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Posts Tagged ‘sundress’

…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.

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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:

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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.

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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

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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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Happy New Year!

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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.

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

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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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let me, let me, let me get what I want this time.

This dress caused quite a stir at work today, and not just because it was better suited to a day with a temperature a good 10-15 degrees warmer than today’s temperature!

People liked the colours, the cheeriness, the cut.  Several people liked the painterly quality. BMad liked it so well that he had me drop in to his Grade 12 Art class so that he could remind them of pointillism, Seurat, and this painting. Of course, that made me think of this.

How has less than a month of school ERASED any signs of being well-rested garnered via a YEAR away from work?! Blimey.

Dress: Suzy Shier
Blue Belt: Ardene
Orange Belt & Plum Bangles: H&M
Shoes: Globo 

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Today was Trial Return To Work Day, in WSIB parlance.
It was also Exam Take-Up Day.
Double whammy.

Things were going well for the first 45 minutes to an hour.
After that, my foot started to send messages to my brain.
Those messages went something like this:
“?????………WTF??!!!!!!!!

Here you can see how I tried to make Frank work with the dress code.
Klassy.

Messy office backdrop! One day we'll get drawer-fronts built...

Shrug: Smart Set
Dress & Cuff: H&M
Shoe: SoftMoc (Dear me, how the mighty are fallen…off their Sonia Rykiel wedges.)

Goofy shoes? Goofy pose.

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YYZ: Summertime…

…and the livin’ is easy….

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A truly lovely, hot summer night spent with friends (A&Y, BMad) eating yummy Indian food and sipping cold wine by candlelight, under the stars. This is what summer is supposed to be.

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Dress: Made by me from a vintage pattern
Belt: Ardene
Cuff: H&M
Shoes: Anne Klein
(They are, by virtue of their strappiness, what LHR calls “receiving shoes.”)

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I had to laugh when I read LHR’s post about living in the coolest ‘hood in the UK. I laughed for two reasons: 

1. She and J have a knack for living in such places — when she and I first moved in together here, our neighbourhood (the intersection of College and Clinton Streets, to be precise) was pronounced that year to be the “hippest” intersection in the world. Somewhat hyperbolic,  but at the time, it was a pretty cool spot.

2. I, too, live very close to another epicenter of Hip Young Chicness– Ossington Avenue between Dundas and Queen Streets.  I also get all inspired by the Hip Young Things and want to wear the same goofy, quirky, ironic outfits they wear (many of which appear to have been taken wholly or in part from LHR’s and my closets circa 1984….).

Heading out for dinner and some wine with my pal S, I had to figure out what to wear that would a) be age-appropriate (ish— let’s not get carried away, after all!),
b) stylish and hip  and maybe a little funky; going out on Ossington affords me the chance to wear things that I can’t wear anywhere else— but it is a fine line to walk between this final aspect and a) above.

I started with this dress, by Juma, bought recently with LHR.

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M zipped me up and, as I was walking away from him, said,
“Um, is that what you wanted to achieve?”

“It’s a bubble dress,” I explained patiently, “This is how it looks.”

“No,” says he, “Was it what you meant to achieve at the back? Have you seen it from the back?”

No, I had not seen it from the back. So I went and looked.
Uh, yeah… M had a point.
At the back, the band around the bottom of the dress is slashed , top to bottom (for ease of walking, I imagine) and so, when I hiked it up into what I thought was a clever, funky, new way to wear it, the slash in the back of  the band ended up sitting in a somewhat compromising position… Ahem.

In the immortal words of Gilda Radner, “Never mind.”

So, I raced around, trying to cobble something else together. I was really set on wearing what I call my “Love Is A Battlefield” boots (the very young girl who sold them to me had no idea what I was talking about… Imagine never having heard of Pat Benatar!) in a pathetic misguided bid to mix summer and winter looks the way the Hip Young Things do.

Here’s what I ended up wearing:

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Dress: DKNY Jeans
Boots: Guess
Blue Cuff:  Le Chateau
Black Cuff:  H&M
Ring: Paris vintage shop

In the end, I think the boots will get one more try; I’ll wear them in the fall/winter with tights or trousers, but they do not look good with bare legs, as you can see. If they are unsuccessful in my fall/winter attempt, I will eBay them and make some room in the closet.  

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