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Saturday 18 July 2015

When a good deal is bad

Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, colourful tunic thing
I bought this maxi tunic/beach cover-up on deep discount at Topshop in their summer apparel sale, and wearing it today I kept thinking about how "factory," how mass-produced it felt compared to most of my clothes.  

The fabric is filmy in an irritating modern way and snagged from previous try-ons by strangers. I can imagine this garment falling apart in a short time. That's not what I want to think about/feel when I'm wearing something. Under the cover-up I'm wearing my jeans and a white tank.

Lesson: Try to resist the magpie allure of flashy discounted clothing at fast fashion retailers. It's not worth the investment pocket-wise or mind-wise. 
Melanie Kobayashi on Bag and a Beret, sketch doing splits
I know you're tired of hearing it, but the meet-up is on my mind. I feel pressure to look good, make my city look good, and be a good hostess. Usually when I feel like this, I take a deep breath and... 
Surrender to the chaos. 
If I still had a big studio, you would see paint flying. There's nothing I can do or make that will be good enough to meet my own expectations, let alone those of the people coming, so I shall try to meet none. Such a relief. In doing so, I shall gain the peace of mind required to look good, make my city look good, and...You get the drift.
It's an endless vicious cycle!

Other random thoughts:
Melanie Kobayashi on Bag and a Beret, bird girl with rat head
Bird girl with rat-on-her-head. 
I sometimes see a woman downtown with a rat that is always on her head. 
She often feeds it from her own mouth. 
Melanie Kobayashi on Bag and a Beret, sketch with sequins
This is how I looked on a day I wore my gold sequin top. 
I wore the sequins with a colourful striped blouse, untucked, my houndstooth 
Steve Madden stretch pants, and my mustard shag coat and running shoes.

It's a short post but I needed to say a big hello! I have been strenuously practising the art of non-obligation blogging lately as part of chaos mode (and work mode). Commenting has been random and fleeting. Regular programming will resume after the meetup. Until then, breathe...

And I must thank Sally at Already Pretty for the shout-out on her weekly Lovely Links of July 10 for my post on compliments that go bad. It's always an honour to be included in her eclectic lineup.


  1. Melanie! We got booted out of our little downtown branch shop to make way for a huge TopShop. Noone is happy about this, noone here seems to want a TopShop, another fast fashion retailer. Bleah. But you look stunning in it. And I have gold sequins dancing in my eyes :)

  2. Topshop and many other retailchains only makes clothes for girls in small sizes not for us big girls ...and bad materials . But you look great !

  3. Just an irrelevant question: Where did you get the name Kobayashi?

  4. "Commenting has been random and fleeting." Hah, me too, me too. Great to see more sketches! Always fun to learn about the (in)famous local characters in other people's towns :)

  5. I used to LOVE topshop. I discovered it when living in England nearly ten years ago. I wasn't sewing back then. I'm sure I would still like some of their stuff (your dress is so fun!), but I think I should refrain from ever entering another Topshop so I can keep the happy memories. I know I'd walk in there today(or a hundred other RTW shops that I used to frequent)and my snobby sewing eyes would burn at the sup-par fabrics and stitching.

  6. Wondered where you pressure. you? what about all the rest of us??!! You have your whole closet to chose from at a moment's notice. We have to pack in advance. What a ridiculous notion. How many shoes do I need for 3 days vs how many do I want? Now there's some thought provoking chaos surrendering nap inducing questions. zzzzzzz

  7. I am with Pao - my anxiety is through the ceiling because I can only pack a few things!! Unless we are going to your house, in which case . . . Let's make a pledge right now to relax, and all wear black/charcoal head to toe. xox

  8. I am so looking forward to meeting you and many others. I don't have any expectations - I told my mom we could attend one event or all of them.

    I haven't been to Canada for many years, it is going to be a blast!

    When I am thrift shopping, I run my hands along the racks of clothes searching for finer quality fabric.

    Anyhoo, cheaply manufactured clothing, it's a No for me.

  9. Hope you all have fun next week. In my blah white and ivory sails, I couldn't possibly compete with all you dazzling women. Will be eager to read your posts, discounted mass produced rainbow maxi's and all!

  10. Have a wonderful time at the meetup! I'm so envious. :-)

  11. Looking forward to hearing all about the meetup!
    And re: one of your drawrings...can you still do the splits?I used to be able to (back when I was a teenager!)

  12. Ooo love the shoes. definitely have to beware the fast fashion. I've avoided suffering that for awhile now.

  13. Enjoy the meet up , relax, have fun, just take lots of pics.

  14. After having worked in a boutique for five years, my colleagues and I would often remark we'd NEVER buy clothes once they hit the sale rack, after witnessing how the majority of women treat said clothes in the dressing rooms - unless they planned on buying them, of course. It was horrifying, actually. For the most part, I think our money is better spent in the thrift shops. Older things really are quality stuff - just like me! LOL

    No need to worry, Melanie - you always look fabulous and so does Vancouver! Now if you could only find Bird Girl while everyone was there, I'd personally consider you the Hostess with the Mostest... :)

  15. A good test to do on how cheap clothes are is to rummage around in thrift store bins feeling the fabric. Some new fabric doesn't even feel like fabric, they feel like paper/plastic. Then when your hand comes across older fabric....heaven. Not to mention no hems, just serged off edges

  16. oh yes, that shiny trinkets in the shopwindows are really hard to resist!, particularly if they're colorful and cheap!, anyway, you look fabulous!
    Waiting for that Amazing MeetUp, ohhh I would love to go there and squeeze fabulous ladies all day long!, and speak to them in my awful english!, mwahaha

  17. Well don't worry Melanie! You have two other gals to lean on : ) And since Sue talks like a sailor she will keep everyone amused.

    Also, you always look good and I can assure you, since I am here now, Vancouver is looking great as well.

    Bird/rat woman sounds very interesting indeed.

    I have had some Zara buyer's regret in the past and now try to avoid that store. I'm trying to keep it down to just Anthro as my one vice.

    Write me if you need me to calm your mind : )


  18. Also feeling anxiety over here. I missed two days of work this week with a stomach bug (read: mental health days), and am anticipating an insane week as I try to prepare. What to wear, what to bring...??

    I also go by the "hand" when shopping. You can always feel the good stuff.

  19. I thought I had Thusday morning to pack. Turned out my flight is not at 14.00 hrs but at 10.20... There goes packing on Thursday. Normally I have the Wednesday off, but no such deal this week. All my colleagues are on holiday and if I were to ask my boss NOW for these Vancouver days off he would definitely say NO. As I asked him early this year, he said YES. Not knowing what was ahead of us. It is murder on the workfloor.
    Anyway. Got my toiletteries (is this how you write it?) ready, wrote a blogpost for Sunday coming and am still thinking about what to wear and swap. Oh well, inspiration will come Tuesdaynight or Wednesday night.

    Don't worry about the days. Everything always turns out different from what you imagined. And we are all responsible for having a good time. Just take your good mood with you. The rest is not necessary. We are all grown women. We can take care of ourselves.
    PS looking forward to it.

  20. Oh rats.... totally forgot to say that I like the dress on you. And why worry about whether it will hold or not? You don't know. Think positive.

  21. Anytime I have ventured into one of those fast/cheap fashion places (Forever 21,etc.) I end up seeing something that I think "Oh, I can make that work, and it's only $10" and I take it home, only to never, ever wear it. I just don't go in stores like that anymore. I'd rather take my $10 and go to a thrift store.

    Hmmm, curious about the woman with a rat on her head. Ginger and Ruby will sometimes climb onto my head, but they won't stay there (and their little claws dig into my scalp, OW!) They are very interested in sticking their heads in my mouth, and it seems many tamed pet rats do this.

  22. The dress looks great on you, but it's a shame it's not better quality. I do find a lot of handmade vintage clothing that has stood the test of time better than many chain store dresses.

  23. you look fabulous even in a cheap made dress!
    but yes - its not worth the money even on sale - and thinking about the production process brings me in rage! i worked in a clothes factory - but thank goodness it was in east germany at communist times - compared to that what´s now happen in countries we had a ball!
    the rat feeding scenery sounds yuck - uuaa.

  24. Despite the fabulous colours and print, your dress does prove a point about cheap fast fashion - it ain't made for comfort or longevity!
    Don't stress about the meet-up; everyone attending is responsible for being part of it and making it fantastic. It's a shared endeavour, after all. And Vancouver, and the company, will doubtless sparkle! xxx

  25. The dress looks great on you, but I can relate to the feel and the quality of "fast fashion." I had an extraordinary estate sale weekend, and the finds were much more interesting than what I could have found retail.

    You will be fabulous without even trying. That's just who you are! I'm sure the meet-up will be more fun than anyone can imagine. So many interesting and kind people all in one place! Can'r wait for your posts!

  26. Don't stress about the meet-up. Most of the bloggers going already know and love ya, you've got nothing to prove.
    Yah, cheap, pretty shit. I look and give myself a good talking to, if they can sell it at such a low price and still make a profit what the hell were they paying the factory workers? That ugly thought takes the prettiness away in seconds.
    Have fun and chill, baby. xxx

  27. I can understand the magpie allure! It looks fab in the photo too bad it felt so yuck!

  28. Damn, dude. I was just thinking that I really liked it on you. If you don't feel good wearing it, though, then yeah. Time to let it go. Still, being familiar with your ways, I bet it will end up something even more spectacular. ;P

    - Anna

  29. Dear Melanie, I will never tire of hearing about the Meet-Up, I want to know everything and only wish I could be there too! How amazing what you and Suzanne and Sue and all the other contributors and attendees have joined forces to create! I love this post of re-considerings, pre-considerings, drawings, cogs and wheels and machinations, with a hint of what's to come, i.e. SPARKLE DAY. Yay! Surrender to the chaos! Melanie, you are magnificent, and your magnificence is radiant!!!! xoxoxoxo and all the big hugs to everyone xoxoxoxoxo

  30. A cornucopia of words and thoughts!! LOVE. I feel you on the dress musings. Looks good in the photo but I totally get what you said. I guess there's a Topshop here since there's everything else, but I haven't looked into it. I barely listen to/read the news either. Call it Ostrich Syndrome or a desperate bid for sanity as I try to practice the Code of Kindness, and yes, non-obligation blogging too.

    Love your rendition of Bird Girl with Rat (I'm uneasy about the real one because I'm not fond of rats and I wonder how often she washes her hair). Also congrats on the Already Pretty link. I like what Sally does. Clearly she knows, as evidenced by the fact that she features you.

    ENJOY THE MEETUP!!! I've seen pics of you on IIG looking totally cool and perfectly you. Can't wait to hear all the stories. XXXOOO

  31. I'm over the pond and am relying on you for a FULL write-up of the bloggers meet-up event - photos, scandal, the lot. DON'T LET ME DOWN!

  32. I agree that bargains are sometimes no bargain. Rule: Don't buy it if you wouldn't pay full price for it. HOWEVER, whatever the price of that dress, it was worth it for the photo.


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