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Monday 30 April 2012

Double waisted

Why have only one waist when you can have two, I always say. These stripy pants are very low-slung, which I love, and I like the wide-cut shorty jacket too, but I was seeing too much black so I added this fantastic belt I recently thrifted to add another waist and a pop of colour.

Can I tell you how much I like this belt? It's very long so after twirling myself up in it I left the ends dangling like little tassels.  This is a perfect party outfit, just what I need for Patti's Visible Monday!

Here's the look I ended up with.

The Basics:
  • pants, Joe Fresh, thrifted
  • belt, thrifted, $3
  • jacket, thrifted
  • stretch wedge booties, thrifted (it was raining today so my footwear options were reduced)
  • black T, Sport Chek

Below is a close-up of the belt. Note the glittery yellow disc in the centre - it's the superhuman power source. The studio lights kept turning it on which had the curious effect of making me levitate, so I had to keep changing my angle. Look at that loverly macrame! The tassels have beads on the end, good for flicking about. 

And I have taken a couple of pieces of art off the rack so the visuals behind me are different. There is a lot of action on the art front these days... The piece on the right has little volcanoes on it made from sculpting fibre, and they are full of primordial colours waiting to explode. Maybe the volcanoes are the ancestral home of my belt disc - how romantic, reunited at last.

Me at one with my volcanos. 
Have a great week all!

Thursday 26 April 2012

Coming out of the clochet

Today I did something different. Usually I grab things in my closet pell-mell to create an ensemble that reflects an overall mood, giving equal weight to all parts. Today I chose a signature piece, an accessory, which singlehandedly seemed to embody everything I was feeling, and then constructed my outfit around it. I'm speaking here of my felt cloche with the flower. Poor little thing was buried in the closet.

This one little hat said it all: I wanted to partially shield myself during my walk (still in recovery mode) and I wanted to feel romantically 1920s. The colour palette is quiet, but my cloche demanded it be so. The jacket has convenient velcro tabs for closures on the front and the shift has a freighter neck, much wider than a boat neck, which is concealed by the jacket.

Details of the outfit:
  • cloche, new decades ago from Sears(?)
  • shimmery green jacket, thrifted, Value Village
  • moss-grey shift, new years ago from Eatons closing-out sale, downsized 4 sizes
  • black tights, "Frump" shoes, The Bay
  • magic teacup carrier with heirloom teacup inside; I made the carrier, O did the hardware
  • hand-me-over black vinyl bag that holds all my pencil crayons, sketchbooks, etc.
  • Shar Pei wool sweater

I'm still recovering but managed a brief, low-intensity game of squash today. It felt good to MOVE!

And finally - 
Ms. Helga recently posted a brilliant photo essay of her drunken escapades under a tree. I immediately thought of this painting I did, although Helga was much more visually exciting than the waitress in this piece.

Title: "Becky had had trouble sleeping lately; she finally realized that it wasn't the coffee keeping her awake but something much more sinister." Acrylic on canvas paper, 18" x 24"

Have a great weekend everyone!

Monday 23 April 2012

Maxi flower power recovery wear

Happy Earth Day! Three cheers for thrifting for reducing our earth-load! And many, many thanks to everyone for your comments while I have been recovering from this cold!

To aid in my recovery I wore this outfit today - maxi impact maxi with tropical flowers, a gen-u-ine Hawaiian-made muumuu that I discovered at a thrift shop about a week ago. The colours are so intense they threw off my white balance (on the camera) which made my face look a bit green in celebration of Earth Day.

You'll notice no beret, which is in part testament to my feel-good state. An ultra positive energy wave sloshed all over the sidewalk on my way downtown today, drenching innocent passersby in spring-fresh fuchsia goodness. (Gulp! That's me taking more meds...)

Here is the outfit. This dress longed for a photo out-of-doors but my studio had to do. Notice how I cleverly directed the lighting at my torso.

I wore my denim jacket because it was still slightly chilly, and my fingerless gloves. Under the dress I wore a long-sleeved blouse, a vintage baby-blue one-piece slip, and bright pink tights. I think the dark boots and the gloves in particular made this summery frock suitable for a sunny spring day.

Details of the outfit:
  • muumuu, thrifted, $19 at Community Thrift Store, it has only one tag that says "Made in Hawaii"
  • oversized silk shirt, hand-me-over
  • Miu Miu boots, Wildlife Thrift Store
  • fingerless gloves, Canadian Tire, purchased as regular gloves
  • denim jacket with glittery bits, Value Village

I like that pic up there. It looks like I'm putting my right foot in doing the Hokey Pokey. The back of the dress has a full skirt created by a deep box pleat. I think that's called a princess back. Do you know? The train effect certainly made me feel like royalty.

Oh, chic alors! Too bad I can't just hover down the sidewalk so I can maintain this pose, I like it so much! I suppose I could mount myself on a skateboard and employ a dog or wayward child to pull me with a rope.

Today's walk was my second outing in a week - the first was yesterday when I was hired to shoot photos of concert pianist Corey Hamm during rehearsal of the Vancouver Symphony Orchestra for the world premiere performance of Idee Fixe (sorry, I can't do the accent on the first "e"), composed by Jordan Nobles and conducted by Bramwell Tovey. Below are two of my favourite shots, although I also captured some good ones of Maestro Tovey and the full complement of musicians. I love photographing artists at work.

Meditations of the Artist. Pianist Corey Hamm   (c) Melanie Kobayashi 2012

Lost in the Moment. Pianist Corey Hamm with Composer Jordan Nobles    (c) Melanie Kobayashi 2012
I felt privileged to have had the chance to hear the fine-tuning of this piece with the full orchestra.
The fact that this was "work" was a huge bonus.

I am of course including this outfit in Patti's Visible Monday. Poor Miz Bagg is bed-bound in the Arctic Circle after her pyjama party shenanigans. Thanks, Terri, that was fun! Tee hee. Do you think my facial worked?

Here I am in a little energy ball. Again, thanks, everyone, for your positive input! I could feel it coming my way and it DEFINITELY helped in my recovery. 

Friday 20 April 2012

Pyjama party greetings from the Arctic Circle!

ARCTIC CIRCLE (AP) - Miz Bagg has kindly agreed to attend fabulous Terri's Pyjama Party over at Rags Against the Machine, on behalf of Melanie, even though she is still currently in the Arctic on a photo shoot for the 2038 Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Calendar, modelling bikinis specially designed by world-famous designer "iqi" (pronounced "icky").

Miz Bagg had this to say:
Greetings, kittens! I am having a fab, fab, fab time here in the Arctic Circle. As you can see, I have had a personal bedroom gazebo constructed for me on the ice flows, which affords me a fab, fab, fab view of the seals, polar bears, walri, and sundry other wildlife (including yum-yum cabana boys!!!). I raise a glass to my fellow party-goers and hope you all have a delicious time with temptress Terri!!!!! Be naughty! How about a game of truth or dare? I remember the fun I had with Prince ---, but I oughtn't... And then there was Count ---, ooo, that was fun. And how about... Oh dear. Here comes a white-rumped sandpiper. I must get my camera. Ciao, darlings! See you in the Everglades!
(My secret recipe courtesy of Marquis ---)
Miz Bagg's Caviar Popcorn

  • one bag of microwaveable popcorn
  • one pound of butter
  • ten jars of caviar

Get your manservant to pop the popcorn in the microwave, add the butter, and then stir in the caviar. Yum! Slather the leftovers all over your face and let set for the night for a fab, fab, fab facial!!

Monday 16 April 2012

The Shar Pei sweater

I'm linking up to Patti's Not Dead Yet Style Visible Monday today - barely. I am glad that I am NOT so visible today because my head feels like a balloon, the usual hot hair of course, but lots of cold too - the dreaded head cold. The best remedy for this malady has been unexpected...

Jean at Dross into Gold!
Thank you so much, Sweet Jean, for your lovely Ode!!
You've given me a real pick-me-up!
So a big, warm hug to you (with my face mask on)

I haven't been out or online for the past couple of days, so I'm happy I had these shots from late last week squirrelled away to share.

Details of the outfit:
  • thrifted wool walking shorts, two sizes too big, cost almost nothing 
  • thrifted polyester graphic sleeveless mini dress, worn as a top, Value Village
  • thrifted black wool sweater that I resized using my Shar Pei technique, described below
  • maxi cardigan, sample sale, Metallicus
  • fingerless gloves and beret - these two are inseparable
  • dirty dove-blue tights, with D&G thrifted heels from Value Village

This was another positive bubble outfit. I love to jam my fists into the pockets of these low-slung shorts, which makes them sit even lower - marvellous. And until I tried the mini dress as a top, I never cared much for either the dress or these wool-prickly shorts. Now I think I'll hang on to them both for a while longer.

Above I have my thumbs hooked into the pockets.

And here's a close-up of the sweater.

I pinched up the wool in vertical worm-lines at the front and back of the sweater and around the sleeve, and hand-stitched them so the gathers remain on the outside. I love that Shar Pei (wrinkle dog) effect. One sleeve has a tuck and the other doesn't; there is no symmetry. This was a quick way to add detail and bring a large piece down to size. 

Happy week everyone! (Achoo!!) Excuse me.

Thursday 12 April 2012

One head four ways - wigging out!

Who are we? Are we defined by our hair, our makeup, our clothes? Of course, the answer is that we are defined by the intangibles, but I heard this from a woman I style-eyed recently: Nobody ever crossed the street to meet a personality. Our looks and presentation form first impressions and our personalities make or break them.

This post is a continuation of my investigation into women's identity and style, very a la Cindy Sherman, the New York conceptual photographic artist. The first post I did in this project was called "One face six ways."

The Investigation
How do our perceptions of people change with different kinds of hair?
How much does hair affect our behaviour? 
For this study I applied heavy makeup and tried on three wigs: Ginger, Annette, and Tina. 

NATURAL (below): Wigless is my natural state but I wasn't used to this much makeup. The makeup served as a cover so I felt freer to do things outside my usual self and it exaggerated the transformations.

GINGER (below): I felt vixen-like but overwhelmed by the hair! I dressed as Ginger for two parties about 12 years ago and really disliked the attention. I was the bone to a bunch of hungry dogs! I rarely spoke all night - I was in shock. 
ANNETTE (below): (The cone is misshapen after 14 years in a drawer!) This woman is from the sixties, say, Elizabeth Taylor Cleopatra. In kitten heels I walk a poodle in a diamond collar, go to a party and do the twist, and wake up in the morning with smeared makeup, stinking of booze, ready for a fresh martini and a gherkin.
TINA (below): This is the wig I have always disliked most and it is the one that made me feel like I lost myself the most. I don't really see myself here and yet I enjoyed the discovery process of the transformation.

These are closeup summary shots of the personalities that emerged in these wigs with this makeup.

In every wig I tried on, I had a sense of being someone else. Considering that a wig is really just an extension of a hat, our cultural interpretations of hair elevate the wig far beyond mere body adornment. For example, when I wore Ginger my personality was unable to live up to the expectations that the hairstyle invoked. Even hair colour has deeply ingrained stereotypes: ditzy blond, fiery redhead, white- or black-haired crone.

I once saw a movie in which women cancer survivors attending a conference joyously doffed their wigs; they threw them exultantly into the air as a symbol of empowerment and liberation. At the same time, I have seen women with deliberately shorn heads treated with derision or bewilderment. Throughout history, the cutting of a woman's hair has been punishment for a lapse in morality. Even biblical Sampson lost his strength when his hair was shorn.

I'm wondering, what's your relationship with your hair? Do you change your hair style to reflect or even evoke big changes in your life? Do you wear wigs? If so, do you mix them up depending on your mood or outfit? Do you wish wigs were more commonly worn? Do you think that hair colour affects how people perceive us? How does hair length affect perception? I'm just curious.

Have a good weekend everyone!

Tuesday 10 April 2012

Heathcliff, is that you?

This outfit is almost the same as in my post "I feel like Amelie," except I am feeling more sprite than sprightly. What's different outfit-wise is I'm wearing a different blouse, my red shoes, fingerless gloves, and my wonderful Ghost on a Swing pendant which contributed greatly to the Heathcliff-howling-in-the-moors mood. The darkness of the backdrop I did in a dirty photo edit to try to capture the thrill of standing in the shadows of a Gothic estate under a great rumbling sky. Sadly, there is still too much cheerfulness here.

With that expression could I be mistaken for the new governess at the gates of her lordship's manor - hopeful yet intimidated? This is "gleeful darkness." Shall I nauseate you and burst into song like Maria in the Sound of Music?: "I have confidence in sunshine..." I think a crow would have flown straight out of the backdrop and pecked my head off if I did.

Details of the outfit:
  • wool/cashmere winter coat, thrifted ages ago at Second Suit, a real workhorse of a coat
  • upcycled skirt made from a thrifted handmade dress purchased at a movie-clothing sale
  • tuxedo shirt, Zara, thrifted, Wildlife Thrift store
  • brown-and-black plaid tights
  • Dorothy shoes, thrifted, Value Village
  • Ghost on a Swing pendant from my friend Monique, also on Etsy. I love this!
  • seafoam skirt as a petticoat, thrifted, Value Village, seen recently in another post
  • knit fingerless gloves, sold as regular knit gloves at Canadian Tire automotive store but I cut off the tips of the fingers and hemmed the openings to prevent unravelling.

Oh dear, the picture up there is not a governess but a sprite from the woods, a playful temptress who lures innocents into the enchanted Dark Forest from whence they shall never return! Did you notice the cloud halo? Totally unplanned, my friends...

And I just threw this photo in there. I like the sense of dance and the old-world feeling. The cloud in this photo could be a giant feather sprouting from my beret.

Here is a closeup of my pendant, Ghost on a Swing.

Happy darkness to you. Oooo.

Sunday 8 April 2012

Taming the blood-thirsty boucle

I've decided to be friends with my pink boucle jacket - it's time - and really, let's put the blame for the original "Blood-thirsty Boucle" moniker where it rightly belongs - with the evil seamripper! (see post here) There's also a reason for the adage "You catch more flies with honey than vinegar." Um, that's not really the intent of this jacket though...

I wore this fluorescent pink blouse a mere week ago, here, but then days later I thrifted this fluorescent ruffly orange number and I thought they would look traffic-stopping together! Ariane of Style Montreal Sud-Est said in a recent comment something along the lines of, Why not go all the way? Indeed! Why not? There is a point of no return and I am there; my closet may not be there, but I am. 

I thrifted this skirt, also in boucle fabric, at the same time as the acid orange blouse. I like the high belting I did with the jacket. I'm slightly short-waisted so it's always a good policy to emphasize my weakest feature by making myself even more short-waisted. I did that here too. I love how the blouses stick out at the bottom of the jacket; I call it slovenly chic. And then I added the dirty-dove-blue tights and thrifted Miu Miu boots.

Okay now, put on your sunglasses!!

BAM!! Did I scare you? (I'm always scaring you - Munsters, bright colours...) Also, I did not retouch this photo - they were THAT bright.

Details of this outfit
  • Le Chateau fitted skirt and neon orange blouse, thrifted at the Wildlife Thrift Store, $8 and $6 I think. The boots and pink blouse are from there as well.
  • pink boucle jacket from a random thrift sale on Commercial Drive, couple bucks
  • soft black leather belt, men's department, Value Village. I bought a leather punch to put in the extra holes I needed - this is a great tool!

I had a jaunty kick to my step wearing this, flaunting all these fabulous lip-smacking brights around like a loaded flower gun during my inspiration walk. Many bystanders were struck - which means I had several very wonderful chats with strangers who were not asking for money or in altered states. It's that indefinable bubble of positivity that comes from a perfect storm of style, sun, and happy sass. 

Here's a closeup of the skirt fabric. You can see better the wonderful little lines of brilliant tangerine and blue and pink and aqua running through the checks.

I did not wear my beret. In fact, in several outfits that I've worn lately I have not worn my beret. It is becoming glaringly obvious to me that the more confident I become with my style, the more I feel grounded in myself independent of whatever clothes happen to be on my body. 
Since I have decided to make nice with my jacket it's only appropriate that I try to do it with my seamripper. Perhaps I carry a teensy bit of the blame? Here is "Romancing the Evil Seamripper."

And here's my impression of the day's outfit here. This time I am an onion head not a turnip head.

Hope you all had a great weekend and have many new positive adventures in the coming week.

And it's that time again - time for Patti's most awesome Monday style party, Visible Monday, over at Not Dead Yet Style. I shall surely see you there.

Wednesday 4 April 2012

The Munsters' escape

A moment of silence, if you please, for the unveiling of the Munsters...
[sound of angels singing, people weeping, cries of joy, cries of horror]

Some of the weeping and cries of horror are from me on the way home from my inspiration walk! These shoes by Fluevog are aptly called the Munsters. The first half of my trip was completely fine, but things deteriorated quickly on my homeward journey. Luckily I brought my flats with me, but, oh no, I was determined to make it back without succumbing to a shoe-stop. Grin, step, grin, step, grin, step... The shoe heel is not that big, considering the platform, but the square toe on a shoe 1/8 size too small is unforgiving on a decidedly wedge-shaped foot-end.

I threw together this outfit rather quickly. I wanted to wear these suede shoes to celebrate the rare appearance of our sky-shy sun, and to wear my honeycombed tights over my black tights, a first-time combo - I loved the effect, kind of like boom, aaack! (I scared myself! My legs looked like reptiles on psychogenic drugs!) Then I wanted slightly more sedate tonal coverage on my upper half, so shades of blue with a turtleneck, shrouded in my super-long cardi with handy pockets at calf level.

Details of the outfit:
  • those shoes, bought new less than a year ago as a life marker
  • salmon-coloured honeycomb tights over black tights
  • stretch muted-ultramarine skirt with groovy belt buckle attached, sample sale, Metallicus
  • black wool turtleneck, thrifted, Value Village
  • blue, blue, blue cardigan, Community Thrift Store
  • maxi cardigan, sample sale, Metallicus
  • magic pendant O made me, teardrop shape
  • NO BERET TODAY - oh, my naked head, but if my hair were alive it would be breathing joyously
Now a closeup of the tights and shoes below. I like how my feet look teeny tiny because the camera is angled way down, but I'm not too keen on the big head.

And then a weird photo. Caption: You wanna buy a watch?!

I shall always love my Munsters, but in a sick way, for special occasions only. (These are the shoes from my cartoon in the Implode/Explode post.) Isn't it odd how the mind can erase bad shoe memories? I know I should have changed my shoes and normally I would have, but I just couldn't help myself today. Do you ever do that?!

Sunday 1 April 2012

Follow the tangerine road...

I've been playing with the backdrop in my studio again...uh oh. This is my tangerine road, and like the yellow brick road I hope it will take me to magical places, not necessarily home, if I click my thrifted D&G heels together three times! If I say "there's no place like Paris, there's no place like Paris, there's no place like Paris" and little sparklies start drifting down from the ceiling and the floor gets tilted like in those Batman shows, I'll know I'm onto something (or perhaps that I'm ON something!).

I bought this neon pink satin blouse last week at a local thrift shop. Spookily it happens to be by Jacqueline Conoir, a local designer I had never heard of until a few days ago when I style-eyed a woman who is devoted to the label. The seafoam skirt is one I sometimes wear as a petticoat.

Details of the ensemble:
  • thrifted seafoam skirt, Value Village
  • thrifted D&G shoes, Value Village
  • thrifted fitted Jacqueline Conoir satin top with snap front closure, Wildlife Thrift Shop
  • ultramarine textured tights
  • thrifted rhinestone necklace, Wildlife Thrift Shop

This outfit looks great with my patterned coat, all that slap-me-in-the-face pink jumping out alarmingly at the front, but I forgot to lug my coat into the studio with me.

I was SO DISAPPOINTED about the blurriness of the photo - the effect takes years off my face and I would never ever want anyone to think I am younger than I am! Goodness, no! Actually, I was twirling in many of the photos so most of them came out making me look younger (and often like a dunderhead). And I adjusted the lights so that's why my eyes are glazed. Honestly!

This is my piece for the fabulous Patti and her Visible Monday party. See you there?!

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