You know those weeks where you seem to be busy doing everything, but at the end of it, you seem to have done nothing? Yep, that was last week. So, here I am again- because that is kind of ironic that in my last post I said that I plan to keep on blogging. . . and then I just kind of vanished!
I have been thinking lately about wardrobe basics, and pieces that go with everything. I need a few more of them in my wardrobe because, I am not kidding, I spent about half an hour getting dressed on Sunday. That may be a bit obsessive, but I think it was because everything I tried on didn’t really go with anything else. There were other factors involved. . . but I started thinking about my tan circle skirt and how I have worn it so much already, since making it in June. I didn’t realize that it has made it onto the blog six times already! It’s the same thing with my black circle skirt (which is what I ended up wearing on Sunday). Those two skirts really are the workhorses of my wardrobe at the moment.
So today, here is one circle skirt seven ways!
Here is the first time I wore it, for my participation in #thevintagefashionchallenge prompt of a film inspired look. Little did I know then that this circle skirt was going to be my best sewing project of the year!
The first picture in this post, and here above are two times where I styled it almost the same, but with a different hat and shoe choice.
The skirt was the best thing to wear on holidays, as the wrinkles came out nicely- and I only had to pack several different tops and accessories!
One of my favourite outfits of the year, with a bit of a modern vintage mix. Also I just love combining navy and brown.
Not my favourite outfit– I liked it better when I was wearing it, than when I saw the pictures. The black opaque tights look too heavy to me- I should have worn sheer black pantyhose instead. Also- my hair was doing a thing. . .
Here’s how I wore it a few weeks ago, for a day spent at home. I love how the skirt can go from dressy to casual with different top and accessories choices.
Hmm. . . I seem to be wearing a lot of black and white with this skirt- maybe I should see about trying to pair it with some colour!
Do you have any garments that you wear all the time because they are easy to wear and go with everything? What are your wardrobe staples?
Happy 2018 everyone! (I’m still not quite used to writing that. . .)
When thinking of what to write as the first post for this New Year, my first thought was of the much anticipated (or dreaded) “New Years Resolutions”. I personally like to make goals and resolutions. I’m not saying that I necessarily follow through on them as I am a procrastinating sort of person, but making goals is a practical thing for me to do- because if I didn’t, I don’t think I would ever actually get anything done- haha!
While thinking of New Years Resolutions, my thoughts turned to what “Style Resolutions” I could make this year, as I’ve been doing some thinking about my wardrobe lately. My lifestyle has changed in the past couple of years, but my wardrobe hasn’t quite evolved along with it, so I often find myself frustrated by the lack of garments in my closet that are appropriate for the occasions I need them for. There are definitely a few things that I could do to improve my wardrobe, and make it more wearable, so here are a few goals for this year. I’m also spending some time this week planning out sewing projects for the year, so I haven’t included those here, as they’ll overlap a bit and I am planning a second post for them.
Wear hats more often. A few years ago I wore hats constantly, but in the last year, I have worn hats less and less. I still do wear them for particular occasions, but for everyday wear, I often forgo one. As someone who really does love the panache that only a hat can give, I want to remedy that this year. One problem I am facing is that my hairstyle has changed so much in the past year (from a growing out pixie, to a bob) that hats I used to wear, no longer work with my current hairstyle. I also have a bunch of hats that just don’t go with any of my clothes, or are not really my style anymore. I’d like to make or buy a few more “everyday” sort of hats to wear; hats that work well with my hairstyle (aka- don’t require copious amounts of hairstyling) and coordinate with more than one outfit or colour scheme too.
Work at creating a more mix and matchable wardrobe; the “Curated Closet” so to speak. I got this book by Anuschka Rees from the library last Fall and sort-of-kind-of went through it. I am going to make it a point to do a complete wardrobe overhaul this month, and set a clear list of things that I “need” in my wardrobe. My wardrobe is currently rather disparate- with things that don’t really go together. I need to weed those things out, and from now on add pieces that are versatile and wearable. I also need to really hone down which direction I’d like my wardrobe to go. As much as I like the posh Lady About Town ensembles from the 50’s, I am more likely to be found wearing garments fit for a Lady Adventurer instead (aka- practical). So, a bit of planning and evaluating is in order.
Consciously choose “slow fashion”. Even though I thrift or sew many of my clothes in order to continue building my wardrobe in an ethical and sustainable method, sometimes I am not practicing true “slow fashion” as I don’t always think through my secondhand purchases, or fabric choices. I want to sew garments that will stand the test of time, choose fabrics that are good investments and buy secondhand items because I like them, not just because they are “vintage” or cheap. (Those half price thrift store sales are bad!) Basically, I want to ask before I buy, “Do I really need this? And, is this a wise purchase?”
Create a signature colour palette. Some of my favourite colours to wear are mustard yellow, olive green, brown, camel, rust, teal and black. I want to add in more of these colours.
Put more effort into my everyday outfits. Since I work from home, it can be tempting to just throw on any old thing, since I’m not going out into public. For someone who loves Fashion, this is a tragedy! It’s not like I’m wearing pyjamas or anything, but I find myself falling back into the same old skirt and shirt combination, and it gets quite boring. I’d like to start planning my everyday outfits better and wearing those things I never seem to actually ever pull out of the closet. I’d like to cultivate a more suitable everyday sort of style, which definitely nods to the vintage style, but also doesn’t need to necessarily look like a period piece.
Well, we’ll see how this goes this year. Maybe, because I’ve shared the resolutions here I’ll be better at keeping them! 😉 Do you have any “style resolutions” for 2018? Do you like setting goals at the beginning of the year?
Now that it’s the Christmas season, it is time to start dressing for the occasion. (OK, it’s been the Christmas season for a while, I’m just kind of late at getting a holiday post up). But how do you dress for the holidays when when you don’t own “Christmas” clothing, or you just don’t like wearing novelty prints of Christmas trees? I’m all for a festively, kitschy holiday outfit. . . on other vintage loving gals, but it’s just not for me. However, I do love to dress for the season. So how do you dress for the season, when you don’t want to wear poinsettia dresses, red is not your best colour, or you don’t want a wardrobe full of themed items that can only be worn at certain times of the year?
My go-to solution for dressing for the holidays, whether it’s Christmas, Thanksgiving, Valentines, or Family Day (wait- no- you don’t really dress up for Family Day. . . ) is to take a regular outfit, add different accessories to it, and thus turn it into a holiday outfit. For example, at Christmastime, take a whole bunch of gold bling and sparkly jewellery, and voila! With a few changes, it’s suddenly a holiday outfit!
I wore this exact same outfit last week, minus all the gold, and it looked like a regular old unholidayish dress. But taking the same basic pieces: a striped dress, a black bolero, black tights and black pumps and then restyling them with a gold belt and clutch, metallic gold nail polish, sparkly eyeshadow, and sparkly rhinestone jewellery made it suddenly seem more festive. Making those few changes made it the perfect thing to wear to the Christmas lunch at our church.
I’ve also worn this dress in the springtime, here, and the accessories I paired that time made it look the farthest thing from Christmas you could think of. Imagine if I had paired this dress with spider jewellery, a veiled hat, and a velvet jacket- suddenly it would look perfect for Halloween. Accessories really are a girl’s best friend- a few key pieces can completely change the look of your outfit to suit whichever holiday you are going for.
So, if you aren’t into outfits that scream “CHRISTMAS!!!!”, but you do want to add a bit of a festive touch, accessories are where it’s at.
Here are some more ways to add a bit of holiday cheer to your outfit:
Wear a bow in your hair. It’s like dressing up as a present. . . only more subtle. 😉
Plaid is the perfect Christmas material because it has nothing to do with Christmas, and yet it looks so festive when worn this time of year. And you can wear it any other season, and it looks lovely- I’m all for fabrics that do double duty.
Wear darker hued shades of “Christmas colours”. Instead of wearing bright red and green, try jewel tones like burgundy and emerald. Rich colours like navy blue can look very winter appropriate too, with some silver jewellery added, for example.
Christmas jewellery adds a festive touch, but is a bit more understated than a Christmas dress. And, it doesn’t take up tons of space, so collecting Christmas earrings and brooches doesn’t take up your entire wardrobe, but adds a nice festive touch.
‘Tis the season for rich and sumptuous fabrics like velvet and taffeta. They are great for both Christmas, and also New Years, and as most people don’t get the opportunity to wear them year round, it’s time to bust them out of the closet!
As I said before: gold and sparkles is where it’s at. In a society where people are more likely to have ugly sweater parties, I say- bring on the glam and the glitz! Any excuse to break out the cocktail dresses is good by me.
So, do you like going all out dressing for the season? Or do you like your Christmas outfits to be a bit more subtle? Or maybe you don’t dress for the holidays at all? Do you have any other holiday outfit tips?
ps. This is the same vintage Laura Ashley bolero from last week– and here you can see the fabric better!
“But wait!”, you say, “It’s not Winter yet!” And, you are correct that it is not officially Winter yet. We won’t be officially in the Winter season for another 33 days to be exact.
Here though, it is Winter all right, and has been for 18 days now. It started snowing on October 31 (just in time for the little kids to go trick-or-treating out in the snowdrifts) and it hasn’t stopped yet. Well, it hasn’t gone away yet, and every morning when I look out the window, I see more snow to shovel off of my walkway. So, it’s safe to say that Winter is here, for now at least. Despite the fact that Winter comes every year, and that historically we get snow in October, every year I am caught off guard, and there are a few days there where I think to myself, “Wait- what? Snow? How do I dress for this?” And so I just end up throwing a winter coat, and boots and scarf over the top of everything without any real thought as to creating an outfit.
Now, the real question we must ask ourselves, when the temperatures have dropped below zero, is: how do you dress for the cold, when the aforementioned “hobo style” isn’t quite the look that you are going for? I present to you this outfit, which is a testament to the vintage lover’s desire to be dressed in some semblance of fashion, while also desiring to keep at least slightly warm. This is the first “real” outfit I put together since the climes dropped, and everything I wore here was chosen mainly because of it’s insulating properties. So, here are my cold weather tips for those who don’t want to sacrifice style for warmth. Yes, most of these are obvious, but I thought, why not share them anyways?
Turbans are a good cold weather choice, because they can be tied over your ears, and are much prettier than your average toque. I actually wore two scarves here, one tied over my ears and the other over the top for decoration. You can tie a turban with a warmer fabric than a thin silk scarf, and you can also get pre-formed turbans which are knitted, or made of velvet, mohair, wool etc. and those would be very toasty warm! (I don’t have one myself . . . yet!) Other options for keeping your head warm are berets, worn pulled down over your ears like this, or thicker scarves worn over your head and tied under your chin. Sometimes, I wear my scarf and pull it up over my head like a hood, if it isn’t too cold out, but there is a bit of a breeze.
Wool coats are the best. Really they are. If you are at all thinking of going outside in the cold this season, get yourself a 100% wool coat, and you will not regret it. Lots of modern/reproduction winter coats are made of synthetic blends, and they do not even offer a fraction of warmth compared to pure wool. If you can, get yourself a vintage coat, especially a long one, and you won’t be cold. This one, from the 80’s, is made of cashmere and wool, and it is one of the best thrift store purchases I have ever made. On mild winter days, this coat is even almost too warm to wear.
A fur collar. Does a fur collar keep you warm? No, not really, unless it’s a beaver hood or something known for it’s super insulating properties. But, it looks pretty! And it gives the illusion of warmth! And, if you aren’t going to wear fur in the Winter, just when are you going to wear it? I am not wearing it in these pictures, but I actually wore a scarf underneath the collar to keep warm, and threw the fur over top to add the “glamour”.
Nice winter boots. I love my pumps and thin leather shoes, but come winter, unless you want your feet to turn into blocks of ice, winter boots really are a must, and insulated ones are optimum. These boots I bought a few years ago, are lined with a layer of “Thinsulate” (which is essentially useless if you are actually out in a blizzard) but if you are just walking around town, they are great! They keep your feet warmer than shoes, and, they look a lot nicer than those clunky, rubber winter boots (that you will wish you were wearing if you get caught in an actual blizzard).
Layers are good. Here I am wearing several layers: tights, a long wool skirt, (with a slip under that) and a long coat over top. There’s only about 2 inches of exposed leg (covered with tights, but not the skirt and coat, I mean). And on the top; a blouse, then a cardigan, and then the coat. Rather than getting a buffalo robe and swaddling yourself in that (which some days admittedly does seem like a good idea) build up warmth with layers so you don’t end up looking like a stuffed penguin.
Pockets are another wonderful thing. If your hands get cold, even while wearing gloves or mittens, you can just stick them in your pockets to warm them up. I once had a winter coat that didn’t have pockets- it was the worst coat because my hands were always freezing when I wore it! I also once had a coat that only had pockets over the chest. That was an awkward place to have pockets. I know they were supposed to be decorative, but what is the point of having only decorative pockets on a winter coat?!?!
Well, there are my tips for dressing for Winter, brought to you today from one cold Canadian! So, how did this outfit hold up during my walk to church that morning? Well, for the two blocks going south, it was great! The six blocks straight into the wind wasn’t so lovely, however 🙁 But, even though my face got a bit frosty from the wind, I was actually surprisingly warm and it was a relief to take my coat off!
So, what do you do to stay stylish in Winter but also warm? Is it “Winter” yet, where you live, or are you still enjoying Fall?
The majority of vintage wearers have, in their lifetime of wearing vintage, experienced various reactions from members of the general public. Sometimes these reactions can be simply genuine curiosity at an obviously different fashion choice, and sometimes, unfortunately, it can be negative. Probably one of the most universally asked questions, is “Are you wearing a costume?” or something to that effect. In my case (several years ago) it was, “So you are dressed like this . . . why?” – implying that there had to be some kind of external reason as to why I was wearing that 1950’s hat, fur collar, wool coat and high heeled pumps.
My answer: “Because I like it.”
Many people seem to think that anyone who dresses outside of the societal norm, simply must be wearing a costume. Someone wouldn’t be wearing a hat and gloves and a dress like, for real, would they?
I’ve been thinking about this lately, and trying to figure out my thoughts about it. I would suggest that, while I don’t really like the term “costume”, to some extent, anyone who dresses outside of the mainstream, is in fact putting on some sort of specific persona. It is easy to dress in the fashions of the day (look in every store and you’ll find some kind of iteration of the trends) but it is a conscious choice to dress differently than every one else. Whether you are wearing vintage style, goth, rockabilly or any other alternative style, you are saying something about yourself to those who see you.
So what is the difference between dressing in a so called “alternative style” or wearing a costume anyways?
After much thought (OK actually not that much thought, but some discussion with my mom!), I think it all comes down to your reason for wearing it.
How we choose to dress, tells a story about us. Your clothes can tell people, “I’m a rebel”, “I want to blend in”, “I want to be different” or even simply “I like old stuff”.
If someone were to look at me, they might not be surprised to learn that I also like classic novels, painting, antique furniture and old houses. My clothing has given them a glimpse into what kind of person I am; or at least the image that I want to present to the world.
Choosing to dress differently does raise questions, though, and like I said the most common one is, why are you wearing a costume?
A costume is something that is worn for a specific purpose, for a specific time and place, and it is not worn, usually, outside of that event. It is not a reflection of the person who wears it, because the person who is wearing it, has put on a mask, either literally or figuratively.
Wearing vintage, or another alternative style, though, is a lifestyle. At least it is for me, and many others. The decision to wear vintage style, as your “regular” clothes changes it from being a costume that you put on only at certain times, to being an expression of your own style personality. You don’t have to wear vintage 24/7 either, in order for it to not be a costume for you. While it might be a putting on of a persona, it is also a reflection of your own style and personality. To those people who question you, it is a costume to them, because they can’t imagine themselves wearing it; it is foreign and uncommon. To many people it is unheard of that these could be your “real” and “normal” clothes. (But, what is normal anyways?)
When I, and many others, wear vintage styles we are not just trying to be different. There are plenty of styles I could wear that would achieve the same purpose, but would definitely not be “me”. Wearing Steampunk is probably very fun- but it’s not something I would personally choose to do!
And you know what? I sometimes put together an outfit which I think looks great in my head, and doesn’t really come out that way when I wear it. Something is just not right with it, and so it does end up feeling a bit like a costume. This outfit here is one example of an outfit that came out as just too much. To me personally, I would like to stress. Even though others might think, “that’s so you- it’s got a vintage touch, pearls and a hat”- to me, this was a costume.
I look at this outfit, and I know that I was playing dress up. (Which I was; we just wanted to experiment with taking photos in this location, so I grabbed a few things and threw them on) I would never wear this outfit in real life; the twill trousers are far too casual to be wearing with this hat and blouse, and the hat doesn’t go with anything. If I were to tweak this into an actual outfit, I would pair the blouse with navy blue wool trousers or a skirt, my camel coloured blazer to coordinate with the hat, and I would probably take off the long strings of pearls replacing them with a single strand. That’s just me. Someone else might wear this, and they’d love it!
Ultimately, each person must decide for themselves what the line is between “different” and “costume”. Fashion is supposed to be fun, so if you feel like wearing a costume out and about, there’s no one stopping you! Sometimes you just want to dress up! But, if you are trying to determine whether something is clothing for you or whether it’s a costume, here are some questions you could ask yourself:
Do you feel more confident wearing this outfit?
Are you constantly thinking about what people are thinking about your outfit? I’m not talking about shyness, and sometimes feeling a little awkward because you look different. I mean: are you completely uncomfortable because all you can think about is what other people are thinking of your outfit?
Are you absorbed with your outfit and fussing with it constantly? Aka- you don’t actually feel comfortable wearing it. Once you put on an outfit, you should not be preoccupied with it, if it’s just clothes.
Is it an expression of things that you like? Or are you wearing it simply because it’s “vintage”, but not because you actually like it?
Are you just waiting for the moment you can get home and change into something else?
Are you drawn to a certain era or style, but this outfit is just too much? For example, someone might wear 1920’s styles, but they might not dress completely like a flapper with a headband, pearls, fringed dress and all.
Do you enjoy wearing this? Is it fun for you? Is it the right expression of your personality? For the same reason I wouldn’t dress goth, you might not want to dress a certain way either.
Well, I hope that these thoughts may have helped you to think through what defines costume vs. style for you.
I would love to hear your thoughts on this- have you ever been asked if you were wearing a costume?
What do you think is the difference between wearing a costume or just regular clothes?