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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It’s a Rock ‘n Roll weekend

This weekend I was tagging along on a wee bit of a tour with my husband’s band, The Real McKenzies. I joined him in Victoria, BC, and again the next day in hometown Vancouver. The forecast called for cold and wet (surprise!) so I opted for this incredibly cool leather coat that I haven’t worn nearly enough. Paul acquired it for me in Europe- it is a WWII German police officer’s coat. It’s really heavy, and warm. It was just the thing for the ferry crossing to Victoria, and it doesn’t get much more rock ‘n roll than head-to-toe leather!

There is very little thrifty about this posting; the coat was about $350, but I’m sure it will keep its value, and man will it ever be great on my motorbike. This totally reminds of the creepy character Willem Dafoe plays in The Grand Budapest Hotel; this is exactly the coat he would wear. Dayton Boots are a beautiful thing. This company has been around making hand-made boots since 1946. They started out with men’s work boots, and later added motorcycle boots. They start at about $500, but are worth every penny, because  these boots will probably last for decades; my first pair is over 20 years old, and still look and feel great.  Paul had me order these exorbitant tall, zippered, custom motorcycle boots, and he claims that I will be buried in them. For the amount of money I paid for them, I sure hope so! And you gotta have good sturdy boots when you’re in the mosh pit.

My husband is quite the shopper too. Somewhere while touring in the US, he bought me this black Panama Jack hat. I kind of scratched my head dubiously when I first saw it, but then quickly realized that he sometimes knows me better than I know myself. I pretty much always wear this hat when I travel, and of course it is great in the rain. 99% of the time I can’t be bothered with umbrellas, so a great hat is the way to go. I love every item in this outfit, they are all really special. But I hold an especially warm place in my heart for this ancient McKenzie pladdie, which was given to Paul a few years ago. It is also great for travelling; it’s a scarf, it’s a wrap, it’s a blanket, and can even be a sarong in a pinch.

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I find the pladdie always just makes the outfit. So elegant.

Whenever I go to a McKenzie’s show, I always always wear the pladdie, for obvious reasons! It’s the family colours after all, it is just such a cool and beautiful thing to wear, and I’m honoured that Paul always lets me wear it. It is truly the linch pin of my rock n’ roll outfit, and I wear it with pride. Speaking of pride, I always wear my Finnish Kalevala jewelry too, because I want to fly my flag as well as Paul’s; besides, the Finnish and Scottish flags rock the same colours! This stuff is also not inexpensive. The long necklace I acquired 20 years ago while living in Finland; I believe it was worth several hundred dollars, but this too I treasure.

The vegan leather miniskirt I bought at H&M when they first opened in Vancouver. It’s a great travel skirt, with 3 deep zippered pockets. The shimmery navy leather top is by Danier, another recent favourite from Value Village, because for 15 bucks, it is sexy and slimming! The leather pouch I purchased at a now-closed store on Commercial Drive in Vancouver called Rabbit and Empee. I spotted one very similar on a female musician during another tour, and had to have one. It’s like a belt, and a fanny pack, but way cooler! It will keep your money and passport safe, has a spot for your cell phone and cash, and another wee pocket for your earplugs and lipstick. The perfect touring hands-free purse. I like to complete my show-day outfit with a hat. Sometimes it’s my bonnie blue bonnet, on this occasion I opted for this wee tam. It is actually McLaren tartan, but close enough to McKenzie that I thought I could get away with it.

So there you have it folks! Extremely traditional, combined with a modern punk rock aesthetic!

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The McKenzie colours vibrate!
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My Kalevala jewelry
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Thistle pin, purchased in a thrift store
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Cooler than a fanny pack
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It’s a family affair
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Paul is wearing his beautiful, custom made McKenzie kilt with a horsehair sporran from the 1930’s, Dayton motorcycle boots, traditional kilt belt, socks, and flashes.

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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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Baby, it’s cold outside!

IMG_8623The last few days, the thermometer has been hovering between 0 degrees and minus 7. That’s Celsius, folks! That’s really cold for Vancouver, where we’re more used to rain in winter, not cold. So the trick is, how to look sharp, and stay warm? The answer may be- BORG! No, not a creature from Star Trek. Yes, the fun, fluffy, 70’s, so-faux fur. It doesn’t weigh a thing, and they are really warm. This particular so-tacky-it’s-good number is my latest acquisition from my local neighbourhood haunt, Value Village. I was recently there for a big 50% off event. This wonderful coat was ticketed at $9.99. First I saw some young raver guy walking around with it on, testing it out. I thought it was gone to a good home. Then later I saw it back on the rack. For 5 bucks, I couldn’t resist. Even if I only wear it once, it’s worth every penny! And I love me some spots; leopard, Dalmatian, polka dots. Black and white prints I’m always drawn to, because of course they are so easy to wear with black or with white, but also they are the perfect backdrop for brights. I’m partial to red, myself.

It was staring at me for a couple of weeks before I decided what to do with it, and of course it needed to be cold enough. Today was the day. The shoulders are huge! The sleeves are a bit too short! But I don’t care, because I love this hilarious coat. I wore it out to lunch with my husband, and it was just the ticket. I couldn’t be bothered to do my hair, so topping it with my Greek fisherman’s hat seemed ideal, and warm. Being a beautiful, bright day, off I went to sushi with my (prescription) Raybans. (Hey, I’m old. They were an investment, and they are great for driving!) Dark skinny jeans, cream fisherman’s sweater, black scarf, and Doc Martens tied it all together. Warm, stylish, cheap. What else could be better? Until I got home, and saw that the darn thing has belt loops! I’ll have to try out that option at a later date.

For those dry-cleaning addicts out there, another thing I love about Borg is that you don’t need to be afraid to wash it. Gentle wash in your machine, just the coat, and fill the tub with water. Tumble dry for maybe 10 minutes to get the wrinkles out, then hang to dry on a coat hanger. Make it all pretty with a steamer, if you have one. And voila, a freshly washed coat; you saved money, saved the life of your garment, and the environment.

As per usual, every item I’m wearing is second-hand, except for the Raybans. Cheers!

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