Friday, January 30, 2009

vince is the word

Boxing Day cashmere Vince cardigan from Holt Renfrew, approximately a billion percent off.

I opted out of the boxing day scrum this year, student-broke and still ringing with disgust/embarrassment from the two-year clothes consumption-fest that was my stay in Asia. We opted for a more understated Christmas this year, but on boxing day my mother brought home an extra treat! The first cashmere item I've ever owned; it only took a quarter of a century. It is warmer than a thousand suns and light as a cream puff. I feel like a real woman now. Bat Mitzvah by cashmere!

venus in furs

Photobucket Photobucket
Picked up this jacket for a song at Value Village ($35).

Vintage shopping is great for deals. But, you're often faced with a dearth of information, and forced to invent backstories for your new-treasured items. I don't know the material of this jacket, nor is there a hint of a brand or label. What I do know: It's of astonishing quality, and painfully perfectly fitting in its wrist-skimming glory. The lining is sturdy and in perfect condition. There's even a wee inside breast pocket, for jewels or maybe a watch fob. And best of all, it lacks the mysterious musty smell that vintage clothes usually carry.

I'm quite torn about ever wearing this. It's light as a feather and oh so soft. It's not the size of a tent. I could imagine Kate Moss stalking about the streets of London with this tossed carelessly over her shoulders.

But, sigh, it may be real fur, and I'm still waffling about the fur debate. I'm far from a vegetarian, but I'll agree that there's something especially undignified about the whole fur industry. Does or should it matter that it's vintage?

Urg. I'll put this away in the closet for a bit and keep trying it on periodically until I convince myself either way.


Tuesday, January 27, 2009

the ministry of silly walks and sweaters

My father's vintage missoni sweater.

My father is not a flashy man. He wears lots of monochromatic outfits and subdued respectable tops. I've never ever seen him sport a sweater with more than two colours on it. So, when I found this in his closet, I couldn't help but start with the good-natured jabs.

"What was it like starring on the Cosby show"
"And what exact blind flamboyant zebra did you steal this from?"
"I'm sure it was a lovely carpet but I'm not certain it really works as a sweater"

And then: "uh, can I borrow it pretty please?"

the olden days

I have one pack of polaroid 660 film left and then it's over. No more snap happy-ness and whirring noise and eager waiting to see how the light fell.

The mug shots above are from 2003-2006, capturing my last years of undergrad and then tapering off when I left the country and left old faithful (SUN 660) in Toronto. They're not particularly spontaneous- I originally started it as a project (friends/fiends) to document all of my friends but in the end it's just a small slice of my delightful pie of pals.

Monday, January 26, 2009

one dress to rule them all

This is an offshoot of an h&m dress from a few seasons ago. Many, many, fashionable girls were swanning about the internet in a version of this dress and the minute I clapped eyes on it, I knew I wanted it. I just didn't know how to get it.

At that point I was living in Shanghai. I wandered over to the recently opened downtown H&M to poke about in the racks. No luck. But this is China, I said to myself, and that is H&M. The H&M dress is likely an iteration of some catwalk conception, and if it's good enough to be interpreted by the Swedes, it is damn well good enough to lifted by designers in China.

Many months later in the scrum of the bargain Qipu shopping markets I discovered the above gem hanging in a rack of bedazzled shirts and awkward fitting pants. I inquired about the price and the boutique owner quoted $20; I nearly started hyperventilating with excitement. By that point I would have given a kidney, a gold mine, or perhaps even a small elven ring of power, to have that dress. She mistook my pause for hesitation and dropped the price to $12. I paid, folded the dress into my purse, and walked away with a goofy grin on my face, the theme from Rocky ringing in my ears.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

megan whitmarsh

The work of the magnificently talented ms. megan whitmarsh. I want it all times forever. It's a very robust imagination that dreams up funktastic embroideries of jamming Sasquatches and magical mushroom folk. Her use of colour and the sparseness of the pieces make each figure so arresting.

First found her work when stumbling around the internet, filed it away in my head as something to dig about in, promptly forgot everything, and finally rediscovered her in an old issue of Bust magazine.

ye olde ridiculous China perm

These photos were from the days of my $40 perm, which I got from my local hairstylist when I was living in Shanghai. After a series of successful $5 haircuts I decided to take the plunge and hit the rollers. I want those wavy/mildly puffy-haired days back again, but I can do without the hay-like quality of my lousy tresses. Shortly after my adventures in perm-land I ended up moving to Beijing, the land of hard water and awkwardly showering over a toilet. That mess, combined with the dry heat and occasional sandstorm, left me with crackling dehydrated hair. Thank god I sensibly moved home and started swiping my sister's bumble & bumble leave-in conditioner. Leavin' and thievin'!

Friday, January 23, 2009

happy weekend!

It's hard to muster up enthusiasm for dead-of-winter weekends. Toronto is a slush bucket and I'm so far suburban flung, my downtown friends seem more than miles away. But tonight I'm heading out to the coziest starter apartment in town to eat snacks, drink a soda pop or two, and see old great chums.

The kitchen wall, and lobster art.

fairweather non-fan

Aside from the prevailing desire for comfort above all, I only have a few fashion rules. No large logos. Little to no printed/graphic tees (though I did go through quite the slogan tee phase in high school/early university). Nothing too skimpy. The 80s, generally.

But ever so often my latent former-radio-show hosting, independent-music-store-working,indie-music-loving obnoxiousness rears its horrendous hipster head. No band T-shirts unless you can rattle off three albums and three songs off each album under 45 seconds. It's a yardstick. And it should be used to beat offenders from time to time.

I would extend that standard to other groups such as teams or organizations. And for that reason, though I am in love with the slouchy warmth of the below vintage handknit sweater I picked up from VV, the center of this relationship cannot hold. I've only ever been to one Toronto Maple Leafs game in my life. I flip away from games when they pop up on the television. The only merit that team has in my eyes is that they break my boyfriend's heart more than I do, and make me look fabulous in comparison.


Thursday, January 22, 2009

the rip van winkle of breaks

My life is a series of fits and starts, and right now I'm in a frenzy of activity and thought I'd wander back to this direction to see what's going on in this corner of the internet.


That's my fault. But school was a mess over the past few months. There were some lulls, and then I was hit with the most agonizingly protracted exam period in the world. One would think that having exams pushed back to after Christmas holidays would give us poor overtaxed grad students some relief, but we just spent our 'holidays' worrying and haphazardly studying, only to get hit with a wall of stress and sleepless nights. I'm back in a dip so I've been digging through my closet and sighing and setting aside all the little gems that either do not fit me anymore or are better off finding other homes.

Goodbye Letters

Oh, 'Jean Paul Gaultier' sample bow front dress, I hardly knew ye. In fact, never knew ye. I bought this fabulous frock in a little boutique in China. The owner kept telling me it was a 'Jean Paul Gaultier' sample, and there was indeed a label inside, but I had lived there long enough to know that that dress was as authentic as that woman's curiously blue-ish hair colour (don't worry, not trying to pass it off as JPG on ebay). You generally aren't able to try clothes on in boutiques in China, and when I got home I discovered that I could barely stuff my obnoxiously broad swimmers shoulders in the little cap sleeves. Sigh. I held onto it as long as I could- took it to the fabric market to see if I could get it altered, occasionally pulled it out of the closet and tried to shoe-horn my way back into it- but my flimsy wallet and overstuffed closet are compelling me to let it go. Some teeny-shouldered gal will get to skip off in the sunset, hands in pockets, front bow flapping gloriously in the wind.

Another sad casualty of the 'no trying on goods' policy of the markets in China. I eyeballed this awesome wool skirt and apparently forgot about my second ass-cheek in assessing this fit. Not only is it snug around the hips but it is also shockingly short. I can't handle wearing thick opaque tights for too long in the winter or my gams start to feel like sausages left out in the sun.

I'm also jettisoning this ridiculously awesome navy blue shrunken fit blazer, and choosing to do so on etsy as ebay makes my brain hurts sometimes. There really isn't anything wrong with this piece. Again, it's a bit too snug around the shoulders, but given my chlorine soaked past, it's really nothing new. The major impetus, I suppose, is that I own approximately 8 billion little boy blazers. I started wearing that vintage style many many years ago when I realized I have the upper body of a 10 year old boy- great for vintage deals, poor on self esteem. I have houndstooth jackets, tiny black tux tops, 70s style brown-velvet trimmed cream-coloured jackets. My wardrobe is the envy of the local middle school. And that has got to stop.

I'm testing out ebay and etsy concurrently to see which one I like best. I gravitate towards the clean simplicity and class of etsy, but there's something about the hardscrabble scrum of ebay that may keep me going back.