vintage

Every Day is Dress Up Day

every day is dress up day the artyologist

So continuing on the theme of Tuesday’s post, I’ve been thinking lately about the term “dress up”.

A few weeks ago, someone (and not in a negative way at all- but in a simply curious way) asked me whether I was going somewhere special that day, because I was all “dressed up”. When I had gotten dressed that morning I had chosen a rather casual outfit for the day, since I knew it would be spent mostly at home. I was wearing a t-shirt, a cotton pleated skirt, some sparkly earrings, and flat shoes. This was not an outfit I had taken a great amount of effort on: I had simply grabbed the most comfortable garments I had to wear. However, in the eyes of many people (at least where I live) since I wasn’t wearing jeans and a t-shirt I had to be going somewhere special, and the question threw me off a bit, since I have gotten so used to dressing this way everyday.

The question started me thinking about how my own personal perception of the phrase “dressing up” has changed so much in the past few years, since I started wearing vintage, and how I now view clothing.

When I was in Grade 1, my mom made me a fuchsia satin dress for my birthday, It had a sweetheart neckline, puffed sleeves and a full gathered skirt. Quite simply, it was an amazing dress, and a dream come true for a 6 year old. I wore it that day to school, and many other occasions as well. I’m sure that people smiled at the sight of a little girl at recess, or grocery shopping in a satin pink dress, but I was completely oblivious, and to me it was completely normal. (Really who wouldn’t want to wear a fuchsia satin dress if they had one?) I was lucky that, growing up, my mom sewed for me, as my closet was never lacking in the wonderful clothes she made for me.

Somewhere along the way though, I guess I decided that dresses just got in the way and I entered a season in my life that lasted many years. Jeans and t-shirts were the everyday staples of my wardrobe up until my late teens. I did, however, still love the fashions of yesteryear, and Victorian and Regency fashions were my favourite eras. I loved historical fashion, but I never integrated those styles into my everyday wardrobe so I resigned myself to wearing casual, “modern” styles, and the styles of yesteryear were relegated to “costumes” only.

And then, a few years ago, I discovered Vintage. I’m not really sure how I found it; probably link hopping on sewing blogs until I found a vintage sewing blog, which then led me to the online vintage community.

Finally I felt like I had come home. I had dabbled a bit with vintage sewing before for costumes (as many of the pattern companies were reissuing their vintage patterns) but I had never met anyone who wore those clothes as daily wear. Suddenly I was faced with the idea of wearing those styles. . .  everyday. It had never occurred to me that that was possible, but with the discovery of vintage blogs, suddenly a whole world opened to me. It didn’t matter that I didn’t personally know anyone who dressed like that- I knew that there were people out there in the world who did- and I could join them!!

So I embraced vintage. I didn’t start out with gloves and hats and petticoats the first day- it was a gradual shift to where I am at in my style today- where almost every item is, either true vintage, or vintage inspired reproduction, and vintage appropriate (to use a term coined by Jessica).

When I embraced vintage dressing, my outlook on clothing changed as well. Or maybe it just reverted to what I thought when I was six: Clothes are fun, and are a great expression of who you are.

The main thing that I have discovered about dressing in an alternative style (which I definitely think Vintage is) is that it is not dictated by trends the way modern fashion is. It is in fact outside of the trends. (Although you definitely see more “popular” vintage styles- rockabilly, 50’s etc) If you want to wear trousers that is great. If you want to wear dresses that is great too. Wear a pink satin dress to school if you feel like it.

vintage is as varied as the people who lived before us the artyologist

Vintage is as varied as the people who lived before us.

One day you can be Dior’s New Look of the 50’s, the next Rosie the Riveter of the 40’s, and the next a Bright Young Thing of the 20’s. Or maybe you want to be all three at once. Who’s to stop you? You can have absolute freedom to express and create who you want to be. Fashion can reveal so much about the person you are and what you want to portray to the world. And I think that in a society that has become increasingly and extremely casual, vintage lovers stand out; not only for wearing a very different style, but also for the fact that we dress up.

By the term “dress up”, I don’t mean that we are literally wearing dresses, or even wearing dressy fabrics, every day, but that we are putting effort into our fashion choices, and curating a particular “look”. In a society where sometimes people seem to be looking for any excuse to dress down, rather than dress up, I think it is so great that an entire subculture of people has decided to rebel in our own little way, by specifically choosing to be different. We are putting effort into our fashion choices: it could be vintage denim or a velvet cocktail dress- but there is one thing in common: intentionally choosing to express a different and unique style.

So really. I said that dressing up doesn’t refer to costumes, but don’t you think “dressing up” really does after all? I say, Everyday is Dress Up Day- who do you want to be today?

who do you want to be today the artyologist

A Fashion Moment With McCall’s Treasury of Needlecraft

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft front cover the artyologist

Today’s Fashion Moment is brought to you by The McCall’s Treasury of Needlecraft.

We inherited this book from my Grandma. It was published in 1955 and is a pattern book and resource guide for all kinds of needlecraft, including knitting, crocheting, embroidery, tatting, lacework, and more. It is a great book that offers a glimpse into what crafty ladies from the era were making. I sometimes think that so much of what women wore back then was store bought, or came from the famous fashion houses, when of course women were (and still are today!) replicating many of the trends of the day themselves, either because of cost or just creativity. It’s nice to see what everyday women were wearing.

If I could knit or crochet, I would own almost everything in this book in a heartbeat. However, since I don’t knit or crochet, I will have to content myself with just looking at the pictures. (And perhaps seeking out someone whom I can bribe to make me everything in this book.)

This book includes plenty of patterns for hats and accessories, and many of them are matching sets. Today I bring you hat pictures, but don’t worry! There are so many good images here, there will be definitely be future instalments!

So, without further ado, shall we take a peek inside?

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

A closer look at these two lovelies- the hats are nice, but look at that eyeliner!!! Gorgeous!!

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

Not sure how I feel about wearing a doily on my head. . . thoughts?

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

A Sequin Set, and Three Accessories That Glitter- add a bit of sparkle to your look!

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

I love that hat. . . crown . .  cap? Whatever it is, I’m adding it to the list of projects now!

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

A Queen Amidala inspired look. . . 

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

Put your money on the outside of your bag rather than inside it. . . 

McCall's Treasury of Needlecraft the artyologist

And let’s end on this sweet classic look with a lovely bag and hat combination. I really want to see the rest of the outfit. . .  is that a shirt or a coat? I can’t tell!

So, which one caught your eye? Do you knit or crochet? Would you make any of these styles?

Peony Hued

peony hued the artyologist
As sad as I am to see the end of lilac season, we are now entering peony season, and that is a reason to celebrate! If I had to choose a favourite flower (and really who could do that?), I would choose a peony. Peonies come in so many hues, ranging from dark fuchsias, to soft blush pinks, to creamy whites. They come in single and double petal varieties, and can have spiky or rounded petals. My favourites are the double flowering blush pink varieties, with their massive, deeply layered petals and heavenly scent.

This ensemble I wore last Sunday reminded me of peonies; because the hat is accented with one, and because the colours were in the same shades as the flowers.

image of peony and hat the artyologist

peony the artyologist

I was so glad that we had a sunny day in the middle of the rain we’ve had lately, because as I mentioned in my last post, I wanted to wear my new hat- but the hat stiffener is water soluble! The day dawned beautifully though- and I was glad to be able to wear it out for the first time.

When I was planning what to pair with my hat, I looked in my closet only to discover that I had nothing to go with it. 🙁 Then, I remembered this dress. This is the first time I have worn this dress, and it is a special one, because it was my Great-Grandmother’s dress. She wore it in the 1950’s to her son’s wedding. This past January my Aunt and Uncle were clearing out their basement, and they found it hanging in one of the closets. They asked whether I wanted it, thinking that it was probably my Grandma’s dress, but when I talked with her she said it was actually her mother’s dress. There are not many vintage garments in our family that have survived through the years, so it is special to have one of the few pieces that is still in wearable condition. (We also have my Grandma’s wedding dress, but it is in very tattered shape. Maybe one day I’ll put pictures of it on here?)

The dress has suffered a little bit of damage, and was quite musty after being stored in a basement for so many years, but the good thing is that it is polyester taffeta, rather than a more fragile material like silk, and so the stains came out, and the smell is (mostly) gone after a good airing out. (You can still slightly smell the mustiness if you stick your nose right into the cloth, but usually people don’t do that to a dress someone is wearing. Although you never know. . . )

I am so glad that I got this dress though, and can give it a second life after so many years. It was lovely to wear a vintage garment that I know the history of, rather than wondering, “Who wore this?”. Sometimes I wonder at the stories vintage garments could tell. . .

Do you ever wonder at the history behind your vintage pieces? Do you have any vintage pieces handed down from your family?

vintage hat and dress closeup the artyologist

hand and peony the artyologist

back of hat and peony the artyologist

vintage 1950's dress the artyologist

image of vintage 1950's pink dress and peonies

image of bee and peony the artyologist

image of 1950's vintage pink dress the artyologist

water droplets peony and back of dress the artyologist

peony 1 the artyologist

Why Everyone Needs A Flower Covered Hat

image of simplicity 1777 and flower covered hat the artyologist

Quite simply put, flower covered hats are the best.

Sometimes elegant and graceful, sometimes verging on the point of ridiculous, they inject a bright touch of colour and fun to any outfit they are paired with. Flower covered hats have been around since, well forever, considering that women (and men!) used to wear wreaths of flowers in their hair in ancient Greek culture even before traditional hats were “invented”.

Adorning the heads of women the world around, throughout history and still today, it’s no surprise that flowers are so popular for headwear, considering they are so naturally beautiful. Flowers add a lovely touch to any ensemble, whether there is one flower or many, whether they form a crown, an accent or a full fledged hat, whether they are real or fake or whether they are brightly coloured or muted pastels. There is just something about wearing flowers in one’s hair that adds that sweet touch of whimsy to any ensemble.

image of grass and simplicity 1777 and flower covered hat the artyologist

Now take this outfit for example, I wore last Sunday. Without the floral hat, this navy dress would be prim, proper and conservative. Adding a peach and coral flower covered hat however, takes it from a quiet and traditional vintage look, to one resembling the vibrant and eccentric early 1960’s. It kind of reminds me of the bridal hats of that era, except for the fact it’s not white. 🙂

It was the perfect thing to wear, on Sunday for two reasons. One, since we’ve had a rainy stretch lately, and are in need of a touch of spring, a floral hat reminded me of the fact that the rain will not last forever! 🙂 (I actually like the rain, but still, a Spring hat was needed)

And reason number two, we are 2/3 of the way through the month of May, and I pledged to wear each of my handmade garments this month. (Read about Me Made May here) This hat and dress are two of the items I made that I still needed to wear, so Sunday was the day!

I actually made this hat a couple of years ago, but it wasn’t very good, and every time I attempted to wear the hat, it just looked stupid. Really it did. So this last week I examined it to see why exactly it was stupid and I came to the conclusion that I had made the cap too small, so it didn’t look like a hat, and it was too large to be an accent or fascinator. With that realization, I was able to fix the hat by adding two bunches of flowers to the ends, so it now comes down to the ears like a crown (or bridal hat!) instead of just floating on my head without any purpose. Note to self- do not make hats too small, or they look ridiculous!

image of trench coat and flower covered hat the artyologist

Anyways, I’m not sure what era this outfit is supposed to resemble, since the hat looks late 50’s/ early 60’s to me, but the dress is Simplicity 1777, a 1940’s repro pattern, and the shoes also resemble the platforms of the 1940’s. Whatever, that’s the nice thing about living in this day and age- we can choose what we want to wear. And hopefully for you that includes a flower covered hat 🙂

So, what do you think of wearing flowers on your head? Do ever wear hats with flower accents?

image of flower covered peach hat the artyologist

image of grassflowers the artyologist

image of flower covered hat and simplicity 1777 the artyologist

image of simplicity 1777 and flower covered hatThis unique and dramatic pose is called “the Goose” 😉 Don’t you think?

image of log with moss the artyologist

image of leaves and peach flower covered hat the artyologist

image of purse the artyologist

image of grassflower and simplicity 1777 dress