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Tuesday 23 April 2013

The '20s dress

Don't speak to me. I'm from another era. I'm cra-cra.*


Time-warping between past and present. 3D-style. Close then far.

But time stands still for these shoes.

*Cra-cra, pronounced cray-cray, is an abbreviated form of the word crazy, popular among hip urban youth in the early 21st century.

  • swingy polka-dot blue dress with tie at the neck, thrifted, purchased the day I was stranded with only my stiff nylon car blanket covered in leaves as a coat in the rain and that guy said he liked my style
  • black tights, remains from an Egyptian tomb but mysteriously made with kryptonotic elastic
  • patent black leather shoes with strap, thrifted
  • R coat, thrifted
  • felt cloche with flower, retail, from the shop at the archeological site mentioned above
  • magic loupe, handmade gift of love 
  • ghost-on-a-swing pendant, friend
Unexpected deadlines means no Visible Monday for me, but I must still SEND YOU to Patti's place at Not Dead Yet Style for if you haven't been already to ogle all the other specimens of early 21st century beauty. Go, GO NOW! Quickly!

Thursday 18 April 2013

Caterpillar brows experiment

As soon as I clamped eyes on the December 2012 British Vogue with its feature "Vogue goes POP: An explosion of fashion and fun" I knew I'd be going shopping for cosmetics for the first time in ages, perhaps years. Not having read a proper fashion magazine in as long, I clearly had a lot of catching up to do on my face. It was the eyebrows, you see, lovely caterpillars of seafoam green and papaya on a couple of the models. I HAD TO HAVE THEM, and have them I did.

I have always been interested in image and its impact on how others perceive us and how we perceive ourselves. As some of you may know, I admire American artist Cindy Sherman, whose photographic works of herself in guises of every description are an exploration of these same questions.

For me, dressing is a dance of masking and revealing. Now that I have loaded up with new cosmetics, makeup is also part of my little life polka.

I call this high-brow exploration CATERPILLAR BROWS.

Top left: Neutral; Top right: Look, I'm Cindy Sherman!
Middle left: Super-silly-us; Middle right: I'll pray for you, dahlings.
Bottom left: "???"; Bottom right: "Oh, Poirot, I've lost my poodle in the Nile. Can you find it?"

None of the characters/looks above were thought out - they grew as my shoot progressed. I chose to work with my big groovy hat, sequin tube top, colourful scarf, and peach peignoir (the former all thrifted), and a red wool hat, gift. The white knit top, very tattered but comfy, and grey T-shirt underneath are fine examples of my home schlep-wear (say that five times very fast).

It was hard not to do faces with this look.

Second row left: Ms. Bean-Bagg or Ms. Bagg o' Beans
Mr. Bean and Ms. Bagg tie the knot. Won't our children look gawjus?

The eyebrows are MAC chromacake, blue and yellow mixed. The eyeshadow is yellow cake with a sprinkling of glitter, which I completely love, then a little, rather, a lot of dusting of blush on the cheeks. Finally, MAC Yum-Yum matte pink lipstick with liner and lots and lots of mascara on my upper lashes.

I wore this exact cosmetic look on my inspiration walk downtown a couple of times last week, minus the bright red cheeks. Then on another day I did my brows in papaya. I also wore the big hat downtown, stuffed with the scarf to keep it from falling over my eyes.

Oddly, this look in public did not make me feel clownish in the least. Sometimes I even forgot that I had green eyebrows and glitter yellow eyelids. But there was no escaping how swell I was feeling. I'm surprised those little brow worms didn't turn into butterflies and fly straight away.

Have you been thinking of mixing up your cosmetic palette? Would you try this in your free time?

Sunday 14 April 2013

Am I just a reflection?

Do I exist?
I see my reflection.
I feel the wind on my cheek.
I hear my heels clack on the sidewalk.
But how do I know it's real?
How do I know any of this is real?

I caught this image in the mirrored window of a local business. It's Sunday so I hope they were closed.
The white letters in the photo are a poem that someone has stuck to the window - and someone else has unstuck. My sweater has the word "Wi" (why) on it.

Sometimes when I come out of my coffee shop after journaling, my mind stays behind at my little table, still ruminating over those pages which are now safely stowed at my side in my toolbox handbag.

This dress has headed to the donation pile more than once, but this morning I found a rescue and it's now one of my favourite pieces. I put mitten clips on the sides to shorten it which created this interesting pear shape. The knit sweater was also destined for redonation until I chopped it off, hemmed it, and embroidered that kitty head with the sticking-out-tongue on it yesterday. I didn't use a pattern, I just started, and I'm glad I left everything to chance because being raw it feels alive. I started to stitch "Why?" but decided it would be too long and stopped abruptly before I had finished the "H," only to realize that the H arm could transform conveniently into an "i" with the addition of a dot - same word, different spelling. "Wi."

The mitten clips were only 50 cents a pair at my favourite local fabric shop, Dressew. From them I also bought yarn, a bag of 3 balls of odd eyelash black yarn with metallic silver threads, for $3.99, and a pair of metal darning needles for 25 cents.

Those are my cool stripey socks over my cool plaid leggings in dark brown with blue and rust-coloured lines. I had to play with the photo contrast and colour to get that pattern to show even faintly. I brought along my brown wool shawl but didn't need it; my knit top was perfect for this cool sunny day.

  • dark brown dress with squiggles, rescued, sample sale
  • mitten clips, Dressew, 50 cents, new old stock I presume
  • plaid leggings and stripey socks, retail
  • black knit skirt worn under dress for warmth and dress-flying-up protection, sample sale
  • buttery-soft brown leather ankle boots, thrifted, Value Village, $7 I think (1/2 price day)
  • knit top, thrifted, Value Village, upcycled with scissors and yarn

I'd never embroidered with yarn before but the idea of stitching big yarn into loose knits appealed to the slacker sewist in me - you can accomplish a lot in a very short period of time. I'm on a roll now...

My hair has finally taken root in the sense that the white colour feels Right now. Since I had my hair done, the transformation was not sitting well on my head. I think I feel better because I've been experimenting with cosmetics, which has been very exciting. I'll post some photos soon. If only these products would come off my face with as much fun as they go on.

I'm heading to Patti's Visible Monday to see all of you in pixelated reflections. How odd is that? How interesting and great that we can slip into this netherworld of hardware and dots of light.

PS. VOGOFF magazine has put out a call for submissions. Check my previous post for details if you're interested.

VOGOFF Call for Submissions

Miz Bagg is back and ready to commence work on her next thrilling issue of VOGOFF magazine, tentatively called Le Grand Fashion Art (Grand F'ART) Issue. Anyone who pinkie swears to the pledge below is welcome to make a submission.


  • I pledge to push my VOGOFF style beyond all boundaries of decorum. When I have reached my creative limits, I shall then ignite my booster rockets to achieve stratospheric outrageousness.
  • I pledge to call in favours from family, friends, acquaintances, and strangers to capture intriguing photos in such locations as recreation facilities, galleries, factory floors, theatres (stages), restaurant kitchens, busy public sidewalks, alleyways, bowling alleys, carnivals, canoes, etc., while wearing dumbfounding high-fashion clothing, often thrifted.
  • I pledge to turn my environment into a photo shoot playground.
  • I pledge to ignore the quizzical looks of bystanders during public photo sessions. (See Fashion Pass)
  • I pledge to express my inner VOGOFF super-duper model (at all times) in pursuit an elevated state of being and not to second-guess my creative inner self. 

When readers see a VOGOFF photo they should ask themselves:
What the feck is happening there?
Who is that half-naked young man with her?
What the hell is she wearing?!
Models must wear dumbfounding outfits. Serious fashion may be considered ONLY if it is presented in a compromising situation. In all cases, think of Vogue on crack as the standard for your photos. All ages, all sizes are of course welcome.

Be serious. Be Zoolander.

Photos should be taken at your highest resolution.
GOOD LIGHTING is your best friend!!!

Miz Bagg will accept a maximum of 2 photos per submission. Not all photos will be published. Miz Bagg reserves the right to fiddle-faddle with your photos as it strikes her fancy. The release date of Le Grand F'ART Issue depends on the number of submissions received and will be announced on Bag and a Beret.

Send your submission to the Bag and a Beret email contact with VOGOFF Submission in the subject line. Include the name/blog address (if applicable)/clothing details that you would like to appear with your photo/credits. All work must be original to you. You do not need to have a blog to participate.

DEADLINE: April 29 May 19

This convenient Fashion Pass gives you permission to act like an idiot in the name of Miz Bagg and VOGOFF magazine.*

I hope you will join in - it's a great chance to show off your uber-fashion talent. The last VOGOFF issue has had almost 10,000 reads to date, which for some bloggers may not be a big deal but for me is very thrilling. Thank you everyone who had a look, and thanks especially to the incredibly talented women who so generously contributed to it! 

*Okay, I'm joking here. Miz Bagg/VOGOFF/Bag and a Beret will not be liable for public mischief that results from photo shoots for VOGOFF magazine. Why must I even write this?...

Sunday 7 April 2013

My daughter would NOT approve...and I've been SpyGirled!

If I had a daughter she would divorce me. I can hear her now - "MUUUUM!!! Are you KIDding me? Oh my GAAAWD. You are NOT wearing that in public." So glad I don't have children...although I'm sure if I did, they would be proper stepford children who say: "Oh Mother Dearest, you are a vision of gorgeousness, brimming with a host of talents and tender-heartedness, and I hope one day to be as fabulous as thou art." Perhaps some of you have spawned and reared such creatures?

Sandra and I were at it again. This is my David Bowie-who-fell-to-the-Earth look. Why did I have to fall so near the slosh bucket room and groady pay phones at the train station? Because we like it like that. Sandra wanked around with a few shots. Her talent never ceases to amaze and dumbfound.

"Yes, you heard me right. This is Occupant 008. Mission accomplished. Prepare Flight Deck 21 of Interplanetary Craft for double martini debriefing or you'll find yourself in the spacepod. Veeeery funny about the slosh bucket, C9Q2."

Those idiots! How many times do I have to tell them to turn the spaceship lights off when they land?

I wouldn't wear the hot pants or the silver spandex pants alone, but together, oh, yes, scandalously on the brink of being scandalous. I last wore the hot pants with my toolbelt to the Guvernment, here. By the way, following the wildly successful debut of our first unreleased album, Just Bad Enough is working feverishly on our next unrelease.

  • white A/X coat, thrifted, Value Village, last worn here
  • hot pants of disintegrating vinyl, Value Village
  • silver spandex pants, free from time-sealed treasure chest
  • big black glitter booties (known as crappy-quality new shoes), retail
  • black T under hot pants, thrifted, Value Village
  • gloves, Canadian Tire, retail, decapped by me
  • standing up hair, made so with aromatic blue product from Sandra
  • magic loupe, O made it for me
I got some great pics of Sandra as well. One of my faves, below, is of her relaxing in the informal hallway to her living room. Maybe she'll post more pics on her blog Lens is More.

On the way home from our escape-aids, I had my eyebrows coloured chemical-white at MAC cosmetics. I took some photos but lost them. I'll take more when I redo them myself. And O just gave me a new tool box - bigger, stronger, faster. I am thrilled. I'll show you later, after I've had my way with it.

Holy Jamoly - Anne M Bray, aka SpyGirl, has sketched me in my dear-to-me floral spring madness outfit, which I posted here, as part of her Digital Catwalk-themed fake journal for International Fake Journal Month.  If you don't know Anne, you must also see her amazing personal style. And as a professional artist, her Commute series of artwork is currently being exhibited at TAG Gallery. Anne has many gobsmacking talents which she applies in her personal and professional life. Hugs, Anne. Thank you so much for this sketch. I love it and I am honoured. I am probably preaching to the converted here, but just in case, I encourage you to check out her blog.

That's the news from my part of the galaxy. My badass self just had to come out and play, especially with sticking-up hair from the special blue product. Yeah, baby. I hope your hair sticks up in just that special way that makes you feel like gettin' down and walking like an idiot as you play your own special tunes in your head. Does it?

[Addition] GAAAA - I'm of course going over to Patti's Place at Not Dead Yet Style for another of her Invisible Monday partays. (Sorry we trashed the place last week Patti. It was the punch, and then Curtise got up on the table and Tamera started singing... To make up for it I've hired some male strippers this week. They don't do much for me either, but it's fun just to write it.)

Thursday 4 April 2013

Blinded by the light

It's the power of gold spangles, my friends. This treasure cast so many reflections that my elevator became a private discotheque. When I stepped onto the sidewalk, the entire city lit up in sparkly madness.

The day I bought this top I entered my favourite thrift store determined not to find anything. After careful scrutiny of every corner I had achieved my targeted disappointment. But of course, like any good soldier of style, I had to do a second sweep - JUST TO MAKE SURE! On my way out, the glint caught my eye...
  • gold sequin top, thrifted (same neck style as the sparkle catsuit of a couple posts ago)
  • maxi floral silk skirt, Debbie Suchat sample, thrifted, last seen as spring skress HERE
  • ankle boots, you've seen them all over the place, new long ago
  • oversized mauve silk blouse, hand-me-over from time-sealed treasure chest
  • magic loupe, O made it for me
  • maxi cardi with convenient pockets located at knee height, sample sale, Metallicus 
  • unseen: mustard tights and wild diamond-patterned socks, for a future post...
  • toolbox handbag, not shown here but it was my bag du jour
Below is how I looked outside with my cardi against the chill and my street style camera.

When I wear this skirt the way it was designed, as an actual maxi skirt rather than as a skress, the waist settles around my hips so that the hem elegantly sweeps the floor, or sidewalk - not so elegant! So I rolled the waist to shorten the length, which worked for a while at least.

In this outfit I envision myself centre stage playing electric guitar for the song "Blinded by the Light" by Manfred Mann, never mind that I can't play electric guitar...

Does anyone know the REAL lyrics by heart?... If you do, you have my admiration. I hope you're having a week full of sparkle, real or imagined.

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