Ladybug, ladybird, May bug – the first taste of spring has more than a few names. The subject of many a nursery rhyme and many a superstition, I can’t help but anthropomorphize just a bit and imagine when I’m lucky enough to spot a ladybug merrily zipping my way, she is completely aware of her adorableness and charm as she blows me a kiss (and who doesn’t love a cute red and black polka dot coat?) It’s actually a common misconception that you can tell a ladybug’s age by counting her spots, but that’s just a myth. A lady never reveals her age…
The title of this post is from an old nursery rhyme calling the ladybug home. And like most nursery rhymes, when you actually read the words it’s all rather sinister and creepy if you think about it too long. I find it so interesting how much poetry and superstition surrounds the ladybug – she brings good luck, she grants wishes – a lot of which harks back to famers wanting to keep ladybugs around, because they protected their crops from other insects but were harmless themselves. She’s like a tiny but efficient crop defender, leading her bespeckled army to protect the garden. In fact, one cute little seemingly innocent ladybug can chomp up to 5,000 aphids in her lifetime, and she still manages to look smashing and stylish.
In an effort to emulate such a fabulous beetle, I flexed my fashion muscles to bust out my very best ladybird-inspired outfit. I was ecstatic when I found this vintage embroidered cardigan on my last visit to DC for a conference. As is my tradition, whenever I travel I block off a solitary afternoon to explore. True to my scientist roots, I always do my research beforehand and make a list of must-see vintage shops and then attack the city solo. And on my DC walkabout I found my way to a shop called Treasury and straight into the arms of the world’s most perfect ladybug-adorned cardigan. Snuggly and warm, a wish waiting to be granted.
The Ladybug wears no disguises.
She is just what she advertises.
A speckled spectacle of spring,
A fashion statement on the wing….
A miniature orange kite.
A tiny dot-to-dot delight.
J. Patrick Lewis
Although beautiful in coloration, a ladybird is actually using what’s called aposematic coloration – basically a color pattern that signals to would-be predators looking to enjoy a ladybug lunch that they’re in fact toxic (a ladybug can actually ‘bleed’ toxins from her knees when she’s especially pissed off). Ladybugs are also known to engage in cannibalism if the mood strikes them, so you might not want to step out of line with a ladybug around…
I kind of love that an animal we associate with being so cuddly and cute, so dainty and sweet, is actually pretty hardcore and not to be messed with. As if even the quietest among us, the frilliest of crinolines, the sweetest of hair bows, and we can (and do) still throw down when the time calls for it. Just goes to show, one should never underestimate a true lady.
This true lady is heading off this weekend with the Mister to the WA Beer and Beef festival. Yes, you heard me right. Beer and Beef. Is there a greater combination in all the world? It’s like the ladybug decided to grant me a wish by combining two of my favorite things. It would be like the Shoe Sale and Champagne festival. The Foot Rub and Free Money extravaganza. The Nobel Prize and Crowned Queen of the Universe-a-palooza. You get my drift. It should be renamed Kara’s Happiest Day Festival.
So I’ll look towards the weekend in unbridled anticipation – but for now, this ladybird is on her way to work. Happy Wednesday!
Sweater: Treasury Vintage (similar here, here & here)
Skirt: Modcloth (similar here & here or same skirt in a different color way)
Belt: Alannah Hill (similar here, here & here)
Bracelet: Wear It Again Sam Vintage (similar here & here)
Handbag: Unique Vintage (similar here & here)
Shoes: Seychelles (similar here, here & here)