Saturday, December 31, 2011

Vintage Sparkles for New Years Eve

A simple blog today, Fashionable Readers, just some of my favorite images of vintage jewelry in honor of that most sparkly of nights . . . New Years.

1883 curiasse top via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

1930 Amethyst Earrings via Christie’s

1910 arts & crafts necklace via Tadema Gallery

1925 Carter jabot pin via Christie’s

1935 double clip brooch via Christie’s

Funny how I don't like to wear much clothing from the 1920s & 1930s but I really gravitate toward that style of jewelry. I love Art Deco, although my true love is for it's oft neglected cousin, Art Moderne.
1960 Ring via Lang Antiques

1890 Pereline via The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Thursday, December 29, 2011

DIY: Hat Fixes

I haven't done a DIY post in a while, Fashionable Reader. Partly this is due to the fact that many of my projects got donated or put into storage when I moved (as did my dressmaker's dummy).

But I did go into a mending phase recently where I decided some of my vintage hats needed help and repairs, thought you might like to see what I did . . .

Cream hat, 1940s, beret style, felt, repaired & cleaned

Cream felt hat bought at Bon Marche Thrift Store in Sonoma for $15, original state.

Cleaned with lint brush, old netting removed.
Brim stuffed and reenforced with tissue and sew back together.

 All decoration removed.
 Tried it with new netting, didn't like it.
Finished product, added teapot pin.


Navy hat, 1940's beret style, velvet repaired & cleaned

Navy velvet hat bought at Bon Marche Thrift Store in Sonoma for $15, original state.

 Roset detail, cleaned, flattened and sewed down.

Interior stuffed and repaired.

Navy hat, final product. Haven't had a chance to wear it yet, I just don't wear a lot of navy. Soon, I hope.


I do have a blog planned at some point discussing felt hats in general, how to keep and maintain them. I do hope hats are something that interest you, fashionable readers. I certainly adore them. I wear them for most of my events and I wish I wore them more often. 

Friday, December 23, 2011

It's Winter . . . More Tweed!

I love tweed. I love tweed, Fashionable Reader. Rah rah rah, tweed is good!

“Tweed Toga”  Bonnie Cashin, 1942 (Look at the spats!!!)

I've no idea why I love it so. It's scratchy and hot and sometimes smells. It's hell to take care of. It's kind of grandmotherly. But . . .

1950 Whitaker Auctions

It's got that equestrian country-house hunting-party vibe. It's aristocratic feeling. Celebrities love tweed. No they really do. The Queen wears tweed. The Queen probably sleeps in tweed.


In my world it is all about the tweed pencil skirt. I tend to feel it;'s such a slim fabric I ought to opt for a slender silhouette.


If you don't like the pencil, a tweed jacket is great way to integrate the fabric into your wardrobe without too much bulk. A slim single breasted blazer, perhaps? Wanna rock some uber vintage, tweed jodhpurs are a go! Or a cute tweed vest. But honestly you don't have to go all out like the retro fashionistas.

Vera Maxwell, 1948 The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Bonnie Cashin, 1963  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Elsa Schiaparelli, 1947-1949  The Metropolitan Museum of Art

You can accessorize with tweed too, gloves, hats, bags, a touch of tweed, I always feel, is a touch of class.

Tweed tweed tweed! Tweed for me, tweed for you, tweed in green, tweed in blue.

Bonnie Cashin, 1952  The Metropolitan Museum of Art; Marc Jacobs Spring 2012

All we are saying, is give tweed a chance.

OK, now I'm getting punch drunk. I might have got at the mulled wine a little early this year.

One for Prudence to wear?

1902 The Metropolitan Museum of Art

Wait for it. PPA is coming, I promise.

And now, good night, sweet tweeds.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Purple in San Francisco

 My last event of the year was an unexpected (for me, I'd forgotten I said I'd do it) appearance at Writers With Drinks in San Francisco.


Because I'd moved recently most of my vintage dresses had yet to be unpacked so I defaulted to a skirt and top look that I've never worn before.


The top is a vintage 1940's (or possibly early 50s) Fox Original Kansas City. It fits me (only just at the moment) but I can't resist a perfectly tailored button down since they pretty much never fit me in the modern age. Of course, I popped a button during the event (luckily AFTER I'd been on stage). Thank you Rack. That'll teach me not to reenforce my buttons before going out. Not to mention the golden rule, always take safety-pins when wearing vintage.


I also ripped under the arm. Sigh. I might have to come around to the fact that this blouse may be a little too small for me. Curses. I do love the details, though, with a little cross over at the top, and faux belted waist and covered buttons. As you can see I wore it with a cream felt hat, little bow earrings, purple glasses and a green bag. Reminded me of this Joan outfit from madmen.


I also paired it with a leather BCBG skirt. I'm not sure abotu the skirt, it doesn't fit quite right so it may go on the chopping block. In fact the whole outfit might go out to pasture, it's a lot of work.


Well, not the accessories, of course!



Still I have come around to purple. It took me a while. My mother wore a lot of purple in the 80s so I had to get over the association.

This is the tone of purple I prefer, sadly there isn't any in my wardrobe. Should I happen upon some I'll probubly get ride of the more drab tones, I just prefer clearer lighter colors.

Givenchy ensemble ca. 1956 via The Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Or if you don't want to commit entirely to purple, you can always wear it as an accent color.

And some for Alexia!

 Charles Fredrick Worth afternoon dress ca. 1872 via the Costume Institute of the Metropolitan Museum of Art

Monday, December 12, 2011

Winter Thoughts: Stocking Stuffers & Other Randomness

It's a blustery wintery England sort of day outside. Makes me think of knitwear, hats, and furs . . . and turning the heat up just a little bit.

I've been thinking about fun stocking stuffers, even though I'm not planning on much consumerism for the holidays. Poking about looking at parasols I happened upon this adorable lace fan.


 OK so I haven't talked about fans yet in this blog, but this is a preview of posts to come next summer. This little puppy is only $14 and unique, I've not seen many like it.

Admired the net gloves I talked about in my glove post? Well you can buy them here.


You remember those hunter boots I was talking about searching for? Well they've turned up at Marshalls/TJ Max, so if you were looking also. I snapped a shot while I was out curtain hunting. 


I didn't buy them, because frankly I've too many shoes right now, but it was nice to see they finally exist. This is my life, pity me, more interested in finding the right curtains than the right boots! How has my shallowness morphed into such a domestic manner? Tragic!


In other winter news, I visited the Dickens Fair yesterday. It was its customary crawling cesspool of plague carrying flirts, drunken debauchery, impossibly yummy sugary sweets, tea, and tiny-little-baubles of cute that you want to buy but shouldn't. I resisted %90 of the cute, $50 of the booze, 10% of the sweets, and 0% of the tea. The plague remains to be seen, that's always a risk with Dickens.


It was, nevertheless, delightful to see everyone again and say hello. I worked the fair for a decade or so, btu I don't make it back much these days.I wore my ball gown that never woudl pass costume approval, because I could. Some year I will make it for Steampunk Invasion, but I couldn't swing the schedule this year what with the move and all.

I just finished reading Powers That Be by Anne McCaffery (RIP) and Elizabeth Ann Scabrorough. No, Fashionable Reader, my picking it up had nothing to do with Ms. McCaffery's recent demise. I have had it in my too read pile for (I shudder to admit) well over a decade. Actually, I read it shortly after it came out, but then I went off to college and life happened and I picked up the rest of the series, but just never got around to rereading them.


Well, I decided enough was enough and I would make time to read, darn it! So I've been nibbling away at this first book over the last two weeks. This is not my normal reading style. Generally, I book gorge. I gobble the whole thing in one sitting. But my lifestyle no longer permits two hour blocks like that, so I have to learn to nibble. Anyway, enough about me, on to the book.


Oddly apt for a winter read, this book centers on Major Yanaba Maddock, a disabled veteran, sent to the icy planet Petaybee to die, but also on one last mission, to spy on the locals and find out what is really going on there. This book has a naive sweetness to it. It reminds me of early McCaffery books, like the Dragonsinger series. (Which is also my favorite of her work, and feels very YA to me.) Or even like a Mercades Lackey book. The story-line features a native culture full of good people having nice parties and being very accepting of alternative lifestyles versus a counter culture that's more stiff and traditional. This is a trope McCaffery is fond of exploring, like the Weyrs verses the Holds. I find it interesting to read about, but in my older years I could wish it were less black and white.

The authors use a lot of Intuit culture and mix it with Irish traditions and some simplistic teraforming in a far future science fiction setting, like the Pern books or the Ship Who Searched series. This ends up feel far more fantasy than scifi. One can come up for a scientific explanation as to why the horses would evolve one horn, but one has still stuck a unicorn on ones ice planet. I know, I know, it sounds like I'm belittling the book. I'm not, but it is a creature of its time. It's like an 80s rock anthem: cheesy, and nostalgic, and taken SO seriously my the musicians who played it. Now it makes me wince a little but I still put it on and dance naked around my living room. And I feel guilty and ashamed any time it comes on streaming, or is mocked in some youtube video, because I know all the words.

Powers That Be is kind of like that only in book form. I know as I read that everything is going to be alright for the characters, the romantic thread is going to pull through, no one is going to hurt too bad. The SF concepts are going to be pretty basic and predictable, basically I kind of know all the words. Even if I've never read it before.

But there is comfort in that. There's a joy in reading a book like this, particularity when it's a cold blustery winter day outside. It's the book equivalent of a decent cup of tea. Not a really good tea with nibbly bits and company, but still tea. And you know how I feel about tea. Mmmm.