Archive for July, 2012

YYZ: Can Can

Look what I learned how to do today! (I know, I know– J already knows all this and could do it in his sleep, but it is a BIG DEAL to me!)




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flower-y dress for flower-y day

Yes, it is true. In the last 2 days the sun has finally come out and summer time* is here in London just in time for the big games. So rather than posting the few shots I had from when it was still frosty earlier in July, I thought I would post from the last two sunny days.

My Mum’s vintage shoes

The vintage shoes

Eifell Tower (my Nan’s)

As I said we had two hot sunny days, the above was the dress i wore on Monday. Below was the outfit I wore today. Both days saw temperatures reaching 28C. Wowzie.

Both these outfits were purchased in my post-test excitement on Saturday. Yes,  I said test. I took the “Living in the UK” test on Saturday. I passed. I even did it with a hang over which I think is actually a prerequisite as someone who wants to live in the UK. Anyway, after it was over, I happened across one of my favourite boutiques – Handmade & Found which was closing down. So, I felt justified in buying 3 dresses/shirts and a new spring/autumn coat — YAY!  Both of these dresses in the post were from the post-test retail therapy purchase.

Earrings from a recent NYC purchase

Is it a dress or really just a shirt? I had to be careful about bending over. VERY.

* While YYZ already used this title, I felt I was entitled to use it again because J and I just went to see Porgy & Bess at the ENO a week ago Saturday. Plus it gives me a reason to show you the cool interior of the ENO.

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YYZ: Wishin’ & Hopin’

As you read this, Gentle Reader, I am out west, “helping out” S & S with their wedding plans.
(That’s the goal, anyway– hopefully we are a help and not a hindrance!)

I am with 15 other women, including my mother and grandmother, the bride’s sister, mum, some cousins and my baby brother, the lone male.
Sounds like a wild ride, doesn’t it?

Here is what I wore to run some errands in preparation for the trip– wedding veil supplies, shoes to wear with my Karen Millen frock, hair pins, sunscreen, picking up my mother’s and grandmother’s frocks at the dressmaker’s, etc.

Wishin’ and hopin’ for a bit of sun on these pasty pins before Saturday!

In a bid to keep from having to launder stuff, I was trying to wear things I was not planning to take with me to BC. Also, it was HOT. Thus, cool and comfy for running around.

Outfit needs a cuff, but it’s too darn hot to wear one!

Tunic: Joe Fresh
Shoes: Cortez, by Levity (a DSW private label)
Clutch: Ann Taylor Loft 

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I have never so aptly named a blog post. I’m feeling pretty smug right now. Plus doesn’t just hearing that  title make you want to go listen to it. Anyway …

YYZ knows it has been raining ALOT in the UK. It basically rains daily and we’re lucky if it gets up to 18C at that hottest point in the day. So dressing is really weird. I look at the calendar and I think summer dresses, but frankly I would freeze my ass off if I went prancing out the door in all the beautiful frocks YYZ has been sharing. So, one has two choice:

  1. wear summer dresses but layer with lots of coats, cardies and TIGHTS OR
  2. wear your year-round wardrobe

So, when I saw this leather and jersey dress in a little shop (Saint Best) around the corner from my house, I thought “good idea”. It’s leather – thus inappropriate for summer weather in Canada, but not here. It’s white and short sleeved so feels more summery. The perfect combination for our weather. There really was little need for justification.

As you can see it kind of shows off my tummy, but I like the fun casual style. Unfortunately, I look a little dorky in this shot as J forgot to wait until I smiled. Oh well. You see what I mean about lots of clothes. I am wearing silver-sparkly tights, socks, shoes, leather dress AND a jean jacket. This is summer in London. Yeehaw!


Hyde Park (in between the rain showers)


A rather wide load


YYZ, do you remember the crazy brooch I’m wearing? I bought it from an artist in about 1992. I used to wear it all the time. I took it out for old time sake.

BTW, J and I took these photos a few Saturdays back where we went to the V&A to see the British Design Show. While London may have crappy weather, we definitely have some wonderful culture. We decided to join the V&A when we were there as some of these shows cost money. So, we’re going back to see this Ballgown show and this one: Britain Creates Show: Fashion + Art today. I am rather excited about the Ballgown one.

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Here is the other vintage frock. As you can see, it really IS “The Cat’s Meow!”
I love the 50s novelty print– I have a thing for all the groovy, “atomic” prints that were so in style for a while in the 50s. This one’s “cool cats” make me smile, Daddy-o — best of all, some of the ones on the bodice have rhinestone eyes and little beads for noses!
How could I possibly resist?

Once again, the Cardinal Rule of Vintage held true– this frock fits me completely perfectly. The straps can be worn in about 20 different ways– for these (terrible, dark, hurried*) photos, I just wrapped them around the bodice, Grecian-style.

I think I will wear the blue sandals you see here, and maybe the pink belt. I don’t have a belt in a closer shade to the shoes, so matchy-matchy is not an option. I also have gold shoes and a gold belt– may make the call at the 11th hour. (Meaning I will have to schlepp the other shoes out to BC with me…)

How do you feel about this option for Day #3, The Post-Wedding BBQ?  I’d love to wear a crinoline for dancing at the wedding itself, but I think this dress is more BBQ-y than wedding-y. What do you think, Interwebs?

Cool Cozmic Cats Frock: The Cat’s Meow
Shoes: 9 West
Belt: can’t remember…

*The angle of attack means that I cannot zip it up myself, so I had to get M to zip me in when he got home from work and I was in the middle of making dinner, so I snapped these babies while the oven timer was dinging it’s fool head off downstairs….)

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 Who else do you know who could, in one heart-stoppingly spendthrifty moment of unbridled insanity, go from having ZERO frock to wear to her brother’s wedding to having THREE frocks to wear???

The mind boggles, Gentle Reader.

Here’s how it went down.
I knew I wanted to wear vintage. (Don’t I always?)
Months ago, I took the plunge and bought a pretty 50s frock online.

Gorgeous in the photo, muddy in person. 😦

It arrived and the colours were a bit muddy in real life and it was too big and not easily alterable. I kept trying it on each week, hoping I’d like it better. I didn’t. Money down the drain.

I thought I’d wear my favourite dress ever, the 50s silk taffeta with the blue roses. I always feel good in it, but I worried it might be a bit too similar to the bride’s dress, as hers is also a tea-length, full-skirted number. Also, it is one HOT frock for a summer’s day. Also, I have to starve myself for weeks to be able to get into it (Weirdly, this only happens when I have a date set– at other times, it fits perfectly, but that is always when I have not been planning on wearing it…)

Life got busy. I had no time to shop. I was feeling pudgy and had no desire to shop. When I was out and about, I could see nothing I liked and everything looked and felt so cheaply made that I just got depressed.

I found a gorgeous Karen Millen in Dallas and bought it, but my heart was saying, “You’re not there yet….”

I DO love this one, but am afeared that the butt region will stretch out with sitting… It’s “stretch cotton” of a very high quality, but cotton is cotton, Gentle Reader. And I have the kind of back end that will cause some stretching! Don’t want to be Sister Baggy Ass in photos….

Obviously, only vintage would do.  I knew of just the place to go and splurge for a special occasion. This past Tuesday, I went there. The woman who helped me was AMAZING. I love a vintage store with staff who know their stuff. And she was bang-on with sizing, too– always a plus when shopping for vintage, given the vagaries of sizing and fit in 50+ year-old garments. We had a ball! She brought me shoes (Valentinos!) and a crinoline. She pinned and tucked and zipped and accessorized. She was a total rock star.

Naturally, the Cardinal Rule of Vintage* was (as ever) my downfall. Despite their obscenely inflated price tags (the shop caters to the carriage trade), I fell hard for more than one dress. The first one needed to be taken in a mile or so and I am leaving for BC on Monday, thus it was out of the running before the starting pistol. There was a red one that fit perfectly and looked great, but was just not special enough for the occasion. Had it been 1/4 the asking price, I’d have bought it and worn it to work, but I did I mention the extortionate prices?

In the end, it came down to two. I made my decision. I was strong.

 And then I wasn’t.

And so, for more money than I care to contemplate, I came home with two lovely, summery dresses. One is very Betty Draper-1960s,

the other is more rockabilly-1950s. I feel lady-like and ready to dance in both of them.

Here is the Betty Draper version. (I can’t get into the other without a dresser– I cannot zip it up myself! But I will make M zip me in and then I will take some photos to post.)
Accessories are a trial run– I think I sort of like the unexpected pop of pink and it solves the “my shoes are not quite the right shade of green” problem.

Modern shoes and a vintage velvet ribbon at the waist, to keep it from being too costume-y. (Not that I mind being costume-y–au contraire!–, but I don’t want to be the Sister Who Came In Costume to my brother’s wedding…

60s Frock with Bell Skirt: The Cat’s Meow
Shoes: Suzy Shier
Velvet Ribbon: Mam’zelle Swing

Bra strap will not be visible once I put in some strap-holders. Sorry this one is blurry– it’s the only side-view I have.

My crinoline from Paris is TOO STIFF for either dress, so I had to head to Kensington Market today to snap up an appropriately-structured one. This one is perfect, but I don’t love the colour with this dress.

So I fulfilled my dream to own a green-edged crinoline with this baby for $25! It also works with the other dress, so I won’t need to try to fit TWO crinolines into my luggage. No wonder people used to travel with steamer trunks!

There are three events on Wedding Weekend: rehearsal dinner, wedding, day-after BBQ. So, I can wear my three frocks. The question, Gentle Reader, is which frock for which event? Watch this space to see the other two frocks and to add your 2 cents to the decision-making process. 🙂

*If it fits you, you must buy it. The Universe wills it.

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YYZ: At Last

Sorry to keep you all (all 4 of you…) in such terrible suspense! 😉
I have been a teensy tad busy at my mum’s place, helping her spruce up her screened porch in time for last Sunday’s wedding shower for my sister-in-law-to-be.

I was sooooooo impressed by your guesses, Interweb! You really know me. Spookiest of all was PJs&Tea, who was nearly spot on, despite the fact that we have not seen each other in 20+ years….
YVR was mighty close in her detective work, too.

So, here are the ones I bought:

1. I was not going to go for these, as they were pricier than the others (hello? $85? PERSPECTIVE, woman!), but I have had them on every single day since buying them. I feel like a rich lady in them.

2. Wanted the grey and neon polka-dotties, but felt that these would be more practical.

3. Was TOTALLY torn on these babies– I vacillated between these ones and the Guess stiletto version. The entire population of the (vast) store got in on the voting process and these ones won out. A true sole sister (get it?) pointed out that the stiletto version is pretty common, but these 70s-ish ones are cooler. Even MEN were voting and giving me the silent thumbs-up on these ones. In the end, I felt like the stilettos were a bit more “me” but that it would be fun to glam it up, 70s-style in these babies. (I would come to regret this choice, but more on that later.)

4. Okay, I realized after posting the quiz that these ones are (snore) a bit of a red herring; I forgot to tell you that I was on a mission to replace my favourite neutral summer wedges, which are looking a bit the worse for wear. I wanted a rope or cork sole, comfort, and a neutral scheme. Sorry, I should have included that info in the quiz!

The ones I regret?
Yep, PJs&Tea, the snakeskin and patent sandals. Very grown-up and klassy. But I left them behind and I am okay with it. Now.

These ones, however, haunted me. I wanted them more than the rope wedges I ended up buying. So I went online and ordered them and made my mother drive to Niagara Falls, NY with me to pick them up at the U.S. postal address because I was too impatient to wait for kind Joy to mule them up for me….
Weakness, thy name is Shoe Addict.

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