Thursday, March 29, 2012

Hanwell Locks

I'm preparing a post on my current project, the "Little Rock" dress, for which I'm just drafting the pattern and soon to embark on the first muslin - it's a little behind schedule (it was planned as a March project, but it won't be done until April is well underway). In the meantime I thought I'd share just a couple more pictures from the weekend - we've been exploring our local area in the sunshine. A stroll along the canal towpath by Hanwell Locks is almost literally on our doorstep - the canal runs right behind our close, two minutes walk from our front door.


Dress, made by me from a 1940s pattern; Cardigan, Boden, via charity shop; Necklace, charity shop; Sandals, purchased in Thailand; Bakelite and plastic bangles, various; Handbag, etsy.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Osterley Park

Since moving to London last November we've still barely explored our area, but with the beautiful spring weather we've been having lately it seemed high time we got out there a bit more. Our local National Trust property Osterley Park is just about a ten minute drive away, so we paid it a visit for the first time.

We had a quick tour of the house first, then stopped at the stable block cafe (the old stalls are still intact!) for a traditional cream tea in the tea garden, before continuing to explore the landscape gardens.

The Tudor walled garden. Presumably as a result of reading (and re-reading) The Secret Garden as a child, walled gardens always have a slightly magical feel to me. Glancing over the map of the gardens of stately homes such as this will often elicit a little gasp, "a walled garden - let's go there first!" Even though they often (as in this case) turn out to be a standard, working vegetable patch, the wall gives them an air of mystery and romanticism. I know I'm not the only one!


Shall we also take a quick moment to reflect on the dress? Check out that print! Novelty and atomic, and the colours are fabulous. I love all my dresses, but this in particular is one of my absolute favourites and I wear it a lot through the warmer months, though you don't often see it here on the blog (mostly because there's a limited number of ways to wear such a statement print and there seems little point in posting photoset after photoset of me in the same look). It was also quite a bargain as I recall, from US ebay.

1950s dress, ebay; 1950s feather hat, can't remember (ebay?); Crochet gloves, can't remember (ebay? charity shop? car boot?); Sandals, purchased in Thailand; Handbag, etsy; Belt, charity shop; Clip-on earrings, car boot sale. Oh, and yes, I did manage to recreate the back-roll hair do!

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Black and White and Pink and Polka Dots

Yes I've been a neglectful blogger the last couple of weeks - every so often I seem to get "blogger burnout" and have to take a little break. I haven't forgotten about the Style Me Vintage book giveaway, don't worry. Meanwhile, here's another outfit post to keep you entertained. I've been eagerly awaiting the arrival of spring so I can get out my Spring Blossom dress. It's still really too cold for it, but a sunshiney morning (unfortunately the sky had clouded over by the time I got around to taking pictures) prompted me to pull it out.

I needed a cardigan, and settled on this one. It's not even slightly authentic, but polka dots say "vintage" to pretty much everyone, so that counts, right? The rest of the outfit sort of came together from there. I decided to add a hat and as I cast about for a suitable one my gaze landed on this cute little 50s number, a miniature bonnet style adorned with a black polka dot rose. I hardly ever wear it, but it seemed just the ticket. I finally mastered the 40s back roll (with a cheapy bun donut thing from Primark, chopped and opened out into a sausage) to go with it. 50s hat with 40s hair? Why not?

The necklace happened just because I wanted to avoid looking too prissy / Princess Anne (which is a particular hazard when I wear my hair like this) - I tried pearls first but it started to look too "classic", so I threw on a string of bright plastic beads (knotted, flapper-style), and added an armful of bangles for good measure.

So in short, I guess I ended up with another of my "mash-up" outfits - neither truly vintage nor modern, with inspiration drawn from through the decades, resulting in a whole which eludes definition. Sometimes that's the most fun.

Dress, made by me from a 1940s pattern and vintage fabric; Cardigan, Laura Ashley via charity shop; Plastic & bakelite bangles, various; Necklace, charity shop; Shoes, Marks & Spencer; 1950s hat, ebay; Leather belt, charity shop; Record clutch bag, made by me - similar in my shop; Bird brooch (you can hardly see it, but it's there), car boot sale; Earrings (again you can't really see, but they're in the shape of little black hats!), purchased in Thailand.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

1960s With Curves


The 1960s was my first love in modern vintage fashion, in my teens (after my early obsession with the Victorian-Edwardian era), but I - along with many others - struggle to fully embrace it now because the classic 60s look better suits a very different figure type to my own. But there's more to 1960s fashion than blocky Mod shifts, so there's no need to avoid the decade altogether even if you don't fit the Twiggy ideal - here are my three top tips for ways to wear 1960s when you don't suit 1960s:

1. Pinafore dresses or jumper dresses like this one are great on several counts. If you choose a low-cut neckline you can layer it over a high-necked sweater for an authentic look that doesn't smoosh your chest into a matronly monoboob effect.

2. Look slightly further back to the early sixties for inspiration. The period between poodle skirts and Mod minis is no longer the stylistic grey area it once was, since the popularity of Mad Men brought it into the fashion spotlight, and many of the fashions (mostly the carry-overs from the 1950s) perfectly suit an hourglass figure. Think knee-length pencil skirts teamed with simple blouses and sweaters; "Joan Holloway" fitted sheaths; even lampshade-skirted sundresses and party frocks (early 60s full skirts tended to be gathered rather than cut on the circle).

3. Choose a fit-and-flare silhouette rather than straight shift shapes. Princess seaming is another feature of my pinafore dress, making it semi-fitted even though it doesn't have a defined waistline. It flares slightly in an A-line shape, skimming out over the hips and de-emphasising them. An all-round winner.

Outfit details: Pinafore dress, New Look (borrowed from my sister); Sweater, charity shop; Tights, can't remember; Shoes, Marks & Spencer; Bangles, various; Scarf, purchased in India; Earrings, purchased in Thailand.


PS: I'm aware I slightly fell off the face of the blogosphere this week - bear with me and I'll do the draw for the Style Me Vintage book giveaway as soon as I can!

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