fashion

Vintage Fur of Yesteryear

wearing a tan wool jacket and a fox fur stole

There is danger when you scroll through the Poshmark “vintage” tag with the intent to not purchase anything, because you very well might just find something to purchase. And when you’re looking at vintage items (especially when you find one for a good price) you know you might never find anything like it ever again. I’m not usually an impulse buyer, but when I saw this little vintage fur fellow in excellent condition, I decided he had to come and live with me.

wearing a tan wool jacket a fox fur stole a pearl necklace and a cream ring

I know that feelings run high when it comes to fur, and some people might find wearing a fox fur stole macabre, but I quite like this little guy. Fur collars and stoles with the head and tails were very popular through the first half of the 20th century, and in my vintage Sears catalogue books they have quite a few available in the 1920’s and 30’s. In a world of PVC and polyester, where fur, and even leather, has started to become taboo, it is strange to see advertisements for furs that can’t be mistaken as anything but dead animals.

wearing a tan blazer embroidered shell and pearl necklace

I haven’t had an occasion to wear him out, so I had to create my own occasion for his debut. I actually don’t know whether I will ever wear him; I think he would need a very particular occasion, and he is kind of hard to wear because of where the clasp goes. I’m also a little concerned that despite the fact he is in great vintage condition, furs do become fragile with age and I don’t want damage him through pulling and strain.

Anyway, the moral of this story is: don’t browse through vintage clothing unless you are fully prepared to bring some pieces into your collection!

closeup of fox fur stole

In the Dark Mid Winter, From my Fashion Scrapbook

Lady wearing a beautiful boucle wool coat standing in front of a stone bridge

I know that many people don’t like the cold and dark of winter, but I can’t bring myself to hate the season. As much as I sometimes find the cold and snow to be too much, I also can’t imagine living without four distinct seasons. Though perhaps I could do with a bit more daylight…

Each season has it’s own unique fashion needs, and winter is the one where all of the lovely outerwear can shine! Here’s a peak at some of favourite magazine tear sheets that I have saved in my fashion scrapbook, all featuring some gorgeous winter appropriate pieces!

lady wearing an embellished coat and a giant feathered hat

Both of these images above are from a Vogue magazine- I think they are both from the same 90’s one. I love the detail of the garments and the elegance of the photography.

ladies wearing dyed furs

There’s no better time to wear fur than in the winter! ladies wearing embellished and dyed fur coats

This is one of my favourite fashion ads, found in another Vogue magazine, for all the elegant yet still fun fur coats! I’m not sure I would call new furs a “responsible choice” as the ad claims, unless I knew for sure where they were coming from, but I definitely love the wearing of vintage furs. The leopard printed one below is gorgeous. I would love to find a good 1960’s leopard print fur coat someday….

ladies wearing fur coats in a field

Wool is another fibre perfect for cold weather and these pieces below are so interesting. That dress with an integrated cape is gorgeous!

ladies wearing wool capes and outerwear

lady wearing a camel wool jacket and matching skirt

Finally, some dramatic silhouettes for the winter months! I do love the look of black opaque tights paired with a simple skirt and blouse.

two ladies with dramatic silhouettes for winter wear

Well, that’s all for today. Which is your favourite? Do you like to collect magazine tearsheets?

The Costumes of Jane Eyre (2011): Film Fashion Inspiration

jane eyre wearing a hooded cloak

I am back today with a Part Two in this series of my favourite film fashion inspiration: this time with the costumes of Jane Eyre (2011)! You can find Part One about Miss Potter, here.

One of my favourite books of all time is Jane Eyre, by Charlotte Bronte. I first read it in Grade Nine, for a book study, and fell in love with the heroine of the book’s title, Jane Eyre. Jane Eyre was published in 1847, although the time period in which the story itself takes place is a bit unclear. Most film adaptations place the story either in the same decade the book was published, the 1840’s, or slightly farther back in the 1830’s. The only film version of Jane Eyre that I have watched is the 2011 one directed by Cary Fukunaga starring Mia Wasikowska and Michael Fassbender. The costume designer for this film was Michael O’Connor and I absolutely love what he designed for this film: the attention to detail in each character’s wardrobe means you never run out of interesting elements to look at.

The director and costume designer chose to go with an 1840’s time period for this film, because they liked the styles from that decade more than those of the 1830’s, and I am inclined to agree with them. I am not enamoured with the large sleeves and shorter hems of the 30’s, so I’m happy they gave Jane the much more elegant looks of the 40’s.

1833 and 1848 illustrated fashion plates

I am not an authority on early Victorian fashion by any means, but I appreciate the, seemingly, quite historically accurate costumes of this film. Some historical dramas try to modernize the characters’ dress, which can sometimes be jarring, as well as becoming easy to spot as time goes on. (For example, the animated Snow White and Cinderella by Disney are easily recognizable as being from the 1930’s and 1950’s respectively.) In this version of Jane Eyre, they chose to keep the garments and even hairstyles accurate to the time period the story was set in, even if some of those fashions are decidedly unpopular today. Why do historical films always skip the bonnets, right? While most of us won’t be sporting 1840’s dresses for daywear anytime soon, there is still so much inspiration to be found in the costumes of Jane Eyre.

Ps. This interview from Vanity Fair gives a bit more insight into the choices of the director and costume designer.

One key feature of Jane’s wardrobe is her subdued and dark colour palette. She wears several shades of grey, black, brown, deep plum, and dark blue. She also later wears an earthy tan/pink. While these dark colours are specifically used to create a moody feel for the film, I think they also reflect an aspect of Jane’s character: her practicality. Dark colours are a sensible choice for clothing, since they don’t require as much washing or stain removal in the same way light colours do.

Queen Victoria was married in 1840 and was the first to bring popularity to the idea of a white wedding dress: the light colour of the dress made her easier to see, and was a dress fit for royalty (or at least someone who had an army of laundresses at their disposal). While Victoria’s dress caused a stir in the fashion world (that remains to this day), for most people, dark coloured clothes were a much wiser choice. Even today, many work clothes and outerwear are made of darker coloured cloth. While grey and black might not be good colours for everyone, I still take inspiration from Jane’s costumes in choosing more practicable colours for items of clothing that aren’t easily laundered. For example, instead of choosing a cream coloured dry-clean-only, wool winter coat, perhaps navy would be a smarter choice.

jane eyre wearing the same dress 3 times

I also appreciate that Jane has a sort of “capsule” wardrobe; which is really what a standard wardrobe for any time period, before the modern era of fast fashion, would have been. She is consistently seen repeating the same small selection of dresses throughout the film. One nice thing about wearing dresses, is that they are such a quick and easy outfit. You don’t have to worry about finding a matching blouse or skirt, because a dress is a one step outfit, all ready to go!

Another very clever idea from the past that Jane utilizes in her outfits, is wearing separate collars and cuffs. Having one dress, but several separate collar and cuff sets to pair with that dress results in many different looks. While it might not be a dramatic change, it still adds variety to your wardrobe. Accessories really are the best tools for stretching your “capsule” wardrobe. And, on the topic of laundry again, cuffs and collars tend to get dirty before the rest of the garment, so this makes them easy to clean. Also, if the cuffs wear out, it’s easy to make new ones without having to make an entirely new dress!

Jane’s costumes are all very pared back versions of the 1840’s fashions. When you compare her black evening dress to Blanche Ingram’s, you can see how subdued Jane’s dress is. While her dresses are not as frilly and fancy as the wealthy women’s dresses, her clothing choices are still far from boring and there are so many subtle details in her clothes.

jane eyres plaid grey dresses

For example, the patterns in Jane’s dresses are classic prints such as plaids and dots which have been pieced to form interesting designs. In her plaid gowns, the diagonal piecing on the bodice is gorgeous. There are also lots of visually interesting bows, ruched sections and elegant V shaped bodices. There’s so much inspiration for future sewing projects!

I personally prefer Jane’s understated elegance over the frilly fashions of the early Victorian period. My favourite styles from the past are ones that are more classic than trendy- which it is still true for my wardrobe today.

jane eyre wearing a lace bonnet

I also like how Jane’s character and style stays consistent throughout. Even when she buys new dresses and bonnets and spends more on her clothing, she doesn’t slavishly follow the trends. Her more expensive clothing doesn’t clash with what we know of Jane from before.

jane eyre 1840's style wedding dress and bonnet

Her wedding dress is a good look at the consistency of her style. Despite Rochester’s wish to lavish her with jewels and rich fabrics, this dress is still rather restrained compared to wedding dresses of the time. Queen Victoria’s aforementioned wedding dress is much more opulent than Jane’s, and we can’t imagine Jane feeling comfortable in something like that. Even this wedding dress is a little too fine for Jane’s taste.

jane eyre light grey plaid dress

Throughout the film, Jane remains true to her personal style, and wears garments that are flattering to her particular body type and style, which is a great reminder for us all to choose to wear what we like and what we look good in, despite what the trends may be at the time.

Another iconic element of Jane’s look is her signature hairstyle. I’m not a big fan of hairstyles from the 1840’s: they were really into the centre part (which is apparently coming back in?).

While lots of upper class women wore their hair in ringlets (see Blanche Ingram again), Jane wears hers in an easier to keep style- a low bun with loops over her ears. She wears variations on this look- sometimes more elaborate like for her wedding, and sometimes simpler, like when she is living in the cottage. I like that Jane has a signature look, and one that she can easily maintain and execute herself. This is a lesson that I have learned over time: find a hairstyle that works for you! This is why I usually wear my hair in a chin length bob with bangs- it just works for me. I don’t have to fight with it, or set it every night (only to find that the curls fall out by midday) etc. While it’s sometimes fun to change it up, find your signature hairstyle and run with it!

jane eyre wearing a hooded cloak

One final element of Jane’s wardrobe that I absolutely love are her capes and shawls. While capes have been mostly replaced by coats nowadays, there is just something so elegant and dramatic about a cape, isn’t there? (Especially if it has a hood!) They are perfect to wear over dresses if you have a full skirt and your coat isn’t wide enough to accommodate it. Oh, and they are cosy too. A shawl is also the perfect thing to wear on a chilly day (even indoors); they are easy to put on and take off as needed, and are nicer to wear than trying to bundle up on the sofa in a blanket!

jane eyre wearing different shawls

Well, this isn’t an exhaustive list of all of the costumes of Jane Eyre, but these are some of my favourites from this film. Have you seen this version or Jane Eyre and what did you think of it? What parts of her wardrobe do you like? And which version of Jane Eyre is your favourite?

jane eyre wearing her evening dress

Looking Forward to Fall, From My Fashion Scrapbook

Vogue 1998 photo of a girl wearing a fur coat and a flower crown looking out a window

On a cold, blustery Fall day like today, it’s the perfect time to look through my fashion scrapbook for some seasonal inspiration! It’s still technically Summer, but it’s time to start phasing out the summer dresses and straw hats, and replacing them with wool layers and berets. In this in-between stage of seasons, I like to merge and slowly transition to the next season of clothing. Here are some of my favourite fashion photos from the past that I’ve saved in my scrapbook!

vogue october 1998 photo spread of a girl wearing a tan skirt suit, an oversized fur collar lying in the grass looking at a building

This is one of my favourite photo shoots of all time! (It includes both of these photos above) By Angela Lindvall for the Vogue October 1998 issue, this picture, above, is inspired by the Andrew Wyeth painting “Christina’s World” and it’s beautiful!

smokey eye makeup and a wool camel coat

I really like this bold yet soft makeup look for Fall and Winter. I’m not sure if it would suit me very well, personally, but I really like that 20’s inspired smudged look!

two women walking in the woods wearing pink and yellow fur coats and dresses

I know that people have conflicting feelings about fur, but I personally love the look. If it is ethically sourced or vintage, I have no problem with it, though I do understand why some people don’t. Gorgeous fur coats and collars are beautiful for cool weather!

fur collars and dramatic wool coats

paris inspired vogue 1998 photoshoot

Again, from that same 1998 Vogue magazine (so many good photos in that one!) is this lovely European inspired photo shoot. Again a lovely fur stole, this time paired with a fabulous feathered hat.

elegant winter wool coats

If fur isn’t your thing, though, there are so many beautiful wool coats for cool weather. I love my vintage cashmere coat, and will treasure it forever!

walking down a lane wearing burberry

And here’s another from Burberry in 1998; again such a classic coat for cooler days.

checked blouse and wool skirt in a grassy field

velvet and wool coat with a dramatic feel

bold octaganal sunglasses

I don’t think this is technically a Fall image, but I love the colours and patterns of these bold sunglasses and zebra collar combination.

retro inspired fall layered look

The socks and shoes pairing was definitely a trend a few years ago, but I actually don’t mind it as far as trends go, because it’s inspired by the even older trend of bobby socks and saddle shoes!

ralph lauren ad

I’ll end with this gaucho and blazer look from Armani, below, in 1998- it’s so classic that you could wear this today and look just as fresh.

Armani gaucho layered outfit

If you come across vintage fashion magazines in the thrift stores, buy them! They have so much good fashion inspiration and, because they are no longer trendy, you can really sift through the looks and determine which pieces were trendy and which pieces are classics. If you can look at a fashion spread from years ago and pick out pieces that you’d wear today, then you know you’ve hit on a Classic!

Which are your favourite looks of these? Do you like to page through old fashion magazines? It’s not as popular today, in the days of Pinterest, but do you save magazine clippings?

Fashion Library: Favourite Editorial Books for Inspiration

stack of fashion books

I’ve mentioned before that I dedicate a lot of space on my bookshelves to fashion books. As nice as the internet and Pinterest can be for inspiration and information, there is still something great about pulling out a book and paging through beautiful fashion spreads.

I have several fashion books in my personal library that are editorial in style, and I love to look through them and see some of the best moments of modern fashion history (mostly from the 20th century). These are some of my favourite books that really helped to define my interest in fashion. If you are looking to add some books to your own library, or just want to page through some amazing fashion spreads, then these are my favourites!

Vogue: The Covers book

“Vogue: The Covers”

by Dodie Kazanjian and published by Abrams Books

This lovely book is what sparked the idea for the #MyVintageCover challenge here on the blog, and on Instagram. This book is divided by decade, and each section begins with a brief written introduction to that era. Then, as suggested by the name of the book, the rest of the pages are is filled with images of Vogue covers. Each cover is labeled with the date and name of either the illustrator or photographer. Some of the covers also have the model’s name included.

Vogue: The Covers page

My one frustration with the book is that the covers are not arranged chronologically, which is a missed opportunity, in my opinion, to show the progression of fashion throughout the years. However, I do still love this book for inspiration for my own cover reproductions and to see what couture fashion was popular in each era.

Grace book cover

“Grace: 30 Years of Fashion at Vogue”

by Grace Coddington and published by Phaidon Press

This is an absolutely stunning coffee table book. I would never have bought a book like this ($$$) but I actually won it in a contest on Instagram several years ago. I never win contests, so even if I never win another thing ever again in my life, this was a worthwhile prize!  If you can find a copy of this one, it is absolutely gorgeous and I love looking through it whenever I want a little bit of fantastical editorial fashion inspiration.

Grace book pages

Grace Coddington was the artistic director at Vogue magazine, and this is a compilation of some of her work over the years. She has stories sprinkled throughout the book, sharing details of the shoots and where her inspiration came from, as well as full-page photo spreads. It’s a beautiful look into the world of fashion photography and the large size of the book makes the images all the more beautiful.

Grace Coddington book pages

There is such a depth and richness in film photography, which makes up the majority of the book, and the creativity of the print medium gives me such a feeling of nostalgia whenever I page through this book. Sadly, many modern fashion spreads seem to have lost that beauty and creativity, so this is a lovely look through history.

A Matter of Fashion book cover

“A Matter of Fashion: 20 Iconic Items that Changed the History of Style”

edited by Valeria Manferto De Fabianis and published by White Star Publishers

Gifted to me by a friend, this book highlights 20 iconic fashion moments and how they impacted the fashion world. Some of the items seem rather underwhelming to me, but I do agree that jeans, the trench coat, the Kelly bag and the stiletto are definitely pieces that changed the trajectory of modern fashion. And what do I know? Perhaps the rest of the items I’d never heard of really did radically change the evolution of fashion, like “the cerulean sweater” of The Devil Wears Prada.

A Matter of Fashion book pages

This book goes through the history and details of each item, and then features a lot of fashion photography and illustrations that are always enjoyable to look at.

Vogue book covers

“Vogue: The Shoe” by Harriet Quick & “Vogue: The Jewellery” by Carol Woolton

Published by Conran Octopus

Vogue The Shoe pages

So many of these books are about Vogue, but really it’s such an iconic magazine! These two large coffee table books are part of the Vogue Portfolio Series and are a deep dive into one specific item of fashion: the shoe and jewellery. Featuring images from across the decades, these books highlight a wide variety of styles- from practical to fanciful- and then include information about the designers and other interesting details.

Vogue the Jewellery pages

Again, I never tire of looking at beautiful fashion photography from any era. There is another other book in this series, Vogue: The Gown. I saw it for sale secondhand and I didn’t buy it, which I kind of regret, but maybe someday I will come across it again!

Vintage Fashion book cover

“Vintage Fashion: Collecting and Wearing Designer Classics”

published by Carlton Books

I took the dust jacket off of this one, because it was ripped, but I kept the cover image so I just sat it on top for the photo. This book is kind of an overview, or beginners guide, to vintage fashion. It’s got some great vintage fashion photography and interesting information about the designers and iconic styles of each era.

Vintage Fashion page

For example, it explains many different movements, from Dior’s New Look silhouettes of the 1950’s to the Youthquake of the 60’s. It also highlights design movements, such as Modernism, Orientalism, and Punk. For each section there is also a page of “Key Looks of the Decade”, which is helpful to get a good overview of a decade.

Vintage Fashion decade overview page

So those are the six books that I currently have that fall into this category of “editorial style” fashion, and thus concludes this mini series of posts about fashion books. I love fashion books, so I am sure I will add more to my collection as I find them. And, I will share them here too, because it is quite nice to see reviews before you buy!

What are some of your favourite fashion books? Have you paged through any of these titles? Do you have any other good recommendations to check out? 

book stack