Thursday, August 29, 2013

Crinolines and Cons

There's been quite a number of posts made recently within my blogging circles about what it means to be"Sexy" -  what the media and society says is sexy vs. what being sexy means to us (women over 40).  A number of my favourite bloggers have tackled this topic with wit, insight and surprising candor - read  Melanie's take on what's sexy, inspired by Bella's post on playing pin-up, Vix's reflections on youth vs. maturity, Curtis' smart and sassy take on what being sexy means to her, Tamera's thoughts about fake boobs and tans vs. brains and confidence, and Desiree's words about casting off body image hangups.  Trust me, you'll feel better about yourself and you'll want to hug these women.

I was late to the party (as usual), so have nothing new or particularly insightful to add to the discussion, but I was inspired by my blogger sisters' posts to document an outfit I wore that made me feel sassy, confident and playful, which can all be considered elements of "Sexy".

I'm tired of hearing the word "Sexy" used in contexts where it's obviously being used as a synonym for "attractive", which it is not.  Some people who may not be considered "beautiful" or "attractive" in any conventional way can be devastatingly sexy (consider Rossy de Palma, who has starred in many of Pedro Almodovar's films).  Context is everything, and sexy is in your head.   If I'm getting up close and personal with someone I've got the hots for, or performing in a Burlesque Show (which I did once), then yes, I want to feel sexy and hopefully be considered so by my audience.   I don't want, or need, to feel sexy when I'm at work, or at the grocery store, or doing my dishes.  However, I do like feeling that I'm putting the best possible "me" out there, which means wearing something that makes me happy.  Cue the Crinolines and Cons...

This dress/vest was one of the best clothing investments I've made.  It was expensive, but the shape makes it a great layering piece that adds some "funk" to whatever it's paired with and I've worn it all year round.  Zip it up the front, add a t-shirt, belt, a frilly underskirt, and some fun accessories and I am kicking up my heels. 
vest/dress - Akela Key purchased at From Mars
crinoline - Frilly Lizard (retail)
leather Converse - From Mars

The ribbon and tulle inspired a Can-Can moment

that included a bit of saucy leg-baring
(Photos by Heather)

....and speaking of accessories (we weren't, but no matter), I was very excited to acquire my first piece of Bakelite jewellery - this carved red bracelet!  I have wanted a bakelite bangle for some time, preferably red, and when I saw a photo of this one on the Facebook page for Phantastica, my heart leapt!  It was very reasonably priced, so now it lives with me.

An interesting thing happened when I was on my way home from work wearing this outfit.  I was waiting for my bus, and a man who looked like he was in his mid-thirties approached me to ask where I had purchased my Converse.   He then asked if I had been a "Punk" back in the day, which lead to a very entertaining conversation about Punk Rock, Lou Reed and The Velvet Underground, and, to my amazement, Kitsch!  He had been reading an article that mentioned someone having a collection of Kitsch, and he thought he knew what it meant, but asked if I would define it for him.  Definitely one of the coolest conversations I've ever had with someone I met at a bus stop.  We got on the same bus, and just before he departed, we exchanged first names, he shook my hand, and  expressed an admiration for my outfit and my style.  I'm thinking he was responding to the positive energy that comes from mixing Crinolines and Cons!


  1. I know people that are NUTS for Bakelite! Fun that you found a piece that you like :) The bus convo does sound like a fun one.

  2. What a lovely encounter! It just goes to further show that sexy and feeling sassy are all about attitude, not some "norm" of beauty that all must achieve. You are rockin' - serious 'tude - in this outfit, my dear. I love it!

    Oh, and drool for the Bakelite. I have a pair of earrings that I love and am always on the lookout for more.

  3. I'll just echo Sheila's comment about the cool encounter - it's fun when you and a stranger dig each other and then walk away. And attitude is definitely the basis for all kinds of attraction. I'm also drooling for the Bakelite. I remember my mother used to have a red bangle in her jewelry box - she never wore it - that had lots of carved flowers. It was probably Bakelite, and I should probably try to liberate it. ;~)

  4. I will respond the the sexy part of this post another day- it's late, my eyes are blurry and I'm a bit tipsy, lol. However I have to peep about that red bakelite bracelet- a treasure and perfect on you.

  5. I fecking adore Rossy de Palma, I've had a massive crush on her ever since Women On The Verge.
    I bet that dude was all over you like a rash, you exude confidence and a don't give a damn attitude with your inspired way of dressing. You always look effortlessly cool and never self-aware and that's sexy in my book! xxx

  6. A gal just can't go wrong in crinoline ~

  7. you look great. I enjoy riding public transportation for that very reason, meeting people. There is none in my town, our loss.

  8. Oh I do love the outfit, Shelley - the tough lines of the vest/dress/tunic, then the flirty red ruffles of the petticoat, and Converse for high-kicking - perfect! Snap, I'm wearing black and red (and white) today too, it always feels like a powerful and confident combination.
    Sexy. Yeah, so over-used, so undefinable, so subjective. I think the idea of being "sexy" all the time would be hilarious - shall we all have a go? Oozing sex at the supermarket checkout, casting come-hither looks at the bus driver, twerking while we put the bin out? Let's do it!
    Your Bakelite bangle is a beauty, and I so enjoyed hearing about your conversation with the guy at the bus stop. He is clearly a man of great taste and intelligence, with the wit to recognise a fine woman when he sees one! xxxxx

  9. What a cool story about the guy at the bus stop. It's great to get a compliment but even better when it comes from a younger generation.

    I love the red crinoline. Very visible.


  10. Cool story about your bustop conversation!!
    I LOVE your outfit--fresh, funky, unique--you gotta have CONFIDENCE to wear it-which makes it far better than sexy!! like you-the last thing I need to be at work is sexy.
    thanks for the shout-out!

  11. First, isn't cool that you had this conversation with this young man - I was asked too about what is Kitsch - Cool that he liked your outfit, which is spectacular, i say that crinoline and Converse are an excellent styling choice always!
    About sexy, i don't want to be sexy anymore, i want to be stylish, crazy, eccentric, colorful and happy with what i wear, but i noticed when i feel good about an outfit i wear, i walked differently, got a swing in my butt! hahaha, so maybe that makes me sexy, hahaha!

    How are you doing btw, life is good? busy? plans for the long weekend?

    Many hugs to you

    Ariane xo

  12. you rock wearing red crinoline and converse!, and love your funky dress!, and love your joyful sassiness when wearing something that makes you happy, fabulous attitude!, love to know you have that wonderful conversation on the bus stop, there's a good vibe all around your pretty presence so appealing to the right kind of people!, hurrah for serendipity!

  13. Awesome addition to the conversation, Shelley!

  14. I'm gonna go ahead and quote Lynda Barry and say you are a keeper of the groove baby! Converse feel like old friends on my feet but when you pair yours with that crinoline they have found their soul mate! Sexy is the good day the cashier just told you to have, the perfect pair of glasses, the highest heels or the converse, it is in our mind therefore limitless.

    I think encounters like the one you had at the bus stop are so very special. People are everywhere and they are not all bad. It's wonderful when you can be open enough to talk with strangers. It's also a beautiful thing when you radiant so much good energy, it's like your leaving a rainbow trail!

  15. Crinolines and cons! A brilliant combination, and I can see why you attracted the attention of a young man that then evolved into an interesting conversation. Self confidence and self expression are also an appealing combination, and isn't that what goes into what is perceived as 'sexy?' It's complex, and individual!

    Great Bakelite bracelet, by the way. Is this the beginning of a collection?

  16. You look adorable! Love the sweet and sporty combo!

  17. I adore that skirt, and everything about you.
    I adore Almodover, and yes, Rosy de Palma is one of the first Amodovar´s girls.

  18. You are SEXXXY to me! Confident, smart, beautiful, eloquent, funny, curious, whimsical, passionate, independent and sexy - no wonder you are having cool conversations at bus stops! I love the crinoline/Cons combo and I'm probably gonna copy it in the very near future!

    Sarah xxx