Burning The Ugly Pants: Join a 2010 personal style makeover (Update IV)

April 23, 2010

Yesterday's blazer experiment

How do you engage with the world? Our clothing plays a major role in communicating the nature of our engagement with both society and ourselves. Generally, those who dress ‘fashionably’ have the most to gain from being perceived as ‘plugged in’ to their culture (ie: Vogue interns), while ‘style’ is more an expression of a person’s confident engagement with self (Vogue’s Grace Coddington). It’s no coincidence that the most successful people (according to our culture’s standards) exhibit a combination of both (ie: Michelle Obama).

Yesterday’s outfit was a preliminary experiment in engagement. Which is to say, I wore a blazer around downtown Calgary. Sure, I still had on my jeans and Nike baseball cap, but by replacing my hoodie with a fitted brown velvet blazer, the look was entirely transformed. Not only did I immediately become more conscious of my posture in the structured jacket, but there was also a marked increase in public attention (from both men and women). I felt suddenly more conspicuous, and at the same time, somehow more involved with my streetmates. It was as if they wanted to recognize me as one of their business-class clan, which, of course, would open the door to my being judged by their standards. It was an odd feeling, and I’m not sure yet if I’m open to living it daily. I’ve always relished my role as an observer, especially being a writer, but there’s a power in setting yourself up as an equal – a power that must be explored…

Need to catch up on this Saving Cymbria blog serial?

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In praise of ritual…

December 4, 2009

Vogue & brie topped blueberries for breakfast

Indulge yourself! Create a ritual around your favourites. On my latest trip back East, these three ingredients made my mornings magical: a bowl full of blueberries, a huge hunk of  brie cheese, and one mammoth September Vogue. Although I’m sure Anna Wintour would smack me upside the head for the size of that piece a’ cheese, I’ve always believed in maximizing the moment. Who says we can’t have it all! Well, at least on vacation~wink.

Bonus Link: Looking for something to wet your appetite? Try Calgary Fashion’s in-depth review of The September Issue


Somewhere out there a Vogue editor is crying…

October 14, 2009

I woke up to winter in Calgary today. Sure, there were heaps of snow on the ground yesterday, and the bow river was slate grey and seething, but there was still something missing. The season change became official at 7am this morning, when Mother Nature overheard me trying to describe my outfit over the phone:

“Um, ok, so picture me as a Christmas elf at the mall, but all they could find for me was some old man’s wrinkled elf costume from who knows when. Oh, and my lumberjack socks are pulled up over my pants, almost to my knees.”

I’d like to say I went straight back to my room to change, but I didn’t. I tied on my damp sneakers (boots are for sissies, not real Canadians) and trudged out into the wilderness. When the weather works its way this deep into your bones, this early, there’s not a whole lot you can do. Except maybe, and I suppose I’m right on time here, channel it for Halloween?


Who says Vogue isn’t relevant!

March 31, 2009

“They were charming eccentrics with marvelous imaginations, and there is so little room these days for wonderful people like that.” – William Norwich, April Vogue 2009

Norwich may have been writing about East Hampton’s two reclusive Edith Beales, circa 1976, but his comment on our culture is remarkably shrewd. When did we stop valuing creativity? Imagination? When it stopped making money, that’s when. So… why did we decide to stop buying?


Do you mean to imply I’m not in “Vogue”?

September 8, 2008

“Thompson is preparing an organic lunch of thinly sliced fillet of beef with salsa verde, shiitake mushrooms, caramelized onions, and crisped mashed potatoes at her renovated, environmentally friendly 1862 brownstone in Brooklyn Heights, decorated with Russian Empire furniture, contemporary Russian art, hundreds of books and prints, and children’s toys and playthings – nothing plastic, naturally.” – William Norwich in September 2008 Vogue Magazine

Just when you thought you had your life together, along comes a “Russian-born and Stanford University-educated” New York photographer’s wife to put us all to shame. Sigh. Gotta love Vogue. They’re always a little tongue-and-cheek about it though. I mean really, a paragraph like the one above couldn’t have been written in earnest. Or could it? Oh William, did you really mean to set the bar so high? Are we humble folk, whose potatoes are merely mashed without the crisping, doomed to wallow in our overly plasticised existences forever? Shiitake…is all I have to say about that.


Toni Morrison says it best…

July 28, 2008

“Writing is the only place where I’m not doing something that somebody else wants… What you want to make is this one little place like the facet of a diamond, just one little shape, and that’s where you live and that’s yours.”Toni Morrison (quote taken from current August issue of American Vogue)

Click image for Time Magazine's "10 Questions for Toni Morrison"

Click image to read Time Magazine's "10 Questions for Toni Morrison"

(photo source: http://www.amnestyusa.com)