When you have a minimalist or capsule wardrobe, it really is all in the details! If you’re wearing a combination of the few same pieces over and over again, changing your necklace or shoes can make it feel like a whole new outfit. Well, sort of?
To be honest, I sometimes wonder whether I should even post these kinds of outfits, since there isn’t much of a difference to see from the last few times I wore it… but since most of us don’t have the wardrobe of the Royal Family, wearing outfits again and again is reality. And while most of us own more than a single “Sunday best”, when you come up with a new combination, or add a new accessory, it definitely feels noteworthy.
It’s actually kind of hard to have a blog and not get sucked into the trap of thinking you need to post something new every time. But posting about the times I re-wear pieces is not only more realistic, it’s also so much better for the wallet…and the landfill. And besides, when I put hours of time into sewing a piece, or saving up to buy an item, I do want to wear it as much as I can!I don’t understand our culture’s obsession with fast fashion. I want even my cheaper items to last forever, and am sad when inevitably “moth and rust destroy”.
So, regarding this outfit, I’ve worn this favourite homesewn rayon-linen skirt many times this summer, but this time I paired it with a new thrifted geometric patterned t-shirt, a brass snake pendant I bought at a craft sale from Burlap Sac, and these laser cut peep toe heels for a fresh look.
Sadly, these shoes are no longer a part of my wardrobe because when I wore them, I remembered why I never do. While the outers are leather, the insoles are not, which makes them really uncomfortable. My feet couldn’t slide in them properly, and so they felt very pinchy and stuck, even though the footbed fit well. It reminded me of why I always buy good quality shoes: life’s too short to wear uncomfortable shoes. (Ps. not only are quality shoes more comfortable, but they will instantly elevate your outfit.) I only paid a dollar at the thrift store for these, so I don’t mind sending them back!
Well, I can’t believe that we’re already in October and I’m still able to wear lightweight skirts and open toed shoes; we have had a delightfully warm and long Fall. But, the leaves are almost all gone, and the bare trees are sweeping the sky, which means it’s time to finally pull out the Winter woollens. My Winter wardrobe is pitifully bare at the moment and, while I like having a capsule wardrobe, I don’t think I want it to be quite that minimal. It’s time to sew some more pieces or I won’t have much to mix and match this season!
Anyways, that was a bit of a scattered and rambley post, but I’m just getting over a head cold and I can’t think of anything else to say or a better way to say what I have written, so I guess I’ll leave it as such!
Do you tend to repeat outfits? What are your favourite ways to freshen up your outfits? Are you excited for the seasonal changes of outfits, or are you sad to say goodbye to the last season?
It’s October now and it feels like it; the leaves are golden against a sky that alternates between crystal clear blue and stormy greys. When the wind blows, it often has a chill in it, and colourful leaves crunch underfoot as you walk.
The season is short, but it’s my favourite time of year!
Every corner you turn has another spectacular view. This is a small ravine close to where we live. It’s gorgeous at this time of year.
Even abandoned buildings have a romantic look to them.
And despite the signs of decay, there is beauty to be seen in the blooms and seedheads.
The trees are dropping their leaves…and their seeds! We will plant some and see if they grow.
We’ve been so busy harvesting the garden and have a pantry stuffed full of bounty from our tomatoes, cucumbers, plums, choke-cherries and apples. There are delicious treats ahead this winter!
In the meantime, it’s still the perfect time to go outside and explore; soon we will be spending most of our time indoors!
Happy Saturday, dear Readers, and welcome to October (My favourite month!) How was your week? I’ve got a quick little post for today because I wanted to share a couple of links with you all.
The first is this calligraphy course I’ve signed up for! I’ve always wanted to learn calligraphy, so when I learned about this modern brush calligraphy course, by Becca of The Happy Ever Crafter, I was so excited to join! I’ve got my supplies ready, and can’t wait to learn a new skill. The class starts on Monday, so there is still time to join if you too want to learn calligraphy!
And the other link is to this article from Verily about the recent Persuasion Netflix film. I didn’t watch the movie, and had no intention of doing so, but I did really enjoy this examination of why this “modernized” version of one of my favourite Austen stories was such a miss, and how Hollywood fails at presenting different kinds of heroines.
Well, that’s all I have to say today. I hope you have a lovely weekend, whatever you’re up to!
Years ago, when I first started wearing makeup, my mom told me about trying makeup on at a friend’s house when she was a kid. Her friend’s aunt had given them her old makeup to play dress up with, and there was lead in the eyeshadow, which gave it a beautiful slippery texture and shiny finish. Of course, we now know that lead is a toxic ingredient best left out of makeup and other products we put on our skin, but it wasn’t until about 8 years ago when I read “Wear No Evil: How to Change the World with Your Wardrobe” by Greta Eagan that I learned that, even though there isn’t lead, there is still a lot of bad stuff in our makeup today!
In the book, she had a chart of ingredients to avoid, and I was shocked to discover that many of my products contained these harmful ingredients! (Here is a list of ingredients to steer clear of, if you’re interested in more specifics). I now keep a list of these ingredients, arranged alphabetically, on my phone so when I’m looking at a product at the store, I can easily see whether it contains one of those substances. You can also get apps, such as EWG Healthy Living or Think Dirty, but my phone is too old for their OS. Some of these ingredients cause allergic reactions (I have sensitive skin and rosacea, so I definitely try to avoid those!), some can cause the very problems they are supposedly helping, and some are frank carcinogens that shouldn’t be in beauty products at all. But, while it’s great to know that you should avoid these ingredients, it’s a completely different thing to find products that don’t contain them! Some of them are such commonly used substances that, just like fast fashion, a higher price tag doesn’t necessarily mean a product that’s better for you.
Over the past 8 years I have tried a lot of different natural beauty brands and have gone through plenty of trial and error in order to find products that are clean, healthy and natural, but still perform well. I have definitely had my share of natural makeup products that haven’t worked including funky smells, bad textures and poor performance, but I’ve also found plenty of good ones. They are a mix of high and low price points and drugstore brands and small companies. I haven’t been able to find good clean products for all of the products I need, unfortunately, but these are the ones that work for me.
When looking for natural beauty brands and products, one of your best bets is going to be finding small companies that make their own small batches. Not only do they often have great products, but it’s usually a more sustainable option as well. A lot of the “natural” lines from big companies like Covergirl, Maybelline or Rimmel are very limited in selection, might not perform as well as the rest of their product lines and can sometimes fall into “greenwashing”- so you still always need to check the ingredient lists. While I do have some products from large companies, finding a smaller company that is making small batch cosmetics, and has been doing so before it was “cool”, is a great place to start.
For moisturizer, I use the Andalou Naturals 1000 Roses Day and Night creams. I love the rose scent! They don’t always have the rose one at the shop, so I sometimes use their Brightening renewal cream, which smells like citrus and is also quite refreshing.
For the winter months, I’ve started using the Repair Luxury Treatment oil by Pure Anada. I get pretty dry skin in the winter, and a few drops of this oil really helps with that. It’s hydrating, but the oil absorbs well and you can even wear it under makeup, although I use it at night.
And then, for after the shower where I need some extra hydration, I’ve started using the Beauty from Bees serum in Orange. For lip balm I use either homemade, Burt’s Bees or Pure Anada.
For cleansing, I use the Pure Anada Exfoliating Cleanser. I’m not sure the exfoliating works all that well, but it smells nice and if I need to exfoliate for dry skin I do a coffee or sugar scrub in the shower (it’s less messy that way!) In the past I have also used the Simply Bee charcoal face bar, but I gave it to my mom because it was a bit too squeaky clean for my sensitive skin.
When it comes time to take off my makeup at the end of the day I use a mix of Pure Anada Eye Makeup Remover and good old coconut oil on a reusable cloth face wipe I sewed out of cotton flannel.
I also use coconut oil when I do facial massage.
For body soap I like Crate 61 Organics. They are reasonably priced for a natural soap bar since I can usually find them at Winners and they have a lot of scents. I usually go for lemongrass, lavender or oatmeal.
As far as hair care goes, I haven’t found a good shampoo or hair care product yet. Well, I used to use Nature’s Gate shampoo, but they stopped selling it in Canada, and I have been searching for a good replacement ever since. I’ve tried shampoo bars and several natural brands, but they don’t work well for my fine, oil prone straight hair and itchy scalp. My sister and mom use Oneka shampoo, but it’s too heavy for my hair, so I’m currently using a bottle of a salon product. I use an Aveda Heat Relief spray for when I heat style my hair, but it’s got a few questionable ingredients in it too, so I’m not sure I’d recommend it. It does work well, and is free from a lot of other bad ingredients though, so that’s why I use it instead of others. We do what we can, right?
For makeup, though, I do have some favourite products to share!
After I’ve finished moisturizing, I put on the Zuii mint tinted primer. While I don’t notice it making a big difference in correcting the redness of my skin, it is still a great primer. This is my first time using a primer, so while I often used to have creased makeup by the end of the day, this keeps my foundation in place all day, which has been a pleasant surprise.I bought it recently and have been really liking it, especially since it’s made of (and smells like) flowers!
On top of the primer, I use the Covergirl Clean Fresh concealer. I tried their powder foundation and it didn’t give any coverage at all on my skin, however, their concealer is pretty good. In conjunction with the Zuii primer it seems to stay put all day and it evens out fairly well. I don’t use it for under eye concealing, because it makes my eyes feel a bit sensitive, but for blemish concealing it works quite well.
I’ve been using the Zuii Flora powder foundation for years, and I love it! I can’t find it in Canada any more, so I recently bought it direct from Australia because it’s the best foundation I’ve found for my skin. I used to use the Physicians Formula organic BB cream, but they discontinued it, so I’ve been using this foundation exclusively for several years. (Why do companies discontinue a product just after you find it, right?) Unfortunately Zuii just had a price increase right before I purchased, but at least I got free shipping on my order, and the product does last a long time.I like that this foundation gives a light coverage, and isn’t too heavy, but evens out the blotchiness for a nice smooth finish. I tried using some other natural powder foundations from brands more readily available in Canada, but they were way too powdery with hardly any coverage, so I had to come back to this one.
For eyeshadow, I use the Pure Anada pressed shadows. I also have some of their loose eyeshadow powders, but I find them a bit too messy for my preference. My favourite shadow colour of theirs is Mirage (the one that’s almost empty!) It’s a nice shimmery light grey/brown with a green undertone, and I wear it almost every time I wear shadow. And for eyeliner and brows, I usually use a mix of the dark brown and grey shades on a small brush for a soft look, or I sometimes also use the Zuii eyeliner pencil when I don’t use powder. My days of wearing black winged liner are long gone…I don’t have the patience for it anymore!
To finish off my eyes, I use Covergirl Clean Fresh mascara. I started usingit about a year ago, and it’s nice. I don’t get fallout and black shadows under my eyes, and I’ve tried several natural brands in the past that have caused itchiness, but this one is good so far. It’s also a great price point, especially considering there is no way to get through a tube of mascara before it expires.
For lipsticks, I don’t actually have a good natural one to recommend! And I know that’s crazy, because lip colour is the one item I should be most concerned about ingesting. I don’t wear lip colour very often so I’m currently using up my old lipstick, which they don’t make anymore, but the ingredients aren’t too bad. I have tried the Zuii satin lip colour and flora lipstick and have found them both to be very dry, so if you like a more moisturizing lipstick, I wouldn’t recommend those. I think once my old lipstick runs out, I would like to try a Tin Feather lipstick. I’ve also used a Pacifica lipstick in the past; I got rid of it because it wasn’t a good colour for me, but it was a lovely moisturizing formula!
And to finish off this list of my favourite natural beauty brands, here are some other brands that I haven’t personally used, but my sister has.
Well, I hope that this post is helpful if you’re looking for natural beauty brands and products. Whether you’re just getting started, or have been wearing natural makeup for a while, it’s always nice to find new brands and products. What natural beauty products do you love to use?
Today I am sharing the costumes of Testament of Youth, one of my favourite period films, in part three of my series of film fashion inspiration! You can read the first two posts, about Miss Potter here and Jane Eyre here. Have you ever seen the 2014 film Testament of Youth starring Alicia Vikander, Kit Harington, Taron Egerton and Colin Morgan? It is set during the Great War of 1914-1918, and based on the memoir by Vera Brittain the British writer, feminist and pacifist who lived from 1893 to 1970. Her memoir chronicles her early adulthood during WWI and the interwar years, capturing the experiences of her generation. While it is an extremely heart wrenching story, it is also beautifully told. The costumes in the film were designed by Consolata Boyle, and I love how they give such an insight into Vera’s character. Here are some of my favourite fashion inspirations from her costumes which span the pre-war to post-war years.
In her memoir, Vera Brittain speaks of her love for stylish clothing and beautiful fabrics, and she includes passages about her garments and accessories. In this film, unlike the other historical films I’ve shared, the main character has an extensive wardrobe filled with many beautiful pieces, and she doesn’t repeat outfits throughout the film.
Vera’s colour palette consists mainly of blues and pinks, with some adjacent colours of purple and mint. She wears mostly pastel shades before the war, and then those colours darken into navy and burgundy during and after the war.
While Vera wears the more simple and streamlined silhouettes of the early 1910’s (streamlined compared to the decade before) the pieces she wears are extremely intricate, and require a closer look to take in all of the details. Many of her outfits contain embellishments to set them apart, whether it’s embroidery at the neckline or lapel, button placement, bias and straight cut pieced stripes, pin tucks or insets of lace.
Many of the costumes are extant pieces, which really does give a feeling of historicity to the film. However, her costumes are not stuffy at all, and the elegant silhouettes make the outfits much more “wearable”;I would love to add pieces like these into my wardrobe!
While Vera has chosen the path of academia and a serious career in writing (despite her family’s fears that she will become a “bluestocking”) she does not choose this at the expense of her own personal style. She decries the frumpy and ugly clothing of so many of her fellow students and despite the headmistress scornfully asking a fellow professor, after seeing Vera, whether they are hosting an examination or “a debutante’s ball”, she doesn’t give up her enjoyment of clothing to wear what is deemed serious attire. She is definitely what we would call a fashionista, but proves that you don’t have to stop wearing feminine clothing in order to be smart and ambitious.
That being said, Vera does change to some extent what she wears depending on the season and where she is. She wears darker clothing for the city, the original tailored “academia” aesthetic when she’s in Oxford (with her own fashionable twist) and chooses lightweight and less structured pieces for the country.
Vera’s outfits also contain a great mix of textures with a wide range of fabrics. She wears a lot of layers, often pairing lighter blouses with interesting knitwear and tailored coats on top. She wears a lot of lovely sweaters, or jumpers as they’d be called in England, and unifies these separates through her choice of accessories and colours to create cohesive ensembles.
Vera also loves a good hat, and knows the power of a hat to either make or break your outfit. There is one scene in the film where she tries on several different hats before finally selecting one as the perfect finishing touch to her outfit.
A good topper can either complete your outfit, or take centre stage and stand out on it’s own as a statement. She wears both statement hats and more restrained hats throughout the film, depending on the occasion.
Vera also knows that dressing up for an occasion can make it even more special. During one scene, Vera wears a rather too fancy outfit to an event, raising her mother’s eyebrows, but it elevates the mood and sets the tone for what happens. She knows that it’s better to be overdressed than underdressed, and she’ll never be accused of not being dressed for the occasion. I love this idea; even if there isn’t an occasion to wear your fancy clothes, you can make one!
Now that I’ve discussed a lot of the beautiful 1910’s fashions, we come to what Vera wears for the majority of the film: her VAD uniform. Vera left Oxford in 1915 to join the British Voluntary Aid Detachment as a nurse. While we might look at her uniform today and think it looks rather nice compared with modern uniforms, she hated wearing it! Which I can actually understand, as I’ve hated wearing a uniform at past jobs as well, no matter what they were like. Some Volunteers tried to customize their uniforms, which was frowned upon, but there wasn’t really much they could do to personalize it. (Here is an in depth video about the components of the VAD uniforms, by Crows Eye Productions.)
During this section of the film, Vera leaves most of her personal style to the side, though she still continues to wear some great outerwear and hats; she is able to inject some interest into her outerwear with her berets! The beret is a classic piece for Vera, and she wears them often throughout the film, but I especially love this interesting pleated beret she wears with her VAD outerwear. I’d love to make something like it.
I actually take some inspiration from her wartime costumes too, as keeping separate wardrobes for work and personal time is a great idea.Even if you aren’t wearing an actual uniform to your job, after a while the clothes you wear to work can start to feel like a uniform, and you won’t really feel like wearing them outside of work. Keeping a small selection of mix and match pieces specifically for your job can make it easier to get dressed in the morning without stress, as well as giving you the chance to save your favourite pieces for when you’re out having fun. Choosing a “uniform” of your own for work can keep the rest of your closet from feeling stagnant, as well as ensuring that you always have a work appropriate outfit ready to go.
The latter part of the film, spanning the war and post-war years are understandably a more serious and sombre period, and the costumes are much more subdued. There are a lot of darker colours and pared back ensembles, which reflect the hardships Vera has gone through. Society as a whole, and women’s fashion in particular, changed greatly through the war years, with war jobs and rationing drastically transforming the kinds of clothing that women wore. This film did a great job of capturing that zeitgeist and the film ends right as women’s clothing is heading for even more change in the 1920’s, never to return to what it was before. (For more about how the Great War sparked the Roaring Twenties, this is a really great video, again by CrowsEye Productions.)
Well, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all of the costumes of Testament of Youth, but these are some of my favourites from this film. Have you seen this film, and what did you think of it? What parts of Vera’s wardrobe do you like? Do you wish you could steal any of the pieces to add to your closet?