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Sunday 30 October 2016

Snapping back in pearls and bell bottoms

I've noticed as I've gotten older that when I pinch my skin and pull it out, it takes longer to snap back where it belongs. Why do this? Because I've seen other people do this. It's kind of like bothering a sore spot and saying over and over, "Ow, it hurts when I do that." ???

But I've also noticed that this snap-back thing is true about my face as well. When I smile about something during my downtown walks, my face takes longer to settle back into its resting diva state. Heh. I'll go blocks and blocks and totally startle myself when I realize that damned smile is still there!! Let's not talk about how this applies to my scowl face because...

Mel Kobayashi of Bag and a Beret in pearls, enjoying her tea in the garden's been a week of chaos with nature chasers to take the edge off as the result of a computer hard drive meltdown. Some things were backed up - yeah, like my BOWELS! with all this shite to deal with. I know I'll stumble across stuff here and there on USB drives as the days go by ("stuff" of course referring to my data, not bowels. Moving right along). And the tech guy who did last rites backed up a few things for us, essentials. It was like deciding what to pack in a capsule wardrobe for, say, Paris, and being charged by the hour after the trip is cancelled.

The only true and meaningful remedy was nature with pearls, pearls, and more pearls!! And a cute vintage wool crepe shift dress with glitter tights and pointy shoes. See how dainty I am? I've brought my teacup holder with me, the one I DIY-ed from a wooden matryoshka, and that's a family heirloom teacup.

Bag and a Beret enjoying her tea in the garden
See the monster with big eyes waving at me behind the fence?

But that's definitely not tea. Looks like I needed a little Extra Strength nature, some fermented organics with a kick. In fact, the cup was empty - even worse! Picture me wobbling and stumbling on kitten heels, fumbling with loupes and reading glasses, sinking in mulch, and then throwing myself awkwardly across these weather-soaked chairs before the 10-second warning on the camera self-timer went off - all of this while trying to keep my dress down and look aloof. I think I succeeded.

Bag and a Beret enjoying her tea in the garden

I had to face this direction on the chair because all the construction men were on the other side. Of course I lost all my photo editing software and video editing software. Pffft. It was time to upgrade anyway. These photos were done on the basic-est basic software - that's why I added so many effects, to make myself feel better. Look what I can do! Look what I can do! (Ow, it hurts when I do that.)

Bag and a Beret in pearls and pearls and little black dress

These heels were wicked leaf skewers. It was a fashion statement, all those golden maple leaves stuck to my heels. Very patriotic.

And below, more nature shots - my very cool striped vintage bell bottoms with a floral jacket and a Bowling-For-Dollars (name of American bowling game show) blouse. I intentionally pulled things from my closet that I thought would look putrid together. I really needed some fecking CLASH! I failed - it came out looking Gucci. I swear, that company has ruined the art of clash by making anything and everything go together. Puh.

Bag and a Beret in bell bottoms, Gucci impression

During this shoot I thought it would be fun to do some stop motion shots of me throwing a bunch of leaves up in the air. You know: Hahaha!! I LOVE NATURE! Tralala! I set the self-timer and scrambled into position.

What I didn't know was that while the leaves looked dry and lovely on top, when I grabbed a huuge pawful I discovered they were half-rotted and wet on the bottom. And of course when I hear the camera beeping I can't shut off. Up went the rot pile and down it came again all over my head, probably with lots of critters too. None of the photos turned out. How poetic.

After that fiasco I moved locations. Behold!!

Bag and a Beret in bell bottoms, Gucci impression

And then back in the stairwell below. Too much nature! This outfit was a no-brainer. The overalls said Not Plaid so I put on the tartan jacket for a "get it? get it? nudge-nudge" moment. I don't think anyone but me got it though and it left passersby worried about that puzzled, expectant, half-smirk look on my face, which didn't snap back at all! That's a blue silk blouse underneath. Everything is many sizes too large, except the jacket which I down-farked.

Bag and a Beret in upcycled tartan jacket and overalls, plaid/not-plaid

I call this outfit plaid/not-plaid undone, with reference to Canadian rock band The Guess Who and their 1969 hit "Undun." (here) She's come undone. Undone DIY jacket, undone DIY overalls with that gaping bib. At least my combat boots stayed tied, double knotted.

Bag and a Beret in upcycled tartan jacket and overalls, plaid/not-plaid

These photos are the first installment in Project New Leaf. I am venturing boldly where no middle-aged tween has gone before. Heh. A fresh slate is a good thing.

But I have to say that throughout this minor inconvenience my heart went out to a dearly loved member of our blogging community, Jessica Cangiano, author of Chronically Vintage, and her husband. All their worldly possessions, including her priceless collection of vintage clothing, were destroyed in a fire on October 13. Their dog escaped with them but their beloved cat went missing.

A crowdfunding page has been set up HERE to help them get back on their feet. And Jessica's friend Bonita of Lavender & Twill set up a Facebook page HERE for helping in other ways. The fire happened a couple of weeks ago, but the need I'm sure is as strong now as it ever was. Think about it, won't you?

And now one more outfit for the road:

Bag and a Beret in the magic forest

This is my first back-to-nature photo. I'm living proof that when the going gets tough, the tough put on pearls and bell bottoms, grab a camera, shower themselves with decaying plant matter, frolic in mulch, clamber up hills and stairs, and pull out the fine china. I tried wielding a pitchfork and a very heavy watering can in my pearls, but I'll save those photos (on an external drive) for later. Heh.

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I met up a while ago with my friend Sandra, who is now active on IG here. You can see her rocking her drop crotch pants on my street style blog here. Mighty fine.

The end. Congratulations - you made it!

I'll be linking something up, of course, with Patti at Not Dead Yet Style, Visible Monday, and Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb, #iwillwearwhatilike.

Have a good week. And remember: two steps forward, one step BACKUP!!


  1. You made it through a lot of cool outfits. The "Oh bugger, this doesn't clash!" one is my favourite, mainly because of those EXCELLENT stripy trousers. Love your vintage tea cup ones though- amazing tights and you have reaaaaaaaaaaaaaally tiny legs!!
    Hope the chaos in the non-clothing department doesn't ensure.
    And ha ha, wet leaves!!!

  2. Dear Melanie, amazing post. I love your pearls pictures. Sooo relaxt ;) Your plaid and no plaid Outfit is fabulous. Remembers me Vivienne Westwood. What a drama, a fire destroyed all .
    I wish I have any translation that works good for your posts. But its hard :)

  3. autumn leaves, gloves, warm layers? I sort of remember that. Record highs down in the crazy old South. It's almost November, right?

  4. Your creativity snaps back even if the rest of you doesn't!

    Loved all of these outfits and your ability to manage the shot despite the monsters, construction workers, rancid leaves and woodland critters. You're a blogger Super Hero!

    I love that you're meditating in your "Not Plaid" outfit. Ummmmmmm...


  5. So much fabulousness in all this! I love the plaid/not plaid, your clashing outfit (not clashing) and your action shots in the leaves. Most well done, madam! I hope you are staying dry-ish in this mercurial weather. Are you doing a Hallowe'en costume??

  6. I mean, seriously, how do you do it, Darling??? The style references and the slammingly perfect outfits put together in the most perfect of Melanieness. Sometimes I'm almost afraid to read your blog posts because I'm afaid my poor feeble little mind will be blown beyond recognition. I can barely get out of my PJ's most days and there you are, knocking it out of the universe. I am humbled by your sophistication. And, yes please, I would LOVE a cup of invisible tea.

    1. connie wrote down my thoughts already.......
      i´ll just add: love your pearls&black ensemble - it is to die for!!!
      huge hugs! xxxxxx

  7. The skin thing is called "turgor" and nurses hope that when you pinch some and release it resettles in less than 3 seconds. Longer than that means dehydration. However your face settles, I'm sure its always somewhat interesting, so take comfort in that. My favorite today were the glitter tights. I always enjoy your posts.

  8. My sympathy for your poor hard drive! I too have lost a bunch of stuff migrating over to a new computer system. Sucks but not nearly as badly as losing ones entire home. So sad.

    Your outfits and photos are spectacular as usual! Hugs!

  9. "See how dainty I am?" I literally LOLed!
    I remember pinching the skin on my back, near my spine and seeing how tight or untight it was - this was back when I was in my 30s. Now I can barely reach my spine - damn arthritis.

  10. Sorry to hear about your computer disaster but sometimes these things can turn out to be a blessing in disguise. I hope you regain all lost data...

    That pinching the skin thing is about how our collagen levels reduce with age - moisturise, moisturise, moisturise!

    Lovely outfits as always and you always look fabulous what ever you wear. I bet you'd look good in a potato sack or a black plastic bin liner. It's great to get out and about with nature; I an't get enough of it myself - except when it rains/snows/sleets/hails.

    Have a great week Mel,


  11. I hope all your computer mojo is soon restored. Love these looks and yes, mountains of pearls cure nearly everything. Thanks for linking up, you goddess you, xox


  12. Love you, Melanie, I laughed and smiled all the way through this post. Sorry your hard drive family packed it in but you've achieved creative brilliance nevertheless. xx

  13. Not much to add , I seem to agree with everyone, your imagination knows no bounds.Hope your computer issues are soon sorted and your cleverness can continue.I too read about Jessica , so very sad for them. xx

  14. Oh, how you suffer for your art! Not as much as poor Jessica - how horrible, she must be devastated. Maybe a new leaf will take both you and her to new, amazing realms you wouldn't have otherwise reached. I hope so.

    So much food for thought in your post. One, I love that you take your heirloom teacup with you. Two, my eyelids stick together when I first get up in the morning - they didn't do that when I still had hormones coursing through my veins. Three, shiny legs that go on forever - with pearls - squeee!!!! Three (or four), your attempt at clashing reminds me of Edina of Ab Fab and her "It's La Croix, darling." Four (or six), Nature is lovely until it is gross. And whatever number is next, I love those green gloves!

    Whew, now if you made it through my comment, congratulations to you!!!

  15. Usually you are in another dimension, a much more creative domain. But with the dress and pearls you were in my territory.. and being better haha. No envy here.
    That shot with you stretched out on that autumn bench is priceless. How skillful to have made that shot. You describe it as extremely difficult.
    The Gucci outfit could also have been the Miu Miu 2017 collection. I don't think you can come up with anything clashing anymore without being totally fashionable. Just your luck.
    Then you plaid/not plaid undone outfit. How come you put things on which are too big, farked etc. and then looking freaking bloody hot in it? How do you do it? You know you have talent don't you? No you don't. You doubt yourself. Don't anymore.
    As for Jessica Cangiano.. never heard of her, but it is a sad thing that happened. And as she is a friend of yours, she is a friend of mine and I helped a little.

  16. I was so sorry to read about the fire on Jessica's Instagram. I can't imagine how devastating something like that would be, especially losing one of their pets too.

    I'm suffering from post-New York letdown (and exhaustion) so I will just say that if you ever tire of the overalls/plaid jacket combo, I'll fly out there and pick it up.

    The "pinching your skin" thing is a good way to tell if you're dehydrated - if you pinch the skin on the back of your hand and it stays that way for several seconds you're not drinking enough water. You're welcome.

  17. The black and white photo was so wonderful. The sparkly tights were particularly cool looking and THEN, just like when Dorothy opened the door of her blown away house,there you were risking your skinny limbs to a nasty sliver, and yet your tea cup remained securely in hand. HOW THE HELL DO YOU DO THAT ?!?
    Clearly your computer problems didn't put even the tiniest dent in your endless creativity.
    The pattern mix was another cup of tea entirely but I loved it at the top of the stairs. Your legs looked 82 feet long.
    The last outfit of plaid and not plaid was a fall back into seasonal comfort. I always like to see a bit of farked fashion in your posts. Did I catch a reference to a Canadian tuxedo there? (Such a snarky view of the classic tartan.)
    I'm so sorry for your blogger/friend. A loss to a fire is very sad and so difficult to rebound from. I'm sure she will be very grateful for your efforts to help.

  18. You remind me of my grandson, who after being stung multiple times by angry bees on the previous day, was asked by his father, "Now what will you do when you see a bee?"... thinking the logical answer is to run away...and Sol said, "WHACK 'EM!!!!!!"

  19. Real value for money with this mega post Melanie. My fave has to be that chic black dress and those fabulous tights - such a lot of elegance against the odds of those external oddities and circumstances. Wicked x

  20. oh my, I am overloaded with Melanie Fabtabulousness without pause. She has not lost her hard drive doohickey, that's for sure. She needs no sticking hard drive when she has non-stop, unlimited Melanie drive forever, bay-bee.

  21. Those glittery tights make me want to run out and buy a pair! And I would never wear them, but you make me feel like I NEEDS to have a pair anyway!

    Tragic about Jessica and Tony, wasn't it? So sad. :(

  22. Three of my most favorite outfits all in one post. <3 You look so divine in those first couple of photos. The shimmer tights are spectacular. Also, can I just say that my legs will probably never look that good in tights. Wow!

    You're a master at mixing colors and prints! I'm so in love with that last look, in particular. I could never pull it off, but I *want* to. Haha. It's truly one-of-a-kind!

    - Anna

  23. I am so sorry to hear of your computer problems, but nothing keeps a style icon down. Wonderful photos and spectacular ensembles, as always. The pearls, the teacup, the Gucci, everything!

    I'm very sad and overwhelmed to hear about Jessica and Tony. A huge tragedy! Off to donate!

  24. Super blog and your presenting style about the Italian made leather bags that's are very appreciated good work.
    Italian made leather bags

  25. coolness in pearls and sparkly tights!, guccinesque fabulousness in striped pants and floral jacket!!, lovely plaid-not plaid rockin' attitude and you even went back in nature for a last pic!!
    wish you luck fighting against inherent computer evil!


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