Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Olive the Inspiration, and My Aunt Ann

Today was better than yesterday, and I'm feeling better too. I even felt great in my outfit today. So many wins! 
 Wearing this lovely blazer, probably for the last time this season, and sneaking in a wearing of these fabulously slinky new-to-me harem pants.


  • Jacket - Julie Haus, thrifted; last worn here (3rd outfit) for a shopping expedition in October 2018
  • Sweater (underneath) - Eileen Fisher, thrifted; last seen here (2nd outfit) in April 2018 for brunch and shopping
  • Trousers - Lady Dutch, thrifted; purchased here for $6.95
  • Shoes - Tod's, thrifted; last worn here in November 2018 with double greens and snakes
  • Coat (below) - Zara, gift from Dominique; last seen here in February


I have a thing for blazers with asymmetrical lapels - this is now my third one!
 I loved all the olive tones (olive the tones? ha, I kill me!) in this outfit, and it garnered rave reviews from my coworkers.

Emily said it reminded her of the Downton Abbey silhouette, very up-and-down, no waist.
 The trousers were lovely to wear - note the contrast "stripe" of reversed fabric down the sides - but I had to remember to pull the drawstring waist tight or they slouched too far down.

Here's the olive sweater I had underneath. I had not expected to take my blazer off at all, but an office supply order came in (lots of heavy lifting and unpacking of boxes), and I got quite glowy.
 But I resisted. Blazer stayed on. It's all about the outfit.

"Is this week over?" face. I'm tired. I want a weekend.
"And I want to go in the hall. We both have dreams." 
 This slouchy pose captures the outfit best, as I find looking at the static poses that I don't like the look of it as much as I did when I was wearing it. Bodies look better in motion, and pictures can lie!

Outerwear - it's still frigid out there, but we had a bit of rain today! Never thought I'd be excited about rain, but this dry cold is doing a number on my skin. I need damp!
 I liked how the baby blue of the coat worked with the olives and browns.


  • Fur scarf - thrifted
  • Leather/cashmere gloves - Club Monaco, consignment


The stuff:
I anticipated a quieter day than what I had, and my feet are pretty tired now. Although these are all about the hidden platform, that is still 6" overall. I enjoy standing eye to eye with L in these. Ooh, look at me, I'm 5'10"! I'm so tall!

Golden bling: 
Pieces that I liked.


  • Necklace - c. 1920s, vintage, gift from L
  • Bracelet - thrifted
  • Ring - c. 1996
  • Earrings - Plum


So, my Aunt Ann. My workplace is celebrating International Women's Day on Friday, and we invited people to send in little stories about women who've inspired them. Well, we haven't had any submissions so far, so I volunteered to write up a blurb and send it out to everyone to get them to participate. I wrote this in about half an hour, took a deep breath and sent it out to our 300+ employees in town. Yikes, putting some personal stuff out there...

I called my mom when I got home to a) explain that while she is also inspiring, I wrote this about Aunt Ann because I have never written anything about Aunt Ann before, and b) to not tell me all the nitpicky things I got wrong. I took some poetic licence, so, Mom and Aunt Lois (I know you're out there), I know some of this is not 100% accurate. It was more about getting the "feel" right.

And yes, now that I think of it, my Aunt Ann looked very much like Vix, if Vix had been from Florida and had a penchant for miniskirts and cigarettes.


My Dad’s family is from Saskatchewan, and his father had five brothers and one sister: Ann. Dad would tell my brother and I stories about his uncles, but all I ever heard about Ann was, “She was a little different. Not a Prairie girl. She was something.” Dad could never quite articulate what “something” meant, but when I met Ann at a family reunion in Tisdale, SK, in 1982, I understood.

Ann had married and moved to Florida, pretty much leaving the rest of the family in Canada. She and her husband rarely visited, so for her to come to rinky-dink Tisdale to see and meet our clan, it was a Big Deal. Aunts and uncles whispered, “Ann’s coming!” with great excitement. Finally, she arrived…and our mouths dropped open.

She must have been in her 60s, but to my 14-year-old eyes, she was ageless. She was tanned, her sleek black hair drawn back in a tight bun, with perfectly done make-up and matching candy-pink lipstick and nail polish. She wore a mini-dress and tall platform sandals, and giant sunglasses. In rural Saskatchewan, she was a towering vibrant flamingo among brown ducks. I was hugely intimidated, but she fascinated me – who was this creature? Finally, my Mom pushed me up to her, and she took my hand.

”DARLING!” she drawled, “I’m your Aunt Ann!”

I was far too shy to talk to her, but I watched her throughout the reunion, this glamourous woman who confidently stood out from the rest of the family. Whenever she saw me she would raise one eyebrow, then give me a wink. One day I was wearing a ruffled shirt, and she complimented me. “What a FABULOUS blouse, Sheila! I’m so glad someone in this family has some style!” I blushed bright red, but I was so pleased that she had noticed. She made me feel so special, and her words stayed with me.

I never saw her again. She went back to her life in Florida, and died many years later, never knowing how much she inspired me to be myself, to develop my style, and not be afraid to stand out. Now, I take great delight in showing up at family events in a flamboyant outfit for my nieces and nephew to admire. “DARLING! It’s Auntie Sheila!”


28 comments:

  1. Shiela, your story about your aunt is soooo sweet. I'm sure your nieces and nephews view you in the same, fabulous way! X

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    1. Thanks so much, Jess - yup, they do see me like that!

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  2. Which I meant, about your Aunt Ann. The outfit is super cool, and don't worry, I could tell re: the posed pics vs. real life.

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  3. Wow! What an inspiring anecdote. Reminds me of the adage that "when the student is ready, the teacher will appear." Clearly, Ann's panache influenced you in a positive direction. As, whether you know it or not, your brio and style influence others.

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    1. Aw, thank you, Ally. It makes you think about how you can inspire others, even when you're not aware of it.

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  4. Glad you had a better day! So did I! That asymmetrical blazer is really extraordinary. I've only just noticed the little zip in the back. I wouldn't last long in those shoes, though. No wonder your feet were tired! I loved your story about your Aunt Ann. Your writing is excellent, Sheila! She must have been amazing to have had such a lasting influence on you. You go, Aunt Sheila! xxx

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    1. Oh, I'm glad to hear that, Ann! I love the blazer - it's a stunning piece. The shoes were nothing compared to today's.

      Thank you so much, and I appreciate your kind words. I can still picture her so vividly.

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  5. Oh what a beautiful story about your auntie Ann Sheila! :) I loved it. My mum is impeccably stylish but in a very organised way, for want of a better term. She doesn't wear makeup, perfume is for special occasions, and her wardrobe is made up of nice tops and skirts / jeans. My aunt was the one that introduced me to makeup, did my hair for my formal (prom). Aunts have such a special place in our hearts! I'm still grateful to my aunt for her makeup advice, and occasional talk about handbags. Although my uncle doesn't like when I talk bags with her, haha! It's a running joke as he doesn't want her to get as into bags as I am ;)

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    1. Thank you, Mica! Aunts are the best - my Aunt Lois is also an inspiration to me. Your aunt sounds awesome.

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  6. What a great story. I really enjoyed reading this. And I am you, I feel what you must have felt when you saw her. I had an aunt like that as well, although we were a bit more wordly.
    The things that change your life eh?
    Greetje

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    1. Thank you, Greetje! Maybe all of us stylish women had our own "Aunt Ann"?

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  7. Oh that's fantastic! I'm sure you have that effect on many girls and women too!

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  8. Aunt Ann sounds awesome! I'm glad you got to meet her and that she is such an inspiration for you. Great story and I totally enjoyed reading it.
    Great outfit and I love the coat.

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  9. Thanks for sharing this. I guess my great nieces and nephews might look and me and think similar thoughts. I love flamingos by the way and your description of her makes me love her all the more x

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    1. You're welcome, Anna. It's kind of cool to think we could be like that for our young relations, isn't it? Thank you so much!

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  10. What an honour to be compared to your Aunt Ann who sounded fabulous, maybe I should take up smoking?! You're a great writer. A lot of parents tell me that their little girls adore the way I dress, I'm sure you get the same comments.
    Love the placements of the zips in that Steampunk-eque jacket and harems are very luxe. The shoes are fabulous. I love being tall (what was I born so short?) xxx

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    1. It was definitely meant as a compliment, Vix! No, not the smoking! Aw, thank you so much - it was fun to write. Yes, I do have a few young fans who love my colourful clothes.

      I know, I wish I were a little taller.

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  11. Stunning outfit, Sheila. And I olive your Aunt Ann. What a great tribute -- thanks so much for sharing this with your readers.

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    1. Thank you, Cynthia! I feel happier that I shared this.

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  12. Love the slouchy look here.. and of course you in pants :)
    And I just fell for that beautiful story about you aunt Ann - imagine, with just a few encounters what a great influence she was for you. It's so inspiring to see what an impact just a positive comment can make in someone's life. Go Auntie Sheila!

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    1. I like that too - slouchy is one of my usual looks in real life.

      Aw, thank you, my dear.

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  13. I love that story about your Aunt Ann - she does sound rather a lot like Vix, or at least how I imagine Vix will be in another 10 years.

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    1. Thanks so much for reading it, Shelley! Ha, yes, totally Vix one day. :)

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