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Friday 26 June 2015

When good compliments go bad

The DIY text on this dress was inspired by a comment on this blog by Sue of You Can Call Me Sue and lyrics by hip hop group N.W.A. in "Gangsta Gangsta": "Do I look like a mutha feckin' role model?" 

This is the first of two tank maxis I farked with the Ted Baker London, Vancouver, store pre-opening media event in mind (2nd one here). I wore neither, but this one really got me thinking about role models, so-named for their character, not really looks, which is what makes this line so interesting.
Mel Kobayashi flirts with coolness in her farked dress on Bag and a Beret.
In Vancouver, I am constantly on the look-out for style icons, and if I see people who dress in a cool way, I want to tell them so. That's how my street style blog, now dormant - at least until the blogger meetup in July - was born. But I've had a few cases where my good compliments have gone bad, real bad.

ME: Excuse me, can I just say I think you look fantastic! I love your [dress/pants/top]!
PERSON: I don't need your validation of my looks! Who do you think you are to judge me like that? 
ME: Oh. Um, I just like your style. I like your shoes too. But, uh, I'll just be on my way. Have a nice day. Oops, that was wrong, to prejudge you as a person capable of having a nice day. Sorry.
Does this demure pose startle you? Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
This exact dialogue never happened, but the thought bubbles were easy to read. Have we become so politically correct that I can't even compliment someone on their style without causing offense!? Most of us have probably been raised to think compliments are a good thing. Greetje, on her blog No Fear of Fashion, put it well here:
Compliments make people happy. Therefore… you should pay people lots of compliments. Sincere ones. They will not only lighten up that person's day but will also give you a happy feeling.
Sour Biatch Cafe by Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
Sometimes I have coffee here. Other times I rush by. 
Maybe you also know the saying, "If you can't say anything nice about someone, don't say anything at all." So now what? If you can't say anything, don't say anything? Puh.

I am not going to stop telling people I'm wild about their style. That would be like telling me I can't, say, dance anymore (even though it would be a kindness to humanity). And since I can't prejudge who is going to be a prick about a compliment - I can never tell - I'm going to keep on dropping compliments like f-bombs all over the city. Be forewarned.
Mel Kobayashi wonders if she looks like a role model...!?
  • DIY text, tank maxi dress, painted with acrylics
  • thrifted long-sleeve boat neck top
  • black jeggings, sample sale
  • geta-style sandals, discount Topshop 
  • magic loupe, gift from O
  • vintage sunglasses, $2 at vintage store closing sale years ago
I took the second two photos when I got home from my inspiration walk, when my hair had become horned.

Have you ever had a person snap at you for giving them a compliment or is this just a Vancouver thing? I'd be relieved if it were the latter. (Please contact Miz Bagg for Sour Biatch Cafe franchise opportunities.)

Sunday 21 June 2015

Do you know the secret handshake?

Mel Kobayashi sees a giant space cat
"Oh geez, it's a spaceship with a giant space cat! Wait'll I tell my friends about it! They won't believe it!"

  • thrifted stretchy graphic-print bell bottoms, high-waters style. I bought them knowing they were overpriced at $20. I hate when I can't resist, especially when there's a good chance the item is freaky enough to end up on the $5 rack if I wait. But they're mine now; I take comfort in that.
  • super discount platform running shoes from Topshop last year
  • thrifted Jimi Hendrix T
  • thrifted long-sleeve white T
  • magic loupe
Mel Kobayashi wears clothes to play at the fort
Hey! Youse guys, wanna rendezvous later?! I can stay out till dark, almost 9:30, on account it's being almost summer. Parma town! I made a sign for the fort: "Boys Will Be Fart-Bombed!" And I gotta show you the new secret handshake and my glitter banana seat - looks neato with the sissy bars. Listen for my whistle and meet me at X. Catcha' later alligators. Peel out!

I want to remake the movie ET but with a gang of middle-aged women tearing around suburbia on bicycles with sissy bars and cereal box clickers clothes-pinned to the spokes. And no ET creature. I'm thinking a giant cat from outer space instead. Are you in or are you out? Got any plot-line suggestions?

Melanie Kobayashi tries her hand at directing...
CUUT!! This director is crap. She's fired before she's even hired. 
......This post is what happens when I have absolutely nothing to say. 

OH, except this:
Card of Mel Kobayashi by Suzanne Carillo
Suzanne made this awesome card with me on it! In fact, she has made a series of cards featuring bloggers. She definitely has a talent for capturing the nuances of each person's personality and style. Check out her Instagram HERE, and a post she did HERE. (Edit: the cards are now on Suzanne's Etsy shop HERE.)

The day I got the card I had received a semi-trollish comment, which, after some thought, I deleted. Bink! Gone. Easy. The card arriving when it did was spooky. Thanks, Suzanne!

I spent this evening space-bagging (vacuum-packing) winter clothes and other clothing I haven't worn for a while. The closet feels so much  b e t  t  e  r. Sigh. It doesn't devour my hand now when I stick it in. 

I'm getting caught up, I think. Have a great week, youse guys!

PS. I'm going to hook this up to Anne's 52 Pick-me-up: Wild Card at SpyGirl. I think this is a great urban safari look, but since I'm too late for that, I'm going Wild Card. Thanks, Anne, for hosting.

Thursday 18 June 2015

Camera cliques and rumbling stomachs

I was invited about a month ago to an exclusive media pre-opening of a new Ted Baker store in Vancouver's premier downtown shopping mall, Pacific Centre. Ted who? I googled: highish-end women's and men's wear with an outdoorsy store decor, founded in London. Hm. Expensive clothes? Me? This might be interesting. I'm a woman of passion and curiosity after all. 

What to wear, what to wear!? I farked some clothing special. This is one of the pieces.
Bag and a Beret, Mel farks her tank maxi dress
A black maxi tank dress. Turnip Head surrenders to the universe. Me too. My sole too, on my right shoe, which was held on with clear packing tape. See what I mean? Chaos.

But at the last minute, I decided to wear something more colourful - you'll see it below - although I did wear these shoes after fixing them with Gorilla Glue.

And here it is. Ta-dah! The Ted Baker store, which opened today, Jun. 17. My best shot of it: the change rooms at the back.
Change rooms at new Ted Baker store in Vancouver
I'm invited to all kinds of things from blogging, usually taking place in Los Angeles or New York or Toronto. I don't give them a thought, but this event was local and what clinched the deal was it promised...
Free Private Breakfast! 
It's my favourite meal of the day!! Ah, but I am so naive. How could I not know that sophisticates never put food in their mouth at public events, let alone admit to eating? At least in Vancouver.

The "breakfast" consisted of a couple of pieces of sad fruit stuck on a limp stick. And some people were wandering around with mason jars filled with reddish liquid with a piece of soft bacon stuck on the rim - maybe bacon, not sure, meat-like-looking substance. No idea really. I didn't get close enough to see because the servers were going for the women in pleats and stiff fabrics and the men with facial hair. I could have tackled one, servers, not the pleated women or the hairy men, although I was in a pissy mood because I hadn't even had my breakfast coffee yet!

So I fixed my sole for this?! View from the change room area to the store entrance.
Pacific Centre Mall Ted Baker store
Never has the silent clique clique clique of snapping cellphone cameras been so deafening. The only thing that saved my ass big time was the champagne in my orange juice, which I didn't even know was in there until I started feeling more relaxed about the shite-situation I had stepped into.

Let me say again: I had been excited about the free private breakfast for weeks, WEEKS!, and told as many people as I could about it. Suzanne of her blog HERE guessed they would serve truffles and cocaine; O thought maybe expired olives on soggy crackers. Me? I envisioned waffles, syrup, fresh berries, whipped cream, toast, eggs, marmalade. It's a hearty outdoor theme after all. Nyunh. I reasoned, if they gave us bad food, wouldn't they worry about bad reviews? Heh.

Aside from the food, I knew I was in trouble at reception when I complimented the woman on her blue lipstick. She looked at me and said, it's part of the event, as in "are you such an idiot you think I would put this on for real?" And a 20-something woman checking in around the same time, when asked if we were together, replied with slight alarm, No!, and scurried away to create a safe distance. Why would I put myself in this kind of situation?

Despite being a two-hour affair, I fled after less than 15 minutes. All those weeks of anticipation wasted.
Melanie Kobayashi goes out for breakfast after Ted Baker opening
The left photos are from the cafe afterwards, where I had - guess what? Breakfast! And coffee. Left, top to bottom: fake laughing, ready for the bucket, and showing you that, yes, I am an idiot for going there with such high expectations.The right photo is me in the concrete box after I got home.

The Ted Baker clothes? They were okay. Nice. Hundreds-of-dollars nice, whatever that's worth. They had some bold, beautiful, colourful patterns - on the hangers of course, nothing like that on real people. Good gawd, no! Other stores opening were Kate Spade, Hugo Boss (with their glued-together suits), B2 shoes... Having said all this, I know some cool blogging women who do wear Ted Baker with wonderful aplomb, thrifted and new. And the store was attractive and clean, as you can see.

So, so much for my dream of becoming an overnight top-flight, world-class fashion critic. Not. happening. Clearly. But I thank the Ted Baker team for inviting me to this out-of-body experience.
Cartoon by Melanie Kobayashi, Privilege
Inspired by a woman I saw at a coffee shop a couple of months ago
In the end, sometimes the free breakfast is the most expensive one. Gorging on nothing then feeling sick.

And to Ana of the The Panties Project, whom I met on the way home when I was feeling like a freak and a pariah, Thank you! She compared me to Iris Apfel, whom I adore. Ana is a filmmaker and artist with real passion. It was perfect timing to be reminded that such people exist. Kind of like how Patti ran into Judith in New York. And when I got home there was a card in the post from my friend King Richard, who lives not far from me, which said, "Keep calm, you are simply fabulous."

My work is under control again. All systems go. Time to catch up with you!

Monday 8 June 2015

Glamour in the loading bay

That's not wind blowing my hair, or an industrial fan, or a legion of menials flapping from the wings; that's just my hair, which in fact resists air-blown defilement of any sort. Dorkish pose due to skirt-spinning action.
Bag and a Beret goofs off big time with preying mantis
This is as glamourous as it gets in the loading bay when I'm wearing my scribbled-on thrifted runners, DIY T shirt that says "I am my own brand," and DIY mantis pendant. That's just the empty camera case around my neck to give you the Flava Flav of the look.* 

Also featured are my oversized, hip-slung thrifted skirt, thrifted tattoo-ish blue shirt, Reebok sweat socks, magic loupe, vintage mechanical wristwatch, and vintage earrings bought new in 1980. 

The reflected light from the sharpish sunshine off frame is great for these shadow shots. I'm still hard at work but slipped out briefly for coffee and to grab this snap - I couldn't miss Patti's last linkup before her break, VISIBLE MONDAY at NOT DEAD YET STYLE. She is a stellar host and I need to be there for the group toast.

*In reference to my previous post, I didn't even know who Flava Flav was except by an oblique reference in one of my all-time favourite movies, Jim Jarmusch's Ghost Dog. So what's going on? First I dress like the Biebs(!?) and then like Flava Flav. What does THIS MEAN!!?? Who's next?! Well, I'll tell ya...
I've been SpyGirled by Anne
An L.A. FROCK STAR, that's who. I've been SpyGirled by Anne. What a wonderful in-box treat! This stopped my work-addled brain in its tracks. She even included my magic loupe and vintage sunglasses. And look at the clean detail she captured in the pattern. Now THAT's talent! While this outfit is not something I own, what my closet lacks Anne's imagination more than makes up for. Thanks, Anne, the one and only SpyGirl. See you soon in Vancouver! Yeeeah baby.

Must run! Will catch up later this week.

Wednesday 3 June 2015

DIY on Time, and Hat Attack

Bag and a Beret and DIY watch pendant
Put it on schweetheart, move that ass right out the door, and glorify in your punkitude. There's no time for second-guessing. People like it or don't like it; I can only dress for myself. And wearing this? Well, I feel friggin' fabulous.

The vintage pleated silk skirt, made in Italy, feels like a million bucks. I've worn it before with an ivory silk blouse with puffed sleeves, pearls, and black ballet flats, but there's no way that chic vibe was going to cut it with this pimptastic DIY pendant. 
Bag and a Beret, DIY pendant, vintage silk skirt
Clomp, clomp, clomp. Make way for the glitter booties or face the consequences.

  • thrifted Pancaldi & B black silk pleated skirt, vintage, made in Italy
  • Middle Aged Kitteh DIY farked black T-shirt
  • thrifted black T-shirt under layer for warmth
  • DIY pendant, winner of the men's "My Watch is Bigger than Your Watch" contest
  • turquoise tights and glitter booties, retail
  • made for me by O: magic loupe and hinged bracelet
  • pearls, retail long ago
  • hair clip won from Shelley at Forest City Fashionista, made by Kayla Gibbens, work can be found HERE
With this hair clip, I'm linking up to Judith's Hat Attack 23 at Style Crone. Did you see that awesome whirlwind on her head? Swoon... My hair was feeling lazy today so I gave it a hand with this top-sider ponytail.
Melanie Kobayashi with DIY watch pendant
The Tag Heuer men's watch retails for about US$6,000. This one? Free; rather, it's priceless because I made it. And I always know the time is 10:09. O made the jump rings for me so I didn't have to spend a packet at Michael's craft store. I made another pendant at the same time for a later post.
Closeup of DIY watch pendant on Bag and a Beret
Your comments on the onesie cracked me up. You'll be surprised to know that I haven't seen a single onesie in this entire city ever and would be shocked to see towns crawling with them. How could Vancouver, of all places, miss out on this slackeriffic trend? Crocs with it? Yes, please, in lime green or raspberry! 

Finally, thanks to Sally at Already Pretty for the shout-out in her Lovely Links on Friday for my tartan jacket upcycle, and to everyone else who linked to me - I often don't know who you are but I know you're out there. Mwah. 

I have a heap of work headed my way so I'll be offline for a bit, but your visit has been awesome - I just wish I had more drinks and hors d'oeuvres - perhaps some cheese nippies. And I can't forget big thanks and awkward hugs to my new subscribers. 
Bag and a Beret, Turnip Head sketch
Going through my journals I came across this sketch, a version of Turnip Head in that aqua dress from the Who Wore It Better post. How I would like to have tea with you in that world. Have a great week.

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