Friday, September 4, 2020

Fancy Friday Corset Flashback and a Wee Shop

Well, I wasn't going to post today, but I have time (L is out hanging with Nick), so why not? Bonus post! 
Frankly, this is a great outfit. Colour me happy! 

  • Blouse - Ann Taylor, consignment; last seen here in August with daisies and dots
  • Bustier - Le Chateau, consignment; last worn here in May 2019 with triple black and white patterns
  • Skirt that was a dress - Lucca, consignment; first worn here in August with polka dots
  • Shoes - Half Truth Veda, Fluevog; last worn here for a shopping trip in August
  • Jacket (below) - Club Monaco, thrifted; last seen here in August

I was reminded of my ancient cotton/lycra bustier top while doing one of my Flashbacks, so I dug it out and made an outfit with it. 
I have had this bustier from the very first year of my blog: 2008! 

We are going to see some OLD pictures of YOUNG me in the Flashback below.
Getting another wearing in of this lovely floral maxi too, just to make sure I like it.

It's good enough for now. Naturally, I would prefer it to be ginormously pouffy and have huge pockets, but I'll make do, ha ha. 
It's full enough for me to walk in it. After 4.5 hours of work, I strolled over to the grocery store to do my shopping on the way home (it's delivered later). 

Masked up. 
The fabric is caramel with lighter stars. A rare four-pattern mix, including the belt. This is a high degree of pattern-mixing difficulty, and you should totally try it! 

Outerwear - OMG, not needed. I roasted when I was outside. 
However, it does look nice. I love layers in an outfit. 

The stuff: 
I'm going to do a Flashback on these shoes eventually. I know I've worn them over 30 times, and I'm underestimating. 

Matchy bling: 
The accessories take the outfit to 11. The necklace over the shirt brings the eye up, the belt harmonizes with the skirt, and the chains are a symphony of badassery. Heh. 

  • Belt - Talbots, thrifted
  • Necklace - Aldo
  • Leather/chain wrap - local
  • Chain bracelet - thrifted
  • Earrings - thrifted

After groceries, I had a browse in Rich Rags consignment. I bought two things that were both more than a month old, so were 50% off. 

I'd seen this skirt before and noted all that pattern approvingly, but $39.99 felt too high. 
I spy four patterns! 

See the little bag attached on the hip? You can unhook it from the waistband. 
The brand is Zand Amsterdam, and their online shop (here) closed in 2016 - they were a Fair Trade company, though (a nice list of their "fair"ness here) and their skirts are one size - all those snaps accommodate a huge range of people. 

The only skirt selling retail shows as 65 Euros ($100 Canadian), on sale for 42.25 Euros ($65 CAD). I paid $20 for mine, so a good deal. I wasn't able to find any examples of their skirts that had 3 layers like mine does, but I see that early media articles start around 2009, so it's likely that my skirt has a bit of age on it. 

See all those snaps on the waistband? You can get the exact fit you want! 
It's a wraparound skirt, and this is what's on the reverse of the "chain" graphic print. 

Surprise! It's reversible! 
Well, that's pretty. And I see that there are two loops on the waistband...

For clipping the bag! 
And that black line IS a zipper...

So you can remove an entire layer! 
Whoa, that's a super-short mini.

Other side - still very short. 
Hmmm...I guess you could wear this over a pair of pants/jeans. I found pics of the mini styled like that from their early media. The extra piece that I zipped off is slightly curved and actually kind of works as a shawl/scarf - the 100% cotton fabric is a nice tight but thin weave, not too thick. 

You can zip the fabric back on either way. 
Nice if you just want the daisy pattern for a skirt. 

This is not as attractive. 
That blue pattern is a little muddy-looking. 

This would be a great item for travel - so versatile. I found a great little YouTube video (here, all links 'cause I love) that shows you how the skirt works. 

The little bag is really sweet - it has a long, adjustable thick grossgrain strap for cross-body wear stuffed inside one of the two zippered compartments...
And a short leather strap...which...I'm not sure what that's for? It's too short to use as is (unless you like your bag in your armpit), and it's way too short to be for the waist. Clip it to one side of the bag as a wrist loop?

I also found this hot pink polyester tank-style cami.
It was $12.50, half price.

It's by Willow & Thread, which sounds like one of those fast fashion brands you see in chi-chi boutiques. Aha, it's a Reitman's brand which is a Canadian mall chain store that has been around forever (about them here - did not know they started in 1926!)
It's still a cheap top, but I like that the lining is fine viscose t-shirt knit (soft!) and that it's machine washable. It'll be a solid layering piece in a colour that'll be really useful. 

Enough of that, though - let's get to...

Flashback: Le Chateau Plaid Bustier

I've had this bustier-style top since 2008, and although I labeled it "consignment" then, I have no idea where I bought it! It may very well have been Rich Rags. Anyway, I noted that I paid $15.00 for it in a 2012 post, so let's go with that. I didn't post my purchases back then - I just incorporated them right away into outfits. 

It's cotton with a good amount of Lycra for stretch, and it has a rubberized strip along the top to keep it up, but I have never worn this on its own. It's by Le Chateau, another store that's legendary in Canada: about them here - I've been to their downtown Montreal store (in 1984)! I remember being ecstatic when I heard a Le Chateau store was opening in Victoria in 1986-ish. That's where you bought your coolest, most outrageous, fashion-forward clothes! They are still a very good store - I like to walk through if I'm in the mall (rare) just to see what the cool kids are wearing. They still carry a lot of clothes that are made in Canada, which is amazing in these days of mass-production. 

When I first started blogging, I was in the process of replacing my entire wardrobe, as I'd lost 50 pounds over the past 2 years. I didn't have as many clothes as I do now - by a long shot! - so many of my older items got more wear early on than they do now. 

Here we are, first outfit in August 2008 (post here - I was a blogger of few words then!), and that's a very old pair of glasses (I've had 3 (nearly 4) new pairs since then!). I'm wearing what would become a formula with the bustier: blouse + big necklace + belt.
My picture quality from back then is a little sad, sorry! I used to post really tiny pictures, so the resolution is crap. 

I actually still have those white stone earrings, and those are my very first pair of Fluevogs, the Listen Up Harlow (pic here), which I still own and are pre-blog.

I layered a green ruffled shirt under it in October 2008. 
I see I skipped the necklace portion and just did the bigass belt. I used to wear very high heels back then!

You know, when I find a good formula: wear it to death! 
This was in February 2009. Those were very cool turquoise shoes but they didn't fit right. 

Acting goofy here in August 2009. 
Those black pants were part of a suit - I thought I needed a black suit when I restocked my wardrobe. I did not.

I remember feeling awesome in this outfit from December 2009. 
That's a very fine-knit sweater I'm wearing. 

My Hallowe'en costume in October 2010 was the Mad Hatter - all built from items already in my closet. I won the costume contest at my old job.
That striped Noa Noa frock coat is still in my wardrobe, as is the vintage 80s top hat, the silk obi (on the hat), the floofy black underskirt, and that starburst brooch. Quite a lot for a 10-year-old outfit. Oh, and the lace cuffs are in my dress-up box - they're from the mid-90s.

Experimenting with my wardrobe led to this outfit from December 2010. I can tell I was feeling good about it.
It's a cuffed shirt under a sweater dress, and then the bustier over top of the whole thing. I still have those tights! 

I wore it in March 2011 for my first day at my current job. 
I had to show the company that I planned on being wacky from the start, heh heh. They would not have me any other way.

I had forgotten all about this outfit from September 2011. 
That yellow looks so pretty. I miss those sandals - I wore them out. That gingham skirt was a Smoking Lily one that I had for years.

I did two outfits with the bustier in one day in October 2011. This is the Casual Friday office outfit: the striped frock coat, jeans and boots.
Vizzini is only 8 months old there, and totally giving attitude.

After work, I got changed into Outfit #2, and L and I went to an Art Opening in a container box studio. I wore the very-stretchy bustier over the frock coat. 
I was very into Steampunk for a few years, so this bustier has been part of some of those outfits. Same top hat/obi combo, and I still have that red skirt, purse, and even those fingerless gloves!

I took this picture with the timer off a table in my old office's boardroom of L and I. That's the table in the foreground, d'oh! 
 Don't we look spiffy? 

In April 2012, we attended the Steampunk Convention here in town. This is one of 3 looks I wore over 3 days. Awesome outfit! 
Same frock coat, with the bustier over it. That hat and the vintage blue leather elastic belt are still in my closet. I'm holding the hat in place here because the addition of the copper spirals (by me) made it too heavy for the elastic to keep it firmly on my head. 

In what I considered to be a wacky outfit at the time, in April 2012, during my 30 For 30 For 12 Wardrobe Challenge. 
There are my beloved first Fluevogs! I only wore the bustier once during the challenge, but that was my fault - I didn't have enough layering tops in that capsule. 

Back to the old formula again here in March 2013, with a satin top I had for years and a grey suede skirt.
A rare picture from when I had blonde hair. I still have the cuffs, belt, and those vintage Versace shoes. 

I kind of forgot about my bustier for a few years (FOUR years, Sheila). I'd mentally slotted it into the "costume" category of clothing, but I hauled it out again in June 2017 for this fabulous look. 
There's today's belt, and we've done a Flashback on that skirt. Super cute!

And here's the last time I wore it, in May 2019. 
I love all that black and white/cream pattern-mixing. This still rings my bell. 

Mathy stuff: including today's outfit, I've now worn this bustier 19 times in 12 years, taking us to 79 cents per wear. Amazing! 

I hope you enjoyed this extra post! What's your favourite look? 


  1. A great outfit indeed! I love how your necklace compliments your skirt.

    What an interesting skirt you bought. It can be styled in so many ways!

    My favourite of your looks is the May 2019 one with all the black and white and the metal necklace – very rock and roll! X

    1. Oops, looks like I missed responding to my comments on this post! Yikes, my apologies, everyone!

      Thank you so much, Jess! I like that look best too.

  2. Morning Sheila, thanks for the bonus post. Love your outfit with the coat especially. Wow that skirt was a find and a half!! You are going to have fun with that and reversible too. Many outfits for the price of one. Well done. Have a lovely week end Shazxx ps you still look young!

    1. Oh, you are too kind about me looking young, Shaz! Thank you so much for your lovely comments!

  3. Being able to style all those different vintage looks from that one mini-skirt is amazing!
    I love the vintage mini-skirt fashions and styles.
    Speaking of different looks, you certainly styled a lot of different and fabulous looks incorporating that Le Chateau Plaid Bustier!
    I love the contrast of the bustier with the other outfit pieces in your April 2012 Wardrobe Challenge outfit.
    Out of all the dresses and skirts you styled that bustier style top with, the skirts in the last two photos are my favourites - I adore tiered ruffles!

    1. I know, such a good, versatile skirt, and I love the bustier. Thank you!

  4. I am glad you are keeping that maxi skirt as it's so pretty! I like the fun print mix and it's so impressive seeing all the ways you have worn that bustier top, it really suits you! :)

    1. I won't find another in a cool pattern like this anytime soon - and now that I have a matching mask, I'll have to keep it! Thanks, Mica!

  5. Hi Sheila,

    Four favs...the 2012 Steampunk (I like the vibrancy of the blue skirt and belt) & 2012 wardrobe challenge (everything about the colors and items appeal to me, like a delicious smoothie), and the last two outfits with the differing color combos yet similar styling, plus I appreciate the matchy matchy :) of shoes to outfits.
    The Flashbacks are fun to see for how your tastes change (or not) and I enjoy the many styling options; ideas abound that I hope to remember and incorporate when I visit my closet!
    Cheers, Laurie

    1. The fact that you and L enjoy creating costumes together is so delightful! And, as @Shybiker noted, the skirt of multiple looks is fascinating. I am curious if all the snaps give it heft...perhaps because it is short it doesn’t weigh much?

    2. Thanks, Laurie, I like all the ones you picked too. I like seeing how my taste changes as well - these Flashbacks give me good perspective on my outfits.

      Yes, L and I love getting dressed up, whether that's just for a fun outing or for an event (full costume). It's something we have always loved doing.

      The skirt does have a bit of a heft from the snaps, yes, but it's not heavy overall.

  6. A bonus post! Do we need to pay extra? :)

    A big impediment to dressing like a woman when you didn't grow up as one is not knowing about clothes that don't have a male analog, like your bustier. The idea of a bustier never occurred to me as an option, even though I've seen women wear them. I like what it can offer to an outfit and you demonstrate that well.

    I'm coming to believe, more and more, that I could dramatically benefit from your tutelage. Of course, we're friends so you won't let me pay you but in a perfect world, you'd be my mentor on all things fashion.

    1. Re-reading your post more closely, I'm astonished by the Zand Amsterdam skirt/shawl/McGiver piece. Its multiple-uses are amazing. What a pleasant fashion surprise.

    2. No, it's totally free! Weee!

      There are so many articles of clothing that have no male analog. I know my male friends/colleagues are still iffy on what's a skirt and what's a dress!

      Aw, of course, I'm here if you ever have questions, or want to know anything.

      I know, isn't it an amazing McGyver skirt?? Ha, love that name!

  7. Love this ensemble, and all the past ones too! You have made very creative use of that bustier over the years.

    The new skirt is intriguing--can't wait to see how you style it.

    1. Thanks so much, Linda! It's not something I ever thought would be a wardrobe staple, that's for sure!

      I'll be wearing it soon!

  8. What a fab outfit! Reworking that dress into a skirt was such a great idea, it looks phenomenal with the corset top and every time I see that coat I like it even more.
    That's a festival skirt, several of the traders I know sell them. One does a mix of Harris Tweed with African waxed cotton which is sensational (and £££). Most people wear them over leggings and jeans so I'm dying to see how you style yours! xxx

    1. Thanks, Vix! It's still not going to be a forever skirt - the quality is not where I like it to be. The coat is more my preference.

      Ah, there we go, that makes sense, thanks! I'm excited to style it.

  9. What a stunning outfit, Sheila, and maximum points for pattern mixing! I love how you layered the bustier over the white blouse. I actually had to look twice before I realized it wasn't one piece. Wearing it belted over your lovely dress turned skirt makes you look quite tall. Once again, I enjoyed looking at all the outfits in your flashback, especially those featuring the very young Sheila and kitten Vizzini! The skirt you bought is really amazing. I've never seen anything like it. Can't wait to see how you'll style it! xxx

    1. Thanks, Ann! I do love a black and white pattern mix! I like the long lines of this too. I know, we were both so young! I'm excited to wear the skirt.

  10. It is a shame Zand fair trade brand didn't make it, both their philosophy and aesthetics were amazing. The skirt you found by them is fantastic.

    1. I know, I feel bad for them. We need to support those kind of companies!

  11. love all the ways you have styled thia bustier. Seeing all your steam punk outfits was a special treat. Both you and L wear this style so well.
    How sweet to see Vizzini as a baby, at only 8 months old. I enjoy his photobombing as much as I enjoy your outfits.

    1. Thanks, Ivana, we love getting dressed up, and those are always the most fun to compose.

      I know, he's been at it his whole life! :-P

    2. I am a Long time lurking reader and first time commenter. I am glad that you purchased the Zand Amsterdam skirt.

      My in-laws brought back nine skirts from the Netherlands for their "girls".

      As I am the only one who really loved the skirts, eventually I owned all nine! The belt portion is usually a printed canvas with the skirts portion came in multiple fabrics: cotton, corduroy, Jacquard, jersey and even wool.

      U S Sizes 2-10/12 can wear these skirts. They also had kids and women's sizes too. As the belts are so adjustable, the skirts can be worn either at the waist or lower on the hips.

      The skirt you purchased is called the Victoria. Which coincidentally is the same name as the presenter in your video link. (One of my skirts almost exactly the same as the corduroy one shown in the video).

      You are correct that these skirts are great for travel. You can get 4 looks with one skirt. If I'm going for a longer trip, I take two skirts and mix and match between the two different belts (4 patterns) and the 2 skirt (4 more patterns) and you can really make a lot of different looks.
      The Victoria skirt is more unusual. I have only one of those skirts in my collection. And it is actually my favorite. As you have suggested the shorter skirt can be worn over pants or jeans giving a peplum look.
      However my favorite version, is to wear it over a fitted dress. I will have a overskirt look along with giving a little tummy and bottom coverage.
      The bag only came with the longer crossbody strap. However I am glad to see that I am not the only person to have added a shorter bag strap. As you suggested it can be attached to one side and used as a wristlet. I have used it as a handbag also.

      The skirt can be removed and the belt worn alone as an accessory or with the bag attached.

      I wash my belts and skirts by hand in cold water and air dry to avoid shrinkage. That way I can mix and match between all 9 skirts & belts.

      Enjoy your new-to-you reversible Zand Amsterdam skirt!

    3. Wow, thank you for the awesome comment, unknown lurker! How amazing that you ended up with all 9 skirts. Thank you for all the information on the skirt I bought (including the name). I got most of the other info from the Zand video and their sites. Such great, versatile skirts! Thank you so much for commenting.

  12. I bought one of the Zand Amsterdam skirts at a summer festival here several years ago. It may not have been that label, but the idea was basically identical (reversible, zippered, clip on bag). I probably ended up giving it away because I didn't wear it very much.

    That bustier turned out to be a very versatile piece - I like fitted pieces that you can layer over shirts like that one but I rarely find any to fit me.

    1. Yeah, it seems like a design that people would be able to replicate fairly easily. I don't know how much I'll wear mine, but I loved it for shopping hands free, and I love the black/white pattern. We shall see.

      I know, and I should wear it more often! I like how useful it is.

  13. Love me some Reitman's! Now, granted, I haven't shopped there much in many years, but I used to do so quite a bit in my teens and early twenties. These days they remain a brand that I enjoy keeping an eye out for while thrifting (it's exceedingly rare for me to purchase new clothing any more, though that does happen once in a blue moon - more so online than in person, as a general rule).

    Totally, and I mean totally, in love with the first outfit. No doubt in part because the hues instantly call to mind my fave day of the year: October 31st.

    Sunny hugs & joyful weekend wishes,
    Autumn Zenith 🎃 Witchcrafted Life

    1. I haven't been in one in years, but I shopped there a lot when I was a teen/in my twenties, same as you! Thanks, Autumn! I love it too, and now I have a matching mask for that skirt.

  14. I've never seen anything like that skirt - it's brilliant. I guess if you could find another but with different patterns you could mix and match the pieces even more? A great idea for travelling, as you say.

    1. It's pretty cool, isn't it, Mim? I've never seen another, but it would depend on the pattern. Yes to it for travel!

  15. The design on that skirt is genius ! I had never seen anything like it, what a fabulous find Sheila.
    I remember that corset top very well, I believe I did an inspired by post on it, I am pretty sure I commented on all of those posts too! What a great throwback.

    1. It's really cool, isn't it, Lorena? I haven't seen anything like it before either.

      Yes, I knew you would remember! I know you commented back then!


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