Saturday, January 1, 2022

Last Outfit of 2021 and First of 2022: Plus New Year's Reading Resolution Recap

Happy New Year 2022, my friends! I hope you all had a very safe, fun and cozy New Year's Eve celebration, even if it wasn't how we envisioned that year would end. My one wish for 2021 was that I'd have all my "family that we choose" together for a year-end blast, but alas, it was not meant to be. 

L and I had Nick over for New Year's Eve, and we both waffled: Do we dress up? As we had pulled the plug on any group partying, we were inclined to hang out in our warm and wooly house clothes, but since we had a midnight Zoom call with our wonderful friends, we roused ourselves and made an effort. 

Clothing As Armour! as L reminded me. I should take my own advice! So I did! 

We never coordinate our outfits, but somehow we always end up being a well-matched pair. 
As in fashion, so we are in life! Much love to you, my dear L - thank you for another year of putting up with your grumpy-with-a-heart-of-gold partner. Heh. 

Since December 31st was my last day of my month of sparkle, I though I ought to shine a bit. I also wanted to be warm. 
"I changed my bra for you," I informed Nick. 

  • Kimono - no label, consignment; last worn here in July 2021 for a Mental Health Shop
  • Sweater - Karl Lagerfeld, consignment; last seen here with burgundy bookends in November 2021
  • Leather trousers - Free People, Portland, OR; last worn here (2nd outfit) in August 2021 with all the metals
  • Boots - Coffee Kope Tiam, Fluevog; last seen here in September 2021 for brunch

He was suitably impressed (raised eyebrows). I've known Nick slightly longer than I've known L - he is used to me. 
This was the perfect outfit for hanging out and watching an old Elvis movie, Jailhouse Rock. We hooted at the dated stuff, and were blown away by Elvis' rockin' hip action. 

I kept this kimono out for winter, as the colours work well in my cold-weather wardrobe. 
It's all silk burn-out velvet (aka devore - that's duh-VOR-ay, darlings), trimmed with glass beads and tassels. 

If you suspected that I kicked these boots off right after I took these pictures, you'd be almost right. 
They didn't even last through the pictures! These trouser socks have been in my wardrobe for well over a decade. I had two pairs of socks on under them, and a long-sleeved thermal tee under the sweater.

The stuff: 
I only picked these boots as they matched the outfit vibe well. 

Gold bling: 
Jewelry As Armour! 

  • Glass tile necklace - Florence, Italy; gift from me to Karen; Karen's
  • Filigree gold necklace - Trifari, vintage 60s, thrifted
  • Gold Brutalist necklace - Robert Larin, vintage 70s, vintage mall, gift from L
  • Brass/copper cuff - Karen's
  • Bangle - thrifted
  • Gold-plated silver ear-cuffs (both worn on one ear) - consignment
  • Brass Brutalist ring - vintage mall
  • Silver/smoky topaz ring - Anneli Neuman, Sweden, vintage mall
  • Earrings - thrifted

Here's a look at L's NYE outfit. His golden satin robe is lined and piped with black. 
Underneath he's wearing a nice floral dress shirt (thrifted), burgundy khakis (consignment) and a thrifted belt buckle. The shoes are Fluevog, of course! 

As I was doing my pictures, a little furry someone came along to wish y'all a Happy New Year. 
"Really? My fans want this?"

Yes, Vizzini, you have many blog-friends out there! 

You can see I've reverted to my extra-thick shearling slippers, which I wore for the entire night. Klassy! (but I had warm feet!).

2021 Reading Resolution Recap

As I've done for the last several years [I even copy the text over from last year's post!], I make the identical New Year's Resolution: Meet or Beat the number of books read the previous year. I've been tracking my reading for over 10 years; here's last year's New Year's Eve outfit(s) and books, if you're interested.

Last year I read 39 books and this year, it's...40! Woot! I am happy to break into that "decade" just under the wire, finishing my final book in the afternoon of New Year's Eve. 

Here's my list - I gave 4 books 5/5 this year, and in addition to those I've also bolded my favourite 4/5 books (I'm a hard marker), and would recommend any of those. As I'm ever-willing to read pretty much anything, that can result in some stinkers - I rated 2 books 1/5 and they both got donated into our condo's Little Library in the mailroom. Any books labeled "(BC)" are ones chosen by Book Club members.

  1. A Study In Silks - Emma Jane Holloway - 3/5
  2. Less - Andrew Sean Greer - 5/5 (BC)
  3. Ads of the 20th Century Fashion - ed. Herman, Neider - 5/5
  4. Fashion Climbing: A Memoir With Photographs - Bill Cunningham - 4/5
  5. Fashion Now - ed. Terry Jones - 1/5
  6. The Many-Colored Land - Julian May - 3/5
  7. The Golden Torc - Julian May - 2/5
  8. The Nonborn King - Julian May - 2/5
  9. Americanah - Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie - 3/5 (BC)
  10. Authority - Jeff Vandermeer - 4/5
  11. Acceptance - Jeff Vandermeer - 4/5
  12. Vintage Fashion Accessories - Stacy Lo Albo - 2/5
  13. The War Widow - Tara Moss - 3/5
  14. Zoe Punches the Future In the Dick - David Wong - 3/5
  15. Promise at Dawn - Romain Gary - 4/5 (BC)
  16. Blitzed - Norman Ohler - 2/5
  17. City of Stairs - Robert Jackson Bennett - 4/5
  18. Strange Weather - Joe Hill - 4/5
  19. More Than Human - Theodore Sturgeon - 5/5
  20. Breakfast At Tiffany's - Truman Capote - 4/5
  21. Manhattan Beach - Jennifer Egan - 3/5
  22. The Ultimate Threshold: A Collection of the Finest in Soviet Science Fiction - 3/5
  23. Cultural Amnesia - Clive James - 2/5 
  24. The Beast That Shouted Love At the World - Harlan Ellison - 2/5
  25. Bel Canto - Ann Patchett - 3/5 (BC)
  26. The Intuitionist - Colin Whitehead - 3/5
  27. Dawn - Octavia E. Butler - 4/5
  28. Adulthood Rites - Octavia E. Butler - 3/5
  29. Imago - Octavia E. Butler - 3/5
  30. Zone One - Colin Whitehead - 4/5
  31. The Chiffon Trenches - Andre Leon Tally - 4/5
  32. Later - Stephen King - 4/5
  33. Elevation - Stephen King - 4/5
  34. Fledgling - Octavia E. Butler - 2/5 (BC)
  35. The Windup Girl - Paolo Bacigalupi - 2/5
  36. Daisy Jones & The Six - Taylor Jenson Reid - 3/5 (BC)
  37. Devil in the White City - Erik Larson- 4/5
  38. Here Abide Monsters - Andre Norton - 1/5
  39. My Dirty Little Book of Stolen Time - Liz Jensen - 3/5
  40. The Mercies - Kiran Milwood Hargrave - 5/5 (BC)

Some assorted musings on what I read: 
  • My love of fashion-related books continues. The Fashion Ads book (number 3) is a gorgeous fat tome by Taschen Publishing, and is a must for lovers of vintage - L and I both read it and howled at some of the macho ads from the 1970s. Both memoirs from Bill Cunningham (4) and Andre Leon Tally (31) are highly-recommended, but Tally's in particular requires some fashion history knowledge. Two other fashion books (5, 12) were second-hand cheapies that I picked up and just as quickly passed along/donated. 
  • I did a deep-dive on some new-to-me and old-to-me writers: Julian May (6,7, 8), Jeff Vandermeer (10, 11), Colin Whitehead (26, 30) and Octavia E. Butler (27, 28, 29, 34). I picked the Butler omnibus (the Xenogenesis trilogy) in preparation for my Book Club selection - unfortunately, I picked possibly her worst book! Vandermeer comes as a recommendation from one of L's coworkers (thanks, Ian!); I read the first book in the Southern Reach Trilogy (Annihilation) last year, and I have another of his books lined up for this year - if you like weird fiction, you might like his stuff. Ian also loaned us the two Colin Whitehead novels, which were good but didn't make me want to read anything else from him. I also read two Stephen Kings (both recent, both solid) which have been a mainstay for me since he started writing. 
  • Last year, I was determined to re-read some of the many, MANY books in our library, and I started with Julian May, a pioneering female sci-fi writer of the 80s. After plowing through the first 3 books of one of her many interconnected sagas, I gave up. How did I enjoy these so much in the 90s when I first discovered them, and loathe them so much now? Tastes change, I've become a more discriminating reader? I passed along the entire collection of all of her books (over 12) to book-loaner Ian, who was thrilled to get them (they are quite rare and most have not been reprinted). 
  • I read lots of non-fiction this year - not something I usually do by choice, and often through Book Club. However, this year (not including the fashion history/interest books), I read about the Nazis' use of cocaine in WWII (16), finished a massive 876-page book of essays about famous/influential people (23), and learned about the Chicago World's Fair and its most notorious serial killer (37). 
  • We made it through 7 Book Clubs this year, and all of the books (except mine, ha ha, 34) were winners. Less (2), Promise at Dawn (15, also a non-fiction book) and The Mercies (40) all touched me deeply. L also read the first two and loved them, and I'm passing the latter on to him to enjoy - it was Ciara's very first BC pick, and wow, hard to top it. I recommend these books - I LOVED them. 
  • My love of science fiction and fantasy remains true - 21 of my books (over half!) were in those genres. 

Best discoveries this year: 
  • Erik Larson - He writes fictionalized but based-completely-on-fact (fully end-noted and annotated) interweaving accounts of interesting events in history. My next book by him will be Thunderstruck, about the invention of the wireless and a hunt for a serial killer. His writing is addictive. 
  • Robert Jackson Bennett - I adored City of Stairs' main and side characters, and the world-building and compelling story, which was different than any other fantasy I've read - and by fantasy, I mean the world has magic in it. No spaceships or monsters, just an alternate reality. I got another book by him in my stocking, woo hoo! 
  • Theodore Sturgeon - A classic sci-fi Golden Era writer that I've never read before. I found this 1953 book (19) for a dollar in the thrift store and gave it to L for his birthday, and loved it myself. In my mini-review (I jot down 1-2 sentences) I raved, "Stunning, incredible, seminal in the sf/fantasy genre. Compelling and devastating & a great read." I'll be looking for more by him. 

  • 5. Fashion Now - avoid this terrible 2012 book. It's dated with not enough content or pictures. In a fashion book, you need pictures. 
  • 24. Harlan Ellison - oh, Harlan, you really are an ass. I'm done with you. 
  • 38. Andre Norton - I had a bunch of her classic 80s young adult fiction when I was a teen and loved her. This book did not make me want to delve into her catalogue. 

I made another deep clear-out of books in our library this year, and again, I want to do more re-reads of my old books. I still have a full nightstand of books to be read, and am looking forward to another year of my fellow Book Clubbers to challenge and awe me with their picks. 

The first outfit of 2022! 

After a very late evening (I went to bed at 3am), and a nice lie-in till 10am, we dragged our bleary-eyed selves out of bed and got ready to meet up with Nick, and Spence and Kim for brunch at Milestones. 
I joked to L that my "roadkill" sweater was the perfect representation of 2021. Yeah, I do kinda feel like a big tractor rode over all of our plans. See, it even left tire marks! 

  • Sweater - Euramerican Express, thrifted; first worn here in February 2021 with sequins
  • Sweater (underneath) - Sonia Rykiel, consignment; last seen here in December 2021 for a Mom-Day adventure
  • Skirt - TKStyle, thrifted; last worn here in November 2020 for an outdoor Winesday
  • Boots - Steve Madden, vintage mall; last seen here (2nd outfit) for a Saturday brunch and a shop with Simona
  • Capelet - no label, consignment; purchased here for $21.00

It was a cold, clear day and much of the snow had melted, but I still needed to be really warm. 
This sweater-top is lined but has no stretch - and it is WARM, so it can only be worn on the very coldest days. I always wear another thin sweater under it as it has slits on the side that go quite high up.
My favourite "fin" skirt, getting its annual wearing in.
It's a thick ribbed cotton and I have fleece-lined tights on underneath. 

Masked up. 
Milestones was pretty empty - there were quite a few people around downtown, but very few places open, which is good, as service employees deserve a day off too. 

Outerwear: I have trouble fitting this ginormous top under my regular coats, but this new-to-me capelet/coat worked out perfectly. 
No skinny coat sleeves to deal with!

This was surprisingly warm in the cold crisp air. It helps that there is another full layer of this boucle (boo-CLAY!) wool under the cape part.
I was even able to zip up the front easily over my massive roadkill top. 
Yay for pockets! 

Fully bundled up. 
Long leather gloves are the way to go with short sleeves like this - these ones are cashmere-lined. 

My nose and my toes were cold, but otherwise, this was great for walking to and from town. 
Now, if only everyone would shovel their @#$! sidewalks. 

You know it's a classy outfit when I change my purse, ha ha! 

  • Purse - vintage, thrifted
  • Fur scarf - thrifted
  • Ear muffs - Michael Kors, consignment
  • Mask - by Mom
  • Gloves - Club Monaco, consignment

The stuff: 
Over-the-knee boots are awesome for keeping your legs warm. 

The stuff:
Wearing some of my Christmas presents.

  • Bangle - Alexis Bittar, consignment, Sidney
  • Open bangle/earrings - Alexis Bittar, consignment, gift from L
  • Poison ring - Karen's
  • Silver/smoky topaz ring - Anneli Neuman, Sweden, vintage mall

And now, I'm going to spend the remaining two days of vacation watching football, playing boardgames and otherwise enjoying myself. 
"And what about meeeeeee?"

We moved this scratching post into the den/closet room, and whenever Vizzini wants our attention (usually when one of us is blogging), he attacks this post. The dangling block (aptly named Blocky) is his mortal enemy. 
"Blocky must die!"

What a silly boy! Here's to another year of cat antics! 

And here's to you all!
Rock on! 


  1. All that glitters is gold, and you are truly gold, Sheila. I love getting to know you through the blog. While I'll never aspire to get out of soft pants and dress well, occasionally I select something and think, Sheila might like this. I'll perhaps snap and post on occasion. Happy 2022.

  2. A fantabulous last outfit of 2021 from you both and another beauty for the first of 2022!
    Look at Vizzini attack! StephenSquirrel never plays, he just chases dogs and kills stuff, bad, bad boy!
    The Mercies was one of my favourite reads last year, too - I read it on a Greek beach! xxx

  3. Happy New Year Sheila et al!

    Funny, I used to love the Julian Nay books 25 years ago... still occasionally reread some later but some if the psychology and gender stuff brane increasungly dated snd bad. But the central conceit was brilliant and the wierd alien song as the foundation of a mythology...

  4. You're a well-matched and fabulous pair indeed. You both shine - in both senses of the word - in your NYE outfits! I confess I didn't dress up, although I did so on every day of my week off work.
    Well done on reaching 40 reads. I don't think I'm anywhere near that number.
    As we were in bed just gone midnight on NYE, we were up relatively bright and early and went for a walk into a near deserted world.
    Loving your cozy first outfit of the year, in particular the "roadkill" sweater. I think L.'s got a point there :-) xxx

  5. Wow, 40 books! I only recently learned about Octavia Butler when seeing she had a book that readers of The New York Times lauded as one of the best of the century ("Parable of the Sower"). I plan to check out some of her work. I agree with you about Harlan Ellison. As a youth, I noted his popularity and read some stuff; now my mature perspective is different. Happy New Year!

  6. Even if you didn't have the big NYE party I'm glad you still dressed up and had a good time! :) And I really like that cape over the very cosy jumper for brunch! :)
    I was fast asleep on NYE as always, I just can't stay up any more after running around with the kids all day, ha!

    It's nice to see all the books you read too even if they weren't all winners! I really embraced the library in 2021, it was a weekly visit for us, and I managed to read 103 books. Not sure I'll be able to repeat that this year, it's off to a slow start and I still have a book that's due back on Friday I've only just started - need to get back into reading!

  7. Wow! That first outfit of 2O22 is on fire! I don't think you could have made it more perfect! Love reading your book list as always. We listened to Erik Larsen's book while driving on a trip once. It was excellent.

  8. You do indeed go together terrificly, you and L. So nice that L is also a smart dresser, like you. I love that. Ron used to be the same (before he gained weight... sigh).
    Great idea to inform Nick you changed bras for him haha. I could have said that.
    Loved the roadkill top on this ribbed skirt. Doesn't that cape come in handy!!

  9. Happy New Year, Sheila!

    I really enjoyed your book round up of 2021. I find I read more non fiction as I get older - once upon a time I would never have read it if I wasn't studying; which I did for 12 years whilst working full time!

    Loved your New Year's eve outfit and I loved the 'roadkill' outfit; especially the fabulous vintage bag and your lovely Christmas jewellery. L's gold robe was brilliant.

    I hope Vizzini gets the better of his mortal enemy...

  10. Happy New Year Sheila! May it be a loving and beautiful year for you and your loved ones. We are also often very matchy when we go out. Without knowing what we choose to wear on forehand of course. I hate it when we match. We have a name for couples who match here in the Netherlands. The anwb couples. You know, same bicycles, same raincoats, same glasses.....

  11. Great couples outfit even if it wasn't planned.
    The roadkill sweater is amazing.

  12. Isn't it funny how our reading tastes change? This is a beautiful outfit.

  13. Happy New Year Sheila (and L, and Vizzini). You two look fantastic in your New Year's Eve outfits - you are definitely a well-matched pair. I spent NYE in cozy pants and a sweatshirt, watching movies.

    I have read three of Erik Larson's books and the Devil in the White City is my favourite. I liked Thunderstruck too. Nice to see the Fin skirt, and your furry roadkill top, which is perfect under the new cape. I am reading an Ian Rankin mystery right now and Eldridge Cleaver's Soul on Ice.

    1. Happy New Year, Shelley! Thanks so much (I changed as soon as the Zoom call was over).

      I like his writing, Ian Rankin's too.

  14. You two are such wonderful fashion soulmates. It's awesome that your ensembles have a tendency to synch up organically.

    May every moment of 2022 be as lovely, creative, and memorable for you both as your stellar end of the year looks here.

    Autumn Zenith 🧡 Witchcrafted Life

    1. Isn't that funny? We often match in some way when we go out.

      Aw, thank you, and all the best to you and Tony!

  15. Fabulous to see the the devoré kimono and also fabulous to see L. in his satin jacket!, You Rock!
    Thanks for the comments on the books you read!, totally love to read your opinions!. I've added some titles to my notebook.
    besos & Feliz Año!

  16. Happy New Year! Your armour looks wonderfully shiny.

    Now I'm going to have to look up Erik Larson...


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