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 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. 😉
A few years ago I found this little video, Mode en France on Youtube, which goes through the history of European fashion from the end of the Victorian Era, up until the 1980’s. (Click over and watch it, as it is pretty great. I can’t understand a word of French, but fortunately fashion is universal!) After watching it, I wanted to do a photoshoot with my sister and best friend, of the fashions featured in the video- only since I do not have video talents, I was going to do photos instead. Well, the years have gone by, and we’ve still not managed to do a complete overview of all the eras, but we have done a few separate ones. We once dressed up in the styles of the 1940’s (and when I say “dressed up” I mean they dressed up, considering that all the clothes came from my closet!), another time was the Victorian era, and once we dressed up in assorted wedding dresses, which was rather fun.
So, when my friend Chantelle came for a visit last month, one of the things we made sure to do, was another photoshoot. This time, we chose the 1950’s, and donned full skirts, petticoats, hats and gloves. It was rather fun to put all the pieces of the outfit together, as I don’t usually do a whole hat and glove ensemble. I love putting together a period perfect ensemble, but I rarely wear it as such.
Here are the pictures we ended up with. It was a fun time spent together, posing as though we were supermodels, but mostly giggling and being generally silly. I am glad to have these pictures, some of which turned out great- others not so much, but the memories of the afternoon are what I will remember the most. 🙂
Do you ever “dress to the nines” just for fun? Have you ever done a photoshoot with your friends?
(The image above is our Prada sunglasses advertisement, don’t you think? I was testing out the height of the tripod, and it turned out it was a bit off, so the top of my head is cut out of the frame, but nevertheless- it is a hilariously serious looking picture and I love it!)
When I was a child my two favourite things to play with were Barbie dolls and the costume bin. I loved Barbie’s because I got to dress them up, and I loved the costume bin, because I got to dress up.
Now that I am grown up. . . actually, I haven’t changed a bit. I still love to dress up.
Last year for Christmas I received a Barbie doll from my parents (it was the 50th anniversary reproduction Barbie, okay?), I have a suitcase full of costumes for random dressing up needs, (doesn’t everyone have costumes at the ready? Who knows when the need may arise! ) and my entire closet is full of what most people would consider costumes, but us vintage lovers know and recognize them to be perfectly acceptable everyday wear. (I have come to the conclusion that these two childhood favourites foreshadowed my love of vintage, long before I had ever thought of it, because vintage is basically dress up every day!)
So, both my sister and I still love to dress up in costumes, and taking that a step further, we love to turn the costume-wearing into a photo shoot (inspired by whichever fashions we are sporting).
I am always so inspired by the fashions on the runway, and the spreads in the magazines: the ensembles that are so fabulous, but so over the top, they don’t make it to the street. This basement wall, which has a great industrial, urban decay feel to it, immediately made me think of those images of couture fashions in abandoned buildings. My sister and I decided that it would be the perfect backdrop for the crazy over-the-top Vogue inspired look we were dying to create, complete with wigs, exaggerated makeup and flamboyant costumes. These are outfits that we would probably never wear as styled, (no I am not going to wear that Halloween wig in public!) but they really suited the mood, and I like how they turned out. They are definitely different than what I would wear in real life, but sometimes it’s just so fun to veer in a different direction.
Do you ever dress up in a costume just for the fun of it?
This is absolutely my favourite photo of my sister and I. It’s just such a great capture of the moment 🙂