Thursday, March 31, 2011

Vintage Categories and Quandries

I don't know about you, but I've sort of got three categories of vintage in my closet: 1) the sturdier pieces that are in such good condition or made of a solid enough fabric that I feel comfortable wearing them for a day or evening out, without having to be excessively cautious; 2) the more precious pieces that are still wearable, but that likely only have so many outings in them that I try to limit when, where, how often I will wear them (these items usually require me to be extra vigilant while wearing, which can sometimes mean limiting full range of movement to avoid popping seams, etc); and 3) the collector items that I treasure, but that I will never wear for fear of damage, disintegration, etc.  This navy and white polka dotted silk dress has been stuck in limbo between 2) and 3) for over a year now.  As I was going through my spring/summer clothing storage boxes, "she" emerged from the depths and once again has me I wear her or just keep her "under glass," as it were?  This dress has absolutely none of the problems that vintage silk usually exhibits....and I'd like to keep it that way, but oh how I long to wear this beauty out at least once!  Adding to the element of danger, however, is the fact that the matching belt (not shown) juuuuust fits me. If I wore it out to eat dinner, the belt might unsnap in an explosive manner and shoot across the room :)).  Surely, this is frivolous frock nonsense to fret over, but such is my fashion quandry.  Do you have similar pieces/do you categorize your vintage closet in similar ways? Any stories of heartbreak or woe that I may want to heed before I think of going out in this dress? Oh, and yes you can probably see that my shoe strap is still broken. Just wanted to see how red shoes would look in relation to the red centre of the flower detail accenting the big floppy jabot-style bow at the neckline.  

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Dancing Lady

It's too cold to run outside and snap a pic of the blouse and skirt (both nudeedudee) I'm thinking of wearing to dance class tonight, so here's a "stock" photo of the ensemble taken last fall when there was actually greenery outside (I admit that I'm having flower envy...all you bloggers surrounded by blooming gardens ;)!) Yeesh! This is getting pathetic! Mother nature, you'd better get a move on the melt or I may never have an original outfit post again!!

Spring "Weeding", Part One

As has become evident, I am a vintage addict with a tendency to hoard.  To help alleviate the perpetual problem, I will be continuing to list as much vintage as possible over the next while.  Here is a sampling of some of the items I have recently weeded out of my personal collection that just don't fit me so they need to go back out in the world!! To help the process along, I'm have a 15% off sale from now until Friday, April 1st (use coupon code MILDRED at checkout--items already on layaway are excluded).

1920s "Daisy's Dream" Sheer White Cotton Collared Dress

1930s "Enchanted April" Celadon Organza Gown 

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Snow Day

 Although I am in the mood to sally forth in my favourite cotton frocks, since the snow just won't seem to go, I decided not to fight it and took at least part of my 30s snowsuit for an outing. Might as well enjoy what we've got while we've got it!

Flower Play

It's funny....when I acquired the amazing floral 30s fabric that I am making my dress out of, I kept feeling like it was calling out to be made into a playsuit.  Luckily, I have enough yardage to make one to match my frock because, wouldn't you know, I end up spying more than one 30s floral cotton playsuit in a matter of days and of course they are the wrong size.  I like when my intuition that 30s women might have worn something like that gets affirmed by concrete vintage proof!

Source: budgerigar vintage on Etsy

Source: Ebay auction

Monday, March 28, 2011

Mildred Pierce: The Early Years

I do apologise to those of my fellow bloggers who don't have HBO or who might be in a country not airing the 2011 Mildred Pierce series, but I have to gush about how absolutely ENTRANCED by this production I am after viewing Parts One and Two (there are FIVE).  What I'm loving is how the series fully immerses the viewer in the sights, sounds, colours, and fashions that would have been part of the every day milieu of many middle-class depression-era American women. Sure, the glitz and glamour of 1930s California as experienced by the wealthy of this era always stuns and mesmerises, but I have a much deeper and more personal connection to the life-stylings of the working folk shown in the early parts of the show (perhaps because of memories of my beloved grandparents, who were in their late teens-20s when the depression was on). Let me tell you I am not sure I was fully conscious through the two hours because I swooned so many times.

Sure, if you want to get really nitpicky, in my humble opinion (that you should feel free to disagree with if you know otherwise), some of "Mildred's" dresses and hats looked a little more 1933-35 than 1931 (and the subject of accurate clothing gets even trickier when I point out that according to one article, the fantastic costumer Roth, apparently "utilised styles from the late 1920s for the start of the series, since, put bluntly; ‘no one had any money to buy what was in the stores".  Sorry, don't see that in Mildred's brown ensemble that she wears several times in the first parts. Or am I off base here?

 I thought the clothing the older neighbour lady played by Melissa Leo was wearing sometimes seemed more something a young co-ed of the era would have worn (example, in one scene, captured below, she wears an adorable trouser/playsuit that seemed a bit too "young" for her--though, I suppose if we look at photos from the era, "real" women often wore what they wanted, which is awesome!).  Lauren, I think you made or own this exact style of outfit, btw. It has the cactus and sombrero appliques on the pockets! Also, I was reminded me of your beauties, Nudeedudee!

I also noticed that in a couple of scenes, Kate Winslet's character was wearing "MY" re-mix Anita shoes (hehe) (but hers are an off-white while mine are green) and of course an open toe slingback like this would not have been out yet in 1931, would it?  That's getting really nitpicky and I don't want to write that kind of review.

For the most part, I just got lost in the visual perfection of it all.  Each darling house frock, each knitted ensemble, each floral crepe dress was more fantastic than the next--and apparently, Kate Winslet has 66 costume changes over the course of the five parts, and there are over 2000 costumed extras so there's more to fashion "eye candy" to come!!!  I haven't seen any new stills popping up online to share with you yet, but I am wishing & hoping somebody does a scene by scene screen cap SOON because you have to see what I am talking about to understand what I am going on about.  In the mean-time, here is a link to a video about the "Making of Mildred."  I also thought I would share the Etsy Treasury I created in honour of this series (click the image to link to the actual treasury. Feel free to leave me a comment on it!).  Ok, off to rewatch the first two parts AGAIN!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

My Unique "Robe Tunique"

I think I became obsessed with finding and owning an authentic 1930s tunic dress after seeing Irene Dunne wearing one to great advantage in the movie, Roberta.  Just in time for my birthday, I acquired one.  Here's a better picture of the frock that more accurately captures its length (the photo my wonderful but distinctly taller husband took for the last post makes it look like it falls to my ankle).  Prior to finding this dress, I actually found a 30s pattern for a tunic blouse.  This style is so fun, I think I might eventually have to make a few fall blouses that I can wear over skirts to create a similar look.  Once again, 30s dress design proves itself to be anything but boring! The cinnabar shoes, which I was told are late 30s, were also a fun vintage find, but the back strap on the left shoe broke, so have to take them in to be repaired before I can truly show them. Oh, please ignore the ivy decorations and blue wall paint distracting from the effect of the deco shaping on our front hall doorways.  The previous owners of the house did this and we just haven't repainted *yet*.

I Capture the Castle

Thank you to everyone for your birthday wishes! We've been having a fantastic weekend so far!  Today, instead of hitting the vintage fair as previously planned, we decided to stay local and visited nearby Dundurn "Castle." I have explored the outer grounds during summer time, but had never seen the inside, so I really enjoyed this glimpse into how the wealthy lived in 19th century "Upper" Canada.  Unfortunately, we were not allowed to take flash photography inside the venue and we were not allowed to explore the mansion outside of a fairly crowded group tour, so we didn't manage to get many good pics that weren't blurry, dark, or filled with tour group folks.  Oh well, I got at least one clear pic of my outfit, which was my new-to-me 1930s tunic dress (slightly better photo to follow in next post?).  As for the interior delights of the castle, I found the picture of the pink room and the famous "floating" staircase on flickr.  Post-tour, we enjoyed a lovely indoor cheese n' cracker "picnic" back home  Now, that's my kinda birthday weekend adventure! :) What have you been up to?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Baronial Birthday Extravanganza

Today was the start of what I like to call my Baronial Birthday Extravaganza weekend.  So far, there has been ice cream cake, there have been roses. I tried to take some snaps of my outfit indoors because it's so snowy out, but the lighting was crap, so below is the only half visible image of the bunch; you'll have to imagine that you can see my awesome Able Grable blouse, 30s jacket, and Nudeedudee black skirt.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Flowers in the Snow

After my sleepy little town virtually shut down today due to surprise snow flurries, I decided to make this snow day a sew day.  Well, sort of: I cut out the pieces to make a 30s dress using this 20s/30s cotton fabric I bought a while back and pinned them on the mannequin (which is much smaller than I am) to get a vague idea of how they might go together to form a wearable garment.  I was going to have a more expert dress-maker construct a garment out of this beautiful material on my behalf, but decided that if I am ever going to learn and improve my sewing skills I ought to give dress-making another whirl after a looooong hiatus between projects.  I should note that I am using the top part of an Eva Dress halter playsuit pattern for the top of this dress, while the pattern for the skirt comes from a Vintage Pattern Lending Library 1930s sports dress.  Let's see how far over my head I can go here, shall we?  Wish me luck!  I reallly hope I have a snazzy and wearable dress for the warmer months that, right now, seem forever away. :)

Blog with Integrity

Whilst making my way around the net today, I came across a reference to the "Blog with Integrity" pledge.  After reading the pledge closely, I knew it was something I wanted to associate myself with.  

Blog with Integrity"By displaying the Blog with Integrity badge, I assert that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is important to me.
I treat others respectfully, attacking ideas and not people.  I also welcome respectful disagreement with my own ideas.
I believe in intellectual property rights, providing links, citing sources, and crediting inspiration where appropriate.
I disclose my material relationships, policies and business practices.  My readers will know the difference between editorial, advertorial, and advertising should I choose to have it.  If I do sponsored or paid posts, they are clearly marked.
When collaborating with maketers and PR professionals, I handle myself professionally and abide by journalistic standards.
I always present my honest opinions to the best of my ability.
I own my words.  Even if I occasionally have to eat them."

I like the whole concept of this pledge, but I especially like item #2---and I'd like to briefly explain why; we bloggers (both posters and commenters) seem to have no trouble defending our rights to freedom of speech, but on more than one occasion, I've seen freedom of expression abused, as lively debate has been used as opportunity to allow politesse degenerate into personal attack and as people have used the right to an opinion as an excuse for insensitive and hurtful words/posts.  This suggests the blogging community needs to work harder to help fellow members see the difference between engaged discussion and debate, and irrational hate-mongering.  Yes, I believe blogging should be about beautiful, positive, and happy things.  However, I think it can also be a potentially wonderful way for people to learn from one another and think critically about a number of relevant social issues. In order for meaningful exchange to occur, some things may need to change in the blog-o-sphere.  To this end, here are my thoughts:
1) Blog commenters who come across posts they disagree with should have the right to express "respectful disagreement" with IDEAS or arguments or opinions that may be expressed by fellow bloggers. If said commenters have expressed themselves in a "respectful" way, then, in disagreeing with a fellow blog poster, they should have the right to be free from other bloggers (esp. friends and family of said blog poster) "bad mouthing," attacking, or otherwise berating them.
2) Blog posters who post on topics that are some what contentious or debate-ridden should have the right to be FREE of personals attacks by anonymous posters spreading hateful name calling or personal threats, etc (provided that they themselves have avoided needlessly clouding issues/topics/debates with inflammatory statements designed to personally humiliate, offend, or belittle other people who hold positions contrary to theirs).  
3) I very strongly believe that bloggers who open the door to contentious or very loaded topics have an obligation to readers to "welcome respectful disagreement with [their] own ideas."   
I find it especially problematic when we vintage bloggers bemoan an appalling decline of  elegance, tastefulness, and beauty in the appearances of people in the modern age, but then choose to ignore how our online words or "actions" may be conveying a level of social "ugliness" that makes any talk of elegance, tastefulness, and beauty redundant.  Let's not just look the part. Let's walk the walk and blog with integrity.

Just Shoe Me

You'd think I'd have learned by now not to say the "spring" word out loud! Now we're back to winter after a sudden snowstorm last night!! Blah!  Oh well, as cold comfort, here is some shoe sadism. All images are of long sold 30s shoes from ebay and flickr.  Shoe designers, are you paying attention?  We want colour blocked beauties like these!! Right, girls? (To be fair, re-mix is doing a fine job of trying to bring some of such vintage designs back to life).  

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Colored Knit Pick n' Mix

A colorized image from a 1930s knitting booklet (shown below) gave me the idea to start mixing and matching some of my own 30s sets & separates.  Here are a couple of colour combos I tried out:

30s Peach Crocheted Top with Light Blue Knitted skirt

Peach top again with green knitted skirt

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Spring on Wheels

Since today marks the first day of spring where I am and the snow is finally all gone, I knew it would be the perfect day to take the amazing vintage style bicycle my husband bought me for Christmas out for its first spin.  In retrospect, I'm not sure I should have opted to "off road" it, but there is this path near my house between two farmers' fields that I have been wanting to explore since I moved to this town a few years ago. In the end, my tires were sort of flat from sitting in storage all winter, and there wasn't much to view at the end of this mysterious path (all I saw was some old farm equipment); still, the jaunt has made me very excited for many lovely bike rides to come!  Happy spring!!!! Oh, and yes, I am wearing the Nudeedudee 30s style dress (which I got for my birthday last year) with socks & sandals/shoes. Have been wanting to try out this 30s style for a while.  Glad I did, too, as my toes would have ended up cold and muddy!

Friday, March 18, 2011

Clover and Cream

I feel like I have been blogging more outfit posts than usual, but thought I'd share a couple of snaps of the outfit I wore to last night's St. Patrick's Day Dance Class/Practise Party, during which my mister and I had to perform a short waltz routine that we had only learned the night before. After class, we stopped in at our local little pub for a celebratory Guiness, looking very overdressed.  I suppose I could have gone the route of dressing like a leprechaun like some fellow dancers or pub goers, but I knew I would never have been able to fake a Ginger-like elegance whilst waltzing if I hadn't have been wearing something with fluttery bits, so, while I was a bit wary about wearing a cream vintage dress amidst people swilling green beer, I am glad I took this 30s rayon which I bought last summer out of storage and wore it with my re-mix green shoes and green cardi (though it wrinkled again shortly after I steamed it!).  I also temporarily swapped the dress's white buckle for the green one on that brown dress I posted about previously.  Although you probably can't see in these pics, I couldn't resist a little fashion fun by having my nails painted green with little lucky four leaf clovers put on each thumb.

Japan Relief

Being a vintage fashion blogger, it is unsurprising that most (if not all) of my posts are centred around the topics of vintage clothing and the like.  In my "real" life, however, I care about a lot of other subjects.  Of course, the most troubling of topics at forefront of many of our minds right now is certainly the state of Japan.  I just wanted to note that I am going to be donating 20% of all shop sales from March 18th-25th to the Red Cross "Japan Earthquake/Asia Pacific Tsunami" fund.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Happy St. Patrick's Day

Given that I and my husband have grandparents of Irish descent, St. Patrick's Day registers with us a bit more than it might with others, so luck o' the Irish to ye today!  I must admit I am a little put out by the fact that we were told last night we have to dance in front of our class during this evening's St. Patty's Day practise party (a waltz, not irish dancing, though I did take a River-Dance style Irish dancing class about ten years ago), so better go practise and figure out what the heck to wear ( I had bought a 30s dress that looks very much like Lucille Ball's below, but need something more floaty and waltz appropriate now).

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Going Green, Racy Lacies, Part Two

Working my way through my mending piles, I unearthed this 1930s two piece knit set. It was originally destined for my shop after repair work to an underarm and the skirt waist elastic. Hehe, it may still get there (I'm not sure the skirt is a perfect fit & length and still deciding whether this shade of green suits). However, as we all know, 30s knits & crochetwear are my weakness (I'm sure I'm not alone on that front), so forgive me for hoarding it for a time.  Be forewarned I am possibly taking the 30s tapestry knitting bag that sorta matches it out of my shop, too.  Fair is fair, though. I've got a couple of other items from my closet going into the shop shortly, so it should all balance out!

Monday, March 14, 2011

Going Green and Racy Lace-ies

Dare I say I think spring is on its way?  The sun was out, little green blades of grass are starting to emerge, a good portion of the snow in our yard has melted.  Things are looking up!  Think I'll FINALLY be able to wear my new green Rita re-mix shoes out this eve (we're thinking of checking out a new Irish "gastropub" in the area...might have a pre-St. Patrick's Day Guiness).  Thought I would try 'em with a 30s cotton lace dress I bought this winter that has a green bakelite buckle.  Grabbed the only green sweater I own and discovered it's a smidge more kelly than pepper green like the shoes, but in a darker pub, should not matter :)  A note on the dress: I was going to wear a dark slip underneath, but that made the details of the dress completely disappear. I feel definitely more scandalous wearing peach under this frock, but I have a feeling that a woman in the 30s might have done the same?  I say this because I have a couple of 1930s knitted and crocheted items with built in liners that are strikingly lighter than the lacey outers and I think this fabric was meant to look like crochet from a distance?  Ah well, I've got cut-outs on my shoes exposing flesh on the tootsies, so might as well continue the peek-a-boo theme on the dress.  Actually, scratch that...totally wearing a black slip tonight. eeks!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bumble Bee Brunch

Two other things that are becoming an annual spring-time tradition 1) wearing my delicate but lovely 1930s yellow and black floral frock (which I dubbed the "bumblebee" dress when I got it over a year ago) and 2) dining at the Old Mill restaurant for my birthday or anniversary.  My actual b-day is not for a few weeks and my wedding anniversary isn't until next month, but since family was in town, we had a fantastic double-decker "birth-aversary" brunch at this amazing venue, which is located inside a re-appointed 19th century flour mill.  I combined traditions by wearing the "bumblebee" dress.  Not only do I adore the old stonework of the Old Mill and the view of the creek that once powered the mill from the restaurant, but I always enjoy the actual food served inside this place (it is always fresh and local). We actually just got the chefs' book, Earth to Table; can't wait to read it. Anyway, this is one of my favourite places in the world--the mixture of history and "slow food" created on the 1000 Mile Diet idea makes me a very happy girl, indeed.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Sugar Rush

So, since moving to "Eastern" Canada (Ontario) from the West Coast about 1 1/2 years ago, I look forward to this time of year, when the sugar maple festivals kicks off.  Today, for the second year in a row (but this time with in-laws in tow), we once again attended the Bronte Creek Maple Festival. As per last year, we were guided through the historical processes by which maple syrup was made by hosts dressed in period costumes and then peeked inside the beautiful Victorian farmhouse on the property and bought some maple candy made fresh in one of the "barns."  For the first time ever, I got to try Maple taffy made on ice, which resulted in a massively giggly, messy sugar rush (see last image)! Outfit deets for me: 1930s plaid hat and scarf, 1940s style overalls, navy peacoat I've had for so many years it can almost be considered vintage. Sometimes, I love being stereotypically Canadian, eh!