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Archive for July, 2009

Houston, I have a problem.

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I’d like to blame it on proximity to the Sufferin’ Mall, but I think that to do so would be irresponsible of me.
I’m pretty sure I am the only one to blame, here.

Here’s how it went down:
I went over to grab some supplies to start my work planning and, on my way to buy graph paper, I somehow got sucked in to the recently-opened Costa Blanca outlet. 

(Aside: you know you are cheap when you think twice about paying full price at the regular Costa Blanca, where nothing costs more than $30, and end up shopping at the Costa Blanca outlet...)

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I snagged some tops for $5 each and a (somewhat ill-advised) pair of high-waisted linen shorts for $12.75. Guiltily, I  took my purchases and slinked off to buy the graph paper that had been the goal of my excursion in the first place.

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At, ahem, Wal-Mart (OK, I KNOW!), I grabbed my graph paper and, on my way out (I swear!), I remembered  an embarassing conversation I had in the spring.

I spend most of my time in the company of teenaged women and so I hear/see a lot about what is “in” and what is “out” in terms of fashion. In the absence of a daughter of my own, I look to them to keep me current, without letting me slide too far over the edge on the “Mutton-Dressed-As-Lamb” scale of middle aged sartorial appropriateness.

 One day this spring, I and my group of 10 girls whom I see every day were watching “vintage” music videos on YouTube (in the name of bonding, not in the name of pedagogy, don’t worry…). In one of the tacky blast-from-the-past vids, there were some girls frolicking on the beach in tankinis.

The humble tankini provoked what can only be described as an onslaught of derision from my girls.
They were completely unforgiving about the whole tankini phenomenon 
(making me more grateful than ever that I am not currently a teenager in this age of “bikinis for everyone”! Back in the day, we wore one-piece bathing suits, with the understanding that there are really only about three women who can wear bikinis successfully alive at any given time in human history…).

I was gutted.
 I thought (and still do think!) the tankini to be the most brilliant invention EVER.
All the ease and comfort of a two-piece, but providing full coverage and concessions to hiding the chubby bits.  The democratization of the two-piece!
Brilliant!  
Still, when I tried on my bathing suit this year (back when we still thought summer might actually arrive), I took a long, hard look in the mirror and I knew the girls were right: the tankini has jumped the shark.  
I knew that I would have to make the leap and join the 21st century, age of Bikinis for All.
But I was not at all ready to even contemplate the “itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny” aspect of bikinis which tyrannizes the younger and hipper among us.
In short, I was afraid.

Today, I thought to myself that I might be able to find a vintage-insipired bikini at a low, low price at the Evil Empire. I wanted something with a HIGH-waisted bottom (see: “coverage” above) and a very structured top, sort of a 1960s-style two-piece, one that was really only the merest suggestion of being two pieces.

There was a sale.
There were some bikinis.
I was feeling brave.
I tried some bottoms and there were two that were promising.
I tried some tops and narrowed it down to a vintage-inspired bandeau-halter combo and a Missoni-esque print.
In the end, I chose not to invest in the bottom, remembering that the bottom of my much-maligned tankini would do just fine. I opted not for the vintage bandeau top, but for the Missoni-inspired one. At a whopping $9, it seemed like it would not be too terrible to take it home with me, on the off-chance that I have to show myself in a bathing suit in public this year.

If I stand utterly still and do not breathe, I might just be able to pull it off. 
(as is almost never the case, it actually looks better on me than it does on Judy–she’s a bit too rigid…)

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To reward myself for having survived the trauma of bathing suit shopping without having descended too far into a spiral of self-loathing, I snagged these puppies for a mere $15.

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YYZ: I’m Only Human

(I always hated that song, for many reasons, but it is the only song lyric I can dig out of my brain today. Sorry about that.)

Once again, the wonderful Couture Allure has posted a gorgeous dress and, being only human, I am consumed by lust for it. This time, it is a 1950s (are you sensing an era preference where I am concerned?) wedding/party dress. It has detachable cuff-sleeves that clip to the bodice to make little cap sleeves.
It is pretty much exactly what I would imagine for myself. I want it. 

Badly.

Here’s why:

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Even the tag (this dress has never been worn– how can that be? How can all those brides in the ’50s have passed up this beauty???) looks great!

And can we talk about the pleating on the bodice???!!!

Here’s the thing: if this dress were mine, I would want to wear it every day.
Every single day. 

And I would do it, too. 

You  know I would.

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… give me your answer, do….

I feel a bit like an elderly Daisy Duke, what with the shoes and the shorts… 

Not my favourite outfit, but I have been wanting to do some surgery on this shirt ever since I bought it and today was the day to do it.  The shirt was gathered at the neckline in the front (good!) and at the back (bad!), so I needed to take it in.
The gathered front & back thing is great on the long and lean, but anyone with more than a double-A bra cup just looks like she is wearing a tent as a result of all that fullness in the fabric.  Today I finally got around to taking the fullness out of the back of this shirt and, while it retains some of its tent-y-ness, it fits MUCH better and I imagine I will be getting  a lot more wear out of it.
It would be terrific on a hot summer day or evening.
I have heard such days and evenings exist, but where I live, we are still wearing sweaters and jeans and we are all busily building arks…  
Still, maybe next summer this shirt will come in handy.

Tonight is LHR’s last one in T.O. for a while, so a whole pile of us are off to The Drake for some dinner and some drinks.
I thought this outfit would be just right for hanging out on the patio; it’s sort of casual, but not just-rolled-out-of-bed casual.  
Will I be warm enough? Certainly not, but I am beginning to understand the bloody-minded approach to summer clothing one sees in the UK: “It is cold and damp, but, doggone it all,  I WILL wear my summer clothes!”

Also, perhaps shivering will burn up some of the many calories I intend to consume.
To every cloud, after all… 

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Top & Shorts: H&M
Belt: Danier
(A word about the belt. It is all wrong.
The one I want is one that I have long regretted giving away– to LHR! 🙂
I bought it in high school at my drama teacher’s yard sale and I wore it for many years, but eventually felt it no longer had a place in my wardrobe. Clever and stylish LHR, seeing what I could not– namely, that it is a timeless piece– scooped it up, with my blessing.
I have wished for that belt MANY times since and have never found one remotely as cool with which to replace it. That’s what I get for being too short-sighted to see the longevity of a stylish piece!
Thus, the wrongness of the belt you see here. Ah, well. LHR wears the belt better and more often than I would, anyway. :)) 
Silver Cuffs: Mexico, gifts from my mother and MIL
Necklace: Ardene
Shoes: Guess

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YYZ: Penny Lane

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I bought this dress last Monday for a whopping $25 USD.
I wore it out for dinner in Manhattan three days later.
On Friday night, I wore it to a party to celebrate my friend K’s engagement (and to meet the lucky man!).  

At this rate, even with dry-cleaning costs factored in, it is costing me pennies per wear!

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Dress: DKNY Jeans
Shoes: Guess
Cuff: gift from my brother
Earrings: so old I can’t remember for sure… Le Chateau, I think?

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In honour of LHR’s visit to the T-Dot, we got together with our best girlfriends at a reliable, yummy, comfy local stand-by: Bar One.

Here, for your viewing pleasure, are some shots of The Chicks, each one rocking her own, individual style.
(Why don’t we have a photo of MK??) 

L loves red and it looks great on her, as you can see here:

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M has always loved to play with clothes, as do LHR and I. She is fearless and has a flair for accessorizing, a flair that she extends to her beauty routine as well: it would be a frosty Friday indeed before M went out without her nails and make-up done to coordinate with her outfit.
Below, she works the Grecian Goddess look.
{Are those elephants on her groovy belt?! Love!

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In an unsuccessful bid to catch The Sartorialist‘s eye, and in an ‘evening out’ prep session frighteningly reminiscent of pre-Queensway semi-formal wardrobe frenzies gone by, LHR  and I thought long and hard about what to wear. As you can see from the Delta Dawn post, I ended up looking sorta Mall Girl-esque.  Funny that, given that the whole outfit cost under $100 and came entirely from the Sufferin’ Mall….

As ever, I digress.

LHR came ready to rock her cosmpolitan London look, sporting this season’s übercool short-shorts– she has the gams for this look, as you can see.

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Her amazing new (to LHR– obviously there’s no such thing as “new” vintage…)  vintage 60s top (for which she made a very successful exception to her “no patterns near my face” rule) and slick pinstriped BCBG shorts (thanks to her VentePrivée addiction) present a perfect example of how to mix vintage and current styles.

But she needed some accessories.

The perfect shoes, of course, were my Pour La Victoire numbers.
Alas, alack, we do not have the same sized feet.
Second best shoe choice? My gold 9 West stiletto sandals.
Same problem.
Luckily, I also have a pair of flat gold sandals that left enough room for the size difference to be but a minor inconvenience.
(LHR won’t say the same of the toe-thong, though.)
Given that she has such great, long legs, the flats actually looked cooler than the heels; lent her that ‘effortless chic’ look that we all work so darned hard to achieve.
Next up, a belt.

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My grandmother’s vintage gold fish scale one did the trick.
Earrings? The very ones LHR herself bought for me in San Francisco a few years back and which I wear all the time because I love them so. 
Finally, a great bag in an unexpected colour.
Thankfully, we had just returned from a very successful raid on H&M, which yielded the slouchy orange sack ($19.99!) you see here.

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We used it to carry our flats once we changed out of them a block away from the restaurant… Nobody’s gonna say we’re not practical.

{Wondering about the title of this post?  LHR is three days younger than I am. The “curls” part is pretty self-evident, no?}

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LHR: Delta Dawn

Knowing that the Sartorialist was out and about in Toronto, YYZ and I wanted to look our best JUST in case we were spotted.  If I don’t say so myself, both our looks had an extra-special touch (at least for 2 St. Catharines girls).

First we have YYZ looking fabulous in a trademark black and white strapless tulip dress punked out with a studded Betsey Johnson belt.  I loved the juxtaposition of the belt (which I believe is a nod to YYZ’s punk roots) against the softness of a salmon coloured poppy fascinator (very Delta Dawn). She completes the outfit with the black cuff (which is a must investment) and Steve Madden black patent peek-a-boo sling backs with cork heels.


If you know YYZ, you’ll know why the reference to Delta Dawn is doubly funny. Any guesses? 

While she may not want me to tell you this, I  must.  In typical YYZ fashion, she managed to snag that dress for really next to nothing ($10). This outfit could definitely be a major feature on the “get the look” page of any fashion magazine. YYZ is not only an amazing stylist (as you all know) she knows how and where to find a bargain.  A few of her secrets: the Dufferin Mall, her *always shopping* state of being and her ability to find the diamonds in the rough. This means she’ll hunt out a fabulous bargain in nano-seconds while regular human beings are left in the dust.

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What She Wore:
Dress: Sirens
Belt: Betsey Johnson
Shoes: Steve Madden
Cuff: H&M
Fascinator: H&M*
Bag: faux black snake-skin clutch 

*By the way the guy at H&M told us a secret that ALL H&M stores around the world have to sell clothing at the same price. So, if something goes on sale in one place, it should go on sale in another country. Hmmm.

 

 

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