Monday, May 28, 2012

Keeping It Simple

Behold,  Exhibit A: dressing for a hot summer day.  The individual elements are pretty basic - an unfussy dress, flats and cross-body bag.  It could be boring, but not in this case, because of the mix of colours and the details.  The dress is a beautiful colour, and has lovely feminine details.  The rich mustard colour of the bag looks great against the turquoise, and the funky green flats add visual interest.  The Verdict?  Polished and pretty!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Superhero Inspiration

Let's see - Indestructible Bracelets to deflect all negativity and mediocrity, and blinged-up X-ray specs that allow me to see into the very souls of my enemies, check
The gold (and silver) Lasso of Truth, which also doubles as a belt when not being used to force all the bullsh**ters out there to fess up, check
Attached shorts under skirt to maintain dignity and self-respect when flying through the air in pursuit of bad guys, and comfortable, yet stylish, sandals in case a ground chase is required, check
Yep, I think I'm ready to go save the world now...or maybe my neighbourhood...or maybe just a kitten up a tree.  No job is too small.
I'm wearing:  tank and cardigan - retail, golf skirt - thrifted, chain belt - The Sentimentalist, silver cuff bracelet - Forever 21, blue, black and beige cuff bracelet created by Debra Rapoport

And now, for your viewing pleasure.....
Many Thanks to Lynda Carter, in the guise of Wonder Woman from the 1970's television series, for the inspiration for today's outfit.  I love this video of her using a skateboard to pursue the bad guys.  It would be so cool to be able to spin around and suddenly be wearing roller skates and protective padding!!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Lin Zhao - London Designer

The woman in the photo above is London clothing designer Lin Zhao, who opened her design studio, RYCE Fashion Designs Inc. on Richmond Street in 2011.  I discovered Zhao's designs on my way home from work one day last summer when a purple dress she had in the window caught my eye.  When I went in the store, I saw that Zhao was wearing the same dress, only in white.  We ended up having a lovely conversation about her designs, which have clean lines, but incorporate unique detailing such as a tuck or a pleat in an unexpected place, or a drawstring so that the shape of a jacket's collar can be changed.  The pants and jacket she is wearing are her own design and are an example of a basic piece with an unusual shape

Zhao, originally from Beijing, came to Canada in 1998.  She is a graduate of the Dalian University for the Arts and Fashion Design, and her designs are carried in 300 stores across Canada.  Zhao produces two lines each year and each line consists of dresses, tops, pants and jackets.  She designs each piece, creates the pattern, chooses the fabric and the garments are finished by local seamstresses.  She also sells beautiful cashmere sweaters in gorgeous colours, and bags and shoes (not her designs).
Zhao keeps a sale rack of items that are as much as 75% off, which often has some amazing gems like this black summer dress that I picked up last year.  The bodice and skirt are relatively plain, but it was the gathered collar that caught my eye, and when you wear the dress, the collar stands up to frame your face.
I purchased this dark purple jacket from Zhao this past fall.  The fabric has a sheen to it although you can't tell in the photo, and there is a drawstring in the back of the jacket as well as around the collar.  The bracelet sleeves made it a good layering piece over sweaters when it wasn't cold enough for a heavy coat.

If you haven't stopped by Zhao's store, it is definitely worth a visit.  RYCE Fashion Design Inc. is located at 495 Richmond Street, Suite 2, and is open 7 days a week.  For more information and to view Zhao's designs, visit her website here.

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Thank You, Thank You Very Much....

I have been on vacation (actually, more of a stay-cation) this past week, and in addition to being away from work and all other semblances of a routine, I haven't posted to my blog since Tuesday. Despite my neglectfulness, the delightful Melanie, of Bag and A Beret, has seen fit to award me a "Blogger Appreciation Award".

Even though the award does not come with a free trip to Hawaii, or a set of steak knives, it is lovely to be feted by one's fellow bloggers, and it is validation that someone, somewhere, is enjoying what I do.
In order to accept the award, I must:

     1.  Thank the person who nominated you by linking his/her blog; 
     2.  Answer the four questions below;
     3.  Award the Blogger Appreciation Award to fellow bloggers;
     4.  Let the Bloggers know that you have nominated them.

  1. How long have you been blogging?   Since April, 2009
  2. Why did you start blogging?  To show off the people I saw in London, Ontario, who weren't afraid to stand out from the crowd
  3. What type of blogs do you like to follow/read?   Blogs by people who are intelligent, creative, don't take themselves too seriously, have a positive outlook, and understand that one's choice of outfits is a form of personal expression.
  4. What is the one thing you'd like to improve on as a blogger?  I'm always trying to be a better photographer

My Awardees:
     1. The wonderful Judith of Style Crone
     2. Creative Joni of Walking Colours
     3. Fellow vintage lover and former Torontonian, Grunge Queen
     4. The devastatingly divine Desiree, of Pull Your Sox Up

If any of you have already received this award, let me know and I will pass it on to someone else.

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Rainbow Bright

When I was at the Farmers' Market on the weekend I spied a bright flash of colour out of the corner of my eye, and it was this lovely young woman.  I had to do a couple of rounds to be able to find her again and as it turns out, she knew who I was, and I had photographed her before.  The colours in her tattoo coordinate perfectly with the colours in her outfit.  She told me I had made her day, but seeing her in her bright and beautiful colours definitely added a spark to mine, and reminded me why I started this blog.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Saturday - It's All About Sass and Sparkle

This is a completely gratuitous photo of me in my living room, taken because a) I liked the light coming in through my window, and b) because it shows the awesome drawing I purchased at an exhibit of work by my friend and local artist, Brian Lambert.  The background is a cemetery in New Orleans and the elderly woman in the foreground had some powerful mojo going on.  When I saw the drawing in the show, I figured you can't have too many strong women in your life, and she needed to come home and live with me.
I was feeling rather sassy myself yesterday, and it was finally warm enough to forgo a jacket!   I layered a summer dress over a skirt, and topped it off with the hat/fascinator I got at Fashion Crimes in Toronto last fall.  I took it to New York with me, where it was ardently admired, and it needed a outing.  The fabric is oddly flexible and can be twisted into different shapes, and it's all attached to a hairband.  Unfortunately, the hairband is a bit large, and it doesn't stay on very well.  Anyone have any suggestions on how to remedy this?  I don't have enough hair to anchor it with a clip or comb.

My friend Heather, who took the photos above, and I had our usual apple fritter at the Farmers Market and I saw a young woman in a kaleidoscope of colours and pretty much followed her around the market until I could take her photo.  She was very charming, and knew who I was, as apparently I had photographed her over a year ago.  Her photo will be my in my next post.

We decided it was time for a visit to Talize, which is a store similar to Value Village in that most of the merchandise has been donated but the stock is generally better organized and better quality than Goodwill.  The prices have no rhyme or reason, as they will charge $10 for a secondhand skirt from Joe Fresh, and yet the piece of beaded and sequined awesomeness in the photo below was $6....
The label says "Imported from the British Colony of Hong Kong", which means it was definitely made before 1997, but from the style of it, I'm thinking closer to the 60's when these beaded tops were quite common.  I've always wanted one, but they are completely impractical to wear; not only are they heavy, but also difficult to clean.  I liked the colour of this one, and the mix of sequins and beads (see closeup below).

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mutual Admiration Society

I first met this young man on a city bus, and fell completely in love with his fearless style.  He recognized me and told me that he, and his mother, are big fans of my blog.  When I ran into him today at The Sentimentalist, I figured it was time his photo went on my blog.  He reminded me of a modern Peter Pan in what he was wearing today.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Cheap Thrill

All thrift store shoppers have stories of finding that one incredible bargain - a designer piece at a dirt cheap price, a beautiful vintage item in immaculate condition, or just an incredibly flattering outfit for a couple of bucks.  It's the thrill of the hunt that keeps so many people going back to places like Goodwill, Value Village, flea markets, rummage sales, etc.  There is a little place in my neighbourhood called the May Court Shop, which is a consignment store run by volunteers, and the profits go towards breakfast programs for children.  On most days, the stock consists of primarily conservative styles from labels like Talbots, Eddie Bauer, Smart Set, etc. but occasionally, there will be an item that catches my eye, like this red spring coat....
The colour was great, the fit almost perfect (the sleeves were a little short), but the best part was...
Recognize the pattern in the lining?
Yep, the holy grail of trench coats.  Had it have been one of the traditional beige trench style, with a belt, I would not have been nearly as excited, and probably wouldn't have looked at it in the first place, but I was drawn to the orangey-red colour, and a simple, unadorned cut.  The coat itself was $15, it cost me $25 to get the sleeves let down, so a total of $40 for a Burberry, in beautiful condition.  It's the rare gem like this that makes the time and effort searching through racks and racks (or piles and piles) of stuff all worthwhile.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Roller Derby - The Style Off the Track

Saturday night the Forest City Derby Girls took on the Blue Water Roller Girls at the Western Fairgrounds.  The London team, consisting of members of the Lunch Ladies and the Thames Fatales, came out the winners, but there was also some winning style statements being made off the track:
I had barely found a seat when I saw this group who had obviously been inspired by the Mexican "Day of the Dead".  I love to see people at Roller Derby who have obviously put considerable effort into their outfits.
There were a couple of sombreros worn in recognition that Saturday was the Mexican holiday, "Cinco De Mayo".
 One of the Derby girls who was not playing was helping with the score keeping, and was decked out in a fabulous frock and shoes that had to be seen to be believed....
ZOMBIE SHOES!!!!!!!!!!(with bows, no less)
The Refs often add their own personal touch to their "zebra stripes"
This young woman had it all going on--pink retro-inspired hair style, bold colours, and awesome accessories (I was coveting her gold-studded boots).  She told me that she was from Chatham, and is part of a group of women trying to start a roller derby league there.
She definitely rocked a modern "Rosie the Riveter" look - complete with studded vest.  Her makeup was flawless, especially the out-to-there eyelashes.
Even Colonel Sanders put in an appearance! He's a "referee in training" and also plays in a band, in his Colonel Sanders persona

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Poised in Polyester

I haven't had any time to get out and get photos of other people this week, so you will have to settle for one of me from a couple of weeks back.  I'm wearing the "Madge" glasses, and a polyester print dress from The Sentimentalist that was surprisingly flattering, and comfortable, proving that on the hanger, something can be just kinda "um, yeah, it's okay" and then you put it on, and you realize, "YES, I can totally rock this dress!"  (with my pink ankle boots, wide belt, and a cardigan).  

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Vintage Heaven - Part Two addition to meeting some very stylish and interesting people at the Toronto Vintage Show, I also saw some fab vintage eye-candy.  I never know whether it's appropriate to take photos of stuff that a vendor has in their booth if I'm not going to buy it - some are ok with it and some aren't, so as to not make waves, I erred on the side of caution and photographed a couple of displays that caught my eye, a couple of dresses, and the things that I took home with me.

A rainbow of women's shoes drew my eye at one booth.  I was crushing on the green pair with the chains across the front
My friend and I discovered that staring at this dress too long caused serious damage to  your optical nerves.  The photo is not blurry; the pattern was on two layers of fabric that didn't quite line up.  The booth belonged to the woman in the teal silk blouse and the fierce hair to the left of the dress.
the owner of this booth found a creative way to display her neckties
So, the moment I laid eyes on this hat (or perhaps, more correctly, the giant feather puffball ON the hat), I knew that unless it was prohibitively expensive, it was coming home with me.  The crown is woven black straw, the band is patent leather (or vinyl) and the big puff appears to be some sort of feathers.  I'm not sure of the era - any of my more hat savvy followers want to take a guess?

The colour orange has never really played a part in my wardrobe but for some reason, this angora  cardigan sweater caught my eye, and when I put it on, the colour made me feel positively giddy, and it was soooooo cozy.   Of course, after I got it home, I realize that it's like owning a very large, orange, long-haired cat: it sheds on everything!  I wonder if you can vacuum an angora sweater?

The other hat that came home with me was this bizarre concoction of open weave straw festooned with leaf-shaped pieces of black & black and white fabric, stiffened so that they can be shaped. The label inside says, "styled by Jack McConnell New York", and when I did a bit of research about Jack McConnell, who was a well-known hat designer in New York in the 1950's (and continues to design hats today), I learned that this particular label design was for hats he created in the 1950's, and one-of-a-kind hats that were created for a specific client had a red feather tucked in behind the label.  The label was coming away from the inside of the hat, so there could have been a red feather tucked behind there at some point, and really, it's hard to imagine that more than one of this particular style was produced, but unless anyone out there is a Jack McConnell expert, I suppose I'll never know.  I just fell in love with the pure oddness of it.  It's a smidgeon too small, but I did wear it home from the show and was stopped on the street by a woman who asked if she could have her photo taken with me in the hat - I wasn't sure if she thought it was cool, or, she wanted a souvenir to show the people back home what crazy things people wore in the big city.