Friday, 2 October 2015

How Did it Happen?

I became one of those women who drowns herself in ill fitting clothing.  It was a gradual process, as many things are and I can roughly pinpoint the beginning as post childbirth.  I don't think that's too uncommon.  My CFS/ME was not diagnosed so I was blissfully unaware of the toll pregnancy, motherhood, a child with challenges and juggling it all with a marriage and a career was going to take on my mind, body and health.  I was young, apparently healthy and had been in a remission phase long enough that what later turned out to be CFS/ME was just  thought of as a couple bouts of illness in the past.  The bliss of ignorance is all the more sweet for how it is often so short lived.

I bloated up with fluid retention practically from the moment of conception and felt ill with anything restrictive on my waist so I had a small wardrobe of borrowed clothes that were a size up from mine.  This was my first taste of the heavenly comfort of loose clothing and long before the days when women covered their baby bumps (or even called them baby bumps) with tight shirts and dresses.  Actual maternity clothes were scarce though, because pregnant women of the time seemed to just default to leggings and long tee shirts for casual days. With my height there were no leggings or tee shirts available that would actually cover all of me.  I hunted down barely attractive maternity clothing in the dark corners of neighbouring towns and assembled a meager and not terribly attractive wardrobe.   I was comfortable and that was significant.

After, when my child was born and I'd returned to within twenty pounds of my pre-pregnancy weight (I never got back to it) I still wanted looser clothing and wasn't terribly fond of anything I could feel around my waist.  My shape had changed too and my once tiny waist and small B cup bust was now a thick waist and enormous bust that required G cup nursing bras.  Who was this woman I saw in the mirror?  The answer to that was mother, wife, teacher, and there it stopped.   And that's how I dressed her.  It was the beginning of losing myself because I gave everything else priority.  It's not a new story.  I love my son more than life itself, and must insert that here right now before I go on.  This is not the story of how a child took away my body.  This is the story of how I gave it up and didn't know how to get it back.

The nineties, a time when my gamine icon Winona Ryder was on top, when I would have loved wearing Dr Martens boots with flowery dresses and was still young enough to do it, were a time I can barely remember, so immersed was I in my child and the particular local struggles of establishing a teaching career.  By the time I emerged from this blur sixteen years later, accepting the end of a marriage, a career and the fact of a chronic illness, I had lost track of what my personal style was and I still had a body I did not know how to dress because I didn't understand it's shape.  In my teens and early twenties I was a skinny pear-shape and understood the need to emphasise my top half and de-emphasise my lower half when I dressed.  I instinctively bought things that would make my shoulders appear broader, my bust a little fuller, keeping the bottom darker and unpatterned.  But I was no longer a pear shape I was more of a rectangle with breasts that got in the way, narrow shoulders, a squarish ribcage and a short neck.  I had no idea how to dress that other than to keep my necklines low.  Where I'd once had skinny arms, I now had fleshy ones.  The upside, I thought, was that the rest of my body had finally caught up with my thighs.  J-Lo happened, and I learned that I had no booty.  The problems never ended!

In the last ten years of my married life, stress, illness and other psychological factors I won't get into, put weight back on me.  I am not one of those who stops eating and gets thin when stressed, I am likely to eat.  I ate to feel numbingly full.  I ate to create a body armour of extra me layers.  I ate to feel pleasure.  I was also one of those less typical Celiacs who puts on weight instead of losing it, making diagnosis much longer in coming.  I bought an enormous orange tee shirt at the thrift shop, really good quality actually but one of my worst colours and sized to accommodate three of me, and it became my favourite thing to wear to bed.  Fast forward to my emancipation.  There were financial worries for me as a single woman, my long term health was uncertain and it became clear I was not going to be able to work, but I was still happier.  I was better able to take care of myself and the extra weight came off with effort but not too much pain.  I needed clothing but didn't want to buy new things because I expected to lose another ten pounds.  Off I went to the thrift shop and I was hooked.

There are many good things about buying second hand but for me there are also some pitfalls.

1.  Easy to spend too much money because everything seems so inexpensive.
2.  Inexpensive clothing makes it too tempting to purchase less than perfect.
3.  Experimenting is fun but also leads to some terrible outfits.
4.  Too many options can be confusing.

It was fun to experiment, it was money spent on an experience more than on objects because most of what I purchased over the next couple of years didn't stay with me.  Often I was not happy with the quality even if I was discovering a style I liked or a colour that worked well for me.  When the price tag is so low, it's easier to make excuses for what is not really good enough and I often did that with poor fit or even the wrong size.  Somehow, I got to the point where I just bought everything in extra large and said to myself, well I like baggy, loose and comfortable clothes.

It's true I do like them, but there were at least two facts I was not considering.  One is that they suit some people more than they suit me, whether it's body type or personality.  The other is that oversized is a look that can be done while still cutting the lines of the garments well and it is not quite the same to just put on the wrong size.  I lost track of what I looked like in a good fit because most things I tried on fit poorly and I decided they would do.  If I saw something I really liked in a size larger than what I wore, I would just say oh well, I'll wear it a bit big.  This might work on a tiny waif-like person who is fine looking like she is wearing someone else's too large clothes.  That is not a look I can pull off.

So I decided that I would hold out for better quality and better fit, but I found that changed my options quite drastically.  There was less available to me already given that I live in a small town, but even less when I ruled out all the sizes and shapes that did not really fit me or flatter me or feel like me.

I had an enormous purge.  I pulled all clothing out of my closet and sorted it immediately into different piles.  You probably know the drill-keep, mend, toss, donate/sell.  Assuming that I already liked the look of everything I had, to keep an item it had to fit me well, flatter me, feel comfortable, suit my lifestyle and be well made.  I am embarrassed to admit to how much I donated to charity and even the amount I took to the consignment shop to sell.  I am not on a journey to minimalism or capsule wardrobes or any arbitrary number of items, though I have read about these with interest as others explore this idea.  I do crave simplicity though and would rather have three great things in my closet than twenty mediocre things.  I am getting realistic about my lifestyle too and setting aside the complications of thinking I would dress in such and such a style if only I had access to this or that, if only I sewed, if only, if only.  That's a waste of my time and energy.  I may have loads of time but I don't have energy to spare.  More and more I look like I did when I was a university student, including the pixie cut.  I am even inclined to carry a back pack.

Life is about learning and it would be dull if I had everything all figured out, but it's nice to rest in a place of comfort for awhile, to feel like I am home and I know the woman who lives there.  I found her buried in mounds of fabric and slowly uncovered her.  She insisted on clinging to a few large sweaters but she's doing quite well with her rehab. I have high hopes for her.

                         I typically look like this these days.  Yes, I do wear a lot of blue.  A LOT of it.  Teal, denim or navy are readily available options that I gravitate towards.

                               Off to college.  Free tuition for seniors!

                           Time to do my paper route before school!

                  Awkward posing!  I don't see that changing any time soon.

               Did you return your books on time? Asks Grunge Gamine Librarian.

                           I haven't got a waist.  Do I look like I care?

 I had to choose between the more flattering pose or the smile and flattering pose won.  As usual, the colours are off and there is no black here, only navy and brown with some splashes of red and green and a brighter blue.  I'm wearing enough colour to make Senora Allnut proud.  I decided it was also a perfect day for a hat, so......

I added a navy blue fedora with a cute bow that you can't see.  

No witches in sight this week.  The witchy clothing may have gone by the wayside but I assure you I can still cast spells.  Especially if your library books are late.

I am really terrible at adding labels/tags to my posts.  Help me out-what would you tag this besides #TLDR

Wednesday, 30 September 2015


You should have seen the look on Sheila's face when I answered her question.  She asked me something along the lines of which celebrity I would want to emulate.  I couldn't answer her right away.  I had not thought of it actively in years, but over night it came to me, whose appearance I always admired and who I secretly longed to look like.  Winona Ryder, I said to Sheila the next morning.    She gasped and then quickly recovered her sense of tact.  I could not have picked anyone less likely.  But then taking a celebrity as a style icon or a model for my own appearance always seems unlikely to me.  Is it any more possible for me to style myself after Julia Roberts, a woman much closer to my own age and size than Ms Ryder? 

But I have always felt at least slightly gamine, and it's not my fault I grew too tall to be one.  Or too round and soft.  The tallest person to ever pull off gamine, apparently, was Audrey Hepburn who was 5'7" but seemed smaller because of her slight build.  She was possessed of an angular thinness and large doe eyes, two other gamine requirements I have not.  The gamine is supposed to remind you of a beautiful young boy though I am not sure Audrey really does bring that to mind.  The gamine looks her best in slightly tomboyish clothing, their masculinity making her look all the more feminine, whereas when you dress her up in too much frou frou she looks just a bit off.  I couldn't tell you if that effect works on me, though I can say that when an ensemble gets too girly I think I look silly.  At the same time, I do not pull off the menswear look like the other famous Hepburn could or Lauren Bacall.

Although I've fought it, not wanting to be boring and, admittedly, wanting to be different from my mother, I tend to suit fairly classic clothing.  A little goes a long way with me, subtle is enough.  It doesn't take much to look dramatic and I am easily overwhelmed by accessories or strong lines.  I like just a touch of something funky or boyish with my classic clothing.  I might move in a ladylike way but I want to be free to run and jump and climb a tree, so my clothing has to move with me.

Remember Audrey in the tree as Sabrina?  She was wearing a dress.  I could do that.  Or at least I could once.  It has been awhile since I climbed a tree.


I'm a bit old to be gamine, or so some might say.  What does a gamine grow up to be?  I'm not sure.  But nobody can tell me how to feel inside and inside there is a good part of me who feels gamine despite the rules.  I don't think we always get bodies to match our personalities.  Sometimes we just have to muddle through and find a way to make it work.  Perhaps Winona Ryder doesn't feel gamine at all. 



      Tall, middle-aged woman not pulling off gamine and not giving any fecks.
Just don't tell me I look statuesque.  I hate that word and I might punch you. Don't you think I look like I could just do that?

Saturday, 26 September 2015

This One is Photo Heavy

The Red Lip....

What amazes me is the power lipstick has to transform my face.  I have no makeup on at all other than lipstick but I look as though I do. That's quite low maintenance and I like that!  That weird streak in my hair on the side is not really there.  Or at least I don't think it is because it was not deliberately put there.  It is some sort of lighting freak thing.

The weird flips in my hair is just what it does if I don't pay attention when it's wet.  Sometimes I like them and sometimes I don't.  I also decided I didn't like all of these necklaces.  Too much.  It doesn't take much to look like too much on me.

The whole outfit features a new-to-me skirt.  The skirt is a really heavy linen and it's very well made.  The colour is a denim blue for faded indigo that I love.  With the cardigan on I can get away with my shirt tucked in, but without it I look a bit lumpy and thick. I like the shirt untucked better but it got wrinkled when I tried it tucked in and I didn't want to steam out the wrinkles, I just wanted to get out the door and get one with things.

Here is what untucked looks like.  Which is your preference?  I must admit I find untucked much more comfortable.  This is a better necklace too. 

My lips, shoes and bag all match which was not actually deliberate.  They just happen to be colours I love.  It's not the done thing right now to match shoes and bag.  Apparently it looks dated and I suppose it does since it is what I was taught to do way back when dinosaurs roamed the streets.  Now only people under thirty can get away with it.  On those under thirty it looks young and fresh because on those under thirty everything looks young and fresh.  I say FUDGSICLE to that.  I need your eye to be distracted from the monoliths of matronly boobage and look at my shoes, bag and lips instead.

The weather is gorgeous and sunny, though it's still cold in the mornings.  I am better acclimated to autumn weather now and can manage bare legs, whereas a couple of weeks ago I was putting on tights.

Okay, we are finished with me now and will admire Miss Matty as she lolls about with her toys and her favourite hair brush.

It's a very inexpensive cotton rug and I can never get that lump smoothed out.
That's okay though.  Matty and I like imperfections.  Unless they are the wrong colour on the walls and then we are intolerant.

My home is nearly put back together after the paint job, though most of my books are still stored in the spare bedroom and I've not hung any art yet.  I am aiming to get some actual bookshelves but here is a wee tour of what was newly painted.  I also had the bathroom done, but no pictures of that at the moment.  It is much better now that it is not bright yellow. 

                                      Grow little plant, grow.

                     Looking a bit bare here at the moment.  No books or art!

               This nook beside the fireplace is crying out for a bookshelf.  It's home to my galvanised wash tub and a large tree branch.  I hauled the tub out of dumpster and the branch out of a park, the latter probably an illegal move the former merely inelegant.  It required jumping up, squashing my stomach against the edge and tipping forward head first into the dumpster.  It was a mostly empty dumpster which actually made the job much trickier.

Cat toys make it look like I have a toddler living here.

That hideous kitchen floor even seems more tolerable with the new neutral walls.  It's downgraded from hideous to ugly.

                          I need a curtain rod but I'm not in a hurry.

It seems to me that the colours inside my home now tie in perfectly with the colours I see through the windows.  This harmony is pleasing and soothing to me. Okay-maybe not the purple, but most colours, anyhow.

Here's a little peek at a corner of my balcony showing a bit of autumnal colour in a potted Japanese Maple.

For those who wish to know...

The lips are Revlon Super Lustrous in Rum Raisin
The walls are Cloverdale Paint doing Benjamin Moore's Ballet White

I made it to some blogs today before I was occupied by a chatting stranger in the cafe.  New cafe, more blogs tomorrow.  I'm living it up while I have a few days of feeling okay.

Friday, 25 September 2015

Trés Chic, Trés Frawnch

I don't really have the right body type for looking chic, but it's all in the attitude anyhow.  Today I saw an unusually gorgeous young woman.  Not just pretty but all the right bone structures doing all the right things and no extra body fat anywhere except in all the right places.  The only thing she lacked to keep her looking like she'd stepped off the pages of Vogue not even needing any photo shop was height and she made height look quite overrated.  Her clothing was simple and she appeared to be wearing no makeup.  Her hair was just brown, not dyed, or highlighted to appear blonde, in fact she looked like someone you might see on a blog touting Parisian Chic.  And I thought to myself, knowing what I know about most women, she probably doesn't see that when she looks in the mirror.  There is a good chance she mostly sees her 'flaws', or wishes this were a little more that and that were a little less this. 

I am keeping her in mind when I look at photos of myself, remembering that what I see may be different from what others see.  It's a fact that I actually look better naked than I do in clothing and I suppose some might envy that, but since I am rarely seen naked by anyone, and I mean rarely, it seems a rather pointless virtue to me.  But I've decided that this little bit of knowledge should be my secret weapon, my reason for a Mona Lisa smile and I've decided to paint that smile red.

After years of searching, and then more years of giving up and not trying at all, I finally found my red.  I knew it needed to be a brown-red because my naturally mauve lips will make any lipstick pinker than it is.  One look at me and you'd say I need a berry toned red, but the strange thing is my lips turn a brown-red into a berry colour and a true red into something a bit too intense for me.

Slight Digression Number One: I once knew a girl with the most amazing naturally deep red lips.  Her one passion it seemed, was to cover them thickly in pale sparkly pink lip gloss.  All she really needed was a swipe of lip balm but then this was the eighties and most people didn't do anything with subtlety then, except perhaps for me and about five other people.

Subtlety is a relative thing anyhow.  I am not beautiful in any of the ways I would like to be- boyishly gamine and petite or long and thin and draped in flowing layers.  I don't have a waist tiny enough to give me a bombshell figure but I've got a chest that wants to look matronly and a torso that does it's damnedest to look blocky.  Sometimes I just want to wear something that isn't my very best option for figure flattery, like this blouse, lacking in darts.

The cardigan is navy, not black.  By now you should always assume I am not wearing black though about 5% of the time I will be. For colour reference, that cyclamen beside me is fuchsia coloured not the orange-red it appears.  The shoes are a medium brown.  The blouse is my favourite just off white, so very soft and goes with almost everything I have-jeans, skirts and even jumpers.  The buttons don't strain over my bust but for that I had to buy a large size and I could probably wear this blouse for the first seven months of a pregnancy. 

                     The solution to everything is a red lip!  No smokey eye with the red lip-just a flick of mascara.  C'est tout.  Trés Chic.  Trés Frawnch and pretty much roll out of bed and swipe on the lipstick style being demonstrated right here. 

Slight Digression Number Two: The walls, are no longer baby poo green-brown-gold.  Hurrah!  I've got this little space with nothing on the wall to use as my photo spot for now.  I am rather tempted to draw a body outline on the wall.  How about a template for different poses across the length of my living room? 

I've been exhausted, still am exhausted, but I went out for a couple of hours and had my weekly lunch with my parents.  Then I came home, put on my pyjamas and crawled back into bed.  Ten hours a night plus daily naps is a current requirement and my body is pretending to have rheumatoid arthritis.  That's a typical C.F.S./M.E. symptom so right now baths, the heating pad and ibuprofen are my best friends. 

I'm hoping that soon I will find the strength and energy with little cost, to put on a favourite skirt and a beret and hang out in a café, drinking cup after cup of Café Americano for hours and reading my favourite blogs.  I might want to avoid making eye contact with any talkative men though. 

PS:  I've not found the energy to reply to previous comments but thank you for them.  I love reading your comments and appreciate the time you've taken to leave them.  

Tuesday, 15 September 2015

New Hat

 Let's start with a gratuitous Matty photo!  It's difficult to get her to stay still.  She always moves her head when I take a picture and then we get a blurry head. Aren't those bricks nicely focused?   I seem to have my camera sorted though and the following pictures look decent.

                                                 Life is Busy

Although I decided I would be crazy to try to do the painting job myself, there is still enough preparation for it to keep me busy and tired.  Given that I am not a minimalist, removing the books and ornaments and assorted knick-nacks from the living room, and removing the products, plants, and one or two pieces of furniture from the bathroom is keeping my busy as I do it in small doses, between laundry and dishes and feeding myself and other basics of life.  What makes me happy is that I am managing to increase what I do and have recently stopped hiring cleaning help.  I feel currently able to take that on myself, though I have to recognise this is an experiment, and that I must do it slowly and cautiously.  I still do a great deal of sleeping and resting and have not done the painting and writing I would like to be doing, but gradually I am dipping my toes back into the water.  In a couple of weeks I will have a new looking room to share here on the blog, but for now, I'm going to introduce you to my new hat.

                           New Pose Attempt and a New Hat


I love hats but the challenge  of them is twofold.  The difference in the size of my head when I have short hair as opposed to long hair seems to equal a hat size, so my hat collection currently holds a few lids that are too big for me.  When I put them on I feel like a pinhead.  The other challenge is that hats make my head very hot and rarely is it so cold that I actually need the warmth of a hat.  I honestly do not know how all of the teenagers and hipsters manage to live in those knit beanies, the hats we call toques here in Canada (also known as
America's Hat) to our cousins down south.  Anyhow, despite these challenges my love of hats prevails and I recently bought one.  The rational, other than the fact that I love it, is that it is light weight and thus maybe not too hot for actual wearing.

In a shop just up the street from one of my favourite cafés the stock is largely clothing and home wares by Canadian designer April Cornell.  I should mention, for those of you who care, that I am not a monetised blog and any time I link to something I am just trying to be helpful or properly credit sources. ....but now back to the shopping part.  The textiles of this designer are floral and feminine and the clothing leans towards a lacy lagenlook.  While I am attracted to them initially I do not find them wearable for the most part.  They belong in the category of "I like that but it is not me"  as so many things seem to.  Having said that, I often pop in for a peek because sometimes something does appeal and heck, it's always fun to look.  As I walked by recently, I was first drawn to the dress on a mannequin just outside the door.  I paused, decided it was too twee for me and then went inside.  I aimlessly admired a few Fluevog shoes and then it dawned on me that what I really liked was the beret on two of the mannequins and I was looking for these berets within the shop.  I did what any sensible woman does and I asked where they might be.  The only two left were the ones on the mannequins but I was welcome to get one to try it on.  Clever saleswoman!  So I did.

I was drawn to the plum coloured hat, which skews a bit brown and thus is a rather useful colour for me.  The other hat was black.  Both have a colourful applique of flowers and are a thin cotton velvet.  Berets tend to work for me, and the light weight cotton velvet just kept whispering seductively so I bought the hat.  Much more fun than the groceries I was actually supposed to be buying and which I did go and get afterwards.

In a recent chat with Joni, where we talked about wearing our favourite things over and over, such as the same shoes all of the time, I joked that I would make a blog post showing the hat worn with a different outfit every day of the week.  I am still considering the challenge of wearing this hat with a week's worth of outfits, but to begin with, here is the first wearing of the hat.

It was a day spent at home, but in the evening I had an appointment to pop out to.  Popping out is always a good occasion for a beret!

No, I am not dressed in all black, though all of my colours are definitely dark.  The jeans are dark blue and so are my boots.  The tee shirt is plum as is the beret and the cardigan is charcoal grey.  My eyes are heavily made up, or at least the Shawna version of heavily, and my face and lips are bare.  The usual silver jewelry is present, with earrings and finger rings on constantly and only the need to put on my locket (containing a photo of my son, of course) to look like I actually made an effort.  This is easy, Standard Shawna, a look I would have had twenty five years ago.

 The plant next to me is thriving, did you notice?  The stack of books is gone in preparation for the painter.

According to somebody's rules, I am supposed to be wearing a statement necklace that draws attention above my bust.  I'm probably also supposed to make sure my shirt is not sort of rumpled like that in front, but rules were made to be ignored.  I have no idea why my right hand looks so odd and small and deformed.  I just checked and it is still exactly as it has always been and is quite successfully operating the mouse and typing away on the keyboard.

                                               Proof of Colour:

It's really lovely Autumn weather, though we could use rain.  I enjoy the sunshine coming in my windows and stepping out onto the balcony for a bit of fresh air.  I also love watching the clouds.  My geraniums suffered a little in the summer drought, and did not grow much though they did bloom.  Matty likes to perch in this sunny corner.

Clouds move quickly in the wind, changing shape in seconds.  I watch them more than I actually look at the water of the bay.  Usually there are several eagles out there as well.

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Doin' Stuff and Sharing it With You

I cooked up a big batch of Mulligatawny, and a tray of pecan brownies.  This made a huge mess in the kitchen which I had to leave overnight to deal with the next day.  I cannot manage cooking and cleaning all in one day.  I'm attempting a small compost bin on my balcony so the soup making resulted in many peels to be composted.  In another life I would have considered saving much of it for simmering into a vegetable stock but I've only got a tiny fridge top freezer. 

I 'borrowed' a cup of red wiggler worms from my ex husband, who has a spectacular compost in our old garden.  The worms do all the work of good composting and I hope they like their new home.  I briefly thought about naming them but there were too many and I didn't get past Huey, Dewey and Louie before giving up.  Besides, I am hoping they breed and I'd never get all the worm children named.  And what if I chop some of them in half when I dig in the peels?  Naming the worms is clearly problematic.

A coffee date with a friend involved this conversation.

Shawna:  I like your blouse.  The green and plum colours are really pretty.

Pam:  Thanks.  I thought they were good Fall colours.  And you-you aren't wearing all your usual layers.  You look cute and normal, not all bohemian.

I looked like this.....

Another lousy photo-this time there is a shadow effect from the flash but I still had to brighten it in iphoto.  Something is definitely on the wrong setting with my camera but I have not yet figured it out.

The vest is navy, the shoes are red, the scarf is silk and a lovely french navy blue with lighter coloured flowers.  My hair is not this dark  and I am not tanned.
So here I am looking cute and normal.

On the wall behind me I have tested out a paint sample.  It's Benjamin Moore Ballet White, applied rather roughly and the white below it is Behr Spun Cotton.  The Spun Cotton is too bright white for what I wanted in my living room but I like the taupe/stone colour of the Ballet White.  In some light it just reads as a soft warm white and in others as a soft taupe.  The switches and electrical outlets are those ancient and ugly beige plastic which I would really like to replace with something newer and cleaner looking.  I don't love the carpet I inherited but it could be much worse and at least it is neutral.  Those dark speckles are dead leaves or something but you can be certain I am managing to cause assorted stains and marks on this carpet. I am not the sort of person who should have light coloured carpet.  Or any carpet.

More dates on the following day-lunch with my parents and dinner with my son, and the painter coming around to give me an estimate.  No food with him.  I'm wearing a new-to-me linen skirt, one of two swishy linen skirts I recently found thrifting.  This time I actually did dye my hair.  It's supposed to be purple but in photos, as usual, it just looks black.  It is plum on the box and I do get plum in certain light.  I used L'Oreal Casting 'Darkest Plum'  and I'm sure I'd have gone with lightest plum if it existed.  Surprisingly, or perhaps not, Mum was not crazy about my hair but Dad liked it.  Mum has a very classic look.  She does not do things to her hair or body or clothes for fun.  She always looks lovely and I do not so there is that to consider. 

Non affiliate link to the hair dye here.

And more terrible photos.  I really need to figure out how I screwed up my camera settings......and why do my eyebrows look red here?

           I like dark hair on myself.  I won't be going blonde any time soon.

The geese are practising for their flight south.  They fly over my home several times a day with their goosey cacaphony.  They, along with the first fallen leaves, are always the sign of Autumn.  Considering the drought we've had, things are rather brown and crispy around here.  There are dead trees and rhododendrons around town, and in general many trees have looked autumnal for awhile.  Today, the day of the brown linen skirt, is to be one of our last hot days. Bare legs are easy on a day like this but when it gets damp I get cold. 

So, I'm staying warm so far and I hope you are too, whichever season you are currently in or transitioning to.  

Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Transitional Dressing

 Before I launch into my serious clothing discussion and musings on leg shaving, I want to take a moment to thank the people who give me +1s with Google plus and leave a comment for the  Google Plus men in case you actually read here. I am signed up with Google plus but tend to forget to use it in any way.  I should probably abandon it.

Dear Men:  I thank you for your interest and applaud you on your strategy for meeting women.  It never occurred to me that this would be one of them.  I am not interested in chatting with you but if you have a genuine interest in my blog and wish to read and leave comments appropriate to the topic in the comment section then that is cool. 

In all photos assume brighter colours.  In some photos there is freshly washed hair that I can't do anything with.  Does anyone else have that problem? Mine is so fluffy and silky when washed.

Randomly inserted gratuitous Matty photos:

Dressing myself is always a bit of a challenge as the seasons transition.  It's not that I am clueless about how to adapt my clothing, or at least it's not that I haven't seen and read about plenty of suggestions, such as add tights or a chic leather jacket to your summer dress.   I find that not only does the ambient temperature seem to fluctuate throughout the day or significantly from day to day, my own personal temperature seems to as well.  With the M.E. I've got a poor ability to adjust to temperature and often feel cold when I should not or over-heated when I should not.  I don and shed cardigans constantly and my home is sometimes strewn with them, but the greater challenge is that my legs and feet get cold and there is not much one can do about that in a chic way.

I can wear thick fluffy socks to bed and not concern myself with the un-sexiness of it, but the hot pink thermal socks I posses in multiples do not elevate my outfits much.  I sometimes use leggings, as they are even warmer than tights, though also not a high-brow look.  While it's easy enough and socially acceptable to remove my cardigan as I sit in a cafe and get over-heated, it is not quite as acceptable to peel of my leggings.  Or at least, I should duck into the Ladies' Room in order to do so.  Then I find myself bemoaning the fact that I neglected to shave my legs that morning.  Just so you know, I also feel peeved if I've gone to the trouble of shaving my legs and then end up piling on the layers.

Getting dressed can be such a challenge when I am aiming for Je ne sais quoi and not WTF!    Here are some of my attempts to be warm enough, comfortable and stylish.  These are practise runs and I only left home in one of these outfits.

Grainy photo is probably the result of my experimenting with a higher ISO to deal with my lighting issues.


Possibly cute in a preppy-teacher sort of way.
Comfortable skirt in neutral/useful taupe
Tights are cream coloured fishnet but on me they are 'nude'-is that a pro or a con?


Denim vest is not flattering me (which has me pouting because I love it)-hits wrong spot on my body.  Possibly have it tailored or just live with it as is?

Felt a bit teacherish - I took this outfit off because it felt too formal for the environment. 


More figure flattering in a draping sort of way-I look slimmer
Quite comfortable being all jersey
Love these boots.
Love this scarf


The jersey feels a bit thin and cheap
I don't like the high contrast of dark dress and light skirt colours
Although a skirt this long seems to suit me I find it a bit awkward moving around.

 Another dark and grainy photo....
I went out in this outfit because I ran out of time for playing and it felt like the best of the three.  I was so cold I had to wear the leggings but at the bistro for lunch I was too warm.  I suppose if I have to choose I'd rather be slightly too warm than too cold.


The skirt is a dark red jersey, a nice thick jersey and has an appealing shape with a bit of swish.  You're going to have to take my word for it.


The top and leggings are charcoal grey.  Although the top is a bit boxy, it drapes softly and moves with me so it seems more flattering than stiff boxy tops.  Or else I am delusional.

I love these shoes though they are not as comfortable as some others I have.  That means they are going to have to prove themselves to me this Autumn and I will threaten them with the consignment pile if they don't behave.

I threw on a scarf which I forgot to take a photo of, grabbed my enormous cross body satchel and went out for mulligatawny.

 While there is some improvement with light in the next photos I am still not getting colour accuracy.  The cardigan is a lovely deep plum colour, not black as it appears and I have not dyed my hair darker.  This is the Val skirt and it got a compliment when I wore it out to do the shopping.

                              I do like my hand-on-the-hip pose don't I?

As  usually I grabbed a scarf and my favourite handbag on my way out the door.  The scarf in blue-greys and with a plummy stripe that matched the colour of the cardigan that you can't see.  It's a good thing nobody pays me to do this!

And the final outfit of the week that was not sloppy lounging stuff-not that I wouldn't and haven't shown you that too....

There is green in the embroidery of this skirt and it matched the green tee shirt.  Both are brighter than they appear in this photo. 

Post Script:
I had to go outside just to prove to you that I am not lying.  Unfortunately my wee balcony is too crowded with plants for me to actually take my photos out there.  And when we hit the rainy season it will be too wet.