misc.

Every Day is Dress Up Day

every day is dress up day the artyologist

So continuing on the theme of Tuesday’s post, I’ve been thinking lately about the term “dress up”.

A few weeks ago, someone (and not in a negative way at all- but in a simply curious way) asked me whether I was going somewhere special that day, because I was all “dressed up”. When I had gotten dressed that morning I had chosen a rather casual outfit for the day, since I knew it would be spent mostly at home. I was wearing a t-shirt, a cotton pleated skirt, some sparkly earrings, and flat shoes. This was not an outfit I had taken a great amount of effort on: I had simply grabbed the most comfortable garments I had to wear. However, in the eyes of many people (at least where I live) since I wasn’t wearing jeans and a t-shirt I had to be going somewhere special, and the question threw me off a bit, since I have gotten so used to dressing this way everyday.

The question started me thinking about how my own personal perception of the phrase “dressing up” has changed so much in the past few years, since I started wearing vintage, and how I now view clothing.

When I was in Grade 1, my mom made me a fuchsia satin dress for my birthday, It had a sweetheart neckline, puffed sleeves and a full gathered skirt. Quite simply, it was an amazing dress, and a dream come true for a 6 year old. I wore it that day to school, and many other occasions as well. I’m sure that people smiled at the sight of a little girl at recess, or grocery shopping in a satin pink dress, but I was completely oblivious, and to me it was completely normal. (Really who wouldn’t want to wear a fuchsia satin dress if they had one?) I was lucky that, growing up, my mom sewed for me, as my closet was never lacking in the wonderful clothes she made for me.

Somewhere along the way though, I guess I decided that dresses just got in the way and I entered a season in my life that lasted many years. Jeans and t-shirts were the everyday staples of my wardrobe up until my late teens. I did, however, still love the fashions of yesteryear, and Victorian and Regency fashions were my favourite eras. I loved historical fashion, but I never integrated those styles into my everyday wardrobe so I resigned myself to wearing casual, “modern” styles, and the styles of yesteryear were relegated to “costumes” only.

And then, a few years ago, I discovered Vintage. I’m not really sure how I found it; probably link hopping on sewing blogs until I found a vintage sewing blog, which then led me to the online vintage community.

Finally I felt like I had come home. I had dabbled a bit with vintage sewing before for costumes (as many of the pattern companies were reissuing their vintage patterns) but I had never met anyone who wore those clothes as daily wear. Suddenly I was faced with the idea of wearing those styles. . .  everyday. It had never occurred to me that that was possible, but with the discovery of vintage blogs, suddenly a whole world opened to me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t personally know anyone who dressed like that- I knew that there were people out there in the world who did- and I could join them!!

So I embraced vintage. I didn’t start out with gloves and hats and petticoats the first day- it was a gradual shift to where I am at in my style today- where almost every item is, either true vintage, or vintage inspired reproduction, and vintage appropriate (to use a term coined by Jessica).

When I embraced vintage dressing, my outlook on clothing changed as well. Or maybe it just reverted to what I thought when I was six: Clothes are fun, and are a great expression of who you are.

The main thing that I have discovered about dressing in an alternative style (which I definitely think Vintage is) is that it is not dictated by trends the way modern fashion is. It is in fact outside of the trends. (Although you definitely see more “popular” vintage styles- rockabilly, 50’s etc) If you want to wear trousers that is great. If you want to wear dresses that is great too. Wear a pink satin dress to school if you feel like it.

vintage is as varied as the people who lived before us the artyologist

Vintage is as varied as the people who lived before us.

One day you can be Dior’s New Look of the 50’s, the next Rosie the Riveter of the 40’s, and the next a Bright Young Thing of the 20’s. Or maybe you want to be all three at once. Who’s to stop you? You can have absolute freedom to express and create who you want to be. Fashion can reveal so much about the person you are and what you want to portray to the world. And I think that in a society that has become increasingly and extremely casual, vintage lovers stand out; not only for wearing a very different style, but also for the fact that we dress up.

By the term “dress up”, I don’t mean that we are literally wearing dresses, or even wearing dressy fabrics, every day, but that we are putting effort into our fashion choices, and curating a particular “look”. In a society where sometimes people seem to be looking for any excuse to dress down, rather than dress up, I think it is so great that an entire subculture of people has decided to rebel in our own little way, by specifically choosing to be different. We are putting effort into our fashion choices: it could be vintage denim or a velvet cocktail dress- but there is one thing in common: intentionally choosing to express a different and unique style.

So really. I said that dressing up doesn’t refer to costumes, but don’t you think “dressing up” really does after all? I say, Everyday is Dress Up Day- who do you want to be today?

who do you want to be today the artyologist

Sundresses in the Rain

image of lilac blooms portrait the artyologist

It is lilac season again! I’ve never lived in a place with so many lilacs before, so it is very nice to experience this year two hedges just bursting with lilac blooms. Are the lilacs blooming where you live? Or are they already done and gone? (Alberta’s spring comes slowly!) This is a photo heavy post I warn you, simply because the lilacs are so beautiful, I couldn’t narrow the photos down. . .

image of lilacs, seersucker dress and umbrella the artyologist

image of seersucker peasant dress the artyologist

It is so strange how quickly the weather can change, as earlier this week the temperatures were +30 (celcius) and now for the next few days we have hit a rainy spot. So, what do you wear when it is Spring, but you look out your window and it’s raining? Why your sundresses, of course! Dressing as though it is the sunniest, warmest day does wonders to improving a cloudy day. (This is my scientific hypothesis of course!) Do you ever dress contrary to what the weather demands?

image of trenchcoat lilacs and umbrella the artyologistOk I concede, I did wear a coat when I went out! But the rain did stop long enough for these pictures.

image of seersucker dress and lilacs

So, this seersucker dress is one that I got a nice little kick in the pants to finish, because of my Me Made May challenge. I was looking at my closet at the beginning of the month thinking, “wow, I don’t actually have that many me made garments at the moment”, and then I saw this one sitting in my mending pile, (yes… pile) as it had been sitting there for months just begging to be fixed.

I sewed this dress last summer and spent an extreme amount of time on it, even hand picking the zipper in place, and meticulously sewing the lace waistband in place, because the seersucker was a bit of a pain to work with. The lace piece that I used for the accent detail was the perfect shade of grey/brown and it matched the stripe in the seersucker perfectly. It was wonderful, but I only got to appreciate it once, as when I washed the dress the colour washed out of the lace and faded to a disgusting shade of yellow 🙁

image of lace waistband before after the artyologistJust gross.

Now, that feeling of accomplishment you get when you finish a dress and it is hanging proudly in your closet is one of the nicest feelings, but that was very abruptly replaced with the horrible feeling of having to redo something. And if there is one thing I hate, it is redoing something I have already finished- especially when it was perfect the way it was. So, alas, what to do? I didn’t have any other coordinating lace in that width, and the waistband looked so bland without any accent. I wasn’t sure what would be the best option with the least amount of deconstructive work (I really didn’t want to take the dress completely apart), and then my mom suggested that I edge the waistband in narrow lace, and tada! It worked!

image of seersucker dress waistband the artyologist

Whew, a dress saved, and just in time to wear it out into a rainshower! Ah well, the rain won’t last, although I actually do love a good stretch of rain, and goodness we need it, but for now, when I wear my sundress in the rain, I’ll be singing in the rain 🙂

image of seersucker dress and lilacs the artyologist

image of lilacs and umbrella in grass the artyologist

image of lilacs the artyologist

image of holding lilacs and portrait the artyologist

image of shoes lilac and coin purse the artyologist

image of seersucker dress back and umbrella the artyologist

Wide Legged Trousers: Burda 7122

the artyologist image of burda 7122

Now here enters the only pair of pants I own.

When I was little (up until about grade 3) I wore dresses all the time. Then, somewhere along the way, I decided that pants were much better for running around at recess in. I wore mostly jeans for many years, until one day, about 5 years ago, I realized that actually I love dresses and skirts so much more. I guess I have come full circle- reverting to my childhood as I now wear mainly dresses!

However, pants are convenient sometimes, and it’s always good to have a pair. The thing about pants though, is that they are so difficult to fit! I never find ready-to-wear pants that fit, and I am the worlds slowest seamstress, so this is the only pair I have. (Aside from another pair I sewed, which shrunk and are now gauchos, and a pair of skinny jeans with a hole in them. They don’t count)

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These are Burda 7122. I chose this pattern as it has a high waistband and looks vaguely vintage. I ended up having to alter the waistband when I made these- so unfortunately I didn’t end up with my “sailor” pants. One thing I discovered is that, though this pattern has a retro look to it, they definitely fit like a modern pant. I have read about the differences between modern and vintage pants, and how the crotch depth and leg width are so different in modern patterns. That is definitely true of this pattern. I don’t think I would make this pattern again, even though I don’t mind how the pants turned out, and if you are after a more modern wardrobe these would fit the bill, but because I would like to actually get a true vintage pattern. I think that a vintage pair of pants would be so much more comfortable and also, really give that authentic look I am after. The drape and style of vintage pants is just so much better. . . Oh well, in the meantime, these will tide me over!

the artyologist image of burda 7122 and lace top

the artyologist image of owl necklace

the artyologist image of spring leaf

the artyologist image of headscarf and lace peasant top

the artyologist image of riding boots

the artyologist image of navy blue structured purse

the artyologist image of first dandelion

The first dandelion of the season. Even though they are a terrible nuisance later, I can’t help but get excited when I first see them popping up!

Spring: Dreams vs. Reality

the artyologist image of dream vs reality spring dressing with trenchcoat, black floral skirt and scarf

April is a saucy flirt, teasing us with sweet sunshine, gentle breezes and the chatter of songbirds. Beckoning us to come outdoors, breathe the fresh clean air, see the spring bulbs poking their brave heads up, reaching for the sky only to tempestuously change her mind in a fit of rain-shower rage and send us back indoors scrambling to keep dry.

And so it was on this day here: waking up and planning what to wear, only to have the weather dash those dreams on the soggy ground. Only this time it was a spring snowstorm, rather than rainstorm. I don’t know why I am surprised: every Spring is the same. There is always more snow, and it usually comes on the first day of Spring itself!
the artyologist image of spring dressing rubber boots and black hotter loafers

So, the dream vs. the reality: I had hoped to wear my black loafers with this outfit, but instead ended up wearing rainboots. I kept dry though, and I suppose there will be days enough for the loafers.

the artyologist: image of spring dream vs reality snow in springtime

So a few words about this outfit. This is the first year that I have owned white tights, and I must say they are great for seasonal dressing, as they are light and bright, and perfect for spring, while still offering much needed warmth on days like this.

the artyologist: image of spring dressing cardigan and floral skirt

You may have noticed that I shortened this skirt. It was a bit too short to be long, and bit too long to be short. If that makes sense. I had hoped for a long, elegant, sweeping floral skirt, but instead ended up with something a bit more frumpy. Not the look I had envisioned. It didn’t hang quite right, so I made the decision to chop it off instead, and it is much improved. It has become so much more wearable. Who would have thought that a few inches could make such a difference!

the artyologist: image of jade polar bear necklace

the artyologist: image of spring dressing with floral skirt, black hotter loafers and white tights

Also, as we were out taking pictures, my sister’s little “pets” came to visit us. They didn’t want to stop and pose for the camera, but I was able to get at least one photo!

the artyologist: image of feeding a chickadee in your hand