Hello everyone, as I mentioned on Friday, I am guest posting today for Jessica of Chronically Vintage, while she is on holidays (in my own delightful province of Alberta!) I have been following Jessica’s wonderful blog for a few years now, so I was very excited when she asked to do write a guest post for her. Today, I am sharing a before and after, of how I made this ugly little felt hat I picked up back in April, into a Philip Treacy inspired flower topped hat. So, hop on over to Chronically Vintage to see more pictures, a tutorial for how I made this chiffon flower, and inspiration for embellishing your own thrift finds! (And take a look through her blog while you are at if, if you don’t follow her already!) 🙂
I’ve already mentioned before how my sister Sarah and I love to dress up in costume and have photo shoots. These pictures are from earlier this spring, when an area of our yard was just covered in bright yellow dandelions. (Thus I thought that I should post these pictures before autumn arrives!) Dandelions are such a love/hate, as they are so pretty and bright and cheery, and yet they are such a menace in your garden! We decided to make the best of the weed situation, though, and do a photo shoot, as the flowers were just begging to be used as a backdrop for photos. We decided that the 1970’s was a perfect inspiration, as it would give that “flower child” vibe the era is so famous for.
I don’t usually dress in the style of the 1970’s although some of my clothes definitely could be styled that way, and some of my vintage is 1970’s, while I often style it to look even older. It’s interesting how pieces of clothing can be styled one way or another to create a completely different look each time. It all lies in the accessories. These are the same pants that I styled to look 1910’s/20’s here, and I have worn them many times this summer, as they are extremely comfortable and cool for hot weather.
These outfits turned out a bit more “modern” than the 1970’s probably would’ve been, but they are definitely inspired by the era. I love how the photos turned out; the only problem with them is that the sun was so bright and hot that day, that we almost got heat stroke! Oh well, the sacrifices we make, right? 😉
Shirt (on me): Thrifted
Tunic Shirt (on her): Thrifted
Harem Pants (on me): From a local store, imported from Thailand
I don’t like uniforms. I once worked in a job that required me to wear all black, and that was enough uniformness for me. I think that’s why I love vintage- just so I can be different from everyone else. 🙂 Thus, I am hesitant to even use the word “uniform” to describe my default summer look, but . . . well, it is a commonly used term. . .
Back in May, after participating in Me Made May, I decided that I needed more knee length skirts, as this black floral one is my absolute favourite and it is in constant rotation in my closet. So, I made a few more (the dutch wax, the vintage sheet, and I am currently working on another in denim), and they are getting their fair share of use over the past few months. Thus, I realized that I do, after all, have a summer uniform, er, “signature look”, and it consists of: a solid coloured t-shirt and a knee length full skirt. For the casual days of summer, it’s just perfect.
The nice thing about a simple combination like this, is that each time you can change it up with different accessories. On this occasion, I added my new leather obi belt, which coordinated perfectly with the cinnamon browns in the skirt, a long pendant necklace of a Victorian lady in a ridiculous hat, some flat comfortable loafers, and my woven straw carryall. (And no, the straw bag did not work very well as a flower gathering basket, but it was all I had, and it looked pretty, so that’s all that matters- right?)
Speaking about flower gathering, a few weeks ago, the county announced that they were going to be mowing the ditches, which was pretty sad news, as the country lanes are so much prettier overgrown with wildflowers, but I guess it had to be done. (Nooo! Why did it have to be done?!) Before they could get out with the mowers though, I decided to go and gather a few bouquets of flowers. I don’t usually go and pick wildflowers along the roads, as if everybody did that, then there would be no more flowers left to enjoy in nature. However, if the flowers were going to be sacrificed to the lawn mower, then I was going to save them! 🙂 And I also decided to take advantage of the beautiful backdrop it would make for photos. Although, what you do not see in these romantically styled, pastoral images is. . . the mosquitos! They were out with a vengeance that night, but the photos made it worth it . . . maybe 😉
Do you have a summer uniform? Or a winter uniform if you are not in summer right now? What pieces do you always find yourself reaching for?
T-Shirt: Company by Ellen Tracey, Made in Canada, and strangely enough, it’s from Costco
Skirt: Made by me
Shoes: Hotter Shoes, it looks like they don’t have them anymore?
Necklace: Chain from a thrift store, pendant from Michael’s craft store (they sometimes have really great pendants!)
I have been looking for a new rain coat for a long time. There wasn’t really anything wrong with my old cream trench coat, which I have had for six years now. It was in great shape, which is surprising considering that it was a Smart Set coat I got second hand, but sometimes I found that the fitted style was hard to layer over full 50’s style skirts, and- let’s be honest- I am fickle and easily bored with my closet and I was really ready for a change. However, do you know how hard it is to find a plain old, classic style, trench coat that is not $3000.00, or “modernized”, or covered in ruffles, or patterned in polka dots, or exactly like the one I already had? Not that I dislike polka dots, it’s just that I have an abundance of patterns in my wardrobe, and I need some basics. And, it seems like the last few seasons have been filled with every kind of rain coat under the sun- except for a basic coat with a classic, retro feel. I searched the thrift stores for a vintage one, with no luck, and even ended up picking up a London Fog coat from the 80’s, which had working buttons and flaps (in short a real trench coat). It turned out to be too long and boxy though, and I was too intimidated to try and refashion it, (Maybe I’ll be brave enough to do that someday!) so off it went to the thrift store again. (I should add at this point that I rarely ever buy clothes online, as I have had some bad experiences before, and I prefer to try on before I buy. Especially as in Canada, we don’t usually get free shipping or returns.)
In short, I was despairing of ever finding a coat.
Enter, the “Bacall” Hell Bunny trench coat (which I have no doubt Lauren Bacall, whom I assume it is named for, would not hesitate to wear, as it is that glamorous). It is pretty much all of my raincoat dreams come true.
When I was shopping in Rowena, we had been in the store for almost an hour, I had picked out a dress to buy, and as I was heading to the till, we realized that we only had a few minutes left on our parking meter. Then, I saw a rack of coats, and had to take a quick detour to look through them. When I saw this trench coat, I didn’t hesitate for a second to try it on, even though I knew we were in a hurry to leave. I first tried the medium, but it was a bit too big. They didn’t have any other sizes out front, but they had more in the back, so the sales girl went to check. In the meantime, the clock was ticking, and it was a race against time! She found the coat and brought it, still in the bag. I quickly tried on the coat to find that it fit, bought it and the dress, and we rushed out the door and made it to the vehicle with less than a minute to spare on the meter! It was the fastest purchase I have ever made in my life, and I usually need a lot of time to think my purchases through, but I have absolutely no regrets about buying this coat.
So, what do I love about it?
It is the perfect length to wear over knee length skirts, and is full enough to accommodate a petticoat, if I choose to wear one.
It has a tie belt, rather than a belt with a buckle- that is just a personal preference.
The lapel collar has a button hole so it can be buttoned across to keep out the wind and rain, like real trench coats do. And the separate back yoke gives the classic trench coat silhouette.
The sateen finish on the fabric makes the coat a bit dressier (especially compared to my last coat).
And, the best part: you can pop the collar up and pretend that you are a lady spy from the 1950’s. (While taking pictures in front of a mural that is right beside an intersection, so everyone driving by can stop and see you and wonder what on earth you are doing. But the pictures were worth it, and this coat really is perfect for blending into the black and white mural. Which makes it great for pretending that I am a spy.)
What don’t I like about the coat?
It is only available in black. (And, I looked on their site, it doesn’t appear to be available from them at all anymore, although many retailers are still carrying it. I’m not sure if they have discontinued it or not?) Black is classic, but I own a lot of brown, which, although not impossible to pair with black, takes more thought and effort to pass off well. It is simply not as effortless, for my personal wardrobe, as a khaki or tan coat would be. That being said, the black is lovely, and I will get a lot of wear out of it.
The other thing I don’t like, is that the buttons stop just past the waist, and the skirt of the coat is liable to blow open in the wind and rain. You will get wet if the wind catches it (voice of experience). I am not sure why they didn’t add a couple more rows of buttons, as that would have solved the problem, and made this coat so much better for blustery, windy weather.
It is, as far as I know, not fair trade. The coat is made in China, and I don’t know what that entails. I did struggle with my decision to purchase this coat, as it goes against my goals for an ethical wardrobe, since I don’t know where/how it was made. More transparency in their manufacturing process would be good.
Here you can see how far the coat opens, which can catch in the wind, resulting in… you getting wet.
The only regret that I do have, which is not Hell Bunny’s fault in the least, is that I was so excited to get a new coat, that I got rid of my old one a tad hastily. This coat is just not suitable for all situations and colour schemes, and I kind of miss my old one. Oh well, that just means that I am on the hunt for another coat- this time a classic khaki one. It’ll probably only take me another 6 years. 😉
I finally got my sunny pictures in the bright yellow canola field! And, I had the perfect outfit to wear with the field. (There I go again- matching my outfits to the farmer’s field!) Well, that is not the whole story. The real story is, I thought to myself, “What could I wear for pictures in the sunny yellow canola field?” A cursory examination of my current wardrobe revealed that I had nothing that would coordinate or contrast with a bright yellow and blue background, that I haven’t already worn a billion times, or catalogued on the blog here before. (And I really wanted to do the field justice!)
So, what to do? Why sew something new, of course! I had an old, 1980’s, baggy, rayon, navy gingham dress in my stash, that I had purchased from the thrift store with the sole purpose of refashioning into something new, and I decided that now was the time. It had been sitting there for a couple of years, waiting for the right project- and this was it! (I will detail that project’s process later.)
So, I had a pinafore, a white blouse to match, and then of course some white sunglasses as it was bright out there, (and I am nothing if not colour coordinated) and a straw sunhat to finish off the look. It was the perfect 1940’s Hollywood interpretation of a farm girl or a milk maid. (Which means that it is nothing like what a real farm girl or milk maid would actually wear, but there is nothing better than a fake Hollywood interpretation of reality, right?) So, that leads me to the title of this post- Dorothy, of The Wizard of Oz. I was almost done making this pinafore when I realized that my outfit looked very fairytale like, although I couldn’t place my finger quite on which character. At first I thought of Alice in Wonderland, but then I remembered that Alice has a solid blue dress with a white pinafore. So then I was trying to remember whose dress mine looked like- and then I realized that it is strikingly similar to Judy Garland’s outfit in that movie- and it was completely by accident! 🙂 I don’t have a yellow brick road, but I do have a road surrounded in yellow- so does that count?
Do you have any dresses similar to movie costumes, either on purpose, or by accident?