grace notes

musical cats miss patina (1 of 5)musical cats miss patina (4 of 5)

Last week, I returned to my keyboard for the first time in months (inspired by my inescapable desire to sing selections from the Mary Poppins Returns soundtrack). To my great shame, a layer of dust covered the music stand and even its tinny electric sound felt alien to my ears.

Given how long it’s been since I practiced piano in earnest, I almost feel undeserving of this dress – how dare I wear these stylized keys around my neck when I’ve neglected them for so long?

Continue reading

a year in well-worn dresses

outfits of 2018 (1 of 3)

pastel dream dress (1 of 2)

Though all blogs, diaries, and long-lost firsthand personal narratives remain selective in the facets of an individual’s life that they present, I assure you that my love for dresses as expressed through my social media holds a very strong basis in reality. I wear dresses (and occasionally skirts) nearly every day – I can remember with perfect clarity each of the few instances in which I’ve chosen a pair of leggings or pants instead over the past year.

Given that I have become what can be fairly described as a “dress collector,” of course, I now prioritize different qualities in garments than I did in the past. I love dresses that seem to last forever, and can be worn countless times in various situations. Some of this past year’s acquisitions, fortunately, appear able to withstand any challenge – and will ideally remain part of my wardrobe well into 2020 and beyond!

Continue reading

“it had become a glimmering girl”

pink floral outfit (2 of 5)pink floral outfit (5 of 5)

I’m running out of opportunities to coordinate my outfits with local blossom activity! Fortunately, this dress offers a spectacular grand finale. I’m not sure if the embroidered blooms that wind their way around the neckline and sleeves of this gown represent dogwood specifically, but they match well enough, and I feel like a flower fairy whenever I wear it. The moth-pixie profile pin by Hannah Kienzle Illustration, one of my absolute favorites, further affirms my fay attitude.
pink floral outfit (4 of 5)

I’ve searched diligently through my blog archives to determine whether or not I’ve referenced one of my most cherished poems–Yeats’ “The Song of Wandering Aengus”–in a post before. As it turns out, I quoted its opening lines two years ago while recounting a flower-gathering walk I’d taken in nearby woods. I suppose that enough time has passed to merit some reminder of its almost-mystical transformation from trout to woman:

When I had laid it on the floor,

I went to blow the fire -a-flame,

But something rustled on the floor

And someone called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

– W.B. Yeats

pink floral outfit (1 of 5)pink-floral-outfit-3-of-5.jpg

Until such a time that I have access to apple-blossoms for hairstyling purposes, I guess I’ll have to rely on the sun to manufacture glimmer instead! I’m thankful, at least, that my love is not the sort who will disappear into the brightening air (except when we lose connection on a video call).

bold like the chestnut burr

overall jumper dress (8 of 8)overall jumper dress (1 of 1)overall jumper dress (6 of 8)

That one sublime moment when the tree adjacent to my home explodes in a cloud of blossoms always marks the end of my winter sadness–and this year’s bloom coincided with the conclusion of my first year as a graduate student! Though I’ll sorely miss discovering the most eccentric and fascinating aspects of medieval art every two days, I am glad to have some time to recover from a challenging semester. Now begins the season of writing letters, reading novels, admiring flowers, and wearing enormous hats to protect myself from the sun!

overall jumper dress (3 of 8)

Inspired by the keenly methodical botanical activities of my favorite poet, I spent all of my finals week dreaming of acquiring a flower press and creating my own herbarium this summer. Considering that I’ve now survived that demanding cycle of paper-writing and sleep deprivation, I’m making such whimsical activities my top priority!

overall jumper dress (4 of 8)

Other ridiculous goals I have in mind for the upcoming months of relative freedom include:

  • finding out absolutely everything I can about nineteenth-century attitudes towards fairies (this is technically for school, but that’s of no consequence if it’s fun!)
  • apprenticing myself in the arcane practice of NAIL ART (since I’ve stopped biting my nails for the first time in my entire life!)
  • [re]learning Latin (it’s been a long time since I superficially studied it in fourth grade, and I’ve felt a strange desire to return to such ancient speech!)
  • carrying out a host of crafting projects for my wedding in August–many of which you might see soon, because my final goal involves…
  • actually blogging regularly! (Oh how I’ve missed writing these strange letters to the world. See you again soon!)

overall jumper dress (5 of 8)

rose-y cotton

rose sweater (4 of 4)

The advent of floral embroidered sweaters has changed my life in so many wonderfully palpable ways. In prior years of my Mainland exile, I’d feared the approach of winter and the need to replace thin, pastel cardigans with (to my mind) unappealing, bulky knitwear – now I can carry my flowers with me until spring appears again! (They also serve as the perfect complement to cotton sundresses that I should really retire until April but, realistically, will continue to wear until such habits of dress become physically impossible!)

Continue reading

outfit of the [yester]day: floral fish!

floral fish (4 of 4)floral fish (2 of 4)I attempted to create a more nuanced title for this post, but let’s face it–with a concept this incredible, there’s honestly not much I could possibly improve with a pun.

Meet the floral fish dress! I’m not sure which Lindy Bop fabric designer is responsible for this quirky land-meets-sea mashup, but they are my type of person. Its triangular collar provides some needed variety to my wardrobe, which is currently so devoted to Peter Pan [collars] that it might as well be a Lost Boy.

Continue reading

outfit of the [yester]day: return to the sea

glowing (4 of 5)glowing (1 of 1)glowing (5 of 5)

Two years ago today, I published my first cautious “outfit of the day” post, showing off what would become two classic staples of my personal aesthetic: Peter Pan collars and nods to marine biology. At the time, I possessed only that one vintage-style dress, and I wore it so often that I ended up buying its twin in another color. I’d never identified as someone who was Into Fashion, but there was just something about that dress–as soon as I zipped it up, I felt like a cheerful, quick-witted girl detective equipped to handle anything with anachronistic flair.

In the time since, acquiring pieces for my quirky wardrobe allowed me to feel more confident and more myself than I’d ever been in jeans and sweaters or Young Professional Workplace Wear. Now, if I so desire, I have the ability to wear colorful retro dresses literally every day. Even a skirt decorated with galactic, bioluminescent mermaids and sea creatures is at my fingertips! But — as my absence from this blog might have suggested — over the past few months, I’ve begun to lose confidence in my bold fashion. In some moments of confusion, I’ve almost wondered if I might have to abandon the style that I love and start showing up in slacks or skater skirts!

Continue reading