Friday, December 30, 2011

Beatnik Meets Heavy Metal

I've purchased some pretty funky and inexpensive clothing at Mesh lately, and had been meaning to do a post featuring some of these fabulous finds for a while now.  Please excuse the awkward posing in the photo above--I was attempting to show off the red slap watch I picked up for $10 at Laguardia airport, and the spooky skull ring I found at Aldo Accessories.   The real stars of the outfit are the faux fur vest and metal studded skirt, both from Mesh.  The vest reminds me of something that Sonny and Cher wore back in their "I Got You Babe" days, so I resisted pairing it with a pair of flared jeans and platform boots.  If you haven't visited Mesh yet, it's definitely worth going, as Rex has been getting all kinds of great stuff in, from vintage fur collars, unique bags, clothing from local designers and pretty party dresses.  Mesh is located at 204 John Street, just off Richmond St.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Stylish Skeptics

I was in Toronto today to see the Grace Kelly exhibit at the TIFF Lightbox, and the Pina Bausch film by Wim Wenders that was also showing there.  The Grace Kelly exhibit was worth seeing--she starred in two of my favourite films, Rear Window, and To Catch a Thief, but I have always been a die-hard Elizabeth Taylor fan, as I found her much more interesting and exotic looking than the cool, blonde Kelly.  The Pina Bausch film was stunning, and if you are a dance fan you should try to see it.  Anyway, the only thing that this has to do with the photo above is that being in Toronto today (without my camera for a change) reminded me that I hadn't posted this photo that I took the last time I was there.  One of my favourite colour combinations is gold and teal blue, and if you put that on a redhead, well, you can tell by her stance that she knows she's got it all goin' on.  He was much more subdued, but had his own geek chic style.  It seems by their facial expressions that they were both rather skeptical as to why I was taking their photo, so hopefully they will see it posted, better late than never.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Right Way to Wear Orange Pants

It makes me happy to see men that incorporate a bright block of colour into their outfit, especially when the bold colour is their pants.  It takes chutzpah to pull off orange pants, but when they fit well, and are paired with neutrals like the brown shoes and dark sweater and jacket, they turn a nice outfit into a "Wow!" outfit.   Kudos to you sir!

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Maxi-mum Polyester

Neither the I, nor the weather, was feeling much in the Christmas spirit today, but as I had an invitation for dinner with friends, I decided to adopt the "fake it til you make it" philosophy.  I had found this 70's polyester maxi-dress at the May Court Shop for $7 last month, and had set it aside to wear on Christmas as a tribute to the fabulous Vix, of the blog Vintage Vixen.  Vix, who lives in the UK, loves her maxi-dresses and looks like a million bucks in clothing that she finds for next to nothing at charity shops and car boot sales.   Below is a shot of her I borrowed from her blog (with her permission)
Vix, in all her polyester glory.  Actually, she's wearing a jumpsuit, not a maxi-dress, but the point is that she loves dressing up, and her style is joyful, eco-friendly, and downright brilliant.
Photo from Vintage Vixen
The flower headband from Weezi Design Studio seemed the perfect accessory for the dress, and generated some smiles while I was waiting for the bus. 

In The Spirit

Who can resist great smiles, and festive headgear?

Friday, December 23, 2011

Silent Night at Dollirium

On December 16th a new show opened at Dollirium, the Art Doll Emporium owned by Jacqui Gallant.  The show is called "Silent Night", and features dolls created by Jacqui Gallant, Sheri DeBow, Sarah Legault, Karly Perez, Kerry Kate, DC comics artist Tom Taggart, Lana Hicks, Michelle DiPinto, and local tattoo artist Mike Austin.  In reference to the Christmas season, there are also some colourful and creepy ornaments created by Tom Taggart for sale.  The show runs into January, and if you haven't had the opportunity to see a show at Dollirium yet, this is your chance to see (and purchase!) some unique and beautifully detailed dolls that definitely have more personality than the baby or barbie dolls from your childhood.
I love the rabbit fur hair on this interpretation of the Red Queen by Jacqui Gallant
Lana Hicks dresses her dolls in gorgeous outfits with delightful details such as the cat face mary janes worn by the doll in the photo above, titled "Mixie Mayhem".
Another of Lana Hick's dolls, titled "Neko"
Detail of "Neko"
One of my favourite doll artists, Sarah Legault, created the "Dragon Lady" in the photo above.  Her dolls have a primitive style, and are always dressed in luxurious fabrics
Mike Austin contributed his "Creepy Sailor Jerry" to the show
California artist Sheri DeBow's dolls remind me of the artist herself with their masses of tangled blonde hair, large eyes and full lips.  The one above is titled, "Hannah, with her picture still looking for mama"
Another of DeBow's creations titled "Blessed Virgin Mother's Heart", made of German polymer clay
Karly Perez hand dyes the fabric she uses to make the clothing for her dolls and whatever she used to dye the fabric for the dress worn by "Hedda" above,  makes the doll smell like brown sugar!
A reader had asked what size the dolls were, so I have included this photo of the exhibit space to give an idea of their scale.  Most of the dolls are between 12" and 20" in height.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Channelling Dr. Zhivago

I was told by someone that the outfit I'm wearing in the photo above reminded them of one of those Russian nesting dolls, so when I stopped by Lovesick and saw this fur muff, I had to borrow it for a photo as it went perfectly with the Russian theme.  The skirt, which I purchased from Lovesick a month or so ago, is a beautiful fur-like fabric with gold and pink embroidery.  The pink felt collar I'm wearing came from a store in Toronto called Lady Mosquito, which carries very cool accessories made in South America.  The fur muff, which unfortunately doesn't show up very well in the photo, can be purchased at Lovesick.  Thanks to Hailey, the customer who was nice enough to pause her browsing to take the photo.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011


The same day that I photographed the woman in the post below this one, these two young women were singing at the London Farmers' Market.  They had lovely voices and I sat for a while enjoying their music.   I realized I had photographed the young woman on the left at the Market several months ago.  Apparently, I never forget a face...names, well, that's another story.


Are those knee-high sheepskin boots cozy-chic or what?  The leggings she's wearing are also pretty fab--she bought them in Greece, and the fabric is a mix of mesh and solid knit.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

At The Met - The Last Hurrah

By the time you are reading this, The Metropolitan Artisans Market will be closed.   For 9 months the place was a unique and positive addition to the downtown core.  I spent quite a bit of time there; first shopping, and then getting to know the vendors.   They couldn't get enough customers to keep it going, although I'm sure the irony was not lost on any of the vendors that the last two weekends they were open were the busiest weekends ever, with many customers who remarked that they were not aware the place even existed, and it was too bad they were closing.  Ah, well....
Blue Christmas (tree)
 Sarah Scope and friend rocking out

The atmosphere this weekend was festive, with Christmas decorations, live music and an opportunity to have your photo taken with the original MET sign, but there was also sadness over the loss of a location where they could display and sell their creations, and where friendships and business contacts had been made.   I will miss my regular weekend visits with Candice, Amber, Ann, Chris, Sarah, Julia, and the other vendors, and I wish them all the best of luck in finding other opportunities for them to sell their work. 
 The young man on the right is wearing a vest made by the woman on the left.
Candice, of Dice Designs, with her ever-present smile, and fun and funky style.  She made the dress she's wearing, which has red dice embroidered near the hem
One of artist Julia Hansford's recent paintings on display at her booth
The FCF with Amber, of Jackpot Vintage - photo by Tina Beynen
This woman, in her lovely embroidered dress, was manning the WENDWOA (West Nile Disadvantaged Women and Orphans Association) booth which sold handcrafts made by women and orphans in West Nile.  After a few minutes of doing the "Don't I know you from somewhere", we realized we had both volunteered with the AIDS Committee of London approximately 20 years ago!
Jamie "Batty" Sabot coordinated perfectly with her sign advertising her "Batty's Bath" handmade soap and body products.
Photographer Norm Wilson gave folks the opportunity to have their photo taken with the original "MET" letters and get a postcard sized print for $5.  I was wearing my red wool 1980's dress that I found at Mesh for $10,  and it happened to match the sign, so how could I resist?  Thanks to Norm Wilson for the photo.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Green Means Go!

There was a new vendor at the Met last weekend, sharing a table with her sister, Erin, of Scissorkix.  Alice Opal's business is called "Green Means Go", and her upcycled vintage travel cases would make any boring business trip a lot more fun.  Using decoupage, stencils and fancy trimmings, she turns rather boring but sturdy travel cases into colourful, funky luggage worthy of a trip to Paris.
My personal fave was this bubblegum pink one, which started out life as a boring cream colour.  I would love to take this cheerful, girly case on my next trip to New York where I know it would cause much 'ooohing" and "aaahhing".   As Alice was wearing a very cool pair of boots, I figured I might as well show them off as well.  

Alice Opal's cases will soon be available on Etsy here, and in the meantime, you can contact her at:

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

At the Farmer's Market - Stylish Layering

I had noticed this woman at the Farmer's Market before because of the black and grey feather attached to her hair.   When I saw her this past weekend, I recognized her by the feather, and noticed that the rest of her style was pretty funky as well.  The combination of purple and black looks great with her grey hair, and the layering is functional and stylish.

Monday, December 12, 2011

Chic, Sleek, and Cozy

I am always on the lookout for unique winter coats--bold colours or patterns, unusual details or a striking shape.  Mackage, a company started by two Canadians, is known for its chic outerwear.  Jacqui, in the photo above, is known for her stunning coats (see another one here) and she found this Mackage coat on sale online.  Details like the large fold-up collar, military-style closures, and the shaped hem are trademarks of the brand, as is the sleek silhouette.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Shocking Pink

When I was last in Toronto, I spotted this woman sitting in the window of a coffee shop on Queen St. W. and decided I was not passing up a great photo opportunity.  We chatted for a bit and it turns out that one of her closest friends works here in London at Western.  Even more coincidental, her friend is also a friend of one of my co-workers.  Small world, it is.  Anyway, I think her shocking pink hair looks gorgeous on her!

By the way, Shocking Pink is an actual colour that originally takes its name from the colour of the lettering on the box of a perfume called "Shocking", which was designed for Elsa Schiaparelli.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Strategic Layering

One thing about the cold weather that I like (actually, the only thing) is that it requires inspired layering when it comes to clothing choices.  I've become a big fan of wearing patterned tights with a mostly black middle layer, then top the whole thing off with some kind of unusual jacket or in the case of the outfit above, a vintage cape.  I found the cape at Jackpot Vintage, and fell in love with the colour combination as well as the fact that it was woven in Wales.
Underneath the cape, a raglan-sleeve pullover made of diamond-shaped pieces of leather stitched together ($7 at Value Village) and a chunky silver necklace from the gift shop at University Hospital (who would have thought that would be a great place to find inexpensive and interesting jewellery?)

Guest Post - A Met Collaboration

I am having to post from my work computer as my home computer, where my blog photos are residing, is on the fritz, so to speak, which I am trying not to panic about.  Fortunately, one of the vendors at the Met, Sarah Scope, sent me this photo taken by Tina Beynen, a fellow vendor, of Jamie "Batty" Sabot.  Jamie is the owner of Batty's Bath, a bath, body and soap company here in London.  Her stuff is eco-friendly and smells delicious - I am especially fond of the Sun and Sand body butter. I love this photo of Jamie, which shows off her colourful, eclectic style perfectly, and the background goes so well with her knit dress.  Jamie also has a table at the Met until it closes on December 18th.

Thanks very much to Tina for taking the photo and to Sarah for sending it to me. Tina's business is called Sibling Rivalry Jewellery, and you can see her facebook page here.  If you see someone who you think should be on my blog and you are able to take their photo (please ask their permission and inform them what it's for) and send it to me I would be happy to consider it for posting.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Autumn Orange

Virginia has a delightful personal style, and her brilliant orange jacket and boldly striped stockings caught my eye as I was out for a walk on a gorgeous sunny Saturday.  Virginia is a devoted collector of fine vintage clothing, and she is generous with her collection; some is gifted to friends, some is used for costumes in local theatre productions.   

Monday, December 5, 2011

Arty Farty Party at the Sentimentalist

Store owner Melinda Steffler, and artist Jessica Desparois (right) were the co-hostesses at the Sentimentalist's Grand Opening party this past Saturday.  In addition to the cool vintage clothing and housewares that are always on offer, there were some tasty treats, and a selection of Desparois' linocut prints and funky cross-stitching for sale.  
Linocut is a printmaking technique in which a sheet of linoleum is used for the relief surface.  A design is cut into the linoleum and then inked with a roller and impressed upon cloth or paper.  Jessica's linocuts (two are shown above) have a cheerful and kitschy 1950's sensibility, with images of palm trees, flamingos, trailers, and cowboys.
Desparois recently learned how to do cross stitching, and pictured above is one of her small framed cross-stitched works that feature trailers as a motif.  
Three guys and a gal (the smallest Sentimentalist fan, and the best facial expression)
One of Desparois' animal-themed linocuts

Sunday, December 4, 2011

One of the BEST Gift Ideas Ever!

The photo speaks for itself--what an awesome gift idea for that forgetful partner, or friend's partner,  your dad, co-worker, etc. etc.  Of course, they will have to remember where they put them when they need them.  Available from Andrea of PeanutParade at the Metropolitan Artisan's Market until December 18th.  You can see more of her beautifully crafted cards and gift items on her blog here.

Signs of Christmas...Carollers!

These young women were harmonizing beautifully outside of Mitch's Treasures for their open house on Saturday.  Mitch's Treasures, located on Dundas between Elizabeth and Adelaide, has a carefully selected inventory of used furniture, lamps, and other decorative items at very reasonable prices. 

Saturday, December 3, 2011

At The Market - The Plaid Coat

I have run out of adjectives for this coat, so I'll just say that it's my idea of a perfect coat; great shape in a bold red plaid.  I like her updated cat's eye glasses too - a woman with great style!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Advanced Style on Film

Ari Cohen, author of the delightful and inspiring blog Advanced Style, has been working on a film with friend Lina Plioplyte that features the wisdom and style of the "silver-hair set" (as he calls them) he photographs.  He just posted the full trailer for the film on his blog here.  I dare you to watch it, and not be completely won over by these brilliant dames.  These are the women that provide my blueprint for aging.  As aptly stated in the video by Jean of the Idiosyncratic Fashionistas:  "young woman, you're going to be an old woman one day, don't worry about it".