What to Wear #47: Why the Hell Not

It’s a truth universally acknowledged that we all need to get dressed in the morning if we’re going somewhere…and even if we aren’t.

I have been the first one to laughingly declare I wouldn’t have a problem with pajama Friday at work (while feverishly going through the pajamas I own in my mind to determine which I would be brave enough to come to the office in). But it would take away all the magic out of wearing them home, the sweet relief of it, and also there are things about other people one doesn’t want to know.

Hence, attire! “I have nothing to wear” moments don’t happen to me, because I do have stuff to wear and I enjoy putting outfits together. I may change my mind, I may fuss, I may needlessly agonize, I will usually laugh at myself, but will always feel a sense of achievement after getting it done. Life is difficult enough without letting myself be overwhelmed by clothes.

Maybe I’m just a tough chick.

So what do I feel like today? I feel like jeans, my PINK “Why the Hell Not” T-shirt and another scarf.

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Ready to go.

What to Wear #46: If It Ain’t Broke

Like with a favourite dish at a restaurant. There are some places I will occasionally go to for lunch, and the thought of trying out something new is tempting at first, but then I see my tried and tested choice on the menu and I happily go for it again.

I liked yesterday’s shirt and maxi skirt combo so much that I decided to go for it again. Feeling like something white, so my trusty “I’m a Disney Princess, That’s Why” T-shirt will have its moment, paired with a dark-red jersey maxi skirt (H&M, very comfortable). A scarf? Mais oui, bien sur!

The purple bracelts are among my favourite costume jewelry pieces that I’ve had for almost nine years, bought on my first ever Christmas vacation in Europe. I found the multi-coloured one somewhere else later, and it went so well with the pack that I just kept them together.

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Labskaus: Another Hamburg Mystery

Hamburg, my love, you continue to delight, surprise and occasionally baffle me.

If you live here, you find yourself talking about local things to people. Local things include local dishes. Northern German cuisine is perhaps not as readily recognizable or identifiable as some others, but it exists, solidly and reliably. As with many things in the North, and that means Hamburg too, it needs some time to be discovered, and then you might feel like testing it out.

This is how I found myself looking at a large plate with Labskaus neatly scooped in the middle during my lunch break in the lovely Kleinhus Cafe und Weinbar. After many years of countless jokes, discussions with friends, incredulous exclamations, perusing articles online and trying to decide ja or nein, while all the time not having a clue what set Labskaus apart, the moment of truth was finally upon me.

Labskaus is a bit of an enigma for anyone who didn’t grow up here. Why? Simple. It looks like a mound of raw meat ground to mashed potato consistency with fried egg on top, and a side helping of gherkins and pickled herring fillets also known as rollmops. Something about the combination just makes some of us hesitate. Historically it was said to be a popular dish among sailors in Northern Germany, and the mashed consistency made it easy to eat since many of them had bad teeth.

Fast forward a few hundred years later to some wary diners. The meat is salted, not raw, it just looks that way in some cases, most likely due to a generous helping of beetroot and carrots. The dish might differ slightly in different restaurants. It’s warm, filling, and easy to eat. Don’t let what might look like a small-sized portion fool you, the helping is more than enough.

It all comes down to this. Labskaus by no means tastes how it looks…but it still looks the way it looks. Or some of us (me) overthink things. Guten Appetit!

What to Wear #45: Scarf Awareness Week

I think I have a scarf that also successfully doubles as a wrap for any outfit combination. Some of them just might need to be ironed first (damn) depending on the occasion.

Where I come from, you rarely wore scarves for ornamental reasons. You wore beautiful Russian shawls in varying degrees of thickness, or thick scarves during the winter to stay warm. When you have Siberian roots, you don’t wear any kinds of scarves in spring or summer, because are you insane, you need to make the most of the season when you don’t have to cover up to survive!

The special love for summer remains, but perhaps the above is also the reason why I became such a scarf hoarder in Hamburg. You’re never cold and rarely hot with one, and it’s also fun to see the ends billowing in the wind. Loop scarves, though, not for me. I want to do my own looping. I also dislike pulling things over my head.

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I’m pretty sure this mint-coloured beauty, which I also like to pair with yellow tops, came from a flea market too. I feel refreshed just looking at it. The T-shirt is a reminder of a fun day shopping during sale season with a friend, and the jersey navy-blue maxi skirt completes the ensemble.

Ready to go.

What to Wear #44: We All Have Layers

It’s summer in Hamburg, which means that clothes-wise you’re keeping everything except official winter wear within easy reach. Temperatures change at the drop of a hat, winds pick up just as you decide on a flared skirt and rain clouds regularly wring themselves out when passing over this wonderful city.

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Things I don’t put away include scarves – the one accessory you can always find a use for here and most likely why I don’t wear necklaces too often. Even before I start rummaging for it, I know the one I’m looking for. I had scooped it out of a pile at a flea market seven years ago and it has served me many a time, both during the day and at parties. It’s a fond reminder of my (poorer) student days, when most of the clothes shopping I did, if any, took place at flea markets. It’s also pleasant proof of the satisfaction that comes from items that last.

The dress is from the same flea market visit, one I picked up immediately knowing it would fit me without trying it on. Thankfully, it still does!

It’s summer, so I still feel the pull to inject something I associate with it in the outfit. It’s only logical that I go for thin green leggings that reinforce the my-legs-are-the-stem-and-my-top-is-the-flower idea, mais oui. Although the accessories made me think of ocean-themed fantasy and colors, so maybe I’m just a mermaid hinting at my big secret by not being able to resist anything that reminds me of it.

Either way, I’m comfortable and ready to go.

What to Wear #43: I Pleat Guilty

Geddit, geddit? This was incredibly easy to put together. The skirt is one of my favourites and I wore it as recently as last week (but not twice in the same week – another one of my thou shalt nots). I just didn’t write about it additionally as the weather forecast was uncertain and I was still deciding what to pair with the top part of the outfit. I also wore it for my first ever style post I took pictures for.

The skirt’s shimmering cherry red works well with pastel colours, as well as blues and greys, all of which are found on the T-shirt I picked. It’s one of my favourite T-shirts, because I like lanterns and the buildings in the background remind me of Paris. Continuing to ride the emotional ballet-inspired wave from yesterday’s lengthy post about my red shoes, I picked the same pair…in black!

Bangles and sass join the accessories team and my continued love of weak pun attempts… though maybe the quieter tones in some parts of this outfit don’t qualify as sassy? I think they do! There’s room for different kinds of sass. The lipgloss has been mentioned previously on this blog and obviously it is running out, which is good, because I like using things up properly.

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What to Wear #42: My Red (Dancing) Shoes

Dancing in parentheses as they are not strictly dancing shoes, but the long ribbons attached to them that so conveniently lend themselves to wrapping around the ankle and tying up a bow make me remember my childhood fantasies about becoming a ballerina.

Hey, I have Russian roots, and most of us guard a soft spot for ballet in our hearts. Also most of us harbour some kind of attachment or at least a reaction to the colour red. Add the fact of being a woman on top, and fizzle fizzle sparkle sparkle.

The picture insistently popping up in my mind’s eye is an illustration in a beautiful book of fairy tales from my childhood library. I can’t remember what exactly the story was about, but I know it involved a poor and good young woman, and a cunning dwarf or leprechaun. The young woman was wearing a shining pair of red (possibly) satin ballet-esque slippers laced up her ankles with gorgeous red ribbons. I have done a bit of research, and The Red Shoes by Hans Christian Andersen is most definitely not the story from my childhood, as the terrifying plot would surely have stuck with me. So the story remains a mystery, but the shoes stayed. Ain’t that always the way?

The shoes are the strategically intended pop of colour in a slightly reserved outfit. Black-and-white rose or possibly peony patterned leggings are today’s choice of bottoms (yes), and since they are a little thinner, they are comfortable to wear in case the weather changes several times throughout the day. A long black tank top and loose navy blue jersey cardigan complete the look, along with pink lipgloss that catches what I think is a pinkish tone in the not 100 percent red shoes and two dainty long silver chains. These are among my favourite pendants and I’ve taken to wearing them together. The one with the Eiffel Tower has sentimental value, as during my first ever trip to Paris many years ago I bought a pair of earrings with Paris’ symbol, using my carefully saved pocket money. I joyfully wore them for years, until I lost one one evening when trying on a sweater. Moral: don’t wear long earrings when shopping. But I went to a jewelry-making store and they were very nice in helping me out, so I still have my keepsake.

One thing that stands out from today’s outfit choice is that I obviously don’t like ironing that much…but I keep hearing crinkled is the new smooth, so as far as I’m concerned, I’m not spending money on something I can achieve for free.

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