Tag Archives: fashion

A(nother) Sticky Situation

Unlike my sticky situation a few years ago, my latest debacle involved fashion, not glue.  And I’m here to tell you that when the words ‘sticky’ and ‘fashion’ get used in the same sentence the result is, um… undesirable.

As you may recall, I hate dressing up.  I haven’t bought new clothes in nearly ten years and I don’t have a clue what’s stylish now; but I’m pretty sure the wide-legged pants and bell-bottoms in my closet are passé.  (Or maybe not; what do I know?)

Anyway, I had a few panicky moments when I consulted my closet an hour before I was due to present my talk last week; but I did manage to get dressed.  From deep in the archives of my plastic shoe boxes I dug out my two pairs of comfortable dress shoes, and I was halfway out the door when I realized there was something sticky on one of the soles.

I rushed back, stuffed my feet into the other pair, and hurried off to the Civic Centre… only to discover that we were locked out.

When we finally got inside with only fifteen minutes to spare before the presentation, I rushed around setting up my projector and laptop.  Then I retired to the bathroom, hoping to dry the sweat that was rolling off me in the stuffy atmosphere.

That’s when I realized that, in my trauma over dress clothes, I’d forgotten to re-apply my deodorant. And I’d worn a sleeveless top. Every time I raised my arms, the pit-stink nearly knocked me over.

Okay; fine. The front rows were at least six feet away. The air conditioning was kicking in. I could carry this off.

So I dove into my presentation, getting totally immersed as I always do… until I realized that my damn shoe was sticking to the floor and un-sticking itself with an audible snap each time I moved.

For shit’s sake, what had I stepped in this time?!?

I ignored it as best I could and finished the talk; and everybody eventually trickled out.

That’s when I discovered that I hadn’t stepped in anything.  During their long contact with the plastic shoeboxes, the synthetic parts of the shoes had undergone some kind of chemical reaction.  The leather upper was fine, but the sole had turned into a gooey mess.

There were sticky black marks on the floor where I had stood; and a big piece of one sole had torn loose to flop around like a clown shoe with every step.

As I skulked out of the Civic Centre, Hubby helpfully remarked, “You left a piece of your shoe back there.”

I’m proud to report that there was only a smidgen of vulgarity in my response as I squelched my sticky way across the parking lot.

So the vindictive fashion gods have won another round. I’m afraid to even speculate what they’ll do for an encore; but if I’m lucky it’ll be another ten years down the road.

Maybe I’ll wait until then to buy new dress clothes…

Book 15 is under way!  I had a great plotting week — the subplot is mostly done and I’m working on the details of the main story.  Hope to start putting words on the page this week!

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It’s A Fine Line…

I’ve mentioned on several occasions that fashion is not exactly… okay, fine; just not… my thing.  But every now and then I get a niggling feeling that maybe I should try a little harder.

It usually happens on a day when I’ve been immersed in some project, and I discover that I urgently need a tool/part/ doohickey to finish the job.  So I zip to town, forgetting that I’m wearing my old clothes.  They were clean at the beginning of the day, but halfway through my project they’re decorated with dirt/sawdust/engine grease/paint/all of the above.  My hair is in a braid that started out tidy in the morning, but by now I’m wearing a halo of frizzy tendrils and the braid itself looks as though it went through a spin-washer and then got rolled in twigs (or other bits of work-related detritus).

That’s when I see her:  My nemesis.

Her hair colour, skintone, height, weight, age, and fashion style vary, but she always has one instantly recognizable characteristic:  She’s perfectly put together.

Her hair might be sleek or artfully tousled, but she clearly just stepped out of the salon.  Her makeup is flawless; her nails are polished; her clothing is pristine, fashionable, and well-fitting; her shoes are the stuff of dreams; and her jewellery accents her outfit.

We do not make eye contact.

I suffer a moment of hopelessly envious inadequacy, and then hurry off to buy my much-needed doohickey.  By the time I get home I’ve forgotten the whole episode, which sets me up to repeat it over and over.

All this occurred to me the other day when I found myself resenting the amount of time I spend on personal hygiene.  It was a worrisome thought, because five minutes with the nail clipper a couple of times a month constitutes my “manicure”, and my “beauty regime” consists of showering, slapping on some deodorant and a combination moisturizer/sunscreen, and letting my hair air-dry.  A bit of lip balm, and I’m good to go.

That’s when I started to wonder:  Where do you draw the line between “carefree and natural” and “a lazy slob”?

I realize that my nemesis would probably consider herself a lazy slob if she went out in public with a chip in her nail polish; but that’s not a helpful evaluation tool when the closest my nails have come to polish in the past three decades has been a splattering of blue house paint that wouldn’t come off for a week.

Notwithstanding my occasional sartorial slip-ups, I do usually make an effort to change my clothes before I leave home; and I figure as long as there’s no visible dirt and people can’t smell me coming, I’m doing okay.

Or maybe I’m just a lazy slob.  It’s a fine line…

Book 14 update:  I made it to Chapter 16 this week, woohoo!  I love it when I hit “the zone” and the words just flow.  🙂

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It’s Baaaack…

For years my friends have teased me about wearing a waist pouch, and with good reason.  Whether you call it a fanny pack (Canada and the United States), bumbag (UK), belly bag (Germany), or banana bag (France); the sad truth is that it was in style for about ten minutes in the 90s and ever since then it’s been a visible indicator of my defective fashion sense.

But I love my waist pouch.  I’ve got everything but the kitchen sink crammed in there.  It’s comfortable, practical, and hands-free; and I got over any self-consciousness about wearing it long ago.

I also got over calling it a ‘fanny pack’ after I discovered that while ‘fanny’ may mean ‘bum’ here, across the pond it refers to an entirely different portion of the female anatomy.  In my case ‘fanny pack’ would still be an accurate description since I wear my waist pouch front and centre, but I’d rather not be unintentionally vulgar.  (Intentionally vulgar, yes; frequently.  But I like to choose my times.)

Back in 2014 I was thrilled to discover that waist pouches seemed to be making a comeback, but when I didn’t see anyone else wearing one in public I simply assumed that (as usual) the fashion industry hadn’t come to its senses.  But that was only another example of my cluelessness, because apparently waist pouches have sneaked back onto the fashion scene.

My friends are much more observant than I.  Whenever they notice some celebrity rockin’ a waist pouch, they’re sure to let me know.  Last week my step-mom got into the act by mentioning she’d seen a pink sequined number on the Shopping Channel that would give me the ultimate in high-fashion panache.

Enlightened, I searched the shopping sites and voilà!  A plethora of packs, from $6.95 cheapies to $300 designer duds.  I was amazed to find materials ranging from my good old black leather to the aforementioned pink sequins, and everything in between including camo and floral patterns… plus the quintessential Dad bag from Walmart that made me laugh out loud:  https://www.walmart.com/ip/Dad-Bag-Waist-Zipper-Packs-Unisex-Fake-Belly-Traveling-Fanny-Bags/920778025.

Just in case the fashion industry forsakes me again (which it undoubtedly will) I’d like to point out that waist pouches have a long and distinguished history:  They started off five thousand years ago as belt-pouches, detoured to Scotland as sporrans, and appeared in Native American history as medicine pouches.

So not only am I honouring tradition by wearing a waist pouch, it turns out that I’ve also been a trendsetter all along:  a bleeding-edge fashionista who spotted a ‘thing’ decades before it arrived!  (And if you believe that, I’ve got a bridge to sell, too.)

Anyway…

In keeping with their fresh new look, fanny packs have risen above their original vulgar nomenclature with sophisticated new names like sling bags, waist packs, hip packs, hip sacks, and crossbody packs.  I showed off my updated vocabulary (and my ancient waist pouch) to my friends the other night, and as usual I came in for some lively teasing.  One friend suggested that ‘colostomy bag’ would be an appropriate moniker for smaller pouches worn off-centre.

I had to agree.  ‘Colostomy bag’ would be a perfect name for my waist pouch – after all, it’s where I carry all my shit.

So I know I’m probably a freakish minority, but… would you ever wear a waist pouch?  Have your say in this poll!

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Mactac, Mullets, and Manure

Anybody remember the Mactac of the 60s and 70s?  Maybe you knew it by another name, but it was all the same thing:  adhesive-backed vinyl printed with colourful graphics.

I suspect that people with taste avoided Mactac like the plague it was; but out in the sticks where I grew up, the only taste we had was in our mouths.  Every questionable surface in our house got covered with either woodgrain print or sparkly gold paisley on white.

It actually looked okay for a while.  But then the adhesive deteriorated and the vinyl curled up, creating tattered edges that looked as though rodents had been gnawing them and leaving a sticky residue that defied any attempt to clean it off or reglue it.

My love affair with Mactac faded when I realized that it inevitably suffered a slow and ugly demise, and the last time I applied adhesive-backed vinyl to anything was in the late 70s.

Until this week.

We needed a cheap-and-cheerful solution for a kitchen backsplash until our construction budget recovers enough to upgrade our kitchen counters.  So the other day I was walking through the store when some pretty glass tiles caught my eye, for less than half the price I’d expected.

Yep, adhesive-backed vinyl had reared its deceptively attractive head.  It’s even embossed with grout lines like real glass tile, and it’s insanely sticky.

I succumbed.  I’m really hoping it doesn’t curl up and die like the old-school stuff.

Looks like glass… smells like vinyl.

That blast from the past made me think about other oldies that are new again… like the mullet haircut.  If you’re not familiar with the mullet, it was an 80s hairstyle trimmed short around the face and ears, with the rest of the hair left long in back.  The instant the 80s were over everyone restyled their hair and pretended they’d never worn a mullet.  Overnight, it went from a fashion statement to a joke.

I had a mullet haircut back in the 80s, and I even wore it for a while after everybody else started laughing about it.  I loved that haircut.  It was comfortable and practical:  I had the long hair I loved, but it wasn’t in my face.  I still don’t understand why it became so universally despised.

But apparently it’s in style again for young male hipsters and Millenials.  So  I wasn’t unfashionable; I was only a few decades early… and the wrong gender.  Details, pshaw.

On to our next M-word:  Manure.  We got a giant load for our garden so of course I had to share it with you, my beloved readers.

Why, you ask?  (I’m hoping that’s a ‘why?’ of guarded curiosity, not an anguished cry of ‘oh, sweet Lord, why?!?’)

Well, it seemed appropriate since I’m usually full of shit; but ultimately it’s because I couldn’t resist the punchline:

Mactac, mullets, and manure… you don’t want to get any of them on you.

18,000 pounds of horseshit. That’s more than I usually manage to pack into a post.

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Stop The Fashion Presses!

I wrote this very late last night and I wasn’t quite sober at the time.  Consider yourselves warned…

I’m taking a semi-vacation this week, and I’ve left the writing of this draft to the last possible moment.  So since I’ve had one too many glasses of birthday wine tonight I’m going to offer some random fashion-related thoughts.

Yes, I realize that fashion opinions from me are approximately as valuable as makeup tips from Ronald McDonald, but please indulge me for a few minutes ’cause I’m feeling inspired.  Or possibly just intoxicated.  Sometimes it’s hard to tell the difference…

Anyway, here’s the first thing that inspired me: You know how I postulated a couple of years ago that I was probably a sociopath because I refused to give up wearing my waist pouch? Well, the joke’s on the rest of the world. I wasn’t a pathetic refugee from the fashion police; I was a cutting-edge trendsetter. Look at this:

Matthew McConaughey has made it cool to wear fanny packs: http://uproxx.com/filmdrunk/2014/08/matthew-mcconaughey-has-made-it-cool-to-wear-fanny-packs-again/?sc_ref=direct

And Rihanna rocks a fanny pack, too:  http://perezhilton.com/cocoperez/2014-03-04-rihanna-chanel-show-fanny-pack-paris-fashion-week#.U_QLgNN0yUk

I realize their waist pouches are an order of magnitude more fashionable than mine, but I prefer not to cloud the issue with facts.

So neener-neener to the fashion police! *proudly hoists up waist pouch and strides off into the sunset*

Also on a fashion-related note: Stop the presses; I wore a skirt to my birthday dinner tonight:

diane 50th bday

Sadly, my sartorial choice had little to do with a sudden attack of fashion-consciousness and everything to do with the fact that I wanted to wear stretchy clothes so I could make a pig of myself at the fancy restaurant Hubby had chosen. (And I did pig out; with relish. Or to be exact, with saffron cream dressing on my prawn-and-avocado salad and balsamic reduction on my duck breast.  No actual relish.  That would just be gross.)

But getting back to the point:  Me. In a skirt. Shocking, yes?

I don’t want to cause any more trauma to your optic nerves so I’ll leave you with a cartoon.  I actually posted it for the first time a while ago, but it suited my theme tonight and I’m still tipsy enough not to be bothered by my lack of originality:

fashion

Here’s to being fashionable; or, failing that, being too oblivious to care.

Happy Wednesday!

P.S. I just realized this post is positively rife with semi-colons and colons.  It’s probably some deep Freudian way to indicate the anatomical area I most resemble when I’ve been drinking…

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And That Was My Week

The week after I finish a book is always interesting.  During the final stages, I’m so immersed in writing that everything else just… goes away.  Including my brain.  And it hasn’t come back yet.

I tried to come up with a coherent blog post and instead spent an hour staring into space and mumbling non sequiturs.  So I’m just gonna go with that.

Here’s what my week was like, in no particular order:

Ironic:  This week I kickboxed, lifted weights, planted a few thousand square feet of garden, shifted a ton of garden soil, mowed the lawn, did some minor home renovations, and generally abused every muscle in my body.  I was fine.  Then I hurt my back… bellydancing.

Efficient:  I finally discovered the secret to efficiency:  a to-do list.  In the morning I wrote a list of all the things I wanted to get done during the day.  Then at the end of the day, I wrote “Tomorrow” after the “To-Do” title.  Voila!  Efficiency.  Now I don’t have to make another to-do list.

Fashionable:  In my closet, I have a skirt… hey, don’t laugh!  I really do own a skirt.  It’s a broomstick skirt, which, for the uninitiated, is a skirt that looks as though you’ve rolled it up in a ball and slept on it for a couple of months before wearing it.  It suits my attitude toward dress-up clothing just fine.  I unearthed it a while ago, shook it out, and then hung it tenderly back in my closet.  You never know when I might need an easy-to-care-for skirt.

Oblivious:  I showed the above skirt to a friend about a month ago, and she said, “Oh, what a great skirt!  I remember when those were in style!”  Then the conversation moved to other topics.  Just yesterday it filtered through my thick skull that my beloved skirt had been insulted…

Illogical:  About six weeks ago I hurt my arm kickboxing.  So I ignored it, because everything gets better sooner or later, right?  But it kept hurting, and a couple of weeks ago I threw a punch and ouch!  So I went in at the beginning of the week and got a diagnosis.  Apparently I have tennis elbow.  From kickboxing.  Makes perfect sense.  (Fortunately muay thai allows strikes from fists, feet, elbows, and knees, so I can still train.  Otherwise this heading would be “Illogical and Cranky”.)

Absent-Minded:  I went for a walk, and half a mile down the sidewalk my brain suddenly shrieked:  “Wait!  Did I forget my pants?!?”  The relief was indescribable when I looked down to discover that I was actually dressed.  The subsequent question, “Are they done up?” was anti-climactic by comparison.  Unfortunately, accidentally going sans pants isn’t an inconceivable scenario for me.  I’m not in the habit of wandering around half-naked, but when I’m this distracted there’s always a possibility that I might begin to change clothes and just forget to finish the job.

Gluttonous:  Because the universe has a cruel sense of humour, it was my week to be Designated Driver.  So I haven’t even had a beer to celebrate finishing Book 8, but I compensated by eating a candy apple and a triple-chocolate ice cream cone that was as big as my head.  And I have plans for beer this weekend, so all is well in my world.

And that was my week.  How was yours?

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I’m Such A Fashionista

Off to the mall with friends today, and the best part is:  I don’t need anything! I plan to buy nothing but food and drink.  I think we can all be thankful for that…

fashion

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A Nudie Pic From My Sordid Past

All the major celebrities have nude pictures lurking somewhere in their past.  They pretend to be embarrassed about them, but in fact it’s a clever marketing ploy to drum up some sensational news articles and garner more publicity.

I figure I could use some publicity, so today I’m going to unveil a nudie pic from my own misguided youth.  And no, I’m not talking about baby pictures.  I was twenty-two at the time, and old enough to know better.

I have to warn you, this is not a tastefully-done boudoir photo.  It’s a tawdry snapshot from a time when someone who shall remain nameless (and whom I’ve cropped from the photo) convinced me to expose myself in public.

I knew at the time that it was a bad idea.

I protested, but I was young, and peer pressure is a terrible thing.  And I believed in the power of friendship.  A true friend would never ask me to do anything humiliating or potentially damaging to my reputation, right?

Wrong.

Here’s the proof:

Sorry, Camille, I would’ve cropped you out to preserve your privacy if I could, but thanks for being there.  No, I mean physically there.  In front of me, blocking the view.

Sorry, Camille, I would’ve cropped you out to preserve your privacy if I could, but thanks for being there. No, I mean physically there. In front of me, blocking the view.

Believe it or not, I am actually wearing a dress in that photo.  (For the record, Camille was a fellow martyr, not the bride who strong-armed us into this disaster.)

The bridesmaids’ dresses were flesh-coloured taffeta.  Low-cut and strapless, they had an inadequate wrap-around skirt secured only at the waist.  I’m sure I mooned half of Winnipeg just trying to get in and out of the car while the wind whipped that skirt around.

But the top was worse.  Much worse.

When the dress arrived the day before the wedding, I refused to wear it.  The top was so loose that one false move would’ve given the girls far more freedom than was advisable (or legal, for that matter).

So the seamstress altered it.  She was obviously vindictive about the last-minute change.  When I got the dress back the morning of the wedding, it was so tight I couldn’t draw a full breath.  My assets were attractively portioned into four boobs:  Bisected by a tourniquet of fabric, two naked bulges overflowed the top of the bodice, while the sadly flattened remainders were viciously crushed against my ribcage.

It was the 80s, and back then, cleavage was usually concealed in church.  You should have seen the poor minister’s face when I shuffled up the aisle clothed in little more than the tattered remains of my dignity, my half-exposed boobs burgeoning over the bodice with each humiliated breath while I tried to keep that slit-to-the waist skirt closed.  He probably wondered if I was inside the dress trying to get out, or outside it struggling to get in.

Trust me, it was the latter.

Somehow I got through the day, but the damning photographic evidence is preserved for all time:   Me, apparently stark naked in public, smiling for the camera.

So do you think that’s enough to make me famous?  Or just mortified?

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Hair Today…

The other day I was cutting my husband’s hair when a memory made me smile.  Since it seems to make him unaccountably nervous when I smile for no apparent reason while wielding sharp objects close to his jugular, I hastened to explain.

First, a bit of background information:

I haven’t been to a hair salon in years.  I cut Hubby’s hair, and he trims an inch or two off mine whenever I feel the urge to part with some split ends.  This works well for many reasons, not the least of which is that if there are any latent hostilities in a marriage, letting your spouse snip away at your ‘do while you sit defenceless in a chair is certain to bring them to the surface.

Also, we’re both cheap and lazy, with no discernible fashion sense.  Cutting our own hair saves time and money, and as long as there are no visible chunks missing or sticking out, we figure it’s good enough.

But pre-Hubby, I went faithfully if grudgingly to the salon to get my hair cut.

Apart from the layered big-hair era of the 80s and a brief fling with short hair after donating my long locks to the Cancer Society, this is pretty much what my hairstyle has been all my life, plus or minus a foot or so:

Just before I cut it off and donated it about 10 years ago.  (The ends look weird because I had just taken it out of a braid.)

Just before I cut it off and donated it about 10 years ago.

Back to the memory in question…

I love my hair, so (cheapness notwithstanding) I decided to spend whatever it took to make it look good. I experimented with various salons and price ranges, reasoning that an expensive haircut should be better than a cheap one.

That may be true if you have a complicated hairstyle, but I didn’t.  It was pretty much “just lop off a few inches and make sure the ends are straight”.  Other than the time I lost six inches because the stylist kept cutting it crooked and then trying to correct it, there was no discernible difference in the quality of the cut.

There was, however, one commonality between all the salons no matter how cheap or expensive:  the snotty stylist.

You know the one.  When you go into a salon, they put you in the chair, tie the cape around your throat so you can’t escape, and run their fingers through your hair with an expression of pained distaste.

Then they ask “Who cut your hair?” with not-quite-concealed disdain.

It didn’t matter whether I had paid $50 (which was a lot of money for a haircut ‘way back then) or $10, the haircut was always disparaged by the next stylist in line.

But once, and only once, I got my own back.

The stylist plopped me into the chair and ran contemptuous fingers through my hair before drawing himself up to haughtily inquire, “Who cut your hair?

And I replied in complete honesty, “You did.”

It’s one of my most treasured memories.

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Suitably Embarrassed

A while ago Carrie Rubin posted “My Closet Has Skeletons – Literally”, in which she offered blog awards to those brave enough to post photos of their own closet-cleanout detritus.

I can’t resist the opportunity to accumulate blogging awards and public humiliation simultaneously, so here goes…

I hate waste and clutter.  I can’t count the number of times I’ve cleaned out my closet over the years, ruthlessly culling clothes and shipping them off to charity.  If it doesn’t fit right, isn’t in style, or I haven’t worn it recently, out it goes, no matter how much I paid for it or how much I loved it at the time.

But every now and then I get caught in an embarrassing bout of hoarding.

I got this suit sometime in the late 80s or early 90s; I can’t remember.  The pants still fit, which leads me to believe that it looked just as ridiculous when I wore it regularly as it does now.  The photo fails to capture the enormous bagginess of the rear.  (The pants’ rear, not mine.  I have no ass to speak of.)

But it’s linen (the suit, I mean).  It feels wonderful and I love the colour (it’s nicer than the photo).  And, hello, it still fits twenty-odd years later.

Please excuse my geeky expressions – as I’ve noted before, I’m NOT photogenic.  And I have never worn the suit in public with white socks, either.  Promise.

Please excuse my geeky expressions – as I’ve noted before, I’m NOT photogenic. And I have never worn the suit in public with white socks, either. Promise.

Somehow the suit has survived all those culls even though I know:

a) it doesn’t look good on me now;

b) it probably never looked good on me;

c) it’s not fashionable;

d) it probably wasn’t fashionable when I wore it;

e) the probability of it ever becoming fashionable is roughly on par with the probability of Oprah hiring me as her fashion consultant; and

f) even if it did become fashionable again, I probably wouldn’t wear it because, let’s face it, it doesn’t look good on me.

So I tried it on, snickered, got Hubby to snap those incriminating photos… and then tenderly tucked it back into my closet.

I’m embarrassed.

Hubby is my exact opposite.

He putters happily around his man-cave surrounded by his “stuff”. He’s completely unfazed by the knowledge that he’ll likely never need, use, or even look at 90% of the stuff he’s hoarding.  He might need it someday, and that’s good enough for him.

And I acknowledge the wisdom of his approach every time I throw something away and then discover I need it two days after the garbage truck has come and gone.

But I can’t overcome my need to organize and throw away.  Except for my linen suit.

I prefer to call this “loyalty”, not “irrational hoarding”.

Are you a thrower-outer or a pack rat?  And please tell me I’m not the only one clinging to an unsuitable, unflattering, useless item…

P.S. I’m still in Manitoba this week, and I thought I’d offer you folks in southern climes a small opportunity to gloat.  Welcome to mid-April in southern Canada:

Yes, this is unusual even for us.

And it’s snowing again today. Yes, this is unusual even for us.

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