Thursday, February 28, 2013

"Make New Friends, But Keep The Old....

one is silver and the other gold....."

Does anyone else remember that rhyme?  I don't even know where I first heard it (maybe at school?), but it has stuck with me all these years.  For the purpose of this post, the friends I am referring to are items of clothing and accessories that we love and cherish because of the way they make us feel.  Whether it is because of sentimental value, a favourite colour, or a truly flattering fit, we all have things in our closet that we wish we would have, or could have, purchased doubles of, because they get worn often, and we can't bear the thought of them wearing out, or a time when they no longer fit.

And speaking of old friends - I was in The Sentimentalist, visiting with Melinda, whom I have known for over 20 years, and she was wearing an outfit comprised of many of her favourite pieces, including her patterned dress.

Her favourite bracelets...

 and her kick-ass, go with everything, studded motorcycle boots

Our conversation about favourite outfits started because I mentioned that if I could only wear one outfit all winter, it would be a variation of the one I'm wearing in the photo above - black turtleneck with a funky vest or jacket, short skirt, colourful tights, knee socks, and lace-up boots.   The layers are great for variable temperatures, the short skirt and flat boots are good for walking, and getting on and off buses, and the knee socks are just plain fun.    In keeping with the theme of old and new friends, I've had the skirt for years, but the vest and boots are new acquisitions this winter and I have grown to love them for their comfort and versatility.

faux fur vest - trade with Melinda
skirt - Jacob (retail)
check pattern socks - The Rock Shop
blue boots - Housing Works Thrift Store

As much as I treasure the pieces in my closet that are old standbys that always look and feel good, I am always open to meeting new pieces...

Like this fedora, which I have been eyeing for months.  I've tried it on numerous times, and each time, end up putting it back on the shelf.  It's a beautiful hat, made of fur felt and in great condition, very reasonably priced, but somehow, we just don't seem completely at ease with each other.  If I am constantly aware of something I'm wearing, it usually means it's not meant for me.   The best friends are those with whom you feel like you can be yourself, and yet, every once in a while, they'll push you out of your comfort zone.

Do you have items in your closet that you consider to be old friends, that you could never replace, and always make you feel good when you wear them?

Friday, February 22, 2013

Out, Damn Blues!

I have been set upon by The Winter Blues, which are an annual visitors, arriving around mid-January, and making themselves at home until well into March.  Some years they are more draining than others, depending on how much energy I have on hand to fend them off.  So, following my wise and departed friend Helen's advice, I made a point of looking for the fleeting moments in the day that made me smile....

There is a secondhand shop right by my bus stop and they have a store cat that likes to sleep by the front door.  They put a cushion on the floor for him to sleep on and his "all is right with the world" napping position just begged for a photo.  Apparently the pink pads on a cat's paw are referred to in some cute-obsessed circles as "Toe Beans".  If you watch The Big Bang Theory, you'll know what song immediately came to mind...

"Soft kitty, warm kitty
little ball of fur
sleepy kitty, happy kitty
Purr, Purr, Purr"

After a particularly grueling week at work, I came home on  Thursday to find an actual ...parcel in my mailbox.  As I am one of those people who still gets paper bills by mail, getting something other than an envelope from Bell, Rogers, or London Hydro was worth celebrating.  It was from the ever-so-lovely Sarah Misfit....

It was wrapped in tissue from a Butterick dress pattern; creative, and environmentally conscious,  Sarah is!

Inside - a very cool book about a little rat who lives in a bookstore, and discovers that by eating books, he is able to read.  I'm not sure I'm going to start feeding Fred pages of my personal library, but it looks like a delightful read; two photo postcards by Miss Misfit herself, and a lovely flower brooch in a cute little box.  Sarah, your timing was perfect, and thank you, for ending my day on a high note.

This is what I was wearing that day.  The sweater dress was thrifted, and I wear it a lot in the winter as it is warm and layers really well.  I accessorized it with red, plaid, and silver, flat hair, and my best attempt at a smile. 

sweater dress - Value Village
turtleneck - Giant Tiger ($3!)
plaid leggings - The Bay
frilly slip - thrifted
Neosens ankle boots - From Mars

I am having a girl weekend with a good friend that is hopefully going to include good food, cocktails, shopping, and maybe even some dancing, so those blues can just go **ck themselves!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

A Trifecta of Cool

The space located at 122 Dundas Street already had its cool factor elevated significantly when Chris McInnis and his store, Uber Cool Stuff, moved in last summer, but for the next three months, the address has tripled the "cool" with the addition of Jackpot Vintage, and Heist.  Fans of the Metropolitan Artisans' Market (R.I.P) will remember Jackpot Vintage, for their fun knickknacks, and vintage clothing all at reasonable prices.  Heist, which has a store in Wortley Village, offers a mix of mid-century modern  and modern industrial, in furniture and home decor.

 The new signs in the front display window at 122 Dundas Street

I had a great chat with Paul, the owner of Heist, about some of the furniture he carries in his store, including the baby blue reproduction Herman Miller rocker on the shelf next to him.   Turns out we know a number of the same people, proving once again what a small town London really is.

 I've always had a soft spot for the 50's Philco televisions like the one in the photo above

These painted slide carousels that have been made into mirror frames would be a funky addition to any room

In addition to vintage pieces, Heist also carries vintage-style reproductions, like this italian leather lounger with matching ottoman, by Pink and Brown, the company that also makes the repro Henry Miller rockers.

 It was nice to see Jackpot Vintage with a downtown location again.  This display of colourful men's shirts fit in nicely with the furniture from Heist

In addition to clothing and accessories, Jackpot Vintage also had some vintage kitchenware such as the canister set and  kitschy salt and pepper shaker sets above.

This straw bag and embroidered sandals made me yearn for summer

As much as I wanted to try this satin and crocheted dress, I exercised self-restraint as the price was over my budget, but I did find a very pretty spring dress at a reasonable price.  It's being shortened, but I promise to post a photo after it comes home with me.

I had to pay a visit to Uber Cool Stuff to see what Chris had added since my last visit there, and was totally enamoured with these resin and marble "Roller Stops", designed by Harry Allen.   They would make an excellent gift for that roller skating fan in your life!

Stop by 122 Dundas Street in the next three months and and check out the trio of cool.
Hours - Tuesday - Friday 10 am - 6 pm
Saturday 10 am - 5 pm
Sunday and Monday closed

Sunday, February 17, 2013

"Sunny Day Sweepin' The Clouds Away...."

Surprise! It was a gorgeous sunny day here yesterday - that is the real blue of the sky, no filters or level adjusting in Photoshop... definitely a day to get out and do stuff

Me and my gal pal went for our regular coffee-and-chat at the Western Fair Farmers' Market, which was packed with other sun-starved folks.  I was kind of salivating over this woman's distressed leather boots, so I had to get her photo.  I loved the colourful jacket and marketing basket too.  The boots are about 5 years old, and she said, "if you think these are great, you should see some of my other pairs".     I am waiting for an invitation to scope out her closet.

To my delight, there was a double photo op - the woman in the photo above is the Mother-in-law of the woman in the red boots.  I've never liked to be told that I "look good for my age" and would never say that to someone else, ( I wish that other people would stop saying that - it's not a compliment, even though you may mean it that way) but I hope that this woman doesn't mind me telling the world she's 75.  We need to see real woman, ageing gracefully, and dressing with elegance and style, and she's got both of these covered.   Her beautiful lilac hat is from Prague, and the shape is perfect for her.

I stopped by two new businesses that are now sharing retail space with Uber Cool Stuff.  Took a bunch of photos, found a gorgeous vintage dress, and had an interesting conversation with a guy whose passion is mid-century modern design.   Welcome Heist and Jackpot Vintage to downtown London - photos coming in my next post.

The man with the Blue Steel gaze wearing the lycra "onesie" is Adam.  He's a total charmer with a brilliant sense of humour who sometimes works at The Sentimentalist.  I had dropped by on Saturday, hoping to catch up with Melinda, but found Adam instead, which was somewhat disappointing, but not much, as Adam more than made up for the absence of the Sentimentalist herself by modelling this spiffy lycra bodysuit.   I thought he looked like he should be running behind a bobsled wearing this (with shoes and a helmet of course).  With that athletic inspiration in mind, Adam had to test out the suit's "leap-ability"......

He should be receiving a call from the National Ballet anytime now.  Adam, you're awesome.  Don't let anyone tell you otherwise.

Adam turned the camera on me to capture my outfit, which seemed rather ho-hum compared to his.

60's nightgown worn as dress - Space Vintage, Toronto
black long sleeve t - Gap
sleeveless cartoon print shirt - The Sentimentalist
boots - Ecco

And to add to the adventures of the weekend, imagine the "SQUEEEEE" that erupted when I saw the most recent post on The Citizen Rosebud!   Bella's posts are very creative and thought provoking, especially when she addresses topics like body image and aging.  This post is no exception, and when you scroll to the end of the post, you'll find this....

I'm a cover girl!

Rosebud magazine cover mockup design by The Citizen Rosebud.  Forest City Fashionista photo by moi.  Bella, you rock!  Thank you for your ongoing support and celebrating us 40+ dames. 

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Be My Valentine!

vintage valentine image from
 I had no idea that one's heart could actually "pant", but I love the bloomers
Happy Valentine's Day to all my readers, and don't wait for someone else to treat you - treat yourself, because you are Soooo worth it!

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

You've Been A Very Naughty Boy.....

*any whiff of sexual innuendo that a reader detects in this post is obviously due to their own twisted and over-active imagination*

Now just what shall I do with you?

Now don't be giving me any attitude - can't you see that I'm wearing my no-nonsense, completely covered-up-but-slightly-naughty librarian/governess/secretary outfit?

Remember Celeste - the woman behind Recycadelic upcycled clothing?  She's closing her booth at the Western Fair Farmers' Market, so had marked down her stock, and when I saw this skirt and sleeve set she had made from a man's sweater, it was love at first sight!

It really was all about the studded faux leather collar that I snagged from Winners - half price!  I don't like wearing shirts with collars, but I can see me wearing this over most of my t-shirts in the summer.

Now,  go stand in the corner and I'll deal with you later!

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Stalking the Wild Chinchilla

I took only one outfit photo this week - work is crazy stressful these days, and the day would be over before I realized that I hadn't got a photo.  I was glad I documented this one, primarily for the massively fuzzy bomber jacket I got at Lovesick with a gift certificate I had received for my birthday back in the fall.  A friend of mine said it looked like I had "skinned a muppet".  When I wore it on the bus last weekend, a couple of guys eyed me up and down, and proceeded to discuss my outfit as if I wasn't sitting right across the aisle from them.  The best comment was ".....and she's wearing that chinchilla coat".   While not an expert on chinchillas, I did win a trophy for giving a speech about them when I was in Grade 5, and know that this coat bears not the least resemblance to one.  Their comment has resulted in the coat being henceforth referred to as "The Chinchilla"

The coat is big enough that I can wear a heavy sweater underneath, and the high neck means I don't need to wear a scarf.  

As for what was under the coat - lots of grey with some blue to brighten things up.  A friend picked up some turtleneck sweaters at Giant Tiger for me for $3 each.  They are cotton with a bit of lycra, and seem pretty substantial, and the sleeves are nice and long.  For $3, if they last the rest of the winter they were a bargain!

turtleneck - Giant Tiger
sweater/cape - From Mars
Leather pants - The Sentimentalist
my fave blue boots - Housing Works Thrift Store
silver necklace from the 70's - a trade with a jewellery dealer

Hope you are having a good weekend, despite the shovelling!  I'm off to a clothing swap tomorrow with the hopes of getting rid of more than I bring home.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Embracing Your Inner Pippi Longstocking

Most of us had childhood nicknames, most were unflattering and unwanted.  I don't remember how, or when, it started, but by the time I was in Grade 7, it was pretty much established that my nickname was Pippi Longstocking, and I was rarely referred to by anything other than "Pippi" or "Pip" for the next two or three years.   I'm sure it was partly inspired by my last name (Long) and the fact that I was in fact, very short at the time.  I was also skinny, with glasses and buck teeth, and was miserably inept at every sport -  all things that at the time guaranteed that I was to be teased and tormented during my entire public school career.

One of the few photos from my childhood that doesn't make me cringe, and the only one where I am actually posing.  Is that a hint of the inner Fashionista I'm seeing?  I was feeling pretty sassy in my mustard knee socks, plaid skirt and knit poncho - my mother and I had matching ones made although I don't remember us ever wearing them at the same time.  

I was familiar with the fictional character of Pippi Longstocking, created by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, from reading the books.  As a child, all you want is to fit in and be accepted by your peers, and being tagged with the name of a character that I thought was the epitome of the homely, oddball, outsider was mortifying.

Inger Nilsson as Pippi Longstocking in the 1969 TV series directed by Olle Hellbom

Pippi's wardrobe was a rag-tag mix of cast-offs,  and one of the most identifiable items were her mismatched stockings held up by garters on her skinny legs, as seen on this cover of the 2005 Puffin Modern Classics version of the first book in the Pippi series.

So, fast-forward to almost 40 years later, and imagine my amazement at seeing these leggings on  Etsy!   I had found the link to the seller, Carouselink, from Desiree's blog a while back where she was showing off the funky corset-print t-shirt she had purchased from them.  Now, I asked myself, why would I want to purchase an item of clothing that was tied to unhappy memories of childhood?  

Maybe because I had come to appreciate the qualities of the character of Pippi that I couldn't appreciate as a kid - her independence, rebellious nature, fierce loyalty to her friends, courage, and superhuman strength.  She can lift her horse over her head!

So, what's a girl to do, but embrace her inner Pippi?

If I hadn't been so concerned with trying to fit in with the other kids, and be less me, and more them, I would have realized that Pippi Longstocking was a role model to embrace.  She wouldn't have put up with the teasing and torment, and she would have stood up for other kids who had it worse than I did.  She encouraged kids to believe in themselves, and to be adventurous.   She also had a sack of gold pieces, knew how to shoot a revolver, and had sailed the seven seas.   Financially independent, skilled at self-defense and well-travelled - there are definitely worse role models.

If you've got a daughter, get her a copy of the first Pippi Longstocking book, and help her embrace her inner Pippi.  She'll thank you for it later

  pleather jacket from Frilly Lizard
tutu skirt - thrifted
Pippi leggings - Carouselink
Neosens booties - From Mars
fluffy cuffs and hair flower - From Mars

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Put Your Head on My Shoulder (Pads)

The first two days of February has brought some snow, so it looks and feels like winter again.  All that white needed some bright colours for contrast, so it seemed a good day to bring out the 1980's  leather dress I got this week.  The shoulders are absolutely gigantic - perfect for Superbowl weekend!

Danier leather dress - Lovesick Vintage Clothing
tights - Joe Fresh
Boots - Ecco

New month,  new hair!  I decided to go for some brighter colours this time.  The advantage of having such short hair is that if I don't like the colour, give it a few weeks and another haircut and I can start over.