Saturday, October 8, 2011

Parisian Chic c1961

...At least that's what I was going for! I suppose I must have got at least part of the way there, as my brother-in-law took one look at me and offered me a string of onions to hang around my neck.

So here you have part one of the Great Trouser Experiment (or Great Pants Experiment, which will make more sense to American readers while raising a snicker amongst my fellow Britannians). After years of eschewing trousers in favour of skirts and dresses, I've decided to follow my 1930s, 40s and 50s sisters, and take the plunge into this brave new world. I haven't worn trousers by choice for about fifteen years, so you can understand it's a pretty big step for me.

The decision was influenced in part by constantly seeing vintage ladies looking fabulous in their (generally repro) 1940s swing trousers, and partly by the need to have some more appropriate winter clothing, especially for early morning car boot sales.

My first pair of trousers were from - of all places - Tesco, but need some alteration (predictably, the waist needs taking in) before you can see them. Then the other day I was strolling through town trying to persuade no. 2 nephew to take a nap, and spotted these in the window of H&M. They were capri-length on the mannequin, but being rather dumpier than said mannequin they turned out rather longer on me. At first I figured on taking them up to the same length on me, but trying them on again at home I decided I actually quite liked the length as it was. They're a little lower on the waistline than I'd ideally like, but worn with a sweater or cardigan over that doesn't really matter, and they style up pretty vintage-looking, I thought.

I've worn them a couple of times already, in variations on the theme of this outfit. They're very comfortable, being mostly cotton (which surprised me when I checked the label in the shop, as I'd assumed they'd be poly) with a small percentage of elastane. So all in all, although they're not quite as flattering as my beloved skirts, I'm pretty satisfied with how my Great Experiment is going so far.

1950s velvet beret-style hat, charity shop; Wool cardigan, Hobbs via charity shop; Camisole, M&S; Novelty ladies accessories brooch, made by me from a 1950s pattern; Trousers, H&M; Cherry shoes, similar style available in my shop, but only a couple of sizes left in stock); Bakelite, plastic & lucite bangles, various; Record bag (yes, again - I wasn't kidding when I said I use it all the time!), made by me - more in my shop.

16 comments:

  1. I think the first part of your trousers experiment has gone awfully well! You look truly fabulous, and those trousers are really flattering and suitably vintage-style.

    This is a bit of an inspiration for me as I too have been thinking about getting some trousers, but I find them sooooo hard to shop for! I actually tried to go shopping for trousers yesterday but had no luck with flattering ones. I think this may be a situation for which I have to hit (gulp) the high street shops rather than vintage shops. I need to find a style that works for me and then be able to try out different sizes... and also go somewhere where I'm not doing to get distracted from my mission by vintage dresses!

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  2. I have been thinking about trousers too, and even (gasp!) jeans. I think I'm going to have to find a pattern and make some though, as I always have waist-hip ratio problems with shop bought trousers! Yours look lovely, I like the checked pattern.

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  3. Love em. They look very similar to that new Clover pattern from Colette actually. (I thought that's what they were when I saw you in my sidebar, since there is a sew-along going on right now!) I wear them for practicality but have long admired you for eschewing them. You won't give up your lovely skirts altogether I hope!

    ps...I say trousers too and am in the US, maybe it's a regional thing? I do say pants too though. Hmmm. :D

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  4. They are very nice on you! And I love a good Parisian look.

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  5. Polly, it's the waist/hip ratio problems that was a major contributory factor in my choice to stop wearing trousers in the first place. These ones are only passable because of where they sit on the hips - the waist is slightly too big, but it's not a major issue. I would like to make myself a pair of high waist swing pants though, so I can get a proper fit.

    xx Charlotte

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  6. I really love your new trousers! I like the length of the second ones too! You should try Simplicity 3688 (http://fashionsfromthepast.blogspot.com/2010/03/yipppeee-1941-trousers-are-finished.html)...it's a great trouser pattern for that high waisted look!

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  7. Beautiful outfit, the trousers are amazing!

    xoxo.

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  8. Fab trousers, great legs flaunt them:)

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  9. Those are adorable! So chic! How do you stay warm in the winter in dresses?

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  10. Miss Virginia, I wear a lot of wool skirts in the winter, with thick tights and sometimes boots. I'm planning to sew a wool felt circle skirt for this winter, and I can see my new corduroy dress is going to get plenty of wear over the coming months, too. Perhaps I should do a post on staying warm in vintage!

    xx Charlotte

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  11. I do find dresses/ skirts with tights and boots keep me warmer than just trousers in Winter- is it just me??

    I gave in and bought a pair of very unusual palazzo trousers from River Island a couple of weeks ago, like you it's been a few years I haven't been wearing trousers (apart from pyjamas!!), they're too long at the moment but I can't wait to take them up and wear them.

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  12. I love trousers, and am so glad both repro and vintage sellers are 'getting' that ladies wore slacks from the 20s onwards in various styles. I don't know why, I'm just not a skirt (or shorts) woman. It certainly doesn't mean I dress frumpily- capris, palazzos, flares - the styles are endless!

    Your experiment seems to be working; that French-Chic look REALLY suits you, it looks confident, slick, chic and warm.

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  13. Definitely do a "Cold Weather Vintage" post!! That would be awesome! :)

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  14. You look smashing, dear! :D I think you should definitely wear pants more often; you look great. :D It's funny: I'm a mostly skirts girl myself, but lately have been adding more pants into the wardrobe (just finished some late 40s style jeans I sewed up!). ;)

    (Oh, and funnily enough: I just wore the version of your gloves/umbrella pin I made the other day! :D)

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  15. Lovely, you carry that really well. I used to wear jeans and trousers quite a bit, but that was years ago when I was very thin, just feel too heavy now to do so. Skirts and frocks flatter me much more these days. I have always rather liked the thirties man look on a woman, but being a short ass with large boobs I never felt I could get away with it. Oh, to look like Marlene Dietrich!

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