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Sunday 19 May 2013

How to wear a place of mind dingle-ball style

Often I travel to a place in time and personality when I don a vintage piece I love, but this striped two-piece was leading me strongly to a geographical place. While that occurs with other pieces as well, early 20th century Paris being a recurring destination, this little top and skirt longed for the tropics.

I can imagine that the bricks beside me are my leather suitcases plastered with stickers of exotic locales, now packed and ready for a new equatorial adventure. I hope they don't exceed my luggage allowance limit. Any second now my chauffeur will pull up in my new Bugatti to whisk me off to the airport.
"Porter, oh, Porter! Can you please see to my bags?" Being a good tipper is essential in precarious situations. Maybe I'm on my way to visit Frida and Diego.

The skirt fits perfectly around the waist but the top is rather large and shapeless, despite the darts designed for a bigger bust than mine, hence the belt. There is a full zipper in the back like a jacket would have.

A couple of dingle-balls were missing on the skirt so I had to carefully transplant two from the top near the zipper to fill the vacancies. Thankfully, the operation was a success, but this piece still requires delicacy when worn; although it longs for the seaside and lush tropics, the lack of any slit in the skirt requires that I walk with carefully-measured steps. I also had to replace the skirt zipper and hand restitch most of the hems and some seams, which, while time-consuming, also meant a significantly reduced sales price.

  • vintage dingle-ball top and maxi skirt, thrifted, $15?, due to missing balls and other required repairs
  • Steven Madden orange platform sandals, thrifted
  • chain belt, thrifted
  • black T, thrifted, worn against the chill
  • magic loupe, made for me by O
  • vintage mechanical wristwatch with jewels, gift from O
And I like this last photo with my eyes partially closed, the better to see the cabana, the fruity drinks with umbrellas, the intriguing shadowy characters in colourful places, the romance, the rumbas...

Reality Check: That's my reusable shopping bag in my hand. I carry my tripod in there as well. I first wore this outfit here, to Sheila of Ephemera's e-birthday party, before it was mended.

It's strange how the passage of time bathes other eras in misty romance. I wonder if in the future anyone will write of being whisked away to early 21st century Vancouver. Will I ever hear, "Oh, she dresses like a Vancouverite," as a compliment on the level of, "Oh, she is so Parisienne." Doubtful, HIGHLY doubtful. But I can at least create my own warp in time/style/personality/mind.

I'm going to Patti's grand Party of the Undead at Not Dead Yet Style, Visible Monday.
How do you warp reality into a lightness of being?

Other News

Bella at The Citizen Rosebud has posted Part 1 of an interview that Rosalind of Clothes, Cameras and Coffee and I did of each other a while ago as part of Bella's new series, "20 on +40." I felt very privileged and delighted to have carte blanche to find out more about Roz and her incredible art and style. I am simply in awe of her. So...

Thank you, Bella, for initiating this interview. It was a treat to connect and I am humbled to be profiled on The Citizen Rosebud where I am inspired not only by your own style but the style and positive life attitudes of the many women there, especially those over 40.

PS - If you have missed the May 19 VOGOFF submission deadline, don't fret. You can have until May 31. This is your last chance to get out there with your cameras for the upcoming issue.


  1. I think your tulle and a teacup will always be remembered as Vancouver style, early 21st century. Now tulle and dingle balls would take it into another dimension (and postal code) entirely!

    Loved your interview with Roz, and I can't wait to read Part 2. You're both so thoughtful and smart, and she's how old? Amazing!

  2. Loved the interview and photos at Cizizen Rosebud.
    Your outfits are like having an H.G. Wells time machine. I'm whisked away to another era with each creation. It's always a lovely adventure.

  3. I think you'll go a fair way towards making Vancouver a stylish, and talked-about, fashion hub!! Love the shoes.xx.

  4. oh yes, rumba and colorful drinks sound like heaven on this dreary monday!, love your striped outfit with its little dingle balls and über elevated sandals!!
    dear lady, you rock!!!
    besos & umbrellas

  5. You are rocking those colors!

    MRS JACK OF ALL TRADES (a fashion and life-style blog)

  6. Its really amazing how clothes can put you in a specific mood and let you start dreaming ...
    Great look and amazing shoes!

  7. I love your dingle-ball ensemble, the colours are so amazing. Well done on all your patient and painstaking work to fix it up, it certainly repaid the effort.
    And the shoes, look at the shoes - stunning!
    Oh yes, I am happy to be whisked away to somewhere exotic and luxurious and fabulous by your wonderfully imaginative writing, Melanie. I'll share a fruity drink with an umbrella and I'm sure I could rumba, given half a chance...
    Thank you for your excellent comment on my post, Mel, it really made me smile! Don't worry, Agent 38D is alive and well, and shaking herself out of her funk!
    Oh, and congrats on your interview feature at Bella's, a very interesting conversation. xxxxx

  8. I love this and the stories you concoct to go with the outfits.
    Funny that yesterday I did a few photos with friends and my outfits were Frida Kahlo instead, so maybe I should join you in that visit to the tropics!

  9. Fabulous! we need you down here in the near-tropics where flip-flops and tank tops. A ball transplant is very delicate surgery, congrats! And thanks for sharing at Visible Monday xoxoxo

  10. Truly tropics threads! As a lover of movement in outfits and accessories I am inthralled by the dingle-balls that have been lovingly transplanted. The orange platforms elevate your ensemble to another level of spectacular.

    I read your interview with Roz at Bella's. I am always impressed with your style and creativity, but it's your intellect and brilliant skills with analysis and social/political commentary which continually amaze and delight.

  11. I would think taking carefully measured steps is required of those I'm-so-jealous-I couldn't-walk in them shoes. You look like candy

  12. i saw the bags before you even said!! i had to return to the picture to see the bricks...what does that say about me? you as always look utterly divine! xxxx

  13. Up with dingle balls! I love coming up with better names for things. Like today I was wearing my flerp floops when I walked through the park for a coffee.

    Gorgeous wedges!

  14. I love the color combo of the stripes-- and the added fun of DINGLE BALLS!! Gorgeous!!

  15. Mind. Blown. Again.

    Seriously I feel like I'm witnessing a tremendous moment of historical significance.

  16. Melanie, I LOVED reading your interview! And I love the dingle balls...they definitely add an exotic/ tropical aura. My own association with dingle balls evokes a more Californian scene: little chain steering wheels, and cruising on El Camino Real. Yours is far more romantic! Please say hello to Frida and Diego for me.

  17. Wonderful, and I want your shoes, ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh
    Wonderful interview, yeahhhhhhhhhh

  18. You never disappoint! There is something so special about you. I am cheering you on all the way!!!
    I'd never thought of those shoes/dress combo-they are wonderful together!

    I'd love to be in Vogoff!
    Not sure what to try?

    Reva :)

  19. The picture of you in Bella Q's Blog - So David Bowie and wonderful! In this post we love (yes, we) your shoes, your dress and of course your leather suitcases!

  20. I really liked that interview!

  21. Is there a documented moment when the phrase "dingle balls" was invented? I would like to buy whomever first uttered it a drink for all the joy they have brought to the world since. I can picture you delicately picking your way up a street in old Havana, while muscians play behind you. If you did visit Diego and Frida, they would have welcomed you, and your dingle balls with open arms.

    I have outfits that evoke particular times and places too - a mini vacation in your head! The interview was great and Roz is a mind blower (in the good way), isn't she?

  22. Hm, trying to imagine someone wistfully wanting to dress like a Kansan--prairie skirts and bonnets and aprons.

    Really enjoyed 2-way interview at Citizen Rosebud. And the dingle-berries take me back to my childhood.

  23. You are just stunning, always! I love this outfit and your "background" (ah yes, the cabana boys...).

  24. I feel a reusable shopping bag meme coming on here. But only 'cause I don't have any dingle balls. I do remember them from Grandmother's best bedspreads. We weren't supposed to pull them off. But we did.

    I wish I had kept them.

  25. The most wonderful thing happened. All of these photos showed up sideways on my iPad which gave the impression that you and your dingle balls had one too many Mai tais. Hey, what are tropical holidays for anyway? The surgery was successful. I have to admit that I do plastic surgery on most of my clothes, too. My face, however, remains in its original vintage state.

  26. I adore the little vignette you spun as you got dressed up in your sweet vintage outfit...all inspired by the dingle balls, no doubt? Your imagination and expression are addicting!

  27. Dingle-balls! I didn't know the technical name of those things!! I love it. I associate them with Cheech & Chong and their crazy truck/car they used to ride around in... Me likeeee :)

  28. I first heard dingle-balls over at Butane Anvil. Maybe it's a Canadian thing, eh? And as far as Vancouver style...Lulu has put us on the map, but I'm not at all sure I like the reason why. I was gallivanting all over the city today, but no sign of a gloriously clad woman in tropical hues. Now, off the Bella's.

    Sue xo

  29. i love your outfit. and those shoes. wow.

  30. Dingle balls? I always learn a new word when I visit you!
    I can't tell you how much I love that awesome pompom trim maxi and those incredible shoes. In fact, I may need to hitch up my skirt a bit shorter to get some more discount braiding from the market. xxx

  31. Love the dingle-balls and the color of the stripes! And the wedgies! You go girl!

  32. I can't believe Vix never heard of dingle balls. Might I say yours are lovely! I am in love with dingle balls and the summery nights this outfits makes me think of! Your shoes, my god they are magnificent!

  33. Just fell completely out with admiration and no little pride in you over your Bella-Roz collaboration. Can't wait for the rest.

    Yes, perfect for a Frieda and Diego visit. Perhaps with unusual Bohemian-style dinner, a tough but cooperative red table wine, and the obligatory battle to keep Diego's wandering hands off your fanny!

    Way cute for summer in what passes for the real world, too. With or without black top ... would rock without on miserably hot days here!

    You're a style doyenne there, so perhaps you're creating fashion history as we speak.

    Yes... we are SO the undead! HA!

  34. I just might try another round for Vogoff. It was very refreshing to do. I might be able to actually go out to take some pics if it'll ever stop raining and making deadly tornadoes here.

  35. For your class of travel there is no baggage restriction (unless it is a minimum!) A. Ma. Zing. And I love that you are forced to mince in it with no back split. It makes obligatory the relaxed tropical sense of time. No rushing. Fab, fab, fab. Love times a million!

  36. I love this dingle dangle ball dress/top/skirt thing. It's so very you. Bold stripes, framed with black in a slim edge silhouette is your signature look - for me. It's how I think of you. Hope your adventure round the world to mysterious tropical places is filled with romance and a hint of danger xxxxx

  37. Loving your photos! This outfit looks great on this gray background. Always enjoy your fun writing style. I have a box of dinkly balls at the studio. You are giving me ideas!

    blue hue wonderland

  38. Perfect pics Melanie, sorry i was not commenting before today, i'm so delinquant, so sorry
    I love and love and love and love this outfit, i wish i could find one of those, i love all the little balls, driving me nuts, love and love!
    The colors are perfect for you
    Those sandals OMG!

    Love and hugs


  39. Hi Melanie I'm so glad to see u again, love this colorfull aoutfit, especially the shoes ooohhh always love your combinations... big hug...

  40. Dingle me timbers in stripes of sunrise and sky, you transport me!!!!! I recall your party outfit very fondly and love this fixed-right-up version too. I shall be mincing along, gaze fixed on the distant horizons of the mind.

    Fantastic interview at Bella's - no wonder you are my idol!

  41. Amazing. You can air-mail me those shoes, thanks.

    Oh also, I have found myself with basically no time to do anything these days--my schedule is full to the point of "this is not fun anymore." So I missed VOGOFF. I just couldn't add anything else to the plate. Next time!

  42. Oooh this outfit is AMAAAAAAAZING - I love the COLOUR and the POM POMs (which my phone once autocorrected to POMPOUS POMPOUS and so I shall forever more think of them as such) and the SHOES and YOUR PILE OF BRICKS. I love it all and when you tire of the outfit please feel free to send it this way! The pompous pompous and I shall love each other in no time.

    Sarah xxx

  43. Bardzo mi się podoba blog. Mój angielski nie jest dobry więc pisze w swoim języku. Posty są bardzo dobre i stroje fascynujące.Radość patrzenia na te piękne kolory. pozdrawiam very nice


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