30 May 2012

The Muse: The Order of Release

I have always been very enamored with the 
work of Sir John Everett Millais, the first
 picture of his I remember seeing was The 
Lady of Shalott alongside the poem by Tenneyson in 
one of my high school English textbooks. 
Then one day I was doing research in the basement of the Rockafeller Library at Brown and came across a big glossy book of his paintings and really fell in love. They tend to be romantic and dramatic views of moments of crisis or intense emotions, though I've always found his portraits to be very unusual for the time. This painting The Order of Release was painted in 1852 or 1853 and depicts an event that would have happened more than a hundred years before. The man in the painting is a Jacobite traitor, jailed after the rising of Bonnie Prince Charlie in 1745. While the Rising, which started well but ended with the devastating defeat at Culloden. Almost all the Scottish rebels were slaughtered but those captured alive were imprisoned, some for decades, others transported. This man was clearly one of the lucky ones who gained release, which is what the paper in the soldier's hand is. The only gripe I have is that the wearing of tartan, of family plaid was considered one of the strongest symbols of Scottish identity, was outlawed by the English until the mid-1790's, so almost forty years laterand no Scot, let alone an English prisoner would have been allowed to wear his kilt. 
Luckily I have no such strictures and I can wear all the plaid I like, and I do, 
oh boy do I wear plaid.

 Sweater: Cynthia Rowley via Marshall'
Blouse: Violet and Claire via Marshall's
Trousers: vintage F. Shay of Boston thrifted via Goodwill
Shoes: Naughty Monkey via Nordstrom
Hat Brooch: vintage via Vintage Haven
Earrings: vintage via yard sale

I have wanted a pair of plaid trousers forever,
when I was in Scotland I fell in love with the
ones the male tour guides wear at Cawdor Castle,
but they didn't sell them at the shop and none
of the big tartan stores sell them for women, so
I snatched these up when I saw them at Goodwill.
An added bonus is the length, I feel like I'm always
tripping in most rousers.

This was one of my purchases at the Top Shelf Flea Market
I've never seen another brooch quite like it, and since
I didn't have a tricorn hat of mine own it had to stand in.

26 May 2012

The Muse: Fleur de Lis

 The fleur de lis (also spelled lys) is a symbol that is most closely associated with the French monarchy, though it our lived hundred of years of war and revolution to stay the Gallic national symbol. It has over time been not only political but religious, dynastic, artistic, and symbolic especially in familial coats of arms. The term literally means flower of lily, and it is an artistic rendering of that flower, though many claim it could also be a stylized iris. This pin also features the classic French blue color of the Bourbon dynasty. Even in the United States the fleur de lis is featured on the crests of French founded cities like St. Louis, Louisville, Detroit, Baton Rouge, and New Orleans as well as the flags of Louisiana, Missouri, and the Canadian provinces of New Brunswick and French-speaking Quebec.

 Jacket (from a suit): Blush via Coho's
Blouse: via Banana Republic
Skirt: Saint Tropez West via T. J. Maxx
Brooch: thrifted via Vintage Haven
Ring: my mother's, from somewhere in the jewelry district in Boston
Shoes: Not Rated via DSW

 This outfit is a bit conservative and matchy-matchy for me, but I've been  in the library a lot this week and for practical purposes (ie its frigid) a blazer was a necessity, though being a busty girl I normally avoid them. I won't lie, being totally coordinated sort of made me happy, because after all I never really match 100%, I have too many patterns in my wardrobe for that to ever really happen. Also a note, the flurry of posts in two days is due to the fact that my street lost internet for four days after a power outage, we didn't loose power but the street where the main router is did. Last night it finally came back after being out since Sunday morning, so I had to play catch up which is why Monday and Tuesday are outfit-less.

25 May 2012

The Muse: The Amazing Technicolor Dream Dress

 Skirt (worn as a dress): Alice Polynesian Fashions thrifted via Artifaktori
Sweater: B'leev via T.J. Maxx
Necklace: Vintage 1960's bought at a yard sale
Ring: from Nepal via Crown Jewels, Santa Fe, NM
Shoes: Ann Martino via DSW

 The 24th was Gay Pride Day at our school and we were all asked to wear the rainbow, luckily I had bought this skirt (which lets face it I can never wear as a skirt without chopping about 15 inches off the bottom) at the Artifaktori booth at the Top Shelf Flea Market last weekend. All the teachers tried to show their support for our GLBT students, though lets face it most teachers (aka the Black Polyester Pants Brigade) wouldn't know rainbow in their wardrobe if it jumped out of their closet and knocked them on their asses. I do have to give props to our two sweet little librarians, Diane and Jan for trying real hard and getting into the spirit of the thing. One reading specialist commented on how progressive it was of our school. Okayyy... not like Gay Pride is a new thing, and after all as a public school we have to give our students freedom of speech within reason. Overall however I would have to agree, I know a lot of gay students who are very open about their sexuality, and are embraced for it. We even had a gay boy compete for Mr. (Our High School), the male beauty contest, he sang Adele and was fabulous. I doubt that would fly with the students at a lot of other high schools. Needless to say we flew our colors, loud and proud today. I also got a surprising amount of compliments on the dress, from students no less, usually they just think everything I wear is weird, perhaps tolerance was the order of the day. Also I know I again stole my title from Joseph and his coat, not poor Sara Antoinette from the Flea Market.

This flyaway cardigan is one of my most worn items,
I swear its magic and automatically takes off ten pounds
 the second you put it on. The detail on the back is beautiful,
but its hard to see the details when you have it on.

The Muse: Close Encounters with Sara Antoinette

 So Sunday the 20th found me in the big city, or as big as Somerville gets for the Top Shelf Flea Market. Being beastly hot I had already had to resort to a sleeveless dress that morning for church, not something I'd normally do when I have to be up on the alter reading, but when its already 86 at nine in the morning what's a girl to do? Also it was my first day with my new hair color (burnished copper) it still looks really dark indoors but in the sun, as you can see by the pictures, boy is it red. The day admittedly was full of strange encounters, with Sara Antoinette of The Technicolor Dream Shoes in particular. I had met her for the first time at the Swapaholics Garden Party Swap, in her crowd of fellow workers from Artifoktori. I had picked up one of her swap items off the rack, this dress in fact

(I deeply regret not going for her mauve blouse with the ruffled neck as well) and she stopped to talk to me about it saying how much she had enjoyed the dress and hoped I did too. Your typical meet at a party type acquaintance. If you're not familiar with the swap procedure when you come in you're invited to fill out a tag with your name, your blog name, or Twitter account information. After I got home I started following her blog online, and it seemed like I had found a fashion soul mate. Her vintage collection is vast and impeccable and we're even in the same career. Due to what is I'm sure a very busy life she doesn't post often but I enjoy seeing what she puts together when she does. So after a stressful half hour trying to find the location, a VFW hall right off Davis Square in which I got lots of bad directions, had a bite of a muffin with a friendly vegan outside a bakery in Cambridge while she googled my location, and sat in absolute awe at how city people are unable to comprehend anything outside of a four block radius I finally found it and was relieved not to have to park on the street. My apologies if you arean easily offened city dweller, but honestly I can give you directions any where from one end of Rhode Island to the other, throughout towns as far north as Sharon and Walpole and east to Taunton. Cambridge and Somervillare are so close its practically incestous, but I digress.

 The George Dilboy VFW was one of the great Art Deco buildings that you might over look because its so utilitarian, but is really an architectural gem. I have always had a weakness for these types of facilities, Knights of Colombus, VFW, Odd Fellows, Elks Club...the all have such a mid-century feel and have never really caught up with the times. The old boys secret society feel is irresistible. I was at an Elks Club recently for an even and to read the members names you'd think Lincoln was sill president, that and I always make a point to park in the Grand Master's parking spot, really what can he do?

Dress: Couleur International Ltd. swapped via Sara Antoinette
Shoes: Chinese Laundry via DSW
Locket: Heirloom from my grandmother
Bracelet: via Anthropologie
Sunglasses: via J. Marcel

While shopping I stopped at the Artifaktori booth and ran into the other girl who worked there that was with Sara that night (still don't know her name) and she was very nice, and remembered me. Then she told me Sara was wandering around with her mother some where. Just as I was leaving I ran into her, in all her fabulous vintage glory, and a friend talking, and I stopped to tell her how much I've enjoyed the dress, then we chatted for a few minutes and I went on my way. Then, because it was so nice out and I've never been to Davis Square I walked down the street to see what all the fuss was about. Now Sara always talks about the finds she makes at the Goodwill store in Davis, and what do you know there its was less than two blocks away. Well you know I had to stop. So I went to the back where the dresses are and found a few things then went downstairs (I know, two levels, South Attleboro can't even compete) and looked at a great wrought iron vine lamp which would go great in my mother's new garden bedroom, but passed it up because it was too tall. I did find some great vintage decanters though. When I went back upstairs to try on my clothes and check out, who do I run into. You guessed it, Sara Antoinette. She was trying on a dress too and asked my opinion, then her friend came over carrying the vine lamp. Needless to say at that point it got a little weird so I took my purchases and headed back south to Rhode Island. Poor Sara and her friend, they must have thought the caught themselves a stylish stalker. All in all it was worth the trip though, I came home with some great stuff that I'll post soon.

That's Sara Antoinette herself in the middle of the picture with the red hair and teal sweater, that corner she's standing in is the Artifaktori corner

Not sure if this gentleman who was running the antique book stall minded me snapping his
picture, perhaps that's bad blog etiquette. My bad.

Even the inside rooms have great details like the crests and the painted boarder at th e top of the room,
the floor pattern is pretty swanky as well. Behind Artifaktori's clothing racks you could glimpse a nice old fashioned bar but I didn't want to get yelled at so no picture, also there was a great elevator but when I got home the picture was too blurry to use. You got a taste of the George Dilboy VFW at least.

24 May 2012

The Muse: Uniforms

 'm lucky that as a teacher I've never had to wear a uniform, however all through high school I did. I can't say I ever really minded, because a) you could literally roll out of bed and get dressed b) all the fabrics were basically plastic so if you got wet walking between buildings you dried instantly because the water beaded up and rolled off and c) ever before I wore a uniform I used to be my mother to buy me clothes in the school uniform section. I'm still a sucker for plaid skirts and V-neck sweaters over an Oxford shirt, its sick I know but something about it just gets to you. Now confession, I have no outfit pictures from the graduation party I went to on Saturday, but the subject of uniforms was very much on topic that night so I thought I'd share a few photos regarding that topic.

First the graduation party was for the two sons of Michelle, who is the director of religious education at my church. I have taught with her as a catechist for the past few years, and last year we ate dinner together every Tuesday night. She is genuinely the one of the kindest, most loving woman I know and would do anything for you. A few years ago she survived brain cancer, and since then has embraced life in so many new and wonderful ways. Her family is very important and she, her husband Mike, and their sons have an extremely special relationship. Her oldest son Sean was graduating from Johnson and Wales while her younger son Shane was graduating from high school.
The beautiful Michelle (in the flowered top and white pants)
with her sons, Sean is on the right and Shane is on the left

Now for the uniforms, every person at the part got a wallet sized portrait of the boys she had done ( I took both versions, not only because I was one of the last to leave but they were so darn cute I just had to share them). Apparently neither was thrilled with the prospect until they saw the photographer, a twenty-something chick in hip-huggers and a belly shirt, then morale improved greatly. Far from being simply a formal portrait like a senior picture she had them photographed in their respective uniforms, for Sean his chef's smock and for Shane his mechanic's jumpsuit. Then they dueled with their chef knives and wrenches. Though the tools of our trade are important, clearly the clothing we wear is just as expressive, in fact it seems the clothes really do make the man.
Sr. Kathee, you can see her lapel pin on the left, don't let the pink fool you, she's a real nun!

The cake was make by one of the contestants on the show Cake Wars, I've
never seen it so I can't really elaborate further than that. The top was
Sean's with the Johnson and Wales crest and a chef's hat, inside was white
cake and chocolate chip cookie dough filling. The bottom was Shane's
obviously a tire with his wrench and wing nuts (before they hit Sr. Kathee)
The bottom was chocolate with mousse filling.
Then ironically one of the women started to tell a story about how afraid she was to travel alone, and Sister Kathee, our resident nun in shining armor at St. Mary's jumped in to tell about how she is viewed when she travels to her religious council meeting all around the world, particularly in Africa (where the bulk of her order, the Holy Union Sisters is based). Other than a cross lapel pin they don't wear any distinguishing markings, a disadvantage in places where women are scarce. We all suggested for such trips it might be time to take the old habit and wimple out of mothballs, safety before vanity. Like it or not people treat you differently as a religious when you in the habit or Roman collar, which in East Africa is a good thing. Given that she was in lay clothes at the party Shane had no shame in throwing one of the fondant nuts on the beautiful cake at her. How long in purgatory for throwing your nuts at a nun, I wonder?

18 May 2012

The Muse: Murray Hamilton

 Shirt: vintage, thrifted via Into the Wardrobe
Trousers: New York and Co. via Building 19
Shoes: Nine West
Necklace: J. C. Penny

When I was twelve years old, so circa 1999, my favorite movie was Jaws. There is just something about that movie, like the remake of Dark Shadows earlier this week, it is so incredibly dated that 1975 jumps out to bite you as often as the shark does. That being said there are few horror movies I like, this one I love. I think a good deal of my admiration goes  to Roy Scheider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, and of course Murray Hamilton as the mayor you love to hate, Larry Vaughn. There is no distraction from the acting once they're out on the boat, making for an almost painfully intense hour and fifteen minutes, however prior to that the man who steals the show is Murray Hamilton, or more specifically his sport coats. He has the most simultaneously wonderful and horrific selection of 1970's era sport coats that frankly I would agree to get bitten by a shark in order to own even one.

When I was twelve years old, so circa 1999, my favorite movie was Jaws. There is just something about that movie, like the remake of Dark Shadows earlier this week, it is so incredibly dated that 1975 jumps out to bite you as often as the shark does. That being said there are few horror movies I like, this one I love. I think a good deal of my admiration goes  to Roy Schider, Richard Dreyfuss, Robert Shaw, and of course Murray Hamilton as the mayor you love to hate, Larry Vaughn. There is no distraction from the acting once they're out on the boat, making for an almost painfully intense hour and fifteen minutes, however prior to that the man who steals the show is Murray Hamilton, or more specifically his sport coats. He has the most simultaneously wonderful and horrific selection of 1970's era sport coats that frankly I would agree to get bitten by a shark in order to own even one.

There is no real purpose to this other than that I found this tattoo unspeakably cool, you can check out the artists other work here I won't lie I am extremely tempted to have this tattooed somewhere on my body, Or maybe just the scowling Murray Hamilton, if they put some anchors on his jacket.