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Wednesday 29 June 2016

Breaking News

I was interviewed on June 27 by Lisa Christiansen for the show On The Coast on CBC Radio One, Canada's national radio broadcaster, about Bill Cunningham's impact on my life. She had read my small tribute to Mr. Cunningham on Bag and a Beret and seen my street style blog and wanted to hear my thoughts on life with/without this great man.

If you'd like to hear what I said, go HERE. I'm at time code 01:01:00 for about five minutes. It's only a small part of a show over 2 hours called On The Coast, June 27. 

Thank you, Lisa Christiansen and Stephen Quinn, show host, for including me in your broadcast, as well as your kind words at the end of the segment. It was an absolute honour to be able to talk about this incredible man whose positive influence greatly affected my own style journey. He was loved around the world.

[Edit: People living outside of Canada have had difficulty listening to the link above. As a result I have had permission to post the clip, which you'll see in the YouTube below. This should work. Good luck! Heh.]

Lisa took my photo too and it's on her Twitter HERE. That will have to count as an outfit photo because I didn't post one here. Heh.

Sunday 26 June 2016

Geriatric vagina and '80s power suit

I needed to go to the financial district last week and thought I should dress accordingly. So I wore a suit. This one has dots instead of pinstripes, it's bright orange instead of grey, vintage not new, and it's silky, pyjama style, and has linebacker shoulder pads. Other than that, I fit right in and was ready to address the board of directors.

When walking with these shoulder pads, my shoulders start gyrating like a washing machine, which has all kinds of personal '80s associations in terms of style and female empowerment. (I just realized that this woman/power image involves a home appliance! How wrong is that?!)


For something different, I made a cartoon in response to a comment I read on someone's blog which said that a doctor told her friend she has a geriatric vagina. Oh, really? This rant has been wanting to explode for several weeks now. Here it is. (Warning: If you hate this topic, you'd best leave now.)

I probably laughed more drawing this than you will reading it. You should see the stuff I deleted. Hahaha!

Back to the outfit:

And below, a closeup of my '80s power suit. I'm linking this up to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb, and Anne at SpyGirl for 52 Pick-me-up: Completion. It's the last week of her latest year-long colour theme project. Why not join us?

You can see the neon yellow lace blouse that united this jacket and pants for the first time since I bought the suit over two years ago. The tie is made of vintage fabric, and I'm wearing my orange elastic, front-lace corset belt. This is a new favourite outfit.

Finally, heartfelt thanks to Susan at une femme d'un certain âge for mentioning me in her recent thoughtful post THINKING ABOUT: THE MEANING OF PERSONAL STYLE.


Bill Cunningham (1929-2016)

[Edit: I was interviewed on JUNE 27 by Lisa Christiansen of CBC Radio One about Bill Cunningham and his impact on my life for the show On The Coast. You can listen to it HERE.]

I just found out that Bill Cunningham has died. I didn't know him personally, but this renowned NY artist/photographer had a direct and unlikely impact on the life of this middle-aged woman in Vancouver, Canada.

I remember clearly heading out alone to the theatre to watch a discount matinee of the documentary Bill Cunningham New York. Before the show started, in my seat in the dark, I furtively pulled my pink Munster Fluevog shoes from the plastic bag I had been clutching and slipped them on my feet. I had read up a bit about Mr. Cunningham beforehand, and properly shod I was ready to be swept away. I was.

Bill Cunningham. Bill Cunningham - his name rang in my head for weeks after the movie. When he saw the beauty of a woman in a wet blowing garbage bag, I fell in love. His unpretentious heartfelt drive and vision gave me hope. And confidence.

Soon after, I started a street style blog in Vancouver under the guiding force of his saying that if you look for beauty you will find it. This philosophy sustained me during the long, dark months of Vancouver's wet winters.

From these beginnings, this blog, Bag and a Beret, was born, and my own style confidence took off. While I have not thought of Mr. Cunningham specifically throughout this evolution, he was the star of the critical moment that launched it all and the person whose positive outlook buoyed me when I felt abandoned by beauty. I owe him tremendous thanks.

Bill Cunningham is an irreplaceable man. I am sad he is gone and rejoice in what he has shared.

Saturday 18 June 2016

Good posture and bog facials

I'm not 20 anymore. It comes as quite a shock! 

How do I know this? Because today when I was walking across the city in these D&G heels, lugging two huge, stuffed-full, blue Ikea bags, one on each shoulder, I had to stop for a snack. Of course I often stop for a snack (I keep telling myself that my pants feel tighter because the laundry water is getting hotter and hotter), this time I wanted a rest as much or more than a snack.

Oh, but nature, she is not too cruel. She has gifted us with the diminishing ability to see things close-up as we age, which I'm convinced is to protect us from passing out from shock when we get up in the middle of the night and see our wrinkles in full definition in the mirror before we are fully awake.

There's not much I can do about the wrinkles part; that's okay. The annoying Top Blog recommends that I invest in a facialist. But they also recommend that I start slathering bee pollen all over my face at night. Do you know what that is?

Bees go out, stick gobs of pollen to their legs, fly it back home, and then head-butt it into little cells, mixing it with bee spit and nectar. Their family eats it, like bee porridge I suppose. Oh yes, I can see how that would be good for my face(?), and imagine all those poor hungry bees. No thank you. There are other foods that are good on my face, like chocolate pudding.

Just a cotton robe and pants with a silk blouse but I feel like an empress. I could be saying, "Did you wash your neck?"
O says that you are told to wash your neck in Japan before they cut off your head. Niiice. 

So why is it we think things that we eat are necessarily good to slop on our face? - coconut, honey, tea, yogurt, coffee, avocado, turmeric, berries. Why not just have breakfast in the tropics instead? I'm sure that would be good for my face. Then there's algae. And mud. Why don't we just all go swim in a bog? Mark my words, that will be the next big trend: "Romantic night-time Swim-with-the-Beavers bog facial tours!!"

On the issue of aging, one thing I that I think makes us look older is poor posture. I have three stellar tips in that department, none of that trendy, screamy, spandexed "STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE!" stuff.

Three Tips for Good Posture
1.  If your boss asks you to kiss his/her ass, ask him/her to please step up on a chair so you can avoid bending over. Or refuse for therapeutic reasons. I guarantee, if you refuse, you will walk taller, especially if you're trying to stand out in the unemployment line. 
2. Brush the chips off your shoulders, lighten the load. Put that cross you bear in the closet while you're at it. They ruin a good outfit and shoulder pads are passé.
3. Finally, if you have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, for goodness sake, get rid of the angel! You'll have half the burden and twice the fun. This state may be achieved more quickly if you put your cross in the closet.

I'm wearing jewel tones, but where are the frickin' jewels? How does one make the leap from fabric to mineral? Tell me. Tell me that!

Seriously, I'm trying to work on improving my posture. While I brush my teeth, I stand up straight with my back and shoulders against the wall. It's easy (bonus) and has become a habit. Now I can copy that feeling when I go out without worrying that I'm holding my shoulders back at a freakish angle - it's supposed to feel like that.

The noodle walk above does not show the results of my self-improvement efforts to best effect. But it does show this fabulous robe outfit - no wonder I deluded myself into thinking I'm 20. Shelley of Forest City Fashionista gave me this robe a while back; this is its first outing. In today's breeze I got maximum benefit of its swooshy awesomeness.

Purple and green pattern cotton maxi robe from Shelley, thrifted Hilfiger cotton green paisley pants, vintage Prussian blue silk blouse, old thrifted D&G shoes, magic loupe from O, and an empty parking lot - it was a good day, even though I'm not 20. In fact, I'm glad I'm not 20, very glad. I'm wiser and way more mature, heck yeah.


I'll be linking this up to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike. Patti of Not Dead Yet Style is on holiday or I'd link up to her too. I can't wait to read about her adventures in Canada! [Edit: Yes, I'm wearing wine too, which is the theme for Anne at SpyGirl, 52 Pick-me-up. I thought it was still neutrals, which this is not. I lift a glass. I'm linking!]

Have a great week, everyone! What's your favourite food to put on your face?

Also, thank you to Brigitte Woman magazine's online site in Germany for featuring me in their article Style icons over 50 - we learn from them. I'm listed as the Eccentric I think - the translation says Exzentrikerin. That's me. Thank you!

Saturday 11 June 2016

Getting fizzy wrapped in PET bottles

Oh, the sweet ecstasy of well-resurrected garbage.

This dress is comprised of PET bottles, textile waste and/or other organic materials. It debuted in H&M's first sustainable line, the Garden Collection, in 2010. I found it at the thrift shop for $5, repeating the trash-to-treasure cycle yet again, recycling at its best. I call it the garbage that keeps on giving.

The dress is so feminine it cried out for a little edge - after all, it's been around the block a time or two, despite its excellent condition, like myself, heh - so I added a black scarf choker, black tights, Steve Madden combat boots, a satin obi belt, and an essential bouquet holster from a big old belt, which also made me feel a bit like a little VW bug with a vase on my  dashboard.

Wouldn't you agree that a bouquet creates a friendlier image in a holster than a gun? "Halt or I'll kill you with kindness!" - or face-slap you with flowers, which would in fact hurt. The plastic is hard and wretched. I bit the stems, like one of those women who bites stems and makes it look sexy, and kind of gagged. Another flower defense would be to hold them like garlic or a cross, as above, to keep away vampires.

And the rear view of the garment. You can see the little sparklies on my scarf choker and the obi ties, as well as the massive kimono-inspired sleeves. I couldn't believe this dress was on the $5 rack! My hair at the back is not as grey as the front. I call the shade souris (su'-ri, French for mouse, which sounds better than rodent).

Note how I've hooked my thumb conveniently in the bouquet holsterClearly it's a multipurpose accessory, like a pocket that doesn't hold a damned thing.

The bottom half of the necklace is from H&M and the top half chain from Tokyu Hands craft supply store in Tokyo. The flower pin  (used for modesty) was a gift made by Suzanne Carillo for the +40 Blogger Meetup last summer in Vancouver, and the earrings were thrifted.

Putting things in perspective - mulched flower in a concrete jungle.
I'll be linking this to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday, Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike, and Anne at SpyGirl for 52 Pick-me-up: Silver/Confusion/Clarity (my necklace).
And this last photo is my favourite of the day. The air exhaust system that vents into the alley kicked into major effect after the delivery trucks had all left, leaving me free to play in the stale air. I'm glad I wore a slip because the wind often blew the dress up to my dashboard! Too bad this dress isn't scratch 'n' sniff to freshen things up, but then it would probably smell like Coca Cola and I'd just start to fizz.

Yup, I felt like a million bucks in this outfit. Right after buying it I found out about the H&M/Bloglovin' "Breakthrough Fashion Blogger of the Year" Contest which required styling an H&M piece. The winner gets to be mentored by Man Repeller Leandra Medine for a year. I linked my Instagram photo of this outfit to the contest and this post as well.

I just looked at some of the other entries - oh, why did I do that?! Serious twenty-somethings wearing pressed neutral outfits professionally photographed, compared to my lightweight photographer, Tripod, a remote I call Dick, and my middle-aged-tween antics in piss alley.

Well, if I don't enter I definitely lose, and I must remember: comparison is the thief of joy. I had a blast doing this shoot with this stellar dress and would have done it regardless of any contest. Why? Because -

You can't keep good garbage down!

Recycling and feeling fabulous, how cool is that? I hope more big fashion retailers and manufacturers get on board that sustainability train and make good on their promises. Have you worn any good garbage lately? Do tell. Do they even make scratch 'n' sniff clothing?


Thanks for joining me all you new followers! And thank you to Jessica at Warning: Curves Ahead 24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear for linking to my post with Shelley's awesome photo here, which has turned into a too-good-to-be-true ending to her stellar visit to Vancouver, 2.5 million views and counting. Bwhahaha! Hurrah for freedom of choice !!

Shelley's post on our get-together is HERE.

My VOGOFF magazine guidelines page is almost ready. Can you believe it's taken me this long? Don't answer that! Heh.

Sunday 5 June 2016

The crotch grab, and a little movie with Shelley!

"Dang, woman, those saggy-butt, hangy-diaper pants are making me hot!" I swear, can't they come up with something more original than that? Sooo predictable. One thing is for sure: these hot-lovin' hip huggers are certifiably waddle-icious.

I went with the grey wall backdrop for these photos because someone had set up camp over at the blue wall.

The pants were a size too small but such a steal at the consignment shop. Buy? Walk away? Buy? Walk away? I could zip them up, barely, and achieve locomotion like the Tin Man before the lube job, but that ruined the whole saggy I-don't-give-a-feck effect. There was also no way I'd be able to de-grow into them. In the end, I decided they were worth a session of pro-wrestling with my sewing machine.

And ta-dah! Only a few hours and profanities later (have you ever tried to push in a straight pin from the wrong end?) I ended up with these. I added roominess by sewing wide racing stripes down the sides because that's how I roll, roll, not racing, being the operative word - unless I'm grabbing for the last chocolate croissant. I like the orange bits and am pleased with the results. Waddle on! I didn't exp.....Uh oh....

Video Alert, 24 sec. Watch now.
Oof: Shelley & Mel Meet
Shelley, aka Forest City Fashionista, came to Vancouver recently. 
We had a blast. Choreography by Shelley.

See? My blog is almost like real TV with little commercial breaks. If this were a real emergency you would have been instructed to go eat chips - it's all over anyway. Now back to the outfit. Take it away, Mel!

The pants are "Marni for H&M," although with gold lurex and shiny purple I don't care what brand they are. What more could you want of any pant, besides a drop crotch and hipslung hug? Oh, they're lined too.
I'll link these up to Patti at Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb, and Anne at 52 Pick-me-up: Black and White/Destiny at SpyGirl.

Of course I'm grabbing my crotch like all the best people do. Okay, like Madonna does, except in Toronto they threatened to arrest her for it. So this is the safe and friendly two-handed, off-side Canadian Crotch Grab, not quite committing to the full grab because 1) I am a polite Canadian, and; 2) as a mere mortal non-superstar I might get arrested. So much drama/one pair of weird pants - just the way I like it.

The top with the huge drapy sleeves is vintage, the neon orange ruffled blouse was thrifted, and the geta-style shoes were retail at big discount. Now enough of my outfit.


Look - it's more ShelleyForest City Fashionista!! 

In my previous post you saw that she came to Vancouver at the end of May and we played hard! The photo above is Shelley at Bacchus Lounge at the Wedgewood Hotel where we had cocktails (well, I had coffee working up to the hard stuff) and fries during our night of cocktail hopping at luxury hotels - but only because it was raining. (Yeeeah, right.) I've seen Goldie Hawn here in the past. The piano man, directly to the left of Shelley's elbow, was playing all our faves.

On Shelley's final day in the city, we had brunch with Sue, A Colourful Canvas, and Louisa, Damselfly's Delights at Acme Cafe.

Shelley and Sue

There were dogs sitting at the next table, seriously, men wearing dog headgear, and one had a tail. They were good dogs; they didn't howl or bark or self-groom or try to hump our legs, thank goodness. Clearly these men took my previous posts to heart - to live life like a dog. [Edit: Shelley corrected me - they are actually puppies.] 

Louisa above. She spun, dyed, wove, knitted, and sewed every single piece of clothing she was wearing. I can't believe the talent! She grows plants for dye in her garden. The plants in my garden usually just die. Oh wait, I don't have a garden. Her dress was a beautiful shade of soft mint green.

The back of Shelley's robe, which I gave her, and Sue's coat, which she sewed. Sue also designed that amazing applique. WOW!  

And I did a post about the fancy party that Shelley and I attended on Friday, May 27, "Emma Dunlavey CURVE Fine Art Photography Exhibit and VIP Shopping Event" where we did some serious hobnobbing among Dior, Prada, and Moschino at Leone, thanks to an invitation by event impresario Vernard Goud. The writeup is HERE, on my street style blog.

I have so many photos from Shelley's visit, and I'm sure you'll see more of them over at Shelley's blog and Instagram. Louisa has also put up a post on our brunch, HERE.

I know I haven't covered everything, but that's all I can manage at the moment. I miss farking with Shelley!! 

Shelley at the big do. Everyone at the party loved Shelley! Of course.

Tired now. Must go eat chips even though it isn't an emergency, well, yeah, it kind of is.
I wish I had a hat for Judith's Hat Attack! Dang! I'm just trying to stay on top of everything. Easier said than done.

Hope you have a great week, you guys!!

[Edit: Shelley's post on our get-together is HERE.]

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