Easy breezy style

 

Welcome back to East Van Kiitten! Isn’t crazy how sometimes life gets totally in the way of doing fun things you love?! Here I am once again with an item that I have owned for a year or two, that I have worn perhaps once-this lovely, flowy cardigan, picked up at, you guessed it, a local thrift store.

I’ll often come across random pieces that for some reason or other I just love, even though they don’t really seem to be “me”. These things I guess take longer for me to figure out what to do with.

I ended up wearing this lovely cardigan with my favourite comfy, stretchy black pants. The seemingly dull t-shirt is made of linen, from J. Crew. Now I would not normally wear a t-shirt in taupe, but it is made of the most lovely linen, sheer and soft. It makes for a cool, sexy, summer top. And I love the look of a v-neck as opposed to a crew neck- I find it slimming.

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Buddha and owl necklaces

The long owl necklace I also find slimming, as does anything that draws the eye down. And because more is always better, I threw in the Buddha necklace on a leather thong. Buddha and the owl, together at last! I don’t generally wear much brown, but in the warmer months I find I gravitate to more natural, and earthy materials. Hence all the brown leather.

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Tooled leather and huaraches

This beautiful tooled leather bag I was lucky enough to acquire in Catalonia.  A few summers ago I got to join my husband and his band on tour in Europe. Once we got into Spain, I was pretty determined to get myself a leather bag. I really lucked out on this one, only 20 euros in a kiosk! I use this more than any other bag I own, and that’s saying something! Last winter I had the pleasure of going to Melaque, Mexico. Again, I was determined to purchase myself a local, quality product. I’d been wanting to get some traditional huaraches ever since I first learned about them, from a friend, probably 20 years ago. These are the most comfortable sandals, even from the very first wearing. I had wondered if all the straps would chafe, especially on a hot day, before being broken in. Not at all! These are just like walking barefoot, except the soles of your feet are protected. No wonder these shoes have been around since pre-Columbian times! The craftsmanship is amazing, and the price is right too- I think I paid around $20 CAD.

Now that I’ve finally gotten my head around this flowy cardigan, I’ve worn it many times. I think it will also do double-duty as a beach cover-up! Happy thrifting y’all! And never be afraid to try new things.

Sunday afternoon at the pub

My neighbourhood has a wonderful monthly event called Sundays for Sinners, at The Princeton Pub. I thought this would be a great opportunity to dust off my cowboy boots, that I haven’t worn in eons, plus do some much-needed catching up with friends.

Sometimes getting dressed to go out is like problem solving, or figuring out a puzzle. I knew I wanted to wear my cowboy boots, and I also knew that I really didn’t want to wear them in the traditional way, like with jeans and a western shirt, for example. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, but I just really felt that I wanted to do something different that day. But how to do it?

So I actually cheated a bit, and googled outfits with cowboy boots! I’d never done that before, and it certainly gave me some good ideas. This super long, leopard print cardigan turned out to be the perfect thing. I picked it up two years ago at some local thrift store, and had only worn it once. Being a slightly chilly spring day, it also made sense.

Then, the dress. More of a tunic, actually. I got it a few months ago for a whopping $5 at Value Village, and I just love it. I’ve worn it many times already, because it’s what I call an “idiot proof” dress. It looks great and feels great, no matter how bloated or gross I’m feeling that day. I find it really flattering and slimming,  it’s  comfortable, and simple enough to go with practically anything. And what can I say, but pockets! Every girl should have at least one “idiot proof” dress.

Finally, the accessories! The cap finished it off perfectly; it was especially bonus as I couldn’t be bothered to do anything with my hair. Then one of my many owl necklaces, and one of my favourite vintage tooled leather bags.  I don’t know, but I’ve always loved long, bold necklaces. Possibly because of how it brings the eye down in a flattering way.

Here is my friend Robin, a well-known local singer-songwriter. She has always rocked the casual look, and knows how to use accessories like nobody’s business. Mustard is not my favourite colour, but boy is it amazing on her! It makes her eyes look the most amazing gold colour. The scarf and beret go perfectly, and she has the most beautiful, 50’s style silk, watercolour print blouse underneath. And I must say I’m rather envious of her cross-body bag. Perfect pub outfit!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Don’t be afraid to wear that hat!

 

I’ve heard it said that hats are not for everyone. Or- “I can’t wear hats, they look terrible on me.” I need to disagree with that statement, I really think there’s a hat out there for everyone; it’s just a matter of finding the right one for you. Personally, I think most people don’t have the nerve to step out wearing a great hat. But isn’t that what fashion, and more importantly, style, is all about? Having the guts to go out, rocking your own look?

I’ve been collecting and wearing hats, probably since I discovered vintage way back in my teens. I used to have quite a large collection of vintage hats, but have gotten rid of lots of them, partly due to lack of space, and also because I wasn’t utilizing them as much as I should have. I remember having a really crappy white bolero that I found at some thrift store, and I wanted it to be black- so I spray painted it! It didn’t turn out so well, but I didn’t care, and I wore it lots, with my jodhpurs, or my 70’s suede jacket. It was pretty great with my Jean Harlow hair that I had at the time. When I returned from living in Finland for 2 years, the hat was gone. My mom hated it, and had thrown it out.

Somehow, after all these years, (around 25!) I got it into my head that I really wanted a bolero again. I’ve been looking for a few years, and even enlisted my husband to search for me, while he was on tour in Spain. Finally I spotted this hat at Del Monico Hatters online, and it’s exactly what I wanted!  It’s really well made, wool of course. Not thrifty by any means, but I love it, and I’m sure I’ll wear it for many years, and make a statement with it wherever I go.

The rest of the outfit:

  • cashmere dress from Club Monaco-thrift store find
  • bright fuchsia tights that I had kicking around for years
  • wing tip shoes that I picked up last week at the VGH thrift store for $8!!
  • boyfriend jacket that I found at Value Village a few years ago for $10
  • silly black and white plastic drop earrings that I’ve had forever

Sorry mom, you never really got rid of the hat! (By the way, my mom is one of those people who thinks she can’t wear hats!) And of course I’ve decided to make more of an effort to wear the hats that I do have, and go out in the world, doing my thing, and not caring what anybody thinks. Because why not? I’ll be 50 before you know it!

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The name-drop issue

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The shirt says it all.

I guess I was feeling kind of badass today, and this is what I came up with.  I love this band, the Boids. I’ve toured with them a couple of times, while they were on tour with my husband’s band The Real McKenzies. They were kind enough to give me this awesome t-shirt. I have stacks and stacks of  band T-shirts in black, so I just had to get my hands on a red one. This song “Fuck your Macho Bullshit” is from their album Superbafrango. I just love the message, because, hey, who doesn’t love cussing? And as a woman, yeah, I can do without anyone’s macho bullshit. This is my interpretation of a #metoo shirt; yes, I’ve had plenty of unpleasant things happen to me, as I’m sure every woman out there has. I can make myself heard too, in my own, cussing, bright red shirt-wearing way.

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Red socks with sock monkeys and scuffed Doc Martens. Because.

The red socks and Doc Martens combo I have to admit are inspired by the lovely Rad Baztard, one of my favourite bartenders at my favourite local watering hole, What’s Up? Hot Dog. Rad is in a really fun punk rock band called the Isotopes. Him and his partner Jill are always wearing the funnest outfits whenever I pop in to see them. For decades, I never, ever, wore anything but black socks. But these days I have no problem injecting some additional colour into my wardrobe, especially red. Now if only I could find one of these belts with rivets in red. I’ve been searching for months!

In a way, punk rock, or rock and roll looks, are pretty classic in their own way. Denim and  motorcycle jackets, Doc Martens or motorcycle boots will always be part of the “uniform”. (The subject of “The Uniform” is going to be whole ‘nother post!) But it is nice to see the uniform evolve and change over time, even for an old, stalwart, black-socks-only wearing person like myself. One cannot deny the practicality of everything in this outfit. Jeans, the original working man’s trousers. T-shirts, have been a part of the dictionary since the 1920s. The black leather biker jacket, has also been around at least since the 1950s. Think Marlon Brando, or James Dean. Yes, I often wear my jacket while riding my motorcycle, so it is not just for show. Doc Martens have been around since 1947. Why do I wear mine all the time? Because not only do they look cool, but they go with practically everything, and are the most comfortable walking shoes that I have. Of course I also had 8-holes “back in the day” like any good punk rock kid! So we take all these classic pieces, and put them together, and viola! Instant subversive uniform. Yes folks, that was sarcasm.

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Spotty Girl

This contemporary outfit has a fun, vintage vibe to it. Every item has been sourced from a thirft store. I’m mixing prints here, but it works. The common theme is of course black and white, and the two different animal prints work just fine with classic polka dots.

I pretty much always wear accessories. I feel naked going out of the house without them. And frankly, this outfit would be quite dull otherwise. Hence this adorable wool and angora beret, originally from Atmosphere, and the cotton short-sleeve cardigan, from Jacob. The silk scarf is  Anne Klein, and it gets plenty of use. I’ve been wearing hats a lot lately, berets in particular. I guess I just really like the French thing, and obviously is great for days when I can’t be bothered to do anything with my hair.  The simplest, plainest outfit can be brought to life with some fun accessories.  I could easily see this same combo brightened up with a red hat and scarf, or some red shoes.

I love wide-legged trousers. They look so chic, and are oh-so 1930s Hollywood. These ones are rather high-waisted, with a flattering front panel, and a zip up the back. They are just an inexpensive mall brand, but I think they are pretty cute. Of course they look much better pressed!

The charm bracelet is a hoot. This is the real deal, an old lady charm bracelet, inherited from an (ahem) old lady. It even has a charm that says Granny; my favourite is by far the teapot, with a lid that actually opens. And it makes such a fun, musical sound when it is being worn. The tooled leather bag, absolutely becoming a staple of my wardrobe.  And finally, the trench coat. I sure have been wearing it a lot lately, but hey, I live in Raincouver, it goes with so many things, it’s classic, and I love it. I can look like a greasy punker another day. Because hey, I like to mix it up. Always keep folks guessing, I say.

 

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London Fog trench and vintage bag

 

 

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Welcome to Spring

Spring has sprung quite nicely, at least in my little corner of the world. My daughter is off school for 2 weeks for spring break, and it’s lovely out today. We’re off doing errands in the neighbourhood, and I’m feeling bright!

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Dress from Dots Discount Designer Wear, Victoria, BC.

I start my Spring outfit with a dress from Dots in Victoria. This cute little dress cost me all of $5, new! I love the splashes of colour, and the cut is very forgiving. Though it’s sunny out, it’s still not warm, maybe 10 degrees Celsius, and I’m not ready for bare legs. I’m feeling that bright tights are the way to go. So I dig through the various colours, and teal feels right. I’m not sure why exactly I have so many different colour tights; I guess I just collected them when I was working at a thrift store . They’re not really something that I would go out and buy new, unless it was for a very specific outfit. I guess that’s how I end up with most of my funky, random things. The next step (ha ha!) was shoes, and my 10-year old thought that blue suede loafers were the right choice. I wouldn’t necessarily have chosen them, but I am now in love with this shoe and tights combo. These shoes I purchased  at Spring many years ago while working as an assistant costume designer. I love them, they are comfortable; why do I wear them so rarely? It must be the subconscious Vancouver rain thing- I don’t want to ruin these shoes by getting caught in a downpour. But I think I’m over it now, finally!

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London Fog trench and vintage bag, both from Value Village.

 

The dress is sleeveless, so I topped it with a long black cardigan to keep warm, and my wonderful $25 London Fog trench. I have already gotten so much use out of it, it’s absolutely the perfect spring topper for Vancouver. Then I finished it off with the cutest pale blue Angora beret, and this black tooled leather bag. When I spotted the bag at Value Village for $12, I grabbed it and paid for it as quick as I could, before someone realized they had made a mistake! It cracks me up to think how long it took me to figure out that I could pair the beret with the shoes- I’ve had both items for several years. Not a perfect colour match, but close enough for me.

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Vintage tooled leather.
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My daughter took this photo. Thanks lassie!

Later in the day, my daughter wanted to go out for a bike ride, so I kept the dress, put on some grey leggings, and these adorable Keds, another great Value Village find at $3. I don’t generally like mixing prints, but the colours matched the dress so perfectly, and I thought it was a very fun look. Add my jean jacket, and it’s off to the park we go! If you are shopping for the perfect jean jacket, I swear this is it. I have two; one old and faded and covered with patches, and this newer one. The original one I purchased new at the Gap a few years ago. I’m sure you have surmised by now that I don’t generally frequent establishments like the Gap, but sometimes you just gotta. It has 2 breast pockets, two roomy pockets for your hands, and two very spacious inside pockets-virtually unheard of in a women’s garment, which makes this the perfect traveling jacket, or for those days you can’t be bothered with a purse. The fit is very nice too, tailored to a woman’s shape, not boxy at all. This jacket is pretty much my uniform in the summer- it just seems to go with everything! Happy Spring and happy thrifting!

 

 

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Baby, it’s still cold outside!

It’s still freezing out. and you want to be warm, stylish, and not wipe out on the ice. Where do you start to build your outfit? Sometimes it starts with the dress. Sometimes the coat, sometimes the accessories. In  this case, it started with my brand new $10 dress, purchased at a great little discount store in Victoria, B.C., called Dots.

A wrap dress is flattering on most body types, especially if you overdid it during the holidays. Not naming any names here. This knit dress is so great for what I paid for it (original price $80), and a great starting point for a winter outfit. The aubergine is perfect to pair with these bright, cold weather accessories, some of which I hadn’t had much opportunity to use. Pink angora gloves that were given to me several years ago, a closely matching beret, found in some thrift store, also long ago. But the real score here is the like-new Missoni scarf I found 2 winters ago, for which I paid only a few dollars! A real treasure.

I really have a thing for matching; it’s almost like a sickness, I just can’t help it. I recall one of my instructors in design school laughing at me every morning, when I would come stumbling into class at 8 a.m. The socks would match my T-shirt. My belt would match my shoes, or whatever it was that I was matching that day. Which brings me to another point- some “style experts” say that if you have’t worn something in a year, get rid of it. Well I call bullsh*t on that concept! Sometimes you love a particular piece, but for whatever reason, don’t use it. Sometimes it takes awhile to figure out how you’re going to wear it, or you’re waiting for inspiration. Other times, you just need to be in the mood; I find I go through phases. I’m so glad I didn’t get rid of those cute pink gloves, because I’ve been wearing them every day this week with the beret and scarf.

Lastly, the coat. This I found recently at Value Village. It was a bit more than I would normally spend there, but it is such a beautiful, classic coat, in perfect condition, that I would say that it qualifies as an investment piece. I’m fairly certain it is vintage- the label reads “Forecaster of Boston”; it is 100% wool, full length, menswear inspired with a black velvet collar. I will enjoy this coat for years to come.  And it’s so long, it hardly even matters what you’re wearing underneath!IMG_8654IMG_8628

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Beautiful Missoni scarf
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Purchased 10 (!!) years ago in Whistler while stranded there in a snow storm. Wedge heel, and great traction.
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50 cents at a yard sale
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Vintage panther brooch with pink rhinestones! Oh my!

Stay warm and safe out there folks! No wiping out on the ice allowed!

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