Thursday, 14 February 2019

The devil made me wear neon yellow plaid

Everyone hop on the happy bus! I'll serenade you with my expert tambourine playing until we hit Milwaukee - no guarantees after that. Greyhound bus line is defunct in mid- and western Canada now, so I really think we need a Partridge Family bus line to take its place, full of happy people with shag haircuts wearing baggies (wideleg pants) and peace pendants.  

Why this burst of glee? Because I'm feeling guilty. Very guilty. And I've manufactured this outburst to cancel all that out. 

What happened?

You know I thrive on thrift. Well, I bought retail. RETAIL!!! Gross, pitui. Puh, puh, puh - I scrape my tongue with paper towels. But I couldn't help myself. 

There I was, my body moving down the sidewalk towards home after sketching kitty in my journal, then suddenly, I heard a squeaky braking sound and my left-turn ninker came on. Before you know it, I was on the stairs. Then BLAM, I was in...Topshop!! (sound of horrified screaming)


What's the big deal, right? Lots of people shop there and the Earth keeps spinning, mind you, with a bit bigger wobble these days. The big deal is: 1) my closet is a glamazardous off-world colony; 2) I support thrift shopping to halt the wobble trend; and 3) I'm only dressing off-world these days (my closet). I still regularly shop at high-end designer stores for style inspo, though. 

I digress:
I used to visit Topshop, mostly for ultra-cool footwear with sales of 80 percent off, cool shoes that nobody except me wanted. (You must check this post here to see an example. It's a fave.) Then those mega-sales dried up, probably because retailers in general have had to scramble to feed buyers deals in new and improved sale events, like Black Friday, Cyber Monday, and Boxing Day Month. Discounts seem lower but more frequent. This is my guess. Have you noticed it?


So when I realized where I was, at any second I expected the angel on my shoulder to garrote me with a harp string. But no, I heard a high-pitched sound, almost like singing: it was the devil on my other shoulder, tickling my ear with his spear! (no comment) 

I went to scope out the shoes, but there in front of me was a row of neon plaid puffer jackets. I approached with trepidation and checked my rear view to make sure I wouldn't smack anyone when I recoiled at the underwhelming sale price. Gaaa - 80 percent off. I lunged. Oof. 


But wait, there were a few more racks to nose through. And did I buy again? Let's just say my angel's harp strings are all broke; I'm more thick-skinned than I thought. And the devil, with so much action, he dulled his spear. 

I only bought one other piece, which I'll reveal later, but this was a big deal for me - non-shoe retail. To balance things out, I've been revving up my sewing machine at home. I'll show you that later as well. Is it clothing? Is it art? 

And a couple more photos of what I wore last week.


My awesome men's Oscar de la Renta wool/cashmere overcoat made in Bulgaria with my black skinny jeans and pickle-stabber ankle boots. Every single piece here, I realize, is from My Sister's Closet thrift boutique, which supports the Battered Women's Shelter Services. It's one of the very few thrift shops in the city (actually, the only one that I know of) that doesn't charge GST based on its charitable status.


You can see in the above two photos how the light moved in the short time I was there. The second one was taken before the first one. And then this corner below always seems to have light but I don't go there often - it's a bit scungie despite the great graffiti.


I'll do linking up with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday and Catherine at Not Dressed a Lamb for her #iwillwearwhatilike when the time comes. 

I hope you guys are all fine. No, not fine - stellar!!! And why not? We're alive, we can dress up almost for free with stuff we have around, and the world is still turning, a bit more wobbly now, but turning. 



Wednesday, 30 January 2019

Menocore style because they're not menopausal

A woman turns 50 and she suddenly turns into a confident potato with waistless pants, at least that seems to be the view of menocore, the hot flash style trend among 20- and 30-something women who love dressing up (in this case, dressing down) as menopausal women. How flattering - a style that looks so good it's simply named after our reproductive life cycle. And by the way, you have the face for radio!

When I found the word menocore in a New York Times article, The New Mom Uniform of Park Slope, the hair on the back of my neck stood up, like a detective who smells blood - or not. The writer called it a "a hateful takeoff on normcore." I followed the link to the source: the blog Man Repeller, a June 2018 post called Menocore is the New Normcore, and It's a Lot More Comfortable. Now I know who dunnit.

Mel Kobayashi, gold catsuit, yellow wig, fertilcore style
This coat is a men's XXL - solid menopausal style.
photos by @vancouverbarbara, edits by moi

I learned that menocore celebrates baggy clothing, hair scrunchies, exposed bra straps, neutrals, and a host of other fun stuff we wear. And we are lauded for not caring how we look to other people. It's because we're so frigging confident. Ross writes that with the menocore trend, we middle-agers are finally getting our time in the spotlight, meaning, presumably, baggy neutrals have never looked so good because now they are on young bods?

Don't get me wrong. Menocore has certainly empowered me. That's why I'm excited to announce here, for the first time, a new trend for us of the baggy-pants set: Fertilcore (or Menstrucore, your call), named after the reproductive life cycle of women in their 20s and 30s. How freeing to feel insecure enough that we can finally care how we look! Hooray! If my friends raise an eyebrow and say, Gee, Mel, you're looking very Fertilcore today, I can blame it on those frisky fertiles.

Mel Kobayashi, gold catsuit, yellow wig, fertilcore style
New fab Fertilcore look: gold lycra catsuit, platform runners, neon yellow wig, white brows you can't see here. This outfit is not my fault!

So rip up those What Not to Wear Over 30 lists, my menopausal friends. Hello mini skirts, stilettos, and hoop earrings! And don't miss my soon-to-be-released list of What Not to Wear in Your Reproductive Years. I mean, if you want to dress as mutton, you better do it right!

Mel Kobayashi, fertilcore debut
Fertilcore - here we come! 
See my attempts at super-tight leather pants here and here if you haven't already.

I have to say, I won't hold menocore against its adherents. I am satisfied knowing that hopefully some day they will all experience the special secret surprises that accompany menopause and middle age.

And I get it: comfortable clothing feels good and can look great. But why not have the vagina (because balls are for juggling) to just own it all on its own? I think that's what menocore is about anyway - confidence, period, or not. My fertile-free-ness should not be an excuse for someone's neutrals any more than someone's fertility should be an excuse for my platform shoes. 

I thought women's style had progressed beyond an us/them issue. We are all in this together, for the whole ride. So how about we forget about ageist labels altogether and enjoy what we all bring to the table? (Like Pao's comment - womanocore?)

As Jessica at Warning: Curves Ahead concluded in her famous viral blog post in response to a list about what women shouldn't wear over 30: "24 Things Women Over 30 Should WearWhatever the f*ck they want." Words we can all live by any time.

Mel Kobayashi, gold catsuit, yellow wig, fertilcore style
Cool sparkly owl pendant from Patti, Not Dead Yet Style.

Edit: I'm linking up to Catherine's #Share All Linkup at Not Dressed as Lamb. And later to her #iwillwearwhatilike. I'll also link to the next Visible Monday at Patti's Not Dead Yet Style.



Sunday, 20 January 2019

Tight leather pants and a sports car

My second tight pants video. I hope you like it! The first one is HERE. Special thanks to my great crew, @vancouverbarbara on camera, and @ahlovethepug and @wbartlett12 as the rescuers. I laughed so hard I cried when we were making this.

Tight Pants and Sports Car


Some more photos from the shoot.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, tight leather pants and heels and a sports car

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, tight leather pants

Have a great week, everyone!!


Monday, 14 January 2019

Thwarting crime in a red catsuit

Below I am in my atelier having cocktails with James Bond (the Sean Connery one). I am smiling because he just thanked me for my stellar work at the hidden volcano last week when I thwarted the plans of the bad guys. 

In reply, I winked and said, "You'll have to work harder if you want to keep up with me, Jim." He smiled back devilishly, tipped his glass, and said, "Perhaps I'll have another." He was drinking wheatgrass, good for the digestion.

"On the rocks, Jim, or neat?" I asked as I sauntered over to the wet bar and popped another carton. "By all means, neat and shaken," he said. It was awkward shaking his green drink after I'd already opened it, but I'm trained for emergencies. I filled a glass and withheld a retch. 


I decided to be dirty and popped a few olives in as well - they were hard to see in the putrid green fluid. And stuck in a bamboo straw because plastic ones are ruining the planet. Finally, on a whim I fished a bag of frozen corn from the freezer where I also keep vodka and old blue jeans.

"Here you go, Jim." He smiled at the bobbing olives. I said, "Next time, be more careful," and dropped the corn on his knee. He winced and saluted.

"Well, I'll leave you to your dirty wheatgrass. I must go. No, don't get up. There's a joystick in the arm there. This chair will take you wherever you want. Mind the wheels under the skirt." And I was off.


I set my hoverboard on High. I had to hurry if I wanted to be on time at city hall to receive the key to the city. That's me below, ready to shake hands with the mayor. The key is ginormous and gold-plated, very unwieldy. In a press scrum after the ceremony I asked the mayor if he could possibly exchange the key for a small fob. My catsuits don't have pockets.

Then I asked, "Where's the door for this key anyway?" "Whaaa...?" the mayor spluttered. His eyes bulged in alarm. "Well, uh, well, I don't know, really." He swiped his sweaty forehead with the palm of his hand. Eeew. "It's got to be around somewhere. It's the key to the city for f#@$'s sake!" He snapped his fingers and was immediately enveloped by consultants in boring suits.

When the mayor turned back to the press, his fists were raised. "Nobody builds a giant door to my city and I don't know about it!" he proclaimed. "I'll get to the bottom of this!" Cameras flashed. The mayor posed. And I knew I had my next big assignment.

I may need help. I hoped Jim hadn't left yet but remembered with relief that I had Johnny English on speed dial. (Johnny English, spoof Brit spy played by Rowan Atkinson, read here.)

And below, on my way home I stopped at the studio to practise my go-go dancing. Of course it is a requisite skill for all international women of action, which is so unfair. Many international male stars just sit around acting like misogynist pigs. 

In fact, I received a dance caution on a previous job, my guest appearance on LOL 40-UP! show, which Sherry Dryja of blog Petite Over 40 and I made. It's on our IGs, here, here, and here. Plus Bloopers, here
Sherry and I had a BLAST!! shooting LOL 40-UP, modeled after the Laugh-In comedy TV series from the '70s. Sherry was in Seattle; I was in Vancouver. But we found a way. It stretched our tolerance of bad jokes and our editing skills. Thanks, Sherry, for coming up with such a freaking fun idea. And thanks to O for his tolerance when our home was blanketed in green screen. The dance clip was made from some green screen takes I made for the show.
I'm wearing my Gordi of Montreal vintage red wool catsuit with rear zip. I always get into trouble when I wear it.

You know what's funny? Although I am a social butterfly, sometimes I feel stuck in the wormy stage, too many feet without enough gorgeous shoes to go around. Slow-moving, hairy, and squishy, particularly in winter. Better than being a mealworm though, which just turns into a beetle.

There was a study which showed no difference between mealworms fed styrofoam for one month and those fed "conventional" food. I'll take the dirty wheatgrass. Who thinks of these experiments? And are they hiring? (That was on Wiki, by the way, but there was a note stating the claim needs a reliable source. Ya think?)

It's a new year since I posted last. I hope you are all well-rested after any holidays you may have had. It's a year for creativity, caring, and humour, you betcha. Big hugs to all of you. Thank you for coming back to Bag and a Beret after this break. I'm very grateful.

I'll be linking up to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style and Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb. I may see you there!

Hang on to your hoverboards, everyone! Two-thousand nineteen is going to be quite a ride!

ONE MORE THING!!

If you are in a style rut, my friend Sylvia of 40+ Style will be offering some awesome courses to help you feel fabulous. Click the image for details. For her paid courses I get a commission, but you know I never promote stuff like this unless I think it's absolutely awesome. And it is!!! Hurry!!! The Style Challenge is free and on NOW!

Style Course: 21 Steps to a More Stylish You


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