Friday, September 30, 2011

Reasons to Come Downtown This Weekend

There are a number of things going on downtown this weekend that deserve attention--first of all is Culture Days, a three day celebration of Art and Culture that is described on the official website as:
"a collaborative pan-Canadian volunteer movement to raise the awareness, accessibility, participation and engagement of all Canadians in the arts and cultural life of their communities..... The first annual Culture Days event was held in September 2010 in over 700 Canadian cities and towns and, by all accounts, was a great success.   Canada-wide Culture Days events feature free, hands-on, interactive activities that invite the public to participate “behind the scenes,” to discover the world of artists, creators, historians, architects, curators, and designers at work in their community."

I spent a half an hour on their impossible to navigate website just trying to find a list of the events going on in London with no luck.  I do know there are some cool workshops going on at the Grand Theatre on topics such as how to build a prop, be a backstage dresser and sing in a chorus.  Various library branches have events going on and Museum London held a big kick off party tonight. Check the London Free Press for a list of events.

Next, there's Roller Derby!  London's Thames Fatales and Luscious Lunch Ladies roller derby teams host a double header game on Saturday night at the Canada Building, Western Fair.  The Lunch Ladies, known fondly as the "Fresh Meat" team, will play Guelph's Royal City Roller Girls at 6 pm, followed by The Thames Fatales vs Montreal's Filles du Roi at 8:30 pm.  Doors open at 5 pm, tickets are $12 in advance, $14 at the door.

And finally, for all you vintage clothing lovers out there, the long awaited opening of "The Sentimentalist", Melinda Steffler's store that celebrates her love of all things vintage, primarily from the 1950's to 1970's.  The store is located at 394 1/2 Richmond Street, near the Richmond Variety between Dundas and King Streets and is open Tuesday - Saturday 11 am - 6 pm.  I dropped by today and had the pleasure of being her first customer.  I'll be posting photos later this weekend, but for now, below is a rather sombre photo of yours truly in a gorgeous jacket I picked up today and wore to a friend's art show tonight:

Thursday, September 29, 2011

What To Wear While Rappelling Down a Building

I was waiting for the bus at Dundas and Wellington this morning and noticed that there were people wearing pink capes rappelling down the side of One London Place.  As this isn't a regular occurrence, some online information searching was required once I arrived at work.  Apparently it is the first annual "Easter Seals Drop Zone London" fundraiser, and offers the opportunity for ordinary folks to rappel down the 25 story building provided they have raised a minimum of $1,500 in pledges.   Looks like fun...sort of.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Looking Great is the Best Defense

One of our doctoral students recently defended his dissertation, and he was not only successful in his defense, he did it with great sartorial flair.   A nicely tailored three-piece suit, accessorized with an elegant tie and cuff links, and you have an outfit guaranteed to impress any audience.  Congratulations Michael!

Sunday, September 25, 2011

From Her Closet to Your Closet

I had heard that a secondhand clothing store had opened recently on Wharncliffe Road, just north of Riverside so I decided to do a reconnaissance mission this past weekend.  The store is called "My Closet",  and my first impression was that it's very tiny, but the cheerful colours on the front of the store are very welcoming, as is the owner, Jennifer Knechtel.
Jennifer's shop has a small, but well-organized selection of what she refers to as "pre-loved" clothing.  Items are clean and in very good condition, and her prices are competitive with other resale clothing stores.  When I visited she had a nice selection of party dresses, purses, and some cool fall boots.
I would have purchased these Nine West psychedelic platform sandals if they had been a wee bit wider.
These size 40 suede boots were tempting as well, but the heel was higher than I could comfortably wear.  I did come away with a very cute flowered cardigan for $8 and a faux suede skirt for $10.  Knechtel is passionate about customer service, and will be adding new stock as often as possible, to ensure there is something for everyone's taste and budget.  The store is a short walk from downtown, the #2 Dundas bus stops almost at her doorstep, and the #20 Cherryhill will get you there as well.
The store is located at A-69 Wharncliffe Rd north, and is open Tuesdays and Wednesdays 11 am - 3 pm, Wednesdays and Fridays 6 pm - 8 pm, and Saturdays 10 am - 1:30 pm

Friday, September 23, 2011

On the Bus - Candy Coloured Kicks

Couldn't take my eyes off of the awesomely colourful Nikes paired with the patterned tights worn by the woman sitting across the aisle from me on the bus the other day. 

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Frugal Fashion for Fall

As of Friday, it's officially Fall, people!  I love Fall - the transitional season of chilly nights (throw a blanket on the bed) and crisp, cool days when you can wear a jacket, and real shoes before Winter reduces us to a shivering mass of pale, down-filled coat and Sorel-clad whiners pining for the heat of summer.  Given that Fall is known to be far shorter than the three months indicated by the calendar, I am taking full advantage of the layering possibilities the season inspires.  I found the Simon Chang jacket at the May Court consignment store on Dundas Street for $10 (score!), and wearing it over a hooded sweater vest I picked up at Talize.   Add jeans from Value Village and El Naturalista shoes from the Balisi outlet store in Toronto, and I have an outfit that cost less than $100, shoes included.

Speaking of secondhand shopping, FCF's project for this fall is to put together a comprehensive list of where to shop for secondhand clothing in London.  The list will be divided into Consignment, Vintage, and Used and I welcome your input as to what stores are included on the list.  We all know about the Goodwills, Salvation Army thrift Stores and Value Village, but what about those little consignment stores tucked away in the corner of a plaza somewhere?  I'm familiar with the majority of secondhand stores in London, but if you have a favourite out-of-the-way shop, and don't mind sharing the location with me (I completely understand a reluctance to divulge the location of your private goldmine of vintage), please provide the name and address, and if possible, the hours of business so I can check it out. 

Sunday, September 18, 2011

At The Car Free Festival...

I saw this man in his hand knit "horse" sweater and had to get a shot of the front, and then I got to see his friend's outfit as well.
Her cute dress cost her a couple of bucks at the St. Vincent De Paul thrift store, and his sweater was given to him by a friend. 
Artist Axl decorated the street with her chalk.  She recently participated in the Sidewalk Chalk drawing exhibit in Wortley Village.
You could do some yoga in the street
or get a smoothie that was blended using Bike Power

Friday, September 16, 2011

Reasons to Come Downtown This Weekend....

Car Free Fest, Oh! Fest and Doors Open London--three good reasons to make the trek from the 'burbs to downtown this weekend.  Oh! Fest is an indie music festival held in cooperation with this weekend's Car Free Fest, and Doors Open London.  You can find the schedule for both festivals here, and more information about Doors Open London here.   Free yoga classes, live music both days, the Forest City Derby Girls, and an outdoor screening of "The Princess Bride" on Saturday night; take advantage of what will likely be our last chance this year to get out and play on the street!   I'll be taking photos, so put on your coolest threads and you may find yourself featured on Forest City Fashionista.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Sew Simple, Sew Chic

I had the pleasure of meeting Anna, the owner of Anna's Tailoring on Richmond Street, last weekend when I took a dress in to be altered.  Her sleek short haircut and chic, head-to-toe black accessorized with a statement necklace are markers of an elegant woman confident in her own style.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Mesh, Revisited

I hadn't been in Mesh Boutique (located at 204 John Street, just off Richmond) since it had been sold to a new owner, so I thought drop in for a visit.  The layout of the store, which specializes in "designer vintage/retro consignment" has been changed for the better and is now one large space with the counter at the rear of the store.  Stock was attractively merchandised, and very organized.  The only negative thing I could say is that I've never understood why secondhand clothing by labels like H&M is considered 'vintage', especially given that it's cheap to begin with, and tons of it can be found in every Value Village, and unfortunately, there was still some of that type of thing amongst the store's stock. For the most part, there was an interesting mix of newer upscale used clothing and accessories for men and women, including some great coats and jackets.  They had a nice selection of little black dresses and I found a slinky 1980's number that was surprising flattering for $15.  The new owner, whose name is Rex, is very friendly and helpful, and wants to support local businesses as much as possible.  He is carrying jewellery by local designers, and bath products from Batty's Bath and some cute tops/dresses made by a friend of his.  If you haven't been to the store, it's definitely worth a look, and who knows what treasure you might find.  After all, the thrill of the hunt is one of the major appeals of secondhand shopping!
 Rex, the new owner of Mesh Boutique, rocks stylish checks and converse 

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Brown Biker Boots

This young woman and I seemed to be following the same shopping trajectory yesterday, as we first saw each other at Lovesick, where I took her photo, and then ran into each other again at Mesh.  It's so great to see young women who love shopping in vintage and thrift stores, and who know how to choose the right pieces that work for them.  The A-line denim mini, leather cross-body bag and the awesome brown biker boots (resulting in much boot envy on my part) with a simple long-sleeved t-shirt looks wonderful on her, very hip and youthful, without screaming "vintage".

Friday, September 9, 2011

Reasons to Come Downtown This Weekend....

aside from wanting to avoid the crowds of Western and Fanshawe students who will be packing the malls.  The Michael Gibson Gallery on Carling Street has an exhibit by respected local sculptors Murray Favro and Ed Zelenak.  The opening reception will be on Saturday from 2 pm - 4 pm and Favro and Zelenak will be present.  You can find more information about the exhibit here.   Both artists are inspired by everyday objects and I have been a huge fan of Murray Favro's work since I first met him in the 1980's.  He's a quiet, unassuming man whose delightfully inventive sculptures and installations often incorporate slide and film projections, light effects and other technology.

Fans of classic Country, Alt Country or Rockabilly music should drop by the Richmond Tavern on Sunday afternoon, between 3 - 8 pm when local country band The Rizdales are hosting their annual Round Up show, which is a pay-what-you-can, with all proceeds going to the Canadian Cancer Society.  The Rizdales will be joined by Toronto band The Millwinders, Vancouver's Joe Fournier, and London's own The Woody Allens.  The Richmond Tavern is located at the corner of Richmond and King Streets downtown, and is not as scary as it looks.  I've been to quite a few Rizdales' shows there and the crowd is usually an amiable mix of ages and sensibilities, there to enjoy the music and quaff a beverage.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011


This young woman is doing the current trend of wearing a sheer long skirt over something short, and while I haven't liked this particular look when I've seen it in magazines, I do think it looks cute on her, especially with the floral print of the skirt, and the lacy mini-poncho, so it looks sweet rather than sexy.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Style Mashup

I love the mix of style influences this young woman has incorporated into her outfit--Victorian-style blouse, schoolgirl plaid skirt, modern tattoos, 50's glasses--and it all works together.   My personal favourite of her tattoos is the one of a Russian Babushka doll on her hand.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Lovesick Relocates to Richmond Row

If you've been following this blog, you know that Lovesick, the vintage clothing store owned by Kim Petrie, is one of my favourite places to shop.   I was surprised, and delighted, to see that Kim had moved her store from its Wortley Village location to a new space on Richmond Street, near Piccadilly.  If you had visited her store before the move, you know that it was cramped, and difficult to move in if there were more than two customers in the store at once.  The new location is large and bright, with lots of rack and display space (see photos below), and a full-size change room.  She will also be accepting debit and credit cards in the near future--all good news for her customers.  Her selection of vintage clothing, hats, shoes and jewellery is amazing, and her prices very reasonable.  I picked up a pair of brown brogues which were on my list of "wants" for fall. The address is #2 - 723 Richmond Street, and for the time being, you may want to call (519) 438-1186 for her opening hours.