Things That Should be Large

Greetings, StyleNation, from the midst of my research leave, almost end-of-term, and month 7.75 of my pregnancy. I should be large. And I am.

Also, something creepy but simultaneously kind of hilarious happened last week. I have little else to report, so I’m posting mostly to share about that.

First, the outfit I was wearing when it happened.

#1. Worn to an early evening professional event with cocktails

As my footwear choices are currently limited to those that can adjust to fit my stupid swollen preggo feet, I wore this.

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Pointe knit draped blazer: Grace Elements (new to blog, via Belk); Silver bib necklace: Stella and Dot (gifted by DSW, remixed; Black maternity tunic/t-shirt: Bump Maternity (via Motherhood Maternity – worst store name ever – new to blog); Brooch: made by an artist whose name I forget, from a series called Blue in the Face; Black pointe and pleather maternity leggings: Queen Mum (new to blog, via the new maternity boutique down the street); Boots: Khrio (new to blog, via adorably hip shoe boutique by my favourite coffee place downtown)

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I strode into the event and began mingling with students and colleagues. It was lovely because I mostly work from home right now and haven’t seen anyone all term.

Out of the corner of my eye, I saw a colleague from another institution doing a huge lean out of her conversation group, clearly eyeballing my preggo form. She had a big weird grin on her face was trying to catch my eye. (This particular colleague has been awkwardly and arrogantly hot and cold with me in ways I’ve found both embarrassing and annoying in the recent past. For example, despite our knowing each other for years and having attended (and hung out at) many of the same conferences, at a social event a number of months ago, she refused to acknowledge my efforts to catch her eye. Later, when I made a point of seeking her out to chat briefly, she acted like I was a ridiculous hanger-on with a major crush on her who was, her demeanour implied, embarrassing both of us in front of her new girlfriend. It was the dumbest.)

At last week’s event, she soon made her way over to me, grinning all the while, and we had the following creepy and kind of awesome exchange:

COLLEAGUE: Hey A-Dubs, you’re looking. . . . . you’re looking (pausing and grinning strangely). …

MOI: Uh, is “rotund” the word you’re looking for?

COLLEAGUE: Well, no. Uh (more pausing, grinning, and looking me up and down), it’s hard not to objectify pregnant women. I mean, don’t you find that?

MOI: (at a loss for words) Ummmm, what?

COLLEAGUE: No, I mean, it’s hard FOR ME not to objectify pregnant women. (more awkward and now openly lecherous grinning)

                              The M.C. begins her opening comments; everyone but us is now sitting down.

MOI: Hmmm. Well, more on this later. See you afterward. (I escape to my seat.)

                                         She left early, so we were both spared any further interactions like the above.

WTF? I suppose I spend so much time in feminist spaces that I’d forgotten what it’s like to be leered at in a professional setting. That said, I kind of love that she embarrassed herself in this manner.  I believe now, according to the grade-five-rules-of-mean-girl-relationships, I have the upper hand. And yet, blech. Also, this took place in a feminist space!

In other news, I wore a variation of the all-black-with-fat-feet-adjustable-boots outfit. I will show it to you via my exceptional photography.

#2. Worn to attend two research talks on campus

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All same as above, but switched out jacket for Black silk/cotton blend non-maternity slim sweater, and switched out bib necklace and pin for gifted and oft-remixed silver
Tiffany necklace

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Mostly, I am over being pregnant and cannot wait to carry this baby on the outside of my body. However, I have another two articles to complete and submit to journals, and at least two weeks worth of research-related administrata to take care of before this baby comes into the world. So probably I should just embrace the largeness and all associated crappy symptoms (carpal tunnel in both wrists, for example) for just a wee bit longer.

Finally, let’s finish today’s Sei Shōnagon-inspired list, shall we? I’ll do 5, and you add your ideas in the comments section:

Things that Should be Large

5. One’s publication record prior to the commencement of maternity leave

4. More of my boots

3. One’s capacity for compassion (currently, I excel instead at smugness)

2. One’s wine collection and accompanying glasses

1. One’s budget for the purchasing of baby supplies (srsly: holy maude)

What else should be large, StyleNation? 

Things that are Especially Rare

To echo E-Jo, (belated) Happy New Year, StyleNation! Welcome to IPF 2014 and, more particularly, Research Leave at IPF North! That’s right. I get a break from teaching and service work for the next six months as I prepare to apply for tenure and promotion in the next year or so.

Today’s post, a bit of a catch-up from the end of last term, includes boots, bada$$ery, and a bit of a reveal. Here we go.

#1. Office Pyjamas as Teaching Wear

That’s right. I wore this to teach – but just in my 4th-year honours seminar – in late November. Because I couldn’t make myself care about wearing anything but this bada$$ ensemble.

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Draped black wool/angora/acrylic turtleneck tunic thingy: gifted (from my elegant sis-in-law, Designer Shoe Whore); Stainless steel non-boob-wrangling necklace: gifted (from the A-Dubs-Hubs); Black pleather-front and pointe leggings: H&M (new to blog); Black leather buckled up winter boots: Cougar (new to blog, purchased in Canada’s most stylish ville with janey-em and kelly last spring

Here’s a better bootal view:

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Remember when Cougar boots were those tan coloured lace-ups that we wore undone so the tongues would flap around and show the red cloth lining? It was the ’80s. Cougar’s changed things up a bit since, it seems.

#2. Holiday Party – New booties and a reveal

Both janey_em and Rinty the Crusher informed me that my search for kick-ass black pumps for the A-Dubs-Hubs’s work holiday party would be fruitless. They said I should relent and get some damn ankle booties already. So I did. Possibly I will never wear these again as I am supposed to be retired from high heels. But they were too hard core to pass up.

In other news, I am pregnant, so that’s why I have a different belly than usual in these pic’s:

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Black polyester jersey and lace blazer: Thyme Maternity (new to blog); Black jersey and gold sequin short-sleeved maternity tunic/dress: Séraphine Luxe (new to blog); Black leather, gold metal, and crystal belt: gift with purchase of dress at local prego store; Black micro fibre leggings: remixed; Black leather and gold metal booties: Steve Madden (new to blog)

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And now, to complete today’s Sei Shōnagon-inspired list,

Things that are Especially Rare

5. Blessed, blessed research leave

4. Wicked black pumps this winter

3. Regular posts on this blog (sorry!)

2. Holiday seasons during which I cannot consume booze (thank the goddess these are rare)

1. Canadian cities that are colder than mars

What’s especially rare in your life, StyleNation?

Also, is anyone else totally over booties, yet? 

International Women’s Week

What’s up, StyleNation? How was your IWD (International Women’s Day)? At IPF Northern Division, we’re being treated to an entire week of celebratory feminist events. At a number of these events, reference has been made to IWW (International Women’s Week). So I thought it was a thing, a thing we’re all doing now.

But Google says no. Most of the world just gets IWD, apparently, then gets on with their lives. This is a sad thing, in my humble opinion. But I digress.

Thus far during my city and institution’s IWW, I have had the good fortune to experience the following:

a talk by an esteemed colleague whom various students have described as a “goddess”: she analyzed the under-representation of women in upper echelons of government-funded scientific research. I am not a scientist, but I am alarmed.

an inspirational feminist cabaret that included hilariously profane and perfectly choreographed radical feminist cheerleaders; fantastic cultural critique of racism & sexual ideology by an Aboriginal comedienne; a feminist utopian vision communicated via spoken word that lacked the earnest pretentiousness that too often characterizes this medium; and an educational song about the g-spot* accompanied by a moaning woman on the ukulele and sung by a woman wearing a quilted cloth vagina that squirted clear liquid by way of a “finale” 

*That’s right, porn seekers. Stumble across a bit of feminist sex talk right here at IPF North.

Phew! And it’s only Thursday.

Sadly, this week’s fashions have not attained the same level of excellence as the events to which they were worn. In fact, this has been a ‘learning’ week, fashion-wise. You’ve been warned.

1. First up: Monday’s non-teaching, non-campus-day ensemble in which I tried some of your suggestions (see comments section) for styling this sweater-tunic thingy:

Sweater-tunic: Groggy (remixed)
T-shirt: mall anchor store
Necklace: Jewellery Box (in Florida)
Leggings: Tahari (via Winners)
Boots: Fluevog Bondgirls (remixed)

 As much I luuurrve the Bondgirls, however, this (minus the hair that needs trimming and darkening – both of which happened on this day) is the only part of this outfit I might do again. The rest seems kind of blah to me. ‘Any ideas for improvement?

2. Then I tried styling this Bada$$ leather vest, but the pants part of things looked so bad that this is all I’m willing to show of the whole outfit:

Vest: Danier (gifted from sis-in-law)
Silk/cotton/lycra t-neck: Melanie Lyne
Terrible trousers: Tahari (via Winners)
Shoes: Who cares? The bad pants are way too distracting.

I’m more than willing, however, to offer this view of my favourite part of this ensemble. How great would this look with a grey or black wool pencil skirt, black tights, and Style Odyssey‘s sweet black Chie Mihara booties?

Necklace: The Bay
Exciting new prop: morning smoothie (soy milk, banana, frozen berries)
What did you do for IWD/IWW?

Guest Lecture: Steig Larsson Styles

From time to time, IPF friend, fashion consultant and rogue academic, Kelly Bean, drops in to do a guest post.  This is one of those times.


Many of StyleNation’s academics are counting down the semester’s remaining classroom days. What better time for a little fantasy professorial fashion? Over in the rogue sector of academia, where the dress code is hazy at best, I’ve been doing some archival closet research in pursuit of an unlikely classroom style that’s just perfect for end-of-term.
Lizbeth Salander Teaches a First-Year Survey Course.

 

black leather moto jacket (nicknamed the “sexy bitch jacket” before I even bought it): Le Chateau, c. 2002
black and burgundy striped blouse: Insight via Filene’s, c. 2009
navy tunic: American Apparel, c. 2010
big bad beloved black boots: Fluevog Cece, c. 1998
chunky ring: bought in Mexico and gifted by my parents, who are much nicer than Lisbeth’s, c. 2008
black and grey bead necklace: Aldo Accessories, c. 1996
not pictured: heavy black eyeliner, high-tech classroom setup, death glare
You. Where is your essay? Technological difficulties are not valid excuses in my class. I am the best hacker in the entire university.”
 “I keep a laser pointer and a switchblade in my boot at all times.”
(Aside: I can no longer wear these much-loved boots without them eating my feet. This makes me sad.)
What would Lisbeth do?
“We’ll be doing exam review next class, so be sure to bring any questions you might have. 









And don’t make me use this bike lock.”







What do you wish you could wear during the last week of classes?

You’re a Wonder, Wonder Woman!

Today’s post is brought to you by A-Dubs, who, in a brilliant attempt to model her professorial style for you StyleNation, hit upon the iconic pose The Wonder Woman. Thereafter Dorky took it up, then E-Jo. Then, StyleNation, we asked you to show us how it’s done and you responded in superhero fashion by submitting poses for our first ever

Wonder Woman Pose Conference

In retrospect, it might have been wiser NOT to make the deadline for submissions August 31–i.e. right before classes start–because trying to juggle the first weeks of classes, department meetings, planning our outfits AND organising your amazing response to our CFP required superhuman skillz. And we are not superheroes, we only stand like one.

So these photos hearken back to that sweet time a few short weeks ago when our clothes were lighter, our footwear sandallier, and the days longer and sunnier. Drink it in, StyleNation and re-live summer fashion via your Bad A$$ take on a lady hero who can make a liar tell the truth, stop a bullet cold and turn a hawk into a dove (does anyone know what that last one means?).

Bring it on, StyleNation!


Panel #1: The Classic
1a. Andie of What Andie Wears kicks off this gorgeous panel in a completely covetable royal blue shirtdress in front of some seriously luscious scenery:

Dress: Worthington (via JC Penny)

Pinstripe jacket: Attention (via Kmart)
Green stone necklace: New York & Company
Earrings: Arizona (via JCPenny)
Belt: Thrifted
Kitten heel peep-toes: Lower East Side (via Payless)
Read more about Andie’s wondrous style adventures here.


1b. Next up, Away From the Keyboard, of the blog of the same name, keeps things in the jewel-tone family with a rich, deep rose toughened up even more with a touch of BA denim:

AFtK assures us that “Real Women Wear Pink.” Obviously, she’s right.

1c. Cynthia at Be Fabulous Daily is being Wonder Woman fabulous daily with superhero layering and some fierce cuffs:

Dress: vendor at last year’s SF Mecca Immersion
Skirt: Boden
Cardigan: mall
Shoes: Camper Twins

1d. And now, a slightly modified, yet elegant twist on the classic pose. In her own hilarious words, the Queen of Thrifted Couture herself, Jentine of My Edit is “squaring [her] shoulders like nobody’s business and [has] a rather aloof/snotty look on [her] face” in this awesome submission:
T-shirt: Target
Skirt (looped through belt): thrifted

(Apparently, the original plan for this submission may or may not have included – and I quote, again – someone‘s “favourite unitard.” But someone was “a little unhappy” with the photos. We have to wonder if this means there’s a unitard section of someone‘s closet 😉

1e. And down in Beantown, Kelly, IPF‘s new guest lecturer, brings it with the hardcore double bracelets:

1f. Next, looking remarkably like Linda Carter’s equally wondrous younger sister, Liz of Scholar Style Guide shows us how to do it:
In related (and adorable) news, Liz recalls punching the bottoms out of disposable cups so she could use the cups as Wonder Woman bracelets. Clearly, the creative child was destined for this woman’s current greatness.

1g. And speaking of DIY costuming, here’s Interrobangs Anonymous‘s Millie-daily-style to show us how to photoshop an awesome WW tiara to wear with a fabulous gauzy tunic. Millie calls this DIY “hilariously awful,” but we beg to differ:
Read more of Millie’s adventures in said gauzy tunic and awesome crisscross wedges here.

1h. This is Bev of Style Underdog, rockin’ The Wonder Woman IPF-styles (that is, headless):
Dress: Target
Socks: Target
Boots: Nine West


Panel #2: The Classic with Hip-Tilt
2a. Andie of What Andie Wears kicks it off again and gives us another sassy angle on her awesome jewel-toned dress:

2b. Anne of The Cohabiting Closet fame gives us a little before and after in polka dots. Anne Before as a wee, young innocent and Anne After as the BA grown-up version of the adorbs petite fille:
Cardigan: Target
Tank: H&M
Skirt: The Limited
Belt: New York & Co
Shoes: Hot Kiss
Earrings: Macy’s
Come hither stare: gifted
(We think it might be fun to learn a little more about that “gifted” stare, don’t you?)

2c. Bargain hunter Jamie of Thrifty Threads notes, “some of my best finds are included in this outfit.” We love the colour and styling here!
Trousers: The Limited
Blouse: Anthropologie (gifted from another blogger)
Camisole: Nordstrom
Heels: Franco Sarto (via DSW clearance)
Floral leather belt: Cole Haan (75% off)

And as a wonder-treat, Jamie gave us a close-up of her spectacular cuffs:
Metal lattice cuff: $5 at a boutique in Jamie’s neighbourhood
Beaded rosette cuff: purchased for $7 during a long layover in the Salt Lake City airport

p.s. Go to Jamie’s blog immediately. Do it NOW.
She has used shoes to spell out “LOVE” in her banner.


2d. La Historiadora de la Moda of Fashionable Academics and her partner-in-crime fighting, The Dissertating Yogini, are bringing The Wonder Woman in their matching Wonder Woman tees, plus a pair of red Fluevogs that Wonder Woman wishes she had:

Panel #3: Bullets and Bracelets
Only two brave women dared assume this pose. As Queen Hippolyta would say, only a true Amazon can attempt such a feat. Feast your Amazon-starved eyes on these women as they power things up:

3a. Kelly in Beantown is first up. Welcome to the gun show. Bring it, KB!








*Note the excellent use of modesty cut-offs by this style powerhouse under that to-die-for navy sundress.*












3b. Already Pretty‘s equally powerful Sal makes this difficult pose look like a cinch. Also, who knew seafoam could look so BA?:






Seafoam jersey dress: Athleta
Necklace: thegarbagegoose
Silver cuffs: a shop in Madison, WI
Earrings: courtesy Misty Dawn Designs
Boots: Diesel Go-go





We declare a tie, ladies.
Load the guns for another round!




Panel #4: Crossed Wrists & Ka-Pow
4a. Here’s a close-up of Sal’s exquisite silver cuffs. And her superhero smile.

2b. The glamazons Rad in Brooklyn and Anne of The Cohabitating Closet are ready to stop a war with love, and smoke from Cuban cigars:

2c. Here’s Cynthia again, with her fierce cuffs:

4d. Despite sustaining an injury in her fight for justice, Sara from Orchids in Buttonholes dons her cape to keep the world of fashion safe. Ka-Pow indeed!


Superhero Cape: Alexander McQueen
Tee: Shopbop
Skirt: J. Crew
Shoe: Christian Louboutin
Hairband: J. Crew
Belt: 12th Street by Cynthia Vincent
Flask Necklace: vintage
Cuff: Giles & Brother
Ring: vintage

AND NOW, the GRAND FINALE!

Sheila of Ephemera brought it big time with a wondrous array of fearsome poses and fearless style.
We want you on our crime-fighting team, Sheila!

Here are just a few of our faves:




You’re a Wonder, Wonder Women!

Bitches and Bad Lighting

Thursday was one of those days, fashion-wise. Frankly, it was a day that would have been better had I not taken morning photos as prior to this point, I was convinced this ensemble was Bad A$$. After photos, I found it blah, but there was no time to change. Also, after D-Med’s hard core grown-up pattern mixing in her post yesterday, mine is like that of an itty-bitty baby. But I digress.

Before morning photos, the title of this post was “Butch with a Shoe Surprise.” I imagined it as a secret* tribute to a butch friend and colleague who occasionally wears an awesome ensemble consisting of black dress pants, black dress shirt, and black crewneck sweater. Her version of this look, however, is perfectly fitted, pressed, and seemingly effortless. Mine, not so much – plus my femme-surprise shoes and lace trouser socks bit me, the bitches:

Navy polka-dot cotton blouse: Jacob
Belt: The Bay
Blue pin-stripe cotton trousers: Theory (via Vegas outlet)
Mug/prop: because I am just that edgy, pose-wise
Bad lighting: courtesy of my stellar mad camera skillz 
(in concert with yesterday’s unnecessary morning panic)

Here’s a closer look at the blouse that pulled across my chest, constantly came untucked and/or  bunched under the waistband of my pants all day:

Necklace: mall anchor store (as Cynthia would say)
Black cami: Hmm, I cut the tag out, so I’ll take a guess – Winners
And let’s not forget the once-magically-comfortable bitches who made my 15-minute trek across campus, the 75 minutes of my first lecture, and my 15-minute trek back to my office (and emergency bandage stash) a living hell:

Shoes: Liz Claiborne (remixed)

Trouser socks: Calvin Klein
To be clear, I’m not a NOOB (short for newbie. I saw it a student’s ironic hipster t-shirt yesterday, as in “I’m with NOOB” and an arrow. Funny. Hip. Ironic. Gah). I understand the importance of comfortable footwear for those of us who hike between offices and lecture halls. These shoes have served me well in the past; I’ve worn them for similar hikes, and they took me through my final day-long campus visit/job interview last winter.
For now, therefore, I am assuming that the lethal combination of lacey socks and shoes is responsible for my current enraging 5-blisters-per-foot situation. Each of these items shall, on separate days, receive one more opportunity to prove their worth. Then, we’ll see.
* The tribute must be secret because this friend has made it very clear that she does not wish to discuss fashion with me or anyone else, at any time. (‘Stern, no? It’s one of the things I really enjoy about this woman.)
Have any cherished pieces ever turned on you? How did you deal?
**Also, hang in for just a little longer – the Wonder Woman pose fest is coming so very soon!**

Help me, internet, you’re my only hope!

My office? Is clean and organised, and I did not just stuff all of my random papers willy-nilly into the filing cabinets for the illusion of organised. Everything has a place and there is a place for everything. And I shredded everything else.
My syllabi? Are almost done. Let’s not talk about those.
My first day outfit? Arghh! Can’t. Make up my mind. Two tops, two bottoms, both interchangeable but I think if I can decide on the top part then the bottom will fall into place (that is not a sex joke). Eyes front, class, I need your help.
It’s down to two blouses.
Bachelorette Number 1:

Silk Navy Polka-Dotted Blouse: Splendid
Bracelets: gifts, one from KellyBean
Cami: might need one

Bachelorette Number 1 sports the perfect sleeve length, a prim bow and deep-V combo that saves it from stern and sexy, and an excellent random polka dot pattern that looks as though someone went crazy with a bingo dabber. I really love this blouse and I think it represents the way I think of dressing when I think of dressing professionally.
I will say, however, that given the price of this blouse (even at 50% off), I am surprised and disappointed by the quality. I’ve replaced two buttons already, one of the buttonholes isn’t even finished and loose threads are unravelling everywhere. Splendid? I think not. But it’s sooo pretty.
And Bachelorette Number 2:
Cotton Grey Plaid Blouse: All Saints
Bangle: gift from A-Dubs
Pose: Wonder Woman (OMG, you guys are awesome!)
Bachelorette Number 2 is more casual but has a flair for the dramatic with a fitted silhouette and a flirty relationship with sleevelessness. This was also pricey (and also on sale), but it is better put together. It’s fully lined, quite carefully tailored and its buttons are not going anywhere. Saintly. And kind of BA.
So which is it internet? Bachelorette Number 1 or Bachelorette Number 2?
I have mates for both and obviously both blouses will get a lot of wear during the term, but who makes the cut for the first day?
I start teaching on Wednesday when all will be revealed. I bet you can’t wait. I can’t wait to see how my syllabi turn out …

Can I Teach in Skinny Pants?

‘Just practicing for fall. I haven’t had skinny black pants since the late nineties, so I’m out of practice. Back then, I had multiple pairs of slim black bum-hugging pants that I wore to work – either teaching English overseas, or waiting tables back in the T-dot – and out on the town. Now, I’ve got a different job – not to mention a totally different (read: older) bum; so I’m trying to see if I can lecture in these pants (with a sweater or office blazer, obviously). What do you think? (probably it would be better if I gave a back view, too; but I didn’t think of that during photos)

I think I’d like these cropped skinnies more with shoes akin to the BA black strappy sandals Rad of The Cohabiting Closet has been rocking this summer. Also, a black top might be better, given the ankle crop, so my legs don’t look shorter.
~ late afternoon photos = BA barbeque backdrop


Gun-metal gray faux-silk top: Le Chateau
Black cotton skinny pants: Mexx
Necklace & sparkly bracelets: The Bay
Cuff: remixed
Pink platform flats: Kenneth Cole (remixed)

Do you wear skinnies to work? Why or why not?

I’ll be watching your blogs, of course,
but how about talking a little, here, about your styling choices?

Casual Monday: Acid Wash Jean Skirt

**Reminder: please enter our upcoming Wonder Woman Pose Conference.**
Show us your powers. Do it soon! (or by midnight on August 31st)
In other news, today’s outfit is brought to you by Sal and Sheila. Specifically, I was inspired by the long lines of Sal’s draped cardigans with platform sandals (woman has the most beautiful shoes), and by Sheila’s B.A. acid wash denim skirt. Sadly, I have neither Sheila’s wicked snakeskin pumps, nor Sal’s hot monster wedges, so I’m remixing my buttery-awesome nude platforms:

Linen/cotton cardigan: Mexx
Ruched cotton top: Le Chateau
Acid wash jean skirt: Azzure (purchased in fit of nostalgia 5 years ago – clearly, I am sartorially prescient)
Silver link necklace: sad sale at Suzy Shier
Nude platform wedges: Nine West (remixed)
Even though it seems appropriate, professionally, that I’m covering my bare arms and back, it’s a teensy bit sad that such coverage also hides this:

It wasn’t just nostalgia that led me to this skirt. It also has magical buttock-enhancing powers. I would have been a fool to pass it up. (But perhaps that makes me a fool, now, for covering up. Even though I do not come to campus to show off my rear view.)
Have you got any pieces that have exceptional body-enhancing powers?
What’ve you got, and what is it/they make even more awesome?

Dispatches from London, part deux

Due to popular demand, and because the website didn’t have a proper photo of my new skirt, I am posting a picture of my All Saints skirt (which was 50% off, but still not cheap). I had to stand on the window sill of my little London dorm room, a dizzying eight storeys up, to get it in. The lengths I won’t go to for a blog picture; please note my mad photog skillz and my efforts to get the shot (gripping window frame for dear life):

Skirt: All Saints, close-up of pattern on the right
Purple argyle tights: Marks & Sparks (Spencer)
Mary-Janes: Camper
Background: Bloomsbury

London is lovely. And unseasonably HOT (I know you New Yorkers are suffering but England is not versed in the air conditioner, so there is little respite). I continue to labour with a summer cold though I am determined to soldier on tomorrow at the library with my moldy books. Here are a few shots of guerilla theatre (free!) in London that I have witnessed:

The red unitards are an impromptu dance/contact improv performance on the South Bank by City Hall (the Testicle without Red Ken, sadly), all the more impressive because it was +30 degrees in London that day. That’s the Thames and the Tower of London in the background.
The opera-looking piece was an excerpt from a new opera commissioned by the Royal Opera (for RO2) called Pleasure’s Progress, based on the writings of Hogarth. In Covent Garden, just outside the Royal Opera House. Both were fantastic, and I would have paid to see them. Theatre is the one thing in London that is not exorbitant. Civilised.

Well, theatre and Wensleydale cheese.

Is there anything (cheesy) you binge on when you are in another country? Also, how awesome is my new skirt?