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.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Advertisements

What to Wear #32: Roses Are Red

Yes, sometimes they are, but there are also many other colours. The ones accompanying my outfit today are white and grey, against a black background.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The way my outfit ideas take shape, aside from the influence of practical considerations like the weather or my schedule, is usually either triggered by entertainment consumed within the last weeks or the desire to wear one particular item, and then the rest pops up around it. In this case, the one particular item were the rose-and-generally-flower-patterned tights from Calzedonia, which I got on sale during a memorable winter break in Verona – another city that won my heart.

Roses do have a special meaning for me. When I was younger, my grandmother, who lived in another city, sent me letters. One of them stands out in my memory. Her eyesight was gradually failing, and as I pulled her letter out of the envelope, I could see that her handwriting was a little different. But the whole letter was written in green ink, and at the end of it was a small drawing with the caption, “These are the roses that grow on my balcony.” The flowerpot was also drawn in green, and on top of the stems poking out from it were bright red pops of colour. These flowers might not have been roses, but my grandmother could see them, and my grandfather, who has the greenest thumb in the whole family, lovingly tended to them year after year. I kept that letter, and ever since, without fail, whenever I see red roses, I think of my grandmother.

The cherry red finely pleated skirt compliments the femininity of the tights, while being individual enough itself. Since I have this pop of colour in the middle of the outfit, I opt for black on top – the short black cardigan I thought lost had simply slipped further back in my closet, and I pair it with a sleeveless black shirt. Velvety black ankle boots since I’m feeling slightly chic, a slender silver chain with a sparkly pendant, silver stud earrings and one of my favourite lipsticks rounds up the accessories for this suit of armour.

What to Wear #17

I’m feeling very…what’s the word…chill today, and as sometimes happens I don’t want to spend a lot of time putting an outfit together, so I go for one of the pre-set, tried and tested combos that always works, regardless of what I have going on in the office and after Feierabend.

The stone grey jeggings are very comfortable and chic at the same time, so I’ve got that whole From Day to Night! thing covered, or as they say in Russian, from the ship to the ball (I always loved that saying). They are also slightly high-waisted, which is nice in these windy times and, as it turns out, quite flattering, at least it feels that way for me. Add the fact that they are long enough, and I might just start spontaneously singing Hallelujah.

A loose black jersey top accompanies the jeggings, and since they are grey, the whole look isn’t too severe – my small goal whenever wearing black. Sparkling stud earrings for accessories and I’m ready to go.

I’ve stopped to think, plenty of times, actually, that all this might seem superficial. These are just clothes, after all. You read the news, try to make sense of current events and catch yourself thinking, what does it matter what I wear now? You imagine not sitting down to write all this, and that emtying sadness starts creeping around your mind, as if all other feelings related to the aforementioned weren’t enough.

So I ask myself some questions.

Do I enjoy putting outfits together? Yes, I always have ever since I started doing it. Do I enjoy the space of time the process gives me? Yes, not only is it relaxing, it makes me think, it’s another way to get my creative juices flowing, to examine memories, recall ideas, savour anticipation. What will happen if I put an outfit together? I will put it on and wear it. What’s more, it’s a guarantee that I’m definitely going outside. And if I go outside, I will do things, see my friends, take pictures and get that hard-earned Franzbrötchen.

That’s all it’s about, really, getting from one moment to the next. No harm in looking the way I like while doing so.

 

What to Wear #13

Let’s go to town! Let the geek flag fly! I’m sorry, did I say geek? I meant my own flag.

The Marauder’s Map dress has been waiting for its hour. Hallelujah, it was hopelessly expensive for a long time, then there was a sale and I could treat myself. It is just such a cool pattern and the books have been an incredibly significant part of my existence, that wearing some well-made fan merch like this feels like an honour. The movies did a good job of representing one of the most famous pieces of parchment in literary history, and it is precisely the cinematic depiction of the Map that inspired the pattern on my dress. “I solemnly swear…”

I do have Marauder’s Map leggings as well (who me, crazy, nah, just dedicated), luckily grabbed during a big sale, but wearing them with the dress might be a tad much, although basically dressing up as the Map for next Halloween is not a bad idea! Sorted. So organized. This time black leggings will go with the knee-length dress, as it might get a bit chillier during the day. The black picks up on the inking of the map and the modest lace edging.

The dress has capped sleeves, so a short black cardigan is my additional choice of top. It might still have a few more wears left before it shrinks in the wash and only fits a sock puppet – why, why do these things have to happen?

Correction: I don’t have said black cardigan anymore! The abovementioned fate must have found it already, and I must have donated it. But that’s OK, I have a brick-red cardigan in the same style that also suits the dress. One is not spoiled, after all.

Dangly gold earrings with one round bit of dark-green jade each provide the little pop of colour I want to go for, and the I-guess-dark-old-rose-pink lipstick rounds off the look. The shade is called BFF. No idea what the color has to do with my BFF, but the lipstick looks nice.

“Mischief managed!”