Sunday, March 30, 2008

When it rains, it pours...

So here's a post, from Style for the Stay at Home Mom (a new blog I've just discovered courtesy of WendyB), which follows a topic corollary to that of the recent closet org posts... It speaks of the European predilection for moderation - and espouses the enjoyment of the wardrobe one currently owns. I'm really going to focus, over the next couple of weeks, on satisfying my creative urges by styling with what I already have.

Is there nothing we can't learn from the French?

Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dress-Off (Somehow this doesn't quite make the point...)

I know, I know, at this point I've given the cute little vintage dress far too much attention. In the words of my husband and photographer: I am so sick of this thing. Really.

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:

Dress: Sasson, vintage, Shoes: 9West

Dress Sasson, vintage, Shoes: Next, from Winners

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

The Hardcore Resources

I'm not the pioneer I imagined myself to be, having just come across this great closet organization series from Diana at Painfully Hip. It will direct you to other useful posts proposing nitty-gritty instruction / suggestions about whipping your environment into shape. And, in truth, I never would have found this post, if not for the fantastic Kitten at Picked Picks (it's just merged with her other amazing photoblog - A Bit Personal). If you haven't had a chance to check out this site, do yourself a favour and give it a click. This woman's personal style is amazing.

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

(Closet) Case In Point

You should know that, while my current closet has worked well for me, it is by no means my ideal. Before we moved to our current house, we lived in a just-built condo in midtown and, despite its serious space challenges, we had a small walk-in closet professionally built in. It was very practical, and nice to look at. If only I'd taken a picture of that one...

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 other closet is, for example, where the hideously extensive collection of boots is stored.

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.

One other thing I am very careful about: Culling. As per my previous post on this, when something comes in - within reason - something goes out. Or, more to the point, when you run out of space to store things beautifully/cleanly/easily/enjoyably, then you've got to stop bringing in the new stuff, or start recycling the old. Now you know which model I prefer...

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

Closet Case

To understand my closet is to understand me. You might think that speaks of a psyche almost imbecilic in its lack of complexity (ridiculous / fashion-obsessed / shallow), but I assure you, your closet is similarly reflective of you. And this is not an insult, btw.

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


I cannot tell you how much I love this shot-in-the-arm of springtime colour, courtesy of my fave haunt for affordable, trendy basics, Club Monaco:

Sweater: Club Monaco, Skirt: American Apparel
Shoes: 9West, Belt: ?

And here's a gratuitous close up showing off it's colourful, finely knitted deliciousness:

It can be yours for a reasonable $69.00 - though you can spend a smidge more for the translucent cardi ($79.00) or the silk like spun sunshine cardi ($119.00). Will talk more about this one more when I post about shopping fun with Jennifer. (K - I promise a closet org series is on its way, I haven't forgotten about you...)

You know, I've been going to CM for more than 20 years?! Now that's customer retention... (If only they would update their website now and again, I could have shown you a few great pieces. Seriously, how do they expect me to do their advertising for them if they don't give me something to work with??)

Sunday, March 23, 2008

Saturday, March 22, 2008

You know the Gladiator Shoe?

The one from 9West I mentioned in yesterday's post. (Just wasted 15 minutes online looking for a pic of it: Jobilyn sandal by Enzo A. in red, but it's as if it doesn't exist?!) At any rate, you can see a photo soon, because I bought a pair. Which gives one the opportunity to "shoecase" the Sasson dress with the ladylike red shoe from Winners and with the gladiator (even if it resides solely in my own universe...) Because, you may recall, the theory is that one of them must go back.

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.)

More Fun and Games

So, as mentioned recently, I was tagged by our fashionable newlywed Enc of observationmode. The formidable task is to share some detail about me by giving 8 answers within each category heading. Then, natch, I send this out to others in the hopes they'll do the same...

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
Shopping kismet
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)
Bloodstream (Stateless)
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

Shoe 4: The Sporty American One

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...

Is It Just Me or is This Hilarious?

You really should check out this fake Marc Jacobs campaign...

Thursday, March 20, 2008

Shoe 3: The Exciting One

Enzo Agnolini - 9West ($130.00)

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

Shoe 2: The Practical One

This one is from 9West ($100.00). Wearing these is absolutely comfortable (and hopefully not too hideous-sensible). I'm imagining them with my summer mini skirts and dresses and bare legs. A cute look for walking to work, whereupon I'll change into something else. I mean, they're not going to work with everything, but they're cuter than runners (that velcro strap is patent baby blue) and they are leather. In pic 2, I've shown them with those American Apparel above-the-knee socks (mid thigh) because I think the textures are interesting together.

I wasn't specifically looking for a walking shoe, but was pleasantly surprised to see the wide range of options at 9West. I can't tell you how hard it was to choose between these and a pair of acid meets sunshine yellow flats. They were cooler - and really did justice to the new neon accessory trend. And they totally would have acted as a neutral in my wardrobe. Alas, they just weren't quite as comfortable, and when all is said and done, that's what this shoe is about.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

Shoe 1: The Lady One

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?

PS - Pls. be warned that I have somehow managed to incorporate patent into each of the 4 pairs I will profile this week. I appear to be coming to terms with my ambivalence about its shininess...

Monday, March 17, 2008

The Context

OK, so I thought I'd tease this out a bit - you know, set the stage, talk about the moment. Hopefully that's going to work for y'all. Just call it: Shoe Buying - A Serial.

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

Friendly Fashion Connection 2

Today, while out doing some serious damage on the shoe shopping front (multiple posts on this to follow) I decided to stop in momentarily at Gap Kids to see if I could find some slip ons for M. No luck there, but I did have the good fortune to bump into Hilary's mother, Heather, who was shopping for her darling grandchildren. Yes, it is a city of millions of people and we do live at opposite ends of the centre of town, but don't the shoppers just find each other like it's meant to be...

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

The Hunt is On

OK, this eve, on my way out to an amazing dinner with my husband (because my kid is at a sleepover!!!), I did a bit of window shopping. Didn't buy any shoes (yet) but I did find these, which I'm thinking about:

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

This One Seems to be Popular

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

Could These Be The Shoes I Need?

FaceHunter Photo

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

Nature Does Colour-Blocking

I try to keep a few bunches of fresh flowers in my house all the time. It makes me feel so much like an upper west side socialite having her house photographed for Vogue.

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

More Instant Outfit

Here's a dress I picked up for $40.00 during the Christmas sales in Quebec City a couple of months ago. I love the colours and the pattern! I'm not generally a pattern wearer, so this dress makes me feel very a la mode. The fabric is a wool jersey and is thin enough (and appropriately shaped) that it looks great worn with skinny jeans too. I couldn't get a decent shot of the back, but the pattern is completely different on the flipside, with white, zigzaggy accents.

I wear it with dark chocolate tights and those pretty yet practical grey wedges I picked up last summer in Montreal at Lola & Emily:

Monday, March 10, 2008

In the Bag

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:

  • I'm very into vintage because I can find splendidly constructed pieces, which have obviously stood the test of time, for a fraction of the (seemingly ever increasing) average gorgeous bag price. I also appreciate the uniqueness of the vintage bag and that I'm possibly purchasing the original look and not the homage to the original look. Note: I do recognize that homages are often great modern riffs on tried and true design and that sometimes they even trump the first iteration (gasp).
    • I'm also into shopping in interesting - read: slightly grungy, colourful - neighbourhoods and boutiques (TO area readers, I'm referring to Kensington Market) for great deals on excellent, admittedly cheaply designed, merch that will not stand the test of time and will disintegrate hideously (but will garner lots of positive commentary until that time). Some of my happiest purchases have been on plastic-designed-to-look-like-leather bags in zany colours and shapes. The average pricepoint of these goods is $40.00 and I am delighted to say I can usually haggle the tax off, at very least. (For those of you horrified by or questioning of my propensity for the deal / bargain / haggle, pls. know that I am always respectful of vendors and I do it in the spirit of the thrill of the chase.)

    • I'm more inspired by shape than material, though beautiful leather or suede is always a thrill.

    • I carry around a crap-load of stuff and walk an average of 4 miles a day so the bag has to be a) big enough to carry everything I can't do without and b) small enough to be manageable while trekking through snow, beating hot sun, rain and the other elements that challenge the urban walker. Of course, different days warrant different sized/shaped bags.

    • I do enjoy buying Canadian goods, when possible, because I believe in supporting my own economy. (Don't worry, I believe in supporting everybody else's too.)

    • I'm not so comfortable spending more than $300.00 (and this would be at the very outside) because I don't have so much disposable income that this wouldn't eat into spending on all the other items I can't live without (not to mention the food, shelter, childcare part of the equation). On this topic, Enc has a great poll on bags happening right now (it's been amended to reflect additional pricepoint options) so definitely check it out...
    • 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:

      Club Monaco

      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

      I Could Learn a Thing or Two...

      Thanks, Addicted, for showing us how that high-waisted thing is done.

      Friday, March 7, 2008

      My Next Career

      The most disappointing thing about early adulthood, for me, was not having enough confidence in myself to pursue my crazy, creative goals. (Quick FYI: Some careers I think would have been a good fit: pastry chef, features editor at a fashion magazine, graphic designer, stylist and personal shopper.) A propos of this, I did enroll to become a chef - which would have required leaving university for college - but I lost my nerve at the last minute. And I did try to become a writer; it's just that rejection didn't sit well with me. I was a bit of an anxiety-ridden wuss, to be truthful. But I come from a background where security and affluence is prized. And I think it's kind of merciless, really, that the universe / modern educational system require you to choose your path before you even know what makes you tick - before you really know how to say, fuck it, this is what I'm going to pursue.

      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


      Are you one of those people who can't wait to put on your cutoffs when the temp hits 75 degrees (F)? Or do you run screaming at the thought of any human being actually observing the back middle third of your thighs? I've always eschewed shorts if favour of the more wearable (IMO) short skirt. My years ago foray into the world of shorts always seemed to result in - extremely unattractive - rideup or the equally unattractive "mom look". Hello, I am somebody's mother. I don't need to look it.

      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:

      Marc Jacobs


      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

      But there's more...

      Last week saw the purchase of a few great wardrobe essentials which manage, I hope, to turn basic on its edge slightly.

      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

      Shopping Stone

      There are days when you go out and the stars align and all the clothes are fabulous - and they're even sort of on sale - and by the time you're finished you're wondering if you have enough space in the closet and the drawers for the new haul.

      For better or worse, I've been having more than my fair share of these days lately, though I really can't say why. Perhaps it's the "shopping as research" angle that's propelling me to view things differently. It's not clothing, I tell myself, so much as art / photo material / experimentation / fodder. Or maybe it's astrological. Apparently Jupiter is in my house of shopping this year.

      I mentioned, in my last post, I recently hit American Apparel for those ubiquitous fetish leggings, overpriced IMO at $46.00. On Friday, when I went to a fancy restaurant with my husband for an end-of-vacation lunch (he took the day off), one of the (twenty-something) servers advised that my outfit had inspired her to go and get some latex-y, plastic leggings of her own. As she was an angular, whippet thin, 5'10" blonde, I was duly flattered.

      I wore the aforementioned leggings with a fantastic new oatmeal cashmere / merino blend Yaya Aflalo maxi-sweater I snapped at my best-kept secret (which may be closing?!?!?!). Four stores of merch had been routed through to this single discount location and I was like a kid in a - rather pricey - candy store. This purchase was $130.00 down from $550.00. (I know, I'm like a genius with the sales.)

      Here are a couple of gratuitous photos of the look:

      Sunday, March 2, 2008

      A Little Bit Rock & Roll

      The good news to which I alluded a couple of weeks ago is a new job (same organization, different division, somewhat new function) so I've taken a week off to clear my head before starting on Monday. Note: Only crazy people vacation during the coldest winter in 40 years, when they live in Canada and when they aren't hopping a flight to, say, St. Barths. Add to the mix that I have been valiantly struggling with a winter virus - presque fini! - and my kid was home for two days, also sick, and this little hol. doesn't seem like the best bang for my leisure buck. Of course, silver lining, I have had ample opportunity to read the blogs.

      M went back to school a couple of days ago - her idea - upon realizing that the alternative was not so much 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

      Instant Outfit aka The Dress

      In my post about basics last week, I neglected to mention the relative importance of dresses. It seems, when the winter weather is hideous, it's challenging to remember what one wears ad nauseum during the other 3 seasons.

      I'm sure I don't have to up-sell you on why the dress is a perfect wardrobe staple: the clean lines, numerous elegant (or edgy or toned down) silhouettes to choose from, one-stop shopping with last-frontier appeal in that it can't easily be "androgynized". How retro-throwback was that last comment!? No doubt, in 5 minutes, guys are going to start wearing microfibre gowns and this post will serve as a quaint reminder of outmoded fashion conventions :-) (I'm taking bets the look comes from Gaultier...)

      So here are a couple of pics of that new vintage Sasson dress I picked up at I Miss You. You may recall it's not my usual colour palette or shape, but I'm broadening my horizons. A propos of that, I don't really have any shoes that fit the bill. The ones I'm wearing here are simply a (duller than dishwater) placeholder. If anyone has any good ideas - I'd love to edgy it up or prim it down, if you know what I mean - please let me know.

      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!