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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

Why Everyone Needs A Flower Covered Hat

image of simplicity 1777 and flower covered hat the artyologist

Quite simply put, flower covered hats are the best.

Sometimes elegant and graceful, sometimes verging on the point of ridiculous, they inject a bright touch of colour and fun to any outfit they are paired with. Flower covered hats have been around since, well forever, considering that women (and men!) used to wear wreaths of flowers in their hair in ancient Greek culture even before traditional hats were “invented”.

Adorning the heads of women the world around, throughout history and still today, it’s no surprise that flowers are so popular for headwear, considering they are so naturally beautiful. Flowers add a lovely touch to any ensemble, whether there is one flower or many, whether they form a crown, an accent or a full fledged hat, whether they are real or fake or whether they are brightly coloured or muted pastels. There is just something about wearing flowers in one’s hair that adds that sweet touch of whimsy to any ensemble.

image of grass and simplicity 1777 and flower covered hat the artyologist

Now take this outfit for example, I wore last Sunday. Without the floral hat, this navy dress would be prim, proper and conservative. Adding a peach and coral flower covered hat however, takes it from a quiet and traditional vintage look, to one resembling the vibrant and eccentric early 1960’s. It kind of reminds me of the bridal hats of that era, except for the fact it’s not white. 🙂

It was the perfect thing to wear, on Sunday for two reasons. One, since we’ve had a rainy stretch lately, and are in need of a touch of spring, a floral hat reminded me of the fact that the rain will not last forever! 🙂 (I actually like the rain, but still, a Spring hat was needed)

And reason number two, we are 2/3 of the way through the month of May, and I pledged to wear each of my handmade garments this month. (Read about Me Made May here) This hat and dress are two of the items I made that I still needed to wear, so Sunday was the day!

I actually made this hat a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t very good, and every time I attempted to wear the hat, it just looked stupid. Really it did. So this last week I examined it to see why exactly it was stupid and I came to the conclusion that I had made the cap too small, so it didn’t look like a hat, and it was too large to be an accent or fascinator. With that realization, I was able to fix the hat by adding two bunches of flowers to the ends, so it now comes down to the ears like a crown (or bridal hat!) instead of just floating on my head without any purpose. Note to self- do not make hats too small, or they look ridiculous!

image of trench coat and flower covered hat the artyologist

Anyways, I’m not sure what era this outfit is supposed to resemble, since the hat looks late 50’s/ early 60’s to me, but the dress is Simplicity 1777, a 1940’s repro pattern, and the shoes also resemble the platforms of the 1940’s. Whatever, that’s the nice thing about living in this day and age- we can choose what we want to wear. And hopefully for you that includes a flower covered hat 🙂

So, what do you think of wearing flowers on your head? Do ever wear hats with flower accents?

image of flower covered peach hat the artyologist

image of grassflowers the artyologist

image of flower covered hat and simplicity 1777 the artyologist

image of simplicity 1777 and flower covered hatThis unique and dramatic pose is called “the Goose” 😉 Don’t you think?

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image of leaves and peach flower covered hat the artyologist

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image of grassflower and simplicity 1777 dress

 

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

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image of seersucker dress back and umbrella the artyologist