Sunday, 18 June 2017

Maxi skirts, meetups, movies, and dressing like a bouquet

Vintage bias-cut maxi skirt from the $5 rack. Ack!!! What luck. From My Sister's Closet (MSC), don't you know. I got a whack-ton of '70s treasures in a two-day spree there. Again, eagle eyes and persistence, my friends. 

"But I'd rather look ridiculous when everybody else does than plain and sensible all by myself," persisted Anne mournfully," speaking about her love of puffed sleeves on dresses, from Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery. 

I have that puffed-sleeve love for this top, silk, hand-painted, by a Nordic company, I don't remember which one because I cut out the label when I decided to wear it backwards (I like to see the faces on the front) and then hid it in a safe place. 

The big earrings are from MSC too.

Below is a skirt that Suzanne of gave me when she came to town recently. I wore it for the first time to an afternoon's 2017 Resort Wear Trunk Show by designer Rabia Dastgir. The event sounds rather lah-ti-dah but I met a great bunch of people there. I did a brief post about it on my culture/style blog HERE.

The skirt says, "THIS KIND OF MEMORABILIA, IT IS THE PERFECT SOLUTION." Haha, yes! I tell you, Suzanne is the wicked wizard of bod. Although I would have admired this skirt for its design and colour, I would not have picked it out for myself - far too fitted. Thankfully, Suzanne is not so short-sighted. She always picks out winning pieces for everyone when we shop together. 

Bare legs? Body con? Suzanne said, yes, please.

I love the simplicity of this piece with its elastic waist (more food for me!). And I love vintage typewriters with their satisfying Ding WHAM refrain at the end of each line, not to mention the hard clacking of keys, sigh. It makes me think of snappy dialogue between Rosalind Russel and Cary Grant in that screwball comedy His Girl Friday. Another sigh.

There's also a 2012 French film called Populaire set in 1959 about a woman who reluctantly enters speed typing contests. I thought it was charming, with just enough style gluttony to fuel my popcorn hypno-feast. Beware. It was on Netflix.

I bought those beautiful red sandals at Talize thrift store in Delta during our meetup too. I walked all the way across town in them for the trunk show - so glad I took my runners to wear home. 

I have to say, if you're in the Toronto area and need a wardrobe pick-me-up, you MUST contact Suzanne. No kidding. I'm just throwing this out there without consulting her, heh. She sees things you wouldn't even consider but look great. Or check some of her amazing vintage finds in her Etsy shop, HERE.

And next, for your entertainment -
A real movie! Sherry of Petite Over 40 made it from footage we shot during the meetup with me, Suzanne, and Sue of A Colourful Canvas. (I posted on it HERE.) It cracks me up every time I watch. Sincerely, Sherry has a talent for this stuff. She used to work in media so this marks a return to video after a long hiatus. So glad she's baaaack!! 

And that's not all. There's a video clip of Suzanne riding Vancouver's SkyTrain public transit in novel and exciting ways HERE. Hahaha! This is what happens when you give Suzanne a dare. Nobody even batted an eye! 

Another Blogger Meetup
No, it didn't take place in a pool but I just thought I'd put myself there using a stairwell photo I took in the outfit I wore to the meetup.

With the cold and rain, a frigging cornucopia of flowers was required. Thank goodness I had this vintage rear-zip jumpsuit for such an emergency. Also, when meeting one's fellow bloggers it's always a nice gesture to dress as a bouquet. I'm wearing my vintage angel-wing top underneath. O had just cut my hair so it's extra-special sticky-uppy too.

So whom did I meet? Lisa (Amid Privilege) and Susan (une femme d'un certain âge), who had flown into town to spend time with their friend of many years, Frances (materfamilias writes). I was happy that this trio set aside time to include one more. Left to right in the photo below: Lisa, Susan, and me. Frances had left by the time we took this shot.

We convened at Thierry café, which often wins Best Dessert and Best Pastry in popular Vancouver eatery surveys. And it is also a fancy chocolatier. What better place for a blogger meetup? 

I'd met Frances before for a sketching outing but this was my first time meeting Susan and Lisa. What a bunch of strong, smart, stylish, and supportive women. We had an intense and satisfying discussion on the issue of invisibility and aging, as well as techniques I can use to take over the world. Hahaha! I was moved by their generosity of heart, thought, and laughter. 

After "coffee," I showed Susan and Lisa around a few stores, including Holt Renfrew, which they had asked about. As a staple in my eye-candy diet, I know that place inside-out. And then I took them to Italian Kitchen restaurant before we parted ways. It was a brief meetup but worth it. I hope we can meet again! Susan's writeup is here and Frances' is here.

And now, what I wore just for nuthin'
This next outfit I call Fake French De Niro Style or How to Look Tough in Ballet Flats. "You lookin' at me!?" 

Skulls, chic high-waisted fit and flare skirt, sparkly clutch from MSC, ballet flats, Lagerfeld sunnies, fun fabric flower clip/pin hand-made by Suzanne as a goodie bag gift at the blogger meetup two summers ago, and my magic loupe. (Thanks to all of you who bought a loupe! O has had to restock.)

The skirt was originally a dress for a woman with a Barbie doll figure. I would have had to remove a couple of ribs and had massive implants to make it fit. So I hacked off the top part and farked it into a bolero jacket; the rest became this high-waisted skirt. Below you can see the subtle patterning on the fabric. I bought the dress at a movie lot sale of costumes.

Poking my bag to make sure it's not moving. Always a good idea.

This next red outfit is called Failed Highland Dancer or Weak Scottish Gladiator. The dress was oh-so-flat-falling on the front so I added some thrifted suspenders from MSC to create interesting draping and a wonky hemline. The back is also clipped up in one place. Those are my white Reebok sweat socks with my sandals. They save me putting four band-aids on my ankles - these sandals bite.

That's the tartan jacket I farked from dumpy to punky, HERE. It's one of my favourite farked pieces. I can't believe it's mid-June and I still wear wool jackets!

If you've made it this far you deserve cake! And ice cream!! I missed posting last week and the backup just came tumbling out this time. 

I'll find something here to link up with Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. 

Now I'm tired. Heh. What's up with you? Share it in your comments. Thanks so much for visiting!!

Tuesday, 6 June 2017

Blogger meetup with zombies and opium

Suzanne Carillo and Sherry Dryja (Petite Over 40) of Toronto and Seattle came to town and met up with me and Sue (A Colourful Canvas) this past weekend. The times we had! 

We are proof that you don't need tons of money to have a blast, only a meeting time, a few great outfits, an imagination, a camera/cellphone (we had 3), a thrift shop or two, and a generous dash of bravado. We didn't need the photos but they sure added gasps and hilarity. 

Photo by Sherry, Petite Over 40

Day 1. We hopped the SeaBus to North Vancouver to explore a few thrift shops. Of course we worked up an appetite and stopped at Lonsdale Quay, an indoor market, for nibblers.

Photo by Pizza Shop Woman

On the way back to Vancouver Sue knew exactly how to secure an unobstructed view of the advancing city skyline: the man-spread, such an exemplary example - she really nailed it - but the photo self-destructed. Hahaha!!

That night Suzanne, Sherry, and I went to the Comedy Mix to see some stand-up. The most laughs came when it was over and we discovered that all three of us wanted to walk out; we didn't because we were afraid the comedian would beat us up and laugh at our injuries. In fact, we found ourselves in the next days frequently riffing on his vicious rants, then wondered with alarm, does that count as success!?

Day 2, off to Talize thrift store in Delta by elevated train and bus. So many modes of transportation! Happily, Sue was able to join us.

Photo by Sue, A Colourful Canvas

Of the outfits above, I think only Suzanne bought her dress. Note the squared wings sticking out at my hips - always a flattering look. They were designed to be tucked in and tied inside at the front but I liked them out better. Now I regret not getting this dress, but we had two shopping carts piled mile high with options.

Our intrepid photographer takes a break on the bench conveniently located outside the change rooms. Man-spreading was not required. Sue made that fantastic duster.

On Day 3, in the morning Suzanne, Sherry, and I went on a 90-minute Sins of the City Walking Tour, "Vice, Dice, and Opium Dens," hosted by the Vancouver Police Museum. I highly recommend it. The two others on offer are Red Light Rendezvous and Walking the Beat.

Then in the evening we met up at their hotel dressed roaring '20s style (brilliant idea by Suzanne) to go to the club "Speakeasy." But first, since Suzanne and Sherry had scouted cool locations for photos at the hotel the night before, we needed to explore our inner divas fully. So many great shots...these are only a few.

Photo by Suzanne I think

Of course luxe locations in a fine hotel make it easier to set up interesting scenes, but that wasn't a prerequisite for getting good footage. Sherry farked and posted one of my favourite clips on YouTube. Warning: DON'T WATCH THIS AT WORK!! She calls it Copy of Dancing for Real. I call it Roaring '20s Zombies on Brain Detox.

We filmed this right downtown, a prime example of what I meant by "a generous dash of bravado." Heh. They are awesome!

We also swanned over to another hotel lobby for photos. This place has always been a favourite.

And then we went for a late bite. We tried flirting with our handsome server, aged 24(?) but that was simply wasted energy. He did, however, crank up the charm just before handing us the bill. Do we look that gullible? Heh. 

Later, after we had gone our separate ways and called it day, we realized that we had totally forgotten to go to the Speakeasy. Hahaha!!

On Day 4, we went to My Sister's Closet thrift boutique, of the famous $5 rack, followed by brunch. Then Suzanne and Sherry both returned to family. In this photo Suzanne is wearing the gold booties that she, Sue, and I all tried on during her last visit, HERE.

Whew! Blogger meetups are the best! It was the first time meeting Sherry and I can't wait for us to get together again. It was also a special meetup because Suzanne was celebrating her birthday. By chance my schedule was fairly free too - it's something I can never be sure of in advance - so I could take full advantage of their visit.

That's all I've got for you this week. It was a good week. There are many more hilarious photos from Talize. I dressed in BEIGE, on purpose. And Suzanne, Sherry, and I all tried on gowns - Suzanne was Molly Ringwald from Pretty in Pink, Sherry wore an '80s Dynasty series dress, and I was Julia Roberts from Pretty Woman. If nobody else posts them, I'll post them later - already this is photo-heavy.

I'll link something up to Catherine, Not Dressed as Lamb, #iwillwearwhatilike. Patti is on a break.

What would you do? Big tip or little tip for the last-minute-suck-up server?

Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Trotting to a gala like a little pony

On Friday I went to a gala called The Little Black Dress, a fundraiser for youth at risk. It was very schwanky. Su (Fairy Thrift Sister Su) had a few freebie tickets which she generously shared with me and a couple of my friends, Vancouver Barbara and Judy.

This is what I wore, my so-called Vegas Pantsuit because it feels snake-eyes lucky. It's a fully-lined, vintage crepe wool jumpsuit with diamond-edged side slits and neckline. You may have seen me wearing it for gardening here. The clutch was thrifted from My Sister's Closet. And my vintage angel-wing top, psychedelic tights, diamond earrings, and magic loupe.

Too bad you can't see my rainbow eyes here. They matched my tights. Photo by Barbara.

I was running late that night, carried away by eye shadow, so I wound up trotting, rather than swanning, into the heart of the city as I had planned - my sky-high 5.5-inch platform black glitter booties prevented a full-on canter. My hair, freshly coiffed, was very perky and bobbed jauntily like a little pony as well. 

I tried to hail a cab to take me the few remaining blocks, which merely resulted in interesting body contortions as I kept looking over my shoulder for one, but no ride. I am glad I didn't run into sign posts or parking meters.

Those are the booties. I trotted, danced, and hobnobbed in these from 6:45 until 11:30 p.m. Ooooh! But it was worth it - if not now, then when, right?

Below, detail of the side slit in the palazzo pant legs and metallic-silver frog closure embellishment. 

Several people commented on my outfit as I lurched down the sidewalk. I responded breathlessly, in a high-drama voice, "I'm on my way to a gaaaala and I'm late." Heh. It's a line I've always wanted to use.

Below is the jumpsuit as day wear in a 10-second YouTube video I made in late 2013. 

When I arrived at the hotel, I was delighted to see many familiar faces from the gala Shelley (Forest City Fashionista) and I attended last May. See her coverage here. And everyone was dressed.

Mingling in the foyer off the grand ballroom was an older gentleman oozing mystery, power, and moolah, with a bevy of young, gorgeous women, obviously with him. They liked my style and, after discreetly conferring amongst themselves, asked photographer David Bong to take some photos. I also met David last May. Our group lined up and my auto-pilot went ON: one foot forward, shoulders back, head up, big smile.

Then this happened... David said: No, just relax. No posing.

???!!! Be natural? How is that possible?! My whole life is unnatural. It's taken me forever to perfect this state and now I'm asked for natural?! Is a tripod in a concrete box natural? Is smiling into nothingness natural? I tried my best but I'm afraid I must have looked rather Mr. Bean-ish in my attempt to be real. Or here's a thought - maybe that is the real me. Gaaa!!

Above is what I wore the DAY AFTER the gala, tux pants with satin stripes down the sides and a tux shirt. I still had all my stuff crammed into that sparkly clutch, which I continue to use, too lazy to do the bag transfer. Same applies to the tie and blouse, can't tie it, can't iron it. The pamphlet on the right is the crumpled gala program I dug out of my clutch. I'm reading it with O's magic loupe, which, by the way, he is selling on Etsy now, here.

The gala was happy exhaustion. There were dance troupes, opera, live music, DJs, a silent auction, and a grand fashion show, in which my friend Yuliana, whom I also met last May, was modelling. She was a knock-out. Barbara told me later that she saw some Middle Eastern princesses in attendance too. And I met some other Vancouver style bloggers, excellent!! When I left after 11, I heard the show was still only half over, but my feet left and I followed.

Below, Su, who made it happen for us. She farked that pastel coral suit with spectacular detailing on the back. That's a big burnt-out velvet warp with a motif of faces and scissors. And note the asymmetry she created with her earrings, and the black pom-pom near her waist. And let's not forget the shoes, the shoes.

Su is also carrying a Philip Treacy bag with a Campbell soup can lining. You can see it in this photo with Barbara.

Barbara dazzled in this sparkly jacket and all that bling. She is known for her vivid colours and wasn't sure she had anything black to wear. Clearly, she did.

And below, Judy. She made that crown from pipe-cleaners and farked her dress with tons of cool detailing. She also made her neck piece. With her is probably the coolest-dressed couple of the evening. The woman on the left is wearing a Philip Treacy hat which she got through her hairdresser in London. The man is wearing a Barbie-doll necklace with lights and a tire-tube skirt with tulle. Of course he is. Love them!

There was a fantastic live band in the ballroom and Judy and I couldn't keep still. She has irrepressible new Orleans rhythm. 

And below, I spotted this stunning woman in the VIP Lounge, Jamie Gerus. She brings to mind a Downton Abbeyesque adventuress returned home from travels in the Middle East for intense discussions with her publisher before departing on another voyage. I love the tassel on her handbag. Almost at the same time we asked each other for photos. It's like that sometimes.

And below, wearing the Super Model t-shirt I made. Who decides who's a super model and who's not? One of the things I liked about the gala fashion show, what I saw of it, was the diversity of models.

This super model really needs sunglasses with five lenses.
It doesn't take much to crack myself up. Is this natural?

I always get excited by the prospect of a gala or special event, even though I don't need a gala as an excuse to dress up. It's that being among crowds of people with a common purpose can be exhilarating.

I love the frisson of anticipation. Whom will I meet? Will I embarrass myself badly? Will I say lots of stupid things? Will there be magic there? Will there be chocolate? (This gala had pyramids of Lindt chocolates.)

Have you gone to any good galas lately? Fun parties? Do do you usually entertain yourself? That counts too.

That's all for this week. Some bloggy friends are coming to town in a few days. I must get to work now!

I'll link something up with Patti's Visible Monday at her blog, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at her blog, Not Dressed as Lamb. See you there.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Hooped and louped

I was out on my inspiration walk - dum, dee-dum, dee-dum - and I swung by My Sister's Closet thrift shop, as I usually do, inexorably drawn by their famous $5 rack. And look what I found, brought to my attention by my friend Su, who happened to be volunteering that day.

Yes, a closet staple: the magnificent hoop skirt. It brings back memories of dress-ups and dreams, and I figure there's absolutely no reason to disengage from such frivolity just because I am many decades older without any baby teeth left. And for only $5, that's cheap and sigh-worthy thrills. Now the owner of two hoop skirts, I have some serious hoop shoots to tackle when the weather warms up. Can't wait.

Trying to look bad ass with a hip-slung hoop skirt is not as easy as it sounds. Heh. Under the hoop I happened to be wearing: vintage jumpsuit in dark brown/black with floral patterning, vintage wide suede tie belt, purple Mozart jacket, and my still-hanging-in-there D&G heels.

And then below, how I looked downtown carrying the skirt, tied and shoulder slung so it didn't bell out and limit arm function (although that's also a look) or shove oncoming pedestrians into traffic. Unfurling didn't happen until I got home.

Definitely, a hoop skirt is one of those things you've got to wear like you mean it, and I did, even if only over my shoulders, "Ho-hum, I always walk around like this." A few people even complimented my style. Heh. The skirt does look a bit like fairy wings, far from Björk swan-dress-worthy, but the next best thing on a budget and impromptu. Best of all, I felt Björkish.

And a bit of breaking news...

You know how I'm always wearing my magic loupe, right? Ninety percent of my all my photos feature it, and if you can't see it, it's probably tucked inside my clothing. O made it for me as a talisman and reading aid and I never leave home without it. 

If you've met me in real life, you'll have seen it in action. Often it is passed around the restaurant table as we order or in thrift shops to read labels. No one wants to fumble around for reading glasses on the fly (or admit we need them at all) when I have the magic loupe at hand. And I use it all the time for checking photo previews on my camera. 

Well, O decided to start selling them in an Etsy store. They are just like the one I wear. Knowing how much time he put into crafting mine, I thought there's no way he could make them affordable, so I was shocked when he told me they'd be $175 Canadian (that's about $130 US). He streamlined the process a bit but still...

He manually turns the stainless steel on a watchmaker's lathe, he hand polishes all the metal parts, including the screw, and he even hand turns the magnifying lens to get the size he wants. 

That's a closeup of what they look like below, C$175 (US$130). It's such a minimalist design it looks great on men and women - architects, scientists, designers, photographers, shopkeepers, anyone who needs a quick vision fix. Some people mistake me for a pro photographer because of my loupe.

AND, he started to make rings, like the ones he made me, also to sell. He has made three different designs featuring an industrial ruby and stainless steel shaped with a milling machine and manually turned on his lathe. They are hand polished, all in size 6 3/4 (17mm).

Below, Style A, with angled surfaces on the top and sides of the ring, C$490 (US$362). 

Below, Style B, C$490 (US$362). The outer band is smooth but he angled the sides.

Below, Style C, C$390 (US$288). This is his most simple design. In this photo you can really see the high polish. There is something called a mirror finish, but this is a higher level of polish called a black finish, which is often used in very high-end watchmaking. 

Every time I wear my rings I get compliments. There is so little contact between the ruby, the band, and your finger that the stone absorbs maximum light, which reflects an intense red glow. This is definitely a good luck ring that brings me lots of positive energy.

Opening Etsy was pretty scary. Heh. I hope we got it right (I helped). O's production is limited, only one or two of each ring design and four of the loupe at this point. His shop, Fine Metalwork Studio, is HERE. It would be so cool having Louped Sisters - not that I don't already, hahaha!

And back to what I wore...

Below is a variation of the outfit I wore to the big fundraising event I wrote about in my previous post.

This is a vintage '80s silky pyjama suit in neon orange with bright fuchsia dots and linebacker shoulders. I wore it with my thrifted pussy-bow Scotch and Soda blouse, D&G shoes, and the magnificent ruby-red velvet coat, which was a generous gift from Fairy Thrift Sister Su's personal stash. 

If I were to hear the line, "Hey, lady, the '80s called, they want their suit back," I would respond, "Pardon me, the 2000s called, they want their clone back." I feel so empowered in this suit, I suspect I won't need this line, but it's best to be prepared I always say. Plus, the padded-shoulder gyrations, triggered by intense '80s flashbacks, are of such magnitude that it's likely nobody could maneuver safely into earshot when I'm on the move in this splendid number.

And below, something I wore last week as well, a black lace dress bought at a sample sale, Totem brand I think. I removed its black sewn-in slip that morning and instead wore a lacy vintage bright red slip which I mitten-clipped to shorten into a swag. And those are Fluevog shag boots, Jericho, in black, bought at a consignment shop. I also have them in bright green. 

Coincidentally, this vintage graphic coat was also a generous gift from Su. Her gifts are absolute favourites in my closet. Hugs, Su!

I felt a bit odd in this outfit. It's very, hmm, tidy I suppose. Or wrapped up or ordered. Maybe it just feels slightly magaziney, which is not my usual style. But I still felt empowered, which probably had something to do with my hair being its peaky best.

Maybe this outfit is too modern-ish. I'll probably wear it again though, when I'm in a weird mood.

And a laugh, in case you've forgotten that that's what I usually look like when I'm with my friends.

Finally, I spent a lovely day with Vancouver Barbara recently, which included booze and breakfast, not necessarily at the same time, and I am happy to report that she is now on Instagram HERE. At last you'll be able to share in her amazing sewing creations and artistry. 

Of course I'll be linking up to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. I'll see all youse guys there. 

I hope you have had a stellar week. Life is topsy turvy here, but what's new?

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