Are You a Flapper?

feature image the artyologist

I am not into Halloween. As in spooky, gory, creepy, dark and scary. However, I do love candy, and I do love costumes. I mean, I love to dress up any day of the year- so give me any excuse to dress up “officially” and I am there!

For the past few years, I have hosted costume parties, and this is the first year that I haven’t in three years. Even though I didn’t have a chance to dress up in a costume and go out this year, I didn’t want the opportunity to pass, without dressing up in some kind of costume. My sister and I have been wanting to do a 1920’s photo shoot for a while now, and since I recently got my hair shaped into a bob, it seemed the perfect time to dress up in these costumes and take some photos. We decided that a black and white faded palette, gloomy clouds, and some barren tree branches would be the perfect backdrop, and create the right mood. The “costumes” were pulled from our wardrobes, and dress up bin, of course. 🙂

flapper, the artyologist

I have also now decided that those flappers were right about so much- it is amazingly fun to wear strands of pearls, stacks of bracelets, sparkles, dark makeup and furs. Of course, not every person in the 1920’s dressed this way- but it is “iconic’ for a reason, right? Honestly, if I had lived in the 1920’s I am 99% sure that I would have been a Plain Jane, wearing prim and proper dresses, and I never would have dreamed of going to the speakeasy, in my knee length fringed dress, dancing the night away. Considering that I don’t do any of those things today. . .  But, I do love to dress up in the 1920’s flapper styles, even if they are not historically accurate, and more “inspired by” the era. Nora, of Nora Finds, recently said on her instagram, that in a few years it will be the 20’s again, so we should “bring back the beaded flapper dresses and finger waves”. I wholeheartedly agree!

What do you think? If you lived in the 1920’s would you have worn the knee length dresses and bling, and been a flapper? Or would you have been a prim and proper lady, who stayed at home and behaved herself?

Are You a Flapper, the artyologist

holding candle Are You a Flapper, the artyologist

old-doorknob, the artyologist

Are You a Flapper, Sarah, the artyologist

Are you a flapper, black and white, the artyologist

branches, are you a flapper costume, the artyologist

are you a flapper, holding candles, the artyologist

two flappers, the artyologist

On a side note, I am not one to spot family resemblances very easily, but when my Gramma saw these pictures, she said that I looked like her when she was young, and Sarah looked like her mother, our Great-Grandmother. I guess we do have a family resemblance- even if I can’t pick it out 🙂

Fashion Isn’t About You

Fashion Isn't About You, the artyologist

We live in an era and a society that is obsessed with things like health. We use organic beauty products, because we know they are better for us. We clean with earth friendly products, so we don’t pollute our homes. We eat healthy and organic foods to minimize our risk of cancer. We know that eventually we will all die, and yet, we do what we can to improve our quality of life in the here and now. And yes, all of these things are great. We should avoid the practices that we know are bad for us, and do the things that are good for us (as far as we know that they are good for us!)

There is one element that is centre to all of these practices though, and that is that they are all good for you. As in, you personally.

Ethical Fashion is not something you do for you. It is something you do for someone else.

Ethical fashion, to be really honest, doesn’t benefit you personally in any way whatsoever. In fact, one could argue, it’s really a pain and a bother when it comes right down to it.

Fair trade fashion is often more expensive than the fast fashion garments you can find at your local mall. Fair trade and ethically made garments can be hard to find: most of your local chain stores don’t carry responsible brands in stock (especially here in Canada). And, sometimes the fair trade fashions you do find, will not be your fashion style. Building a fair trade wardrobe involves research. Which brands are ethical? Where did this come from? And really, #whomademyclothes? Being a conscious consumer involves constant questioning; not just, “Do I want this?” but, “Do I need this”? And, then there is always the question of, “What is the longevity of this garment?” Sometimes ethical fashion means going without something, until you can find it in an ethical and fair trade version.

Other options to buying fair trade fashion would be practices like thrifting, or buying vintage. This takes time though. To build a second-hand wardrobe, you put in countless hours searching for pieces that you not only like, but that fit, and are in good condition as well. Vintage is rare, depending on where you live, and it can be hard to find. You can’t just stop in at your local store to pick out exactly what you want and need. And once you find the thrifted or vintage garment you are looking for, it will require upkeep that new garments don’t. Mending and fixing go hand-in-hand with pre-loved garments.

Another option is making your own clothes. This again, is a large time investment (especially if you are like me, and are an extremely slow seamstress.) It also means acquiring the skills to be able to make the garments yourself, as you want to end up with something wearable; not a “Becky-Home-Ecky” that should be turned into a rag. And again, with new fabrics and textile, you must question, “Where did this fabric come from?” With reused textiles, you run into other problems and the quirks that come along with refashioning.

Ethical fashion is hard. Creating a wardrobe full of garments that are fair trade, where the workers who sewed your clothes (because each and every piece of clothing has been made by human hands, somewhere) are earning a wage they can truly live on, is really frustrating sometimes.

But, nobody should have to die for fashion.

That shouldn’t even be a thought that enters the equation. Because really, there should be no such term as “Ethical Fashion”. That is so redundant it’s like saying “Edible Food”.

Nobody should have to drop out of school at nine years old to go to work, just to be able to put food on the table.

Nobody should have to work with toxic fabric dyes, and no safety equipment, in order to afford their monthly rent.

And nobody should have to go to work in an unsafe factory, which may collapse at any moment, in order to survive . . . but end up dying instead.

Because nobody’s life is worth less than a t-shirt.

Fashion is something that shouldn’t be only about you. Your clothes might seem like a highly personal choice, but instead I would challenge you to view your wardrobe with an outward focus too and take a moment to think about how what you buy ultimately impacts the lives of those who you may not be able to see, but are affected nevertheless. And then not only think about it, but see what steps you can take to make a difference.

 “Demand quality, not just in the products you buy, but in the life of the person who made it.”- Orsola De Castro

As I mentioned last week, October is Slow Fashion Month, and Fair Trade Month. I know it’s the last week, but I didn’t want the month to pass by without sharing some of my ethical fashion journey, and the reasons behind why I am building my wardrobe the way that I am. This weeks prompt is “Known Origins”. There is a story behind each and every garment tag, and usually it is a story we’ll never know. But it is those stories, and the realities that garment workers are facing around the world every day, that are shaping my wardrobe choices. It’s not always an easy journey, and sometimes I really just wish that I could throw in the towel and go and buy all the things. I do fail sometimes, making purchases that I end up regretting, because I know that they aren’t ethical purchases. Overall I have come to a point in my wardrobe, though, where I just don’t feel good about wearing cheap fashion, with unknown origins. And so, I choose to wear slow fashion whenever possible, because of the lives of the people behind the garment tags. Because, as I said before, nobody’s life is worth less than a t-shirt.

Blogging 101: How to Coordinate With Your Surroundings

Blogging 101: How to Coordinate With Your Surroundings, the artyologist, feature image

I really must be a blogger now.

Not only did I choose this outfit simply because I wanted to coordinate with the background of the fall colours, but I actually changed into this outfit, went out to take photos of it, came home and changed out of the outfit, and then wore it some days later. So, yeah, these photos are essentially staged.

But you have to take advantage of beautiful surroundings for photos when you can, right? If I had waited until the day I was going to actually wear this outfit, all the leaves would have fallen off of the trees, or it would have been snowing, or something . . . 🙂 I did wear this outfit, to a fall-time “corn roast” with my church. It was the perfect thing to wear as it is “outdoorsy” enough, and with the scarf, I was warm, but the shirt, trousers and boots give the look a “vintage lady explorer” feel. Or, at least that’s what I feel like when I wear it anyways. Do you ever feel as though you “put on” a mood or a character when you dress in a certain way?

I’ll add a note about the background for these photos. Though these photos are “staged”, my sister and I were already planning to go out hunting for some fall leaves to take pictures of, when we did these, and we stumbled across the Eighth Wonder of the World while we were doing so. These pictures seriously don’t do justice to the beauty that we found in this hidden little valley. It was spectacular, and it is only about five minutes away from where we live, down a little country lane! I didn’t even know that this little ravine was there, as you can barely see it from the road. I wanted to go down the hill and go exploring, but of course we didn’t, as we didn’t want to trespass, so we contented ourselves with the few photos we did get by the road, enjoyed the fall sun shine, the golden glowing leaves and the beautiful view. It was definitely an amazing place, and I can’t wait to go back later, to see how it has changed with the changing of the seasons.

Have you found any pretty hidden places recently that you didn’t know about? And, have you ever “staged” or coordinated outfit photos before? 🙂

Outfit Details:

Cream Wool Beret: Sears, from many years ago

Faux Leather Jacket: Hand-me-down from my Aunt

Yellow Cashmere Scarf: My brother brought back for me from Nepal

Navy Twill Trousers: Home sewn, Burda 7122

Floral Shirt: Thrifted

Boots: Thrifted

Owl Necklace: Gifted

Earrings: From years ago

Blogging 101: How to Colour Match your surroundings, entire outfit, the artyologist

How to Colour Match Your Surroundings, trees-and-outfit, the artyologist

How to Colour Match Your Surroundings, hidden valley, the artyologist

How to Colour Match Your Surroundings, among the trees the artyologist

Blogging 101: How to Colour Match Your Surroundings, no jacket outfit, the artyologist

How to Colour Match your Surroundings, the artyologist, necklace and trees

Please notice that not only does my outfit coordinate with my surroundings, but the necklace coordinates with the buttons on the shirt. How matchy-matchy!

How to Colour Match Your Surroundings,among the aspens, the artyologist

Hints to Help You Make Do and Mend

Hints To Help You Make Do and Mend, the artyologist

October is Slow Fashion and Fair Trade month, and although I haven’t taken part until now, I didn’t want to let the month pass without contributing my voice to the discussion going on around the internet. When I originally planned to write this post, I thought that this week’s prompt was “long worn”. Apparently I got my weeks mixed up though, as this week’s prompt is actually “handmade”. Oops. Well, I guess this post will not only be long worn, but long overdue as well. 😉 The term “long worn” refers to the clothes that are already in existence, here on our planet, and how we can make the most of them. I thought that this would be a great time to share some of the garment care tips that I have picked up over the years, that will help to increase the longevity of your clothing, as well as including a few tips from the reprinted copy of Make Do and Mend that I purchased last year while in England. (I’d been wanting to get my hands on one for ages!)

Taking care of the clothes that you already own is a great first step to creating a conscious wardrobe, and there are so many simple things you can do to increase the life of your clothing. It is really only in the last 10-20 years that our society has drifted into a more “throwaway” attitude towards what we wear. Mending, altering, maintaining and preserving your clothing is actually a rather “vintage” way of looking at your closet, which is evidenced by the ingenuity of people during the Great Depression, and the rationing years of the Second World War (which is when the pamphlet Make Do and Mend was published). So, without further ado, here are some helpful hints for caring for your clothes, and some excerpts from the book Make Do and Mend. (excerpts are indicated by “italics“)

Wearing:

  • Wearing scarves when you wear a coat keeps the collar off of your neck, to keep it clean longer. Instead of having to continually wash your coat, you can simply wash the scarf instead.
  • Wearing slips, undershirts and underarm shields can help to keep your clothes cleaner for longer. We tend to wash our clothes more than is actually necessary, and constant washing shortens the life of your clothing. By extending the period of time between washes, you can significantly increase the life of your garment. By keeping your skin away from direct contact with garments, especially delicate ones, they don’t soil so quickly. Just make sure to remove the shields before putting away your garments
  • It is best to wear clothes in turn, as a rest does them good. Shoes too are better for not being worn day after day.” This gives them a rest, and a chance to completely dry out. It is also better for your feet, as it prevents them from rubbing too much in one spot etc.
  • “Always change into old things, if you can, in the house, and give the clothes you have just taken off an airing before putting them away.” 

Hints to Help You Make Do and Mend, the artyologist, essential tools

Storing:

  • If you are going to be storing a garment for any length of time, such as off season coats, it is nice to cover them with a garment bag, so they don’t collect dust and dirt while in storage. That way, when it comes time to wear them again, you won’t need to clean them first.
  • Hang delicate garments on padded hangers to protect the shoulders from stretching out of shape. “A hanger that is too narrow will ruin the shape of the shoulder and may even make a hole.” It is also a good practice to store clothing off of hangers, as hanging garments long-term can distort them.
  • “Do up all fastenings before hanging clothes. This helps them to keep their shape. And see that the shoulders are even on the hangers and not falling off one side.”
  • “Put away clothes in the condition in which you will want to wear them when you take them out again. Make quite sure they are absolutely clean; dirt attracts clothes’ moths.” (And who wants to wash clothes first thing when you take them out again?)

Cleaning:

  • Deal with stains and spills right away. Taking a few moments to wash out a stain as soon after it happens as possible, is much better than waiting until you do laundry only to find that the stain won’t wash out.
  • If a garment is not dirty enough to need a washing, you can deodorize by using vodka. This is a practice that is still used today in theatre costumes (according to my friend who is an actress). For a garment such as a blazer or a delicate item, which is not easily washed, simply turn the garment inside out, spritz the inside (especially the underarms) with vodka, and then leave until dry. This neutralizes any odours, and keeps your garments smelling fresh without having to constantly wash them. (I suppose you could use rum instead of vodka, but then you might smell like a pirate! 🙂 Don’t worry, the vodka leaves no scent, so you won’t smell like alcohol.)
  • Washing your clothes in a delicate, cold wash, is easier on them than hot water. Also, air drying your clothes, rather than putting them through the dryer, extends their life. This is especially true for knits (such as t-shirts, sweaters, or jeans with Lycra in them.) Dryers are extremely hard on stretch fabrics.
  • It is better to hand wash your sweaters, so they don’t stretch out of shape. Use a gentle soap, rinse, and then lay them flat to dry. By hand washing your knits, you will help to avoid the dreaded pilled sweater! Putting your sweaters through the washing machine, even on a delicate cycle, leads to pilling. Although you can fix (some) pilling, it is easier to just avoid it in the first place.

Hints to Help You Make Do and Mend, the artyologist, tools for mending

Mending:

  • Fix places where seams or hems have come undone, or buttons are loose. It is so much easier to fix right away, than waiting until it turns into a much bigger problem. “Watch for thin places, especially in the elbows of dresses, seams of trousers, heels of socks and stockings. Reinforce a thin spot with a light patch on the inside. Choose material that is strong but rather lighter in weight than the original material. Scraps of net darned lightly inside thin heels of stockings make an excellent repair. If you have to patch or darn and have no matching material or thread, sacrifice a collar, belt or pocket if it is merely ornamental, or unravel a thread from the seam. You could unravel the pocket of a knitted garment to provide thread for a darn, and a patch made from a matching belt may save a frock from the bits and pieces bag. You can replace the belt with one of contrasting colour.”
  • “Always carry a needle and cotton and mending silk with you- this will save many a ladder in stockings or prevent the loss of buttons; your friends will thank you too. How many times have you heard someone say, “Has anyone got a needle and cotton?”
  • Take care of the pills on your knits with a sweater shaver. Nothing looks nastier, and cheaper, than a pilled sweater! It is amazing what a shaver can do for making things look fresh. One of the winter coats I got from a coworker came to me in terrible condition (it looked as though she had thrown it through the wash) and I wasn’t sure if it could be saved, but I used a sweater comb, and now the wool looks brand new!
  • Keeping your leather shoes and purses polished, and hydrated with a conditioner of some sort, will keep them from cracking and drying out. Also, they just look nicer. And, of course, if your shoes are past the point where you can do anything with them, take them to the cobbler. Those people work magic! I have had many a pair that I thought were gonners, and they have brought them back to life.

So, there are my tips and tricks for keeping your wardrobe spic-and-span! Would you like to hear more tips from the Make Do and Mend pamphlet? And do you have any garment care tips of your own? Do share!

How to Create a Modern 1920’s Makeup Look

Lipstick:  Mary Kay, True Dimensions (I was not happy with this product either, and have since returned the lipstick.)
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One other note: I was not sponsored in any way for the making of this post (although that would have been nice!) These are all products I have purchased myself, and use daily 🙂 Except for the ones that I didn’t like. 🙁 -Nicole