This post is coming to you pre-scheduled as I am on a holiday this week with friends, one of whom is my dear friend Chantelle, who is pictured in these photos today. I decided it would be a perfect time to share these photos, which I got back in June when I visited her, as they are too special to not post at all despite the lateness of them!
It is a bit of a tradition that when my friend Chantelle and I get together, we do a photo shoot- we did this even in my pre-blogging days. (Maybe sometime I will share some of those old pictures. . .) Sometimes our photo shoots are themed, and usually the theme is some kind of vintage style, because that is what I have for “costumes”. As in, it is a costume for her, and regular clothing for me 😉 We’ve done “model”, “wedding dresses”, “1940’s” and last year we did “1950’s“. This time, we didn’t have any theme planned- and as I was traveling, I didn’t bring extras in my suitcase. However, while I was visiting, I found this great straw hat at the thrift shop and Chantelle was able to borrow this lovely blue topper, so we figured that was good enough.
The photos of both of us were taken with self timer and, as I didn’t have my tripod with me, we precariously balanced a pile of wood on top of a kitchen stool and placed the camera on top! It was a bit dangerous for the camera, and we had no way of knowing where we were in the frame, so the results were a bit interesting. Somehow we still managed to end up with these lovely shots though- and even with me running back and forth, I managed to not look too disheveled!
I’ve shown both this skirt and shirt together before, but why mess with a good thing, right? I am not above repeating an outfit if it worked out well the first time. And, I wasn’t kidding last week when I said I have worn this skirt too many times to count. I even brought it on my trip this week, so I might be wearing it as we speak 🙂 However it is nice to share my new hat, especially since I have worn it a few times now. Sometimes, like in the case of this hat, thrifting can be very rewarding. I saw a hat very similar to this one, with an asymmetrical brim, and green ribbon and accent, for sale online, but it was quite expensive. It was a justifiable price, for a handcrafted piece of millinery, but I am so glad I found this secondhand one instead!
She looks like she should be going to a Royal Wedding. 🙂
And because you can’t have any photoshoot without silly ones. . .
I didn’t realize I was so far away from Chantelle in this picture, and instead of hugging her, I am just creepily/awkwardly putting my hand on her shoulder! It doesn’t help that I have that strange expression either. . .
These expressions, above, are just too funny. . .
Do you enjoy doing photo shoots together when you meet up with friends? Have you ever been looking for something in a shop or online, only to find something similar in a thrift shop?
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.
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.
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.
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?
This is my “oh I just happen to be nicely posed and you have a 50 mm lens pointed at me” blogger photo.
My sister and I at sunset
Now I know what I would look like with orange-red hair! 🙂
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?)
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.
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?
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!
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.
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.
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)
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 😉