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Saturday 29 August 2015

White moto jacket two ways, casual AND executive

Ready? Brace yourself! It's two outfits with one jacket. But can I pull it off?! What do you bloody think? It's a frickin' jacket.

The other morning I was compelled by an unseen force (no, I'm sure it was the huge SALE sign that did it) to go into the store across the street and I left with that white moto jacket. After I paid.

Look 1: Moto Jacket Casual Style (subcategory Rocker Lite)
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, these poses are so boring
Real rockers and fake real rockers scowl and wear black. Only fake fake rockers smile and wear white jackets. I wish I hadn't rolled up jeans, but note the double-belt action. Oh yeeeeah.
Wearing: Bardot jeans from sample sale, Miu Miu boots thrifted, Gap t-shirt thrifted, magic loupe and two magic pendants from O, two belts both thrifted, mechanical watch from O, white motorcycle jacket from sale
This look is majorly mainstream so I pumped it up with lighthouse hair and mega-'tude - works every time. I was influenced to get my rock-on by two scholarly YouTube videos I watched recently: 
  1. "How to look like a Rockstar on stage with a Guitar," taught by a man who doesn't play guitar. Excellent. And then I couldn't stop myself watching - 
  2. "Rockstar Fashion: How To Dress Like A Rockstar" by Make Me That Guy. The female-version videos I saw were so wussy. Pitui. (says the woman in the white moto jacket)
Sketch, turnip head, Are you feeling it?, Mel Kobayashi
Poor Kitty has a pain in his neck. My dance moves can have that effect.
What those video guys say makes sense. My take: is dressing to look like a rockstar any different than, say, dressing to look like a magazine trend or, how do the snobs put it, au courant? Both looks are costumes of a sort.

I can't appreciate the many loops drawn by these questions in my brain until I've fully recovered from my 'tude hangover, but seriously, we all pull the threads we like until the whole logic unravels anyway. You feel good? You wear it. How do the snobs put it? - feckin' eh.

Look 2: Moto Jacket Executive(ish) Style 
As promised, yes, another iteration!! A second look!!! I'm giddy with non-frigging excitement. Actually, I was excited. I can wear this stinkin' outfit to the office, to the supermarket, to the dry cleaners, to police headquarters, but never, ever, ever to a daycare!!!
Wearing: Cirque du Soleil graphic cotton tank gift, pinstripe pencil skirt thrifted, stretch kitten-heel shoes retail, white moto jacket
White motorcycle jacket, Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
That's it. That's the piece right there close up. It's so frigging fantastic. 

Fake leather, how appropriate. I thought it would be like wearing a mini sauna or miracle body wrap - bonus! I tucked a fake rocker handkerchief in my bag to mop up the melting poundage just in case. Too real? A bit gross? But it was cool outside. No sweat! 

The stores are maggoty with moto jackets. I thought this trend was done. Wrong. 

I lost my keys in the abyss of my bag the other day and had to empty the entire contents onto the hood of my car. O said it was like watching one of those cop shows. I was ready to be arrested when one pink rubber glove flopped out. He didn't raise an eyebrow. Heh. 

Sunday 23 August 2015

My awards ceremony in New York!

You'll never guess!!

Yesterday I was whisked off to New York by Concorde to accept this prestigious award from the Academy of Interior Design & Horticulture
Schpetacular Achievement Award 2015!
It's a fancy way of saying I have been the world's top expert on home design/decor and gardening in 2015!! I know. I know. I couldn't have been more surprised than you are! O fainted.
Bag and a Beret, Melanie wins an amazing award of nonsense
What an immensely gratifying win it is after all my years of slavish devotion in making my home a cozy kingdom of creature comforts, despite doing my best to keep them out from under the bed. But this award was more for my writing about things I know absolutely nothing about than actual practice, as is so often the case. 

You may be surprised to learn that I penned these billion-dollar best-sellers: 
  • Discovering your Inner Pine Cone, celebrating the unspeakable joy of pine-cone table-toppers and other home decor items made from twigs, bark, leaves, and spray-can snow; 
  • Lapdancing: Creative Napkin-Folding for Every Occasion (x-rated cover photo), with contributions by "Suzie," in-house professional at The Penthouse strip club;
  • The Dark Side of Glitter, an expose of the dirty secrets behind interior decorating and crafting. Suzanne helped me with this book.
I hope you already have your signed copies. If not, they are available through Miz Bagg Entertainment Management for $10,000 each. Get yours before prices skyrocket on the back of this coup of recognition.
Melanie Kobayashi's book, Discovering Your Inner Pine Cone
I wish I could have invited you to the gala but it was hush-hush until the last minute; I didn't even know I had won until they pulled my name out of their arse.

So I am sharing with you a couple of clips of my special day, including my acceptance speech and musings at the glittering after-party. The Academy swears that the statuette is made of pink gold... See for yourself.
WARNING: Crude gestures and coarse language. But I was forced into it, I swear and swear and swear. I bleeped whenever possible. You have to watch both videos, not just one, and in order. Now go! Heh. I'm so bossy. 
This shoot was really fun for me, if no one else. The challenge was to see what it's like to fake laugh and improvise a character alone in front of my tripod, and then bring it to life.

For my inspirational book cover, I used three pine cones I found on Granville Island having gone there on my inspiration walk yesterday morning specifically to look for them. These were the only ones left - meant to be. Meant to be, folks.
Melanie Kobayashi as Ice Queen
I am The Ice Queen
Test shot, wearing XL-sized Eileen Fisher top in softest cotton, 
a favourite lounge piece thrifted from My Sister's Closet

You know that saying, fake it till you make it? How about, make it as a fake? Heh.

Ciao, my beauties. I hope my crude behaviour didn't offend you. That was completely out of character, as any of you who know me will swear too. Bwahaha. 

If you watched the clips, then clearly you have tarried at this post beyond all health & safety blog visitation recommendations. Congratulations. Now go get yourself a treat! Sweet? Savoury? Or both...? Or perhaps a liquid?

Thursday 20 August 2015

Unsquish thyself

Yeah, it looks like a kimono with an obi. 
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, is it a kimono
But look again. 
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, kimono and corset
The scary contraption is a vintage corset in pale peach with a hook-and-eye closure at the front. The lacing appears to be a cat's cradle gone horribly wrong. Did the makers think the feminine colour would soften the harsh reality of its grim task? No matter, I love the danger/sweet disparity.

I found this vintage kimono at Blim, a cool shop and mini art school in Chinatown, which specializes in apparel with hamburger prints and googly eyes, but it also has a small rack of vintage and sample clothes. My cashmere Moschino hot pants are from there.
Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, hybrid kimono
Not being Japanese I wanted to hybridize the kimono to reflect me and its new context, to punk it up just a bit. Specific first challenges: create an interesting closure system and find a way to shorten this without scissors. After mulling it over for several months...

My solution: a corset, which I had, and mitten clips, which consist of a stretchy band with a suspender clip at each end. I attached two clips to the corset garters at the front and one on each side. They not only keep the hem up without damaging the fabric, but they free my legs for walking and create interesting draping, especially at the back. Overall, I'd call it Punk Lite.
Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, hybrid kimono
As for wearing clothing aligned with other places/people, I figure any clothing that appears in the public domain becomes part of our shared aesthetic dialogue and inspiration soup. Everything comes from everything. I'm dipping this kimono back into the stock with a sour twist.

This piece looks much better in motion than static and I smiled the whole time I wore it, feeling a fine zesty grating of punk and feminine - it's hard to escape the softness of the colour. And I kept the corset loose-laced so I wouldn't be squished. The kimono seemed glad of a little fresh air after lost decades of idleness. 

I know some people chop kimonos up into handbags and even shoelaces, but I couldn't bear it, at least not yet. I'm excited to see where this work-in-progress goes, colour-wise and accessory-wise, now that I have a feel for it. 

I'm linking this up to Anne of SpyGirl's 52 Pick-me-up: Pink/Discovery/Journey

And another piece of finished business...
I made this video sketch a couple of years ago when I found out I had to leave my studio - what a gift it was while it lasted.

I accidentally dropped the music in a few days ago when I rediscovered the clip set to Private on my YouTube channel. The sound cuts out at the end, but it's a wrap. My work is done here. I am healed! Ba-bye studio. I'm on to bigger and better things. Bwahahaha!
I am looking forward to making more videos, I can tell you! 

And one more thing:
I wanted to show you the boot combo I wore today with my vintage stretch denim, Pao's idea. I got one of the best compliments ever: "Ooo-eee!! You look ready to take on Manhattan!" I laughed because New York is the site of Sylvia's (40+ Style) imminent meetup, so it's been on my mind. Someone else referred to the denim as a one-dy. It seems more appropriate than jumpsuit.

Whew. That's all. I think. For now. We need rain so bad. The grass is like beige fringed plastic. 

Sunday 16 August 2015

How to wear a onesie over 50

Uh-oh, I'm wearing it again - the onesie. The Norwegian Original. This time for shopping downtown, not frolicking in the woods like a dork, here. (In my defense, I was delusional under the influence of Justin Bieber at the time. Not true. I'm just always like that.) And look, another one-piece in the woods:
Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, undercover in the woods
Is it a playsuit? No. A jumpsuit? Nunh. It's a hundreds-of-psychedelic-flowers-are-blooming-all-over-my-electric-body energy glove, never a suit! Worn with my D&G pony shoes, balding on the toe like a beloved plush toy, although I wouldn't sleep with my shoes or cuddle them when I'm unwell. The heels are getting worn too from clicking them together and muttering, there's no place like New York, there's no place like New York.
To be praaactical many might call this a jumpsuit, although there's nothing practical about a delicate rear zip in a vintage one-piece. Sure, if we want to be praaactical, let's just call this a HOPFABAOMEB-EG for short. Snort (as in laugh, not cocaine, my twisted friends). I feel like giving birth to a thousand butterflies when I wear this. Okay, ow. Let's just stop the imagery right there. Moving right along...
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, undercover in the woods
Usually I tell my clothes what they are. Are you pyjamas? No. You are swishy-silky-daydreams for shopping in. Are you a tool box? No. You are a magical vessel full of potential riches in both spirit and cash. Unless I can't find my magical vessel, at which point it becomes, Where's my fecking purse!!
In the concrete studio, Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
Using regular names for things can be useful. If I went to a shop and said, "Do you have any hundreds-of-psychedelic-flowers-are-blooming-all-over-my-electric-body energy gloves," like a smartass, I'd probably get a sneer and snide, "No, lady, we don't." (Sneer and Snide - sounds like a water park or a cartoon duo)

Unless you're Corey Mah at retailer Holt Renfrew, who might just say, "Oh yes, I certainly do! Follow me." He's an art school grad after all. But he would be a rare exception. Even rarer would be that I drop $800 to buy said HOPFABAOMEB-EG, even marked down from $3000.

This is an outtake from my original red onesie shoot, oops, I mean my celebrity-red-rocket-body-casing-of-perverse-pleasure!! In Stanley Park.
Mel Kobayashi, Onesie in the Woods, scary
Today's ensemble featured lighthouse hair, green shaggy boots instead of runners, and a man robe off and on because it was chilly. I deleted the concrete box - so boooring. As I said before, nobody, absolutely nobody wears onesies in Vancouver. It mystifies; it's such a slackeriffic garment. How do you wear a onesie over 50? Uh, you just put it on. Doh.
Mel Kobayashi, The Norwegian Original in Vancouver
Pao of Project Minima had a brilliant idea to wear one green boot and one black since I have these boots in both colours. I love that. Another day.
How's your magical vessel? Bwahaha. Snort.

Wednesday 12 August 2015

Caught on tape! Ack!

Look, I'm baring my teeth again, I mean laughing. This selfie photographer cracks me up!
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, spangles
If you are a regular visitor, you'll know I was pissed off that I didn't get a free breakfast at the media pre-launch party of the Ted Baker store in Vancouver in June, as offered, and I felt like a style freak there. You can read about it HERE.

It's the stuff of folklore, really. Next I'll write a Dylan-esque song about it. Maybe a play too. During the meetup I even took a group of bloggers on a tour of the site.
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, sketch, I surrrender to the chaos dress
The dress I was going to wear to the opening
but changed my mind.
Well, I was in a crowded elevator yesterday with my neighbour, the actor who was in Chupacabra vs. the Alamo, an outstanding film, and our conversation went something like this:
Neighbour: Oh, I forgot to congratulate you.
Me: Oh? Uhhh, what did I do? (hesitant laugh)
Neighbour: Yeah, I saw you on TV. (everyone in the elevator wakes up)
Me: (pause, then alarm - did someone get that on tape!!?) I don't know what you're...
Neighbour: Yeah, Pacific Centre Mall opened a new section or something a while ago and you were there. They had a really big picture of you.
Me: Whaaaa...? You're joking. I was on TV?
Neighbour: You looked really good. Full screen, as the intro for the piece. I was meaning to say something to you for a while now but I...
Me: (zoning out in shock and relief that it wasn't for that other thing)
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, spangles in doorless room
What a great reason to do the jazz hands pose!

Forget about Ted no-breakfast Baker - it turns out I was the face for the opening of the whole new wing of the mall. Oh, oh, I feel faint when I say it, but I was the...
Mall Wing Face

Hahaha, 50-plus, with everything on my back thrifted and vintage. Chalk one up for us, my fellow 40-plus friends and thrifters. Of course, finding this out now is kind of like winning Olympic bronze several years later when they find out the previous medalist was a drug fiend.
Bag and a Beret, spangles, oh yeah
Reflections. They radiated about 3 meters around me whenever I stepped into the sun.
Wearing: spangly top and rosy bottoms from My Sister's Closet, gorgeous necklace made by my friend Anja (xo!) of Curly Traveller, geta-style sandals, mechanical watch and magic loupe from O.

I searched the Net for the clip but couldn't find it, O helped too. My neighbour couldn't remember which station, just "the news." I'll need a stronger Ikea lamp to grill him under. Given that my TV is disconnected I wouldn't have even known had my neighbour not mentioned it. So take that! you twenty-something who ran away from me in fear, almost squeaking in your hasty retreat.
Bag and a Beret, Sylvia and Greetje at Ted Baker in Vancouver
Greetje didn't squeak. That's Sylvia (40+ Style) and Greetje (No Fear of Fashion) when we were shopping at Ted no-breakfast Baker. This is my therapy, one of my favourite photos of the recent Vancouver blogger meetup. This is what shopping at its best is all about: time spent laughing together. We had a blast at Mr. Baker. No yummy breakfast can match that feeling.

You can be pissed off about breakfast, but never, no NEVER, doubt yourself and your style. And the power of a good laugh. YEEEAH!!!
Melanie Kobayashi, cartoon, sketch, feck the shoes
Something eerie
The outfit I was wearing on the day of the Baker launch was the same one as in my Chupacabra post HERE. Get it?...It was the actor from that movie that told me... Okay, too many dots to connect? Trust me, neener neener.

Any weirdness in your life right now? Spangly maybe?



My friend Sandra of Lens is More has opened an Etsy store! You may remember her from my VOGOFF promo videos here and here, and her appearance as Diavola in VOGOFF magazine here.

Her shop is called Standard Deviations, heh, and she offers very cool custom-made pillows, coasters, cards, and more. Even Norman Reedus of the show The Walking Dead likes his deviant Sandra pillow. No lie. Check it out!

She inspires me to do something too. Now I have to go take a nap. Mall Wing Face must keep up appearances. Hahaha.

Friday 7 August 2015

How to do a laugh pose

And here I am laughing my head off, just like I did in the previous post where I'm wearing a swimsuit, me, the woman who never wears miniskirts, at least without leggings, and rarely shows her bare legs at all. Even toes are a revelation.
Mel Kobabyashi, laugh pose, Bag and a Beret
When I smile furtively for self-timer photos I feel like a massive doink. When I don't smile at all, well, we know the cruelty of gravity. What I realized is, why settle for massive when I can be mega-ultra-super-massive? Hell, yeah, baby!!! Go all the way! Enter: the dreaded laugh pose.

In that photo you might think I'm joking with the camera crew - well, yeah, I kind of am because I am the crew and I enjoy a warped sense of humour. 
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, deer-in-the-headlights-pose cartoon
Admittedly, just standing there in the stairwell with a tripod is an odd thing to do. The words narcissist documentarian, vain confidence-building, blogger anthropologist, and idiot idiot all spring to mind.

Look, more laughing! But so different with another outfit - you might not even recognize me!! Hahahaha!! Hahahaha!!! 
Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, shaggarific green pattern mixing
You must be wondering how I achieve this effortless, frolicking supermodel effect. Well, wonder no more!!

Secrets to the laugh pose revealed: 
  • Um, open your mouth and show your teeth. That's all. No need to continue reading.
  • Toss your head around a little, like you slept funny or you're at the beach and one of your fellow frolickers is about to throw you a giant inflatable beach ball. Hahaha! Hahaha! Everyone is so happy and rich and disconnected from reality. It's mmmarvellous.
  • Scrinch up your eyes a bit so your open mouth and teeth look friendly, not like you're about to rip into a steak and fries. Of course, my wrinkles do most of the work for me. (Hide your fork and knife.)
  • You may want to vocalize. It's impossible to put into words the sound I make, so I leave it to you to develop your own special sound.
Of course this technique only works when I'm in a safe, secure environment. Like my concrete stairwell. I know - I tried it outside today in the alley. So many people; you'd think I was in a city or something! 
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, running for cover
When strangers are around during a shoot I could probably pretzelize a steel pipe with my sphincter. Check out that boot fringe action up there. Run! Onlookers make me get a serious face, like that:
Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, thinking about the weather
Where's my fecking beach ball? Clearly I'm going to have to work on my outdoor laugh pose. 

Below I am wearing: thrifted low-rise Hilfiger capris from My Sister's Closet, shaggy green boots from Fluevog, thrifted blouse from Value Village, scarf from I forget (a popular source of clothing as the years progress), magic loupe and mechanical wristwatch from O. The Sheila stair pose got accordioned.
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, googly-eyed in green patterns
After I put these green clothes on they started whining for a compliment (heh) complement, as in complementary colour, so I added the hot pink scarf as a tie just before I went out the door. Whew - style disaster averted by quick thinking! Who wants to look like a leprechaun? Well, at least not on that particular day.
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
Is that a bug on my tripod?
Wearing: blue kimono-ish tunic made in Japan, from the meetup clothing swap via Patti (thank you!), thrifted Anthropologie pants, black fringed Fluevog boots from Timeline Boutique, clanking bracelets, magic loupe, vintage earrings bought new at I forget.

Bloglovin' is having a contest to see who can get the most followers in x amount of time. I stopped reading when I saw it was designed for people with fewer than 10,000 followers. Hahaha. I'm imagining they're throwing me a beach ball in the desert.

How's your week? How's your laugh pose? Got any secrets of the schtars you'd care to share?

Sunday 2 August 2015

Vintage Swimsuit Edition

Melanie Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, vintage swimsuit
Why is this woman laughing? Because she grew a bust overnight by way of a vintage Jantzen swimsuit, size 14, with built-in vertical-wired cups and Reebok sock fillers. Yes, my new favourite swimsuit, care of Pao of Project Minima and her mother who used to wear it, from the clothing swap at our recent blogger meetup. Oh thank you, Pao!! I feel like a schtar! "Oh daarling, that's faaaabulous." 
Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, vintage swimsuit
The features of the suit that I love most are the zip up the back and the leg openings that don't choke my thighs, not to mention that it's, gulp, super-fecking-amazing in general. There's a button missing on the left side, but nobody looks at the boobal area anyway. [Edit: As Pao pointed out in the comments, there's only supposed to be one button - it's designed that way. And now I love it even more!]
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, vintage Jantzen swimsuit
I'm feeling fierce here, channeling Swindon. My reading glasses are, of course, for reading a steamy paperback novel whilst reclining on my lounger and sipping a strawberry margarita poolside at the Beverly Hills Hilton. Right, Anne?

I'm employing the Sheila stair pose. My angle should be a bit more acute to achieve maximum results. I have yet to master the Corey hand (details on that HERE, Sheila Ephemera's blog).
I heard that exchange in a coffee shop a few months ago. Her reply was serious, no camp or sarcasm at all. I've always wondered how my life would be different if I were a person like that.
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
Switching drinks. "Who took my champagne? My yacht is waiting. Cannes is waiting!" I did a mini shoot in the morning with flat hair, above, but this suit demanded something more dynamic so I did a shoot last night with sproinged hair and flatforms. Love that plateau of hair, although I'm not sure what to make of the foothills on my chest.
Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret, vintage Jantzen swimsuit
Smoke and mirrors and wires and socks, my friends, although I would say I am more comfortable in this swimsuit than the one I wear now. The fabric is not too squeezy and I can move without bits creeping up my buttoxil area. Faaaabulous wire definition. 
Mel Kobayashi in vintage swimsuit, Bag and a Beret
And guess what? I did wear the suit out already. Last night. At 11pm. I locked myself in the concrete box so I had to go down to the sidewalk and ring O to let me in. And guess what? O didn't answer. He was playing with a new machine. No problem. I figured I could hang out in the dark deserted park in my swimsuit with my camera. GAAAA! I called again. Thankfully he heard and beeped me in; otherwise, these photos would have been much, much more interesting.
That's me when I got home, sweaty-faced because I was just a touch PANICKING!! HEEELP!!! I'll never forget my keys again. Maybe. 

I'm enjoying reading the wrap-up posts from the blogger meetup. Thanks again for coming! Life is getting back to routine and I am recommencing my blogger rounds bit by bit. Everyone who didn't come has been so patient. Mwah!!! Missed you. I have to see what you've been up to!! 

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