Tuesday, July 31, 2012

Pride Comes in Many Colours - Part 1

This past weekend was London's annual Pride Parade.  I had walked in the parade many years ago, but since then have been a regular spectator.  This year I thought I would join the Forest City Derby Girls in the parade, and of course that meant putting together an outfit.  The above photo shows what I came up with.  I really wanted to take the sparkly silver cloud crinoline out to play, so that became the focus, the rest was just lots of colourful accessories.  We had to stand around in a parking lot in the blazing sun, for about an hour before the parade got underway, so I used the time to shoot some photos of some of the other participants.

Torque E Mada, dressed as "Yellow" in the Derby Girls rainbow

This woman was also going to be on wheels for the parade - on the back of a motorcycle.  I loved everything about her outfit, but especially....

Her decorated helmet!
This participant made a gorgeous costume for last year's parade that was all white; this year she decided to go for all black.  I cannot imagine the effort it took to make the costume, and then walk the  entire parade route in those heels,  with all that weight strapped to your back.

Unfortunately, we were near the end of the parade, so I missed the majority of it, which is the disadvantage of being a participant instead of a spectator.  More photos to come in Part 2.

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Cute Overload

I had just got off the bus when this group decked out in pastels and ruffles passed me, causing me to spin around in hot pursuit and convince them to stop for a photo.  I recognized their style as the Japanese street style, "Lolita", which is unfortunate to share the name with the main character in Nabokov's novel.  While his Lolita was all about looking temptingly sexy, this Lolita style is more about looking cute and elegant, incorporating pastel colours, pretty patterns, bows, lace and ruffles.  Apparently there are different Lolita style; the young woman in the front shows off a Gothic Lolita look.

After reading some of the comments that this photo was receiving, I felt like I needed to add some of my own.  This is a group of friends who happen to share a love of the Japanese street style known as Lolita.  Yes, there is a definitely a sweet and childlike element to it, which has resulted in some people seeing it as "creepy".    I'd like to think that if I had a daughter this age, I would be much happier to see her decked out in an outfit like this, and feeling confident enough to express herself, than if she was wearing a skin-tight mini dress and 6 inch heels, which is not an uncommon outfit for teenagers out on a Saturday night.  To me, that's creepy.  These young woman are dressing up for themselves, not to look sexy to men, and they are having fun.  More power to them!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Backward and Forward

I have a couple of friends who are known for wearing articles of clothing backwards and upside down, if they feel that they look/fit better that way.  For the most part, I tend to wear things the "right" way around, but this outfit inspired me to switch things up. I'm wearing my favourite summer pants, made of very thin cotton, with "pockets" which are actually open all the way down the leg so they provide excellent ventilation.  I am wearing a t-shirt, but the neckline was too low to be comfortable at work, so after some experimenting, I  threw on a crinkly vest back-to-front, and added my favourite chinese pyjama top.  Red sandals, red slapwatch, and patterned scarf on my head and I'm good to go, and kind of pleased with myself.

 I may wear this vest backwards all the time from now on.
vest and pants - From Mars
pyjama top - Value Village
t-shirt and sandals - Joe Fresh

As for the "Forward" part of this post, you have probably noticed that my blog has a different look.  The template I had been using wasn't working well on widescreen computer monitors, and although I liked the white background, after three years, it seemed time to try something new.  Let me know what you think - someone suggested that it's not as "modern" looking as the previous template, which may be true, but then again, there are lots of day's I'm not so "modern" looking myself!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Sweet Dreams Are Made of This

This woman was sitting just ahead of me during a music performance at Home County, and after staring at her dress for an hour I finally asked her for a photo, and, the obvious question, "Where did you get your Care Bears dress?"  She made it herself from her old bedsheets, and then her mother remade it for her after proclaiming that her daughter had done a terrible sewing job.  I don't know what it looked like before her mother got ahold of it, but I love the neckline, and that it's a maxi dress.  It reminded me of Vix, of the blog Vintage Vixen, who is always whipping up skirts and tops from bedsheets and tea towels. 
Yep, those are definitely Care Bears

Sunday, July 22, 2012

All That Glitters

This weekend was our annual Home County Festival of Art and Music (formerly Home County Folk Festival), and we were treated to music from some truly awesome musicians like Kathleen Edwards and the Joel Plaskett Emergency.  There were also the usual craft and food booths, amongst which were some old favourites, who show up year after year.  One of these is the booth for Daniel Pollak Accessories.  It's easy to spot in the sea of little white tents as it glitters when the sun hits it.  

His entire booth is packed with large vintage-style brooches, necklaces, and bracelets in all shapes and colours.   It's overwhelming for the unitiated - I remember the first time I found his booth years ago, I was transfixed by the sheer amount of bold bling, and must have spent close to an hour in an attempt to look at all the pieces, which are organized by colour.



At the time I first saw his booth, I really wanted to own one of the pieces, but they are relatively expensive, and as time went by, my taste gradually moved away from oversized jewelled brooches to simpler statement pieces in sterling silver or leather.  That doesn't mean that I still don't enjoy browsing through the riot of sparkly colours.

Mr. Daniel Pollak himself, modelling some of his own bling.   I heard him tell a customer that he will do weekend festivals right up until Christmas Eve.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Sittin' Pretty

Couldn't resist snapping a quick shot of this lovely woman in her perfectly polished summer outfit.  The brown and blue accessories just pop against her white dress, and I am so digging the shoes.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Cheap Thrills from The Big City

I had a week off, so I spent a couple of days visiting friends in Toronto, and took the time to explore a couple of secondhand stores in the Bloor West area of the city.  The neighbourhood is primarily Portuguese, and is populated with small bakeries, restaurants, used furniture stores, a Salvation Army thrift store, and a wonderful vintage clothing store called 69 Vintage.  They have another location on Queen Street West, but the location on Bloor Street has a room in the rear of the store that is full of clothing that is $15/lb.  The front part of the store contains the better quality vintage that is higher priced.  I found a beautiful black wool and leather jacket by Toronto designer Izzy Camilleri for $65 but it was so hot the day I was there that I couldn't fathom buying something for winter.  Instead, I bought this bold print shift dress that I wore to work, paired with a leather belt, my new favourite leather cuff, and my Art Company wedges (Curtise of The Secondhand Years has the same shoes, only in a different colour!)  It was a bit short when belted, but I figured when it's this friggin' hot, who cares?

The other item I purchased was this floaty, ribbon-trimmed cotton blouse, made in Mexico.  I've never been a huge fan of crinkled cotton but the blouse was just so damn pretty, and it was incredibly light and comfortable despite the stifling humidity.    I attempted to ground it's "floatiness" by wearing it with plaid shorts I found in the $15/lb room (along with the cotton petticoat from my "Frida" post) and my new grey leather Converse, but apparently it didn't work, as the first day I wore it, the wide sleeves and loose fit inspired comments from people that ranged from "You've got angel sleeves!", to "How much do you charge to haunt a house"?   Just call me Casper.  

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Sunfest - The Last Roundup


I had stopped to admire the woman's embroidered cowboy boots (see photo below), and she told me they lived in Detroit, and this was the first time they had attended Sunfest.  I thought they both had a great look, from her flat-crowned hat and gorgeous boots, to his bright shirt and waxed moustache.

 A closer look at the embroidered boots

This woman also had some kick-ass boots

Love, love, love the colour!  She found them in Kensington Market in Toronto

These two women were working in the Fairies Pyjamas booth.  I always look for them at Sunfest and end up taking something home from their booth.  This year it was the leather cuff that I'm wearing in my "Frida" post, and a great cloth shoulder bag.

Percussionist and vocalist from Vancouver's Five Alarm Funk in his Steampunk-esque goggles

I had seen these mustard yellow sandals in one of my favourite stores, but alas, they didn't fit me, so I was happy to see that at least one other person appreciated their cheerful colour and cool "old-lady shoe" aesthetic.

There you have it folks, the style from on and off stage that captured my eye at Sunfest this year.  Enjoy the rest of London's summer festivals - Home County is this coming weekend!

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Feelin' Frida!

I was inspired by artist Frida Kahlo when putting together my outfit today.  I have always been intrigued by Kahlo's art, unique style, and her life, and the film "Frida" starring Salma Hayek is on my list of favourites.  My blogger buddy Vix, of Vintage Vixen has been feeling the Frida vibe as well - you can see her tribute to the artist here

I've been having fun with my hair, adding scarves and flowers, and I've been surprised by how it positively affects my mood.   Summer is a perfect time to channel your inner "Frida" - just skip the monobrow!
I'm wearing:  eyelet trimmed petticoat - 69 Vintage (Toronto)
linen tunic/dress - From Mars
Belt - The Sentimentalist
leather cuff - The Fairies Pyjamas
fabric orchid - some tween store (5 for $10)
large ring - Tribal Mountain

Saturday, July 14, 2012

Sunfest - Hair's The Thing

Below-waist-length dreads on Itagui Correa, vocalist for the Miami-based band Locos Por Juana

I have known the woman on the left for years, and she loves Sunfest as much as I do, so it is inevitable that we will run into each other at some point on the weekend.  I photographed her last year wearing a pair of funky pants, and this year, she was wearing a cool dress with button details.  The lovely young woman next to her is her daughter, whose hair style is different every time I see her.  I asked her if I could take a closeup shot of her current style

This is certainly not a style that many people could carry off as well as she does. I like the contrast of the shorn side with the loose curls and tight braid. 

I think the mohawk, or a modified version of such, looks very cool on kids (and on some adults).  When the hair is curly, it's pretty much impossible to make it spikey, but I think this boy's shaved sides and curly top look great.  His Mom has some pretty serious ink.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Red Sails in the Sunset

As an intermission between photos of what other people were wearing at Sunfest this year, I thought I'd show you the outfit I put together that was the most fun for me to wear.  I got this fabulous skirt at The Sentimentalist and had been waiting to bring it out for Sunfest.  It was handmade and I think the rose and gold fabric is silk.  The temperature had dropped a few degrees and there was a lovely breeze the day I wore it which made the skirt billow like a sail.  My favourite articles of clothing are those that inspire a narrative, and wearing this skirt made me feel like I should be standing on a windswept cliff, scanning the horizon for my lost love's ship.   
sleeveless top - H&M
skirt - The Sentimentalist 
copper necklace - Lovesick
leather cuff bracelet - The Fairies Pyjamas

Monday, July 9, 2012

Sunfest - Bold Graphics and Bright Colours

More eye-catching outfits seen at Sunfest this past weekend - lots of white and orange!

I thought this woman looked stunning in her embroidered dress.  You can't beat simple black & white for visual impact.

Claudette Gravel, of Radio-Canada in Quebec, was the Mistress of Ceremonies for Le Village Quebecois.  She could be seen across the park in her brilliant yellow outfit.

From her outfit, it's possible this woman may have been performing with one of the bands, but at the time I took the photo, she was enjoying the music at the Quebecois stage and recording the crowd on her phone.

This woman found her sunny summer shift at Joe Fresh, and paired it with a pretty flower ring and cool earrings

 Gorgeous colour combination!

Flower Power

Sunfest inspires me to "kick it up a notch", so to speak, and I like to experiment with stuff in my hair.  Given that I have so little of it, there's not much I can do to change it except add things, like hats, hairbands, and in this case, some inexpensive flowers from some Tween store.  I had the green cotton bandana already, and clipped the flowers on at the last minute, thinking of blogger pals Sarah and Desiree, who are always accessorizing their tresses with huge and colourful blooms.

When I was headed to the park, a guy came up to me on the street and asked me if what I was wearing was some "60's Flower Power kind of thing".  I said, "nope, it's just me".

More sunfest style coming up...

Sunday, July 8, 2012

Sunfest - The Kids Show How It's Done

It's always so much fun to watch children at Sunfest and see how they react to the music.  Some of them stand back and watch, and then there are the ones who throw themselves into it and set an example for us adults of what it really looks like to have fun.   They are also often the best dressed, with the girls clad in the brightest, cutest dresses in their closet. 

This little dancing queen was completely in her own world when the music was playing, and she had the most fabulous outfit!

This little girl was quite happy to be above the crowd, showing off her adorable outfit

My friend's daughter happily posed for a photo in her new Sunfest dress

Saturday, July 7, 2012

Sunfest Style - The Performers

The best part of Sunfest is the music, and my favourite band from yesterday was Vancouver-based Delhi 2 Dublin, who play a driving, dynamic mix of Celtic/Bangra/Dub/Electronica that is impossible not to dance to.  I saw them perform twice yesterday, and consequently it was a three-shower, two-outfit day.   I love to see what the performers at Sunfest are wearing - the different cultures showcased at the festival bring a much-need punch of colour and variety of style to the Forest City.
Andrew Kim, who plays electric sitar (as he is above) and guitar in Delhi 2 Dublin, looked both cool and hot in his kilt.  I've said it before, and I will say it again - more men should wear kilts!  You can get them made from fabrics such as cotton/poly twill, and hemp to make them wearable in the summer.  I'm pretty sure that Kim's came from the online store Utilikilt

The woman above is dancing with the band Alpha Yaya Diallo.   In general, the performers from Africa are the winners when it comes to colourful, comfortable, heat-friendly clothing.  I love the colour and pattern of her top and skirt.

The woman from the photo above, offstage before the performance - it's obvious her love of bold colours and patterns is not confined to her stage wardrobe.

More Sunfest style to come.  If you haven't been there yet, you've still got today and tomorrow to sample what the world has to offer in music, cuisine and crafts

Friday, July 6, 2012

Sizzling Sunfest Style

This weekend is Sunfest, the first big festival of the summer here in London, and in my opinion, the absolute best.  Artistic and Executive Director Alfredo Caxaj brings amazing bands from all over the world to London for 4 days of music, delectable food and vendors selling everything from silver jewellery and batik dresses to straw hats and Raggedy Ann dolls (!!??).  The festival has been blessed with excellent weather for almost every one of its 18 years, and this year the temperature has soared to the mid-thirties, with a humidex of 41 for today.  With that kind of heat, there are some things that are essential for the person who plans to spend a day outside.    

The right outfit is of utmost importance - I found this dress on a thrifting expedition this week and the full skirt was perfect for dancing!  A wide-brimmed hat was a must, as were a pair of sunglasses, sunscreen, and lots of water.   
Dress - Salvation Army Thrift Store
"Lady Beatrice" vintage hat - The Sentimentalist Vintage store
Favourite lace-up sandals - retail

My friend Heather picked up her striped hat at the Bay - she was going to get an all-black one, but then had a "what would Shelley do" moment and got the pink and black one!

A pretty parasol is a great alternative to a hat - shade, and style savvy!

I'll be posting more photos from Sunfest all weekend. 

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Sunny Days, Smiles and Saucy Boots

I saw this young woman on the bus, and really liked her look, especially her gorgeous boots.  As we chatted we learned that we live a half a block from each other.  London is a very tiny place indeed. 

She got her boots from Modcloth , which is a website I try to avoid because I know I would find many things that I would want to own.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Seek Beauty and You Will Find It

The phrase that is the title of this post has been uttered in various forms by countless artists and philosophers, including one of my favourite photographers, Bill Cunningham, as part of a speech he made after receiving an award.   The phrase, or any variation of such, is so popular precisely because it is true.  If you look for beauty, you will find it.  If you look around you expecting to find ugliness, unhappiness and other such negativity, that's what you'll see.   As for me, I choose to find the beauty, whether it's created by Mother Nature or man....

The sunset at Point Edward on Saturday night after roller derby

To me, cars are things that other people use to get from point A to point B.  However, this 1963 Mercury Monterey stopped me in my tracks
Gorgeous lines, and lots of chrome, from a time when car parts were made from real metal - truly a work of art

another man-made work of art I found this long weekend was this lovely copper necklace from Lovesick.  The actual size of the pendant is just a little smaller than shown here.

I hope all my Canadian readers had an enjoyable long weekend, and a Happy Glorious 4th to those of you in the United States!