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Thursday 29 November 2012

Jumpin' jacquard, luscious lurex, and twirling tulips

I have some special pieces I've been longing to show you in real life, but since that hasn't happened yet I decided to do a photo shoot last night. How much fun was that? - especially with these garments...

First up is a maxi skirt which I received from gorgeous Curtise of The Secondhand Years who got it from Terri from Rags Against the Machine in a circuitous transcontinental effort. (In this same package of love I also received a fabulous velvet maxi dress with a lacy sewn-in blouse featuring leg-of-mutton sleeves, here. Can you believe its amazingness?) Here is the skirt, first in closeup and then how I styled it.

  • vintage maxi jacquard skirt with rear zip/button enclosure, gift from Curtise and Terri
  • jacquard vest, hand-me-over, downsized three sizes
  • vintage jacquard jacket, thrifted, home-made (the price tag said "Mad Hatter at the Tea Party")
  • aubergine silk blouse, hand-me-over, many sizes too big
  • red wool beret, thrifted
  • brown crackle leather Miu Miu boots, thrifted
  • blue brooch, craft fair, sold as hat adornment
I wore a variation of this outfit a couple of weeks ago but was unable to photograph it that day even though I felt bee-yoo-ti-ful in it. The jacket is heavy like upholstery fabric - it can almost stand up on its own - and the skirt doesn't have any vents in the bottom which meant I had to take feminine steps thereby enhancing my wearing pleasure. My approach to this outfit was, if I'm going to wear one piece of jacquard, why not wear all my pieces at once? I call this "Runaway Chesterfield." (I always get confused between brocade and jacquard - I hope my use here is correct...)

The next piece I received in the same package. It is an absolutely delicious lurex capelet, special from Curtise. Oooh, she knows my heart well.

  • crappy dreamy shoes, retail, with vintage kimono-strip laces, gift from my friend Sharron
  • glitter bronze tights, retail
  • lurex dress, thrifted
  • lurex capelet, Curtise
  • red wool beret, thrifted
  • black long-sleeve under-T, thrifted
I haven't worn this ensemble out yet because the shoes, worn only once, already need sole reinforcement, hence the "crappy" descriptor, but this outfit is DEFINITELY an incentive to get that done. The capelet is very cool because it has little sleeve openings sewn into it. I would  need to wear a wrap or shawl of some kind over it for outdoors, thus adding to the drama and glamour of the sparkles.

And the finale, ta-dah, this is a gorgeous maxi dress with a tulip motif and beret which I received from awesome Ariane of Style Sud-Est.

Isn't this dress divine? At first I wasn't sure how to style it - the bodice is attached to the skirt in a zig-zag line you can barely make out in the first photo - but when I added the belt everything fell magically into place. This dress is so filmy and dreamy; it's the most fun to twirl in. You should hear the swishy sound. And the green beret, I have to thank Ariane for reintroducing me to this beautiful colour! I love it now with my white hair. The denim jacket turns this into daywear but the delicate hemline requires dry sidewalks. Thank you, Ariane!

That's all. Sorry for such a long post. I have woken up every day wondering if this is THEE day for any of these outfits and I'm glad I have finally photographed them to share with you. So hugs to Curtise and Terri and Ariane for making possible this post and my happiness wearing these amazing pieces.

When you're stumped by how to style an outfit where does you mind go first: scissors? scarves? belts? donation bin? I was tempted to shorten the dress and I'm so GLAD I resisted!!

Sunday 25 November 2012

My fedora made me do it

He was a wise-cracking thug with a mug that only a mother or a streetwise moll dressed as a man, such as Yours Truly, could fall for. He was good for laughs, always had a loaded gun in his pocket - with the safety off. Too bad I hadda off him, the sap. Don't he know commitment is a three-syllable word?

Me and the dames is going for a little joyride down to the joint to hook up with Patti. Hear she's got some action going on - so's if you're Not Dead Yet (Style) git over there, Visible Monday. But bring backup. If ya's ain't there, tell Marty I tips my hat and says hello. Then tell him to get his sorry ass over here to fix these slanty floors if he knows what's good for 'im.

Details of the outfit
  • fur felt hat, thrifted
  • wool/cashmere coat, thrifted
  • jeans, thrifted
  • stretch wedge booties, thrifted
  • men's tie, thrifted
  • tuxedo shirt, thrifted
  • leather belt, thrifted
I wore jeans and a belt, a tie, this new old fedora, and this coat twice this past week - I was so in love with the new hat! Plus, it was raining and miserable, perfect for film noir. If I could have walked down the sidewalk in grainy black and white, I would have.


Thursday 22 November 2012

Executive look takes a detour

I am a tropical flower, blooming madly atop a stalk of pinstripes and animal shoes. My satiny petals stretch to the sky in vain in search of sunshine and nourishment.

New Fashion Rules: 
  1. All political leaders must wear neon colours (and paisley) to important summit meetings to set the right tone for peace and conciliation. 
  2. Male political leaders must wear mod side-zip ankle boots, in white or black, and bell bottoms.
  3. Female leaders must wear go-go boots and maxi dresses. 
This is the new law.

Smiles bloomed all around me as I sashayed down my route, my corolla bobbing in herbaceous splendour. Black and white turned to technicolour in a fleeting trail of sparklets that twinkled in the gloom and wet of another rainy day.

  • sleeveless neon orange satin blouse with ruffles, thrifted
  • neon pink satin blouse, Jacqueline Conoir, thrifted
  • elastic stomacher-style orange belt with rear velcro closure, thrifted
  • pinstriped executive skirt, thrifted
  • D&G animal-print shoes, thrifted
  • red beret, thrifted
  • Betsey Johnson coat, and tights, retail
Also, I hope you all get out there, elbows cocked, wallets bulging, to gorge on Black Friday, which in North America (yes, Canada too) has become the official kick-off day for Holiday Shopping Season!!!! I dislike this day and what it stands for with intensity. Holt Renfrew, a high-end fashion retailer which I frequent for sensory inspiration, had a sign out today, "Thursday is the New Black Friday" - I just found out that there IS such a thing as Black Friday and already it's extended to Thursday. I wonder how long it will take to morph into Black Week, Black Month...

Rain seems to be the weather du jour everywhere right now. I hope you are all finding ways to cope. Maybe shopping will help. After all that venting, who knows? Maybe I'll hit a few thrift stores... I'll use my flower power to knock those shopping suckers outta my way. Okay, so I'm a Venus Fly Trap, not a benign tropical bloom after all...

Bella at Citizen Rosebud has drawn up a pledge which affirms one's intent to shop second-hand first. I'm glad she said "first" because I do still have a weakness for retail from time to time. I have already been living according to this credo, but now I have a beautiful new colourful widget for my sidebar.

Monday 19 November 2012

Rain defiance outfit

I was a slug until I put this on. Colour. How else could I possibly face the day? How else could I channel the magnificence flowing through the cosmos? This is my Rain Defiance outfit.

You've probably seen all these outfit pieces before in other mixes... But today I'm wearing my glasses for a little retro smackage. And when I wear them outside, I almost ALWAYS wear the matching magnetic clip-on shades (even at night), which are of course ultra-cool in their geek factor.

And below, I am checking the tastiness of the air... not so sweet. This photo was taken at about 1:30 p.m. just to give you an idea of how dark the days get here at this time of year when it's raining. 

I am linking this up with Patti's fabulous Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style. I'll see you all there in fits and starts this week. Let's raise a glass to Patti too, who is in the middle of a big move. Cheers, Patti!! Have a great week everyone, rain or shine.

PS. I wanted to wear a maxi today but rain is not a good friend to it hemline. I must wait for sunshine.

Thursday 15 November 2012

Wearing mustard with relish (Fashion Challenge/FC)

I have mustard - I relish this colour! So I'm playing a little catsup with the Fashion Challenge: Fall Colour Trends hosted by Megan Mae and Keely. Bandmate/crazy-gal Sandra and I were hot-dogging on a rooftop where we caught this shot. I'm glad my buns are not showing! I don't think what I'm wearing is on trend but I do have these mustard tights. Everyone looks spe-ta-coo-lar (word of the day) in their autumn colours!

Here I am luxuriating in the vestibule of my closet
The items:
  • mohair pullover, thrifted
  • maxi dress, thrifted
  • mustard tights, sample sale
  • D&G animal print shoes, thrifted
  • necklaces, assorted
  • wool indigo beret, thrifted
  • fingerless gloves, upcycled from Canadian Tire automotive store
  • quilted cotton biker jacket, sample sale
On her blog Lens is More Sandra posted a little video, which also includes clips of both of us suffering from a lack of dignity during this art outing.
Isn't my closet vestibule spe-ta-coo-lar?!
Hope y'all can wring a few more marvellous moments from what remains of the week....

Wednesday 14 November 2012

Join The Travelling Yellow Skirt Freak Show

The Freakish Yellow Skirt is now retired. Thanks everyone, for joining! She is home, but she is not finished yet. Stay tuned. 

Yes - the FREAKISH yellow skirt (FYS) is flying around the world AGAIN! - and it wants YOU to style her as part of a I-surrender-to-positivity celebration. The globe-trekking, which kicked off in 2012, was Sarah's idea (from Misfits Vintage), and I think it's too much fun. Plus it's much easier than mailing a gnome - or myself considering how gnomish I look below.


Send me an email, act like a diva (no spaces) AT g mail dot com. Include your full mailing address and I will tell the current skirt holder where the skirt should go next. I will notify you that the skirt is on its way. 

The list will be made in priority sequence, not according to geography. She is a fly-by-the-seat-of-her-skirt kind of skirt. Plus, MANY THANKS TO SHELLEY of Forest City Fashionista, for generously coordinating so much of the skirt's journey until now. 

If you like, attach something to the skirt or alter it with paint, sewing, markers or other means. Please do not shorten the skirt because the length is part of its charm, and please maintain the skirt's flexible sizing. 

Post a photo of yourself in the skirt and let me know. I shall then put a notice on this blog and post a photo in the FYS Gallery.

Please try not to not keep the skirt for more than two weeks. She is a rambling gal and likes to be on the move.

If you like, you can put the logo below (or in my sidebar) in your blog. The cartoon woman is modelled after Sarah.

(The gallery was on this post originally, but with 25+ women who have participated so far, a separate gallery was required.)

The skirt is a slippery silky parachute-type fabric with an elastic and drawstring waist capable of accommodating many sizes. My addition to the skirt is below: acrylic paint, Vancouver badge, lovely squiggy sewing.

My journal sketches of the skirt: Jul. 16 and Aug. 5, 2012 ("atsui" means hot in Japanese). The animals hiding under the skirt are, importantly: a dog, a cat hanging by its claws, and a penguin.

I hope you will join this circus. 

I bought this big lemon skirt on sale in July 2012. I wore it for the first time here. I wore it a couple more times in the summer and then did another post of it here as a purely inspirational piece.

What makes this skirt special is not only its vibrant colour but a particular comment about it which was very critical, excerpt: "you're looking unbelievably ugly in those clothes." I have to say that of all comments on Bag and a Beret, this one – which incidentally was written by a male friend (TT) - has had the most impact on me to date. In the midst of so many laudatory comments, here was one that directly questioned my style.

Until this criticism I admit that it was surreal writing and receiving so many superlatives and compliments on blog posts. Also, while I know that all the comments I receive (and write) are genuine (and seductive in their positivity), the absence of criticism was an elephant in the room. I couldn't help but wonder – isn't there more to it?

I believe that criticism can be useful, but this remark really made me think. And think... At first I was relieved and amused by it - but then hurt, angry, STOIC, so much drama! What I finally concluded is criticism IS meaningful - there must always be room for differing opinions - but in the context of my blog, where I am sharing my life/style adventures, I need safety for experimentation, which helps me grow stylistically through supportive remarks, enthusiasm, and gentle suggestions, and also grow new friendships. Much darkness breathes in the city around me, and I reason that surely, finally, I can afford to surrender fully to this online positivity that I have miraculously stumbled into. Private email still leaves plenty of room for critical engagement.

Would I publish this kind of criticism again? I really don't know, but TT shook me into an awakening, which was a good thing. It affirmed my style convictions, my blog intentions, and my respect for the blogging community, but it was also a reminder that I must continue to stretch and question myself, which I believe is part of what he was getting at. Also, the comment was definitely a case of "be careful what you wish for"! I regret that other comments on the post were derided by the remark, and I was very moved by fellow bloggers' swift and sure defence of me and their own opinions.

The travelling yellow skirt freak show represents the positivity and solidarity I discovered through what happened. Apparently Helga of Helga von Trollop had done a similar thing in the past with a quilted bag (which took an unknown detour), so this is not an original concept, but I do hope you embrace this skirt and what it means. Sarah was a genius to apply the idea to this skirt. I will feel incredibly happy knowing that the big bright yellow sail of a skirt is flying and flapping wildly around the world with its message:

Let's enjoy life!! 
Let's enjoy dressing up!!
It's just frickin' fabric!! (a really good piece though)
We surrender to the positivity!
Let's dance, baby!!

I look forward to seeing this skirt on any of my existing friends, and new friends, who want to join in!!!! (More gratuitous exclamations!!!) Aaaaagh!!!!! IS THAT ENOUGH POSITIVITY FOR YA?!

Monday 12 November 2012

Vintage wool dress for mystery

Today I wore one of my favourite odd dresses, a heavy wool garment with little gold studlettes, graduated in size, on the sleeves and front pocket, and a flared skirt. The dress was three or four sizes too big when I thrifted it, so in standard slacker fashion I simply sewed up the side seams to fit and lowered the shoulder seams at the top. Although this is a frequent go-to item for evening music recitals, I also enjoy it for daytime wear as well. There is a mysterious air about this garment which brings to mind the classic holiday-season movie Bell, Book and Candle in which Kim Novak, a witch, falls for a mortal, James Stewart.

Walking down the sidewalk I felt so deliciously witchy in the rain shadows that I was sure that if I turned around quickly, boo!, I would catch a dozen black cats (named Pyewacket) frozen in stride, amber eyes blazing. I always liked Kim Novak far better as a witch than as a mortal. I wonder if the street lights flared and burned out in a trail behind me.

Details of this ensemble:
  • vintage dress, thrifted
  • black tights, retail
  • medium-heeled shoes (aka frump shoes), retail
  • magic loupe, O made it for me
  • magic pendant, O made it for me
  • fingerless gloves, upcycled from Canadian Tire automotive store
  • beret, thrifted
  • seafoam cotton skirt underneath as a petticoat, thrifted
Below is a closeup of the dress fabric with the studs, and this is the tool-box bag I carried today, which came with a tool O ordered. Isn't it divine? I shall customize it at some point but I was content with the plain exterior today.

Happy Visible Monday! This week I'm able to make it over to Patti's place at Not Dead Yet Style. I missed you all last week... Time to catch up. Do your clothes put you in a mood or does your mood put you in your clothes?

Also, regarding my last post for Vogoff magazine, I greatly dislike ageism, and yet I defined this faux magazine's audience as women +40. Big mistake! I know so many wonderful bloggers who are under 40 and the world would not be complete without you. So if any of you want to contribute to Vogoff, I heartily welcome your suggestions.

AND - I am very excited and flattered to be featured in an interview (here) posted by 
Sylvia on her amazing blog, 40+ Style (TM). 
The piece is called: 
"How to be more creative with your outfits: Style lessons from Melanie." 
Thank you! 
Sylvia is the kind of woman who could put on a scratchy potato sack and make it look cool and breezy in Singapore heat. If you haven't see Sylvia's style yet, do go have a look!

Wednesday 7 November 2012

VOGOFF Magazine by Miz Bagg

Letter from VOGOFF Editor in Chief, Miz Bagg:

I know the universe hangs on my every blurt so I have decided to immortalize myself as Editor in Chief of this magazine, the highly prestigious, internationally-acclaimed, Pewlister Prize-winning VOGOFF (pronounced voggoff or vhog-off). Please reserve your applause until the end. (Come now, get ahold of yourselves. Have a little dignity and humility - like me.)

Of course I, Miz Bagg, am the queen of everything about beauty, fashion, makeup, grace, real good manners, and such-like, and I am an incredibly word-ly person, as you no doubt observed in my writing in my How-to Guide to Posing, Part 1 on 8-track cassette. (Thanks for your support. Of course you bought it.) So my beauty is not only gobsmacking - my intelligence and that stuff are also big gob-droppings of smartness.

This first issue features only photos of moi, Miz Bagg, of course, but I may allow the little people to contribute later on when I'm busy doing something way better. In this issue I am pleased to unveil to you the hottest thing since Yanni - the mashed potato fashion accessory specially designed by iqi (pronounced icky). Unless you've been living in Uranus, you'll know that kitchen tools are hot.

And who can help dancing uncontrollably when opening a container of yogurt or spraying air freshener or whipping out a duster or mopping the floor? Well, lucky you's - inside this issue are a few new dance steps you can try when cleaning and eating. They are perfect for tightening up those pesky fleshy pads on your hand between your thumb and index finger.

Plus, as a special feature: "Are we addicted to our uprights?" With a quiz! I too am not immune to the sight of a hard upright vacuum, all beastie thrumming with unkempt hair inside, which is only natural for a feminine creature such as mine self, but here I share with you not only my secrets for hiding these naughty little liaisons from your partner, but also ancient mystical monk moves for upping your upright's suction power by 73.5 percent. Therapists are on standby in case you fail the stupid quiz. You loser.

Miz Bagg caught in an unguarded moment following the upright shoot. Photo courtesy of Takenzeepiss 2012
Okay, I'm off now to consult with all those high-power smiling advertising people in New York to teach them a hot dance for their new and exciting anti-fungal soap. They keep begging and begging me to be in their global network ad campaigns (it's rather embarrassing) and I keep telling them to feck off, I'm far more valuable in my role as guru and goddess. Then I'm off to consult on ballerina costumes for some female products.

I know it's a an exciting life, but I, Miz Bagg, am the only one to lead it, as I shall and can. Tra-la-tra-la. Ooh, my upright needs attention.

Till the next unbelievably fabulous issue, hugs and kisses, but don't wreck my lipstick!!! (Oh, you fecking bi-otch)


(The Real Writer's Notes)
In the next issue, probably December: The Implications of Hot Flashes. Are peri/menopausal women with hot flashes responsible for global warming or is it bovine flatulence? What would happen if power companies could wire hot flashes into the Smart Grid. Would we have to call it the Smarter Grid?

The Real Real Writer's Notes

I watched part of the recent silent movie, The Artist, a few nights ago and another movie from 1932 last night in which the lead platinum blond delivered this great line: "I'm as exciting as an ironing board." On top of that, I had a little correspondence with Curtise from The Secondhand Years about kitchen utensils... So Miz Bagg was sequestered in a photo shoot last night not knowing what would result.

I'm so happy this "magazine" popped out. I had been mulling the idea for quite a while and suddenly there it was - my perfect inaugural cover. If any of you want to contribute a little piece to a future issue, maybe next month, let me know, ultra-Vogue on drugs with cool photos.

About the outfit

  • black satin ball gown above, last worn here 
  • bunch of jewellery I dug out of my box, including beads from the Pride Parade and a few pieces that someone had left in our garbage room for the taking - I'm such a discriminating shopper
  • canary diamond ring from the local dollar store. 

I haven't been commenting much but I have been lurking. Sometimes I have to pull back to keep the fun and spontaneity alive. I think you know what I mean...

I hope you're all having a FANTASTIC week.

Issue 2
Issue 3
Issue 4

Thursday 1 November 2012

Do these booties make me look like...

...I'm having too much fun? Because I am! And they passed the new-footwear test - I survived my inspiration walk without a single blister. These heels are not as challenging as some others in my closet because of the built-in platform.

I made the skirt from a new old-stock roll-end of fabric from my favourite fabric store, Dressew. It is a stretch synthetic blend that feels like a thick '70s ski-pant fabric. I simply stitched the piece together at the back and hemmed the top, bottom, and back slit. Done. No zippers or buttons. But...this skirt does have a tendency to slide down my body so I added the suspenders. 

In typical slacker fashion I made a single cross-sling suspender which would involve less sewing. Sewing was required because the device is made from backpack strapping with little clips sewn onto the ends, and the strapping had to be shortened. It also has a backpack-type clasp which you can see at the front, and a little pouch on the back side of it to carry pens and such. Handy! Plus, I didn't have another suspender even if I wanted to maintain some symmetry.

The stuff:
  • skirt, I made from new old-stock fabric
  • suspenders, I made from bits and pieces
  • ivory silk blouse with mother-of-pearl heart-shaped buttons, old, retail
  • black glitter platform booties with wood heel, retail (shameful!)
  • black compression knee socks (because they don't fall down), retail
  • two vintage slips, thrifted, for warmth
  • brown wool cape, not shown, super sale, retail
About the booties, they are the worst quality I have experienced in years -  that will teach me to buy retail. When I got home from this inaugural walk the soles had divots all over them. Worn once and already I have to take them preemptively to the cobbler for shoring up. I'd feel totally ripped off if I didn't love the profile and the glitter so much.

Here is a close-up of the crappy, dreamy booties.

They came with black laces but I replaced them with these mismatched laces made from strips of kimono fabric. The laces were given to me by my friend Sharron, whom I recently featured on my street style blog - here.

Overall, while everyone outside today was huddled under their umbrellas (a light sprinkle), I was ready for some serious ninja action, power-infused by home-made style and glitter booties. New song of the day: "Your Sole has Divots."

If you had to write a song about your day, what would you call it? Hugs, all.

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