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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What to Wear #31: Fabulous in Fuchsia

Well, OK, whether or not it’s a fabulous look is subjective, but… I don’t care, because I love this color and I feel good in the outfit! The sun is shining and it’s supposed to be warmer today. I’m also going out to dinner with friends in the evening, so I want to wear something bright, and fuchsia is also a color I connect with being cheerful. Unless it’s fuchsia with a touch of crimson. “It’s pink!” – “But I wanted it blue.” – “Now, dear, we decided it would be pink.” – “You decided.”

I think I would actually give that blue-pink mashup a go if I had such a dress. But what I’m wearing now is a higher-waisted fuchsia with possible hints of crimson babydoll dress with elbow-length sleeves. It’s cut a little lower in the back, and once I confused it with the front, logically thinking that the more open part of the dress belonged there (not necessarily, there are, of course, plenty of dresses cut lower in the back). I spent the whole day walking around wearing my fuchsia frock the wrong way around, and by the time I discovered my mistake, I realized one very important thing: nobody cared, least of all me. The material is very nice to the touch, jersey cotton, making for a comfortable choice.

Being that it’s a slightly shorter babydoll dress, I grab my trusty leggings box and go for a contrast – the already mentioned in this blog white leggings with yellow and blue flowers, for that spring touch. One of my scarves in several shades of grey (haha, yes, I see what I did there, but it was unintentional and it’s not my fault) that works with almost any outfit joins the team for a bit of warmth. A dab of pink lipgloss – don’t want to overdo it; small silver earrings, low black sneakers and the trusty grey leg-warmers. All layered up and ready to go.

 

What to Wear #19

Well, this is becoming not only a leggings week, but a week of daring choices! I’m sailing a fashionista wave. I’m an unstoppable force of self-expression.

Or I’ve just shopped enough and like babbling about myself, being an overgrown teenager who still sometimes finds it hard to believe that she bought herself her very own closet.

I love long tops, and I love long tops with a colorful print even more. This one is slightly longer in the back, with 3/4 sleeves and round cut-outs just below the shoulder on the upper arms. No, I’m not cold when I wear this thing. White background, and large lilac, fuchsia. pink and even orange flowers plus green leaves adorn this creation, and I love wearing it. I was strolling through TK Maxx with a friend, or attempting to stroll, because it was a Saturday and the place was hopelessly crowded with women who were snatching clothes of racks with a glassy look in their by then unseeing eyes. “We have to leave now, this is too much”, my friend said. I nodded, turned around, saw the top, glanced at the size tag, grabbed it with optimism sparking off my fingers, and here we are.

I’ve already worn both black leggings and jeggings this week, so I’m feeling like adding something different on the bottom. It should be more on the neutral side to classically balance out the garden show on the top, but not too neutral. The solution is light olive green leggins with darker stretchy insets and I’m curious to try them out. Flowers on top, some kind of green on the bottom – stem and blossom look, check.

That gold ring with the white, very slightly holographic stone finds its way to the pile, as do the small gold earring studs. It’s supposed to be a cloudy day, which makes me want to wear bright colors on principle.

 

What to Wear #15

What kind of a week would it be without a red flower-patterned dress? It is spring, after all. This dress is special to me. My mother bought it years ago in New York City. It’s made from excellent cotton, red background, short sleeves, blue and white flowers that look like they’ve been taken off a canvas painting and delicate white lace edging around the collar. I remember looking at her wearing it when I was little and walking hand-in-hand together after she picked me up from school during spring afternoons. I would pick flowery outfits to match and feel what I thought was grown-up as we walked home together.

The dress was originally long, all the way down to the heels, and after my mother gave it to me fairly recently, I asked if I could shorten it somewhat, et voila. It lives on, just updated a little. It’s still as comfortable as ever and I feel cheerful when I wear it.

I already written about my love of playing with combinations of red and blue, so here goes! Dark-blue leggings and a short blue cardigan in a shade similar to the blue flowers on the dress. In the case of combining things with a patterned piece of clothing, everything I need to know for inspiration is already on it. I just pick a colour to work with, be it the background or the pattern elements themselves, and the harmony usually takes care of itself. Otherwise, obviously there’s a variety of reliable choices for cardigans, trousers, scarves that almost always works with a patterned item: black, navy blue, grey, white and denim.

Small pearl studs are a tiny tribute to the feminine style of the dress and the way it reminds me of the 1950s. No red lipstick this time, there is more than enough red in this outfit, just the Happiness in a Bottle lipgloss.

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 #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.”