My fashion is blowin’ in the wind

There are times I think – fashion be damned, I should gain 5lbs just for my own safety.
poppinsFor instance, on windy days.

In my home town you could knock me over with the weather on just about any day. Goodness knows the situation changes often enough that I can never feel safe letting my guard down or leaving my cardigan at home.

But the other day was the worst! I left the office at lunch for my usual Wednesday casual shopping. My work location is idyllic because the building sits on Jasper Avenue, close to shopping. I enjoy a weekly fashion filled 45 minute spree, and then I head back to the office.

From the boutiques my return route is west. West up Jasper avenue. Which, on the day in question, was against the wind.

into the windWalking into the wind was like wading through silly putty. I struggled my way up the street, walking forward with my entire tiny frame at a 45 degree angle to the pavement. I can’t say for certain if I was saved by the heft of my packages or the forgotten american coins in my purse but had I been 5 lbs lighter I would have had to hunker behind a bus shelter and ride the gale out.

Being small is hazardous. The risk of being overcome by the elements is tremendous, but it’s just one of the burdens of my petite stature I have to come to accept.

I count my blessings that I made it back to the office alive. I’m sure it isn’t the first time that my impulse shopping instincts have saved me. Next time, if I don’t find a perfect pair of shoes or a jacket to die for, I may not be so lucky.

blustery day

 

 

 

What do I do with a woolen blazer

woolen blazer

Winter is for wool. I love wool. Wool keeps me warm and looks great. I have wool scarves, wool socks, wool pants, wool hats and wool jackets. Why would I not love wool? Wool is both fashionable and practical at the same wonderful time. I can’t say a bad word about wool, really…

I don’t know if I’m trying to convince you or myself…

WHEN  WILL WINTER END? *sob*

I don’t know what to do anymore. Every January/February it’s the same desperate headlong collision between my fashionable better instincts and our inhospitable climate.

You won’t believe what I’m wearing right now (No, no that is not a multiple choice question):

Some tights, leggings, yoga pants, and track pants.  A camisole, t-shirt, hoodie, and a cardigan.  Some trouser socks, sweat socks, wool socks, and slippers.

cable-knit-leggings-2  flex-leggings-cyan-thumbnail   yoga pants track pants cami tshirt  hoodie  cardi trouser sock sweat sock wool sock slippers

I wish that this was a list of items in my online shopping cart. Sadly, the truth is I am wearing four layers in a  desperate bid to keep warm. I have a full dozen reasons to avoid being seen in public. It’s not funny and it’s not pretty.

I console myself by not leaving the house, but Monday morning I have a meeting. Outside the house. With other human beings. And I find myself staring at my closet trying to reconcile my desire to avoid frostbite with the desire to avoid a fashion faux pas. I need to look professional, but the extended weeks of dressing to cope have dulled my dressing for success instinct. I need to fall somewhere on the spectrum between ‘casual winter chic’ and ‘spring is never coming’.

So tell me, does this work?

whatcani dowithawoolenblazer

Because if it doesn’t work I only have three other blazers, six other skirts, five other pairs of tights in winter weight, and two other pairs of boots that I can mix and match with. The permutations of warmth are both daunting and depressing, and I don’t know when the thaw will finally come to save me.

Mid life crisis resolution

fashion hat pic

Happy first, first world problem post of 2016. I have high hopes for this new year, and an equally high credit card limit. I have resolved to begin the new year on a high note and in high fashion.

Which got me thinking, fashion is like any other of the journeys we take through life. It changes with us, and we can either choose the road less taken or be boring.

I look terrible in boring.

Nope. This is the time for the road less traveled. I am on the verge of beginning the dawn of a brand new day. I just have to embrace it and let go of my youth.

old fashionAge can be a blessing. When I was young I didn’t have the money or the confidence necessary to properly express myself through fashion. I blended. I played it safe. But I am older now. I have both money and confidence, in surplus.

VIvienne-Westwood-old fashionistaLet my husband buy the mid-life crisis sports car, I am going shoe shopping.

I am tearing a page out of the Vivienne Westwood book of fashion. I am going full throttle into dressing for success, no stopping, no slowing down, no fitting in with the background.

I started last month. I snagged these babies before they sold out:

wedge doc

This purchase is half reliving my youth, half living my future and a 100% heads up to my kids.

This may be my first of my mid life crisis fashion purchases, but it won’t be my last.

You’ve been warned.

old is the new black

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Life’s little ups and downs

scarlett corset picAs I near the half century mark, I find that I have to work harder and call upon a formerly untapped reserve of discipline in order to weather life’s little ups and downs.

Before you say anything, I know it happens to us all. In fact, I am contently resigned to being a middle aged, happily married size 4.
After a certain age, we are all one blueberry scone
away from a new dress size.

blueberry sconeMy determination to flatten out the weight fluxuations is not a result of my body image. It’s more pragmatic than that.

I have a small (size 2-4) fortune invested in my clothes. My personal wardrobe; clothing, shoes and accessories; constitutes a significant investment. It also represents years of my life invested in honing my personal style.

IMG_20151101_015715  4 blog  3 blog  2 blog1 blog  IMG_20151103_174233  IMG_20151104_125042 IMG_20151031_202602 crop aaIMG_20151103_141929 IMG_20151102_235324 aaIMG_20151103_140844 IMG_20151101_010544 done5

Just 10 pounds could negate all that hard work and reduce the value of that investment to next to nothing. Ten pounds is dress size. If I gained weight I would have to replace all those clothes. Watching my weight is really the same as being frugal and responsible with my money.

I have a vision. A vision of myself in the fashion future. It requires discipline. So, while I make the lifestyle choice to skip that second cookie, I do so only to enable me to have the choice future lifestyle I deserve.

I know it’s harsh, but not everything worthwhile is easy.

fitted-dress-cookies

I don’t even know what is in or out of my closet anymore

Ugh. Being fashionable is so hard.

Just when I hit my groove and feel free and comfortable in my summer clothes suddenly the days grow dark and the air gets cold. In the blink of an eye the leaves fall and I have to venture back into my closet to reassess who I am.

trees no leavesI can feel like, with the death of the leaves, all colour drains and purpose from my life. But the truth is, it is just a trading of colours. Some changes are really only trade-offs.

For instance, I know that the only pretty pinks and pastels I will see for a while will be in the early sunset. Autumn brings the warmth of the earth tones, punctuated with a bright red, orange or dark green or blue. Autumn requires wool and corduroy, knits and layers. I like these colours. I have those clothes. They scream me, just me without catching a chill.

This would be all well and good if our autumns were more decisive and less prone to contradiction. The problem is that a crisp fall morning may call for boots, tights, corduroy skirts and an irish sweater, but then that same afternoon is better suited to bare legs, sandals and a breezy silk sheath dress.

Half the time I don’t know what in and what’s out of the closet, and where I stand as far as fashion goes. It makes it difficult to hold on to fashion inspiration.

I ransacked the closet and tried to pull together a few outfits, and began to get horribly depressed at how drab they were. Warm, fashionable of course, but lacking that Je ne sais pas.

outfit 2  outfit 5  outfit 6  outfit 7

I needed to insert a little flair, a little more warmth with my extra warm clothes.

outfit 1  outfit 4  outfit 3

I still didn’t feel that I was making a statement appropriate to me. I felt that the tans, greens, rusts and hints of blue were still too understated. I have never been accused of being understated. Then I remembered…!

blog giff

Thank goodness for red is all I can say. I can come back out of the closet again.

 

First world suitcase blues

I should be excited but I am an anxiety ridden mess.

We are about to embark on a two week long family vacation that will take us first to Iceland, then to London, England.

And I don’t know how I am supposed to pack for that.

On the first of the leg of the journey I have one extreme. Reykjavik tops out at about 15 degrees Celsius, and is not particularly urban. I will need to keep warm and be prepared for hiking. I can do that fairly fashionably with some leggings under a tunic, some luxurious sweaters, a beret,  lovely scarves and a pair of good ankle boots. Done and done.

On the second leg, I have super urbanity to deal with. London in August is ten or more degrees warmer than Reykjavík, and the heat will be on to get my look just right. Urban chic is my forte – this is not my fashion challenge.

I need to pack to accommodate both hiking along a desolate coast line and fitting in on the fashionable London streets. And knit caps don’t double as derby hats, you know?

Somehow I have to do it all without packing two separate suitcases. I have been very strictly informed that I actually do have a one bag limit. No negotiating for more space, no sneaking items into the boys’ bags. Ugh.

I’ll let you all know how it goes.

I’ll also report back on how strict the one suitcase policy is on the return, because I’m going to Harrods. After all, everyone knows that a princess is as a princess does and Harrods is the place for a princess.

Harrods, Knightsbridge

 

 

 

Election Budget Blues (and fashion budget orange)

The writ has been dropped, Canada. Which is great, I am a huge fan of democracy, but the timing is so inconvenient. This is going to be the longest election campaign in Canadian history. Seventy-seven full days of electioneering, baby kissing, hair and beard dissing, and definition of risk duelling.

When I saw the flurry of political tweets come in this morning I gasped. How am I going to deal with this many of days of politics? Do I have what I need to get me through to the bitter end or will I need to stretch my resources and deal with the constant fear that my closet will be empty before the race is over? I would hate the success or failure of my election fashion to be determined by budget constraints. After All, here in Alberta orange is trending. I feel it is my patriotic responsibility to see that trend expand across the country.

So, as the journalists and pundits struggled to foretell Canada’s future in 140 characters, I leapt out of bed and threw open my (new) armoire.

Never fear! I am fully fashion covered for entire the election cycle.

21 15 6 beckham 32 1822

I have several weeks worth of dresses from which to choose,

134 135 136 150 163 165 166

and will easily maintain my office fashion leadership.

47 56 58 66 69 75 76

I can switch it up and keep my image fresh as the situation evolves.

p1 p2 p3 sw1 sw2 sw3b11

I can mix and match and play up or down my strengths and weaknesses to make just the right impression.

t3  t8 t9 t10 t14 t15 t16

I am even all set for heading out into the cool fall weather, with outerwear:

a5 a11 a13 a16 a17 a18 a19

and cool weather accessories:

h1 h10 b11 b12 b13 b15 b16

I can even properly accessorize depending on what crowd I find myself in.

b2 b3 b4 b6 b8 b9 sun

And I will stand tall; footwear…check.

sh2 sh3 sh4 sh6 sh7 sh8 sh10

I am so relieved.

Crisis averted, I will not suffer the election BLUES.

 

 

 

 

The cost of contentment

I recently had to go shopping for a dress for my middle son’s high school graduation. Usually shopping is easy for me. I am a pro after all.

So, I cheerfully headed to the mall. I said a chipper hello to the shopgirls in my favourite store. (Naively as it turns out) I picked out a few frocks and skipped back to the fitting room.

Burberry, as the conservative choice.

burberry

Nanette Lepore as the traditionally feminine possibility.

lepore

 Vivienne Westwood because… well, because Vivienne Westwood.

v westwood

Victoria Beckham for a more modern option.

beckham

And Marni because I think I should wear Marni.

marni

Imagine my shock when I got into the fitting room with my size 40 dress and discovered I couldn’t do the zipper up. My sales girl cheerfully brought me a size 42 but didn’t seem to fully grasp why I was not thrilled at the stroke of luck that they indeed had a larger size in the back room, and were able to accommodate my bulk.

OMG

Size 42?

How has this happened?

I bought the dress. Porky or not, I still needed a dress. Next I had to make a pit stop at the lingerie shop for some spanx. SPANX. I bought spanx. Needless to say, I was a touch forlorn when I arrived home to my doting husband.

To make it even worse, he got his hopes up when he saw the lingerie bag.

When, later that same evening, I was able to speak about the ordeal – standing next to our bed wrapped in my robe attempting to discreetly slip my Rubenesque figure under the covers without showing any bloated fleshy bits – my husband just laughed it off. He pulled me close and wrapped his arms around my rolly polly waist and declared he knew this would happen. “A happy woman always gains a few pounds,” he said, “I take your dress size as a compliment.” He called it the happiness premium.

rubens body type

What is that? What happiness? What, the joy at now being the proud owner of shapewear? Shamewear. I used to have my own shape, now I have to squeeze myself into a shape shifting device, put on a brave face and pretend my figure is my own.

I feel betrayed by my contentment.

 

 

I am a woman with two problems …

Darcysfirstworldproblems

This spring has been a busy time for crafting first impressions and I have had to overcome a significant hurdle to my ability to do so with elegance, expediency and efficiency.

First, I was transferred to a new office at the beginning of May. In my last office I set a high bar. As testament to my success one particularly astute colleague took to referring to me as an elegant bag lady. Amazing how some people just get me right away.

Being keenly aware of how important is to maintain my fashionista momentum, I spent the long weekend before my first day going through the closet and pulling together outfits.

  • Skirt-top-cardi-mules-necklace
  • Dress-cardi-kitten heels-earrings
  • Slacks-blouse-cardi-pumps-earrings…

Skirt-top-cardi-mules-necklace Dress-cardi-kitten heels-earrings Slacks-blouse-cardi-pumps-earrings

It was a fabulous way to spend a spring afternoon. I got 8 unique and fashionable outfits put together – then I had to stop.

Second, Alberta called an election. To show solidarity with my political party of choice I laboured to put together a string of stunning orange outfits. I had a lot to work with because, well, because I just have a lot of clothes to work with:

  • 6 orange dresses
  • 5 five orange tops and summer sweaters
  • 4 orange cardigans
  • 3 pairs of orange shoes
  • 2 orange skirts
  • and 1 orange scarf

orange wave

I started putting them together with accessories in affiliated colours. I didn’t even get past the dresses before I had to halt political panolpoly progress.

Why stop you ask? I was enjoying myself. I was getting organized. I was expressing my feelings and using my creative skills. Why stop? Because I had no place to hang my outfits. I literally RAN OUT OF ROOM to pull myself together. It was terribly sad.

This is a recurring theme in my life. Just when I hit my stride and feel able to express myself as a creative human being, the limits and parameters imposed on me by chance and circumstance appear. My closet was clearly designed by a person who envisioned nothing more than hanging 6 of the same white permanent press shirts and 6 pairs of pants in shades of charcoal.

Currently my clothes are packed together in a closets with no air, no freedom to move on the rod and no where to meet their true match. Every morning I face the daunting task of pulling together an outfit in a rush and sans caffeine.

But SOON this will be no more! Last night I went online and ordered a beautiful armoire for my bedroom.

armoire

I hope when it arrives all my fashionable problems with be over.

 

Fifty shades of beige

Just over a week ago it was 15 degrees above zero, sunny, and I could see my crocuses growing up through the soil. I was so happy. I wore a skirt with bare legs and some pretty MaryJanes. I put on a light jacket with my gauzy butterfly scarf and took a comfortable lunch time stroll through the downtown streets.

Then it snowed again.

springtime in alaska

Just a few days ago it was 18 degrees above zero, sunny, and I could see my tulips poking noses through the soil. I was so happy.  I wore a skirt with bare legs and some pretty mules. I put on a light sweater with a fuchsia scarf and took a comfortable lunch time stroll through the downtown streets.

Then it snowed again.

This is killing me.

I am so done with winter clothes. I have no idea what to wear anymore. Every morning I stand frozen in apathetic inertia staring into my closet.

I am starting to actually habour awful, hateful thoughts about trousers that only a few brief months ago I was enamoured of. Just the suggestion that I re-open the drawer with my woolen tights sends me into a raging fit.

It has to stop. I have to feel pretty again. I need to feel pretty again.

The key to pretty is my legs.

I need light tights.

Between you and me, I am getting older. … No, really. … I am not a girl anymore. I need to dress with elegance and not with the quirkiness of youth.

In my desperation to emulate the bare leg look I crave – that spring-has-sprung natural calf that my husband anticipates with such glee each year – I went shopping for a pair of nude tights. Not panty hose, they don’t offer quite enough warmth. Tights.

Do you think I can find a pair of tights that match my skin tone? I have wandered through every store I could find and have identified 50 shades of beige.

50 more shades of beige

Should I be bound by a predilection for unnatural hues and youthful patterns that the fashion industry sells? What about what I want? I am the demographic with disposable income. What if I just want to buy simple, uncoloured slightly insulating legwear? Is that old fashioned? To want my leg to just look like a leg?

kitty tights

I don’t want to be squeezed or reshaped.

spanx

I don’t want to shimmer. I don’t want straps or fishnets. I don’t want plaid, or poetry. I don’t need my legs to make a profound statement on the state of the economy or to act as a signal of my voting intention.

I want durable weight, ivory/peach tinted body hugging but not body altering tights that demurely whisper “Look at my face”.

I am on the verge of despair. I may have to call in sick until the weather improves.