Wednesday 29 February 2012

Blackbird tie

This last Sunday I went to London to meet my friend. We were shopping for a bag for her when I came across this tie in a stall in the Spitalfields market. You may know already that I like a good tie therefore you won't be surprised by this latest instance of impulse shopping. 

Well, I don't know how anyone could resist a tie with what I initially thought to be a generic bird or even a crow print, and there are decidedly fewer arguments against blackbirds! To cut a long story short, I thought it was too cute to leave, even if it meant adding to the non vintage part of my wardrobe (which reminds me, one of these days I have to show you my 1920's stripey tie). 

You will have to excuse my bulky knot - I had to watch a You Tube tutorial even to produce this! The fact that the tie is woolen and very thick doesn't help either. It looks so big in some of the pics - almost like a scarf - I start wondering if it really was such a good idea after all...On the plus side, it does keep one warmer than the ordinary tie would :)...of course, if warmth was an issue one could wear an actual scarf to that purpose, hmm...

The rest of the outfit consists of a Seeberger wool cloche, vintage acorn pin, mother's old jumper  Hobbs wide leg trousers, modern brogues and my 16 year old chunky cardigan/coat. Mum knitted this for me when I was in high school and it's still going strong.

 photo by Gerd Rossen

Monday 27 February 2012

The Emperor's new clothes


"It is not your colour", a friend said when this arrived from Patty's Vintage Garden on etsy.
Well, the background does look a lot like the colour of my own skin, this much is true. But is that really going to be a problem? Nothing a nice bright lipstick won't solve, I thought...

This baby is pretty cool,  and I hope no less so on me! Look at that sweet little belt, and the ruffled detail, repeated in a small scale at the wrists.


No, there's not much reason to pout at all. I've only tried it for the sake of it, I'll refrain in the future.

A close up of the ruffles and the "confetti" print, or reminiscent of op art. 

Everything stands up so much better in this photo from the seller, while things get a bit lost in mine. To some extent this is caused by an under performing camera and the the poor light in my living room. But what if my friend is right, and I can't see it because I'm so smitten with the dress?! I have been wearing that bright lipstick you know...

Saturday 25 February 2012

An early to mid 20's silhouette

I promised the other day to bore you with numerous photos of this outfit, but one more will suffice in order to make my claim to an earlier style than I wear usually, dating to the first half of the 1920's. I love this period, but don't get much of a chance to emulate it. The look I've been inspired by in this particular instance is rooted as far back as the 1922-1923, albeit in a heavier, more voluminous manner that its slightly later correspondents.

L'Officiel de la Mode, 1922

 In only a matter of a couple of years silhouettes became more streamlined, with everything, including hats, diminishing in volume. With the increased importance of making clothes that would be practical, casual and sports minded, this was a natural process. Plaid was a perennial favorite though, as you can see below, great in this 1923 coat as well as in the 1924 skirts that follow.

The checkered fabric and side button detail of my 50's Boreva skirt, as well as the awkward fit at the waist (I probably just don't fill it properly), came in handy when trying to suggest similarities with the skirts shown here. These images are placed in 1925/1926, which is as recent as I could find this look still going.

Next I would love to try the variation with a cardigan and tie from above - Marion here did it so well! - or with a nice long open vest with pockets and belt...Hm, I can just about see some more knitting projects on the horizon...

Marion Davies via missclarabow tumblr

Thursday 23 February 2012

Variations on teal and vintage silhoettes

Today I played in my wardrobe. I do this sometimes, living some sort of late childhood I guess. Perhaps all things not done in due time come back with a vengeance and haunt one later in life? If so, it is so far a case of enjoyable haunting, because this game is rather fun. There are no rules to it, no system, it starts differently each time. I may try to build an outfit around a bag, reconstruct a vintage silhouette with improvised, modern means, absolutely die if I don't try out the latest hat to come in the post with everything I have, or simply be bugged by a tenth of an idea that I've picked somewhere, without remember where, or what exactly is that made me feel inspired. So I play...and today is teal.

The outfit above I struggled a bit with. Modern fashions do fall short of their vintage counterpart, and this 20's style outfit smells wannabe from a distance. The only old thing is the coral necklace, so that's fair enough. The rest consists of a modern turtleneck (the only thing bought new) with a silk short sleeve top from French Connection layered on top, a home made knitted skirt, and Pas de Rouge shoes. These I had been drooling over for a couple of years in a local store, thinking how wonderfully comfortable yet stylish and vintage looking they were, only to be so lucky as to find them at some point on ebay, good as new, in my size! I still paid a fair amount for them but nothing compared to what they retail at.

Here I'm wearing the 20's bag shown in a previous post with a Jigsaw hat that matches in colour, which I have reshaped into a cloche, the same basic top and a 70's skirt with a pleated detail at the front picked on etsy, thick ribbed tights from TK Maxx, a Hobbs belt and my Alfred Sargent shoes which were again a very lucky buy. They were an ebay buy in fact, the same as the belt, bag and hat (I know, I'm a junkie!). I like this outfit, but somehow I don't think I've quite managed to shake the 70's out of it.

Not a lot of changes, yet a different look with a beret and scarf from Accessorize, and a Deco lizard skin bag which I am very determinately clutching, although in spite of what the picture may suggest, not with something like 6 fingers :). I have worn this outfit to work since (without the bag), and I am pretty much sold on it. 
I was finding quite difficult to integrate this skirt in my wardrobe, as everything that I was trying to pair it with screamed old lady, but this seems to work. My husbands still hates the skirt with a passion though.

Finally getting out of the teal top only to throw it over the shoulders and swap it with another turtleneck , this time from Jigsaw (it's Garbo's fault!). And blimey, I have some tights in the same shade! I love it when this happens, as opposed to the usual frustration of not being able to match things (see how the hat and the teal jumper clash?!...). I went for another 20's look, inspired by the colours in my newest hat, a Mad Hatters creation in teal with cute wine velvet bows.

And right at the end of the game, guess what came out of the wardrobe? A 50's wool plaid skirt that  I am having forever trouble accessorizing - but not anymore! - and a Karen Millen velvet vest. All but the tights were second hand buys, and this unlikely pairing produced the most delightful and bizarrely quite authentic looking 20's ensemble. I was so happy with this I took numerous pics which I will share with you in my next post. 
So if you hate it, this a good time to look away :)!

Monday 20 February 2012

The missing blouse

Remember this? It all spurred from the image above. I had started by planning to have the blouse done (left hand side), then naturally needed a skirt to go with it. When that was done too, there was just about enough yarn left for a 1936-1937 style cardigan which took the ensemble to the new heights of a trio.

Mine is not quite so wide at the base and sleeves as in the pattern below right due to the fact that there was a limited amount of yarn left. It came out like something in between the two shown here, and it has raglan sleeves too, though it's hard to tell in that pic.

When I first showed it on this blog last November I photographed the skirt and cardigan only (as above) and the left the blouse out as I hadn't put any buttons on it, and I was waiting for some vintage glass cuties to turn up in the post. Well, those turned up a bit of a disappointment, far too tiny and the wrong shade of green. I eventually abandoned the hunt for the shade of lime that I was fantasizing about in terms of an ideal contrast with the yarn, and settled for simple mother of pearl buttons, which, if less exciting, at least go with the detail in the long cardigan and do the job of keeping the short sleeve blouse closed.

As you can see mother had to slightly modify the design and while I still have the fitted waist band, my blouse fastens all the way down from neck to waist with functional buttons. We kept the sweet little pocket (I need a tiny pocket square to go in there), and the detail is repeated on the opposite side of the skirt.

It was mother's favourite yarn to work with so far, a mix of 75% wool and 25% silk that lent itself beautifully to the task at hand. 
As for me, I am loving the end product, it turned up pretty much how I wanted, looks and feels great, has a lovely texture while remaining fine enough, it's easy to wear and, as with most knits, I feel at my most natural while doing so.

Wednesday 15 February 2012

When the stripe meets the coat

 Minerva patterns

...When the stripe meets the coat it becomes something else. Something like a mouse that got himself a big piece of cheese - my face below tells that story :)

1920's medium weight wool coat with a most interesting woven pattern, a recent etsy purchase. My most expensive vintage buy so far, although nothing compared to some of the prices out there, and definitely worth every little penny.

Lucite frame bag with a a woven fabric body - this abstract pattern was love at first sight!

My accessories also include my posh Alfred Sargent shoes and a rabbit felt hat whose rather floppy brim originally I have folded the life out of in order to fathom a cloche. 

And here is the full situation. Did I mention how happy I am about this coat? I am soooooooooooo happy! 
I can't thank enough the lovely Veronica from Some Like it Vintage on etsy who kindly reserved it for me and let me pay for it in two installments. That really helped, as I am one who's forever skint :)

Until next time, I leave you in the company of this wonderful and inspirational picture of Norma Shearer in 1927 that holds the record of having caused the most amount of drool in present company to date. Isn't this just the coolest outfit ever?! Speaking of which, I need a pair of patterned tights/socks with some urgency...

via soyouthinkyoucansee tumblr

Sunday 12 February 2012

The better half

Driftingby etsy
Since I sometimes find photographs of strangers endearing and/or funny I thought I'd share some I've recently come across on etsy. I don't do Valentines, but here is to all couples!
EphemeraObscura etsy
EphemeraObscura etsy
Maclancy etsy

EphemeraObscura etsy

Gwensewvintage etsy

EphemeraObscura etsy

EphemeraObscura etsy
PaperSeeker etsy

CassiesTaleVintage etsy
Photoparty etsy
Photoparty etsy

Thevintagemode etsy
Gwensewvintage etsy
AlaskaVintage etsy

Wednesday 8 February 2012

Geometrimania or my love for 1920's abstract prints

 via palmbeach tumblr

 L'Officiel de la Mode, 1928

 20s Chanel jersey ensembles via adeline's attic tumblr

 L'Officiel de la Mode, 1929

Deauville fashions, 1929

Still ferreting away at the turn of the decade, caught in a web of my own making, my mind cannot find peace. When I sleep, this is the kind of stuff that I dream of. When I'm awake, it wouldn't let me alone. Like a lover's longing, it's with me at all times, sweetness and pain in the same chalice. 
From Patou to Chanel and Delauney, this is deco fashion at its best. If only I could step one step closer! Alas, my means of recreating the fashions of my dreams are scarce, and if improving at all, then the pace is sloooow... But this dream is here to stay. In the meantime, one fools around...