vintage

How to Wear Those “Problem Garments”

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, vintage shirtwaist dress

(OK, I seriously just spent about an hour trying to come up with a better blog title than this, but this is the best I can come up with. And now that it’s 11:00 pm, I’m going to say that’s good enough. And goodnight!)

I had every intention of taking this turquoise shirtwaist dress out of my closet and selling it. But I thought I should do one photo shoot with it before it was gone forever. And then I saw these photos and . . . decided that I will be keeping this dress after all! I found it in a thrift shop two years ago and it fits like a dream. I think it is an original 1950’s dress, although it could have been made later perhaps too, and I believe it is a home-sew, as there is no tag.

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, walking in a wheat field

So, why would I want to get rid of this dress?

Well, I have owned it for a few years, and I have worn it perhaps. . . five times. I never reach for it when I go to get dressed, and almost every time I wear it, I don’t like how I have styled it (which is why it hasn’t appeared on the blog before). It just never seems to work with anything. Since my wardrobe is full of warm neutral tones, a vibrant dress like this one stands out like a sore thumb. Especially since I’m trying to create a more “cohesive wardrobe”.

So how do you reconcile those “problem” garments you have, which don’t seem to go with anything or work with the rest of your closet? Here are some tips I literally just invented right now while looking at these photos (and trying to decipher why this outfit “worked” this time around), but the tips worked for me when I wore this problem dress, so maybe they’ll help you too! 😉

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, vintage turquoise shirtwaist dress

Resist the temptation to over-accessorize.

I think one of the hallmarks of vintage style is the accessories. While modern girls would call a t-shirt, jeans and a scarf an ensemble, vintage girls won’t consider it complete until you’ve got a hat, purse, gloves, stockings, shoes, necklace, earrings, scarf, ring, and parasol. OK, maybe not all of those things at once, but you see what I mean! The problem comes in when you are trying to accessorize a problem garment, and none of your regular accessories match very well. This is when paring down the number of accessories might be a good idea. I always tried to pair this shirtwaist with a matching purse, belt, shoes, hat, jewellery and . . . I discovered that it is just too much. Nothing seemed to “go” and the style of this dress actually works well with a relatively small number of accessories. And I don’t have to worry about looking overdone. My accessories choices for this outfit consisted only of brown laceup shoes, a cognac belt, and (though you can’t even see them in the photos) my pearl earrings. Simple, and definitely not overdone.

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, vintage shirtwaist dress, details

Try sticking with one accent colour, or shades of the same colour.

This time I chose my brown lace up flats and a cognac belt. Keeping the accessories to one neutral colour, and shades within a hue, allows the dress to stand out. The dress is bright and it doesn’t need more colour to go with it. Of course, I could have chosen a bright colour such as fuchsia, which would look amazing with this turquoise colour, but that would not have been very “me”. Choosing brown accessories made this bright outfit not feel like too much of a deviation from my regular style. Conversely, if you are wearing a neutral outfit and are having trouble choosing what to pair with it, try one brighter colour such as mint green or royal blue. The effect is just as striking, and never overdone. And it is very “vintage” in style as well, as in past eras women were very fond of coordinating outfits!

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, jumping for joy

Wear what you love, even if it doesn’t “fit” the rest of your wardrobe. 

Part of the reason of why I wanted to get rid of this dress, I fully admit, is because it doesn’t go with the rest of my wardrobe. I would seriously love to have a picture perfect wardrobe, where everything blends seamlessly on a garment rack and you don’t have clashing pieces getting in the way when you want to take an instagram photo. 😉 However, I do have a few pieces that “clash” and kind of highjack that plan, because I don’t want to get rid of them. When I think about it logically though, why do all of my clothes need to match? If I love something, why can’t I keep it? Of course I should keep it! Wear what you love, regardless of whether it goes with the rest of your wardrobe. Having a cohesive wardrobe is a great goal, and is one that I am still working towards with my new purchases, but for the garments I already own, there is no reason to get rid of everything. And if I want to take an instagram photo, I can just take the clashing dress out of the closet, can’t I? 😉

Before you give up, take a photo first.

It might seem silly, but when you look at a photo of your outfit, you’ll be able to see what is going wrong with your outfit. Perhaps in real life those pinks look like they go well together, but when you look at a photo, you’ll realize that you should really pair the dress with blue, for a knockout look. Or, maybe you’ll be pleasantly surprised when you see a photo of your outfit, and you see everything that is going right with it! Perhaps you thought that your outfit was really unflattering, but when you saw a photograph, you realized that it actually fit you quite well, and you just needed to step away from the critical three-way mirror! And maybe, like me, you’ll take a photo and realize that it’s not the dress that is the problem, it’s that all of the pairings you tried before were not working because you simply needed to get rid of half of the accessories!

I think that by following these tips, this dress will see more use; I’ve already worn it once since these photos were taken! And I hope they can help you too with your “problem garments”.

Do you have any “problem garments”? How do you decide what to pair with them? Also, I don’t tend to wear very many brights, so what do you wear with bright colours?

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, wheat

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, wheat field and thistles

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, harvest time in alberta

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, vintage shirtwaist

How to Wear Those "Problem Garments", the artyologist, collar detail vintage shirtwaist dress

Modern Girl Goes Vintage

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist

This is the sort of outfit I would imagine a “modern” girl wearing, if she were trying to dress in a vintage style. Or the sort of thing that Vogue magazine would style, if they were doing a series on classic styles of the past. It has a sort-of vintage feeling, with the full skirted silhouette, the structured handbag, the classic button down shirt, and even to some extent the head wrap, but at the same time, it feels very inauthentically “vintage”. The style of the shirt, with the contrast placket, the geometrically patterned silk scarf from India, the feather earrings and the strappy sandals, all expose it as a modern ensemble that is pretending to be vintage.

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist, feather earrings

I have come to realize in the past year or so, especially since starting my blog, that I am not a diehard vintage wearer. It sounds kind of bad when I say it like that (especially since this is supposed to be a “vintage” blog, after all) but I think it is completely true of where my style has evolved to. A few years ago, I did the whole vintage thing- every outfit was easily recognizable as a specific era. I wore hats to coordinate with every outfit, and always made sure that my purse and shoes matched. Even when I worked in a hardware store, I would wear 1940’s workwear inspired ensembles, and styled my hair to coordinate. However, in the past year or so, I have started drifting away from that.

Margaret of Denise Brain Vintage recently featured me in a post on her blog, about different kinds of vintage wearers. You should hop over and read both of her posts, here and here, as they are very good reads. When I read her post; I had a revelation! She had completely hit the nail on the head! Her description of my vintage style was spot on correct! (are there any other analogies I can use here? . . .) But really, isn’t it funny how someone else can see so clearly what you haven’t been able to successfully articulate yourself?

I have come to discover, that while I absolutely love styles of the past, and have ever since I was a child, I will never be that person who is always dressed head to toe vintage. Sometimes I just happen to dress in all vintage, or vintage inspired and you can pick out a discernible era, but the majority of the time, I feel most comfortable in clothing that nods towards vintage, but isn’t necessarily representative of one entire era or look. I’ll easily throw a 1960’s pillbox hat, with a 1950’s skirt, and a modern shoe. Or a 1950’s skirt, with a t-shirt, loafers and no hat or hair accessory. Almost everything I wear could be described as “classic”, but I don’t necessarily pair things together that “should” go together. Sometimes I put things together and discover that it was an absolute failure.

I want fashion to be fun.

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist, navy blue and tan skirt

While I admire those who wear vintage, or vintage inspired looks, like the “time travelers” mentioned in Margaret’s post, I am not 100% comfortable wearing that. I don’t feel like me when I do. Instead I feel trapped in a box, being forced to choose between vintage and modern, instead of happily marrying them together like I am wont to. And, this doesn’t mean that I don’t love vintage- I do!

I love fashion, both vintage and modern, but my main concern with choosing an item should not be whether it is vintage, and fits into the “vintage aesthetic”. It should be whether I personally love it. I used to buy things just because they were old, without truly thinking about whether I actually liked them. (and then I ended up with a lot of things in my wardrobe that I didn’t actually like.) There is a lot of terribly ugly vintage out there, and just because something is old does not mean that it is instantly valuable. It might be valuable to someone else who appreciates it, but that doesn’t mean it is valuable to me. There is also a lot of vintage and reproduction that is quite nice. . . for someone else. Just because everyone else likes something doesn’t mean you should too.

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist, brown leather purse

I guess the main point of what I want to say is, at the end of the day: fashion should be fun. What is fun for you, is not necessarily what is fun for everyone else. But, if you choose to wear what you love, without worrying about where it falls on the “vintage spectrum” it will end up being great. Or at least you’ll be very happy with it! If your closet is full of things that you love and enjoy wearing, whatever “era” they are, you can grab anything out of your closet and be pleased with it.

Like this shirt I am wearing here, I saw it at the thrift store and I thought it was pretty. The rayon fabric is nice, and the navy blue with the lighter blue goes surprisingly well with a lot of what I have in my wardrobe. Just because it isn’t a true vintage style, didn’t mean that it wouldn’t work in my wardrobe. I wasn’t going to pass it up, just because it is modern!

So, I guess this post is a bit rambly; it’s just been something I’ve been thinking of lately. Am I going to “give up vintage style”. Nope- and I don’t see myself ever doing so. In fact, I suppose I have been dressing this way for a long time, and I’ve touched on it before too, I just didn’t realize that there was a term for it. But now, thanks to Margaret’s post, I know I’m a proud vintage mixer! 🙂

Do you like to mix modern and vintage? Or do you tend to dress strictly either vintage style or modern style? Maybe you don’t fit into either- hop over to Denise Brain Vintage and read her posts- what kind of “vintage wearer” are you? I’d love to know!

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist, vintage style

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist, vintage style turban

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist, vintage look

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist, feather earrings and collar detail

Modern Girl Goes Vintage, the artyologist, 1950's look

One Last Look at #MyVintageCover 2017!

One Last Look at #myvintagecover 2017, the artyologist

And just like that August is over, and with it the #myvintagecover 2017 too! But no challenge would be complete without a round up of participants, right? So today, I share with you the covers recreated by our lovely challenge participants. I was completely blown away by the creativity and attention to detail these ladies put into their cover reproductions. We had 11 participants, and I truly enjoyed seeing each of their reproductions. . . so I will quit rambling here, and let you see their covers!

First up is Tanith, my co-host, and the mastermind of this entire challenge- without her, there wouldn’t have even been a challenge! She did three covers this month, and I truly enjoyed seeing each one. The first cover she did, with this yellow polka-dot turban (which she made especially to wear for this challenge) completely blew me away. I thought it was the original cover at first, when I saw it on her Instagram!

tanithrowan polka-dots, #myvintagecover 2017

tanithrowan illustration, #myvintagecover 2017

tanithrowan-red-beret, #myvintagecover 2017

Next up are two ladies who made vintage garments like the pattern envelopes. I thought that this was a fun way to take part, and still end up with something for your closet at the end!

Liza of @liza_made sewed a 1919 dress and turned it into a top. She has perfectly executed that original pattern illustration pose!

liza_made, #myvintagecover 2017

Carmen of @vintagedreamblog and Vintage Dream Blog reproduced a 1940’s pattern, complete with a red rick-rack bow! You don’t often see someone sew a garment exactly like the pattern cover, so that is quite fun.

vintage dream blog, #myvintagecover 2017

Next is a cover that must have taken a lot of time to recreate. Robin of @auntieestablishment chose one of my favourite Vogue covers. I was hoping that someone would do this cover, but didn’t think anyone actually would. Her attention to detail with the pose, the makeup and even the ring, is quite amazing!

auntie establishment, #myvintagecover 2017

One of the first covers to be tagged in the challenge is this lovely summery one from Margaret of @denisebrain_vintage (and Denise Brain Vintage Fashion). So many vintage magazine covers involve hats swathed in flowers, and I was really hoping that someone would do one! Her version, with that perfect winged liner, entirely lives up to the original!

denisebrain_vintage, #myvintagecover 2017

I love seeing reproductions of illustrations, because they can sometimes be very unrealistic and it can be difficult to achieve the same “look”. This vintage Cosmopolitan cover by @the_fondant_fancy (of Nought of Fifties Blog) is such a good recreation of an illustration. I don’t know how she did it, but it is so very similar to the original- she’s even got the expression down pat!

the_fondant_fancy, #myvintagecover 2017

Becca of @tobeadorned used one of her own lovely handmade flower crowns to recreate a Vogue wedding themed cover from 1956. I love that she did such a great job of imitating the original, right down to the pink lipstick and pearl earring. It’s the details that make the covers so fun to do!

to be adorned, #myvintagecover 2017

Another cover with a custom made piece of clothing is this one by @ruanne77. Back in July, she asked on Instagram which cover she should recreate, and shared two different covers she was choosing between. I was excited to see that she decided to do this fabulous colour block 1960’s dress; and she even shared a behind-the-scenes photo of the dress, which she did a wonderful job making. I was waiting with bated breath to see the final reveal, and we were not disappointed with it!

ruanne77, #myvintagecover 2017

This wonderful cover was created by Casey of @noirgirl39 (and Casey Koester blog). She chose this dramatic Harpers Bazaar cover, and at first glance, you would think it was the original cover! She’s got the pose, the makeup and hair, the scarf- and those killer sunglasses!

noirgirl39, #myvintagecover 2017

This cover was done by my sister Sarah, of @therougedgirl. Since she loves makeup, (her Instagram is dedicated to it!) she decided to choose a cover with a distinctive makeup look to recreate. This 1970’s cover was a very good choice. Not only did she do an excellent job on the makeup- even getting the shimmer and shine in the same place- but her curly hair worked out perfectly too!

the rouged girl, #myvintagecover 2017

And the last cover, but certainly not the least, is this one by Kelly of @seamracer (and Seam Racer blog). It is rather perfect that it was Kelly who recreated this one, because it is a 1955 McCall’s pattern book featuring none other than Grace Kelly! She shared in her post, that the dress in this image is the one Grace wore when she met Prince Rainier. The outfit is definitely princess worthy, and not only does she now have a gorgeous new dress; she also was able to recreate a cover at the same time!

seam racer, #myvintagecover 2017

Edited to add Kate’s (of @thelonghairedflapper) cover recreation! For some reason this cover, which she did early in the month, is not showing up under the tag on Instagram, and so it got missed when I published this post. But it is too great to be missed, and so I am adding it now. As for the recreation, I love her idea of dressing up her cat. And, strangely enough this lady in this cover actually looks like a cat! 🙂

the long haired flapper, my vintage cover 2017

Well, this was certainly a very fun month! I truly enjoyed seeing all of these cover recreations. Back in July, when Tanith and I announced the challenge, I didn’t know if anyone would join in with us, and I am so glad we had so many wonderful participants! Not only did I get to see their magazine covers; I also got to discover some new lovely vintage ladies to follow 🙂

So what do you think; should My Vintage Cover become an annual thing now?

Vintage Covers: Vogue October 1960, Fall Forecast

Vintage Covers: Vogue October 1960, Fall Forecast, my cover, the artyologist

A Fall fashion forecast: Camel is the colour of choice for the season, and a simple palette of soft earthy browns suits the approaching cool days of Autumn. Don’t eschew style in favour of practicality though; dress for the season in a classic fur collar and cashmere coat. Fur is always chic, and always in style.

1960,-Vogue-Cover, the artyologist

This, my last cover for the month of August and for #myvintagecover, might just be my favourite cover so far! I saw this Vogue October 1960 cover a while ago, and thought that it would be relatively simple to execute, since it mainly consists of a large fur collar. I do happen to have a fur collar, though it is not as luscious as hers is, and the rest of the look relied mainly on the makeup. The makeup for this cover was actually quite quick, since I only did one side of my face. 😉 But, I think the main reason that I like this one so much, is because as terrible as the original picture looked (in need of colour correction and with makeup on only one side!), it is the cover that has turned out most like the original image.

Well, it’s been fun to do so many covers this past month; I wasn’t sure how many I would end up being able to finish. There are only three days left to August (where did the time go!?) so I was glad to squeeze this one in before the end of the challenge. I still plan on continuing with covers here occasionally, as they are just so much fun to do. I also came across so many covers this month that I want to try and recreate, but ran out of time for, so I’ll be trying them out in the future.

If you want to take part in the challenge, there are still a few days left to post your images. And, if you want to post to the instagram tag after August, we won’t stop you 😉