Month: September 2012

The Remix Challenge

Remember back – oh, say, 2 months ago – when I talked about how much I ended up enjoying a more minimalist wardrobe during my maternity leave, and how I looked forward to continuing that trend as I transitioned back to work? Yeah … that didn’t last long. Two main reasons. One, I started getting back into reading other style blogs (coffee breaks are awesome!) and, two, I rediscovered the mall. Oh, hai! The upside of both is that my (style) creativity has hit a new high – I have, like, a million outfits ideas I want to try! – but the downside is that I am constantly finding “gaps” in my wardrobe and being tempted to go out and fill them. Worse yet, I have caught myself saying the inconceivable – “I have nothing to wear!” – on more than one occasion. Wah, wah!

What to do? Rather than upping my monthly clothes budget and going on a rampage (hey, I’m not ruling that out entirely just yet), I’ve decided to do the only responsible but fun thing in the circumstances: propose myself a wardrobe challenge.

The essence of the challenge is simple: re-discover the possibilities of my wardrobe by wearing a different, stylish outfit every day. Initially, I was going to make this a 30 day challenge – as in, 30 different outfits in one month. But, then, I thought why limit myself so arbitrarily? So, instead, I have decided to try wearing different outfits every day and see how long I can last before I run out of clothes and/or inspiration, and have to “repeat” an outfit. I’m calling it “The Remix Challenge”.

To make it truly a challenge, the goal is to make each outfit as unique and interesting (whilst still wearable in the context of my actual day), without simply repeating the same formulas with nothing more than minimal accessory tweaks. Obviously, since I’m not about to start randomly changing my style from day to day, my outfits are still going to have that “Adina” flavour; plus, since one of the goals of the challenge is to help me cut down on needless purchases, a lot of the same pieces will be popping up regularly. Nevertheless, I want to use this as an opportunity to express every ounce of creativity I can muster – and, hopefully, have a very stylish fall!

The plan is to take photos of each outfit in action, wherever and whenever possible (no more “builder’s beige” background!), and post a “week in review” summary every Sunday. Keep an eye out for the first one coming this week, and let me know how you think I did! Take a guess at how long my Remix Challenge will last, and feel free to play along at home.

Chanel Sky Line

This past summer, Chanel released another one of its much-sought after limited edition polishes, Sky Line. A lovely pale blue, Sky Line looked very promising – just look at this promotional picture:

Part of the Bleu Illusion de Chanel collection

After months of waiting, my fabulous Chanel SA at Holt Renfrew was finally able to finagle a bottle for me, much to my delight. Here is a closer look at Chanel Sky Line:

The icy loveliness of Chanel Sky Line
Application was OK. Sky Line is definitely a two-coater thanks to its slightly pearlized finish, but it’s worth the work. It can look very washed-out in some lights (almost grey), and it becomes more shimmery in sunlight.

 

Natural/low light
Direct sunlight

Although Sky Line was released as a summer colour, its iciness makes it equally suited to winter, I think. Since I am not ready to dig out my parka just yet, my “inspired” outfit borrows some seasonal ideas (layering, hat) without going into full-winter mode.

Sweater, Joe Fresh; blouse, J. Crew; skirt, Winners; shoes, LAUREN Ralph Lauren; tights, HUE; hat, Nine west; brooch, Avenue Clothing

The polish adds a pop of blue, complementing both the mustard yellow and the burgundy accents in the outfit.

Blue pop!
I’m loving colored tights for fall, and I’m looking to expand my collection. Any suggestions? I’m a fan of these HUE brand tights because they’re properly opaque and the colour is so vibrant. I would also love to find  a pair of booties in this burgundy colour, to put together a complete monochromatic look – talk about leg-lengthening! 

Overall, I have to say that this was one of my all-time favourite outfits to date. It may not be everyone’s cup of tea, but the slight 1930s feel and colour combos at work here make it a real stand-out for me.
One last look!

What do you think about my outfit and Chanel Sky Line?

Friday Flashback: Delectatio Morosa

 This week’s Friday Flashback, entitled “Thought Crimes”, was originally published on Sept 8, 2007.

I started thinking about today’s question after I got side-tracked, in typical fashion, from another line of thought. But I’ll get to the question in a minute. What got me started was a phrase: delectatio morosa. Let your tongue linger on that for a moment. It doesn’t mean what you might think it means. A friend once casually dropped it in conversation (that’s the kind of friends I have), and it’s been percolating in my mental store of more-or-less-useless knowledge ever since. Delectatio morosa is the pleasure taken in a sinful thought even without desiring it. It’s one of the ‘internal sins’ of Catholicism, the others being gaudium (dwelling with complacency on sins already committed) and desiderium (the desire for what is sinful).

Now, the latter two ‘sins’ are readily intelligible to me, particularly if one takes a broad view of sinfulness. I can, indeed, dwell with some complacency upon certain sins I have committed – to be sure, nothing quite deserving of eternal damnation, but sins nevertheless. As for desiring the sinful – well, many would agree that it’s often the sinful that is most tempting.

But delectatio morosa is different. What does it mean to take pleasure in thinking of sin without desiring it? One may, for example, ponder the notion of methodically torturing one’s fellow man – but then again, one’s fellow man can be routinely rude, selfish and exasperating. Of course, one would shrink in horror from actually torturing the bastard, but it’d be rather disingenuous to argue that there isn’t even a fleeting desire to give a swift kick or two (or to wish one could, without moral or legal regrets). So, it seems to me, there is certainly pleasure in thinking of something one desires to do, at least in an abstract sense, knowing it is, at the same time, something one would not actually do. On the other hand, why would it be pleasant to think of inflicting pain on your dog? Or having sex with your elderly aunt? If the thing itself is not something that, at least on some bizarre, perverse or subliminal level, one desires (or desires to do), then how can the thought of it be pleasurable? Am I missing something here? I shudder to think that I have, somehow, been led to the very edges of my imagination and left there, hanging, bereft of the means to get on solid ground again.

Still, thinking about delectatio, and pleasant and unpleasant sins, led me to the following, mostly unrelated, question:

What is the most immoral thing you would do, if no one were to ever find out about it?

I’m not claiming credit for originality; I’m sure you’ve heard the question before. In some strange way, it reminds me of the annoying query about the sound of trees falling in the empty forest. My answer to the latter has always been – who cares? Leaving aside the hypothetical existence of an omniscient entity, a tree falling in the forest, with no one around to witness it, may or may not be silent but it is, surely, irrelevant. Absent some form of vegetative consciousness, it would be as if the tree never stood or, after a few years’ decay, never existed.

Can the same be said about an immoral act? Is immorality a social construct? If one could draw an impenetrable cloak over one’s actions, veiling them from the eyes of society, would the same compunctions hold one back from exercising free will? Of course, you couldn’t hide your acts, merely their ownership. The forest, in our case, has its own consciousness and will bear witness to, for example, a fallen comrade or an act of depredation. But is it enough to know that one does not face public sanction in order to loosen the bonds of morality – and to what extent? Or is morality found much closer at home than in the eye of our neighbour? To go further, can one put a price on morality? What’s the most immoral act you would commit for $1,000,000.00? $5.00? Should the price make a difference?

I don’t think there is a ‘right’ answer to the question of whether morality is relative or absolute. But, sometimes, your own answer might surprise you.


Editor’s note (September 2012): I’m such a goody-two-shoes. No, really. Notice how I never really wrote what’s the worst thing I would do? That’s because I couldn’t – and still can’t – think of anything more egregious than breaking a bylaw or two. Like littering. [And, if I’m being honest here, I’ve already done that. Sorry.] I just couldn’t live with myself and the knowledge of what I’d done, even if no one else ever had the means of knowing. I’d be the compulsive confessant coming down to the police station every week. This is why I could never cheat on my husband. Well, one of the big reasons, anyway. I don’t know why it is – because I’m not Catholic – but I have an overdeveloped sense of guilt. And that extends to thinking about doing bad things.

Do you share my overdeveloped sense of guilt? What’s the most immoral thing you would do – for free? What’s the most immoral thing you would do for a million bucks?