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 #22

“I think you should go with red. It’s the color of confidence.” I’ve watched Legally Blonde so many times that this line from the scene when Elle is shopping with her friends for what she thinks will be a very special dress inevitably pops up in my head whenever I look at a red item of clothing. Especially since, as I mentioned before, I’m a cautious redhead when it comes to…red! Ha! See what I did there?

But red somehow finds its way in to my outfit choices every week, be it in the form of lipstick, accessories or a garment (that sounds so nice). This week I feel “…bold and daring.” Considering I’ve seen Beauty and the Beast five times since it came out, it’s no surprise that a quote from the (animated) film flew in here.

The long glowing long, loose-fit blouse (similar to the cut of the possibly pink one I wore a while ago) almost removes itself from my closet. Maybe it’s not a blouse, maybe long button-down shirt is the correct term? The color might actually border on scarlet, which in turn makes me think of the Russian word for this, alyj (алый, yeah, probably no one will be able to pronounce it properly until they hear it), and then a little-known outside of Russia, but enchanting gem of a novel by Alexander Grin called Scarlet Sails, then the Russian fairytale Scarlet Flower and the cartoon based on it. The story could actually be viewed as the Russian version of Beauty and the Beast. I just can’t let go!

Where was I? As also mentioned previously on this blog, my go-to choices of colors to combine with red are either black, grey or various shades of blue, which still remain my tried and tested staples. But due to feeling bold and daring, I’d like to (successfully) contrast my scarlet top with some patterned legwear. One rummage in the leggings box later and I find what I’m looking for: white background, yellow, black, light-blue and green-blue flowers. Rain and even hail have visited Hamburg in the last few days, but it is still spring, and with the aid of those trusty leg-warmers I’m feeling not only bold and daring, but powerful. “…power, power! Forgive me a cruel chuckle, mmm, power.” Disney’s Robin Hood is another frequently used one for quotes.

Gold drop (I think) earrings and a matching ring with stones picking up the green-blue of some of the flowers on the leggings round up the accessories, as well as the very comfortable brown Chelsea boots. Neutral lipgloss et voilà.

What to Wear #18

It’s leggings week, by the looks of it! After yesterday’s minimalist attire I need some sass. Let’s mix it up!

One of my favourite striped jersey tops is peeking out at me. Since I’m a big fan of picking up the colors of patterns for the other items of clothing joining the outfit, out comes the slightly thicker (like I said, it’s chilly) red flared skirt. The color seems to glow and I love it, no more red-haired hesitation there, though I am careful about a whole top in that color. Which, strangely enough, hasn’t stopped me wearing red dresses, hmmm.

But back to this outfit. I’m feeling daring enough to mix patterns. Yes, I know, the bold move we all need to make from time to time! Still, I don’t want anything to clash. Black leggings it is, but with small splotches of white. I lay everything against each other and I don’t get any weird bodily reactions to what I see before me, so either it’ll work on me or I’m just brazenly confident.

 

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 #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.