2012-08-31

Confessions of a Shopaholic.

I need a new vehicle. I've been saying it for a year now. My truck looks pretty bad, it often sounds pretty bad and lately I've taken to whispering sweet words of encouragement as it struggles up a hill. Last year I thought it would be nice to get something a little more reliable, this year the truck is on its very, very last legs. The situation is dire. The smart thing would have been to start saving a year ago but there were basements to be finished, places to go and dresses to buy. Faced with a dying vehicle, I responded reactively (instead of proactively...) and I put the brakes on my shopping habit.
As it turns out, I am a shopaholic. You are not surprised. I am a little. Before this shopping break, I would have told you that I was not a shopaholic and that I simply enjoy shopping very much. But it seems I actually have a compulsive need to buy stuff. Stepping away from it has been eye opening.
Years ago, in one of my last years of high school, my parents bought me a sparkly denim Steve Madden cross body bag for my birthday. I was also in need of some new school clothes, so in the same week, I also got a pair of l.e.i. flares and a 3/4 sleeve periwinkle top. I remember every detail of that outfit. A crossbody bag (name brand... what up?), flares and a 3/4 sleeve top all in one outfit? Those three new and trendy items were a crazy luxury to me. I don't think I stopped smiling for a month.
Fast forward a couple of years (fine... a decade) and I'm going to the thrift store. Apparently I'm pretty good at the thrift store, so I leave with a giant bag stuffed with 7 items. I feel excited and happy with my haul. Two days later I'm at Winners. One of the vintage dresses I thrifted would look so good with cognac heels and I have beige heels and brown heels but I don't have cognac heels. I don't find a good pair of cognac heels but I find another dress. And it's so cute... and a great price... On the way home, I stop at a drug store to get some detergent and...ohhhhh... I get distracted by some new lipsticks. Maroon is the hot new lip colour this fall, so I have been told, and I better stock up. The next day I realize I never bought the detergent, so I get them on my way home from work. Detergent... and a magazine too. I see a cute herringbone blazer in an editorial spread in the magazine... I could thrift that. Back to the thrift store I go.
That is the hamster wheel I have been running on. It is never enough.

I'm pretty good at easing my conscience. I've got my excuses lined up. I mean, how can you say no to a good deal? Because that is what most of my purchases are. Good deals. No, great deals. I have a closet full of silk, wool and leather for a fraction of the original price. There are name brands in my closet that I have no business having. You might be athletic or really good at those excel spread sheets; I'm good at shopping. I figure it would be a waste of my talents to stay out of stores...
I also share well with others. All my friends know that if they are in a wardrobe pinch, they are always free to come browse the selections in my closet. I usually even pour them an adult beverage. We gossip, sip drinks and try to make something work. My closet is like a library, but for clothes. You know what? I need a tax receipt for this kindness...
Besides, there are people who buy and spend way more than I do. I shop the sale rack and look for those extra discount signs with a trained eye but there are people who buy things without a sale sticker. That J. Crew catalogue comes out and two days later the chevron sequin of the season is at their door. Clearly, I'm the sensible shopper here...

And so the excuses go on...

But these last few weeks, in the absense of shopping, I noticed how much I missed the rush of shopping. And it's frightening to realize that I am missing not just the items I would be buying, but also the high I get off shopping. I shop to celebrate, I shop when I am sad and I shop to distract from the stresses in my head. It's an addiction that I can't seem to satisfy. I usually love this time of year, those final summer sales steal my heart. In order to avoid shopping, I just don't go in any clothing stores at all. I'm leaving nose prints on store windows because I know if I go in and hit a sale rack, a bag will come home with me.
I'm not saying that shopping in itself is bad. Even excessive shopping. If you have the financial means and you aren't using shopping as an unhealthy crutch, by all means, go for it. Appreciate that you are able to afford and enjoy 'things'. The fashion industry as a whole often gets hit with the label of being frivolous. Yes, much of fashion is completely frivilous, filling a want, not a need. But so is that giant TV, that fancy area rug and the Starbucks mug in your hand. They are nice luxuries but there is no harm in being reminded once in a while of the fact that they all are, at the end of the day, just luxuries.
It would be easy to blame my shopping habits on fashion blogging. After all, there is this continual need to show something new. I'm pretty sure I would still have a lot of clothes even without blogging. I can blame fashion blogging for my short lived foray into pigeon toes but I'm a shopaholic all on my own.

This isn't a post to say that I am going to stop shopping. I don't want to be the poster child for Fashion Bloggers Against Shopping.
Who am I kidding? Yeah I do. Put this on your sidebar kids if you want to join the crusade. My duckface on your sidebar? Do it.

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Actually, this isn't about you, it's about me. I need to have more control. I'm not going to promise to never shop. I've already been to a garage sale... I got a sequin shirt and I left the purple sports jacket behind. Even though I don't have a purple sports jacket! We call it progress.
I need to stop using shopping as a way to react to every emotion. I need to be able to walk into a store without feeling the immediate need to purchase some... stuff. I need to shop with intention and stop being an idiot. I need to buy a vehicle that runs without sweet words of encouragement.



2012-08-29

Repeat

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Skirt? Thrifted (similar here in purple and berry) Tee? Joe Fresh  Watch? c/BCBG
Shoes? L.A.M.B., Winners (similar and undoubtedly more walkable here) Clutch? Thrifted  

This outfit reminds me of this outfit post from 4 summers ago. Yes, it seems I've been posing in front of brick walls for 4 summers. I always did get A's for 'using time wisely' on my school report cards...
I certainly don't love every outfit I have worn on the blog but I  appreciate that outfit as much now, as I did then. A soft tee and a bright pencil skirt are a good match in my book. And while that outfit would likely make it into my hypothetical list of the Top 10 Outfits of Life (or of The Blog... an example wherein life and blog can be interchanged) and this one here won't, I still do quite like this look.
I'm sure someone is going to look at my outfit and think of their school colours but I love the contrast of the orange against purple. The only downside is that the waistband of the skirt is rather snug. It made a second servings of my Mama's cooking a painful thing this past weekend. But I handled it because I am unwilling to let go of either my purple pencil skirt or that second helping...

2012-08-27

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Dress? h&m (old) Shoes? Ralph Lauren, DSW (hereBelt? Michael Kors, Winners Clutch? Thrifted

Matt and I celebrated our 6th wedding anniversary over the weekend (a wedding pic here if you are interested). We had a lazy day that included some garage sales, beach time and dressing up to enjoy a patio for a couple hours on a hot summer evening. It goes without saying that I took the 'dressing up' more seriously than Matt did...
Sometimes being married for 6 years feels like a long time and sometimes it feels like we are just novices at this marriage thing. We argued the other day (the only time we have ever argued obviously...) about food choices at fall fairs. What the ratio of healthy food to deep fried food should be and if it should be mandated. It sounds so stupid and it was. I stopped halfway through a heated rant to ask 'are we really fighting over this?' and when it was confirmed that, yes, we were, I continued on full steam ahead. We just needed to get that out of our system.
Sometimes we fight about more important things than the food at the fair. Sometimes I have a bad day. Sometimes Matt has a bad day. Sometimes it just is a bad day. But most of the time we are really blessed. There is not a night that I don't go to bed thankful to have Matt and his groan inducing, but well timed, puns in my life. I'm also grateful for his dimples, that cat towel he gave me and the poly blend golf shirts he always wears to work. Those golf shirts are the ugliest thing of life but just as he is never embarrassed of my fashion statements, I have learned to just let it go... Best of all, those shirts dry easily and sometimes it's just nice to just cry your problems (or your hormonal swings) unto the shoulder of one who loves you.

Thank you Matt for being you. And for letting me be me.

2012-08-24

Hey Hamilton!

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(A Hamilton sunset, a quick unfiltered snap from my iPhone while out on a run.)

This post is kind of old news by now but I am the queen of old news. At least I am now that I stopped reading Perez Hilton... Did you know Tom Cruise and Nicole Kidman broke up? Mind blasting...

Anyways, a few weeks back I read on twitter that Hamilton (that's my city yo!) had been named the 4th worst dressed city in the world. I did the mature thing and tweeted back with something snarky. Then I wrote a more thorough response for CBC Hamilton and then I responded again in a short video for The Spec. I feel as if I have by now officially beat the dead horse on that subject. Nevertheless, it was fun to write a piece for CBC and to see that I don't look too nonplussed or sweaty* in the video, even though I feel like my mind went a little blank.

*It should be noted that the upward camera angle used for a few seconds in the video is not my friend...

2012-08-23

Sole Mates

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Shawl as dress? Gift from my in-laws Sandals? Asos (reddish, blue or white) Belt? Thrifted

So these sandals... they hardly seem to leave my feet lately. Plain, comfortable sandals are where it's at... and to think I just bought them as an afterthought.
You see, someone kindly gave me a gift certificate to Asos and I, of course, found a dress to buy. Because my heart belongs to Matt, the cats and dresses... With the money left on the giftcard I took a chance on these sandals. They seemed cute and they were on sale.
If I had been wise (or even just practical), I would have measured myself to figure out the size I needed to order for the dress but instead, I just figured I was about twice as big as the model wearing a size 4 and I ordered a size 8*. By now you know where this story is going... The dress arrived. It was far too small. But the sandals? They are awesome! If I could have anticipated their awesomeness I would have ordered another pair in the same colour. Instead I am left with a too small dress... and it was massively discounted so it's not even worth returning... It shall be passed on to a lucky friend, who is only allowed to wear it around me if I am wearing these sandals at the same time. That way I can have visual reminder of the silver lining on my dark cloud of dress purchasing foolishness...


*Or... I usually wear 8's so I was lazy and ordered 'the usual'...


2012-08-22

Dye or Hem

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Dress? Gift from the local boutique White Elephant (they sell a selection online too and their stuff is top notch) Shoes? Ash (very similar here) Watch? c/o BCBG Wristlet? Thrifted

I was originally going to dye this dress navy blue and wear it as a bridesmaid's dress. Then the other bridesmaids went shopping individually and somehow ended up with very similar style dresses and this vintage dress suddenly looked a little out of place. For the wedding, I ended up wearing a navy Gap dress that was hanging in my closet, buying a new pair of shoes to keep things fresh (basically I just justified buying myself a new pair of shoes) and enjoying a great day with a lovely couple and a very fun wedding party.
Without the need to dye the dress for the wedding, I just put in a temporary hem. To be honest, for all my spoken bravado in my confidence to dye this dress, I was a little worried I would mess it up. It's one thing to do bleach experiments on a thrifted pair of h&m jeans but it is entirely something else to be messing around with good vintage, a tub of permanent dye and inexperience. I would be a total hypocrite after all my preaching about having respect for vintage, if I ruined the dress. Temporary hems are a guilt free way of altering vintage. I love the dress as a cream mini dress! Give me a hem and I'll raise it... That should be my motto. 

2012-08-20

Hits and Misses

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Vest? Thrifted (similar here) Jeans? FCUK, Winners Tank? Roots Sandals? Asos (white or blue)
Purse? Tignanello, thrifted Sunglasses? Betsey Johnson

Sometimes I wish I had a signature look. That everyday I would put on some variation of that same look and slay you all with my non-stop chicness. As an international style icon, I would go through packs of cigarettes a day as street photographers would jostle to capture me hailing a cab or checking my phone.
Instead this blog is a little like a personal fashion experiment. Over the 3 plus years that I have recorded what I wear, there have been some hits and there have been some misses. I hope there are more hits as I get older and infinitely more mature. I'm figuring out what works with my body and what trends I actually like, instead of what trends J. Crew likes. Yes, J. Crew made socks and peep toes look styled and sharp in their catalogues but I just looked (and probably felt) like an idiot and I can admit that now.
That is not to say that I want to stop fashion experimentation. I love clothes; their shape, their texture and their possibilities. I mostly love that I am at a place where I feel equally as comfortable in a vintage dress, as in a baggy, bleach splattered pair of jeans. Fashion should be fun and I am having fun getting dressed. And as always, I will continue to wait for that street style photographer to capture me. I've been faux-hailing a cab for three years now and not once have I been snapped. What gives?

2012-08-18

This Week I Thrifted...

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(thrifted sweater, old H&M leather necklace)

What? New w/ tags Acrylic sweater
Where? Salvation Army, Parry Sound
How Much? $6

I got this sweater at a Salvation Army up in Parry Sound while we were away this week. In the time it took Matt to gas up his vehicle nearby, I had done a good sweep of the store, found this sweater and listened to a woman give the breakdown on her menopausal status to anyone nearby. I bought the sweater because snuggly, beige sweaters are not to be left behind, especially when they are new with the tags on them still.

I didn't have a bag with me, so I had to pay the 5 cents at the register to purchase a bag and as I struggled, with my hands full, to get that nickel, the menopausal lady kindly stepped forward and counted out 5 pennies to pay for my bag. In exchange for her 5 cents, I admired and complimented every item of her thrift store haul as she excitedly held them up for me to see.

My compliments have monetary value. A nickel, if you please...

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2012-08-16

Setting Sun

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Jeans? J Brand, Winners (similar herePlaid shirt? Maison Scotch, Winners (similar but stupid expensive) Belt? Thrifted Headband? A necklace that my parents gave me over 20 years ago as a souvenir from their first trip to Canada

Unexpectedly, and in a rather last minute fashion, Matt and I were able to get away for a little vacation. Very thankful to have that chance. 
First, we went to spend the weekend camping with his extended family. Camping is not my favourite activity and it poured. I was a mess, I wore knock-off Crocs all weekend and everything was damp, but we had fun. I admit it world! I had fun camping!
After camping, Matt and I went off to a cottage we rented in the Parry Sound area. Because it was midweek and last minute, we got a pretty nice deal on a cottage right along one of the many lakes in the area. I wasn't going to take a blog break... I fully intended to post on Monday, then Tuesday...ok, fine, I'll post Wednesday. But then I got too busy doing nothing. I worried that the internet was going to fall apart without me, so I still posted pictures on Instagram (find me at myeditblog in case you don't want to miss a thing). 
Surprisingly the internet did not fall apart without my blogging and I did not fall apart without blogging either. I fact, I fully relished having limited Internet. But we're home now and I'm back to the swing of things. I must say, it's a lot easier to focus on blogging when you don't have a dock along the water with amazing sunsets beckoning your name. 

2012-08-10

You Should be Thrifting...

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I love this maxi skirt. It is actually more than long enough and it has these great godets that give the bottom of the skirt some swing and shape.
It is also completely see-through.

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There are many great mysteries in life. Why are hot dogs and hot dog buns packaged in different numbers? Who listens to Nickelback? (I might have used this joke before but does it ever lose its relevance?) But most importantly, why are so many skirts and dresses made completely see through and where are all the slips to save the day?
Recently I went to lingerie shop and asked if they sold slips. The lady (who, to be honest, did not speak English very well), handed me a bustier top. I don't even know why I tried... The best place to get a slip, if you need one (and you probably do, right?) is the thrift store. You can probably find them at Walmart or Target too but why pay more when you can pay less? I pay maximum $3 for a slip, cut the lace off the bottom edge because that lace always seems to leave a lump, and go about my merry way.
I know going to the thrift store to buy slips in not the most exciting task but next time, you are there, pick up both a nude and a black slip for a few dollars*. One day, when you put on that cute new skirt from F21 and curse the beam of sunlight that renders that skirt a complete peepshow, you will thank your past self for buying those slips and saving the day.
You should be thrifting... some slips.

*this post sponsored by all the grandmothers in the world

2012-08-08

Replay

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Dress? Vintage, thrifted Purse? Thrifted Bracelet? Antique market Shoes? DVF, StyleSense

You know what is a challenge? Writing a post while the Olympics are on. It's not even playing live right at this moment and no one from Canada, Korea or Holland is competing (where I live, where I was born and where I have my citizenship) and I am still glued to the television. The competitions are always exciting and the emotions just reel me in. I've already mentioned before that I am an easy cry but during the Olympics those tears are tripled. Matt will look over as I snivel on the couch and ask if someone from Canada won something... I can't even tell him who won because I got distracted by some proud parents crying in the stands and I just felt like I needed to join in. We can call it solidarity. Emotional solidarity.
I wore this on the weekend when I went out with my tall lady friend, Julie. She managed to lure me off the couch and away from my beloved Olympics. As the night out ended up involving some deep fried cheese sticks and more shenanigans, I would say it was worth leaving the couch. But only because they replay all the Olympic events...

2012-08-07

Accomplishments

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Shorts? FCUK Shirt? Thrifted Sandals? Asos (brown, blue, white and red, size down, the leather stretches) 
 Coated Canvas Bag? c/o Olivia and Joy (here)

When the weather goes from hot to stupid hot (this last weekend), my ambition and my ability to get stuff done, dies pretty quickly. In order to feel accomplished, I mentally pat myself on the back for the little things.
'Yay, you thought about doing the laundry!'
'Good job of putting some avocado on crackers for dinner!'
'You got dressed! And it matches!'
This weekend, not only did I get dressed in a breezy outfit that I quite liked... I also did groceries. But that's only because the grocery store has that luxury we refer to as air conditioning.
And because I was running out of avocados.


2012-08-03

Vines

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Dress? Kenneth Cole sample, gift from a friend Sandals? Asos (here in blue or here in white) 
Bag and belt? Thrifted Necklace? Thrifted Earrings? Vintage, gift from my parents

I would never have found this vine covered building, if it wasn't right by the site of where I once almost crashed a truck and trailer. Years ago, I was still getting used to driving with the trailer and I learned the lesson of why you need to make wide turns, by almost taking out a wall with my trailer. Now every time I pass by that corner, I chuckle at the memory and the lessons learned and then admire the vine covered building nearby. 
I know that the vines can damage the brick and the windows and cause a giant mess but they still look so romantic and pretty. I am trying to convince Matt to let me grow a vine up our house but that is not going very well. In lieu of having the vine covered house myself, I will just pose as if it is mine. Before we took pictures, we were trying to decide if the building was a home or a business. I have taken pictures on someone else's front step before but that was an accident and I try to avoid those awkward encounters. We made some educated guesses, figured it was a business and snapped some quick pictures on the way to dinner. When we were finished with the pictures, Matt told me he had figured out what sort of business was housed in the vine covered building... video surveillance. 
Of course it is...