Wednesday, 29 June 2016

Breaking News

I was interviewed on June 27 by Lisa Christiansen for the show On The Coast on CBC Radio One, Canada's national radio broadcaster, about Bill Cunningham's impact on my life. She had read my small tribute to Mr. Cunningham on Bag and a Beret and seen my street style blog and wanted to hear my thoughts on life with/without this great man.

If you'd like to hear what I said, go HERE. I'm at time code 01:01:00 for about five minutes. It's only a small part of a show called On The Coast, June 27. 

Thank you, Lisa Christiansen and Stephen Quinn, show host, for including me in your broadcast, as well as your kind words at the end of the segment. It was an absolute honour to be able to talk about this incredible man whose positive influence greatly affected my own style journey. He was loved around the world.

Lisa took my photo too and it's on her Twitter HERE. That will have to count as an outfit photo because I didn't post one here. Heh.

Sunday, 26 June 2016

Geriatric vagina and '80s power suit

I needed to go to the financial district last week and thought I should dress accordingly. So I wore a suit. This one has dots instead of pinstripes, it's bright orange instead of grey, vintage not new, and it's silky, pyjama style, and has linebacker shoulder pads. Other than that, I fit right in and was ready to address the board of directors.

When walking with these shoulder pads, my shoulders start gyrating like a washing machine, which has all kinds of personal '80s associations in terms of style and female empowerment. (I just realized that this woman/power image involves a home appliance! How wrong is that?!)


For something different, I made a cartoon in response to a comment I read on someone's blog which said that a doctor told her friend she has a geriatric vagina. Oh, really? This rant has been wanting to explode for several weeks now. Here it is. (Warning: If you hate this topic, you'd best leave now.)

I probably laughed more drawing this than you will reading it. You should see the stuff I deleted. Hahaha!

Back to the outfit:

And below, a closeup of my '80s power suit. I'm linking this up to Patti's Visible Monday at Not Dead Yet Style, Catherine's #iwillwearwhatilike at Not Dressed as Lamb, and Anne at SpyGirl for 52 Pick-me-up: Completion. It's the last week of her latest year-long colour theme project. Why not join us?

You can see the neon yellow lace blouse that united this jacket and pants for the first time since I bought the suit over two years ago. The tie is made of vintage fabric, and I'm wearing my orange elastic, front-lace corset belt. This is a new favourite outfit.

Finally, heartfelt thanks to Susan at une femme d'un certain âge for mentioning me in her recent thoughtful post THINKING ABOUT: THE MEANING OF PERSONAL STYLE.


Bill Cunningham (1929-2016)

[Edit: I was interviewed on JUNE 27 by Lisa Christiansen of CBC Radio One about Bill Cunningham and his impact on my life for the show On The Coast. You can listen to it HERE, about 5 minutes, starting at time code 01:01:00.]

I just found out that Bill Cunningham has died. I didn't know him personally, but this renowned NY artist/photographer had a direct and unlikely impact on the life of this middle-aged woman in Vancouver, Canada.

I remember clearly heading out alone to the theatre to watch a discount matinee of the documentary Bill Cunningham New York. Before the show started, in my seat in the dark, I furtively pulled my pink Munster Fluevog shoes from the plastic bag I had been clutching and slipped them on my feet. I had read up a bit about Mr. Cunningham beforehand, and properly shod I was ready to be swept away. I was.

Bill Cunningham. Bill Cunningham - his name rang in my head for weeks after the movie. When he saw the beauty of a woman in a wet blowing garbage bag, I fell in love. His unpretentious heartfelt drive and vision gave me hope. And confidence.

Soon after, I started a street style blog in Vancouver under the guiding force of his saying that if you look for beauty you will find it. This philosophy sustained me during the long, dark months of Vancouver's wet winters.

From these beginnings, this blog, Bag and a Beret, was born, and my own style confidence took off. While I have not thought of Mr. Cunningham specifically throughout this evolution, he was the star of the critical moment that launched it all and the person whose positive outlook buoyed me when I felt abandoned by beauty. I owe him tremendous thanks.

Bill Cunningham is an irreplaceable man. I am sad he is gone and rejoice in what he has shared.

Saturday, 18 June 2016

Good posture and bog facials

I'm not 20 anymore. It comes as quite a shock! 

How do I know this? Because today when I was walking across the city in these D&G heels, lugging two huge, stuffed-full, blue Ikea bags, one on each shoulder, I had to stop for a snack. Of course I often stop for a snack (I keep telling myself that my pants feel tighter because the laundry water is getting hotter and hotter), this time I wanted a rest as much or more than a snack.

Oh, but nature, she is not too cruel. She has gifted us with the diminishing ability to see things close-up as we age, which I'm convinced is to protect us from passing out from shock when we get up in the middle of the night and see our wrinkles in full definition in the mirror before we are fully awake.

There's not much I can do about the wrinkles part; that's okay. The annoying Top Blog recommends that I invest in a facialist. But they also recommend that I start slathering bee pollen all over my face at night. Do you know what that is?

Bees go out, stick gobs of pollen to their legs, fly it back home, and then head-butt it into little cells, mixing it with bee spit and nectar. Their family eats it, like bee porridge I suppose. Oh yes, I can see how that would be good for my face(?), and imagine all those poor hungry bees. No thank you. There are other foods that are good on my face, like chocolate pudding.

Just a cotton robe and pants with a silk blouse but I feel like an empress. I could be saying, "Did you wash your neck?"
O says that you are told to wash your neck in Japan before they cut off your head. Niiice. 

So why is it we think things that we eat are necessarily good to slop on our face? - coconut, honey, tea, yogurt, coffee, avocado, turmeric, berries. Why not just have breakfast in the tropics instead? I'm sure that would be good for my face. Then there's algae. And mud. Why don't we just all go swim in a bog? Mark my words, that will be the next big trend: "Romantic night-time Swim-with-the-Beavers bog facial tours!!"

On the issue of aging, one thing I that I think makes us look older is poor posture. I have three stellar tips in that department, none of that trendy, screamy, spandexed "STRENGTHEN YOUR CORE!" stuff.

Three Tips for Good Posture
1.  If your boss asks you to kiss his/her ass, ask him/her to please step up on a chair so you can avoid bending over. Or refuse for therapeutic reasons. I guarantee, if you refuse, you will walk taller, especially if you're trying to stand out in the unemployment line. 
2. Brush the chips off your shoulders, lighten the load. Put that cross you bear in the closet while you're at it. They ruin a good outfit and shoulder pads are passé.
3. Finally, if you have an angel on one shoulder and a devil on the other, for goodness sake, get rid of the angel! You'll have half the burden and twice the fun. This state may be achieved more quickly if you put your cross in the closet.

I'm wearing jewel tones, but where are the frickin' jewels? How does one make the leap from fabric to mineral? Tell me. Tell me that!

Seriously, I'm trying to work on improving my posture. While I brush my teeth, I stand up straight with my back and shoulders against the wall. It's easy (bonus) and has become a habit. Now I can copy that feeling when I go out without worrying that I'm holding my shoulders back at a freakish angle - it's supposed to feel like that.

The noodle walk above does not show the results of my self-improvement efforts to best effect. But it does show this fabulous robe outfit - no wonder I deluded myself into thinking I'm 20. Shelley of Forest City Fashionista gave me this robe a while back; this is its first outing. In today's breeze I got maximum benefit of its swooshy awesomeness.

Purple and green pattern cotton maxi robe from Shelley, thrifted Hilfiger cotton green paisley pants, vintage Prussian blue silk blouse, old thrifted D&G shoes, magic loupe from O, and an empty parking lot - it was a good day, even though I'm not 20. In fact, I'm glad I'm not 20, very glad. I'm wiser and way more mature, heck yeah.


I'll be linking this up to Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike. Patti of Not Dead Yet Style is on holiday or I'd link up to her too. I can't wait to read about her adventures in Canada! [Edit: Yes, I'm wearing wine too, which is the theme for Anne at SpyGirl, 52 Pick-me-up. I thought it was still neutrals, which this is not. I lift a glass. I'm linking!]

Have a great week, everyone! What's your favourite food to put on your face?

Also, thank you to Brigitte Woman magazine's online site in Germany for featuring me in their article Style icons over 50 - we learn from them. I'm listed as the Eccentric I think - the translation says Exzentrikerin. That's me. Thank you!

Saturday, 11 June 2016

Getting fizzy wrapped in PET bottles

Oh, the sweet ecstasy of well-resurrected garbage.

This dress is comprised of PET bottles, textile waste and/or other organic materials. It debuted in H&M's first sustainable line, the Garden Collection, in 2010. I found it at the thrift shop for $5, repeating the trash-to-treasure cycle yet again, recycling at its best. I call it the garbage that keeps on giving.

The dress is so feminine it cried out for a little edge - after all, it's been around the block a time or two, despite its excellent condition, like myself, heh - so I added a black scarf choker, black tights, Steve Madden combat boots, a satin obi belt, and an essential bouquet holster from a big old belt, which also made me feel a bit like a little VW bug with a vase on my  dashboard.

Wouldn't you agree that a bouquet creates a friendlier image in a holster than a gun? "Halt or I'll kill you with kindness!" - or face-slap you with flowers, which would in fact hurt. The plastic is hard and wretched. I bit the stems, like one of those women who bites stems and makes it look sexy, and kind of gagged. Another flower defense would be to hold them like garlic or a cross, as above, to keep away vampires.

And the rear view of the garment. You can see the little sparklies on my scarf choker and the obi ties, as well as the massive kimono-inspired sleeves. I couldn't believe this dress was on the $5 rack! My hair at the back is not as grey as the front. I call the shade souris (su'-ri, French for mouse, which sounds better than rodent).

Note how I've hooked my thumb conveniently in the bouquet holsterClearly it's a multipurpose accessory, like a pocket that doesn't hold a damned thing.

The bottom half of the necklace is from H&M and the top half chain from Tokyu Hands craft supply store in Tokyo. The flower pin  (used for modesty) was a gift made by Suzanne Carillo for the +40 Blogger Meetup last summer in Vancouver, and the earrings were thrifted.

Putting things in perspective - mulched flower in a concrete jungle.
I'll be linking this to Patti at Not Dead Yet Style for Visible Monday, Catherine at Not Dressed as Lamb for #iwillwearwhatilike, and Anne at SpyGirl for 52 Pick-me-up: Silver/Confusion/Clarity (my necklace).
And this last photo is my favourite of the day. The air exhaust system that vents into the alley kicked into major effect after the delivery trucks had all left, leaving me free to play in the stale air. I'm glad I wore a slip because the wind often blew the dress up to my dashboard! Too bad this dress isn't scratch 'n' sniff to freshen things up, but then it would probably smell like Coca Cola and I'd just start to fizz.

Yup, I felt like a million bucks in this outfit. Right after buying it I found out about the H&M/Bloglovin' "Breakthrough Fashion Blogger of the Year" Contest which required styling an H&M piece. The winner gets to be mentored by Man Repeller Leandra Medine for a year. I linked my Instagram photo of this outfit to the contest and this post as well.

I just looked at some of the other entries - oh, why did I do that?! Serious twenty-somethings wearing pressed neutral outfits professionally photographed, compared to my lightweight photographer, Tripod, a remote I call Dick, and my middle-aged-tween antics in piss alley.

Well, if I don't enter I definitely lose, and I must remember: comparison is the thief of joy. I had a blast doing this shoot with this stellar dress and would have done it regardless of any contest. Why? Because -

You can't keep good garbage down!

Recycling and feeling fabulous, how cool is that? I hope more big fashion retailers and manufacturers get on board that sustainability train and make good on their promises. Have you worn any good garbage lately? Do tell. Do they even make scratch 'n' sniff clothing?


Thanks for joining me all you new followers! And thank you to Jessica at Warning: Curves Ahead 24 Things Women Over 30 Should Wear for linking to my post with Shelley's awesome photo here, which has turned into a too-good-to-be-true ending to her stellar visit to Vancouver, 2.5 million views and counting. Bwhahaha! Hurrah for freedom of choice !!

Shelley's post on our get-together is HERE.

My VOGOFF magazine guidelines page is almost ready. Can you believe it's taken me this long? Don't answer that! Heh.

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