What to Wear #5

The working week is drawing to a close! As I like to repeat to my colleagues, there’s a weekened every week. Something one can rely on. I’m a fan. State the obvious with a cheeky grin to get a laugh, harharhar. Actually, I don’t have a problem with Mondays either, but I mentioned this once and the room went quiet, so mute setting.

No meetings, just a relaxed café stop with the girls after work. Navy blue leggings, long dark-grey cardigan, my favourite black and white cotton scarf that I like to think looks a bit expressionist (add an edge to an otherwise casual outfit!), but maybe someone else saw it at Orsay on sale too. Silver hoop earrings from Claire’s and that fuchsia lipstick – done! Less than five minutes for assembling.

To be completely honest, I have never (“Never, ever, everrrrr”, take me back to 2012) had that “I have nothing to wear!” moment. Rather, “I want to wear everything now!” But I don’t think I should advertise that one either.

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Oslo Reloaded, Day 2, Opera

The Oslo Opera House was definitely a major higlight during last year’s trip for me. What would it be like, we wondered, to see a performance there? One year later we find ourselves with tickets to see a ballet based on Ghosts by Henrik Ibsen, one of Norway’s most famous playrights, but more on that later.

There is never a bad time to visit the Oslo Opera House, really. The building seems to transform along with the time of day and the changing light. Each view of and from it is exciting and unique. With the traditional notion of walls, gravity and height on the mind, it is somewhat surreal to find yourself not only going in, but walking on the Opera House before you even realize it. The change of levels is so gradual, even gentle, that the view of the Oslo Fjord from the rooftop catches you by surprise.

Space and peace are the main impressions emanating from the Operahuset, as well as a sense of welcoming. It snowed in the morning. I look down at my pointed black ankle boots and my friend’s smart black pumps, and suggest we take the steps stretching out in front of us. There’s an expanse of of the building leading upwards, basically just a walkway, but that’s for another day and in other shoes.

People are walking everywhere, some are sitting down and reading or just gazing out over the city. Blues, whites, marble and glass ripple, blend together and reflect each other in the rays of the slowly setting sun. I am enchanted.

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To me, Henrik Ibsen was previously known for his plays A Doll’s House and Peer Gynt. My friend had read Ghosts before the trip and summarized it for me. Subsequently, we were both asking the same question: how can this complicated material with many-layered family drama and tragedy stretching over two generations be translated to modern ballet dancing? While admiring the spacious interior of the Operahuset’s foyer, which is just as intriguing as the outside, we got a program. In the introduction director Marit Moum Aune immediately answers that taking Ibsen’s text as a basis for a dance performance is indeed a complicated feat (“terrible idea”), but as those involved were, we too are now intrigued.

We take our seats in the auditorium we viewed a year ago from above during our tour of the Operahuset and in a few minutes lights go out as the ballet begins. The set is at first glance minimalistic, but reflective of the dark shadows in the character’s pasts, both literally and metaphorically. As the mother soon to be surprised by the return or her grown-up son dances across the stage, we are pulled deeper and deeper in to this eerily calm and increasingly tense atmosphere. A screen shows a family of three slowly making their way forward, as if in a dream, the Fjord behind them and the unurried noise of waves coming in time with their steps. Is it a dream? Someone’s memory? Or indeed, ghosts? We don’t quite know, and the possibility of interpretation, the freedom of it is exhilirating. Fast-paced dance sequences involving the whole dance ensemble on stage seamlessly interchange with the slower ones, as agonies, past and present all collide, so that it becomes occasionally difficult to undersand who is who, but at the end you are left breathless, just like the rest of the audience. The immersion is so complete, it takes a while to come back to the real world.

 

 

What to Wear #4

That’s enough skirt wearing for one week, I want those jeggings. I love these clothing portmanteaus. One day jeans and leggings met, et voilà. No, I didn’t just double-check portmanteau or look up supercouple on Wikipedia. People are fascinated with the latter, but basically it’s also just a blend of insatiable curiousity, sometimes normal curiousity about other humans and the birth and mutation of celebrity culture in the twenty first century.

Where was I. The classic blue jeggings, would look nice with those chocolate brown Chelsea boots. I immediately have to think about that one time I ran to a shoe shop after work, because my then pair of black ankle boots had given out, and I actually needed some for an event the next day, and the helpful assistant, a matronly-looking woman with a thick Eastern European accent, led me to the back, encouragingly saying, “Hierrr habe icchh Chelsi boots!” I can almost always identify these accents and I also have a theory that sometimes we Slavic people have a radar for each other.

Anastasia is severely, and I mean severely debatable in terms of historical accuracy, but very enjoyable as an animated feature on its own.

Aha, speaking of fancy dress, I do have to look a little smarter this evening, but I don’t want to change at work and I don’t want to ditch the jeggings. Asymmetrical white tunic with black and grey rose prints evenly spaced out on the material – it’s always served me well in cases like these.

Brown/ beige/ old rose (seems to be a theme this week) dangly earrings with the little silver leaves. I remember rummaging for them in a pile of costume jewelry at the Mädelsflohmarkt a few years ago. Fun event, cool music, delicious snacks and a gift bag for the first 100 girls in line along with the entrance fee of 1 euro (back then), but as the day progressed, hell hath no fury like a woman searching for a bargain. Shopping at flea markets also makes sense, btw.

What to Wear #3

Still warm, goodbye lunch with a friend today, night off, feeling like stripes. The beige three quarter sleeved jersey top with black, red and sand brown (oooh, look at me, identifying tones, it’s all in the details) stripes. I haven’t been a stripes girl for a long time, but living in a city famous for its harbor can change one’s mind. But no polka dots! And when I think stripes, I think sailor, and then of Popeye, and inevitably of one boy in my class when I was seven years old. He would swallow enormous amounts of spinach (dark green goo back then, but I’m wiser now) during lunchtime, almost emptying the aluminum foil container from the cafeteria by himself, and then declare he was Popeye. I had a crush on him and fancied myself his Olive Oyl for a while, but the spinach factor made it a love-hate relationship.

Flared midi denim skirt! You can never go wrong with denim, and it’s still long enough so that I’ll be able to catch it before it flies up in that beloved, but at times pesky Elbe breeze. Fire engine red tights and most likely the heeled black ankle boots from yesterday. Dark gold leaf earrings and a ring to match – done!

“I’m Popeye the sailor man!” Damn.

 

What to Wear #2

Skirt weather, finally! The dark red pleated skirt, or jupe plissée (I did not look that up. And I knew where the accent went. And that there was one. And that it was l’accent aigu. Of course I did, who’s learning French here?!) It is nice to remember that I got it at a sale every time I look at it. I should just shop during sales when I shop for clothes. It simply makes sense. Or wear lots of stuff out first and then shop. That also makes sense.

The skirt shimmers a little when it catches the light, so the top should be matte. That thin short white sweater? No, too white against this dark red, I feel disbalanced. Although it goes very well with the swirling navy blue maxi skirt, wore that outfit to see Swan Lake last year. Can’t beat classical Russian ballet. The short black cardigan and the black shirt? No, I don’t feel like black. It’s not Wednesday and my last name is not Addams. Even if it matches everything. Ah, the short blush pink/old rose/ with beige undertones cardigan and the blush pink/old rose/ no beige undertones sleeveless top.

OK, tights. Ooops, no black pair on hand, even though I’m not going to wear one, grey it is. Should work. Black heeled ankle boots? It’s different with shoes in terms of black, obviously. I’ve got that meeting today and then the dinner in the evening, so more back and forth, but the boots are comfortable. The stud flower earrings match the outfit color palette and the little (fake) rhinestones will add that bit of sparkle for the evening hours. I think the skirt is bright enough to be the only pop of color in this ensemble.

So is Emma Swan Odette or not?

Oslo Reloaded, Day 2, Ekebergparken Sculpture Park

I add the various smoked salmon to the eggs and bacon (mais oui) on my plate, and then my eyes fall on the waffle iron standing on the counter opposite. You can make your own waffles here? And put Nutella on them? Or raspberry jam? Oh, wait, you’re supposed to spray the inside of the waffle iron with this can, which as it turns out, is not whipped cream? Act casual, just act casual.

The breakfast buffet at the Scandic Grensen hotel has won me over. Or maybe that already happened when I saw the salmon. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Good food is not to be taken for granted, and neither is good breakfast! I’m feeling ridiculously happy that we will get to come here one more time before leaving, and I know without a doubt that I will stuff my face.

“There are two types of people: those who want to know when is breakfast in the hotel, and those who want to know until when is breakfast in the hotel.”

We board a tram at Oslo S and venture out a little outside of the city, but not too much, and get out to a view of the slightly hilly Ekebergparken sculpture park. The air is fresh and invigorating and I’m itching for a panoramic view of Oslo, which I get soon enough. It’s exciting to recognize familiar areas from above.

A few minutes later I get a shot of the Oslo Fjord, then I just stare for a while. It’s very peaceful up here and I like the understated beauty of bare trees waiting for spring. Nature will take its course and everything will soon wake up.

Ekebergparken is also a national heritage site, and scattered throughout the park are indeed sculptures, each arresting and thought-provoking in its own way. Ever so often a work of art will catch your eye and pull you out of your reverie brought on by trees, moss-covered stones and thoughts of Norwegian trolls. It’s an interesting state of perpetual contrast. Another sculpture by Sean Henry, Woman (Being Looked At), stands in the passageway of the Folketeatret, where we saw Ylvis last year. The exhibit in Ekebergparken, Walking Woman, inspires our purposeful stride. Concave Face by Hilde Maehlum captivates me with its unusual beauty.

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Anatomy of an Angel by Damien Hirst leads to a monologue from me on the representation of angels in Supernatural (“Cas!”). Then I quickly forget my thread as a troop of children on ponies locked by adults in the front, middle and back passes us, with the kid in the middle astride a particularly fat pony. Its belly is almost level with its hooves and I’m delighted. A sign nearby points in the direction of a riding school on the territory, and sure enough, in a few minutes we discover it. The place is filled with happy family activity, sheep are bleating and there’s a small cabin labeled Kaniners, which attracts my attention because bunnies are Kaninchen auf Deutsch.

Art comes in all shapes and forms. After identifying that the disembodied voice half-hissing in a British accent, “Shed the body…shed the body…redemption” (Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets vibes, anyone?) was actually coming from the base of a lamppost, we decided it was time to head down to the Barcode district. Getting there on foot from Ekebergparken is entirely possible, just follow the tram tracks and then keep walking towards those fascinating buildings (mind the construction site on the way). We make sure not to look towards the opera house so as to keep the element of surprise alive for the evening’s activities.

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What to Wear #1

Yep, the dark cherry/magenta/or is it dark fuchsia dress with the three quarter sleeves. It’s tailored very nicely, but it does look better without that sneaky winter flab around the waistline and hips, which I have hopefully (begun to) shed (a little). On the other hand, who cares, I want to wear it and I sure as heck will. Always liked that A-line skirt, slightly 50s, though it’s a wee bit short for tights, so no tights, let’s get the box of leggings down. I love rummaging around in there.

It’s funny how you sometimes come back to the things you wore practically “Eight days a weeeek” as a child, and thankfully they are available and acceptable as adult clothes now. I did want to walk to work, and it might be windy in this windy city of Hamburg, so leggings definitely are the better choice (no desire for a Seven Year Itch situation here), plus if it does get warmer during the day and stays sunny, I might pop out to the park during lunch with the book I’m dying to finish, almost 640 pages, but what do you expect from a Swedish crime thriller like The Hypnotist by Lars Kepler.

OK, let’s go with the flower-patterned leggings. I think those flowery high heels in the Love’s Just a Feeling music video by the one and only Lindsey Stirling imprinted themselves on my brain tissue. Figures, shoes. She directed the video, atta girl, I think I’ll watch it again after I’m done here, her creative energy and drive are just so uplifting. The light pink blossoms with the darker bits on the petals pick up the hue of the dress and I always thought the turquoise-ish of the other flowers was a good contrast to dark cherry/magenta/or is it dark fuchsia.

The dress zipper is gold, so I guess that means the same for accessories (pet peeve). Gold hoop earrings from Claire’s and those three rings I can stack up, one small round stone on each – fuchsia, turquoise, dark beige, each one picks up on the flowers on the leggings too. I can wear these with so many outfits, because the rings harmonize with each other and as long as one goes with the outfit color scheme, I can get away with wearing them all.

Oh yes, shoes, always important, “Come on, feet” – Labyrinth is such a great movie, maybe I’ll watch it after I watch Love’s Just a Feeling. It’s too warm for boots during the day, but it’s still chilly around the ankles in the morning, and who likes being chilly around the ankles? Leg-warmers for the walk it is, the 80s never went away, but as I told a friend recently, one practically always has a scarf at hand in this city, and leg-warmers are essentially scarves for the legs! Genius! Layers! “Onions have layers. Ogres have layers… You get it? We both have layers.”