Have you ever stopped to think about how many of the words we use daily are actually military terms that have sifted down into everyday use? Words such as ‘khaki”, which now means a dull greenish tan colour, but originated from the Persian word for “dust” that was used to describe the uniforms of the soldiers stationed in the Middle East. Or the word “alarm” which originally came from the Italian phrase “all’ arme!” meaning “to arms!” The phrase “top brass” refers to a person of authority. There is debate about where the term came from, but it most likely originated because of the brass insignias officers wear to denote rank. Or even the term “navy blue”, which again hearkens back to the colour of the uniforms worn by the British Navy.
This all may seem rather unrelated to anything, but I started thinking about this when I wrote a note to myself to remember this outfit. I wrote: “Navy Dress/ Red Coat” which immediately called to mind, of course, the Navy and the Red Coats, (a slang term for the British Army). Completely by accident, this outfit I wore last week is even rather military inspired. The buttoned red velvet jacket, the fluffy navy blue hat, and even the touches of brass jewellery. I’ve got a bit of both the Army and the Navy showing through in this outfit, so of course a military/exploration inspired photo shoot was in order. There’s nothing I love better than a good theme. 😉 I wish I’d had a flag I could have posed with, to mark the territory I conquered, but as I didn’t, you’ll have to make believe with the walking stick I grabbed off of an obliging dead tree, the binoculars I used to spy out enemy territory, and this decrepit old bunker I have claimed as mine. All done while being fashionably attired of course. 😉
Happy New Years everyone! I hope that you all had a lovely and relaxing holiday season. I’ve had a lovely couple of weeks spent with family and visiting friends. I was pretty much “unplugged” for a week of that, and I must say that, although I don’t think I’m really addicted to my technology, it was so nice to just relax and focus on something other than writing a blog post, posting on instagram, responding to comments and generally falling down the rabbit hole of social media and the blogosphere! I haven’t really been reading anyone else’s blog posts either- so that is one of the things I’m looking forward to doing now that I am getting back into the swing of everyday routines.
I had thought about sharing a “best of 2016” post, for my first post of the year, as I’ve seen many other bloggers doing- a sort of year in review. But then I thought that since I have been blogging less than a year, there wouldn’t be that much to share, as I don’t love a lot of my early posts, (back when I was still getting the hang of this whole blogging thing). And then I thought about sharing, “Goals for 2017” or some such thing, but I am not organized enough for that. 😉 So instead, what better way to start off a fresh New Year, than with an outfit post with pictures of an outfit from last year, right? So, today I’m sharing what I wore for Christmas Day.
I had two main requirements with what to wear on Christmas day this year. The first was finding something that was comfortable, as we all know that the key to a good Christmas outfit is something that you don’t have to fuss with. My other consideration was something that was nice enough to wear to church, as I didn’t want to spend the entire morning getting ready. This year, for the first time in my life, I got to attend church on Christmas, as the holiday fell on a Sunday this year. However, as Christmas morning is such a busy time for our family, as we open presents and have brunch in the morning, I didn’t have a lot of time to get ready, and so I wanted to wear something that I could throw on quickly and look nice without taking too much time out of an already full morning.
So, when trying to decide what fell into that criteria, this skirt instantly came to mind. This skirt strikes the perfect balance: it is able to dress up or down, depending on the situation, and it is also so comfortable and warm. I have worn this combination of striped shirt and skirt several times now (I am actually wearing it right now as I type this, so it’s definitely a tried and true!). I’ve also worn this skirt with a chiffon blouse here, and with a myriad of other combinations that I haven’t shown on the blog. It is just so versatile, which is why I decided to wear it on Christmas day. The one problem that I used to have with this skirt, which is why last winter it didn’t get as much use as it has this year, is that last winter I only had brown winter boots. I find it very hard to pair brown and grey- I have seen it successfully done before- but I always get so stuck on that combination. Maybe it is because I have too many neutrals going on in my wardrobe in both cool and warm tones: a navy purse, a camel coat, brown boots. a grey skirt, a black hat- yikes! What a disaster that would be all paired together.
In order to create a more cohesive wardrobe, I have recently purchased two pairs of black winter boots though (shh… don’t tell anyone!) I purchased a pair of black, faux fur lined ankle boots in November, when a couple of weeks later, I came across these lace up boots in another shoe store. I could not say no to these boots as I have been looking for a pair of Edwardian styled boots for years. When the right boots come along, you can’t say no. They are definitely an investment- and besides they were on sale 😉
So, that is what I wore on Christmas day- and it proved to be a good outfit choice. It wasn’t overtly “christmassy”- in fact the only Christmas item was the earrings. I’m not really into holiday themed outfits though- so it was fine with me.
How was your Christmas and New Year? What are your main considerations for a good Holiday outfit? Do you like to wear very “holiday” themed items, or not?
I own approximately six evening / cocktail dresses. (I didn’t actually get up and check because I am feeling lazy right now, but I can remember six off the top of my head) I attend approximately zero cocktail parties each year. Thus, I have a lot of dresses that don’t get worn that often ever, so every time I find even half of an excuse to wear one, I take it! Last weekend was the Christmas party we have every year on my mom’s side of the family, and though it isn’t a dressy party by any means, I jumped at the chance to dress up in a “Christmas” ensemble with one of the neglected cocktail dresses.
I picked this dress up at the thrift store last year, and though it isn’t something I would normally gravitate to, as it is made out of some kind of parachute material and knitted polyester, it is a surprisingly versatile dress to have. It is true that you should never underestimate the power of an LBD! The first time I wore this dress, was to a swing dance with a theme of “Dancing Under the Stars”. When I wore it that time, I quickly grabbed some gold star garland and fashioned a crown so my outfit would fit the theme of “stars”. I quite liked that outfit, so when I was thinking of what to wear to this party, I decided another crown of stars would be just the thing. I cut out some stars from faux leather, painted them gold and then glued them to a headband. It turned out nicely and is a much more permanent, and slightly fancier, alternative to a tinsel crown 🙂 I think that the stars are just the sort of thing that a flapper would have worn in the twenties, or maybe something a sprite would wear while flitting about the winter woods.
Anyways, I have nothing else much to say about this outfit, so I’ll stop typing now 🙂
Old things are just prettier. Don’t you agree? OK, I guess not all old things, as I have seen my fair share of terrible old things too, but as a general rule, old things are just prettier. The packaging is more thoughtful, the details are a bit more unique and the fact that they have lasted this long already, and have a story of their own, makes them just a bit more special.
I used to hate thrifting, because you could never find what you were looking for. But then, about 5 years ago I realized- that’s exactly the fun of thrifting. You never know what you are going to find and it’s like a treasure hunt. Now, I love to go to the local store about once a week, if I can. My local thrift store is a community store staffed by all volunteers (most of whom are older ladies) and all of the money they make goes directly back into the community (by giving the proceeds to the Boy Scouts, Cadets and Santa’s Anonymous etc.) I love to shop there because they get a ton of stuff donated, there are always new things out on the floor, and their main concern is really in getting it out the door, so they keep the prices very low, and every once in a while, when they have too much stock, they have a half price sale. The funny thing about thrift shopping is that I get into a bit of unrealistic bubble about prices, and then I catch myself saying “$3.00 for this vintage wool skirt? I don’t know, I wish I could have gotten it for $1.50 when it was the half price sale.” Oh right. . . $3.00 is a pretty amazing deal.
The past few weeks have been pretty good, and I have found quite a few thrifting treasures, so I thought that I would share them with you.
This piece has a bit of damage, where it looks like the dye has faded or discoloured, and some seams that need to be resewn. Since it is a larger size, it won’t be a problem to bring in the kimono sleeves a bit, though. It feels like a acetate fabric or something of the kind, and is rather lightweight, and has the prettiest metal rhinestone buttons and buckle on the front. It is about 2 inches too short for me, but it has a really wide hem, so I am going to let the hem down to amend that problem.
This dress has a lot of damage, and is going to require quite a bit of help, but the fabric was just so pretty, and it has flipped up sleeve cuffs . . . it was calling to me! It is some kind of artificial rayon/taffeta fabric (it is drapey like a rayon, but heavy like a taffeta). There are areas of the fabric that are shredded, like it got pulled apart, so I am going to see if I can fix them by patching from the underside. So, needs a bit of work before I can wear it.
This one is too small for me in the hips 🙁 It fits perfectly in the top though, and since there is a hole in the skirt, I am going to transform this into a shirt. I know some people feel that vintage shouldn’t be altered, but since this piece is damaged as it is, I am OK with changing it; especially as I know enough about sewing to not destroy it! By refashioning this piece into a shirt, it will have a second life, and I will finally have a winter appropriate top to wear with my favourite pleated wool skirt! I like the fact that is brown, black and grey too, so it will coordinate with a lot of things I have in my wardrobe.
Next are the bags of sewing notions! I found two ziploc bags full of wooden spools of thread and other assorted vintage sewing notions. I love wooden spools- it’s so sad that spools are plastic now, don’t you think? There were thirty eight spools, and I love the variety of colours, and the labels too.
These are some of my favourites. Top L-R: 1. I love the carved end of this spool. 2. This colour of green is so perfect. 3. I just liked this label. Middle L-R: 1.Another pretty blue. 2. This is the label for the blue spool. I’ve never heard of “The Canadian Spool Cotton Co.” 3. This deep royal/navy blue thread is so shiny and smooth. Bottom L-R: 1.Another carved spool and this time for silk thread. 2.This is the silk thread, a grey/mauve colour, and it is so pretty and . . . well. . . silky 😉 3. And the last one: there are two unopened spools of lilac. I guess I’m not the only one who buys thread for a project, and then never gets around to using it 🙂
The elastic thread that accompanied this paper was long past useable, but this little instruction booklet has some great illustrations, don’t you think? They all look rather 1950’s in style to me, but the logo says “known over 50 years for Quality, Style, Value” and as the company started in the 1920’s, I guess it would date this paper as the 1970’s. Maybe the illustrations weren’t current, but rather a throwback to earlier times, or maybe they just never updated their illustration style?
Two lovely vintage books. They didn’t have a price on them, so the lady gave them to me for $0.25 each! #thriftscore
When you doubt whether your outfit is really festive enough, just add this corsage. Instant Christmas kitsch! How could I resist it? Also, these ornaments were just in a ziploc bag, and tossed into a bin. I don’t think they realized that they are glass! One was broken (fortunately it was a modern and ugly one) but all these vintage ones were intact, albeit a little scratched, but that’s OK. 🙂
And, one “extra special” bonus treasure that was also included in the same ziploc bag, was this Limited Edition beauty from 1986. This is literally a glass ornament, with plastic wrapped around it. Yes, that nativity picture is a piece of shrink wrap. Why was this a Limited Edition (with capital letters)? And the better question to ask ourselves is, why did someone buy it in the first place?
Have you found any great treasures lately? (I’d love to hear about them!) Do you like thrifting items if they need to be fixed or altered, or do you stick with only things that are good “as is”? And, what are your feelings on refashioning damaged vintage items?