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Urban Camouflage in My New Hell Bunny Trench Coat

Urban Camouflage in My New Hell Bunny Trench Coat, the artyologist

Do you remember back in June when I visited Rowena, the Retro Glam clothing store in Edmonton? Well, today I am excited to share with you the other item that I purchased that day: my brand new Hell Bunny Trench Coat!

I have been looking for a new rain coat for a long time. There wasn’t really anything wrong with my old cream trench coat, which I have had for six years now. It was in great shape, which is surprising considering that it was a Smart Set coat I got second hand, but sometimes I found that the fitted style was hard to layer over full 50’s style skirts, and- let’s be honest- I am fickle and easily bored with my closet and I was really ready for a change. However, do you know how hard it is to find a plain old, classic style, trench coat that is not $3000.00, or “modernized”, or covered in ruffles, or patterned in polka dots, or exactly like the one I already had? Not that I dislike polka dots, it’s just that I have an abundance of patterns in my wardrobe, and I need some basics. And, it seems like the last few seasons have been filled with every kind of rain coat under the sun- except for a basic coat with a classic, retro feel. I searched the thrift stores for a vintage one, with no luck, and even ended up picking up a London Fog coat from the 80’s, which had working buttons and flaps (in short a real trench coat). It turned out to be too long and boxy though, and I was too intimidated to try and refashion it, (Maybe I’ll be brave enough to do that someday!) so off it went to the thrift store again. (I should add at this point that I rarely ever buy clothes online, as I have had some bad experiences before, and I prefer to try on before I buy. Especially as in Canada, we don’t usually get free shipping or returns.)

In short, I was despairing of ever finding a coat.

Enter, the “Bacall” Hell Bunny trench coat (which I have no doubt Lauren Bacall, whom I assume it is named for, would not hesitate to wear, as it is that glamorous). It is pretty much all of my raincoat dreams come true.

My New Hell Bunny Trench Coat, the artyologist

When I was shopping in Rowena, we had been in the store for almost an hour, I had picked out a dress to buy, and as I was heading to the till, we realized that we only had a few minutes left on our parking meter. Then, I saw a rack of coats, and had to take a quick detour to look through them. When I saw this trench coat, I didn’t hesitate for a second to try it on, even though I knew we were in a hurry to leave. I first tried the medium, but it was a bit too big. They didn’t have any other sizes out front, but they had more in the back, so the sales girl went to check. In the meantime, the clock was ticking, and it was a race against time! She found the coat and brought it, still in the bag. I quickly tried on the coat to find that it fit, bought it and the dress, and we rushed out the door and made it to the vehicle with less than a minute to spare on the meter! It was the fastest purchase I have ever made in my life, and I usually need a lot of time to think my purchases through, but I have absolutely no regrets about buying this coat.

So, what do I love about it?

  • It is the perfect length to wear over knee length skirts, and is full enough to accommodate a petticoat, if I choose to wear one.
  • It has a tie belt, rather than a belt with a buckle- that is just a personal preference.
  • The lapel collar has a button hole so it can be buttoned across to keep out the wind and rain, like real trench coats do. And the separate back yoke gives the classic trench coat silhouette.
  • The sateen finish on the fabric makes the coat a bit dressier (especially compared to my last coat).
  • And, the best part: you can pop the collar up and pretend that you are a lady spy from the 1950’s. (While taking pictures in front of a mural that is right beside an intersection, so everyone driving by can stop and see you and wonder what on earth you are doing. But the pictures were worth it, and this coat really is perfect for blending into the black and white mural. Which makes it great for pretending that I am a spy.)

Pretending to be a spy, hell bunny bacall trench coat, the artyologist

What don’t I like about the coat?

  • It is only available in black. (And, I looked on their site, it doesn’t appear to be available from them at all anymore, although many retailers are still carrying it. I’m not sure if they have discontinued it or not?) Black is classic, but I own a lot of brown, which, although not impossible to pair with black, takes more thought and effort to pass off well. It is simply not as effortless, for my personal wardrobe, as a khaki or tan coat would be. That being said, the black is lovely, and I will get a lot of wear out of it.
  • The other thing I don’t like, is that the buttons stop just past the waist, and the skirt of the coat is liable to blow open in the wind and rain. You will get wet if the wind catches it (voice of experience). I am not sure why they didn’t add a couple more rows of buttons, as that would have solved the problem, and made this coat so much better for blustery, windy weather.
  • It is, as far as I know, not fair trade. The coat is made in China, and I don’t know what that entails. I did struggle with my decision to purchase this coat, as it goes against my goals for an ethical wardrobe, since I don’t know where/how it was made. More transparency in their manufacturing process would be good.
what I don't like, hell bunny trench coat, the artyologist

Here you can see how far the coat opens, which can catch in the wind, resulting in… you getting wet.

The only regret that I do have, which is not Hell Bunny’s fault in the least, is that I was so excited to get a new coat, that I got rid of my old one a tad hastily. This coat is just not suitable for all situations and colour schemes, and I kind of miss my old one. Oh well, that just means that I am on the hunt for another coat- this time a classic khaki one. It’ll probably only take me another 6 years. 😉

Trench Coat: Hell Bunny Trench Coat, “Bacall”

Bue Silk Scarf: Ten Thousand Villages

Navy Shoes: Vintage Naturalizer, thrifted

Sunglasses: bought online several years ago

Purse: Bought in England from a consignment shop

My New Hell Bunny Trench Coat, the artyologist

Isn’t this a great mural?

urban camouflage in my new hell bunny trench coat, the artyologist

urban camouflage in my new hell bunny trench coat, the artyologist

retro sunglasses, in my new trench coat, the artyologist

being a moviestar in my new hell bunny trench coat the artyologist

urban camouflage in the hell bunny bacall trench coat, the artyologist

Dorothy and The Yellow Surrounded Road

Image of Gingham Pinafore- Dorothy and The Yellow Surrounded Road The Artyologist

I finally got my sunny pictures in the bright yellow canola field! And, I had the perfect outfit to wear with the field. (There I go again- matching my outfits to the farmer’s field!) Well, that is not the whole story. The real story is, I thought to myself, “What could I wear for pictures in the sunny yellow canola field?” A cursory examination of my current wardrobe revealed that I had nothing that would coordinate or contrast with a bright yellow and blue background, that I haven’t already worn a billion times, or catalogued on the blog here before. (And I really wanted to do the field justice!)

canola and navy gingham pinafore the artyologist

So, what to do? Why sew something new, of course! I had an old, 1980’s, baggy, rayon, navy gingham dress in my stash, that I had purchased from the thrift store with the sole purpose of refashioning into something new, and I decided that now was the time. It had been sitting there for a couple of years, waiting for the right project- and this was it! (I will detail that project’s process later.)

So, I had a pinafore, a white blouse to match, and then of course some white sunglasses as it was bright out there, (and I am nothing if not colour coordinated) and a straw sunhat to finish off the look. It was the perfect 1940’s Hollywood interpretation of a farm girl or a milk maid. (Which means that it is nothing like what a real farm girl or milk maid would actually wear, but there is nothing better than a fake Hollywood interpretation of reality, right?) So, that leads me to the title of this post- Dorothy, of The Wizard of Oz. I was almost done making this pinafore when I realized that my outfit looked very fairytale like, although I couldn’t place my finger quite on which character. At first I thought of Alice in Wonderland, but then I remembered that Alice has a solid blue dress with a white pinafore. So then I was trying to remember whose dress mine looked like- and then I realized that it is strikingly similar to Judy Garland’s outfit in that movie- and it was completely by accident! 🙂 I don’t have a yellow brick road, but I do have a road surrounded in yellow- so does that count?

Do you have any dresses similar to movie costumes, either on purpose, or by accident?

Blue gingham pinafore: refashioned by me

White blouse: thrifted

Hat: thrifted

Earrings: gift from my parents

Shoes: Hotter Shoes, “Shipley”

Sunglasses: bought online several years ago

hat white sunglasses and gingham pinafore the artyologist

image of the back of gingham pinafore the artyologist

sunglasses in navy gingham pinafore the artyologist

field of canola landscape the artyologist

pocket detail and canola field the artyologist

sunglasses and pinafore in the canola field the artyologist

shoes with navy gingham dress and canola field the artyologist

landscape in yellow field of canola the artyologist

gingham pinafore dress and country road the artyologist

walking away in gingham pinafore the artyologist

 

Ready for Poiret’s “One Thousand and Second Night”

Ready for Poiret's "One Thousand and Second Night" Harem Pants The Artyologist

If I have a “windblown” appearance in these photos, it is because I was. This was the fastest photoshoot in the history of the world, as we were literally racing to beat the thunderstorm rolling in! I live in rural Alberta, in a farming community, and in the summer that means that you are surrounded by either canola or grain- this summer the majority of fields are canola. As the blooms have just opened, and the landscape is a gorgeous sea of yellow, I wanted to take advantage of it, and get some photos in the field. Unfortunately this summer we have received an extraordinary amount of rain. For my readers in other parts of the globe, this is normal I am sure, but for us we are not used to this amount of rain. It has rained almost every day since the Victoria Day weekend, interspersed with periods of sunshine. This is great for the garden, but not so great for other things, like getting photos for the blog 🙁

Last week, I was thinking about which outfits would be good to coordinate with the canola field. (I am sure that is a sentence that has never been spoken before in the history of man. I don’t think farmers usually worry about how their outfits match their fields! “Bloggers- doing new things every day!”)

Anyways, I decided that I really wanted to get some pictures of these amazing harem pants I got earlier this summer, and I thought that they would stand out perfectly against the canola. I wanted to evoke a 1910’s/1920’s Paul Poiret’s One Thousand and Second Night Ball feel with my outfit, so I paired the pants with a slightly Edwardian styled pin tucked blouse, black Mary Jane shoes, and lots of sparkly jewelry and a headband. With a parasol as a prop this turned out to be a 1910’s styled outfit. (I say “prop” as obviously a paper parasol was not needed in the brink of the approaching rainstorm!)

Ready for Poiret's "One Thousand and Second Night" The Artyologist, Portrait and Road with Canola

Thus, I had my clothes chosen, and the sun was shining, which was a rare occurrence, so I got my sister (who loves makeup and is an aspiring makeup artist) to do some a modern 20’s makeup. (As much as I love the look of 20’s makeup in vintage photographs of movie starlets, it does tend to make people look like racoons in this day and age.) She was more than happy to do so, and came up with this lovely gold shadowed eye.

By the time the makeup was done, and I had finished getting ready, we went outside only to find that in the half hour or so, the sun had vanished behind a bank of clouds and a storm was rolling in- and quickly too! But, it wasn’t raining quite yet, so we jumped in the car and raced down the road a 1/4 mile to get to a good spot for photos. We battled the wind, we could see the lightning in the distance, the farmer drove by in his tractor (probably shaking his head at the crazy person dressed up in a “costume” taking pictures) and there were a lot of outtakes owing to hair being tossed about- but at least I wasn’t wearing a circle skirt! Then the images would’ve had a distinctly Marilyn Monroe vibe to them. . . 😉

Sorry this is a rather photo heavy post, but I really couldn’t whittle the number down, as I love how they turned out! At first, when we raced out the door, I was sad that the sun was gone, as the canola is so vibrant in the sunshine, and yet, I love how the towering storm clouds and the perfect lighting you get before a storm, gave such a brooding depth to the pictures.  I think they really capture that Art Nouveau, exotic feel of Poiret’s fashion style, with an almost painterly appearance. This outfit deviated so much from what I normally wear, and yet I love it. This might just be my favourite outfit shoot so far!

What are the craziest circumstances you’ve ever taken photos in? Would you wear harem pants? What do you think of Paul Poiret’s 1910’s styles?

 (I will have more about on the history of harem pants later this week, by the way, so stay tuned for more!)

Blouse – thrifted

Pants – imported direct from Thailand (that’s all the tag says)

Shoes – Miz Mooz

Jewelry – Necklace from years ago, Bracelets from Ten Thousand Villages

Headband – Handmade, from an old necklace and vintage buttons

Ready for Poiret's "One Thousand and Second Night" Harem Pants The Artyologist

Ready for Poiret's "One Thousand and Second Night" Harem Pants The Artyologist

Ready for Poiret's Thousand and Second Night" The Artyologist Road with Canola

Ready for Poiret's "One Thousand and Second Night" Harem Pants The Artyologist Art Nouveau inspired

Ready for Poiret's "One Thousand and Second Night" Harem Pants The Artyologist Art Nouveau Style Harem Pants

Ready for Poiret's Thousand and Second Night" The Artyologist Canola Field

Ready for Poiret's "One Thousand and Second Night" The Artyologist Portrait and Art Nouveau Inspired

Ready for Poiret'sn "One Thousand and Second Night" Harem Pants The Artyologist

Ready for Poiret's "One Thousand and Second Night" The Artyologist Canola and Portrait

Ready for Poiret's "One Thousand and Second Night" Harem Pants The Artyologist

A 1950’s Mode En France Inspired Shoot

A 1950's Mode en France Inspired Shoot The Artyologist

A few years ago I found this little video, Mode en France on Youtube, which goes through the history of European fashion from the end of the Victorian Era, up until the 1980’s. (Click over and watch it, as it is pretty great. I can’t understand a word of French, but fortunately fashion is universal!) After watching it, I wanted to do a photoshoot with my sister and best friend, of the fashions featured in the video- only since I do not have video talents, I was going to do photos instead. Well, the years have gone by, and we’ve still not managed to do a complete overview of all the eras, but we have done a few separate ones. We once dressed up in the styles of the 1940’s (and when I say “dressed up” I mean they dressed up, considering that all the clothes came from my closet!), another time was the Victorian era, and once we dressed up in assorted wedding dresses, which was rather fun.

So, when my friend Chantelle came for a visit last month, one of the things we made sure to do, was another photoshoot. This time, we chose the 1950’s, and donned full skirts, petticoats, hats and gloves. It was rather fun to put all the pieces of the outfit together, as I don’t usually do a whole hat and glove ensemble. I love putting together a period perfect ensemble, but I rarely wear it as such.

Here are the pictures we ended up with. It was a fun time spent together, posing as though we were supermodels, but mostly giggling and being generally silly. I am glad to have these pictures, some of which turned out great- others not so much, but the memories of the afternoon are what I will remember the most. 🙂

Do you ever “dress to the nines” just for fun? Have you ever done a photoshoot with your friends?

(The image above is our Prada sunglasses advertisement, don’t you think? I was testing out the height of the tripod, and it turned out it was a bit off, so the top of my head is cut out of the frame, but nevertheless- it is a hilariously serious looking picture and I love it!)

A 1950's Mode en France Inspired Shoot The Artyologist

A 1950's inpsired shoot the Artyologist

We nailed the model poses in this one 😉

A 1950's inpsired shoot the Artyologist

A 1950's inpsired shoot the Artyologist

A 1950's inpsired shoot the Artyologist