Sometimes you just need to escape to Long Island Sound for a day and spend some quality time hanging out with eels and jellies and delicate pipefish and sea dragons, you know?
My “year of aquariums” (I’ve visited four so far!) continued this weekend with a trip to an institution in Connecticut that claims the title of the “best aquarium in New England”–and as I happen to have visited all the other aquariums in New England, I tend to agree. I appreciated the focus on the local ecosystems of Connecticut waters and the opportunity to take my best photograph of a moray eel yet! (You’ll have to click through to see him in all his glory: though if elongated, toothy fish don’t charm you as much as they do me, perhaps you should sit this one out…)
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!
Every time I think I’ve finally acquired the paragon of ocean-themed dresses, another fabric designer decides to add more nautiloids and seahorses to their novelty print!
I wore this for the first time on my last day of work, and it seems a fitting ensemble for new beginnings. The menagerie of sea creatures softly swirling* in these watercolored aquamarine polyester depths soothe me as I transition into life as a student again!**
*I don’t fully understand why those scallops and sea stars and conch shells are just suspended in what is presumably the middle of the water, but perhaps this skirt is more of a fabric tidepool!
**Plus, this is also the best match I’ve found for my turquoise-haired mermaid brooch so far!
I am so excited for my neck pain to vanish magically so I can continue my thrilling life as a regular blogger! I’m sure you’ve desperately missed me, and to make up for my continued absence, I have the world’s best skirt to show off today.
You’d think I would have now reached the point at which no novelty print could possibly surprise me–and then this “bioluminescent constellations of galactic ocean creatures” design from Lindy Bop found its way into my heart and closet. Nebulae of whales, seals, mermaids, hermit crabs, anchors, and seahorses dance across a midnight sky of polyester fabric. Every time I’ve worn this to work, many a colleague has commented that the skirt seems like “the most Keely thing ever”: at least I’m being true to myself!
My recent fixation with Lindy Bop prints has led to some interesting discoveries about their sizing options. I can fit a medium dress quite well, but this medium-sized skirt is a little too big for my waist. The cut suggests that it’s supposed to be worn on the waist – and yet the poor thing keeps falling past my hips! I suppose I need a thin belt of stars to hold it in place.
(You know what else would be a great accessory for this outfit? A little softly glowing whale that somehow can live out of water and hangs out on my shoulder? And you know what would be even cooler? Shoulders and a neck that aren’t injured! See you the next time I’m feeling better…)
Feast your eyes on this sparkly cephalopod! I may have spent a good amount of last week gushing about my love for ocean sunfish, but the mola mola’s biggest competition for my favorite sea creature has to be the cuttlefish.
Oh Plesiosaur released this shiny enamel pin just days after I returned from our trip to Monterey. It was destiny! Now I can wear it to work, hoping it will catch some wayward museum employee’s eye and make them wonder which alien-of-the-sea is hanging out on my lapel!
An alternative title for this post could be “PLUSH MOLA, PLUSH MOLA, PLUSH MOLA.” In fact, I don’t know why I’m even bothering to write any content when I could just type look at this mola ad infinitum. Who is the genius responsible for mass-producing a cuddly version of the world’s heaviest bony fish?
My soft little sunfish, however, wasn’t the only treasure I picked up at the Monterey Bay gift shop! Hey, if people can blog about what they’ve hauled back from Disneyland or Sephora or whatever, why can’t I share the ridiculous souvenirs I picked up from my favorite tourist attraction? As one might say in a sea shanty–haul away boys, away!
So–in more ways than one, I’m back! I’ve returned to the East Coast, for one, but I’m also returning to my blog after a difficult few weeks (it felt good to take a break, honestly). I was so excited to share some gorgeous Northern California seascapes that it’s no surprise I’ve popped back into the blogging life sooner rather than later.
Monterey remains one of the most chillingly stunning places I’ve ever visited. Traveling there felt more like going home than getting off the plane in Massachusetts did! Riding down those endless seaside drives with an eye to the cold surf-break, peeking at otters and pinnipeds of all varieties, pulling my hat securely around my ears as I investigated the shells, crabs, and shipwrecked kelp that cover the rocky shores…it’s the wild ocean, the Romantic “sublime,” as I never imagined it before. Somebody call the Hudson River School!