Real Life Style Icon: Mel from ‘Bag And A Beret’

Mel Kobayashi
Name: Melanie Kobayashi
Age: I was born before the Beatles invaded North America, and I’m not talking about bugs. I’m 53.
Location: Vancouver, Canada
Online haunts: Blog // instagram
Three reasons that you’re awesome:
My positivity and humour can be contagious. I don’t need booze or drugs to get a high, although chocolate is good. I have a unique vision of the world which I express in all my creative pursuits.
Mel from Bag and a Beret, pattern coat
What are you wearing right now, as you type this?
Sitting cross-legged on my double-wide office chair I’m wearing thick white athletic socks, blue and purple ankle-zip cycling pants, and a huge men’s moss-green Jimi Hendrix concert T-shirt over a patterned burgundy long-sleeved stretch tunic, cool and cozy to the max.
What is the last item of clothing you bought?
My velvety, very green low-rise bell bottoms with huge metal front snaps, made in Italy, were a steal at a local thrift boutique. My friend also gave me a divine midi-length vintage red velvet coat, ultra plush.
Mel from 'Bag and a Beret' denim jacket
What is the item of clothing you most covet at the moment?
A humongous, colourful faux fur hat.
What’s your daily beauty routine?
I wear bright lipstick with liner every day, sometimes eye shadow and mascara, and remove them with olive oil. If olive oil doesn’t work, I use Aveeno moisturizing bar for dry skin, although any soap is like acid on my face. The peanut butter on my toast can also be good at removing lipstick.
Do you have any weird or unusual beauty tricks?
I sometimes draw my lip liner outside my natural lip line, like Joan Crawford used to do. Sometimes colouring outside the lines expresses my mood best. For dry hands, I might slather on some Norwegian Formula hand cream by Neutrogena and then wear cotton gloves on top overnight.
Mel from 'Bag and a Beret' tells us her fashion tips.
What do you do/wear when you want to feel particularly beautiful?
Sequins, gowns, sparkly jewellery, and extra makeup, which includes false eyelashes and heavy-handed colouring, all make me feel ultra-glam. Faux fur, bell bottoms, and sunglasses make me feel rock-star cool.
Tell us about a favorite childhood memory about your clothes.
I used to save up my allowance and every month buy a new little purse that I’d show off in Sunday School. Heh. I once got shiny white shoes with clicky heels for Easter; I think they came directly from heaven.
Mel from 'Bag and a Beret' and bright pattern pants
What is your best thrifting score?
Definitely my long-hair faux fur coats – I have many, all ridiculously inexpensive – are my best thrifting scores.
Could you tell us your top three style tricks/DIYs?
– Scribbling on beige clothing or boots with Sharpie markers can save them from the trash.
– A single-strap suspender is excellent for holding up grossly oversized skirts and pants.
– Colourful and/or patterned tights can electrify any leg-baring outfit.
Mel from 'Bag and a Beret' pattern dres
Thanks so much for sharing, Mel! Do you guys have any questions for her?



I’m so very delighted to see my good friend Mel featured here!

She is a scream and wildly stylish and creative as you’ve managed to show here. Her biggest talent (she has so many!) in my eyes is making people laugh. Her latest video on her blog killed it.

Great choice!


Sheila (of Ephemera)

She’s even better in person – I’ve met her several times and she is delightfully twee and odd (in the best ways). She’s a true style icon in that she doesn’t give a feck what’s in style, but wears whatever she wants in her own stylish way. Rock on, Mel!

Val S

Melanie’s humor, creativity and irreverence are why I read her blog – and always will. She’s witty with words as well as pictures and video.

Questions for her? Well, now that I know her age, that she had an early purse fetish, and she attended Sunday School, I guess I just want to know if she hangs her toilet paper to unroll from the top or the bottom.

Sheela Goh

Mel is the absolute cat’s pajamas. Rules exist not for her, and I love that. I aspire to reach that level of self-confidence, to experience a complete and utter joy in dressing up, like her 🙂 xoxo


You couldn’t have said YES to a more amazing personal style blogger. Melanie is the real deal. Totally creative, totally spontaneous, with an amazing eye for composition and flair. She’s also a quintessential example of “where style breeds in inverse proportion to the amount of money spent”. Beyond style however, Mel is pure theater, a living, breathing gale-force-wind work of art. That’s true style!!

Anna Parkes

Mel’s amazing, an all-round entertainer with a wicked sense of humour. She’s a true style icon and is an inspiration to all of us, her loyal followers. Uber cool, chic, self depracting, and painfully funny, she’s the Head Girl of my blogging community.
Anna’s Island Style


Bwahaha! Splutter. All your gracious comments make me blush. (Your cheques are in the mail.) Oh, wait, that might be a hot flash… Anyway, you guys are stellar! Stellar, I tell you!! Thanks, Sarah, for this interview. It really goes straight to my head and my heart.

No Fear of Fashion

I follow Mel’s blog for quite a couple of years now and we met in person last summer… took one look at each other… and hit it off like a house on fire.
I am much more conservative than she is, but very much appreciate her creativity and especially her humor. For instance, I love her in that black and white long dress best. Although she has some out of the box outfits which I adore. I wish we were neighbours and could hang out together. Alas, the downside of blogging.


I absolutely adore her! She is so stylish, fun, different, hilarious and reallly nice too!! Doesn’ttake herself too seriously- rather eccentric- I feel she wouldn’t judge me for me being slightly eccentric!!x

The Style Crone

I adore Melanie, and wouldn’t miss a post. She’s creative, stylish, funny, kind and beautiful. I’ve followed her from the beginning, and find her writing and style irresistible. Thank you for featuring Melanie as a “real life style icon!”

Natalia Lialina

Thank you for the interview! Melanie is a rare mix of unique sense of style and beauty, mad creativity and true kindness and insightfulness. She is a genius!


Ooooooohhhhh. I absolutely LOVE Melanie. We have been blog friends since our blogs were babies. She is awesome in so many ways and one of them is introducing me to you. Yay and yay.

Marilee Gramith

Just discovered this and I’m delighted that there’s yet another way to enjoy the spectacularity that is Melanie Kobayashi.
Someone needs to go bravely and creatively where others fear to tread and Mel seems happy to do it uniquely, humorously, colorfully, honestly, and compellingly. I LOVE a woman with those qualities!


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