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the style fyle

it's funny that despite my love of all things sartorial, i don't talk about clothing that much on this blog. i talk freely about makeup, which i love as well and the fact is that i more frequently get comments [occasionally compliments] about what i wear on my body than what i wear on my face. more often than not, people describe what i wear as "distinctive", which i take to mean that they find it interesting, but also a little bit further out than they would feel comfortable venturing. i'm ok with that. i actually feel awkward dressed in most everyday clothing unless i do something to "energize" it.

i have been sharing little snippets of outfits on my instagram account and i thought i'd post some here, to let you get to know me from the neck down. here's a little primer...

I'M GETTING CHANGED, I'LL MEET YOU AFTER THE BREAK...



one thing i love is intricate details. layering of fabrics, embellishments, embroidery... anything that looks like it took some loving care to accomplish. i tend to find that in a lot of work by local designers here in quebec, many of whom are linked on the right hand side of this blog. even when i was wearing mostly black all the time, i always needed something special to make what i wore stand out. every piece i owned had a distinctive feel to me.



close up of a pair of culottes i picked up on queen street in toronto when i lived there. culottes are already a sort of focus piece, but the purple embroidery makes these a bit more fun than boyish.



piece by quebec designer emilie desmeules, who is the master of embellishments.



more of a typical work outfit, but with beading around the collar and better of the sweater. yeah, i know that i got both my finger and my sleeve in the shot. there's beading on the cuffs as well, which you can kind of see.



fringe may conjure up images of cowboys, but it was also popular with flappers, which makes it equal parts scintillating and silly.



she wears sea shells... i got a whole bunch of compliments on this outfit that day. i think because the combination of burgundy and ivory worked and because the embellishments were subtle enough for the workplace.



speaking of workplace-appropriate, this one always works for me. it's from studio gang in toronto. the menswear pattern is a nice contrast with the ruffle and bow around the bottom. this also works as a dress and is easy to care for- just throw it in the laundry with everything else.



a flower pin with a stitched on leaf design? why not, i say. [vancouver designer whose name i can't remember, sorry.]



ok, this one isn't subtle, but who doesn't want to feel like a flamenco dancer occasionally? oh, just me?



this is a versace piece that i got on ebay, which tends to be my go-to location for designer stuff. i'm not a label whore, but i have come to appreciate what makes designer pieces distinct. and although you can see them that well, i'm wearing a rather eccentric pair of patterned tights [and a cat].

aside from embellishments, i also have a bit of a thing for patterns. the splashier the better, really. i find that they're a way of playing with colour combinations that you wouldn't have thought of otherwise. i don't find small or very detailed patterns that inspiring personally, although they seem to work fine on other people. me, i like something a little funky. i'll go for standards like plaid or animal print or stripes or menswear patterns [herringbone, houndstooth, etc.], but what i really love are the imaginative abstract ones, or punchy florals. asian-inspired patterns are a real love for me.



i'm a lover of purple generally, but how fun is this multi-coloured floral on a purple base? it's an empire-waisted affair from betsey johnson.



purple camo. proof of my purple love, i think. this is a locally designed piece bought from aime com moi on mont-royal avenue.



this skirt [from the same store as the culottes above, the name of which unfortunately escapes me- although i remember it's just east of bathurst] has a pattern that is on the tame end of things for me, but i love it with the mesh panels.



and hey, you can work patterns in everywhere. why not a pair of platform cheetah-print boots? ok, those may not be everyone's cup of tea, but i adore them. i look at my feet a lot when i'm wearing them. and yes, they do get a lot of attention. fluevogs, of course.



this is the sort of pattern that fascinates me. enough that i was compelled to buy this dress, in a colour that was completely uncharacteristic for me. this comes from a shop on st. denis called 'tout a fait', which has unfortunately closed, but the dressmaker himself, who repurposes and re-imagines vintage pieces, has clothing available at folles alliees on mont-royal in montreal [along with a lot of other fantastic stuff].



dots of a different type. i had to wait for the perfect day to combine this sundress with those sandals and that sweater. a bit too matchy? maybe, but i'll take that chance.



a very similar sundress, with a similarly awesome, but totally different, pattern. acid trip optional.



here's one of those asian-inspired patterns i spoke of. it's actually a reversible jacket. the inside is brown with a self-toned embroidered pattern, also asian in nature.



studio gang designer deborah korosec told me that this dress was inspired by anime, which i can totally see. everyone gets an asian vibe from this, although the patterns aren't specifically asian.



owls. i love owls. so how could i say no to an owl-print dress?

more recently, i've been exploring what kind of colours really work for me. you can read through the blog for a lot of my posts on sci/art and seasonal colour analysis. strangely, i seem to go through an interest in colour every few years and add a small bunch of new and different pieces to the wardrobe. this latest exploration has been a bit more directed, but it's also been different in that i've been trying to combine different colours, not just add an accent to a black base.



i'm still not sure about this shade of jade green on me, but i decided to thumb my nose at the whole "blue and green should never be seen" thing and pair it with a rather striking necklace.



of course, i still sport a lot of black, but i'm trying to work in contrasts, not just accent colours. this shirt is actually pale green, although it looks more white. i couldn't get it to cooperate.



still in my safe zone, but i thought i'd play with different shades of purple, top to bottom. in fact, i'm not sure the light shoes work with the overall ensemble, but it's at least an interesting attempt at tone-on-tone.



same concept, but with blue. i've discovered that very saturated blues look good close to my face. i'd been told that for years, but i didn't really believe it, i think partly because i was judging blue by dustier, more muted blues which are horrible on me. in fact, blue may be both my best and worst colour, depending on what variation we're dealing with. [skirt is a closeout find from donna karan. shirt is one of many i've accumulated from cynthia rowley, who makes the most incredibly comfortable cotton jersey shirts in the world.]



remember this one? that's the rust-coloured garment that got me some unexpected compliments, despite my belief that this was actually the worst colour in the world for me to wear. i still don't understand it, but it's definitely maintaining a place of pride in my collection. [from free people]



a very light aqua colour, combined with a long purple satin skirt [which actually has patches of different purple shades around the bottom]. i don't know where i got the inspiration to do this, but i do find they go perfectly together in a sort of monet's waterlilies sort of way. [if your seasonal colour analysis is true or cool summer, this combination is a natural for you.]



it's hard to work metallics in, because they can move into full-blown tacky pretty quickly if you're not careful. i do like these leggings, though, which are sort of pewter coloured, rather than the more typical silver or gold. they're part of the topshop selection at the bay.



sometimes, exploring colours can mean combining things that you never thought of before. i think that the neutral skirt, as much as it's not a colour that i would normally wear, gives a nice plain base for the rest of what's going on here- bright top and multi-coloured boots. [shirt is cynthia rowley again. boots are fluevog. again.]



here's another look at that flame-red top, actually. in this case, i'm using a necklace almost as a separate layer, with the navy camisole underneath sort of providing some solid ground. the sum total of what i'm wearing here is probably less than $50, despite the layering.



believing that you may be a bright season in colour analysis terms can result in strange behaviours. like buying yourself a bright orange moto jacket. this garment cannot pass unnoticed, but i don't care. i absolutely love it and no, i don't think it's too bright for me to handle.

another thing that i absolutely love in clothing is layering. i love sheer overlays, whether they're part of a single piece or something i create myself. actually, something i've been training myself to do more in the last few months is to think of ways that i can combine pieces i already have into layers. i seem to have a lot of what i'd call "statement pieces"- things that are complex, with enough going on to stand by themselves with very plain surroundings- but it takes a little more skill to create an overall statement 'look'.



that's a skirt from local designers kollontai. it's an absolutely perfect piece for spring, because it has a wonderful, flow-y cut, those cute embroidered flowers and the mesh overlay, to keep the green underskirt from being overwhelming.




the above two pieces are from local collective metamorphose. their use of contrasting layers and fabrics seemingly knows no bounds, but their dresses are also comfortable and simple for summer. why stop with one overlay when you can have many?




two dresses from slak. i love their unorthodox choices for layering materials. the top one is a light grey embroidered mesh over a bright red, whereas the second is a fascinating combination of prints and layering. the second dress appears in its full glory in "conversion" with a pair of kick-ass green and grey boots.



more modest and office-friendly layering, with neutrals, but still something i enjoy. i am a huge fan of cardigans, which are both practical and sexy in their way. another skirt from donna karan and another pair of fluevog boots and another cynthia rowley shirt here. i do have some favourites.



great textures are important in layering, like this burnout velvet shirt. one of the things that exploring colour has lead me too is the realisation that flat, solid black isn't especially flattering on me. sheer pieces in black, however, or black mixed with other colours, works very well. go figure.



being of scottish heritage [partly] i do have a special love for plaid and this jacket- although it's no specific tartan i can identify- is a great layer over a lot of things. because plaid contains many colours, there are usually a lot of things you can wear with it.

finally, i have always loved accessories, particularly hats and scarves. i've been trying to pull both out more frequently, because they're a great way to add embellishment on my own and, of course, they can be added to anything. i've been trying to play around more with jewelry and purses as well, although i have a more limited collection of both.



plain white shirt = boring. plain white shirt plus patterned scarf = fun.



plaid again. aime com moi makes these amazing scarves, lighter fabrics [like this one] for spring/ summer and heavier ones for fall/ winter. they're always unique pieces.



this is a better look at that aqua bib necklace we saw earlier. my cats love this one.



a hat and a smart scarf aren't just defence against the cold. they are that, of course, but they're also a way to make a plain black coat more interesting. silk scarf came from aime com moi and was made especially for them.


the cloche hat is remarkable chiefly because there isn't anyone who doesn't look good in one. this particular one comes from lilliput hats in toronto, but there are lots of great designs in different fabrics and colours available everywhere. 

so that's a quick look at the sort of things that i wear on a regular basis. hope you enjoyed and, if so, let me know and i'll try to post more on the subject. [note :: all of the links in this article are provided for convenience, curiosity and to make you buy things you probably don't need. i am not provided with any compensation, financial or otherwise.]

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