Friday, January 29, 2010

Black backgrounds

Since my engagement ring doesn't fit my finger yet (it's going to be sent away to be sized today), I've been wearing it on a chain around my neck (à la Carrie Bradshaw - minus the whole "pre-wedding freak out").  However, I still want it to look exceptionally presentable, so I've been trying to see how I can wear my tops to accentuate it.  Ultimately, this leads to higher neck black tops, of which I have only really one, and it is one that I struggle to style well.  It's a trapeze top (is that the term I want?  I call it my tent shirt, but that's fairly derogatory), which is not a shape with which I'm usually comfortable.  By tucking it into a higher waisted pant, I usually am OK with it, but I've had little luck any other way.

I knew I was going to wear jeans today because we've returned to the regular winter weather of -31 windchill in the morning.  I think adding the cardigan (also a trickier item for me, as it isn't as form fitting as I'd like) helped, but it's the belt that really ties it all together... I get the shape I want, but also the presentation of the ring I had hoped for!  Success!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Dress for the ocaission / new accessories

There are key times in a person's life when it's integral to look spectacular.  Among them are job interviews, running into ex-boyfriends, and any time when a picture must be taken to ensure the immortality of the moment.

Well, my dear readers, I have to admit I have failed.

I woke up Saturday morning and thought: "To hell with clothes, I'm staying in my jammies all day".  When Scott arrived home with flowers, I assumed he'd finally taken my hint to start being more romantic, and thus thought: "Maybe I should get dressed", but I read a few more chapters in my book instead.

When I got through my required reading, I suggested we take a walk, so I threw on a very odd combination of skinny jeans and a hoodie... one for ease of fitting into boots (given it's currently blizzard-ing), and the other for warmth (given it's currently blizzard-ing).  While Scott had shaved, I thought: "Maybe I should shower when we get back", but I thought "nah" and put my hair into the most practical and least attractive toque-wearing option:  pig tails.

When we arrived home from our walk, I thought: "shower or pajamas?" and my laziness prevented both.  My laziness also prevented the guilt of looking so slovenly as we drank wine and watched Breakfast at Tiffany's, so there was no problem, right?

However, when a sparkly engagement ring surfaced after the movie was over, it immediately occurred to me, as I began snapping photos of my hand, and inevitably getting a grungy jean, or faded hoodie in the way, that this was yet another moment when it is integral to be dressed for the ocaission.

Of course, I take solace in the fact that Scott is choosing to marry not only the pulled together Cara that usually walks out the door in the morning, but also the Cara that loves lazy days of ill-matched comfort wear!

(And no, I'm not trying to make a fashion statement by wearing the ring on my thumb... my fingers are seriously that small that it flops around on any other finger.  It's even too big for the thumb!

Friday, January 15, 2010

Surviving... without any tips!

It's now been gorgeous for 7 straight days, so instead of thinking of ways to survive winter, I've been out enjoying it.  It's been great pulling on shoes instead of boots, layering sweaters instead of parkas, and deciding to walk to the grocery store instead of drive.  While I did resolve to do more blogging, I have no regrets - when the temperature hovers around the freezing mark in January you don't question it... you take advantage of it! 

The difficulty, of course, is that this spring fever which has come upon me has reduced my ability to think logically.  There have been many a day this week when I've soaked my canvas sneakers through on my walk to and from class. So this morning I was smart - I wore a more solid fabric shoe with a heel.  Of course, this did mean sliding down the back lane in my new pumps hoping that I didn't have to run for the bus*.

But in any event, this is a dress I've been wanting to wear for a while, as I bought it in summer, but didn't have the shoes to go with it.  These shoes came as part of my birthday present from my parents.  I love the retro feel to them.  I'm still a little wary of them, as I have tended to stay away from rounded toe shoes, except in a ballet flat.  The strap detailing also is making me wonder if it's shortening my legs, but I'll have to see when I take pictures.

The dress, after surviving round one of alterations, is getting close to where I want it.  Next time I'm home, I'm shortening the sleeves, so I don't feel so 80s.

*I drafted this post during my lunch break at work.  As I ran to the bus after work, I did not slip on the ice.  No, no, rather I baptized these shoes in a big puddle of slush.  Sigh.  

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Saskatchewan Survival Guide #3

There are days in the prairies when the temperature does go above "why can't I be a bear and hibernate through this" to a "hey, I've been outside for 5 minutes, and I still have circulation in my toes".  This is when the third necessity of surviving winter out here comes in handy:  a multitude of tights.

Again, these are dual purpose.  They come in handy for these warmer days when you finally get to break into the back part of your closet where your dresses and skirts live.  It would be foolish to attempt to wear them without any tights, to begin with, but there are some pairs of tights that just work better.  In the decision between a synthetic and a natural fibre, always choose the natural fibre, and where ever possible, try to get wool over cotton.  This will guarentee the most warmth.  Not that I have any of those... sigh. However, layering tights is also a lot of fun, particularly if you do a funky tight under a more subdued... or something bright under a fishnet. 

Secondly, tights are also very handy to slip under a pair of pants for an added layer of insulation against the wind.  However, here I would recommend a synthetic fiber over a natural, unless you have pant-slips to prevent some cling. 

I would suggest both natural and synthetic tights in a variety of colours... you will hate having to throw on so many layers as much when you can make your layers a nice little secret...  with bright blue tights on under a more conservative outfit, you can always pretend you are a "insert profession" by day, and a superhero by night!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Saskatchewan Survival Guide #2

Ah yes, it's day #2 of frigidly cold temperatures (-40 with the windchill at noon).  I'm torn between suggesting a bus pass (because even if you plugged your car in last night, there's no guarantee it will start today!) and what I had originally planned:  a big purse.    However, a bus pass doesn't quite fit with the whole fashion themed blog, so I'll continue on as planned. 

A big purse is important in the wintry prairies.  There are many reasons for this, but today two were most evident to me.  First of all, I'm not one of those people who is willing to leave a few pairs of shoes at work and commute in boots.  I prefer to select my shoes to coordinate with my outfit, and there simply isn't enough room at my desk to haul in a whole shoe collection.  Not to mention the fact I only work one day a week, and I'd go through shoe separation anxiety for the other 6 days.  A big purse allows for a pair of shoes to be stashed inside of it conveniently, so there are fewer bags to grab as you run out the door, decreasing the chance of forgetting the shoes, and having to wear boots all day.  In fact, some days, I can fit my lunch, my shoes and my book all in the same bag... but those are the days I feel like I'm forgetting something, because it just seems too easy to carry it all in one bag.

Secondly, a big bag is necessary outside of shoe storage.  Winter shopping becomes difficult, as you bundle up to go outside, and swelter as you traipse through the mall.  Even if you take your mitts, toque and scarf off, you have to struggle with either bulging pockets or full hands.  A big purse not only lets you stash these winter accessories inside, but also still be able to access your wallet when the all essential purchases occur.

And of course, there is also the benefit of being slightly more environmentally conscious - any purchases made can be stashed in there as well, decreasing the use of plastic bags. 

On a related note, the one day a week I am working now is a Friday.  Generally, I would feel comfortable in a pair of dark washed jeans, or another more casual, but polished look for a Friday.  However, since it's the only day I work in a professional environment, and I have a closet full of clothing designed for that express purpose, I figure it's all right to kick it up a notch, since I can wear jeans the other 4 days of the week. 

I started out the day in a pair of black pants and a black vest, but thought that looked too professional for my job, and switched it out for a pair of grey pants and a pin stripe vest.  Feeling pretty pulled together, especially with my oxford shooties, I thought I was rather professional, and looked closer to my now 26 years of age.  Evidently not everyone agreed.  The transit agent in my building assumed I was a high school student, and laughed at me when I asked for a post-secondary pass.  Some day I might see that as a compliment, but for now it just means I look like a little kid playing dress up.

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Saskatchewan Survival Guide

For the record, yesterday was my birthday. And I played up the birthday girl part, and, at least in my opinion, I looked hot. Well, for about 5 minutes. There are two times when homesickness becomes all the more prevalent: when you've just returned from a visit at home, and on your birthday. Combining the two, well, that just spells a recipe for disaster.

Despite not being all that celebratory on the occasion of my 26th year, I am determined to make the most of it. I'm not going to make huge declarations that I'll make this the best year of my life. I'm just going to make sure that this year doesn't suck. And you know, as much as that is due to my lack of ability to see the sunny side, it's also very realistic. I don't want to be further disappointed by having these grand hopes that a simple change in attitude will make winter less cold, Regina closer to home, and this apartment any bigger, all things that would involve some mega powers that I do not have.

However, today was a new day, and while I'm still 370 km from home in -36 degree temperature, I did leave my 670 sq foot home (which sounds bigger than it is - I have oversized - but free - furniture, and a Scott). And this is what I wore:

Most importantly, is a pair of skinny jeans. I find jeans are warmer than cords or any other kind of pants against the windchill. Don't get me wrong - nothing says fall / winter like a good pair of cords, just not for walking any distance. The skinny jean is necessary because it snows like crazy here in the prairies, and they don't seem to plow the roads. Thus, the sidewalks are even lower of a priority. If your jeans can't easy and comfortably fit inside your boots, once you get to where you're going, your invariably stuck with wet cold ankles. Sure, sure, you can tuck any jean into any boot with enough determination, but we all know how uncomfortable that is, and unless you're planning on changing shoes as soon as you get to where you're going, how bad it can look. And people said that skinny jeans were just a frivalous trend...

Friday, January 1, 2010

Year End Recap

I've been reading a lot of blogs today of people mentioning that 2009 was a year of change or transition.  While this is certainly true of my last 12 months (I'm living in what is not-so-affectionately called the "gap" of Canada... that vast void between Manitoba and Alberta), I got to thinking about how every year is effectively a transition or change year, if we are living our lives effectively.  These changes will not always be positive, and they will not always be expected, but ultimately, if we have a year without change or transition, are we not, then, just living stagnant lives?

Having spent a great deal of time at my parents home these last couple weeks, visiting with old friends and acquaintances, I found myself being very nostalgic for the "good old days", though simultaneously looking forward to the things ahead.  Sure, I may still be dreading the next 18 months in this forsaken land (ok, I'm being a touch dramatic for emphasis), but I'm still looking forward to what follows... and thus, the overarching theme of my resolutions this year is to embrace change - because quite often, there is little we can do to turn back the hands of time.

Now I will leave you with the best outfit from each of the last 12 months