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Thursday 29 September 2016

Camp stool, chips, a Herrera gown, and Alley Oop

Money, models, class, decorum, and who decides what's what, all of this in the midst of fashion week mania and surreal politics - I had to make a video or let my angst and creative juices rot me away from the inside. So I grabbed my Carolina Herrera gown, unworn since I bought it for an obscenely low price at My Sister's Closet close to a year ago, and let whimsy take its course.
Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, Herrera gown

Black beehive hair, blue lips, blackened eyes, drawn-on lashes, mitten clips, and a faux-fur collar which I upcycled with long red ties - the "costume" came together in minutes, which happens when I'm at an expressive threshold.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, Alley Oop

The outfit was an instrument, not something I would normally wear, especially the wig and makeup. And while a gritty alley would have worked for the location, it felt too predictable. The newly-painted alley (Alley Oop), on the other hand, was terribly cheerful; in fact, so cheerful with this outfit, it was bad - oooh, lovely.


The VIDEO. Click:

Music: Behind Closed Doors with Otis McDonald. 

As props for this fancy dress I chose chips and my camp stool, and my role would be to bridge or merely play in the rough gulf between them all, emphasis on play - transforming grossness into a morning of fun and free expression. The following are all stills from the video.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, video still

Feeling slightly vulnerable in a costume, on my way downtown it was important to maintain my creative spark and strength. A focused, confident and smooth stride took care of that; I was a woman on a mission after all. And my Chanel sunglasses hid my steely gaze. Heh.

Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, video still, eating chips

Shockingly, I received quite a few compliments, probably because I owned my image despite walking outside my comfort zone - strength is a draw. Plus, those who didn't like it at least had the good graces to stay out of my way. Heh.

Now that I've mastered the wearing of this outfit, I could wear it again without that sense of theatricality, even with the extreme makeup. Probably I won't, but attitude is everything. It's magic!!

And I gave away some business cards, the very first one to a woman I met in Alley Oop, Eyoälha Baker. She was there taking photos for her Jump for Joy Photo Project. You'll have to see it to appreciate it, here. So much positive energy!! I'm glad my first card went to her.

That's all. My second post in less than a week. !!! I loved editing this video. I learn something new every time - it's such a challenge. This photo is from my concrete box when I got home.

Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret, Herrera gown

I hope you are all having a good week and doing what needs getting done to get through your day - whether it's making a video or a pot of stew.

Monday 26 September 2016

Yellow Skirt Update!! And a middle-aged debutante

I got my new business cards. Which means - I've ARRIVED! It's like being a debutante but older and better, although I still haven't reached my age of maturity. 

When my cards arrived, I danced around my home doing 3D effects like those 1970s Saturday Night Live skits "in 3D" where the actors zoomed in and out of the camera with echoey voices. I must have said to O umpteen billion times, "Look at my new card! LOOK! Bwahahaha. In 3D!" Poor man. I gave him one. It still left me with 199.

Left front; right back; there is no middle

I know it's just printing on paper (although I ordered the slightly thicker card stock) but somehow I regard this little card as a mini passport to my dreams. No more scrumply, scratchy, ripped napkins with ink blots and coffee drips! People will see me and say, "Now there's a woman with a card!" And then, "Double-sided? That's one classy dame."

Blooper. Ruffle slap.
I'm practising:
"Oh, if you like this outfit, you might like my blog. Here's my card." 
"On your TV show? I'll check my schedule. Here's my card." 
"My fan club? Come to think of it, I could use a chapter in Fargo. Here's my card." 
"I agree. Your people and my, uh, person should talk. Here's my card."
"O, where did I put my feckity-frickin' cards!!"

In the photo above, I'm practising how to walk in New York. On my IG, I demonstrate how I would hail a taxi in major cities around the world. I must be prepared for, you know, whenever. Now that I have cards.

So next, I just have to: a) remember to bring my cards with me, and; b) remember where I'm carrying them - pocket, purse, hair? Funny thing is, after being out card-armed twice already, I haven't given any away, nor have I sold any - that would be tacky. So what's the problem? Then it hit me:

I have to be fabulous to engage in card exchange, not shamefacedly lacklustre. So now there is pressure to live up to my card! It's not difficult to achieve that werewolf face on a daily basis, but that composed gown look? For feck's sake, I was posing in an ideal world completely cut off from reality. (The gown is from Pao, Project Minima. It was her Mum's.)

I should have featured stained stretched-out yoga pants and a threadbare sweatshirt, but they would have cost a fortune at a high-end designer store, and after buying these cards who can afford that? Maybe chewing gum hanging out of my mouth, or chips, would have been better. Less pressure. Live and learn, folks. Live and learn. Speaking of chips, I finally updated my About Me page.

The security guard asked me what I was doing in the parking lot above. He was worried I was taking photos of the wall. When he found out I was taking photos of myself, he felt better and we shook hands. If I had my cards then, I would have given him one. Top and flocked pants from Talize, vintage wonder coat from Super Thrift Sister Su!!

Below is the tartan jacket I farked in May 2015 here, my ruffled blouse, and pants that used to belong to Mr. Sanchez. They have a billion buttons on the front.

There was a gap in the barricades to this alley and naturally I took advantage - they weren't done painting yet. But I asked, and the painters recognized me for the debutante I am and graciously agreed to let me take some photos but to mind the wet paint. I did. I'd have given them cards but I forgot them at home.

Even if I don't use these cards, I can smile and smirk knowing I have them, my own mini passport to a world of possibilities. Bwahahaha. Do you have a card? Does it make you feel wonderful? If not, what are you waiting for? Go make another one!! I always used to feel like a dweeb telling people I have a style blog - I'm over it.

And now -


Iris eyed Frida's flower headband
"Hm, I could use a headband like that," she mused.
"Not to mention that SKIRT!! That FREAKISH WONDER."
But before she could grab it, a monkey screeched,
sending a STARTLED vicious seal onto the 
sumo wrestler's shoulder, and he didn't 
even notice because he was BUSY
mooning over...


and the travelling yellow skirt freak show come to life

G O!   G O   NOW !!!

What a fantastical journey brought to you by Anja and the Yellow Skirt in Singapore. With a surprise Special Guest whom many of you know. Bwhahaha!!! So. Much. Fun. 

Believe it or not, I've given you a somewhat accurate picture of events in this little blurb. The imagination! The creativity! And you should see what she added to FYS. You can't miss this. Thank you so much, Anja! 
That's all for this week.

I'm linking up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike. See you there maybe?

Edit: I also linked up to Midlife Fun: Pattern Mix, at Tinaspinkfriday. HERE.

Sunday 18 September 2016

Crimson rose petal coat and the big red bag dress

Vintage velvet coat and big red dress, Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
Big red dress, combat boots, Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
Big red dress, combat boots, Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
Vintage velvet coat, big red dress, combat boots, Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret
Vintage velvet coat, big red dress, combat boots, Mel Kobayashi, Bag and a Beret

I can't stop wearing red. Bright SCREEAMING red. A young, well-dressed man downtown said to me today, "That's a really red outfit." I said, "Why, yes, it is." Man: You really stand out. Me: I suppose I do. Man: That looks great! Me: Thank you. And then he resumed talking to his imaginary friend.

This dress is size 4, designed to be baggy, which I ADORE. I love the really long sleeves and how the neckline plunges to the waist. As sneer guard, I wore a black camisole with a lacy red slip on top of it. And those are my combat boots, designed to combat boredom and anchor big dresses. They tromp most satisfactorily.

The vintage, crimson rose petal opera coat is from my fairy vintage mother, Su. Mwah!! And Sam, manager of My Sister's Closet, directed me to this dress, which at the time was a crumpled red ball of fabric but she knew I'd love the colour. Oh so right! (The dress was wrinkled because it had just come in and not been steamed yet.)

That's all I have for you this week. Better than nuthin' I hope. Of course I'll link up to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike. I hope my business cards come this week so I can finally be real.
PS - My Sister's Closet is throwing a fundraiser comedy night in Vancouver on Sep. 20 at VanCity Theatre, featuring Mike MacDonald and Melanie Rose. Proceeds go to Battered Women's Shelter Services. Details are here

Edit: A huge smooch to Shelley of Forest City Fashionista for including me in her list:

"8 of the Coolest Outfits Worn by 40+ Bloggers this Month" 

She wrote it to balance out the lists on Bloglovin' where only young mainstream women count. It's an honour to be included among these creative, independent-minded women. 

Wednesday 14 September 2016

Howl, prowl, smowl - outfits for hunting and avenging

I'm feeling feisty. I like that word - agitated, prickly, energetic. So I dropped myself into a spinning tunnel of love and flowers and intrigue and lightning wearing my Emma Peel/Avengers outfit, which I bought when I was shopping with Suzanne during her visit to Vancouver. Shopping with her always brings out my inner Zoolander. She put a photo on her Instagram when I tried it on - HERE.

Mel Kobayashi in groovy vintage onepiece. Bag and a Beret. Tunnel of love and turmoil.

This is wool, rear zip, vintage, and clearly groovy, made by Gordi of Montreal. With the cooler morning weather I could finally wear it. I definitely need a soundtrack when I go on top secret spy missions in this outfit. The colour defies digitization. Contrary to what you see here, this is a screaming, SCREEEEAMING, orangy-red.

The next photo was taken in the anteroom of our squash court.

Melanie Kobayashi in groovy vintage onepiece, like The Avengers. Bag and a Beret.

Below is the photo I put on Instagram. I use my finger as a gun, a noodly one. The only thing I could stop with that would be, uh, candy floss. But I think the world would be a better place if suddenly every gun turned into a noodle and every bullet turned into candy floss. We would become a pasta-loving planet high in carbs and sugar with a huge number of wealthy dentists. And I'd make my millions opening a tomato sauce factory.

I got lots of fun Zoolander poses. Snap, snap, snap, snap, snap - that's what happens when you're a high-action heroine.

Melanie Kobayashi in groovy vintage onepiece, like The Avengers. Bag and a Beret.

And carrying on the theme below... In fact I wore this sexay number a few days before that first one. Guh - could you even imagine a garment so deluxe in your wildest dreams? Again, "SOUNDTRAACK!!" I scream like screamy Frau Farbissina from Austin Powers. Another outfit designed for pouncing.

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in vintage tiger onepiece with quilted skirt.

Pao, author of the blog Project Minima, gave me this piece of divinity at the blogger meetup in Vancouver last summer. It was sewn by her mother many years ago and I am honored to carry on her spirit through style.

While I was on my inspiration walk wearing this, a driver on a busy street screeched to a stop at the curb to shout, "THAT IS THE BEST OUTFIT I'VE EVER SEEN!" Bwahaha. Of course I launched into the story of Pao and her mum and the blogger meetup while cars pulled around her.

Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in vintage tiger onepiece with quilted skirt.

This vintage extravaganza consists of a jersey front-zip onepiece with a matching button-up quilted overskirt. A big rhinestone is nested in the center of each button. Note the golden silky lining and the matching quilted tie belt. So utterly fabulous.

I'll link something here up with Patti at Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine at #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb.

Melanie Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in vintage tiger onepiece with quilted skirt. Hunting.

This outfit brought out my scowl/smile, known as a smowl, rhymes with howl and prowl. I was imagining a roar. Don't forget, I was alone in a parking lot making these faces for my tripod, but mere meters away from a busy sidewalk - proof of how professionally aloof I am to the seething reality around me. It's is a special skill, yesh.

This post is tardy. I am tardy. Pffft. Can't be helped. (smowl)

Usually when people express interest in my style, at the end of a conversation I might shove a crumpled bit of napkin with my blog addressed scratched into it with a blotty pen. Sooo professional. So I finally ordered real cards. Now my life will be perfect.

I've photographed other outfits since my last post too, which you can see on Instagram HERE. You don't have to join IG to look. And you can search for things that interest you, e.g., paisleypants. When you click a photo, it pops up bigger. Also, if you sign up with Instagram, you will be able to comment, and you don't need a cell phone to do that. So that's a little FYI. I'd put them here but this post would be too long.

I hope you're all having a stellar life at the moment! If not, HANG ON!!! I'll send Emma ASAP with her noodle gun and candy floss maker. If only life were so easy...

Saturday 3 September 2016

Pantsuits, white hair gel, and chest coolers

I should be singing. Something '80s.

It feels like autumn and I am enamoured with suits, jacket/trousers, with a tie or huge plastic flowers pinned to the lapel.  And stark white shirts, spray starched - you can almost hear the fabric crack with each elbow bend. Maybe this fixation comes from the back-to-school air, the words uniforms, regimentation, thinking caps, and pencils. 

This suit is an indulgence. An Emporio Armani vintage set, made in Italy, thrifted. I watched it for weeks in the shop without much interest. And then one day I tried it on. By happenstance, there was a new white men's shirt in the change room at the same time. I bought them both. And the next week I found the tie. I'm in grey.

A season of lines - straight, crooked - and unpredictability. A woman in a suit also zigzags definitions. Not blurred lines so much as smudged and messy, peskily impure for slotting pegs in boxes. Of all the clothes I have ever worn, nothing has elicited more hostility from men than the pantsuit. To that I say, with a jaunty flip of my coat flap - kiss my pantsuit ass. 

In my hair I've put Manic Panic white hair gel. Seriously, it coats your hands - and hair - like paint, but it washes out. I love the subtle effect on my grey. What's great about this gel is it allows me to play with colour without the commitment of a dye. Today I bought a small tube of blue - about $12 Cdn. I'll let you know how it goes. (Not sponsored)

And below, another farking project.

My alien/marshmallow/panda/anime/ghosty/crow shirt. And boob cooler. And just-in-case-I-suddenly-get-implants shirt. And instead of white hair, I did white eyebrows (slightly blue) and nude lipstick. So pale, so pale, waiting for the ship to beam me up and away to the jelly planet.

I've heard it's a thing to pose like you've just taken your finger out of your mouth. Uh, I won't do it again. I met up with Sue of A Colourful Canvas this week and she taught me another trending pose where you just droop open one side of your mouth. Oooh, sexay! Hahaha!!! We both laughed trying that one out. Sorry, no photos! But people in the cafe may have been alarmed. 

I'm linking to Patti, Visible Monday, Not Dead Yet Style, and Catherine, #iwillwearwhatilike, Not Dressed as Lamb

So what's up with you? Think you'll try that gel? Or the sexy droopy mouth pose? Show us! Hahaha.

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