Monday, October 20, 2014

More hound, less frock?

I haven't had many pictures of Oscar on the blog lately. He is 2 years old now and still has boundless energy. It's almost impossible to get him to stay still. Jeff took these photos at the end of the day after a long bike ride.

He's a pretty good dog. Early on, he destroyed two pairs of my shoes but he has quickly learned just to chew on his dog toys. He loves to swim, and we've found that to be one of the best ways to make him burn lots of energy. Weimaraners are often bred as hunting dogs, so we were a bit cautious about bringing him into a household with two cats. Luckily, he is very gentle with them and will even try to play with them.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

An old favourite

I just realized that The Frock and The Hound is just over a year old! Time flies...

This is not my first blog. I started writing a blog in 2003 which I've continued to maintain up until now. Back in the day, it was fairly well-read and saw lots of traffic. But for various reasons, I made it private about three years ago though, and although some of my faithful readers still comment, that blog is more like a historical archive for me.

Over the past year, I feel like I've struggled to find my place in the style/fashion blogging community. There are so many different blogs out there, ranging from ladies like Khatu, who make their own clothing; to Yentina, who is always sharing her amazing vintage finds; to Nicole Warne, who is involved in high-end collaborations with Louis Vuitton and other designers. I still don't know what my voice is or what my purpose/motivation for blogging is.

I do know that I have really appreciated interacting with all of the lovely people who have commented on my blog or who have engaged in discussion with me on their own blogs.

I thought some photos of an outfit featuring something old and something new would be a good way to celebrate my (belated) 1 year blog anniversary. I've had this white shirt for almost 10 years, and it is a comforting, reliable favourite. I paired it with a Zara skirt from this spring.

Outfit details:
Shirt: Propaganda, Plen+y, very old
Skirt: Zara, Guipure Lace Pencil Skirt (only available in black now)
Shoes: Aerosoles, old
Purse: Banana Republic, old
This mural has been up for a few months, making what would normally be an ugly plywood barrier surrounding a construction site something unique and beautiful. But also temporary. I passed by the site last week and to my surprise and sadness, it had been pulled down.

Saturday, October 11, 2014

Still more reviews...

Lots of markdowns this past week! Also, in case you missed it, Anthropologie is running a free shipping over $150 promotion as well as a 15% off full-priced dresses offer. 

I tried on this long, sleeveless cardigan. It's made of a delicate knit fabric and the pattern inside is black and white stripes. You could also wear it inside out if you took the tags off. It seemed comfy and laid-back but with fall and winter coming, I need sleeves.  

Carriere cardigan
Next, I tried on the Aven Dress by Tracey Reese. There are three colour schemes on the website, including this one in green, a black and white motif and a solid orange version. It's quite low cut in the front, and I'm wearing a tank underneath. It is made of a soft, drapey jersey fabric and fits true to size. The ties at the waist are not long enough to tie in a double knot or bow. I think this would look cute with tights and a cardigan.
Aven dress
I also tried on the Lavendel dress. I fell in love with this dress after seeing it on Cynthia and Marcy's blog. The pattern is very cute, with big splashes of colour and polka dots. The hips are poofy but in a good way. It's strapless, but there is a built-in bra that makes it feel secure and supportive. Just as a heads up, this dress is dry clean only. I found it fit true-to-size.

Lavendel dress
This shirt comes in a few colours including grey, blue and green. It ties up with a bow in the back, as the name would suggest. It's made of cotton, but I found the fabric kind of stiff and stretchy. It does hang nicely though. The details are printed on the shirt rather than embroidered.

Brilliant Bowknot Tee
Here's what I ended up taking home, which is quite different from my usual style. I think I liked the orangey red with blue polka dots because it reminds me of a dress my mom used to wear in the 1970s (but in a good way). I just wish that the pattern lined up at the seams! It fits true-to-size, and it has pockets. The fabric is sturdy and I think the colour will transition well to fall and winter. I wore it to work this week with a cardigan. Unfortunately, I think between Monday and now it has sold out as I can't find the name anywhere on the website.

With it being Thanksgiving in Canada and Columbus Day in the U.S., there are lots of good sales this weekend. Are you on hunt for anything in particular?

Monday, October 6, 2014

Edith Cavell: The Climb and Another Outfit

I have a huge backlog of posts. Life has been busy! I'm not sure that October is looking much better...

I wanted to share some photos of climbing Edith Cavell. Unfortunately, it snowed quite a bit the week before our attempt and we got about halfway up before turning back. On the drive home, my husband mentioned a statistic that success rates in alpine climbing are usually only about 1/7... which I totally disputed until I thought about my climbing history and realized, disappointingly, that he's right. I guess sometimes it really is more about the journey.

The views were pretty amazing. I took this photo looking back towards the highway. The grey clouds in the distance are not the most comforting sight when you're halfway up a big mountain. It started raining/snowing about 15 minutes after we got back down.

Most of the first part of the climb consisted of scrambling over blocky rocks. As we got higher, we started to find big drifts of loose, unconsolidated snow. 

We climbed back down the same way we had come up. The guidebook lists an alternate descent route if you make it to the summit that essentially involves walking almost all the way around the mountain. If you're comfortable with downclimbing, I think this way is a lot faster.

This little guy greeted us when we got back down to the morraine. It's a marmot! He seemed to have no fear and walked right up to us and started nibbling on a patch of grass.

My husband took these photos at the Jasper Park Lodge the day before. The dress is Anthropologie from last summer, and my husband thinks it looks like a vintage tablecloth. I have to admit, I do find this dress kind of frumpy. I'm not sure if it's because of the length, the shape or the thick frilly border at the bottom.

Outfit details:
Dress: Anthropologie Mallorca Midi Dress
Shoes: Nine West, old

Saturday, September 27, 2014

And... still more reviews

Went back to the store this week and was happy to see that there's an additional 25% markdown on all sale items. The sales associate very kindly gave me a price adjustment on the Sweetwater Dress, which I wore last weekend with a belt (and it worked, so for $75, I am pretty pleased).

I tried on the Petaluma skirt first. This skirt came out quite a few weeks ago and there were only two left on the rack. Luckily, they had my size, although I found that this skirt fit looser around the waist than I would have liked. I was surprised by how heavy the skirt is. This is definitely a piece that would transition well into winter, maybe with tights and little booties. The edges of the rosettes are unfinished but they seem to have held up well given how many people probably tried this on the store. It's not uncomfortable to sit down in, something I wanted to trial because I've been burned buying sequined, beaded or otherwise embellished bottoms in the past and not being able to sit in them! I ended up buying this at full price.
Petaluma Skirt
I also tried the Tanith Dress. It is very stretchy, and I found I had to do some work to adjust the neckline so that it wasn't gaping and showing my bra. I also didn't like how the seams at the waist are lumpy. Pass.
Tanith Dress
I had to do some searching to find the name of this Maeve tunic. It's apparently from Spring 2014. It's made of rayon but feels nice to the touch and hangs nicely. It has a drawstring at the waist but I think it looks better loose. It fits true to size and was priced at $49.95 so with the extra 25% off, I couldn't pass it up.
Topoxte Dropwaist Tunic
This is a full price item that shows up in the most recent catalog. The white fabric is gauzy and see- through so you'd have to wear another top underneath. The embroidery is lovely. The sleeves and bodice fit true to size and the fit is very flattering. I did not like how the pleats at the waist are kind of stiff and sit away from the body. Passed on this one as well.

Ibis Peasant Blouse
This was another sale item. I couldn't find the name anywhere. The length is kind of awkward, in between a really short dress or a really long top. It's also kind of boxy, especially around the waist. Normally I'm not a fan of puffed sleeves, but these are not too extreme. I almost ended up buying this since it is quite different from anything else I own, but I couldn't figure out what I would pair it with.

And finally, I figured I would give the Libby dress a second chance and actually try it on. I think my original verdict still stands. I don't like the pattern, and the fabric is very thin. But I will say that it looked nicer on than it did on the hanger. Despite being very clingy, the busy pattern also seems to do a good job of hiding little lumps and bumps. I like the knee length too. I should also mention that there is a tight band around the bottom of each sleeve, and it was cutting into my arm just above the elbow. Apart from that, it fits true to size.

Libby Dress

Sunday, September 21, 2014

Anthropologie: more reviews

Anthropologie is having a huge sale right now so I went to the Calgary location over the weekend and tried on a few things.

First up was this dress. I can't seem to find the link on the Anthropologie website, but the brand is Yoana Baraschi.  There were at least 10 of these in the sale room. The colour is very beautiful and vibrant, but I found it to be quite loose around the waist and hips and I ended up being sized out of this one. The dress is lined and seemed well-made. 

I'd never tried on anything by Yoana Baraschi before, but I also found the Sweetwater dress in the sale room. This dress was featured in the catalog over the summer, and the pattern is very pretty and unique. The neckline also has a lovely beaded detail. I found it to also run large around the waist, and I tried on a 0P as well to see if that would help. I found the 0P fit a bit better in the waist but was also quite a bit shorter. I ended up buying this dress and will wear it with a belt. Not sure though if I'll regret buying something that doesn't fit me perfectly.

Sweetwater dress
I also tried on this jumpsuit. I do not currently own any jumpsuits/rompers. This was a size S, which is a bit bigger than I would normally wear. The fabric is crinkly cotton and there is a drawstring waist as well as a button in the back at the neck. I don't know if I'm brave enough to wear a jumpsuit. I think it requires a certain panache, and this version didn't convince me to take the plunge.

Tenaya Jumpsuit
This is the one item I tried on that I actually really wanted to take home. I love the colour and have recently decided that I don't have enough pink in my wardrobe. Plus, the silhouette is a little bit different from the multitudes of fit-and-flare dresses in my closet right now. They only had a size 2 though, and for this picture I am exhaling really hard so that the dress doesn't fall off. It fits true to size, and the fabric is thick and has some weight to it; I think it would work for autumn with tights and a cardigan. I went online but apparently this item won't ship to Canada. Boo.
Fresno Ikat Dress
I also got sucked into trying a regular price item. The Lasercut Basalt Sheath is featured in the September catalog, and it looks so pretty and romantic. It's made of a stretchy, thick fabric with a nude lining underneath. There is a zipper in the back and some ruching around the hips and waist. It fit true to size, and I found it very flattering. The black waistband is a beautiful touch, and the sleeves fit well. I don't think this dress could be worn to work but it would be lovely for a night out. I think I would have paid full price for this one except that I could not move the zipper up or down even an inch without the lining getting caught. It was extremely frustrating (and even a bit alarming, as for a few seconds I thought I might be permanently stuck in the dress). I predict that there will probably be a sale rack full of these beauties, all with stuck zippers or torn linings. I might buy it on sale, but I can't justify buying a completely non-functional dress for full price.

Lasercut Basalt Sheath

I was also tempted to try on the Libby dress, but the fabric feels so thin and cheap that I didn't even bother. It reminded me of a 1970s house dress that my mom used to wear.

Did you get anything great from the sale?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mt Edith Cavell: an outfit

Banff National Park, just five minutes from my doorstep, is world-famous and gets millions of visitors each year. Fewer tourists make it just a little bit farther north to Jasper National Park. 

Mount Edith Cavell is one of the most prominent peaks in the Jasper area. It's 3,300 meters high, and I recently learned that it was named after a British nurse who was executed by the Nazis for helping Allied soldiers escape.

I convinced my husband to take these photos when we hiked partway up the approach trail the day before our second attempt on the mountain. Before you judge me for hiking in a skirt and totally inappropriate footwear, let me clarify that we left straight from work and I didn't have time to change. And also, I put a down jacket over my clothes and wore long johns underneath the skirt. 

Outfit details:
Shirt: Banana Republic, very old
Skirt: Anthropologie, Songbird skirt (on sale and still available in a few sizes)
Shoes: Nine West