Friday, October 29, 2010

Friday Hallowe'en Madness

Well now. I am a fan of Hallowe'en and dressing up in general (check out my Alice Cooper concert-wearing outfit here, and last year's non-costume outfit for Hallowe'en here).

My Book Club meeting was last night (check out Sherylyn's Severed Foot Cheeseball recipe over at Yummyland!) and we decided to do a theme night in honour of Hallowe'en: come as a literary character. I chose the Mad Hatter from "Alice in Wonderland":
I also decided that, despite the lack of morale in my department at work lately, I would dress up for work today in the same costume. Some of these pictures I took last night and some are from this morning.

The full costume:
The coat is the only thing I've never worn on the blog. It is Noa Noa and I got in the spring (it's been too warm to wear it up to now). It was regular $375, marked down to $79.99, with an extra 30% off, so $56.00. Not bad!

Last night, I used my shiny black purse to carry my book to the meeting:
All done up. I got some strange looks on the bus on the way there!

The thing I like about my costume is that I didn't buy a single new thing for it - I had all this stuff in my wardrobe or in the house. For me, that makes it more creative and special than going out and buying a costume. Here's how I built it ('cause I know you guys like to see how it's all put together).

First, I did my stripey tights (previously seen here) and my red vintage slip (seen here):
Then I added the blouse I wore to the interview a couple of weeks ago, and my flouncy Noa Noa skirt (seen here):
I gathered the black skirt up and pinned to the red slip to show off the red more. I also scrunched my hair up with a glob of volumizing mousse.

Then I added my plaid bustier (last worn here) for a nice smooth look:
Lastly, I put on my coat, tied a long scarf-belt (from an old skirt) around my neck as a floppy bow-tie, and put my hat on. And I added the boots (last seen here with the same black skirt):
I tied a long length of ribbon across my body, and draped a measuring tape around my neck.

Here's a close-up of the upper body details:
I copied Johnny Depp's makeup from the recent movie (it's not very good, by the way, but pretty to look at). Those are my lace cuffs from my "Never Seen" series (here). I raided my knitting box for various pins with fancy heads, my seam ripper and scissors (in the breast pocket). I also had a big needle threaded through the measuring tape, which was wrapped around the brown ribbon.

Some coat details are needed! The back is embroidered in cross-stitch: As is the breast pocket:
So amazing. I love details like that. I looked at this coat for weeks before I finally bought it - when I had that "what if it's sold?" panicky feeling, I knew I had to bite the bullet and buy it.

Here's how I decorated my vintage 80s top hat:
I tied my Smoking Lily obi around it, then started pinning things. I cut out a sticky note and wrote 10/6 on it (it's the one feature I made). I've had the feathered eidelweiss pin and the bug pin for ages. You can also see that I hung needle threaders on my hoop earrings. The starburst pin is the one on my skirt.

I also pinned one of my butterflies that I got at the Victoria & Albert Museum gift shop in London on the hat (seen on another hat here), along with a couple of straight pins:
I like how the ends of the obi looked:
Mom's old kilt pin (noted in the "Never Seen" accessories post linked above).

Here's a shot of the lace cuffs and my red fingerless gloves (it's a little chilly today). The gloves looked great with this.
And the tape measure...for good measure.

I hope you have a safe and spooky Hallowe'en! Let me know if any of you posted costume pictures - I'll link to them if you like.

By the way, I won my company's Best Costume contest today! I got a $35 Visa gift card.

Coat (Noa Noa), bustier (Le Chateau, consignment), blouse (Esprit, consignment), black skirt (Noa Noa), red slip (vintage, Suzette Lingerie, consignment), tights (Hue), boots (LaTianna, consignment), top hat (vintage 80s, Le Chateau, L's boss' wife).

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Tweed and Eyelet

There's nothing particularly exciting about this outfit:
New black eyelet button-down shirt (100% cotton, my favourite Club Monaco) that I picked up in the thrift store for $14.95. My tweed skirt that Celia gave me ages ago (seen here and here).

I added a red cami under the shirt for a bit of visual interest:
My hairdryer broke this morning - it now only shoots out cold air at a very low speed. My hair is now flat, arg.

Add in the bigass shoes (last seen here):
And Grandma J's lovely necklace.

A close-up:
I love that. The beads are heavy (glass? jet?) and warm up as I wear it.

Inigo obliged by being cute:
And now I have to get into my Hallowe'en costume for Book Club! I'll be wearing it to work tomorrow as well.

What are you dressing up as for Hallowe'en?

Blouse (Club Monaco, thrifted), cami (Mexx), skirt (Mexx, gift from Celia), shoes (Qupid, consignment), necklace (vintage 50s? Grandma J).

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Olive Flapper and Yes, More Cat Pictures

Today is a bit of a different look for me - I tend to favour figure-conscious outfits that highlight my hourglass shape. However, I fell in love with this dress:
I know it looks like a big rectangle of blah, but wait! First I have to smell these flowers that L bought me:
Okay, now let's look at the dress. It's long and lean with a dropped waist (the black vinyl "belt" is sewn on and has long fringed ends). It has a high neckline and is sleeveless...yet it's made of wool and is super thick, like a nice blanket for TV-watching.

It also has a wrap-around bottom half:
Showing my navy blue full-length slip and my funky brown lace-net tights. I like the granny boot-ish Oxfords with this ensemble.

I was concerned about being chilled so I took a thin scarf to work:
But wait, there's more! Check out the lovely detail on the bottom:
With my hand underneath to show the cut-out bits. It's sewn in a dark brown. The edging is just stitched (not wrapped over) and all of the seams are totally invisible. I showed them to someone at work who sews and she was VERY impressed.

It was only $26.95 and still had the tags on it!
I couldnt' find much on the brand online, but from an image search, they seem to have been making dresses since the '70s. As this one is size 10, I am wondering if it's actually from the mid- to late-80s (since I am a size 6 in today's sizes, generally). Either way, doesn't look like it's ever been worn!

The stuff:
I've had the shoes for a while (seen here and here) - not sure how much longer I'll keep them as they rub my feet a bit.

The accessories:
Airplanes and swirly patterns. Happy!

Dress (Kenar, thrifted), tights (Silks by Phantom), shoes (Max Studio, consignment), earrings (Plum, gift from L), cuff (Catalyst Reaction Leather).

Did I mention cat pictures? Someone has been playing in boxes a lot lately:
The upside-down box with the red on it has been Inigo's favourite toy for about a month, but last night, he decide to sit inside this box...which is a smidge too small for him.

We had a bunch of friends over - we were all laughing at him:
He looks like a fuzzy gumdrop.

Later on, he just lounged about:
"My box!"

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Annie Hall-ish

I built today's outfit around this blouse that I got at the thrift store:
It's Banana Republic and was $19.99. The tag says it's "HOL 02" so it's nearly eight years old - and it still had a remnant of its original tag on it, so it's barely (if ever) worn. I gravitated to it because of the cuffs - something you can watch for when you shop thrift/consignment because they hang down lower than other long sleeves.

It also had a really nice feel to the fabric - soft, not rough or snaggy. It's machine wash and dry too. And it's really quite see-through! I was really happy that I decided to wear this floppy bow, ha!
The menswear-ish vibe reminds me, of course, of "Annie Hall" and Diane Keaton's signature style from that movie.

The vest is another workhorse item in my wardrobe - I've worn it tons of times (really, I have, it's amazing how many). I've only worn the skirt once, so about time I dragged it out again! It's a really thick ultra-suede.

The stuff:
I wore the boots a few times last winter (here, last Christmas' capsule wardrobe, and originally here). The scarf is actually the belt from one of my skirts.

A close-up of the bling:
Another pair of L's cufflinks - these ones are stamped "Gilt." I think L's mom found those ones.

Look who decided to hang out:
Kitty in a box!

Vest (Vero Moda), blouse (Banana Republic, thrifted), skirt (Liz Claiborne, thrifted), boots (Indigo by Clarke's, consignment), earrings (Plum), cufflinks (vintage 50s).

Monday, October 25, 2010

Anything But Casual Monday (More Interviews)

So, today was the 4th - and as it turned out, also the 5th - interview at the company I want to work for (last discussed here). In keeping with the last interview outfit, I also kept this one pretty low-key: My grandmother's necklace is the only bling (I'm wearing crystal stud earrings), and I kept the colour palette in a nice autumn mix.

Edit: this skirt is a real workhorse in my wardrobe. Last seen here, here, here, here and oh, too many more times before that. I wear it about 5-6 times a year.

I really like how this jacket fits:
Lock and load!

The interviews went well, I think. Hours, when I can start and salary were briefly discussed, so this seems promising. After a total of five interviews, with 9 people, I sure hope so! Fingers crossed!

The shoe business: And my pretty necklace.

Jacket (RW & Co., consignment), sweater (Jacob, consignment), skirt (consignment), shoes (Guess), necklace (vintage '50s, Grandma J's, stamped "Lisner," info about it here).

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Weekend Wear and Two Book Blurbs

We had a nice quiet weekend - I only went out to Weight Watchers, lunch and a brief foray into one of my favourite thrift stores (new-to-me outfits coming this week!). I like picking a dress for WW - they're nice and light!
I last wore this dress here - but the tights are the scene-stealer for sure.

It was a little chilly in the morning, so I loaded up with my beret, fingerless gloves and cashmere scarf, as well as my leather jacket:
I didn't need the beret or gloves in the afternoon at all.

Dress (Gap, consignment), tights (Trasparenze), boots (Aldo, consignment), jacket (online auction), scarf (Club Monaco), beret (Jacob, consignment), gloves (Parkhurst).

I finished a couple of books this week: "How to Be a Budget Fashionista" by Kathryn Finney, and "Going Solo" by Roald Dahl.
"How to Be a Budget Fashionista"
Ruth gave me this book for my birthday, with a note inside: "Read it, then write your own, Sheila-style!" I have to say...I could do better.

Stats: 218 pages. Started around October 10th, finished early last week.

Blurb: This how-to guide seems to be intended for fashion lovers who have no idea how to shop, don't know their own style and are completely clueless when it comes to fashion. I feel like it missed out on its real target audience: women who already know all that stuff, but who now want to be fashionistas on a budget. Crucial difference there.

I already know my style (I don't need pointers on how a white blouse and an LBD are essential to any woman's wardrobe) and are there really that many women out there who don't know a bargain when they see one? Do they really need tips like "Shop the sale racks" and "The importance of undergarments"? I don't.

What I would have liked to have read about is more along the lines of "How to find the treasure in a pile of junk at the thrift store" or "How to know when consignment items are overpriced" or even "How to negotiate better deals from stores." There are only 5 pages dedicated to second-hand shopping!

This book is so light it practically floats, and there's a lot of filler like charts (this column is expensive vs. this column is cheap) and little somewhat amusing anecdotes that don't really relate to shopping on a budget. Even the "case studies" are thin - someone looking for ideas on what to wear to a high school reunion is told to wear an LBD and pumps. Um, yeah.

"Going Solo"
Most people know Roald Dahl's children's books ("Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" and "James and the Giant Peach", for example), but he was also an amazing writer of adult fiction ("My Uncle Oswald" is one of the funniest, raunchiest novels I've ever read). He also wrote several collections of short stories, which have just been reissued - they are wonderful and well worth looking for. Dahl brings his slightly gruesome and comic touch to everything he writes, and I've collected nearly all of his books over the years.

Stats: 210 pages. Started and finished within the last 2 weeks (early to mid-October).

Blurb: "Going Solo" is the sequel to "Boy" - they are the two autobiographies of Dahl. "Boy" covers his childhood and "Going Solo" covers his experience living and working in Africa before learning to be a pilot and fighting in WWII. His tales are absolutely amazing and are not at all tedious or boring - he is an expert at seeing what is the most interesting in a story and at evoking that experience for the reader. I'm not usually a huge fan of books about war, but this one is superb. Loved it and devoured it quickly.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Casual Friday: Purple Spirit Support

I missed the memo on "Spirit Day" during which participants wear purple to show their support of LGBT (edited: thanks, Ralph!) people and to bring attention to the anti-bullying message. I was bullied as a kid (you can get a glimpse of it in my speech "Found on the Ferry" that I wrote here), and I can't imagine how much more awful it could have been if I was gay or transgendered. My heart goes out to those folks.

Anyway, I hope I'm making up for it today:
My purple shirt and my purple shoes (I actually have two pairs of purple shoes to choose from!), and hey, look, I'm in jeans! A rare occurence, although I wear them around the house nearly 100% of the time.

Sorry the pictures are dark - it was dark out this morning when I took them.
Shoes last seen here. Also worn here, here, here, here and here. Wow, I didn't think I had worn them that much!

The stuff:
My new bracelet from L - love all the stones! Turquoise, quartz, amethyst, tiger-eye - it's handmade silver from India, and I love it. I also put on my amethyst jewelry from the 80s: my earrings, ring and the crystal.

The shoes:
It may be time for these shoes to say good-bye to my closet - I don't really wear them much anymore.

Have a great weekend, everyone!

Shirt (H&M, thrifted), vest (Esprit), jeans (Seven7, gift from Caro), shoes (Bronx), bracelet (gift from L), earrings/ring/crystal (80s, gifts from Mom & Dad), turquoise ring (Plum).

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Cranes, Lack of Purple and a Third Interview

Note: edited this post to correct it - it's cranes on the sweater, not storks! Thanks, Steph!

I really wish there was more coordination about these "Wearing of Purple" days and such. I hate being the last to the party - so I will be wearing my purple tomorrow in support of LGBT folks.

Anyway, moving along, all sort of good vibes have been thrown my way lately, and I appreciate it so much. Thank you to you the wonderful readers, co-bloggers, Style Nation, what-have-you, and my dear friends, for all your suport and encouragement - I got a third interview!

I also think a contributing factor that pushed the vibes over the edge was this ace interview-ish outfit I wore today:
Seriously, I wish I could wear this exact outfit to an interview, but I'm sure I can find something else for my interview on Monday - it's not like I have a paucity of clothing, hee hee, oh no.

It's the same company that I interviewed with last week and that had the job fair - however, I didn't get either of the two jobs I applied for.

But they called me today, said they had a little meeting about me and think I would be great in another job, and can I come in for an interview on Monday for that. First, I ascertained that no, I would not have to do another typing test (seriously, dude, I've worked in admin for a decade, I can type), and secondly, I said, "All these interviews - you know, you're going to have to hire me."

'Cause I'm saucy like that. And I really want to work for this company.
I'm showing off the cranes on my cardigan. How much do I love patterns that go all the way around?? This cardi also has detail on the sleeve cuffs. So sweet. Last worn here (same cami underneath), here, and here.

The stuff:The green cami picks up the green in the embroidery, and the shoes go with the itty-bitty red on the crane's head.

Cardigan (Lucky Brand, consignment), cami (Smart Set), skirt (Nygard, consignment), shoes (Feet First, thrifted), cuff (St. Paul's Cathedral gift shop).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Sedate in a Sweater Dress

I went shopping last week after work with Bo, who had a gala event to go to and needed a dress. As I scoured the dress rail at Dots for a dress for her, I spotted this blood red beauty:
I've been looking for a non-turtleneck, non-black, non-grey (bad colour near my face) sweater dress for about 3 months. I can't do cowl necks, and I don't like my body to resemble a fuzzy jelly bean when I wear the dress, so it had to have some shape. I found a beauty in a thrift store, but it had a hole in the bottom of it, so no.

This dress was about $45. It is a wool blend and was nicely warm to wear all day - and no little furr-balls under the arms/in the boobular region, which is great.

The tights are also new - they're heathered grey with a diamond pattern. I'll take a close-up next time I wear them.

I like wearing a sweater dress over a button-down, thusly:
And also thusly, with my indigo sweater dress (shiny boot warning!). I love having French cuffs on my shirt - gives me an opportunity to raid L's cufflink collection.

The stuff:
Proof of my Thrift Goddess status - Towne Shoes' house brand ain't cheap. This is my first time wearing tights with these - I'm going to have to put some heel grabbers in. I kept stepping out of them.

A close-up of the cuff business:
That colour's a bit pink - it's more a blood red.

Cuff detail:
They're stamped! Cool.
It says "Hickock" then "U.S.A." - the stamps are set differently on each one. I'd guess late '50s, early '60s.

Dress (Eric Alexandre), shirt (Club Monaco, consignment), belt (The Gap), tights (Miss Sixty), shoes (Towne Shoes, thrifted), cufflinks (thrifted, vintage), earrings (Aldo Accessories).