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about me



Hi. I'm Melanie Kobayashi. Usually just Mel. I love dressing up, down, even sideways on occasion. Wearing what I love not only makes me feel good, but my clothes are portals to other personalities, places, and eras - a CEO in New York one day, a Hollywood silent film actor the next, and a socialite in Monaco the next. A spangle, a swath of leather, a vintage gown or even a men's jacket with an open imagination and attitude is all it takes.

But my style is not just personal. Sometimes it can be an exhilarating jumping-off point to critique or champion our times as well. As a creator and oft-called style provocateur, especially in the context of being a woman over 50 (the wildhood or wisecracker years), the questions are always there: Who am I? Who do others expect me to be. And why?

I echo Virginia Woolf:
There is much to support the view that it is clothes that wear us, and not we, them; we may make them take the mould of arm or breast, but they mould our hearts, our brains, our tongues to their liking.
On Bag and a Beret I show you how I play between the lines with style, drawing heavily on humour and art, especially little sketches of my alter ego, Turniphead. Most of my clothing is from thrift shops. Unless otherwise noted, I take all my own photos with a tripod and remote control, and I film and edit my own videos, unless it's a project with friends.

At 55, I debuted as a model/actor and was featured in global and national campaigns for major clothing brands. For several years I have been in prominent online and print media where I'm listed as a top over-50 personality to watch. And I watch right back!

This is all a fascinating turn of events. I am excited by the doors that are opening for me and all women over 40. I welcome you into my world and thank you for letting me into yours. And I hope that if you're looking for a little more oomph in life, this meeting place and my Instagram and YouTube channel will inspire you to take a few plunges with me. Remember: Don't hold your breath. Just breathe. Breathe it ALL in. And let go. Be a rock star!!

Above is another alter ego, Miz Bagg. 
She directed the production of a fashion spoof
e-zine, VOGOFF, which I put together with 
contributions from friends.

I live in Vancouver, Canada, with my partner, O, who makes meditation art, which you can see here. We are the original Control and Chaos couple.

If you would like to collaborate, email me at actlikeadiva at gmail dot com.

Thanks for visiting!


(You can still view my previous bios HERE to see how my blog life has morphed since I started started Bag and a Beret in 2012.)


  1. Melanie I so enjoy your is my artistic fix to visit...and then you throw fashion in the mix...the two together...bliss.

  2. Tamera, such kind words from a fashion maven. Your spreads are amazing. Thank you for that kind remark!

  3. Hi Melanie! I am happy to discover your blog by chance! It's really inspiring and beautifully written.

  4. Lady. You Rock. Can't wait to read more.

  5. Just found your blog today! Love your photos!!

  6. Found your blog today and Love it! Adore the idea of the yellow skirt freak show. Will keep on following on the wonderful idea and your blog!

  7. Waking up to opportunities -- that's what I'm noticing more and more as I move along through the decades. Its the confidence of age and I'm finding it wonderfully exciting!

  8. Hello Melanie, I just discovered your site. I LOVE your unapologetic and fun loving attitude!!! If you ever visit Montreal - I would like to invite you for coffee. You are so INTERESTING!

  9. I would like to use some of your photos in my blog -is ot possible ? Off course, if you agree. Your stylizations are amazing, Greetings

  10. Melanie. I just happened upon your blog by chance. Rarely has anything made me laugh out loud in utter delight. Thank you for sharing your humour and style. I will certainly become a regular here!

  11. First time visitor to your site via 40plusstyle. You are a delight. Fearless and I love it. Thanks and I'll be back again.

  12. Oh, I love to see what you are up to, each time I stop by to visit your site. Please read this in an affectionate tone, as it is truly meant that way. "Honey, you are not put together right." In the southern United States, we reserve that high accolade for those who are courageous enough to expose their true selves to the world, and not hide behind either a mountain of big hair or the ubiquitous blue blazer and khaki trousers.

  13. I am stealing that! "Perfection comes in many levels of quality" hahahahahahaha! Of course I'll put your name beside it.


  14. Yes, this reflects the Melanie of 2016 - a little more wackadaisical and an possessor of CARDS.

  15. I'm not sure how your blog has eluded me for so long, but I'm oh-so-happy I stumbled upon it. #goals in every way. Kudos!


  16. This is so much fun to follow your evolution from your first "about me" post to this more recent one. You've got the chops and the style to be where you are, and it is a thing I admire greatly. Your eloquence is clearly spelled out in what you wear, how you turn a phrase, and your lively self-effacing humor that gives your blog it's sizzle!

    As I am solidly leaving my 50's, I can relate to how you grew up. I am a midwestern girl who knew at age 8 that I would live and thrive in NYC.

    I also love your quote about perfection ! TIpping my beret to you.
    Elle @

  17. Love it, love it, love it. That's me. Edgy, full of colour showing how it can be done. Keep on rocking !!


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