Tuesday, 29 July 2014

I Won't be Offended if You Don't Read This

We're having another of what passes for a heatwave here.  The temperature is around 30 degrees and that is close to ten degrees too hot for me.  I don't like being damp all day and layering my clothing is definitely not comfortable.  I would like to be dressed in nothing but ruffly, lacy gauzy stuff, but it tends to be see through so what's the solution to that?  Layers! OH yeah, can't do that in this heat.  See how quickly I forget?

Long before I learned the term Lagenlook I knew of a clothing company called Magnolia Pearl, the creation of Texas designer Robin Brown.  I'm fascinated by the clothes, and find them beautiful but odd and impractical all at the same time, not to mention expensive.  They look like Victorian underwear at best, and like a collection of rags and hankerchiefs at times.  In photos they are always styled with grubby looking boots and big ratted messy hair.

From the online shop, here you can spend a thousand dollars just to get a top and bottom piece and go out looking either like a peasant or like a lady in her undies. Clothing is deliberately faded, wrinkled, frayed and unraveled.  Colours are pale and soft.

Another clothing company making Lagenlook designs is blue fish clothing.  These styles are usually layered, loose and large, with the dresses pairing well with pants or leggings, and some lovely maxi-dresses that look great on their own.  This company is quite fond of black and purple.  Prices are about half that of Magnolia Pearl, but still beyond my budget.

Bloomers and harem pants are a popular under layering if you don't want to layer two skirts or a dresses.  I'm quite accustomed to wearing leggings or tights but feeling a bit curious about venturing into bloomer territory.  I am NOT going to pay $300 for something I could make though.  These slim cotton pants with ruffles look easy enough if I get ambitious.

You can  make Lagenlook quite big and baggy.

Or you can choose pieces that are more fitted to your shape.  All of these images are from blue fish online shop.

There are lots of designers selling their Lagenlook clothing on Etsy as well.

                                           Shop Here

                                         Shop Here

Sometimes  pieces are shown in simple stylings without much or any apparent layering but the designer refers to them as Lagenlook pieces because they lend themselves to the Lagenlook style.  They tend to be loose, easy, unstructured pieces in neutral colours.

I like neutrals but couldn't have a wardrobe of nothing but because I crave colour too.  I'm quite drawn to the green pantaloons above though an entire ensemble in that green might feel like too much to me.  I love mixing monochromatic colours and I also love analagous colour combinations, colours found side by side on the colour wheel, such as red and purple or blue and green.

If you like bright colours and whimsical patterns, Swedish designer Gudren Sjoden might be your style. Prices are similar to blue fish clothing,  still generally beyond my range unless I am treating myself to something special.  I have to admit I'm drooling on my keyboard.

I love the colours in this tunic, and actually love all three of the colour options.  The Gudrun Sjoden webshop images are not easy to pin onto Pinterest and didn't like being lifted onto my blog so they have shown up in poor quality and while I could get some I couldn't get most of what I wanted to show here. 

The colours, shapes, natural fibres and layering possibilities of Gudrun's clothing make me wish I had the money to buy scads of it.  I can imagine myself dressed in nearly everything I see on the website.  But the moment I had that realisation it lead me to another one.  As great as it all looks, I don't really want to look like a model who has stepped off the pages of a catalog or website.  (Not that I look like a model)  My version of Lagenlook, the layered look, is comprised of a mixture of high and low, thrift shop and retail and nothing terribly expensive.  Lagenlook is a style that designers are happy to offer up in complete packages, coordinating colours and seasonal collections, but I take pleasure in creating my own collection of mixable pieces.  I don't really want to look head to toe Gudrun any more than I'd want to look head to toe Chanel or Jaqueline Smith for KMart.

The internet is full of layering inspiration and a search using the term Lagenlook brings up certain types of clothing pieces created by designers, small scale or large, who have taken the idea of natural fibres, unstructured pieces and layering from  many influences such as antique underwear to Asian and African cultures.  The layers might be somewhat stiff and geometrical or soft, flowing drapes.   They often look like things worn by the humanoid inhabitants of other earth-like planets on an episode of Star Trek The Next Generation.   We all wear layers to some degree and plenty of people are dressed in Lagenlook but don't know it by that name, they just know it as "this is how I dress".

 Lagenlook is about really emphasising the layers, using different lengths, colours and textures.  I would venture to guess that if anyone cared to debate the issue, and I really hope everyone has better things to do, there would be different opinions on what does and does not constitute Lagenlook.  I don't happen to care.  For me, discovering the term, learning how it is variously interpreted and knowing I can take from it what is useful to me and discard the rest  is what I think dressing oneself should be all about.  I enjoy looking at images for inspiration and now that I have a new term in my style vocabulary, I can easily find the sorts of images that appeal to me when I want visual inspiration. 

I won't be defining my Lagenlook by the vision of clothing designers so much as having fun creatively layering the pieces I have and when buying new or new to me items, considering how it will play the layering game.  I don't want to look like I am in a costume, and I don't dress myself to stand out, I dress myself in clothing that makes me feel good and feel like myself.  Discovering the term Lagenlook and finding so many images online has helped me to refocus on what styles make me feel good.  I was amazed at the emotional reaction I had.  If I were not such a reserved sort of person I would have shouted, "Yes that is me!  Those are the clothes I want to wear!"  I shouted that inside my own head.  It has given me some direction when before I felt as though I were drowning in a sea of style options, so many of which were not right for me.  I have always known I had hippe/boho leanings, so Lagenlook feels like it just rounds out the picture for me.  Of course I do like things in threes so maybe I just wanted three words.

I will end this horrendously long post which you have not actually read and only skimmed, by offering up some advice I stumbled upon somewhere online and my apologies to whomever said it first.  I am not certain of the original source so I will paraphrase.

With Lagenlook there is a fine line.  Done right you will look artsy.  Done poorly and you will look like a homeless person.


Mary-Kate's look was referred to as 'dumpster dressing'.

Monday, 28 July 2014

Just Hanging Out With the Crabs...Under a Rock

Crabs?  Yes, those little crawly things on the beach that live under rocks.  Apparently I have been living under a rock because the penny has dropped (mixing metaphors is fun, people!) and I realise now that the style of clothing and dressing that I love has a name and it's all over the internet.  What was I doing that I missed this?  Living under a rock with the crabs apparently.

It's called Lagenlook and you are nodding your head and laughing at me, aren't you?  'lagen' is just a German word for layers so I suppose having declared my love of layers long ago I have not been completely out to lunch.  (Let's throw in some cliches while we mix metaphors too.)  It's just that I didn't know I could Google it and find tons of examples, that people sell clothing and make clothing deliberately meant for layering, made out of my preferred natural fibres and jersey fabrics.

While I do find earthy tones, slate blues and charcoal grays pretty and appealing, I like a little more colour than typically seems to feature in the Laganlook ensembles I see online.  I do find the tone on tone look pretty so I decided to do some experimenting.  I would estimate my wardrobe is about 40% blue through to blue-greens, 20% black, 15% purple, 10% red and the rest is made up of browns, whites, pinks and oranges and patterns that mix these colours.  I decided to play with making layered outfits that were predominantly one colour family, unless a bit of pattern introduced another colour.

I didn't try these outfits on, as that would have been way too exhausting. I arranged them on hangers, hung them on my door and photographed them.  This was an enjoyable and artistic sort of endeavour for me, playing with colour and layers, collecting ideas.  They won't all work once I go to try them on but I came up with over 80 outfits before I got too tired to continue.  I worked mainly with what hangs in the closet, and tee shirts, and left out leggings and pull over sweaters that would be added in colder weather. 

I won't be rushing out and imitating the Lagenlook I see on Pinterest for many reasons, but now I know there is a word for this style of dressing that I like and that there are inspiration images out there  so I have a source for ideas if I happen to run out of any.  My version of Lagenlook is definitely more thrift shop, more high-low mix, and I like fabrics with a little more drape to them.  Much of what I see is a bit stiff looking and somewhat angular.  Lagenlook and boho definitely work together.  Okay, I confess to adoring Helena Bonham Carter and wishing I had her hair, but I will have to make this look mine, not copy anyone.  My version has a pixie cut and nerdy glasses so I'm already not quite the poster girl for Lagenlook.

Lagenlook is a bit more challenging in hot weather.  Who wants to pile on the layers when it's over 80 degrees?  Well I WANT to, but I can't always and not everything I own cooperates with any massive degree of layering.

Here is today's example.  I'm wearing this arrangement of lovely thrift shop finds, a sundress with straps I need to shorten and a blue peasant blouse that is a few sizes too big.  I tied it and the tie is hitting the tops of my hips, which feels more comfortable to me than tightness around my waist.  My bra is showing so I'm pretending that is on purpose.  I chose my laciest one.

The flounciness of this skirt would look great with a flouncy underskirt but I don't have one.  Or rather the one I have that would be perfect is the same length as this dress so it wouldn't show enough.  I tried a dark blue longer skirt underneath and while it was okay, I didn't really think it was working as the skirt is too long and straight.  Flouncy underskirts do not show up in the local shops, second hand or retail so I may need to make one.

See what I mean?  Not really working.  Not even when I pull out any of the poses my Russian supermodel cousin taught me.

Did you know that flounciness is not a real word?  I know! I am shocked too!  I've added it to my dictionary.

So the long blue skirt came off again and the goth fairies approved.

They have asked me to stop scribbling them while doing other things so I can pay attention to giving them nicer wings and some variety in their outfits.  Perhaps they would like some layers!

Now, the fairies and I are going to join Visible Monday, hosted by the lovely Patti over at Not Dead Yet Style  See you there!

Saturday, 26 July 2014

Happier In Layers

Today I attempted to get dressed and it took me a few tries because I attempted to go minimal. There are some sorts of minimal which I like.  I pay minimal attention to my hair, for instance.  This is real bed-head. 

I put on this little flowered dress you have seen before and added this drapey purple topper thing which I suspect reads a bit boho-granny.  

I wasn't happy so I tried to spice things up a bit by doing the Highland Fling.  (Note to self:  do not take photos when you have dents in your knees from the carpet when you did your stretches.)

Then I tried the fashion model trick of using the purple topper as a turban.  Surely a turban could liven up this boring little floral dress.

Chic, non?  But alas, not me.  I am not chic.  Sophie is not chic.  We don't do chic around here.

Then I realised the problem.  Layers were lacking!  I need layers to feel like me.  Only when the temperatures soar to the mid eighties do I have to abandon layers.  That is if you don't count the layer of sweat that goes with any hot day outfit.  I added layers and felt quite smug.  THIS is me.  Here I am. There is just too much awesomeness here for only one dress.   Two dresses are needed for the job!

Faking it till I make it!

 Shoes?  Oh yeah, later if I go out there will be shoes.  Going out is not so much on the agenda these days.  Resting and doodling Grunge/Goth Fairies is the daily routine.

I love doodling in my ideas book because I need the practice at not expecting perfection of myself. I love imperfection in many things but struggle to accept my own imperfections. 

On with the journey!  The journey includes naps.

Friday, 25 July 2014

Officially Peeved with Bloglovin'

I am interrupting the regularly scheduled programme, and making my second post of the day, to complain about Bloglovin' 

I had been using it eons ago, but when I started up this blog I just kept track of new posts on the blogs I follow with my blog reading list on the side.  But then my reading list got so big I couldn't so I went back to Bloglovin'

In the few months I've been back there it has dumped people from my list and it takes me awhile to figure that out as I just think oh, she is taking a break from posting.  It also neglects to show anything in my feed for days and then suddenly I have over a hundred and posts going back three days or more. 

GAAAHHHH!  I get behind sometimes anyway because when I am tired it is oddly much easier to post my own blog than it is to read and comment on others so although I may post something, I might be faking that I am full of energy and getting things done.

Is anyone else having this trouble with Bloglovin' and are there alternatives I don't know about?

I will try to get caught up in my reading this weekend because a quick glance shows me I've been missing some good stuff!

Self Portrait:  That's Me in the Corner

How To Look And Feel Younger

It's really simple.  Just dress like you are pregnant and it will knock at least ten years off your age or at least suggest that you are of an age to be fertile.

Then grab your camera and take pictures because picture taking is fun and fun is youthful.

Fun is also fun and that's a piece of wisdom you can put in your pocket and carry everywhere.

Lately I have been doodling and dabbling with water colours.  Sophie really likes to help when I do this.  I have suddenly developed a desire to doodle Goth Fairies.  I'm not sure if that is going anywhere; they are rather raw and rough but I feel compelled to make them so perhaps they will get better.

Another little arty friend I have is this spider, who likes to hang with some pencils.  The spider is a brooch that once belonged to my great aunt and I love to wear it on winter coats and find out which people I encounter think it is cool and which think it is creepy.  I don't know if it is real amber, though I doubt it as it looks too flawless.

And then there is Fred. 

Fred is a constant thinker so we really understand each other.  Fred is thinking all the time; he cannot stop.  In order to help inspire his thoughts, I move him around to different locations.

Now it's time to take my youthful brain and my ancient feeling body to the kitchen to make a meal.  Thanks for visiting. I hope to get caught up on my blog reading and visiting this weekend!  See you there.

Wednesday, 23 July 2014

Wordless Wednesday...Or Not

Can I do it? I don't know, as I am awfully fond of words.  I love taking photos though and it has long been my goal to improve my skills, if I can even be said to have any skills, and I'm inspired by all the bloggers I know who take such amazing photos.  I am also quite keen to become better acquainted with my camera since rather like my computer, I am not using it anywhere near it's full capacity, though I am proud of myself for rarely using the automatic setting.

I bought the camera shortly after my ex- husband and I split.  He had always been the photographer and the one who owned the expensive camera and I felt that I wasn't entitled to have one.  I don't really know why I felt that, but the psychology behind it is some sort of complicated issue all tied into the whole dysfunction of that relationship.  I was too intimidated to try to be good at anything he was good at and also I spent my allotted mad money on plants to a great extent so buying a camera just didn't factor in until I was on my own and making significant life changes that involved less gardening and more art.

So I bought myself a camera, an SLR digital Nikon D3000.  Not a professional's camera but something I could learn on and take better photos than what my tiny little automatic could take.  I bought a basic starter lens and a tripod and my adventures in photography began.  I imagined myself going on long nature walks or walks through town and snapping photos but then a relapse derailed those plans.  I don't get out much and am definitely not yet managing long walks, but recently I realised there are many things I can photograph in my own home.

Most of the time I take photos such as these...

Which have a purpose, the purpose of documenting and sharing something about my day or my life, which is fine.  I will not stop doing that.

These pictures are to show how I recently reorganised the kitchen nook where I usually paint and draw and sometimes use my computer.  I pushed the table against the window and folded down one of the sides so it would be flush to the window.

I had to tie the chandelier up higher, as I would otherwise bump my head on it with the table not centred underneath anymore.

I am not sure how I feel about that chandelier, which came with the place when I bought it.  On some days I like it and on some I don't.  I suppose I'm not in a bother to replace it.

It has been a grey and rainy day today, though the sun is trying to break through now and the temperatures are still mild. 

It may look like this outside but I am now tucked into the corner with my orchids and other greenery.

I've got my paints and my cat who has just peed in her own toy box.

And a new plan.  A plan to take more photos, inside, of small things.  Close up.  Just for fun.  And maybe to share.  Like this little bit of sun, which is needed today!

And maybe I will actually  manage to be wordless next Wednesday.  Or employ "less" words.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

I'm Just Me, Living a Life

When I first assembled the beginnings of this blog, the Blogger programme wanted me to indicate what category of blog this is.  I didn't select one because I couldn't put it into a category.  It's not a fashion blog, not completely a personal style blog, a little bit but not quite a lifestyle blog, it's just a random blog and I'm not alone in creating this type.  I consider it the blog of a woman living her life the best she can and taking others along for the ride.  The makers of Blogger forgot to include such a category. 

Many of the blogs I read and the blogging friends I have made are about personal style and one aspect of my life, in living with this chronic illness I am always mentioning, is finding ways to remember self care, to feel good about myself, to feel it is worth getting up every day, and that involves personal grooming and putting on clothing that goes beyond pyjamas or sweatpants.  If I am in pyjamas or sweatpants I am going to be spending the day or most of the day in bed.  Even if it's a day of mostly sitting and reading, writing, or drawing, I put on clothes that make me feel good, that I would be happy to be seen in, but are also comfortable, both physically and emotionally for me.   I will skip on accessories except for the earrings I always ware.  Empty ear holes make me crazy.

On at home, tired days, I am less fussed about things being absolutely flattering to my waistline and more concerned with comfort.

I have joined the nightgown as day wear club I think, though I am not quite certain, and I have aimed for elevated and chic nightgown dressing with a stay at home casual vibe.   I picked up this thin as cheesecloth dress or nightgown, not really knowing which it was meant to be and thinking it didn't matter much anyhow as I could happily sleep in it or wear it in the day time.  Daytime wear does require some layering and I have many ideas on how to play with that. Today, I've got a blue and white skirt under it, giving it a sort of reversed slkirt and slip look.  Because it is white, and I have layered a white cotton crocheted top over it, I am linking up to Share In Style over at Mis Papelicos.

Sophie Update:

The vet took urine samples and there is no sign of infection but some indication of inflammation so she is on anti-inflammatory medication and we will see how that goes.  She seems comfortable and so far there is no sign of pee in any inappropriate place. 

Monday, 21 July 2014

Shawna-Lou Who

Well it didn't last.  That is, my tolerance for the  Jones New York dress I wore yesterday.  It lasted a couple of hours but I felt too restricted, too tailored, too belted.  I changed into this outfit below.  I do fall for crisp tailored things at times but I  just can't happily wear them.  Not only did the dress attract lint and fluff and get wrinkly fast, it bagged in the bum and just did not hold a shape.  Sometimes it becomes really obvious why someone else donated the item!

I changed into this for the rest of the day.

The temperature has dropped about ten degrees and we are to have cooler days for the next week and I am happily back to layers.

....So about that massage appointment...well I am really pushing my boundaries.  I like the massage therapist, and despite the initial situation with the alkaline water and Chinese Medicine suggestions, I find him personable, professional and really good at what he does.  However, it is still a bit beyond my comfort zone to be mostly naked alone in a room with a strange man who is not my significant other.  He is absolutely professional but it is more intimacy than I am used to, having my buttocks massaged.

Yes, and my thighs.  I hear you gasp.  But you see I was all locked up and in pain and stiff and he has drastically improved this by spending an hour massaging places no man has been in awhile.  All I could think about was whether or not I had worn decent knickers, shaved my legs carefully and could he tell I had my period? Every once in awhile I remembered to breathe.

This is not a spa treatment; this is deep tissue massage with some manipulation and prescribed follow up exercises.  This is part of the self care I must pursue in order to live the best life I can with M.E.  My medical insurance covers part of it, thankfully.  I'm still in pain but I think this treatment is helping and I will improve.

In the meantime, it's Sophie's turn for medical intervention.  She has been peeing in places she is not supposed to and I suspect a bladder or urinary tract infection.  Actually I really hope it is one because if this is psychological I am in big trouble.

In order to cope with getting out on a trip to the vet and a quick stop at the grocery store if I can manage it, I've dressed in bright pink and jaunty stripes.  I love these trousers but I have to admit they aren't the most flattering from the back view, making my minimal posterior look a bit flat, an image I've decided not to put on the internet because I may be tired but I'm not stupid. 

 Oh look, the bangs are nice today but what are those bits sticking up like my name should be Cindy-Lou-Who.

When those errands are over I shall be crawling back into bed- my bed that is in the middle of the room because of the painting project I've started and which will take me forever and a day.

Oh well.  Life goes on, doesn't it?

Sunday, 20 July 2014

Old and New

This photo is twenty years old.  My son is only about six weeks old here and I am 27.  I was still carrying unwanted pregnancy weight but I remember that I loved these clothing pieces, a blue broomstick skirt and a white peasant style blouse.  More than the love of my clothing though, this photo is a visual reminder (not that I need one) of how precious my son is to me and how in some ways he will always be my baby.  I have promised never to call him that in public.

So this photo above has the old me, and the new son.  Or, if you like, because I am so young here you could say this is the new me and now we are going to look at the old me..... don't know what is going on with my bangs there.  That was not a style choice on my part.

Here I am  road testing a new to me outfit.  This is not as impractical an outfit for going to a massage appointment as it first appears.  My wrinkle prone and lint collecting  black cotton Jones New York dress buttons up the front so it's easily removed rather like a coat.  Given that I am not the same size on top as I am on bottom and this dress is sized for bottom, I can't actually button it all the way up so it requires a tee shirt underneath.  In the middle of our warm summer weather we are having a day of grey skies and cool temperatures so it just seemed right to add the black leggings.

Amazingly it also seems right to belt the waist in this case and so far I am tolerating it.  Another feature of this dress which is an unusual choice for me is the collar.  But the dress fits well and the belt loops are actually in the right spot and the collar is away from my neck where it would normally irritate me because of the open buttons. Given the fit and that fact that I just darn well like it, I might be able to forgive the wrinkles and lint.  I think that if I can find some coloured leggings I could have fun with this.

I haven't mentioned anything about the shoes yet, but they are also a recent find at my favourite consignment shop.  I adore mary-janes and have many variations on that style.  With a regular width toe and narrow heel I have difficulties keeping shoes on my feet so I favour boots or shoes with straps, breaking that rule of not chopping up the leg line .  The shoes are Hush Puppies and very comfortable, with a bit of white stitching detail on them and a wedge heel.  I like a cute shoe that I could potentially run in and these meet the criteria, so I'm linking up to Sheila's Shoe Shine