Thursday, March 31, 2011

One Sandwich Short of a Picnic

Cardigan, J.Crew. Shirt & pumps, Banana Republic. Skirt, vintage. Belt, Eddie Bauer. Flower, bush.

I take pride in not being intentionally trendy, but this newly thrifted skirt has both pleats and a gingham print - two major trends right now. I just can't catch a break! (though I did score the skirt for five dollars). Doesn't it seem silly that style sources refer to these classics as "trends?" Schoolgirl uniforms and rustic tablecloths the world over must be puzzled and outraged.

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

A Vulpine Vancouverite

Top, Rendez-Vous by Paul & Joe. Blazer, skirt, and pumps, Banana Republic. Necklace, thrifted. Belt, Joe Fresh.

Whenever I do a sexy pose, my sister will tell me I look like a fox. Judging from the first photograph, I realize she may not mean "foxy" but rather "like an actual fox." Being compared to or nicknamed after animals is not foreign to me, so taking offense seems pointless (past highlights include but are not limited to: deer, gazelle, and... meerkat). What is foreign to this creature is being, feeling, or acting sexy, which you may have noticed from an almost daily parade of constipated expressions. The fox photo was a fluke and by the third one, I was back to my old sheepish self. Can't you see the humility in my eyes and the apologetic wrinkles in my chin? You can't fake that kind of emotion.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Reap What You Sow

Shirt and skirt, Banana Republic. Blazer, Club Monaco. Cultured pearls, Paris. Belt, H&M. Pumps, Nine West.

I've been watching a lot of movies on Netflix lately and have learned to love the whole "reap what you sow" business. Watching 8 1/2 brought Jules Et Jim in my queue, followed by a great deal of Antonioni. My goal is to eventually watch the (thus far) elusive Last Year At Marienbad and pseudo-educate myself in the process (snooty cinephiles, I'm coming for you). Now, if only getting dressed in the morning worked like Netflix because... can you believe it? This lagoonish ensemble yielded no tropical results.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

The Queen of Kong

Cardigan, J.Crew. Shorts, Banana Republic. Scarf, Macy's. Tights, H&M. Flats, Browns.

I spent today mostly indoors, reading InStyle Magazine and watching The King of Kong. I'm only embarrassed about one of those activities and unfortunately, this is gonna be a short post - Steve Wiebe is about to hit the kill screen. Sing it with me, people. You're the best... around!
Nothing is gonna ever keep you down...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

A Minor Indiscretion

Cardigan, Gap. Shell, J.Crew. Skirt, Club Monaco. Belt, Eddie Bauer. Pumps, Nine West.

It's been extremely warm around here and what better way for me to celebrate than with a bright orange, ruffled shell and bare legs? By sundown, the legs paid for this indiscretion with some very unflattering goosebumps, but the festive shell and I partied long into the night.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Foolish Fears

Cardigan and skirt, J.Crew. Blouse, Banana Republic. Scarf, Ralph Lauren. Tights, Hue. Wellies, Hunter.
When I planned this outfit, heels were part of the equation. Since it rained all day today, I replaced them with my trusty wellies and a brave face, refusing to get upset about the weather. Mission accomplished! Of course, the temporary contentment left a chemical imbalance in my brain and pretty soon, new peeves set in, filling the void. Real issues this time, like short(er) people in the rain - a threat to anyone unlucky enough to meet their umbrellas at eye level. I'm only 5'6'' and I barely escaped the obstacle course that is downtown Vancouver. Since the rain won't stop and neither will my work engagements, I see no other solution but to don safety goggles and banish my fear of eye gouging (the scariest part of the Oedipal myth, in my opinion). New trend alert! Who's with me?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

The Possessive Prerogative - What to do when nouns end in S

Recycled glass, Pottery Barn. Assorted grosgrain ribbon, Chapters.

Singular nouns pronounced with an S or Z sound at the end are tricky because there are two schools of thought on possessive etiquette. Strunk and White's Elements of Style requires that one add apostrophe+s regardless of what the last letter is, such as "the dress's hem," "James's name," and "Jones's bones." This book has been my bible since 2004, though some argue that its rules are too rigid and well, old-school. The Chicago Manual of Style, among others, allows the usage of the apostrophe without the S as an alternative spelling, and it seems to be something of a trend. Since the latter doesn't completely contradict the former and merely offers both options as viable, I'd say go with the former, aka THE BIBLE.
In addition, Strunk and White cite classical/ancient/biblical proper names as exceptions to the rule (Jesus' Apostles, Achilles' heel) and expressions such as for goodness' sake. See? There is some wiggle room! To read their original and superior writing on this matter, click here.

WARNING: if you do decide to go with the traditional rule of 's for singular nouns and write  "Jones's bones," make sure you remember how that changes for plural possessives. Naturally, we would write "We dug up Percival Jones's bones," but what if we dug up poor Percival's entire family? "The Joneses' bones" is the way to go. By the same token, "the dress's hem" becomes "the dresses' hems."

One more thing. Although I'd love to be strict and crack my whip at any possessive infractions, I am surprisingly lenient when it comes to the plurals of decades (the 1980's) and letters (B's), because they're everywhere. Reputable news sources use them and I admit I often do the same, unless I'm in a self-righteous mood (whip in hand). 

I hope that this "rant" answered some of the questions posed by readers on Monday's post. I would also like to remind everyone that I don't judge others who lack my grammatical discipline and would be very upset indeed if people got offended and referred to me as some kind of dictator (b*tch sounds much more polite, thanks). I'm nice. And normal. I put my my pants on just like you, one leg at a time, and then I troll stores in search of inexpensive grosgrain ribbon for my collection, which I sometimes like to iron. Who doesn't like that?

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Quasi Guidette

Sweater, Banana Republic. Skirt, J.Crew. Wellies, Hunter. Necklace, mom's vintage. Belt, Joe Fresh. Knee socks, Nine West.
I feel like I need to apologize for my just-rolled-out-of-bed skirt and silly color scheme, but please don't get the impression that I'm fishing for compliments. This was a "dinner in a dive" outfit that comfortably accommodated a burger, yam fries, and a salty Caesar because that's just how I roll sometimes. Out of bed and into a bar. Making Snooki proud, one disheveled look at a time.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

The Blue Boy

Cardigan, J.Crew. Top, Rendez-Vous by Paul & Joe. Jeans, Banana Republic. Scarf (as a headband), H&M. Flats, Browns.

A little over a year ago, I asked a couple of married friends if they would ever be tempted to read a blog about grammar. She curtly said "NO," while he suggestively uttered: "It would depend on who was writing it..." (For the record, I'd take her candor over his pity any day). I'm not saying they're eating crow now, but maybe Cornish game hen or at least quail... because they're gourmets, not malicious. 
P.S.: I still can't believe people are reading the grammar bits!

Today's outfit is very loosely based on The Blue Boy.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Plurals, Possessives, and Plural Possessives were not created equal

Jacket and pumps, Banana Republic. Skirt, Club Monaco. Beret, Joe Fresh. Necklace (as a bracelet), mom's vintage. Tights, Hue.

Let's start with a common mistake: "Last weekend, I went to my parent's house." Unless you mean that you have only one parent and would rather not disclose the gender, this is incorrect. Another flawed way would be: "my parents house." It may not be noticeable when speaking, but you should show ownership in your writing, as in "my parents' house."
A recent erroneous trend is using 's to show plurality. I can't even imagine where this comes from, but it breaks my heart every time I read: "We ordered three pizza's." I admit it's partly because I'm lactose intolerant, but if you're gonna rub it in my face, at least be considerate enough to write: "three pizzas." 
Lastly, I would like to address the confusion that comes with the plurals and possessives of last names. Most of my readers are Americans, so the presidential family seems like the perfect guinea pig.

Obama's -  refers to something that pertains to only one of them, such as Obama's policy (Barrack's), or Obama's sartorial choices (Michelle's).
Obamas' - refers to something pertaining to at least two of them or most often, the entire family, such as the Obamas' obvious chemistry (anyone can see that Barrack and Michelle are great together) or the Obamas' dog (Bo belongs to Barack, Michelle, Sasha, and Malia).
Obamas - refers to either Mr. and Mrs. Obama or the family as a whole: The Obamas are the first black presidential couple/family. Other examples include: "Alec is the most successful of the Baldwins" and the ubiquitous "keeping up with the Joneses."

I hope you guys enjoyed this week's grammar installment. It's basic stuff, but we're slowly making our way toward that silly subjunctive and corny conditional clauses.
Grammar Girl.

Friday, March 11, 2011

Dreary Day Dreams

Dress and cardigan, J.Crew. Scarf as a belt, Brooks Brothers. Flats, Ralph Lauren.

If I look constipated, it's because I'm shivering. If my legs are exposed, it's because this is an indoor outfit on a dreary day. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that the next time I don it, it'll be on a sailboat. I hope your Friday is as nautical as mine!

Mystify & Justify

Dress and pumps, Banana Republic. Cardigan, J.Crew. Necklace, thrifted. Belt, H&M.
This ensemble must be confusing for some of you. " Why is she wearing so few colors at once? " asked the author of a popular pseudonymous blog (yeah, you). Well, dear readers, Mrs. Matchy-Matchy here just started a new job and doesn't want to frighten her boss and students. She figures she'll just gradually introduce more craziness so they don't suffer any irreparable damage, whether ocular or psychological. A bright paired with a neutral today will pave the way for yellow tights next week, and maybe one day, a technicolor dreamcoat. Naphtali and Zebulon will be like, so jealous, you guys.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Let's Jump Right In

Cardigan and button-down, J.Crew. Skirt, Banana Republic. Scarf, Brooks Brothers. Belt, vintage+mom's. Flats, Geox.
 Common mistake #1: IT'S vs. ITS

I see this everywhere. A coat's description will include "it's polyester lining." Now, before you recoil at the thought of polyester, recoil at it's first. IT'S is always a contraction of IT IS and although that sneaky apostrophe conjures up the idea of possession (see: John's hooker, Jane's dough), do not fall for it. "Its polyester lining" may not necessarily make me buy the coat, but at least I will know that the owners of that business care enough about their image to have hired a proofreader. 

I realize that some of you may be rolling your eyes right now and I know all about DUH! I also know that even though we may be aware of the rules, we still make mistakes or often forget which is which. Ergo, I propose that you think about it this way. You know ITS, as a word, exists. And you know that the plural of IT is not ITS (that would be madness!). So that can only mean one thing: ITS is a possessive adjective, alongside my, your, his/her, our, and their.

I'm glad I got that off my chest, readers. Now if you'll excuse me, I have a cashmere sweater to  hand-wash. In other words, it's time for its bath.  

 Making myself look taller and checking out my boobs. Multitasking=tempting.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Hostess with the Mostest

Dress, Club Monaco. Blazer, Banana Republic. Belt, Eddie Bauer. Tights, H&M. Pumps, Nine West.

First things first: big thanks to all of you who generously gave feedback on my last post. You guys know exactly what I like to hear! Please stop by anytime for a quick read, a speedy comment, and a chugged gin & tonic. It's a tough drink to mess up, so you can put your trust in my bartending skills. Once your buzz has kicked in, you'll believe whatever I tell you. Concepts such as: "When it means nevertheless, never start a sentence with however." Or "You and I are not always you and I." Or "Next time, use a coaster, you animal!" We are gonna have so much fun together.

Friday, March 4, 2011

Back to Basics

For a while now I've been thinking about dedicating one post a week to writing about... writing (syntax, grammar, spelling, punctuation, common mistakes, the possibilities!). First of all, let me just admit that I'm not an expert on fashion and I don't really follow trends, so I know there are many bloggers who do this styling thing better than I ever could. I do, however, have a writing degree (dare I say it? for the birds) that I'd like to put to good use! Would anyone be interested? I promise to make my "advice" fun, at times funny, and not at all pedantic. If you've always been unsure about subjects vs. objects and plurals vs. possessives, then you've clicked on the right blog. 

To make your decision easier, I put together some bird photographs taken by yours truly in bird-friendly Vancouver. A "circle of life," if you will. Because nothing says Strunk and White like avian aesthetics.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Memory Lane

Sweater and skirt, Banana Republic. Shell, J.Crew. Pin, vintage. Belt. Eddie Bauer. Flats, Browns.
Most days, I will not leave the house without tucking my shirt into my skirt, but sometimes you just gotta switch it up and reverse proportions like it's 1998. What else was I rocking in '98? Midriff-baring tops (again - sorry, mom), overly plucked eyebrows (zeal? ADHD? I still can't explain this one), and a Natalie Imbruglia haircut. I thought I was all that and a bag of pommes frites! In hindsight, I was more like potato chips - an odd, discontinued flavor with oodles of MSG - but those were the good ole days!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011


Cardigan and capri pants, J.Crew. Shirt, Banana Republic. Flats, Ralph Lauren.

Whenever I wear funky pants (meaning: cropped and in unconventional colors), I am reminded of the Italian word for scoundrel: MASCALZONE. As a self-proclaimed logophile, this word makes my top 100. It has calzone in it. And mascal, which is not a word, but it sure sounds a lot like rascal. If my sister saw me from across the street, prancing about in orange pantaloons, she would call me out on it. "Mascalzone! How dare you?" It makes perfect sense.