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Posts Tagged ‘bargain’

…if it ain’t got that swing!

LINDY-HOP-e1302691178364photo source

Hello, Gentle Reader. Both LHR and I have been missing in action for many months. Life gets busy! I’ve been pretty occupied blogging over here recently, and LHR is up to her ears in work and puppy training.

BUT, in the meantime, I have also taken up a new pursuit, something I have always wanted to learn to do. Yes, at the ripe old age of (mutter mutter mumble), I have started swing dancing.

And. I. Love. It.
Seriously, I might be addicted.

destacada-lindy-595x360photo source

How I got into swing dancing is a long story, one I promise to share in another post, but you won’t be surprised to learn that it was clothing that got me started. Tonight I am off to my weekly Lindy Hop class with the amazing Natalia and Luis of Lindy Hop Revolution and I am going to trial run a new outfit. Yes, I am keen to learn to dance well, but I’d be lying if I said I do not spend a lot of time planning my swing dancing outfits.

Here is the thing that no one really mentions about the swing scene:
dancing that hard is Mighty Sweaty Work.
Which means that wearing the kind of original vintage clothing that got me started on this whole journey is simply not an option; you do NOT want to be working up a sweat in a 1940s frock.
Nor do you want to expose fragile fabric and seams to vigorous physical activity.

So, I am always on the hunt for outfits that are cute, have a bit of a retro flair (if possible) and are comfortable for dancing. Tonight’s outfit is the following:

swinglesson3

1. I quickly learned that wearing my hair up is critical; it is marginally cooler to keep my hair off the back of my neck. Tonight, I am borrowing a look from Rosie the Riveter— 40s girls wore headscarves to protect their pin-curl sets while they worked. Mine is not a full headscarf because I don’t want to be too warm; I left the top open and just tied the scarf around my usual messy up-do. That way, I get a retro vibe, but don’t have to go to all the work of setting pin curls.

2. I prefer skirts and frocks to trousers– first of all, they twirl nicely and (I hope) can serve to distract from the fact that I am frequently busy making a mess of my footwork or forgetting to listen to the music and losing count… Secondly, as long as one chooses breathable fabric (cotton!), they are cooler for dancing; I am all about trying to remain ladylike despite being all sweaty. This little frock is a cheapie from H&M– I don’t feel  bad about making it work hard.

3. Flats. Yes, I know. I have had to leave my beloved heels on the shelf lately, Interweb. Lindy Hop can be very fast. Heels and learning to dance do not mix. At all. So, I am always on the lookout for cute, flat (ish) shoes that look cute with dresses and skirts. They also need to be comfortable. For this evening’s lesson (for most of my lessons, actually), I opt for my Chucks. They are comfy and they are flat.

swingclass1

Headscarf: Ardene
Dress: H&M (I went a size up for comfort while twisting, hopping and twirling.)
Belt: Winners (also a size up)
Chuck Taylors: SoftMoc

swinglesson2

I’m hoping the hairdo holds up– I have plans to match an outfit to a buddy’s this weekend and I want to wear my hair like this. If it works for class tonight, I know it will work for my weekly Saturday night dance, too!

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So, as you probably know, Pantone (they are the official, world-wide gods of colour trends) have declared the colour of the year to be Emerald Green. Congratulations, Emerald Green– you deserve the honour!
If you have been following this blog, then you may have guessed that I COULDN’T BE HAPPIER.
I love this colour. I wear it every chance I get. It is one of my favourites. EVER.

Which brings me to this blazer. I love love love love it.
I love the inside (black cats on the lining!) and I love the outside.
I love the fit, the fabric and the way it feels when I wear it.
I love that I can put it with pretty much anything (yes, I do think that bright green is a neutral– don’t you?)
and I do wear it with pretty much everything.

Last week, I had one of those days when you get up in the morning and have no idea what to wear. Sometimes, if we’re lucky, the best outfits are born that way.
I have to say, I am pretty smitten with this one. I want to wear it every day.
It’s comfy, it’s cute and it involves my green blazer!

fashionisdanger

Blazer & Trousers: H&M
One-Shouldered (you’ll have to trust me) Top : Jacob
Blue Suede Shoes: Globo

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Did Somebody Say…

…SALE?!

orangeshoes

Okay, I was at the Dufferin Mall in search of paint chips for LHR’s cousin’s house (I’m helping her to do a bit of updating) and I ended up at H&M.
As you do.

And it is their mid-season sale.

And I am only human.

And these trousers were only $15!

sale

And the adorable-but-impossible-to-see-in-my-lousy-photos black, Swiss-dot chiffon, PEPLUM-ed shirt was only $20. And the hot pink little fitted blazer was only $30.

That is all.

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This tent er, dress is a current fave. For obvious reasons.
#hides_a_multitude_of_sins

layeredtights

LHR sent me some amazing goodies for Christmas, including these pretty pale aqua net tights. Not wanting to reveal too much, I decided to layer them over a pair of opaque tights in the same shade as my new (!) Kate Spade shoes. I snagged the latter in the sale at Holt’s– they were tucked away in the back, rather than out on the rack, so when the salesgirl said, “Why don’t you try a size 7?” and I said, “There isn’t one” and she said, “There’s a pair in the back” I thought to myself, “SOLD!”

necklacesblog

 The necklaces are made by a former student of mine who goes by the name of Pikay Creations.
I love her work and you can find her on etsy, if you do, too.

jewelrydetails

The fancy cocktail ring (cockatoo ring?) is from Target.

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Happy New Year!

feather&shoes
Nope, I haven’t been going naked, I’ve just been too lazy to snap pix. Here is a fun outfit I wore to cheer myself up in the face of the return to work this past week; I love the chance to wear polka-dots, and if I can mix in a floral it’s even better! It’s cobbled together from a couple of nifty little sale items I snagged at Anthro.

polkadottights

Blazer: H&M
Necklace Pendant & Dress: Anthropologie
Tights: Hue (gift from Santa!)
Shoes: Le Chateau

redeyefeather

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Yesterday I looked at the calendar and nearly fainted. Because yesterday marked the 3-week countdown to the Day-That-Must-Not-Be-Named.
Where the heck did the summer go?!
Suddenly, all my school prep and lesson-planning procrastination hit home.
Hard.
So, I did what I have heard grown-ups do. I went back to work.

Thing is, at a certain point, my brain just shuts down. It says, “Right, time to start making rookie mistakes. Time to confuse computer files until you are not sure whether you are in the latest version or one from 5 years ago. Time to re-do  a whole section of crap you planned during a boring end-of-year meeting and forgot you did because you shoved it under some other random pile of useless boring meeting notes. Time to rip your hair out in chunks. Time to quit.”

I have a maximum and it’s about 6.5 hours of straight lesson-planning. Sometimes I can do 8, if I’ve really got the mojo working. Anything beyond that, and I am just a blithering mess of a human.

Today, I knew I also had to go and order new contact lenses (so that I will be able to SEE my students, the gripping PowerPoint presentations and calendars covered in very tiny print that will make up my first week back to school). So I knocked off after the requisite 6.5 hours. Trouble is, I was wearing some old schmatta of a sundress I put on after rolling out of bed early this morning and now I had to go out in public.
I turned to a little something I picked up while I was in Dallas at a conference in June.

Lately, I have really been into ikat dyed fabrics. In decor, in fashion. Wherever. Thus, when I saw this baby on sale at Loft for $25, I had to have it! It’s cuter than I make it look– it’s linen, so it’s cool and comfy, but it is not well-suited to my, er, figure. In other words, it is square and so am I. Not a good combo. But I don’t really care! 🙂 It has a cute ruffle at the neck (that you can’t see because my photos are so rubbish), it’s cool, it’s linen so it gives me the illusion that I look Hamptons-y. So sue me.

Dress/Tunic: Loft
Shoes: H&M
(they replace my terribly battered silver sandals from years past)
Bracelets: gifts from my mum and MIL from Mexico
Necklace: Sirens (!)

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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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