Saturday, December 14, 2013

Try to Catch the Sun: Bright Strategies for the Rainy City

Cape: London Fog: Blouse: fun 2 fun; Jeans: Reitmans; Boots: Ecco
In my grey, rainy city, brightness is at a premium in the winter months. I often quite like the greys, blues, and greens of this season here. But I still enjoy it when the sun does come out. And I still enjoy spicing it up the season with a little colour. It seems to me that this is common around here.

When I left home at seventeen, I traveled around for a bit and just kind of ended up in Toronto for a year. One of the things that really struck me about that city is that everyone wore dark, sombre colours -- greys, blacks, navies -- especially in the winter. I found this freakishly conservative. Who wouldn't want to brighten winter? I didn't really grasp that winter in other places is about endless days of sparkling snow under a light yellow sun and pale blue skies. It needed to be warmer, but it didn't really need to be brighter.

But it's different here. Lately, I've found myself gravitating toward orange. I think it goes well with my auburn-ish hair and general colouring. Plus it's just somehow an amusing, whimsical colour. I don't know why, but I can't take orange too seriously. 

It also reminds of the sun.

Now, you've seen this cape before so we won't dwell on it today.

Though it is a fabulous cape. I suppose it might look a bit better if it didn't absorb my hands the way it does. Beau says I look like a little kid playing dress-up when I wear it. 

What can I say? I'm short. That's never bothered me. I like being cute. I let my words and personality carry my authority for me; what I lack in stature, I think I make up for in bravado.

Earrings, brooch, and pinkie ring: vintage; Bangles: gift from Beau; Waves ring: Effy
But I digress, as usual. This post is mainly about sunshine and the fun bangles Beau got me for Chanukah. I was really quite touched that he'd made the effort to spend time looking at pretty things and picking what he thought I'd like. I think he did a good job. To me, the pink "stones" look like rose quartz moon stones, though such a thing does not actually exist. 

I paired them with scroll work gold and diamond rings, a scroll work vintage brooch, and cut gold earrings that sparkle when they catch the light. Beau's younger son, who loves going through my jewelry (with my supervision, I admit), took a fancy to these earrings because, as he says, the cuts in them look like diamonds.

I picked my other jewelry to go with the bangles and I based my outfit on them too.

So let's get rid of the fabulous cape, fluff my hair, and get ready for my closeup. 

The bangles somehow reminded me of something an ancient Greek woman would with her flowing, loose dress, so thought I'd pair them with a loose blouse, with fluttering sleeves and a ruffle tie. 

The polka dots echo the round, bezel set, pink and rhinestone stones in the bangles. In turn, the warm caramel of my boots echoes the orange polka dots on the blouse. 

I wore this shirt on my very first date with Beau. He says he didn't like it then but says now it's growing on him. Growing up as conservatively as he did, I don't think he really got the whimsy of my style back then. Now he has fun seeing what I choose to wear each day.

Beau kept snapping photos when I wasn't ready and I kept telling him to stop and wait. "But you look best when you're not posing," he said. When picking photos for this post, I realized that he was right. Interesting. I think there's a little lesson for all of us in that: we look our best when we stop worrying about how we look.

Now, back to the topic of sunshine, or the lack thereof. Look at the above photo. In the winter in my chosen home, this is what passes for a clear blue sky and sends the residents rushing outside to enjoy "such a nice day." Who knows when it will be so bright and sunny again? We take advantage of it while we can.

We also have pretty odd definitions of rain. We seldom say it's raining, even when outsiders would swear that it is. Instead, we say things like, "It's thinking about raining," "It's spitting a bit," or, "The fog is kind of coming down today."

We only admit it's raining when it's actually pouring, hard and fast. Those are the days when we contemplate carrying umbrellas. Mostly though, we just bring hats with us "in case it rains." You can see my little grey pageboy cap in my hand in a few of these photos.

See how brightly the sun shines on our sun starved faces? Okay, not so much.

So we grab our warm, sunny colours when and where we can: in caramel coloured boots and late autumn leaves ...

... in the oranges of a wild looking dog's fur, the dog so careful to avoid eye contact (and therefore avoid showing dominance) that I'm quite sure she is part wolf ...

... in the copper of a wall...

... or in the tortoise shell fur of the cat who likes to hang out in the local whatnot store. Little Morgan is now 24, and no longer deigns to even move when you pet her. But she chooses every day to walk here from her house so, despite appearances, she must enjoy the affection. Her tiny purr gives that away.

She's completely deaf and maybe a bit blind, but her nose seems to work still and she will sometimes sniff my finger to see who's petting her. She will also raise her head for a treat -- and people often bring her treats.

So we have our ways of finding substitutes for sunshine, but, if the sun does come out, we enjoy it quickly, before it goes away.

Perhaps you missed that little gleam over Beau's shoulder? That's sunshine. Relish it quickly.

See look: a clear, sunny day. Nary a cloud in sight. Sort of.

When the sun hit this brightly for a few, shadowy minutes, the people at the table next to me exclaimed, "Look at the sun! We should go for a walk in it." But, before they'd had a chance to finish their little Italian coffees, they'd missed their chance.

But man oh man what flattering light it was! No wonder it's used a lot in photo shoots. Advertisers almost always use this light in the "after" shots in their "before and after" comparison photos.

Heck, it doesn't just erase wrinkles, fine lines, blemishes, and pores; it erases noses and eyebrows too! Talk about age-defying.

Soon enough the sun was gone for good, set early, as it does in northern climes.

Beau was photo bombing my pictures and being the general good that he is.

And another Super Bright Sunny and only slightly rainy day was over.

(I'm pretty darned fond of these boots and bangles, so I'm joining the footwear fest over at The Citizen Rosebud's monthly Shoe Shine, the dress-up fun at Visible Mondays at Not Dead Yet, and the shiny shindig at Spy Girl.) 



  1. Love your cape jacket and the beautiful animals. Living in Florida we are experiencing 70's and 80's.

    Barbara @

  2. I love that top and your cape. I think that anyone that can carry off wearing a cape deserves an extra bit of sunshine.

    I hope your back is feeling better. Back pain is the worst.


    1. Thanks. I have three other capes to put on display in the spring. The back pain is ongoing and forever. But I have my up days and down days. The day of these photos was pretty good, relatively speaking.

  3. Pretty much glorious post. You look lovely in your colors and cape. I'm in a bit of a sentimental mood tonight, and the animals made me weep just a little. Adorable. Beautiful light.

    1. I'm pretty darned sentimental about Morgan kitty too. I met her when she was twenty, the day after my own twenty year old cat, also named Morgan, and also very mellow and affectionate, died. I always stop to pet her. If you want to really weep, read my post about my Morgan and the affect he had on my life:

  4. So sun-shiny, my friend! Your orange dot top brings me great joy too. Love Beau's photo bomb. And this: "...we look our best when we stop worrying about how we look."