Sunday, 23 March 2014

The Big Copper Kettle | An Essay on Clothing and Style |

When I was a little girl we had a big copper kettle at our house. The big copper kettle sat tucked away in the corner of the dining room behind one of the glass french doors. To this day I'm not sure why we all referred this copper tub exclusively as a kettle, but we did. And if my sister or I said, 'Let's go look in the big copper kettle!', that meant it was time to play dress up.

Dress up was one of my favourite childhood pastimes. The big copper kettle was stuffed with all kinds of exciting costumes and they provided us with endless hours of fun. It is important to note that the kettle was not crammed with tutus and superhero outfits made specially for little children; we had something much better than that: we had an epic collection of weird and obscure adult clothing! A vintage graduation gown was a witch's dark cloak. An old purple tulle prom dress was obvious princess wear. And a rainbow splattered maternity blouse passed along to my mom by a more 'adventurous' neighbour was a clown costume.

As I grew older, playing dress up slowly became dressing in the perfect outfit for the first day of school or for a first day on the job. Clothing and accessories have such an ability to transform us. I remember the way a beaded costume necklace could make me feel like a lady, even at three years old; the way fake witch's nails (you know the plastic ones that slide onto your finger tips?) could make me feel like an evil queen; or the way a new pair of jeans could make me feel so completely ready for a new school year.

For anyone who loves clothing and style, getting dressed presents a whole lifetime of fun. When I was around eight years old, I fell in love with hats. I had a blossom hat, remember the bucket hats that were pinned up in the front?. Well, mine was burgundy felt with a pink and cream floral arrangement stuck on my forehead. I loved it. And I wore it exclusively with my burgundy corduroy overalls, constantly dreading the day that I would out grow my favourite pieces.

A night at the symphony.
Today I continue my love affair with hats and head pieces. When Chris and I were planning to get married I spent the majority of my wedding dress budget on hats. My wedding day blouse and skirt combination cost less than my exquisitely lovely handmade in France pink felt beret. Oh, but it is lovely... I bought three hats for the big day and went through a number of 'hat changes'. A little girl's dream come true.

When I started high school grunge was in. I longed to have my very own pair of Doc Martens. My friend and I saved our money for months (we needed a whole $100!) and finally when we had the money, my dad drove us into the city where we each picked our perfect pair. Mine were dark brown matte leather and I loved them to pieces! In school we spent weeks breaking them in, consistently checking in on the status of each other's shoes. Are your Docs comfortable yet? Are yours getting creased yet? (They don't really look cool until they're fully broken in)!

I don't have those Docs anymore (how I wish I did!), but I do have a wonderful pair of cognac leather lace up boots. They're a pain to put on, but I instantly feel cool and somehow taller when I wear them. It's been over 15 years since I saved up for those Doc Martens, but I would wear them today if I had them.

I've loved clothing my whole life. Shopping and putting together outfits will always be something that I greatly enjoy. I plan to incorporate this love of mine into my posts for the 11th apartment. And I've got a whole week's worth of fashion and style posts coming up to celebrate this new part of the blog.

While I've grown up and grown into my fashion sense, I've realized that I have a fairly classic style. Actually, classic style sounds too nice, if I'm not careful I'll look like a soccer mom or the female Carlton. Give me jeans and a striped tee and I'm ready to go! My challenge for myself is to continue to try new trends and to be more adventurous with my fashion. So that hopefully my everyday style won't look like I just came from a sale at the Gap.

With this is mind I go forward into the exciting spring season; spring and fall always fuel my fashion fever. Fall ushers in the cool weather and spring brings the warmer temperatures (we hope!) and these changes can be so inspiring. Who doesn't get excited about boots and scarves in the fall or cute dresses and jean jackets in the spring? Spring seems like the perfect time to start blogging about style. This time of year there are many new trends and I can't wait to try them and write about them. I want to get out of my style comfort zone and I want to go shopping! 

So please tag along with me as I expand what the 11th Apartment is all about. It's going to be nothing but fun! 

Today I am headed out to the Vintage Clothing Show at the Exhibition Place down on the Toronto waterfront. I can't wait to see what this show has to offer. I've never been before so I don't know what to expect, but I do plan to get some shopping done. Stop by the 11th tomorrow to hear all about it and see some photos of my experience!


Wedding photos by the wonderful Mint Photography.

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