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Saturday 9 May 2015

Man repeller malfunction

As I slid this awesome patchwork garment over my head, I thought, oooh, this will be a sure-fire man-repeller. I'm not likely to hear: "Oooh, baby, your quilty sack with that uni-suspender is makin' me hot!" Usually when I'm getting dressed I don't give a thought to what other people might think about what I'm wearing (unless I'm going to the financial district) but nothing screams unsexy more than a quilt, especially when it's held up by a uni-suspender to keep it from falling down around my ankles.
Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi in patchwork skirt
The first time I wore this oversized skirt, to Sheila's birthday party linkup HERE, I cinched in its hugeness with a belt. After that, I decided to make the skirt into a poncho, so I ripped out the existing dodgy zipper and sewed up the gap, intending to install a new full-length zipper in another spot. But then this happened: 
Bag and a Beret, sketch by Melanie Kobayashi, poncho
I couldn't turn this into a poncho without arm holes; that would be like, um, a straight-jacket. But really, arm holes, zippers, where does it all end!? Do I look like friggin' Julia Child with a sewing machine?! That's when I discovered that the skirt goes over my shoulders without a zipper at all and my uni-suspender could hold it up. And it looks even better lopsided and backwards. Hurrah! 
Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi in patchwork skirt with uni-suspender
Glamour shot outdoors in the loading bay
As for my man-repeller supposition, people were drawn to my quilt like moths to moldering wool. 

The first woman to comment: "You look so elegant." No, she was serious and was sporting advanced style herself. I know, I know - elegant isn't the first word that springs to mind, especially with the vest, but I was seriously working my serene I-own-this-city 'tude. I replied: "Oh, thank you. It's a lovely day for a stroll, isn't it?"(!) True. What I was thinking was: "Hell, yeee-ah, baby. I'm gettin' my quilt on!"

Next, a woman shouted out her car window, "That's fantaaaastic!" She startled me. Then, three boisterous construction workers went silent and bowed their heads shy-like as I glided past. One of them spluttered, "That's a beautiful dress."(!) And so the morning progressed to my astonishment. 
Bag and a Beret, Mel Kobayashi, patchwork skirt
Did I hear garbage trucks? I better hurry.
  • thrifted vintage crimplene patchwork skirt upcycled into a sack
  • ivory long-sleeved cotton top, retail
  • uni-suspender, I made it in slacking fashion, couldn't be bothered with two straps
  • DIY mantis pendant, plastic bug on a Liz Claiborne Christmas ornament
  • thrifted D&G pony shoes
  • thrifted faux fur vest
  • colourful Harlequin socks, retail
  • thrifted vintage sunglasses, gifted magic loupe, gifted vintage beads
Sadly, my thrifted D&G pony shoes are going bald in patches. What am I going to do?! I can't turn them into a poncho, can I...? Glue, did you say? Neigh. NEVER!

The sunny skies, my happy patchwork mood, tax back, the phase of the moon, peaky hair - who knows what it was that turned a mere sack into pot of gold, but for this wonderful morning I was Queen of Quilt. It was delightful. It was completely unexpected.

Has it ever happened to you? Do you ever walk like a queen? An elf? A cat? Do people notice? What's the impact?

And, May 10 is Mother's Day in North America, so I raise a glass to mothers. It's a hard job (and one I turned down flat, heh).

PS: Awesome Kezzie says that this reminds her of Colin Baker's Doctor Who coat. So I shall link this up with TARDIS Tuesday on My Closet Catalogue. Hee.


  1. I love it! You look completely fab, no wonder you got so much attention! ♥

  2. It would take more than that to repel me. In fact, I could hide under it as the police searched in vain for me - but only with your total connivance, of course.

  3. I've just noticed the Mantis necklace. I would have to hide under it, police or no police.

  4. Very creative, and dramatic too!

  5. But of course people admired you- you loook SOOOOOOooo preeeeetty!!! You are wearing a rainbow! And please, please link up this post to TARDIS Tuesday at this Tuesday as you look like Colin Baker's Doctor Who coat-Look

    Yes, things often surprise me about what people like!!!! x

  6. see, you can make anything look good

  7. When an outfit makes you feel good, it doesn't matter what it is - people love happiness. Happiness is beautiful.

  8. She walks in quilty, like the elf Of buggy climes and moony skies. With apologies to Lord Byron. You, Melanie are a poem.

  9. Fantaaaasstic is correct! Love the creativity and all the great vibes. xo

  10. That suspender treatment really takes it to a whole nother level. What might have been a fun but ugly duckling piece on anyone else becomes a electric kool-aid fuckingfantastic swan in your hands.

  11. I love this! Definitely great as a skirt.

  12. This is utterly, thoroughly, brilliantly fabulous! Thanks for linking with TARDIS Tuesday! :D

  13. I would have paid good money to see you wearing that as a poncho without the arm holes. Especially when you went to buy coffee. You would have had to ask for help. LOL Like a beetle on its back unable to turn over you'd be jumping around in your armless patchwork poncho.

    I tried on a vintage skirt that was almost exactly like this, except it didn't come up quite so high on the waist. I loved it, but my nagging inner voice and my husband (sometimes that is the same thing) didn't like it. So I left it behind. Seeing you in this is making me regret that choice even more.

    It's a shame you don't have a camera crew following you around on such a morning. Melanie's Marvellous Morning walks. I'd watch!


  14. Oooh, baby, your quilty sack with that uni-suspender is makin' me hot! I'm (patchwork)green with envy. You look amazing!

  15. Immediately when I saw the first photo I thought "wow that is great". What you didn't count on, was that it shows your good figure very well. And that IS sexy. I showed your picture to my husband and he said "nice!" Immediately. And he does not like man repellers at all.
    I like it better without the vest, as the vest hides your figure. Or at least in this photo.
    Laughed over your sewing capabilities, the poncho, your sketch,.. I just love your writing.
    And I cannot improve on the comments of Une Femme and Suzanne.

  16. If I should see you walking on the street, for sure you would receive some compliments and some unrequired chat, as I've got tendency to chat with strangers. Many times they're not strangers anymore!
    mwahaha, a poncho without armholes, really uncomfortable to buy your coffee!!
    And You're Really Elegant (even if you don't try it, or particularly because you don't try it!) and love your Attitude!!!

  17. We (all women) all love man-repeller-clothes! But it's better to wear a man-repeller-outfit and walk lika a Queen than were man-repeller-outfits and walk like my boss (of course he's a man) like I apparently do based on what they say on the job cafeteria. "I thought it was the boss." He is, however, just as long as I. hrmpf

  18. I love this idea of wearing a skirt like that, and the higher waist really does show off your lovely slim figure. The colours are pretty and I can see how men and women would be drawn to it. No repeller-factor there at all. What did you use as a suspender?

    Isn't it fascinating when you wear something you're sure everyone else will find off-putting and instead you get so much positive feeback?

  19. You rock the quilt - I would look like a walking doonah - one requires a little height. This week I shall mostly be using an Ikea (not sure if you have Ikea over there - I am over here) duvet cover to create a dress - I fancy it's the kind of thing that would give you a moment's pause on the way past. Here's to you - from another spiked hair woman of a certain age x

  20. Quilt Queen Chic - you're rocking it! I think the fact that you wore the skirt with confidence and panache guaranteed that you attracted admiration. And anyway, the colours are happy, aren't they? Plus harlequin socks, leopard print shoes and some faux fur; why would anyone feel repelled by that ensemble?!
    Gawd, I don't walk like a queen. I stomp, like a bad-tempered navvy. Ha! xxx

  21. You're fabulous and gorgeous. Own it. Because it's not going away.

    I'm almost sixty, chubby, have grey hair, and guys still try to pick me up. True story. I have witnesses.

  22. Sometimes I turn heads when I walk like an Egyptian. You do look pretty fantastic.

  23. So very FABULOUS. You own this look! Its the whole bit, every part that's right on.

  24. it´s attitude!!!!!! and of cause your gorgeous hand for colors and proportions!!! if you would wear a fringed out potato sack everyone would think its a chanel dress!!!
    and for the men - i met the best men (incl. hubby) while wearing strange, "unsexy" clothes - something to think about for the girls who searching for mister right......
    sad for that chic shoes - but an other fab pair is waiting just around the corner :-)

  25. This outfit is phenomenal...I do like the uni suspender.....and the maxi skirt is to die for!

    you're a queen of style!

  26. I absolutely love this look and you own it! You have the stature and the quiet confidence and that is priceless!

  27. Suspender(s) are so cool!

  28. Am going to copy your uni-suspender. Love! As to the colorful quilted skirt, I think it defines the new "sexy" which is confidence and creativity. You have both--that's for sure!

  29. Best line ever! I raise a glass to mothers. It's a hard job (and one I turned down flat, heh)
    That upcycled crimplene patchwork quilt sack is a marvel to behold. No wonder the population of Canada's eyes were out on stalks. That's one fabulous outfit.
    Bald boots? Yes to glue. Cover them in it and sprinkle on glitter. Go on, you know you want to. xxx

  30. You are so queen of the quilt/poncho/straightjacket/tardis look. Everyone bows down to you. Mel rules OK!

  31. You made me smile. This skirt lives a very interesting life! You look beautiful wearing it, Melanie. I like that you document some street comments - we people say the most curious things. I do feel like a queen sometimes, and other times like an odd egg. :)

  32. Walking and feeling like a queen is an exciting emotion ... there are clothes which can do the miracle! Your colorful skirt is fab on you!
    It would have been interesting to see it worn like a poncho!
    I often do something similar, it's what I call ... personalized fashion!! :-)

  33. Oh, I love it with the uni-suspender! So much fun.

    I get odd reactions when I'm dressed up (more than my daily work outfits) in public. I was downtown by myself on Friday night after the theatre and had to studiously avoid eye contact with all the hooligans. One of them attempted to put his arm around me. It must have been the pink dress.

  34. Rad, man. I love that someone walked up to you and said that you look 'elegant.' I would kill for some actual constructive criticism on the street. All I get are stares. Bah. I can't decipher them. I don't know what you people are thinking. Say something! Haha. So, yeah, I just love that what you wore was so powerful that it made someone open her mouth and SPEAK.

    Also, those socks! What a nice little surprise! :D

    - Anna

  35. You can make any outfit shine, and I'm not a bit surprised that your quilt skirt got rave reviews. Your creativity, attitude and kindness draw all of us to you. I'm sure it's the same when you walk down the street. Brava!

  36. The skirt looks absolutely amazing on you! Apart from all the gorgeous colours, I really like how it shows your incredible figure. And I love the socks!!! Fantastic detail :-) No wonder you got comments!

    As for the shoes: When men start to go bald I prefer it when they take it all off - maybe you could do the same to the shoes? The colour will probably stay. Then it'll be a print shoe instead of a furry.

  37. Are you frickin' kidding me?!!! That skirt FABULOUS. Seriously! I LOVE patchwork stuff with a passion so this is right up my alley. I'm totally not surprised you garnered random compliments form strangers. It's beautiful!

  38. This would look ridiculous on e.g....uh...well, me e.g.

    On you though it looks haute couture, royal, glam and indeed: sexy.

    Never thot I would say that about a quilt, hahaha....

    You're unique and brave. You're an artist.


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