Tuesday, March 31, 2009

"Spring, Please!" Week - Tie-ing One On

Green and brown again, but a more "guy-inspired" look today.
I found these fabulous shoes at Value Village for $9.99! The tie was only $3.99. And they match perfectly. Add a little spring-y green and brown and pow! Ya got an outfit.

The stuff:My usual table for doing photos is being used, so here's a lovely shot of my duvet cover. Love the natural sunlight so you can see the brown and green in the shoes and the tie.

Blouse (Esprit), vest (Esprit), suit skirt (Kensie), tie (thrift), shoes (Unlisted, thrift), earrings (don't remember).

Monday, March 30, 2009

"Spring, Please!" Week - "You're Wearing Pants!"

I did a little thrift store shopping with my friend, Nat, on Sunday, and happily spent an hour yesterday putting together outfits for the week. Since it seemed like I had a theme going colour-wise, I thought I'd make this a Theme Week: "Spring, Please!"

Spring weather is taking its sweet time on getting here this year. It's hard to be appreciative of the few blossoms when it's raining.

Green and brown are nice and earthy, right? The whole "growing things"?
The sweater is new-to-me, found in a thrift shop for $9.50 (it's a silk blend, oooh). The "You're Wearing Pants" part of today's title is from the reaction of my office-mate, Bonnie, when she saw my outift. I guess I don't wear pants very often, haha.

I felt very long-legged today. I also like that the vest holds everything in nicely in the waist; I love when vests are in style.

The stuff:
My favourite "pumpkin pie" shoes (click here for a better picture of them). The green of the sweater is more acurate in the top photo.

Sweater (I.N.C., thrifted), vest (Vero Moda), pants (Mac & Jac), belt (Plum), necklace (Plum), gold hoop earrings, shoes (Unlisted).

Friday, March 27, 2009

Casual Friday - LBD and Jeans

After my successful first attempt at wearing a dress with jeans, I felt fairly confident that it would work again with a similar dress:
I've owned this dress for nearly 2 years but have worn it exactly once, because, frankly, it's pretty darned short. There's so much that I love about it, though: the wide funnel neckline, it's 100% wool, it fits perfectly, it was under $30 and it's a "Studio" Holt Renfrew label (again, not being a label snob, just thrilled to find such good quality so cheaply). Holt Renfrew is "the" big department store in Canada (we don't even have one in my city), known for very high-end goods. I have never set foot in one - I wonder if they have clearance racks? Probably event those are more expensive than I'm used to, ha!

But the featured item in this outfit is the new jewelry set Mom picked up for me in LA - thanks again, Mom! It's super lightweight and when I run my fingers through it, it sounds like rain. *smile* I love that.

A close-up:
It's little wooden beads threaded on small hoops that are then all connected together. Groovy.

Have a fab weekend!

Dress (Studio Holt Renfrew, consignment), jeans (Esprit), boots (Zara, consignment), necklace & earrings (gift from Mom).

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Fenced In - and A Stern Talking-To

You have all reminded me not to be so hard on myself when I don't like my outfit - thank you! Here I am giving myself the business:
"Now don't let me hear you making disparaging remarks about yourself again, missy!"

This outfit features the new funky belt my Mom got me while she was in Disneyland/LA with my brother Dave and his girls/my nieces Zoe and Hannah (hi, guys!). Aw, Mom's the best, isn't she? When she told me about this belt on the phone (there's no suspense in my family, haha), she said, "It looks like a fence."

Henceforth, this shall be the fence belt.

Working the brown and black was challenging, but I think I succeeded. The leopard skirt has never been worn to work before (a little too bootylicious), but is calmed down by the long boyfriend cardigan and the white shirt. I hate white shirts...loathe them...but realize that once in a while, they are very functional and nice. Kept the tights plain brown and added the Fluevog gladiators to echo the belt "fencing", then instead of a load of jewelry, did the big floppy bow at the neckline (it's a belt from a skirt).

The fences:
Very...fence-y. Ha!

Cardigan (no label, consignment), shirt (Plum), skirt (Le Chateau, consignment), belt (gift from Mom), tights (Hue), shoes (Fluevog), crystal stud earrings.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Grey Blahs

I'm feeling better, thanks, everyone for your kind words. I'm all happily doped up on antihistamines.

However, this is just not a good outfit:
I loved this dress last time I wore it (very similar outfit), but this time I am just not feeling it. Lack of necklace? The cursed teal tights that photograph blue? The stinky boots that give me calf-down cankles?


I don't know. I hope tomorrow is better. Mom bought me some stuff in Disneyland (yay, Mom! Thanks!), so there's hope.

Dress (Mexx), belt (Jacob), tights (Hue), boots (some cheap brand), triple hoop silver earrings (don't remember).

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

When You're Feelin' Kinda Sick - Wear a Dress!

So I had to go to work today - I foolishly checked my emails from home yesterday and was agog at how many I had. Generally, I don't stay home unless I'm puking, so off I went. I think this is actually seasonal allergies (damn you, beautiful pink blossoms and your wonderful smell!), so it's not like I'm contagious. I do seem to get sick like this annually. Oh, Sudafed, take me to your velvet tunnel.

Anyway, what do you do when you feel like crap?
All together: Wear a dress! 'Cause it's just like wearing jammies to work, only you look better.

The stuff:
Yep, that's stuff, all right.

Dress (OC for Oleg Cassini), nude fishnet tights (Hue), shoes (BCBGirls), necklace (Coro, vintage), earrings (don't remember).

Monday, March 23, 2009

One of Those Mondays - so, My Wedding Dress

Sorry I haven't been around visiting your lovely blogs much lately. Life's been goofy and weird, and I finally got sick. I woke up this morning and went right back to bed. Ugh. I feel like crap.

So, no Monday outfit, since only my nearest and dearest are "lucky" enough to see me in my robe. Instead, since it was our 12th anniversary yesterday, here's a few pictures of what L and I wore on that fun day. I wish I had a picture of Mom and Dad in their wedding finery so you could see the dress on her. (edit: here's a link to a picture of Mom and Dad: click here)
This is our "official" wedding picture, the one we have framed in the hall. I look ecstatically happy and L looks calm (if you could see his face, which I have obviously cropped out for his privacey).

L wore a vintage Nehru jacket and I wore my mom's wedding dress from 1965 (from the sale rack at Miss Frith's, I'm told). I squeezed into it with the help of a scuba suit, aka control undergarments. The picture above doesn't really do the dress justice, since the train is the coolest part:
Isn't that awesome? I love that it's a long skinny skirt with the train stuck on at the back. The only decoration is the cord and beading at the waist. Just nice and simple, and really, considering this is in 1997, it's not too dated looking.

I went with an ivy wreath with a couple of white roses in it for my head-piece (Mom's Jackie O veil was a little too costumey/vintagey overall with the dress for my taste). Yeah, what I got was nothing like what I ordered, and I ended up with this massive cake on my head all day and night. It weighed a ton.
My shoes are little Louis XVI numbers. I still have them somewhere.

The back of the dress:
My dad stepped on the train...after we teased him and teased him about stepping on it at his own wedding. *smile*

A close-up of L's jacket. The turquoise is raw silk, and all the black is hand-embroidered. If you look closely you can see that there are peacocks in the pattern.
A story about the jacket. L wasn't sure what he wanted to wear for the wedding - I'd know all along that I'd wear Mom's dress and that it had that 60s vibe to it - until we walked into a 2nd hand shop and saw this. The tag said "Mr. Gill" and it was priced at $89.99 (a lot of money to us!). L tried it on, and it fit perfectly. The shop clerk came over and said that Mr. Gill had ordered the jacket to be made in India in the 1960s, and to have it shipped over to Canada when it was done. However, by the time it arrived, Mr. Gill had gained quite a bit of weight, and it didn't fit. He never wore it, just stored it in his closet until he decided to consign it. He told the shop, "If someone walks in and it fits him, he can have $20 off." So we got it on sale, and thanks to Mr. Gill, L had an amazing wedding outfit. He's worn it several times since.

And here I am looking a little droopy several hours later, but still happy:
Yay, Happy Anniversary, L! Here's to another 12 years.

Dress (Mom's, Miss Frith's), shoes (some wedding shop), purse (Eaton's). On L: Jacket (vintage Nehru jacket, Mr. Gill's).

Friday, March 20, 2009

Casual Friday - Python Jacket

My new-to-me leather jacket with stamped python.
Working the rocker chick look (the usual). Jeans, ruffled black shirt, loads of chains, plain black booties, and L's belt that I grabbed at the last minute. To my relief, reactions to the jacket were actually pretty positive. I was a little worried that people would loathe it. As Ruth so accurately put it, "It's hideously fabulous!"

The chestal region and all the chains.
The stuff:
I liked the mess of chains -I felt that really made this look work.

Now, I'm not a brand snob. If this jacket had had no label in it at all, I would still have bought it due to the nice quality and fit (not to mention the price: $24.99). But I love it when it turns out to be a good brand.
Happy weekend!

Jacket (Bebe, thrift), shirt (Oxmo), jeans (Seven7, swap from Caro), boots (Rinaldi), chains (Plum and Jacob), belt (Le Chateau for Men, L's, gift from me), white gold hoop earrings.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

These Boots Were Made For Gawkin'

Oh, the boots. The sweet, sweet boots.
Okay, the dress is pretty cool too, I'll admit it. I actually got a thumbs up from one of my male co-workers on this outfit today.

The stuff:
Love that plaid. It's got all the good colours in it.

But really, let's not fool ourselves. For today, it was all about the boots:
The Blind Faith Hi "Rebecca" by John Fluevog. *sigh* Aren't they awesome? The zig-zag stitching up the side, the two metal studs, the striped heel and the rock 'n' roll industrial zippers up the front (the front!).

The colour is peat (aka brownish black). The characteristics of the Blind Faith Hi (the Hi refers to the heel height; there are also Blind Faith Mid and Lo) family are the striped wooden heels and the funky soles (souls?).
At the very bottom, it says "You need it to see where you are going."

I know where I am going in these!

Dress (Vero Moda), turtleneck (Kersh), belt (consignment), boots (Fluevog, gift from L), earrings (book club gift).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Feelin' the 80s - or Is It the 50s?

I built the outfit around this classic pencil skirt that I found in a retro shop in Vancouver over the weekend. It was half price, marked down to $15!
It has equal slits in the front and back and is high-waisted (although not an exaggerated high waist). The front of the skirt is plain, but the back of it has an extra detail at the waist that I love:

It's slightly higher and wraps over and buttons. It's those kind of details that I always look for.

It is 100% wool and has to be felt to be believed - the quality is fantastic. It's fully lined and doesn't wrinkle and is incredibly soft. I did some research on the brand, Gianfranco Ferre, and can see the architectural influence (and also why the House of Dior chose him as their designer in 1989).

I suspect that the "Giorgio Beverly Hills" label is not original (the sewing is not very good), but surprisingly, I found almost nothing about clothing sold by them. Apparently they are known for perfume (I remember when "Red" came out), which I never wear. Maybe they carried this line in the 80s?

Anyway, based on all that, I think I totally scored on this skirt!

The accessories:
My leopard Steve Maddens, my leopard scarf, and my Gucci knock-off eelskin bracelet. Funny about the bracelet: my Mom and Dad bought this for me in Italy. It's 24K gold plated (it says so in very large letters inside the band), and it's real eelskin, but the Gucci logo looks fake.
One of the Gs is upside down, which I think they don't do. I don't really care - I've had this bracelet since about 1989 and I like it. So there.

Sweater (Tobias), skirt (Gianfranco Ferre, thrift), shoes (Steve Madden), bracelet (fake Gucci, gift from Mom), scarf (Fairweather), gold hoop earrings.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Serve and Be Served!

So...these are one of my new pairs of Fluevogs! I'm so excited. I showed them to everyone and they all oohed and ahhed. Most gratifying.
My lovely husband bought them for me (and another pair of Fluevogs, coming this week) for our anniversary, which is this weekend. I bought him the red pair in the gargantuan post below.

Today's outfit was built around the plaid skirt, which has tan, red and blue in it.

The stuff:
The shoes are from John Fluevog's "Teapot" series (I was told they are discontinuing them...so sad!). Mine are called "Sencha" (a type of tea) and the colour is cherry.

Check this out:
The heel is like a teapot spout!

And the sole (won't be pristine like this for long):
Aw! So cute!

I like that.

Suit jacket (Le Chateau), gold blouse (some cheap brand, label's worn off), skirt (Jacob, consignment), belt (Plum), shoes (Fluevog), gold hoop earrings.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Early St. Patrick's Day?

...And moving right along...(note to self: skip future advice posts on men's fashion)

So! I planned my outfits in advance as usual, not even realizing that St. Patty's Day is tomorrow. And I only did green in one outfit, and I'm not monkeying with the outfits now.
I just wanted to wear this shirt today; it's one of my favourites.

A close-up of the chestal region. Look deeply into my new swirly ring...you're getting sleeeepy...

The stuff:
The first sighting of the ornate buckle belt since the last big Wardrobe Challenge!

Jacket (Jacob), blouse (Point Zero), suit skirt (Kensie), belt (Plum), shoes (Le Chateau), necklace (handmade, gift from Cat), ring (Caracol), crystal stud earrings.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Request: How Do I Spice Up My Man's Look for a Special Occasion?

From Alison:

I have a wedding to go to the end of May. My hubby, I'm having a hard time with.

You mentioned that you have been able to influence your hubby into the "Decadent Rock Star" look. My hubby is pretty pliable and will mostly let me dress him how ever I want, but I'd like to add a little edge to his dressed up look. I'm just at a loss. Have you seen the show Dirty Jobs with Mike Rowe? He pretty much dresses like him. Dickie's carpenter jeans and t-shirts. Well, hello, Mike Rowe! Aren't you a handsome fellow? Even if you are a little dirty.

I've met guys who are very rigid in their "style" and it can be pretty scary. Alison, you're lucky that your man is flexible - that's going to make this a whole lot easier.

First, let me say that the most appropriate thing to wear to a wedding for a guy is a suit. Always. However, I realize that a lot of guys don't a) own a suit b) don't want to go to the expense of getting a suit that they aren't going to wear very often c) have a suit but it doesn't fit or d) just don't feel comfortable in a suit.

For me, the absolute best thing for my husband to wear is what he's most comfortable in, but is also something he looks good in. For a lot of guys, that's a hard thing to figure out. If you're stressing out about getting him to dress up, just stop. It will take baby steps, and you might only get him to wear one piece at a time until he gets used to it.

I have two Rock Star looks that I've managed to get my husband to wear regularly: one is casual and one is dressy. The dressy one will work for most weddings, unless they are super formal (i.e. big cathedral, a zillion bridesmaids)...and in that case, bite the bullet and rent a suit instead of buying. The bride will thank you.

L wears a suit every day to work, so he's got that look nailed, no problem. My problem was that his casual wear tended to be limited to sports teams, and his dressy look was ill-fitting jeans with a shirt and tie. I've been fortunate in that L will actually wear stuff that I buy him, and listen to me when I suggest outfits.

Casual Rock Star

The Jeans: I prefer a dark wash, either blue, black or brown. Same rules as for women's jeans: avoid the big fades and tapered legs. Keep it to a straight leg or a slim leg (guys who are on the slim side look awesome in skinny jeans).

The Shoes: He'll need a decent pair of shoes with a bit of personality. I look for something with colour or a stylish detail. You can go more sporty (Vans) or more rock, or even a Doc Martens shoe. NOT SNEAKERS.I found these Leather Island skull shoes on clearance for about $40 - the skulls are highlighted with mini studs. The orange and blue are Fluevogs (D.O.G. Disciples of God), from the sample sale last year.

The T-shirt: Most guys have a drawer full of band t-shirts or free t-shirts they've gotten from god knows where. Go through the drawer and look for tees with a design that is intricate or framed centrally on the chest. L now specifically looks for designs like this when he shops, to incorporate into future outfits.
The KISS Army shirt, Judas Priest tour shirt and Rush tour shirt. All of these particular designs were chosen as the most aesthetically pleasing.

MTV rock tee (bought by me in NYC), a Cardboard Robot t-shirt with Halfway House angels (used to be mine when I was heavy).

The Shirt: The man probably has a few button down shirts already. For casual, you want shirts with personality or flair to them. The bowling shirt or Hawaiian shirt style can work really well with the casual look.
L's short-sleeved shirts: black satin with red Chinese dragons, flaming skulls, red satin with skully and crossbones, Hawaiian shirt with Boston Bruins logos. The three on the left were all bought in those skateboard shops; the Boston shirt is from a sports clothing store.

Short sleeve shirts can work well in the summertime, with or without the jacket. The shirt is worn open over the t-shirt. This creates a long line visually (good if your man has a bit of a tummy that he might be self-conscious about).

The Jacket: The key look to finishing this outfit is the jacket. Look for something with texture: velvet, plaid or a pinstripe. NO DENIM.
A cotton plaid blazer I found for $19.99 on the left (I love the pink pajama lining, and the thin red stripe in the brown plaid). The chocolate brown velvet pinstripe blazer on the right is from Guess ($49.99 on the clearance rack).

Your man can take the jacket off if he gets warm, and the casual look will still work fine.

The Accessories: A lot of guys resist accessorizing as they think it makes them look less manly, but you can work around this. Buy steel or silver for jewelry pieces and keep them simple. If he won't go for a necklace, try a cuff-style bracelet or ID bracelet. A funky ring often will appeal (especially skulls or that tribal type of design). If your guy is daring, a hat (a porkpie or small-brimmed grandpa hat) looks very funky in the spring/summer.

But the best accessory for most guys is a belt. L has two leather belts with removeable buckles. Once you have a couple of good quality leather belts, new buckles make great gifts.
The skull belt is from Le Chateau ($19.99), the lady buckle is from Metro Wear in San Francisco.

Here's L doing casual for a day out shopping.
Sorry, it's dark (hotel room lighting). He's doing the Judas Priest t-shirt, with a long-sleeved burgundy textured dress shirt, with the brown velvet Guess blazer. The jeans are a dark brown wash.

Decadent Rock Star (aka the dressy look)

If your man's not too sure about this look, keep it really simple. L has had 13+ years of me working on him and filling out his wardrobe; he's also very open to being "out there" with his own look. Work within the comfort limits of your guy.

The Shoes: You really want to go to town on a cool pair of shoes. I personally prefer something with a fairly pointy toe for that old-school punk look. Look for details, like crackled leather, embroidery or elaborate stitching. Splurge and buy him a good quality shoe that is comfortable. Unlike women, guys will not wear a shoe that hurts or rubs, and since this will be his "go to" shoe for most special occasions, you may as well get him a nice pair. He deserves it.
On the left, Robert Wayne (from Town Shoes) copper with black crackle finish and embroidery. In the middle, Fluevog red "Iggy" (just purchased this weekend!), with very stylin' leatherwork and stitching. On the right, another pair of Robert Waynes (from DSW clearance rack), with funky teal leather and lime croc detailing.

The Fluevogs that L wore all weekend (you can see how much he loves these and wears them). Nice shape and contrast stitching in a classic black.

The Pants: The look needs dress pant with an edge, like a pinstripe pant, or a pant with some texture (like a tux pant or even a pair of cords, as long as they don't look too casual - think thin-wale, not wide-wale).
These are L's pinstripe velvet black cords. They work well with either casual or dressy.

The T-shirt: Don't do the t-shirt with this look, although if it's cold, he can wear the same t-shirt as with the casual look - except he will be the only one who knows he's got his favourite band on underneath...

The Shirt: Again, details are the key. Embroidery, trim, French cuffs, shiny texture, a gothy design: these are what you are looking for. If your man's a little more country than rock 'n' roll, those cowboy shirts with the snaps come in dressier designs, but keep in mind that you want more of a vintage vibe than an authentic Western look.
From left: Hart Schaffner Marx floral/striped shirt (vintage, $49, purchased this weekend), embroidered knight on pinstripe (English Laundry), black Western-style with pearl snaps and embroidery stripe (Le Chateau), Robert Graham floral shirt, shiny cerulean blue shirt with shiny stripes (Le Chateau).

The Jacket: Think Sinatra, think Mick Jagger in the 60s, think Dave Navarro (yummy), think cool, decadent and a little over the edge. Velvet, brocade or a jacket with details like studs or metal buttons. You can use the same jacket as with the casual look, but only if it is a good quality fabric (not a thin cotton jacket).
On the left, vintage Mexx ($55, bought this weekend), grey with tan pinstripe. On the right, English Laundry "Rock Star" jacket, chocolate brown with black suede trim and brass studs.

The Accessories: The same belt/buckle will work fine, but the accessories should be punched up a bit (go to 11!). If the shirt has French cuffs, look in vintage stores for some jewelled cufflinks. A pinky ring, a neck chain, even a pin on the lapel of the jacket; these will all give his outfit the pizzazz he needs to feel like he is on the red carpet.
Here, L's doing a ruffled vintage tux shirt (it has French cuffs, and he's wearing a rhinestone square cufflink), his patterned leather belt and celtic knot belt buckle.

My chainmail necklace (handmade), a steel and rhinestone dress ring, and of course, the wedding ring.

Here's the whole Decadent Rock Star look put together:
L's doing a striped dress pant with this - it is black with a light brown and tan irregular stripe (close up above in the shoe picture). He's wearing the same chocolate brown velvet Guess blazer as he did for the casual look.

To give you a shopping list of the basics, in order of things your man needs the most to pull off the Decadent Rock Star look for a wedding:

- a good quality pair of funky dressy shoes. Black is the best colour to start with.

- a good blazer in a nice texture/material. If his favourite colour is blue, look for blue.

- a leather belt with an interesting buckle. Go with black for the belt, and let him pick the buckle (even if you hate it, see above pink lady buckle).

- a button down shirt with a pattern or texture. Steer him away from suit-y type shirts and look for a colour he might not otherwise do, like teal or purple. Keep the colour dark - really bright colours will scare him.


- Compliment him. "Mmmm...you look sexy in that jacket." or "Wow, those shoes totally rock!" or "Honey, you look like a rock star!" He will feel insecure about wearing things outside of his comfort zone, so you need to really let him know that he looks good in them. He also needs a couple of come-back lines in case his friends ask him. "This is my rock star look" is a good one.

- Put together outfits for him when you buy him a new piece. L didn't like the brown and red plaid jacket above until I showed him what to wear with it (eg. your Rush t-shirt, the knight shirt, your brown jeans, and your embroidered shoes).

- Ask him to trust you and just try it on. Many guys just can't picture how things will look together until they see them on. You need to point out things to him, like, "This jacket makes your shoulders look really broad. This shirt brings out the colour in your eyes. These pants make your butt look good." (heh, don't forget to give his tush a squeeze)

- Explain why certain things go together. We women tend to forget that we have all this background on texture, fabric and style accumulated from years of fashion magazines. Explain to him that these things all go together because all of these colours are in the shirt's pattern, or that you're using the texture (velvet, shiny, etc.) to make the outfit more visually interesting. L is a big-picture guy - he totally didn't clue into the details until I pointed them out.

Well, there you have it! I hope this was fun and helps you figure out how to get your husband to dress up for the wedding, Alison! Let me know how it goes!