Sunday, September 30, 2012

Outfit Idea #6. Colour Blocking.

Today I wanted to share with you my take on colour blocking. I went graphic with it. I made this dress from McCall's pattern 6278. However, since the peter pan collar has been all the rage recently I decided to adorn the plain neckline of this dress with my interpretation of this fashionable detail. The shape of my collar mimics the angles of the black side panels on the hips and, thus, gives consistency to my dress.

I like how the black and white colour scheme and the collar create the sense of the conservative. Yet, the angular details and pops of red in my outfit give my dress an extra edge. I especially love the shoes that I chose to go with this dress. Metal studs and colour strips also make the outfit more daring. Just the way I like it!

Finally, it is a perfect day to night dress. Drop the bright red, throw on a jacket and you can easily wear it to the office. Pull out your daring heels and bright-coloured purse and you are ready for the night on the town!

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Another Bookish Moment

Those of my friends who love books as much as I do will find this post interesting. I found this book in the library. Guess what it is about? Duh! Books!

In it, Dominic Dupuich offers a tour of personal libraries and book-infused home decors of famous people. If you find yourself struggling for space or for some kind of organization at home due to an ever-increasing number of books, then this book will give you some ideas on how to make your cohabitation with books not just comfortable but aesthetically pleasing as well. 

Incidentally, I stumbled across an interesting photoblog dedicated to the same subject with a funny title They have an endless stream of photographs depicting beautiful, original, funky and simply clever book arrangements. In some of them I recognized my own bedroom. A couple of my favourites:

Another curious website is Here, the author takes pictures of people reading on the New York subway and posts them on his site. Both amusing and pleasing, it's interesting to see how the New York subway figures as a huge reading room. (Do they have those any more?!!) Somebody please do the same for Toronto!

Ahhh, what a pleasant site to see!!! Call me old-fashioned but I cannot help smiling when I see someone in transit reading an actual physical book instead of playing games or watching videos on their electronic hand-held devices. I love the absorbed look on  people's faces when they read! Read on!!!

P.S. If you view your book collecting habit as a vice to be ashamed of since you have no time to read all those books anyway, I have some words of concolation for you:
"Nothing is more important than an unread library!" - John Wateres

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Outfit Idea #5. Plaid Jacket.

As the days are getting shorter and the nights longer, the chilly air particles biting my face in the mornings get me thinking about layers. This is a confusing time of the year: you think it's cold as you run out the door in the morning, but you find yourself drenched as you commute back home. And what other than layers offers the best option for changing temperatures? With that in mind I decided to show you the shirt/jacket I made from McCall's pattern 5941.

I thought that beige plaid could not be more appropriate for fall. I teamed up this jacket with the black skinnie jeans and a black turtle neck underneath. (This is where your basics come in handy!) I like how  the kimono sleeves of the jacket and the grey beret give my outfit a retro feel. Yet the chains and the high-heels on the grey boots and the furry Marc Fisher bag keep it edgy and modern-looking.

The collar of this plaid jacket can be worn two different ways:
raise it up
lay it flat
The huge mock wood button is a playful original touch. Since it's the only one on this garment I thought it better be big! Plus it ties well with the neutral natural tones of the whole look. I think I'm ready for fall!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Outfit Idea #4. Tribal Print.

If you have not yet noticed - you will after this post! - I absolutely fell in love with the concept of light weight over-sized tops. Wide necklines, ruffles, fun prints, enough skin concealed, enough revealed are the features that make it such a versatile item in your wardrobe. More importantly, however, they are so easy to wear and style! 

The inspiration for my new creation came from the fabric which had been patiently waiting for its perfect garment in my stash for about a year. I fell in love with this bright magenta tribal print! It's got layers of different prints on it, which breaks up the pattern and does not let the fabric look boring. Thank you, Digital Age!

Since the print is pretty busy and does most of the performance, I knew the silhouette needed to be rather simple. So my choice fell on the McCall's pattern 5666

For a sunny day 

For a summer day of fun I styled the top with crisp white shorts and belt. In the summer, I cannot live without my open-toed, cuffed, cream sandals.

For an urban night

For a city look, I wore this top with my black skinnies. Instead of tucking it in my jeans I left it out and cinched it with the black faux leather belt. This makes the top more expressive and gives you that 'just-in' peplum look. I completed the look with black peep toe 'shooties' and a sleek black purse. A silver cuff and earrings will make you club- or lounge-ready!

One awesome print, one simple silhouette - two awesome looks! 
Happy Styling!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Fashionable Reads

I feel quite book-ish today and thought it would be time to share with you some of the books which satisfied my craving for literary fashion and nourished my creative soul. These books were carefully selected according to their subject matter. I specifically look for novels which feature designers, dressmakers, seamstresses or the like as main characters and which would revolve around making clothes in one way or another. So here they are:

The Collection: A Novel by Gioia Diliberto

Even if you could not care less about dressmaking but do enjoy historical novels this read may intereste you. It tells a story of a young seamstress who gets a rare opportunity to come to Paris and work for Gabrielle Coco Chanel. Shy and inexperienced she is drawn into the world of competitive fashion designers, arrogant higher-class clients and dazzling glamour of Paris. However, the dizzying fashion capitol of the world is not as attractive to me in this book as Diliberto's depictions of Isabelle's hard work on couture garments in designer's fashion houses. I love to listen to the sound of fabric rustling in between the pages of my books. The juicy descriptions of garments and minute details of clothes making are my favourite features of this novel. A close look at Chanel's personality is another good reason to pick up this book.

Coco Chanel and Igor Stravinsky by Chris Greenhalgh

This is another historical novel that feature Coco Chanel as its main heroine. This novel focuses on the tumultuous relationship she has with Igor Stravinsky after his family was exiled from Russia and she hosts them at her summer cottage. I cannot but accentuate the beauty and the poetic quality of Greenhalgh's language which kept me glued to this novel until the end. The novel presents an even more intimate portrait of the revolutionary designer than The Collection. While her biographical episodes are of interested to me, it is the descriptions of the process of creation - both of Chanel's designs and Stravinsky's music - that grabbed me the most. My Russian roots augmented my interest in this novel. I also happen to have visited Stravinsky's grave in Venice, where he is buried next to Sergei Diaghilev (who also figures in the novel).

Duaghilev's Tombstone in Venice
Igor Stravinsky's tombstone  in Venice

The Painted Kiss by Elizabeth Hickney

Yet another historical novel. (Mind you, I did not realize until now that I was into historical novels!) This time, however, the main character is an Austrian painter - Gustav Klimt. The narrator of the novel is Emilie Floge - his student and occasional model with whom he develops a friendship of unclear boundaries. I like the portrayal of the-turn-of-the-century Vienna and its culture scene. There is no shortage of art salons and bohemian artists, Klimt including. But I do find Emilie's character quite unsatisfactory! Either she purposely does not reveal enough of her inner workings or she just lacks personality. Yet, I have to forgive her. After all, it is because of her that I started reading this novel. She becomes a fashion designer and opens her fashion house. (You knew that was coming!) The depiction of her creative endeavours are not as rich as in The Collection but they are there and, combined with Gustav's artistry, make up for quite a delicious, albeit a tragic, read.

Thought of the day: Reading is always in fashion!

P.S. If you happen to have read other books similar to these, you will make me happy if you suggest them in  the comments below.

Friday, September 7, 2012

Outfit Idea #3. Floral Blouse.

I would like to share the new creation of mine - the floral top which I made from McCall's Pattern 6437. Luckily, there was no deficit of florals in our wardrobes this past summer. It would seem that such a bold print is hard to mix and match with other pieces in your closet but I believe that having a loose silky floral top  makes your wardrobe so much more versatile. What I love about florals is that you can pick up on any colour of the print from which to build the rest of your outfit. Here is my take on it.

Take it for a walk

My top has a wide neckline and loose bell sleeves gathered at the wrist. I love how it looks chic without constraining. For a casual/day-about-town/dinner-with-girlfriends look I paired the top with beige flared dress pants and nude sandals. I added matching camel coloured belt and purse. As an accessory you can flaunt your turquoise earrings skipping other jewelry as the neckline and the sleeve have enough pretty detail and do not require extra adornment.

Take it to work

Yes, you can wear this bold print to the office. Just combine it with your grey or navy pencil skirt and matching jacket. Such business attire subdues the bright print and keeps it professional yet in the spirit of the summer. Your sleek black purse and matching black sandals complete the polished professional look which still reads  feminine.

Beach it out!
You can even wear your floral top to the beach by combining it with white cut off shorts, jeweled flip-flops and a wide brimmed sun hat (you are right, I cannot get enough of those!). And there! You've got three looks out of one top! 

Thought of the day: Interchangeability is the key to a functional wardrobe!

Happy Mix-and-Matching!