style

Fresh as a Daisy in Retrolicious Vintage Repro

retrolicious nostalgia dress fresh as a daisy the artyologist

At first, brown, mustard yellow and cream do not seem to be a summer colour palette, but then I looked out into my garden and saw a patch of daisies blooming. It turns out that it is a summer palette after all! ūüôā

This is the new dress that I mentioned last week, and it is my first vintage reproduction dress! Living in Alberta, which isn’t exactly a major centre for vintage style boutiques, I had never come across a shop that sold vintage reproduction. I have never had much luck shopping online either, and for things like dresses, which need to fit well, it was always just too much of a gamble. Then, a few weeks ago, while shopping on Edmonton’s Whyte Avenue, I discovered this little shop called Rowena. Rowena is a “clothing, accessory & household item store specializing in pinup, rockabilly, psychobilly, tattoo and alternative cultures.” As soon as I walked in the door, I was in heaven. Seriously, my mom and sister who were with me, can attest that I was like a kid in a candy store. Never have I ever seen such a large and fabulous selection of vintage reproduction in one place. All of the items they have in store, are available in their amazing online store Retro Glam, if you would like to check it out. Anyways. I did find a few lovely items, and actually it is amazing that I came home with my bank account intact! I’ll be back for sure, though.

retrolicious dress daisy the artyologist

I was so excited to wear this dress; I wore it the very next Sunday. It is the Nostalgia dress by Retrolicious. I had never heard of Retrolicious before: it is a sub brand of Folter clothing “made in the USA”.

I can’t really attest to the quality of the dress, as I have only had it for a couple of weeks, and I haven’t washed it yet or anything, but I love it so far. When we were in a different shop that same day, the salesperson told me that the dresses they were selling were “couture dressmaker’s fabrics, not just regular old cottons”. When I looked at the tag, they were 57% polyester/ 43% cotton blends. I’ll take the cotton please. ¬†Thus, I love that this dress is 100% cotton, and cut on the bias, which gives it a comfortable amount of stretch without containing any spandex/polyester/nylon. ¬†I don’t know about you, but I just hate synthetic fabrics. I mean, sometimes they are fine¬†for certain garments, and I do own some myself, but I just hate the fact that there is such an abundance of synthetics in every piece of clothing you find, it seems. Maybe this is just an irrational fear I have of synthetics, tracing back to the time when I was a child and my mother told me that nylon melts. I was scared to wear my nylon pants for years. Anyways, that was a bit of an aside. . . where were we. . .

The dress! It is lovely, comfortable and breathable (it was a hot day, when I wore it) and it has pockets too; I never think to put pockets in my dresses, but really they are the best! Basically this dress is a winner, it is my new favourite, and now that I know where Rowena is, and I know what size I am in several other repro brands, I may never have any money ever again. . .

(PS: After I had finished¬†dressing, I realized that the accessories in this outfit are¬†exactly what I paired with my outfit for Easter Sunday- the straw purse, brown sandals, and cream coloured hat. Even the pearls are the same. What can I say? If you’ve got a good thing going. . .¬†)

(PPS: Another quick note: I do know that cotton, unless it is organic, contains a whole host of other environmental problems, ūüôĀ but as it is difficult to find organic cotton material and clothing, when faced with a choice, I will choose cotton, as it is still a natural and biodegradable fibre, rather than¬†a man made fibre.)

Outfit Details:

Dress- Retrolicious, Nostalgia Dress (not available any more it seems, but they have many others!)

Purse: Vintage from a thrift store

Hat: Vintage from an antique sale

Shoes: Franco Sarto from a few years ago

Earrings: Joe Fresh from a few years ago

Necklace: Pearls; a gift from my parents!

retrolicious dress the artyologist

daisies the artyologist

retrolicious by folter nostalgia dress the artyologist

retrolicious nostalgia dress by folter fresh as a daisy the artyologist

retrolicious dress folter clothing the artyologist

An Almost Vintage Skirt of Recycled Fabric

an almost recycled skirt of vintage fabric the artyologist

This¬†could also be titled¬†as “The World’s Easiest Skirt Pattern”. ūüôā¬†When I sewed up my dutch wax print skirt, and refashioned my black floral, I realized just how much I love pleated skirts. After completing Me Made May, I decided that I needed more of these skirts in my life as they are so easy to wear, and are comfortable and practical for everyday. When I was deciding what fabric to use, I remembered¬†this vintage sheet I picked up a a flea market a couple of months¬†ago, so I decided to recycle the fabric into a skirt. I absolutely love the pattern on the fabric- is it just me or were vintage linens so much nicer than today’s?

skirt construction the artyologist

I used the same easy method as the other skirts, which pretty much involves creating a curved waistband to fit your waist measurement, plus seam allowances. I have found that a slightly curved band is better than a straight rectangle, as bodies are typically not straight,¬†so¬†if it is curved in, the waistband will not gape on you. I didn’t use a pattern for this, I seriously just “eyeballed” the curve for this band and traced to create a mirror image for both sides. To this, I cut a front and back rectangle, and pleated it into the waist circumference (no real math at play, just pleating and fiddling until it fit!)¬†To create something different, so all of the garments in my wardrobe are not exactly the same, I decided to add ties to the waistband this time. I think they give a bit of a fun twist. I sewed the two ties separately, and then inserted them between the zipper (which I had saved¬†off another garment, hence the title of this post) and the waistband when sewing them together. Thus, the raw edges were encased, and the ties wrap around to the front. The skirt took me only about 4 hours start to finish. Well, not including the time that it took to cut the material, I guess. When I went to lay out the fabric, I discovered that somewhere along the way someone had used this sheet as a dropcloth or something, and there was orange paint splattered across¬†it! I had to do some strategic measuring and cutting to avoid all the splatters- but it was successful, as none of the paint shows on the final garment! The joys of vintage material I guess. ūüėČ I actually love projects like this as they recycle something¬†that would otherwise be discarded. The skirt turned out nicely and qualifies as a Make do and Mend garment, I think, as well as almost being vintage, as the materials to make it were. . .

waistband detail the recycled skirt the artyologist

So, onto the outfit! The skirts debut, the very next day, was for an afternoon of shopping on Edmonton’s Whyte Ave. My best friend came for a visit (as I already mentioned before), so we took the opportunity to go shopping, and Whyte Ave is a pretty fun place filled with lots of lovely little shops and restaurants.¬†(I also found the best little store called Rowena, which carries a whole host of vintage reproduction brands I’ve never been able to find in a brick-and-mortar store! I was like a kid in a candy shop- and I have an outfit post with the¬†dress I bought, next week!)

the entirely recycled fabric skirt the artyologist

the entirely recycled skirt the artyologist

We had a lovely time shopping, but I didn’t get any outfit photos while we were there, which is too bad as there are so many historical brick buildings that would’ve served as¬†a nice backdrop. I was too busy catching up with my friend, though, to stop for pictures, so we got these pictures later. I paired the skirt with a modern ruffled blouse, and my lovely vintage straw boater I got at an antique sale a few years ago. The lining in this hat is so shredded I can barely pick out any of the label, the only words left¬†read “Knox New York”. I did a google search and came up with this article about the Knox hat company, but as it appears they made men’s hats, I’m not sure of the history of this piece. ¬†It is lovely though, and in very good shape too, despite the label being in disrepair. I would’ve liked to have paired this outfit with my cognac kiltie loafers, but as they are not broken in yet, I thought an afternoon spent walking would be better suited to my tried and true brown flats. Sometimes style must be sacrificed for comfort, as much as I hate to admit it¬†ūüôĀ

Anyways, I’ve already worn this skirt several times since I made it, and it is quickly becoming a favourite in my wardrobe. Do you ever¬†find yourself gravitating towards sewing or wearing¬†the same things over and over again?

Outfit details:

Hat- vintage from an antique sale

Shirt- secondhand

Skirt- made by me out of a sheet from a flea market

Earrings- Joe Fresh from a year ago

Shoes- Josef Seibel

Purse- bought in England

vintage knox straw boater the artyologist

the entirely recycled fabric skirt the artyologist

an almost recycled skirt of vintage fabric the artyologist

vintage straw boater the artyologist

vintage knox boater the artyologist

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 ūüôā 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 ūüôĀ

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