The Ladies Garden Tea, Part 1

ladies tea party the artyologist

Well, that title “The Ladies Garden Tea” is a bit of a misnomer. You see, it was sunny every day up until the party, and it’s been sunny a fair amount of days after the party, but when last Saturday dawned, it was rainy. And this was not a showers and clouds kind of rain. Not a “maybe it will clear off just in time” sort of rain. It was a “I’m-here-and-I’m-cold-and-I’m-gonna-stay” kind of rain. So, the “Ladies Garden Tea” was forced to become simply the “Ladies Afternoon Tea”, which is OK because fun was had by all despite the lack of sunshine. And, having it indoors simply meant we didn’t have to deal with bugs flying around getting stuck in the cake and lemonade, right?

ladies tea party, cup the artyologist

It’s become a bit of an annual tradition for us, to host a ladies tea party. The first time I ever hosted one, was the Valentine’s Party I posted about, and since then, it’s just been a great excuse to pull out all the fancy tea cups and dress up and have a lovely time with the ladies of our church. I’ll have more about the food and the decorating and such on Friday, as I have so many photos, I wanted to split them into two posts, so you wouldn’t be bombarded!

Today, I’ll focus on what I wore. Originally I was planning on wearing a large straw sunhat, and my “garden party” dress (I have named it that, as it just seems the sort of thing one wears to a garden party). The dress is too fancy for everyday, as it requires many layers of petticoats, so I hardly ever wear it. I’ll post it here one of these years… However, as the dress is so pouffy, when the party got moved indoors, I didn’t want to be running into people and knocking over lamps with my skirt (the struggles only vintage lovers know!), so the plan changed to this dress, which I also think suits a tea party quite well.

tea party dress the artyologist

tea party vintage dress the artyologist

It is a vintage 1970’s dress I got from a thrift store, and it fits so perfectly it could’ve been made for me. I’m pretty sure it was either a grad dress or a bridesmaid dress, and it is made of a coral coloured lining, with an overlay of tan flowered chiffon. It is basically the 1970’s epitomized in dress form 🙂 I’ve never worn it before, as it is pretty dressy and floor length, so it was so nice to be able to wear it for the party. I paired it with my opera length pearls I got from my parents a few years ago as a birthday gift, and as it was an indoor party, my sister lent me some sparkly clips as we didn’t require hats anymore.

My dear friend Chantelle was visiting for the week of the party, so we had some fun taking silly photos of us drinking our tea after the party. (There were a lot more ladies at the party- 23 of us.) Of course, as soon as the party wrapped up, the sun burst through the clouds and we had a lovely sunny evening. Oh well 🙁

Have you ever hosted a fancy party for your friends? Do you like to pull out the fine china every chance you get?

chantelle and tea party the artyologist

This is a “Victorian Parlour Card” pose, don’t you think?

nicole and the group party the artyologist

sarah and tea party the artyologist

vintage tea party dress the artyologist

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

I’m Ready for My Close-up

ready for my closeup the artyologist

When I was a child my two favourite things to play with were Barbie dolls and the costume bin. I loved Barbie’s because I got to dress them up, and I loved the costume bin, because I got to dress up.

Now that I am grown up. . .  actually, I haven’t changed a bit. I still love to dress up.

Last year for Christmas I received a Barbie doll from my parents (it was the 50th anniversary reproduction Barbie, okay?), I have a suitcase full of costumes for random dressing up needs, (doesn’t everyone have costumes at the ready? Who knows when the need may arise! ) and my entire closet is full of what most people would consider costumes, but us vintage lovers know and recognize them to be perfectly acceptable everyday wear. (I have come to the conclusion that these two childhood favourites foreshadowed my love of vintage, long before I had ever thought of it, because vintage is basically dress up every day!)

sarah and I the artyologist

So, both my sister and I still love to dress up in costumes, and taking that a step further, we love to turn the costume-wearing into a photo shoot (inspired by whichever fashions we are sporting).

I am always so inspired by the fashions on the runway, and the spreads in the magazines: the ensembles that are so fabulous, but so over the top, they don’t make it to the street. This basement wall, which has a great industrial, urban decay feel to it, immediately made me think of those images of couture fashions in abandoned buildings. My sister and I decided that it would be the perfect backdrop for the crazy over-the-top Vogue inspired look we were dying to create, complete with wigs, exaggerated makeup and flamboyant costumes. These are outfits that we would probably never wear as styled, (no I am not going to wear that Halloween wig in public!) but they really suited the mood, and I like how they turned out. They are definitely different than what I would wear in real life, but sometimes it’s just so fun to veer in a different direction.

Do you ever dress up in a costume just for the fun of it?

profile, sarah and I, the artyologist

sarah and I the artyologist

This is absolutely my favourite photo of my sister and I. It’s just such a great capture of the moment 🙂

ready for my closeup, the artyologist

A Fashion Moment With McCall’s Treasury of Needlecraft

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft front cover the artyologist

Today’s Fashion Moment is brought to you by The McCall’s Treasury of Needlecraft.

We inherited this book from my Grandma. It was published in 1955 and is a pattern book and resource guide for all kinds of needlecraft, including knitting, crocheting, embroidery, tatting, lacework, and more. It is a great book that offers a glimpse into what crafty ladies from the era were making. I sometimes think that so much of what women wore back then was store bought, or came from the famous fashion houses, when of course women were (and still are today!) replicating many of the trends of the day themselves, either because of cost or just creativity. It’s nice to see what everyday women were wearing.

If I could knit or crochet, I would own almost everything in this book in a heartbeat. However, since I don’t knit or crochet, I will have to content myself with just looking at the pictures. (And perhaps seeking out someone whom I can bribe to make me everything in this book.)

This book includes plenty of patterns for hats and accessories, and many of them are matching sets. Today I bring you hat pictures, but don’t worry! There are so many good images here, there will be definitely be future instalments!

So, without further ado, shall we take a peek inside?

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

A closer look at these two lovelies- the hats are nice, but look at that eyeliner!!! Gorgeous!!

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

Not sure how I feel about wearing a doily on my head. . . thoughts?

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

A Sequin Set, and Three Accessories That Glitter- add a bit of sparkle to your look!

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

I love that hat. . . crown . .  cap? Whatever it is, I’m adding it to the list of projects now!

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

A Queen Amidala inspired look. . . 

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

Put your money on the outside of your bag rather than inside it. . . 

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

And let’s end on this sweet classic look with a lovely bag and hat combination. I really want to see the rest of the outfit. . .  is that a shirt or a coat? I can’t tell!

So, which one caught your eye? Do you knit or crochet? Would you make any of these styles?