thrifted

Crossing Over to the “Solid Separates” Side

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, blog feature image

For the longest time I have had a “fear” of solid coloured garments. OK, I don’t actually run screaming when I see them, but I am always afraid that they will be too boring. Prints, no doubt about it, are fun and come in everything imaginable- from novelty prints featuring pineapples, to more classic stripes or dots. I have an abundance of patterns and colours in my wardrobe (and a weakness for a good floral pattern). For dresses, which are basically an entire outfit in one, it doesn’t matter much. But when you start trying to pair separates together, this can cause some problems when you look into your closet and see clashing stripes, florals, polkadots and geometrics staring back at you.

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, tree at sunset, cream coloured cotton skirt

So, here are three reasons why solid separates are great additions to your wardrobe; and are anything but boring if, like me, you are afraid of them!

1. They go with everything. I can’t tell you how many times I have worn my solid black t-shirts or my tan “Roman Holiday” skirt. They coordinate with patterns and they coordinate with other solids, as pictured here. A good neutral basic, such as beige, black or navy, will go with almost every colour. The options for mix and matching are endless. And solids don’t automatically mean they have to be neutral colours either- you can have just as much versatility with bright colours.

2. They are classic and “vintage”. Of course people have worn prints all through history- as soon as they discovered ways to dye, paint, embroider and weave patterns into fabric. However, looking through vintage images shows a lot of solid coloured garments. I think this is because of the simple fact that they are so versatile. Clothing cost more in the past, and good quality clothing costs more today, so investing in a solid coloured skirt is often a better investment than a print, which will only coordinate with a few other pieces in your wardrobe. Solid coloured garments also recede and allow your accessories and patterns to shine. Vintage style is made of accessories- whether it’s hats, gloves, purses or shoes- so it’s nice to let them take centre stage every once in a while.

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, cream coloured skirt and penny loafers

3. Solids don’t “date” as quickly and you don’t get as tired of them as quickly as prints. Although vintage/ vintage-inspired patterns and prints could be considered already “dated”, when you have pull out your hummingbird printed dress for the umpteenth time, it gets a bit boring. As much as I love my patterned garments, I do get a bit tired of them, if I wear them too often. Because they are more bold, I remember them more, and I feel like “I just wore that”, even if it has been a while. And although probably no one else notices, I do hate wearing the exact same thing too many times in a row. With solid coloured separates, you can wear them over and over, and each time change your garment pairing and accessories for a completely new look.

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, necklace-detail

I’m working on creating a more cohesive wardrobe palette, and this cream skirt I picked up a few weeks ago at the thrift store is a perfect example of versatile solid separates. It goes with nearly every colour I own, except a clashing colour of cream. I paired the skirt here with a solid black t-shirt, a belt, and simple jewellery for an “everyday” dressed down look, but the next time I wear it, I will style it with one of my patterned tops for a different look.

I think that slowly I am crossing over to the “dark side” of solid separates. . . how about you? Are you a prints and patterns person, or are you drawn to solids? And, how do you mix and match your clothing to keep it feeling fresh?

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, portrait-and-tree-at-sunset

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, everyday vintage blogger photo

This is my “oh I just happen to be nicely posed and you have a 50 mm lens pointed at me” blogger photo.

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, tree-silhouette

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, belt-detail

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, shadows-on-bushes

My sister and I at sunset

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, orange-hair

Now I know what I would look like with orange-red hair! 🙂

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, everyday outfit walking away

Crossing Over to the Solid Separates Side, the artyologist, field

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Attire

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Outfit, the artyologist, holding-teapot

Since the Ladies Garden Tea was supposed to be in a garden, I had originally planned to wear one of my big pouffy 1950’s style floral dresses. However, because the party was moved indoors, I decided (for the second year in a row) that crinolines and petticoats, crowds of people and fine china don’t make the best of friends. I also decided that, even though it can be incredibly fun to dress in all your vintage finery, because I was hosting, it might be a better idea to wear a simpler style for ease of movement and comfort of the guests. This floral dress, which is so bright and vibrant that it coordinates with hardly anything else in my wardrobe, and is completely contrary to anything else I own (I was planning on creating a more cohesive wardrobe, but you know how that goes . . . ) is what I decided to wear instead. I got this dress just at the end of summer last year, and hadn’t had a chance to wear it yet, so the party was the perfect place to “debut” it. Not that anyone cares about that but me. (Do you like to save new garments for the perfect occasion?)

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Outfit, the artyologist, teacup-4

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Outfit, the artyologist, floral dress

I got this dress last August, from a thrift store, which is where I get the majority of my clothing. It was originally listed for a lot of money. By “a lot” I mean, not only am I spoiled by the prices of buying the majority of my clothing second hand (“They want two whole dollars for this!? Oh right. . .”) but you actually could have bought a new dress, from a cheap fashion chain, for the same price, or less than this one was listed for. Oh, and the belt was missing. And, it was not from a very expensive or high quality brand. I obviously was not going to go and buy a new cheap dress instead, but it really bothers me that some thrift stores have raised their prices to a point where you actually can buy new clothes cheaper. This is so irrational, and it’s so frustrating as it just contributes to the entire cheap fashion cycle, and throwaway culture we live in. There are many people who won’t shop second hand if they can buy new clothes cheaper, and there are people who legitimately can’t afford the prices of even cheap new clothes, so where can they go for clothing if they can’t go to the thrift stores? I am not in this position, thankfully, but I expect to find lower prices at a second hand store. I think this is one of the unfortunate side effects of thrifting and vintage becoming “trendy” – so many thrift shops have become unattainable for the very people who need them, and have drifted from their original purposes. Is this something that is happening elsewhere in the world? I see it here in Canada (not in all of the thrift shops, mostly in the thrift store chains).

Anyways, that was a bit of an aside . . .  so how did the dress end up in my wardrobe after all? Well, it just so happened that the day after I saw this dress, tried it on and fell in love with it, there was a 1/2 price sale. I put the dress back on the rack, fully aware that it might not be there when I returned the next day- but it was! A couple other pieces I had put back were gone, but this was was still waiting for me 🙂 And I’m so glad. It was a lovely thing to wear on a grey and dreary day, and it does have a very garden feel about it. Because it literally has flowers on it.

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Outfit, the artyologist, drinking tea and bouquet

I would have paired it with my white shoes (the only thing in my wardrobe that matches the dress) and a straw hat (I guess that straw also matches) if we’d had it outside, but as it was held inside I was stocking-foot and hatless (scandalous!). However, for the benefit of these photos, which we took outside half an hour after the party ended, because it stopped raining (of course), I did wear the shoes. 😉

Have you ever put something back at a thrift store, and gotten it later, or did it end up being the one that got away? What would you wear to a tea party?

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Outfit, the artyologist, tea-table-3

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Outfit, the artyologist, tasting desserts

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Outfit, the artyologist, floral dress 1

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Outfit, the artyologist, teacup-3

The Ladies Garden Tea (Which is not in a Garden): My Outfit, the artyologist, pouring tea

Rural Holiday

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit

I do love a good Instagram community challenge! Last year I took part in Me Made May, but this year I decided not to take part. I just don’t have enough homemade pieces in my wardrobe right now to make it significantly different from last year, and though I am sure no one else would have noticed, I would have gotten fairly bored with it. Thus, I was excited to see that there was another challenge being hosted this month, called “The Vintage Fashion Challenge”. (It’s nice to see a vintage focused event on Instagram). This one is being hosted by Carla of tinyangrycrafts, jennylee.knits and iliveinmylab and these three ladies came up with different prompts for each day of May. I have not been posting every day, but have been taking part when I have something for the prompt of the day. At the beginning of the month, as I was looking through the monthly overview, I saw a couple of prompts that I would need to sew something for. One was “Me Made Style”, (which I will be sharing next week) and the other was “Movie Style: A Film Inspired Outfit”. I decided that I would combine some of the prompts with blog posts, and to finish in time, I have been doing a fair bit of sewing this month- maybe at this rate I will be able to take part in Me Made May next year after all! 😉

I was quite excited about the “Movie Style” prompt, and started brainstorming for that one, before the challenge had even started. I love old movies, (actually I love new movies too!) and one of my favourite things about movies is the costumes. Costumes can make or break a film, don’t you think? It can be a great story, but if the costumes are off, it just ruins it. Conversely, sometimes I watch movies just for the costumes- even if the storyline isn’t that good. 🙂 I always enjoy good costumes, and then dream about “someday” sewing similar pieces for myself, but rarely do I ever actually end up creating those pieces. Having a challenge to create a specific film look was great, as I knew that it would force me to actually come up with something. (If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you might sense a trend here- I need deadlines in order to finish things- otherwise I procrastinate!!!)

Before anything else, first came the hard part of deciding which film look to recreate. So many old films, feature elaborate garments which I don’t have the skill or resources to create, and I also wanted to find a look that would be a valuable addition to my wardrobe. I mean, I do love the costumes from Gentlemen Prefer Blondes, but where am I going to wear a sapphire blue evening gown or a leopard cape and muff.  Ok, never mind- if those were in my wardrobe, I would find a reason to wear them! But, while so many costumes from movies are extremely glamorous and elegant, they aren’t very wearable for my lifestyle. Thus, I started combing through old movies, to find a film inspired look that would be both useful and versatile to wear, and reasonable to recreate. When I came across Roman Holiday, I knew I had found what I was looking for!

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, skirt detail

I haven’t seen the movie for ages, (if you haven’t seen it, I definitely recommend it) but I knew that Audrey’s Roman Holiday outfit would be perfect to recreate as all I needed was a circle skirt. The colourized photo versions of the costume show a blue skirt, but I found this image which shows a tan skirt. I believe that the original costume was tan, which for some reason was colourized to blue in the photos. Tan is a great colour for my wardrobe, so I decided to make a tan circle skirt, though I thought that if I couldn’t find any suitable tan fabric at my local shop, I would make it out of blue chambray. I did find fabric, but since I really like how this skirt turned out I might end up getting some chambray anyways. I have been wanting a circle skirt for a while and this tan circle skirt has proven to be a great addition to my wardrobe already. It goes with everything. I made it out of a tan slubbed cotton/poly fabric. I wish that it was 100% cotton, but they didn’t have any nice cotton fabric, and so I decided to just go for it anyways.

The skirt took me a few days to sew up. I sewed it in one evening, left it to hang for 24 hours, and then went to finish it two days later. Of course, despite all my meticulous measuring, I ended up having to take 1.5 inches out of the waistband. I hate having to pick things out, and it took me a while to redo it all, but I still ended up finishing this project relatively quickly. The most time absorbing part was the hand stitched hem- this is how I prefer to finish my garments, but it sure is time consuming! I hand stitched it with lace hem tape, but did it while watching movies (over two evenings), so it went relatively quickly, and at least I got to enjoy a movie at the same time 🙂 I also made a separate slip to wear underneath as the loose weave of the fabric is slightly sheer. I decided to make a separate slip, rather than just lining the skirt, so I can wear the slip with other dresses and skirts.

All in all, this turned out to be a very quick sewing project and the only part left was to style it as a Roman Holiday look. I didn’t want to take this outfit literally, and copy the shoes, the belt, the scarf etc. exactly as it was in the movie, but rather took the basic formula to create my own look.

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, roman holiday outfit, portrait

I chose this tie front blouse, which is actually quite similar to the one Audrey wore, with the rolled sleeves and collar, because the colour of tan in the leopard print pairs perfectly with the colour of the skirt. I think that this shirt goes so well with the skirt, and as I haven’t had much to pair it with so far, I am excited about being able to wear it more often.

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, shoe-detail

Next was the shoes. I have these brown shoes which used to have a zigzagged elastic which made them into a slip on shoe. However, by the end of last summer, the elastic in one of the shoes had stretched out, so I had been thinking of replacing the elastic with proper tie laces. This look is quite trendy right now, but is quite a vintage look too, as illustrated by Audrey’s look in Roman Holiday. For these photos, I used black shoe laces (that’s what I had), and tied them around my ankle for the same look. I am planning on getting some shorter brown laces, and not wearing them looped around my ankle. (I don’t think it is the best look for me, though it was fun for this outfit)

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, detail

The final touch to this movie inspired Roman Holiday outfit, was adding a vintage off-white sheer scarf. In some of the pictures you can see I’m wearing it tied around my neck, while in others it is under my collar. I decided after a few photos, that it looked like a neck brace in some of the photos, and having it tucked under my collar looked better 🙂

The only thing left to do to finish my Roman Holiday outfit, was to bring out my bicycle. As I don’t have a vespa, like in the film, a bicycle will have to do for my own “Rural Holiday”. 😉

Have you seen the movie Roman Holiday? Have you ever watched a movie and then wanted all of the outfits? If you were going to recreate a movie look, which would outfit would you choose? Share in the comments, so we can all look up your favourite movie costumes. . .  and then add them to our own lists too 😉

 

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, sunny-standing-beside-bicycle

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, scarf detail 2

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, riding bicycle 2

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, tie-shirt

Rural Holiday, the artyologist, a roman holiday outfit, riding-away

How to Start Dressing Ethically

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist

I have only been consciously dressing ethically for five years now (since 2012) but in that time I have picked up a few tips. Making the decision to start dressing ethically can be both exciting- as well as completely overwhelming when you start to look around you and see only fast fashion, or sustainable fashion brands that you cannot afford to buy from! The first step to dressing ethically (yay!) is not in completely overhauling your entire wardrobe, but in taking small steps starting from this point on. So, continuing in the spirit of Fashion Revolution Week, today I am sharing both a completely ethical outfit, as well as my tips on how to start dressing ethically yourself.

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, shoes and purse

My purse was from a vintage store, and the scarf and shoes were thrifted. 

Shop Secondhand 

Secondhand clothes make up a large portion of my wardrobe, because they are a really great and affordable way to dress ethically. Because used clothes are already in existence, whatever history and supply chain they may have had previously is given a second chance at life when you add it to your wardrobe. There are so many textiles already in existence, and unfortunately many of them are sent to the landfills. (11 million tonnes each year in the USA alone!!!) This is obviously unsustainable, and one of the best ways to combat this is to wear secondhand clothing. For my fellow vintage lovers, we’ve already seen the value in wearing “old” things 🙂

While shopping second hand may be time consuming- and might not be the best option when you need something very specific, if you treat it like a treasure hunt, you might be surprised at what you can find. Some of my favourite pieces in my closet are thrifting finds: one man’s trash is certainly another’s treasure.

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, outfit

My shirt was “thirdhand” as it originally belonged to my aunt, who then passed it on to my sister, who finally passed it on to me! 

Some easy ways to start wearing secondhand clothing would be by thrifting and shopping at vintage and consignment stores. If you don’t have a thrift store in your area, consider having a clothing swap with friends, accepting hand me downs from others, or buying online through places like Etsy or ThredUp. (ThredUp is an online thrift store. I’ve never purchased from them before- but I know plenty of other people who have had great success shopping there.)

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, outfit

I upcycled my skirt from a thrifted extra large wrap skirt.

Handmade

Another great way to way to dress ethically is by making your own clothing or accessories. Learning to sew, if you don’t know how to already, is a great life skill and can really help you to appreciate the value of clothing (and the hard work that goes into making it!) By making your own clothing, you are escaping the “fast fashion” trend and instead creating thoughtful, slow-fashion pieces.

Although, one of the downsides of sewing your own clothing can be in not knowing where your fabric is sourced from, one of the best ways I have found to sew sustainably is in refashioning and upcyling. This is second hand and handmade combined in one: the best of both worlds 🙂 Some of the projects I have upcycled (including this dutch wax print skirt) are featured in these posts here, here and here. Even if you don’t want to get involved in time consuming refashions, second hand textiles such as linens or extra large maxi skirts give you a lot of fabric to work with to cut new things out of, and some thrift stores even sell yard goods!  That being said, I do still purchase new fabric from time to time, if I have a specific project in mind. I would love to one day be able to source all of my fabric from sustainable textile mills, but in the meantime I am glad to be able to hand make slow-fashion pieces for my wardrobe.

And, even if you don’t want to sew for yourself, have you considered the handmade pieces other people are making (both clothing as well as accessories)? Check out your local craft fairs and farmer’s markets, or search on Etsy. There are so many talented people out there who are selling lots of beautiful handmade items. Some of them even take custom orders- so you can get exactly what you want!

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, belt detail

My belt is from the Canadian company Brave Leather, and as well as being fair trade, it is also made of vegetable-tanned leather byproducts sourced from the food industry.

Ethically Made

Another way to dress ethically is in buying from (and supporting) companies that are producing sustainable and ethically made goods. When it comes to finding ethical fashion brands, keep in mind that it’s like getting a grade in school- if you get a good grade you tell everyone, and if you get a bad grade, you tend to keep it to yourself. Ethical fashion companies usually have easy-to-find information about their practices and supply chains. If a company doesn’t have that information for you, they probably aren’t an ethical company (although that’s not always the case.)

The best way to find ethical fashion companies I’ve found, is simply by searching the internet with keywords like “ethical fashion brands”, “fair trade fashion companies”, “ethical leather purse”, “fair trade jewellery” “sustainable fashion” etc. This will bring up tons of companies for you to choose from, as well as sites dedicated to sharing ethical brands, such as this one. I shared a post a few weeks ago listing some ethical jewellery brands, here.

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, bracelets

My fair trade bracelets are engraved brass, copper and mother of pearl from India, which I purchased from Ten Thousand Villages. The Pearly Bracelets and Etched Bangles are currently still available.

I find buying ethically made clothing to be out of my reach at the moment. I don’t feel confident in purchasing clothing online, because I am never sure if it is going to fit how I like it (and since I don’t live in the USA, where many of the companies are from, I don’t qualify for things like free shipping and returns). And unfortunately I don’t have any local ethical clothing shops to buy from. However, once thing that I do like to purchase from ethical companies is accessories. Things like jewellery, belts, and purses are a great first step to buying ethically. You don’t have to “try on” a necklace, so it is easy to purchase things like that online. I also do have a Ten Thousand Villages store a couple of hours away from where I live, so I’ve bought plenty from them over the years. Investing in ethical companies is a good option, because it sends the message to the fashion industry that this is something that is important to you- and by helping fair trade companies to succeed, you are helping to shape the future of the fashion industry too.

How to Start Dressing Ethically, the artyologist, jewellery details

My necklace was from Ten Thousand Villages. The Engraved Choker is currently still available for sale. My earrings are vintage and second-hand from my mom.

Well, those are my tips for some ways to start dressing ethically. It can seem overwhelming at first, but small changes make big differences over time! I hope that wherever you are on the ethical fashion scale, that these few tips can help you, and, if you have any other tips, please do share!

What are your favourite ways of shopping and dressing ethically?