Wednesday, February 3, 2016

A Thank You...With Demented Chicken Shirt and Scuba Skirt!

Friends, readers, lurkers, followers, viewers...I am grateful (and a little awed) at your response to yesterday's post. Thank you, from the bottom of my slightly needy heart for your very, very kind words and thoughts. 
In your face, winter!
As a "reward" I present to you my chicken shirt and my scuba skirt. Colours, textures and pattern!

  • Top - Homnage, consignment; last worn here in October 2015 for Thanksgiving
  • Skirt - Milano, thrifted; purchased here on the weekend for $14.99
  • Shoes - Big Presence Desmond, Fluevog; last seen here in January with a colourful bomber
I love this crazy top! 
I truly do appreciate that so many of you took a moment to drop me a note - I had no idea that you were all out there (well, I knew about some of you, but not all of you). I'm also honoured to inspire any of you; live is short, so get as much colour and style in there as you can!

And now, I'm going to note some questions and musings that came up from your comments. I love that, by the way - if you ever want me to ramble on about a topic or if you have questions, go ahead and ask.

1. Reader Linda mused about the classic "fit and flare" silhouette (in the first outfit of this post): Do people respond to it so strongly on her, or because they like the shape? Is it because it's a shape that suits her pear-shaped figure? As a classically feminine shape, is it making her less powerful, in a way? She is in a leadership position at her job and is avoiding this shape because of these concerns.

Here are my own thoughts - I'm sure we'd all love to hear yours!

I think we're conditioned but also hard-wired to love an hourglass shape on women. It's the Venus of Willendorf, it's the 50s shape of clothing, it's about as feminine as you can get. It emphasizes the waist and the breasts and implies big ol' "birthing hips" (as one of my friends used to say), so it's about as female as you can get. That's the hard-wiring part of it.

I also think that we're bombarded pretty much from birth with images of exaggerated hourglass silhouettes on female figures. From Barbie to "Mad Men" that shape is everywhere. We grow up envisioning that as the "right" female shape, even when there are obviously so many other shapes and varieties out there.

For Linda, she plans to avoid that silhouette in her work clothing in order to be taken seriously. I tend to agree with her; while it certainly is possible to maintain one's femininity and still look powerful, but it's hard to do it in a pouffy skirt. My own job allows me a wide freedom in my personal expression (through my clothes, hair and tattoos), which I love. I'm an artsy person and I would feel stifled in classic women's business wear all the time, although I do dabble in it from time to time.

I notice that when people first meet me, they often do not expect me to be smart, well-read or efficient, and I'm sure that's because of how I dress sometimes. If I wanted to "climb the corporate ladder" I'd definitely dress differently, and being more aware of the reactions one gets while wearing the fit and flare shape.

I work with a Director in my company, a lovely woman in her 40, who is in a power position, and she always looks amazing. She does wear mostly black, white and grey, with pops of red and cobalt blue, and she mostly wears pencil skirts. When she does wear a full skirt (rare), it's one that is well below the knee, and she always wears a classic pointy-toe pump and a fitted jacket. It works for her and looks very professional. She has my vote for the classiest woman in the office.

However, Linda, please don't be afraid to express your fun side on your personal time. Look for the fit and flare in your casual or weekend wear - and definitely try it in a party dress. Bask in the compliments you receive!
I loved wearing this skirt and made everyone feel it - it's like a scuba suit!
2. Reader Laurie wonders what I do for a living, and what field my work is in.

I work for a really big IT company, as the Administrative Assistant (aka the Receptionist), but I'm way more than that. I'm also Facilities, a little bit of Finance, a bit of HR, a bit of Security. I'm also on the Social Committee and the Health Committee, I write the monthly newsletter for my province's offices, and all communications on our company "Facebook" for things happening in the office. I'm also the decorator, the go-to person, the repairer of the printers, hanger of pictures, the taker of pictures, keeper of swag, the keyholder, the knower of everyone's name, general sunshine girl, and the VP of Awesome. I report to the VP of our province directly, and he pretty much lets me run the place. I've been doing this for 5 years, as of March.

I look after two offices in my city - it's a very physical job, which is why I'm really careful with my health (keeping my weight down, staying fit) so that I don't hurt myself.

I also work as a leader for Weight Watchers - I won an award a few years ago (here in 2013) - and lead one meeting a week.

Both of my jobs are very outward-facing and service-oriented - I am really good at both of them (yah, I'm so full of myself), but they are emotionally exhausting. I often have nothing left by the time I get home, and can get snappy with L or completely withdraw. I'm an introvert who's learned to be extroverted, and it's something that I struggle with: how to take care of my mental health and make sure I recharge and take real time for myself. I tend to overwork, over-organize, over-volunteer and just take care of things too much, so this is something I'm working on. It's why my posts are often very brief: I just want to slam them out and then relax. I need a lot of chill time.

Well, there you have it! Respond (or not, but wouldn't that be awkward after we've all shared, ha) as you will.

The stuff:
I got the thumbs up approval from two eighteen-year-old young ladies today. They loved my hair (yay for purple, possibly my favourite colour hair I've ever had), the outfit/clothes and I put the soles of my Fluevogs together to make a heart from the heels. Aw! I was briefly cool.

  • Bangle - vintage expo, $4.00
  • Earrings - gift from Simar

It was so windy walking home that I had to take these jangly-dangly earrings off and stuff them in my coat pocket.

And now, I'm off to do a little self-care and hole up in the bedroom and read with a warm kitty against me while L has guys over for role-playing (Lovecraftian horror!). Again, I'm humbled by the outpouring of supportive and wonderful comments after yesterday's post - thank you. I



  1. I can hardly express how honored I feel that so much of this post addressed my comment on fit and flare dressing! I so appreciate your perspective. It was good to be reminded of all those influences and perceptions. My style evolution is still a WIP. My leadership position is relative as I work in a very collaborative environment, and though I have tons of responsibility as faculty chair, I have little actual authority over my teacher colleagues! Thus my need some days to not be as arty as when I was in the classroom.

    But enough about me-- I love this colorful outfit. That skirt is awesome. I thought it looked col on the hanger but it's even better on you!

  2. First, love your outfit! The mix of textures and colours is just fantastic on you.

    Second, I'm glad you got a little pick-me up from the responses to your post. Just like you encourage us to leave questions and comments, feel free to ask for input like that yourself whenever you need. You're always so good at creating a sense of community rather than it being just a one-way street :)

    And thirdly, workplace dressing is a tricky one! I remember meeting a friend for lunch in the city one day. He asked if I'd spent the day at uni and I responded that no, I'd been in the office...and he just gave me that look....haha. Then when I was called into another office in the city later that day I got that same look from a PA....I started to dress a lot smarter after that, and it was funny how my relationship with that PA changed. I'd love to say it was because I still solved the problem while wearing jeans and looking like a student, but I think it's more to do with the fact that the next time they had a problem I showed up in a wrap dress and heels....long way to say I think it's a lot of trial and error and just finding what you're comfortable with in the end and that works for your job/organisation.

  3. You're entirely right about the appeal of styles that emphasize natural feminine beauty -- and the separate, vexing question of getting respect in a male-dominated workplace that devalues femininity. As always, your perception of complex subjects is clear and sound.

  4. I love to feel special by remembering the say you bought the fuzzy sweater and stuck it in your backpack! Then off you went, and we all miss you. What you wrote about introverts learning to be extroverts - ten thousand thumbs up for that. We can do it, but it depletes or energy, and we need to just pet the cat for an hour. xox


  5. This is one of my favorite outfits you've ever created. The colors of the skirt and shoes are tamed by the sweater, and yet all three outfit elements are gorgeous showpieces. It's a fabulous creation! No wonder you were accosted by admiring throngs. I wonder what outerwear you chose? Your red leather coat? A shorter leather jacket?

  6. Hey! Thanks for dropping in. I confess that my blog evolved to be more of a general thrift blog & not so much fashion. (In comparison to you, I am a wall-flower, anyway!) I NEVER look at my stats - truly. I blog for self-expression. So, I have only very lately caught on that bloggers are losing followers. I'm going to be sure you're in my sidebar so that I don't miss a post from you. I really DO love your creativity and fascinating life! It's quite inspiring. Who knows? One of these days, I might pay more attention to my wardrobe. Right now, it's very, VERY basic and frankly, uninteresting :)

  7. Hmm, I see when I tried replying from my phone last night just before bedtime, my tired eyes missed some spelling.

    Anyway, I did have a few more things to add. The big one is that when you describe your work, Sheila, it sounds extremely important to your company. I think that administrative stars like you are the glue that holds organizations and businesses together. I took a year off of my work in education in 1999-2000, and found that running an office was way more intense than I ever imagined. Kudos to you--and I am so glad that you get to be creative in your self-expression in that company!

    Second. . .As a fellow WW person (lost 30 pounds 9 years ago) sometimes one has interesting experiences. Just this week a fellow life-time member made a comment to me about my big hips. Honestly they are really only big in proportion to my little waist. (I wear a size 8 on the bottom, generally.) I am still a little grumpy about that. I wish I didn't let that sort of thing affect me so. I am strong and athletic and am happy in my body. And I know how to dress in ways that I like.

    Today I am wearing a loose, light sweater over a pencil skirt--both items I designed and knit. I ended up with another light cardigan on top of the pullover because it is a bit below freezing here this morning. That cardigan is shaped to cinch at the waist, which looks nice. I have on tall boots and I think it is all good!

    Thanks again for your wonderful inspiration and support, Sheila!

  8. Hi there, just read yesterday's bog, I too never comment but read every day and absolutely love it. You inspire me to be myself no matter what ( although as a 52 year old with less than a good figure I do find myself with less confidence than I wish I had). I just wish we had as many thrift stores this side of the pond as you guys seem to have. But I do love to sew so try to make clothes that are different and make me feel good. X

  9. I didn't comment yesterday but I wanted to say I look forward to each entry you write! You have inspired me to think outside of the box and try clothing styles, colors, textures that I may have admired but thought, "that's not me". If I love it I should wear it!

    Thank you again for sharing!!

    love from Texas,

  10. Love your blog and your outfits! I rarely have anything else to say, but will try to remember to say that more frequently.

  11. Hi Sheila,

    Thanks for the background on your job. It sounds to me like you have a position that not only allows you the variety and creativity of how you dress, but also variety and creativity in how you carry out your position. To me that's the best type of job, because you are able to define it (to an extent) and there is enough going on to keep you from finding it dull!

    On the fashion front, I would so do a closet swap with you if ever we were in the same neighborhood and you were looking to pass on clothes for a trade! The occasional times I take pictures of me in favored outfits and post them on my blog, I think of you before posing. My early pictures were stair pictures (you always rock it on your steps!) but the lighting is never right for the time of day so now I've found a spot that works for looking glamorously (well, at least not klutzy!) relaxed with nice lighting and a pleasing background.

    With cheers and appreciation for helping to bring back the joy of dressing,

  12. I really appreciate that your blog hasn't gone the way of featuring products/clothes, that a company sent you for free, so that you would pimp 'em. That is all too common and soooo boring because you see similar posts by numerous bloggers. You and one other Canadian are my favorites because y'all thrift, even though your styles aren't similar. You both have a good eye for quality. Lots of winter stuff I don't wear as a Gulf Coast Texan, but that's MY problem ;)

    You aren't "cultivating an image" for social media. That's like finding a diamond ring for 50 cents. One in a million.

    Your sweater looks super cozy, but I'd die in it. That skirt and those shoes are fantastic. My favorite color is orange and I love it with raspberry/pink colors! I have a friend that nearly clutches her pearls when I say that, but it's a warm and happy color for me...and matches my giant orange dog.

  13. Yay on the scuba skirt !
    and I loved reading about what you do, while I had an idea, OMG I cannot imagine how you pull it off... and manage to look good at the same time...hugs.

  14. Sheila,

    I save reading your posts until Sunday morning, when living is the old Lionel Ritchie song....yep, I am your contemporary....teen in the 80's, woot! Big hair and acid wash! Oopps.get out of the way-back-machine and back to my comment...anyway, I really look forward to seeing your fun clothes and the way you put them together...and your shoes...oh..they make me swoon!

    "Spending" some time with you is something I look forward to and appreciate that you put yourself out there. Also like you, I am an introvert who has learned to be an extrovert (I am the Story Time lady atmy local library and do some volunteer work), am doing weight watchers with hopes to be a leader once i get to goal, and need my "alone time" to recharge, OH AND DID I MENTION, I LOVE CATS?! I've got two, so seeing your photos of Vizzini, pronounced like Bikini (thanks for that explanation) makes it even more fun to read your blog because it's nice to know there are other folks who are like me, especially they are wicked lucky enough to live in such a gorgeous, artsy place as Victoria, even the name is pretty!

    All that to say thanks for doing what you have done the last 8 years and I for one hope you continue to do it for at least 8 more! Go Panthers (I will be rooting along with you for your team since my Pats lost to Denver...ugh...hate those Broncos, but kinda like Payton (?).....and they are cats, and cats are great!)

  15. Another great outfit. Lovely structures, colour and fit. I would love to have every piece. But they would probably not look as good on me though. I am going to read yesterday's post now as I am curious. And your posts are hardly ever brief my dear. More like elaborate.
    Love the orange shoes. And I was surprised to read that you are an introvert. Would never have thought that.

  16. I have often wondered what you do for a living, and your job sounds somewhat similar to mine in that I am a Program Assistant, but that also includes photocopier troubleshooting, front desk reception, resident photographer, etc. I consider myself to be an introvert who has learned to be an extrovert too, and I really need my time alone at home to recharge my batteries after a day of constant people contact. Some people at work may think I'm anti-social because I don't partipate in many group activities, but spending my lunch hour with a whole lot of people I don't know isn't my idea of a good time.

  17. Am completely loving today's outfit. Top is fab, skirt has great colours and pattern mix, and orange shoes, well what's not to love?

    I'm delighted that you've had an avalanche of positive comments. You deserve all of this lovely feedback. Thanks too for giving us an insight into your life, job and self. Not easy for an introvert I'm sure. We all know and love you bit more now Sheila x
    Anna's Island Style


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