I, for one, can see the merger of strict, London tailoring with relaxed, West Coast fabrics. And there are a number of pieces I could see myself wearing: a black shawl cardi, the paper bag skirt above. Gotta say, though, it's not inexpensive. (The grey dress pictured retails for $248.00 US .) I know, this is the price you pay to live ethically. But I can't help imagine that, if this line was available locally, at one of my hipster haunts, it would be the kind of place I'd go during the sales to scoop up a piece or two at a pricepoint that works better within the scope of my budget. I can think of a number of places in TO this line might fly...

One other thing I really like about this brand is its website modeling campaign. The women in the web stills are lovely and actually seem to have a layer of adipose tissue standing between them and their skeletons. It's like they work out a little and eat a little and their fertility is probably intact. How refreshing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

In a Perfect World: What I would Wear Today

Thank you, lovely and creative Cordelia, for tagging me to do this fun game.

The Rules:

1. Choose runway pictures from ANY season you like and choose 3 outfits for Day, Evening & Party.
2. Briefly explain why and state the name of the designer & which season the outfit is from.
3. Tag 3 other bloggers once you are done and let them know by posting a comment on their blog.

Pls. note: I choose to interpret C's guidelines in a perfect world scenario i.e., one in which I have no particular practical wardrobe requirements. In fact, on the day on which I would choose to wear these items, I'd be on high-style holiday in New York!

Day Look

For shopping at Barney's and Henri Bendel, I will need to seem as if I can afford all they have to offer! So I would wear this gorgeous Dior tulip day dress. (Regrettably, I can't remember what season this is from...)

(Early) Evening Look

For evening, at some fabulous NY restaurant recommended by WendyB, I would wear this Celine (Resort 2008) dress. It's slick but tasteful. Like I could be the wife or the girlfriend:

Now to Party, I would change into something like this:

Outfit Credits (seasons unknown, sorry): Jacket - Night by Day Birger et Mikkelsen, Shoes - Top Shop, Bag - Alloy, Jeans - Abercrombie and Fitch, Erin Skinny, Top - Rick Owens Lilies Cap Sleeve

I'm a casual party-goer. I want to wander the streets and see what grabs me. One of my many fantasies concerns me walking into a house party and pretending I'm friends of a friend when I actually don't know a living soul. Idea is to see if I can fly by my wits. This is my brand of adventure. And girl's gotta be able to run, under those circumstances!

(PS - Sorry for the crappy Polyvore design. This is my first time attempting it and there's more to it than you might imagine...)


I think everyone should take a stab at this game. It's fun, fashionable and FREE!

Specifically, I have to tag my go-to fave Enc of observationmode. Spend money mentally, E.

I'd also like to see what Tavi, the sassiest, coolest Style Rookie ever (sorry if this word isn't in vogue anymore, Tavi!) to show us what she likes.

(Not so) secretly, I'd be blown away to see what Queen Michelle at Kingdom of Style would choose to wear. Sure, she's superblogsuperstar with mega street cred, but it can't hurt to tag.

Sunday, May 11, 2008

Hey Bronwyn, this post is for you...

Ms. FashionAbility herself, Bronwyn, put together a great post about Cindy Crawford, in which she also debates the age limit for wearing minis. In this post, Bronwyn discloses her (apparently advanced) age - precisely one year older than me - and poses a reader question: When are you too old to wear a mini?

I'll have you know I choked on my glass of merlot as I read this.

Cuz whenever too old happens to be, it's not in the near future for either of us, IMO.

You all know, having looked at my photos, that the mini is not a trauma for me. I'm on the short side so I'm always looking for any excuse to seem longer. Not to mention, from years of walking miles a day and doing googobs of yoga, my gams are among my better features.

Bronwyn is lovely, tall and slim in that way that everyone would like to be slim, so I'm voting for a conversion to the mini-side. Join me B, by getting comfortable with the whole look by
  • Starting off long(ish) - make it only a couple of inches above the knee; and
  • Staying in the 'hood - rent a video, hit the coffee shop, grocery shop wearing a short skirt, till you're so comfortable you can take 'em to work.

Here are a couple of ways to wear the look:

Here's a billowy parachute skirt with over the knee socks in maroon

Skirt - M0851, Socks - AA, Sweater - Mexx, Bodysuit - H&M, Shoes - 9West

New! Thrifted 80's sackdress in reptile print denim (oooh, badass) ($28.00)

Belt - also new, thrifted ($16.00), Shoes - 9West

I can just tell I'm gonna be wearing the second outfit all summer long. It's got pockets and it is voluminously cool for the hot weather.

Neither of these looks is attention-seeking short. Both are comfortable. So, Bronwyn, pls. give it a go. You are just the perfect age to rock this look.

Love, K xo

Saturday, May 10, 2008

I've Got Some Fun Things I'm Working On

So, I won a contest and Super Kawaii Mama (I like to call her SKM), the most glamourous of bloggers - she reminds me of Dita Von Teese - is going to make me over for an occasion of my choice. I'm so nervily entrenched in my own style that I'm very intrigued to see how she will do me up. You should totally check out her blog because it's great and when you observe how insanely gorgeous and, let's just call it like it is, buff this woman is, you will not believe she has a kid that isn't even one yet.

Then, Cordelia - we go way back - from Curella Says tagged me for a great meme she came up with called "What would you Wear Today". I have a feeling it's going to be popular!

Finally, the lovely people at Nicole Bridger sent me their presser and some interesting info about this fairly new Canadian line which I intend to share with you.

Oh, and on the advice of Miss Cavendish, I will post about my fave brands of readily available - and reasonably priced - Tshirts.

All will be coming up shortly...

Thursday, May 8, 2008

Que Sera Sera

Well, the lesson of today's H&M moment (brought to you by the Indecisive Purchasers Association, Southern Ontario Chapter) is that you've got to strike while the iron is hot. (Ed. Note: If we'd paid them a bit more, perhaps our agency might have come up with a slightly more au courant way articulating the key message, what with the 18th century blacksmithing lingo being a bit old school.)

But I digress to evade the point, that being that the dress was no longer available in my size. There were, in fact, (TO readers pls. take note) 2 remaining on the hook. One was a size 4 and the other a size 6. While I wear a full ranges of sizes from a 4 to a 10 - depending on the cut, the day, water retention, effectiveness of foundation garments, the whim of the goddess - this dress was cut small - and not as stretchy as you might imagine given that it's jersey. The arm pits were very high, turns out, which is why the 8 was perfect but the 6 just slightly too snug.

I like to think that my dithering, in its own way, has united fashionistas the world over. And it didn't cost me any $$$.

PS: Somehow I managed to find 4 other dresses I didn't dare try on:

  • A sleeveless, drop waist, knit dress in a strange metallic hue that seems vaguely grey (colour not optimal)
  • An adorable sleeveless (thick spaghetti strap) lemon yellow cotton dress. Fitted bodice, full skirt. Very wearable on many bodytypes. It also came in tomato red.
  • Jersey cotton dress - maybe too thin - think T shirt - in an adorable retro shape (built-in bow at the waist), excellent collared ovalneck. The weak link, so I tell myself, is that the colour was a bit wan. Which is not good in yellow.
  • Marimekko sleeveless dress with 1-inch straps. Also fitted bodice, full skirt. Great pattern - the redder one, not the browner one - structured fabric, flattering to the midsection.

A lot of bloggers have been down on H&M lately (lord knows, for years I did not get this place at all) but today I could have bought 12 things there, easy.

Alas, I'm taking a page from Enc's book and I'm walking away. That's for y'all who think I have a shopping problem. And for the wallet.

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

When Supermodels Cop Your Look

Just sayin'...

(PS - Don't you love how camera angles level the playing field of our heights?! Now if only I could cop the insane gorgeousness...)

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Today's Post Gets an Update!

Wow. Occasionally, we have to bow at the altar of community...

Let's take a moment to acknowledge Fruchtzwerg for the fashion forensic phenom that she is as we behold the H&M dress I so ineffectively described in my last post:

I truly have no freakin' idea how she managed to a) figure out what the hell I was talking about below and then b) find it online in 3 minutes or less. It's poetry, I tell you!

So whatcha think?

And here's a post about something I didn't buy...

Shocking, I realize.

So, to close the loop on the 20 minutes I spent at H&M - which have since netted me paragraph upon paragraph of blog fodder - I did find one other thing I really debated and hesitated over, before deciding finally to leave it behind. Of course, I haven't stopped thinking about it since and it's probably long gone, which is just as well cuz a girl can't buy every little thing she tries on that looks cute.

Maybe I should tell you what it is, since you may not have ESP when it comes to random items at big box boutiques. Also shocking.

The item in question is a bubble-shaped, jersey sack dress ($39.90)- what an attractive preliminary description - sleeveless with an ecru tank at the top which converts, just above the bust, into a tulip shaped, knee-length affair. Oh, the tulip part (essentially the whole dress) is hot pink. With flat, pleated ruffles (there must be a technical term for these) postitioned off-centre along the left side of the front of the dress.

I know, it sounds hideous. And it was so avant garde I couldn't decide if, in fact, it was hideous (on closer consideration, I think not). It was compelling on one level - perfect for a hot summer day, appropriate for work, fine if I were 6 months pregnant - yet also begging the question "will I live to see this coming and going - ahem - more relevantly on twentysomethings all season long?". I tried to find a photo of it online, but could not. That made me wonder if it's really not all that trendy. Do they do a limited line of things at H&M so, for example, in Canada there may only be 50 of those floating around? Don't laugh.

Strangely, given its pricepoint, it felt nice. The drape was really good. The length was perfect for my legs. It managed, in its sackiness, to make all my limbs look long and slender.

Does anyone out there have this dress or know about it? If yes, I'd love to hear more...

Monday, May 5, 2008

Animal, Vegetable, Mineral

For a few good years in my 20s, I was a card-carrying vegetarian.

Then I got pregnant and started eating 20 ounces of rare steak every evening.

And chicken. And lambchops. And bacon.

Oh, and I wear fur.

Nonetheless, some of my best friends are vegetarian. (Well, really, I know some people who used to be vegetarians who have since succumbed to hot dogs, but they feel a bit conflicted.) And for this subset of my social group, I offer up Cri de Coeur an "ethically produced" line of footwear "made by hand as much as possible in Europe". (Ah, when iffy grammar happens to do-good designers.)

All very clean and wearable, by the looks of it, if somewhat derivative. But are they, in all of their leather-free glory, worth $200.00-odd a pair?

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Fool's Gold

OK, I love this ring so much that it has truly taken all my self-control not to buy it online this minute...

Moreover, it's royally sanctioned!

If I weren't spending zillions of dollars landscaping my backyard (don't ask), I would so be ordering this online right now...

Friday, May 2, 2008

To a "T"

I realize it seems I’m always coming back to my big boobs and short waist but I think, given the context of this blog, they are relevant facts. Now, neither in its own right is a particular misery. (I know many of you would suggest that big boobs are never a misery and I’m sure the majority of men would agree…) A short-ish waist is not a problem on a toothpick. Large breasts have their plus points – and are quite delightful on a number of frames. Put them together on a small, curvy girl and you’ve got some shopping challenges. Not that I’m the kind of girl who shies away from challenge. Hell, I court challenge. Challenge and I have a thing going.

Yesterday I promised I would write (a la technical stylist with a show on Bravo) about the way to wear a most classic piece: the white T. If you are really tall, medium-boned with an athletic frame, smallish breasts and a flat stomach, chances are I’m not talking to you. Having said that, I invite women of this description (all 6 of you) to write in and tell me how it’s hard for you too :-) However, let’s say you are not so tall, not so flat, not so medium. Them lumps and bumps just seem to glow when dressed in white, non? Then add pallor to the mix and it's a party...

I am of the belief, as I’ve mentioned many times – and have photographically sampled styles outside the “safe” zone for my shape – that everyone can work every trend (some better than others natch) to some degree. You wanna wear the high waist, there’s a pair of pants that will enable this. Strappy ankle straps on thick legs, there’s a trick. However, for my money, the white T has always presented with issues:

  • Thin fabric = TMI
  • Short style = waist lumps (even on a slim waist)
  • Seriously lowcut = pornographic
  • Too tight = sausage casing effect
  • Too loose = boxy and chubbifying
  • Stiff fabric = too loose in the waist and shoulders / too tight in the chest

You can see how so many of us have our work cut out. Alas, the T is NEVER one size fits all, so even as I make suggestions you will have to take them with a grain of salt and use this post simply as a guideline, as an opportunity to think about your own shape that much more mathematically (not that you gorgeous readers aren’t perfect as you are).

The most universally flattering cut, IMO, is:

  • A thin (but not see-through) cotton with a tiny bit of lycra (or very good denier)
  • A scoop neck – for some that scoop will be more on the crew side of the equation, for those with awesome decollete (that isn’t tres voluptuous) go scoopier
  • A cap-sleeve that isn’t too short – idea is to bring the sleeve to the slimmest part of your arm (The sleeve must not be too tight but, lord, don’t let it be loose a la 1978…)
  • Waist skimming – almost too tight but not
  • Hemmed at the hipbone

Now this is one variation on a piece of infinite varieties. (I hate it when, having blathered on ad nauseum, I can’t even scratch the surface!)

So let me leave you with this: Regardless of your shape, the white T is a classic, sexy garment – not an afterthought. The eye is drawn first to the tits, then to the shoulders. It’s got to fit in both of these places (depending on your shape and comfort zone, you can work this loose-ish or tight-ish but the proportion has to work on your frame). Moreover, the proportional relationship between these body parts must be balanced by the cut of the T.

Work this and you will be unstoppable. Trust me.

Thursday, May 1, 2008

Payday Payday

So at lunch, ostensibly to purchase new undies for my daughter, I took myself to H&M. Usually I give only the most passing glance to the tier one collections. The merch generally doesn't appeal (at least on the hanger) and when I take the occasional piece out to look closely, more often than not I'm put off by the feel of the fabric.

Which is why I find it so odd that today I bought T-shirts at H&M - delicious-textured textiles the likes of which I would ordinarily associate with a different sort of shop. What up?

So many in my blog posse love H&M (and profiles it so lovingly and attractively) that I realize I'm just not getting the scene. There's great stuff happening there, certainly: I glimpsed the Marimekko capsule (loved the prints but the shapes were difficult) and that amazing cropped, naval-influenced cardigan (they were out of my size, trop mal).

And - here's where I get in the game - the organic cotton line is really great, as were other cotton Ts and shirts and (lord love it) a bodysuit - which our UK friends seem to call, simply, a "body". Time was you went to the Gap for your summer flimsywear. (I know, that is so 1997...) Now you can stock up on basics, eco-friendly ones, for a veritable song.

Look, I haven't forgotten about disposable fashion week and the lessons it taught and the questions it raised. I realize "good for the ecosystem" does not translate into "good for the people making the product". But I also feel that anyone who spends anymore than she has to on something thin and white that's going to end up with chocolate on it eventually (and maybe sooner rather than later) either has way more money than me or way more principals.

At any rate, I purchased the following:
  • White, scoop-neck T with cap sleeve, not to short, nicely fitted ($16.00)
  • Ribbed, white, scoop-neck T with buttons at the decollete (going to the base of the bust), more fitted, "sexy" ($12.00)
  • Slate grey (with blue undertone), very fitted tank top. Will go well under sweaters / with skirts for summer ($14.00)
  • Black, 3/4 sleeve bodysuit - looks awesome - totally Ann Margret with a scoop neck that would really show off The Clothes Horse's tatoos (or tatoons, as my daughter would say) ($29.00)

I also got M a terrific T (I searched for a web pic but couldn't find one) in creamsicle orange that says in bold, left justified text "Think about my future". I am SO not a logo buyer - especially for a kid - but I felt this message would a) appeal to her and b) is objectively appealing. She's an eco-nut going to a school that fosters the development of eco-nuts so I can only imagine how cutting edge this shirt is going to be.

Please stay tuned for my next post which will discuss the white T and the best way to wear it for your body type. Oooh, how Trinny and Susannah!