Thursday, 3 July 2014

Cheap and cheerful

I seem to remember a Trinny and Susannah programme in which they proclaimed that wearing black with a bright colour looks cheap.

I suppose a snooty comment loaded with class prejudice and financial elitism is only to be expected from them.

If I'm going to wear black, I like some colour to lift the mood and provide contrast.

1970s dress - Ebay
Cardigan, sunglasses and bangles - charity shopped
Sandals and belt - retail (sale)

 I love the drama of red and black...

1970s dress - gift from birthday girl Leisa
1970s tapestry bag (previous photo) - gift
Everything else - as above
and the soft prettiness of black with pink and purple.
If that makes me look cheap, then so be it.

Yes, Charlie, that's Mama looking common, apparently, but not giving too much of a toss.

 The thing is, if I had to assess myself, I would say that although I am cheap (I love a bargain and have a limited budget), I don't think I look cheap. 
(Feel free to disagree, though I suggest tact and discretion are required here...)
I believe that one of the many delights of wearing vintage is that it neatly circumvents issues of cost, fashion, or the dreaded age-appropriateness. That's why I like it; it's a leveller. 
Precious little cash, no interest or idea about current trends, and past the first flush of youth? 

No matter! Vintage is your friend.

You can't tell by looking at my dresses (these two, or any of my collection) whether I bought them from some fancy pants vintage shop where I paid through the nose, or from a charity shop where they cost way less than a frock in Primark. 

These pretty dresses were in fashion when I was in my teens, but I'm not trying to look like a teenager by wearing them. They seem fairly ageless to me, they fit well, they work for my shape, and I love black with colour.

Cheap? Perhaps - but I'm ever so cheerful!
PS. Speaking of vintage; is anyone else feeling disappointed by This Old Thing, the current Channel 4 TV show about vintage clothing? I was prepared to give it a chance, but oh it is annoying me!



Melanie said...

Pfffft to Trinny and Susannah. Anyone who refers to a pair of jeans as 'a jean' automatically annoys me. I love red and black, it's one of my favourite colour combinations.
I love all your outfits here, you're looking quite splendid may I say :)
I've been watching This Old Thing as I was always quite interested in Dawn O'Porter and her 1960's vibe, but I'm not really feeling this series. The woman this week who says she spends between £100 and £500 a week on clothes! I don't spend £100 in a year or two, or three years, she must have oodles of debt.

Anonymous said...

That Charlie must be a cheap one too. Black and white (that's a color too right?)
I agree that black needs a lift with color. Who are those two snooty bitches anyway? Well, we have enough of those here in the US so you can keep them over there with you. ;)
Love the fabric of those dresses!

STAshworth said...

All of the dresses are lovely, but the wrap-top dress is really something on you. It makes you look very large of bosom and small of waist, and who doesn't love that?

Mother of Reinvention said...

I love black with a colour. It brightens it up but I am as "cheap" as they come. My wardrobe is decidedly an Anthropologie and Boden free zone. No yummy mummies in my house. What a load of bollocks (see it is the common bit coming out). You look bloody brilliant in your dresses. I don't think anyone has the right to tell people what to wear and as for spending £500 a week on clothes. I don't think that I have spent that in the last decade. :)

Patti said...

So well put, Curtise. These dresses are def ageless. And I had never heard that "rule" about black and brights looking cheap - the horror! I have looked cheap many times, probably mistaken for a bottom-scraping pub-trawler. Oh, well. Love the pic of Charlie looking up at you! xox

Asparagus Pea said...

Hoooey! Cheap? You? Never! My pet hate is Gok Wan (who otherwise i don't mind), putting everyone in 'a pair of killer heels'. How you gonna run for the bus girl?

Suzanne Carillo Style Files said...

Another two outfits that would feel right at home in my closet. Right down to the sandals. Good thing you don't live closer. I'd be borrowing frocks all the time.

I couldn't agree more with your assessment of vintage. It is a great leveller.

Personally I adore black with a bright colour. I've only seen snippets of that program a long time ago. The US had another less snooty version called What Not To Wear. In the end though it is as you wrote, it works for your body type. That is the most important.


diaryofapennypincher said...

You will never look cheap, Curtise! You know what suits you just too well! What do Trinny and Susannah know anyway, some of their own outfits have been horrific. Black always needs another colour ,in my humble opinion. Agree about the TV programme, I keep wandering off and doing more interesting things, like the washing up!!

Miss Magpie said...

Give me cheap every day if that is the case!

I mix black with everything, comes from being an old metalhead I guess.

Dawn O'Porter is beyond irritating.

Pennyblossoms said...

I love you in all your dresses in all their colour combos!
You look comfy, happy and able to run for a bus!!
So behind here with your posts...missed your birthday and cannot believe we were in Nottingham at the same time. Blast! Another time, maybe?
Happy belated birthday!
Z xx

Gracey the Giant said...

I'm a sucker for dresses with patterned hems; especially vintage ones.

I've never heard that black with color looks cheap. Well, hell, yet another thing to not care about, I guess!

Laurie Duncan said...

Most of the so called "fashion rules" make no sense! And I say they are meant to be broken! But honestly, black looks good with any other color, that's why it's so versatile! Love both dress, of course! :)

Connie said...

Why you low class cheap slut. How DARE you wear black with color. I am highly offended! And second hand clothing? If it is not new, expensive and designer labeled then I'm afraid you will not be invited to my fashionable soirée where I will be serving sautéed horses ass and expensive bottled hot air. So sorry that you have chosen to look so gorgeous at such a reasonable price. I may have to call the fashion police and have you arrested! Hrmph!

Sue @ A Colourful Canvas said... don't look cheap! At all! Your assessment about vintage clothing is so spot on! I never really thought about it much, but it's so true. No one knows how much, or how little one has paid. I love that, particularly in light of the many, many people that insist on wearing only certain LABELS...and why, I ask? I think it's got a lot to do with security, or more appropriately, lack of security. I think one of the reasons you always look so fantastic in your clothing, is that you have a high level of self confidence and don't care a wit about what other people think. GO Curtise!

Goody said...

Well I don't know where I've been as that's the first I've heard of black and brights looking cheap. Silly, unsophisticated me, I've always thought a bright jacket with a black dress looked classy.

Sigh. I'm so sick to death of self-proclaimed experts whose sole reason for existing is to extract money from otherwise sane people. Apparently, I've been doing, *everything* wrong if I'm to take a casual glance at the newspaper seriously. I don't know how we've made it to our age without someone holding us by the hand as we dressed, brought up children, navigated relationships, and managed to show up for work. Phooey!

You look great. Your fashion sense is YOURS, and if that's cheap, then wear the label proudly because it is so very much better to look cheap, than like sheep.

*Steps down off soapbox*

Angels have Red Hair said...

You're not cheap ... You're priceless ... in every good way there is :0)

OP SHOP MAMA said...

I really can't stand Trinny and Susannah and their advice.. I have occasionally watched those things and sometimes have found their ideas interesting at the most. I wish someone with their press hogging status would do a charity shop version/ second hand / upcycling campaign. Seriously. Sweat shop city!
Just caught up with your last posts - great party! You and Minelli looked grand! Love a good dress up party, me. x

Krista Gassib said...

I quite like cheap and cheerful! I think all those dam rules about this and that when it comes to style is all bullshit, you wear what makes you feel beautiful, and you look perfect for summer in these timeless frocks. I love that you said vintage is the leveler because it's so true. I also think by wearing vintage we put outfits together as opposed to just buying what's put together for us at the mall. We are original and sometimes that makes people uncomfortable - to them I always have a smile served with side eye:)
Love ya!

beate grigutsch said...

you look as elegant and beautiful as ever in that fab frocks. cool shiny sandals!
the great thing about vintage is that you can have a very good quality - for less then the cheap made things of today. and old dresses graces the curves of a woman much better then jeans/flimsy tees or that dresses in childish proportions seen everywhere.
no clue about the show - no brit telly here - actually not tv at all.
happy weekend to you! xxxx

Natalia Lialina said...

Black with bright colors to me say "art"! And both of these dresses are artful and classy. Though I like the expression "cheap and cheerful", and you know what - I don't mind to look "cheap" at times. As long as it suits your mood, I think it all is just fine.

I am going to experiment with vintage some day - just haven't found my venue so far. :)

Love and hugs to your side of the pond! xxxx

Jane and Lance Hattatt said...

Hello Curtise,

Well, we need no convincing. To us, you have a unique style which is certainly enhanced by seeking out vintage clothes which suit you perfectly and will, almost certainly, not be seen being worn by anyone else.

Style, at least in our eyes, is not about how much or how little something costs, but is about developing a look which is both appropriate but also quirkily different. You, darling Curtise, do this so wonderfully well.

And, it us not about only having certain colours it is important to choose combinations which work for the individual, which suit the mood or the occasion. You always accessorise the clothes with panache, bracelets, necklaces, shoes, handbags are all chosen with care and an eye for the detail. This is what really makes the difference.

In these days when resources of all kinds are under threat, we must see a way forward which does not always rely upon the brand new. You show us this way, darling Curtise, and you play the part perfectly!

Sue said...

OMG I am very CHEAP!! I love to chuck colour with my Black. Glad to know I am in good company tho'. Both dresses are really nice and perfect with those gorgeous sandals of yours. Love your cat checking you out, my Tex does that to. I would love to know what he is thinking.

Ivy Black said...

I always wanted to mash T&S together so hard that they became one blob that I could then dump at sea.
Shiiiiitttt programmes they were.
When I was studying costume design darling, there was a 'rule' of maximum of three colours with black or white. I always loved for red and black for impact. And I have a thing for green and black right now. Cheap? Tight maybe but never cheap.
Fabulous frocks darling.
No....not liking This Old Thing one bit. In fact I've now stopped watching as it is disappointing and irrelevant to me. I never much liked Dawn Porter anyway but I was willing to give it a go. Shit...even her hair annoys me. What we want is a good, gimmick free show about vintage with contributions from people...of all ages... who wear it and love it and don't have anything to prove. I'll leave that with you then.
Have a yummy weekend.
Loves yer cheap bits.

Olga Rani said...

Don't know who those ladies are...Well, I too like to mix black with some bright colours. The idea that it may look "cheap" never occurred to me. As you said, if it is so, let it be. Luckily I am past that age when I cared what others would think of my look. I follow my tastes and desires.
What can I say about your dresses? They always look beautiful to me, they always look great on you.

Beth Waltz said...

Brava, Curtise! And pfui! to those who can't think outside the box or shop outside the big box stores. My thrifty mum would always have added "fun" to the phrase "cheap and colorful".

Never mind the pro presenters, I'd rather watch you or any of the other savy vintage bloggers pull things from their real world wardrobes. (Vix has raised the 'Scarlet and the curtains' strategy to the nth level!)

Winter Moon said...

Ah! They don't know what they're talking about. Black with colour is gorgeous.

Loving all your dresses today!

Have a perfect weekend xx

Forest City Fashionista said...

Thrift shopping is the perfect "Leveller" as you say. I've looked very stylish in a dress I paid a pittance for at events where the other women had probably spent hundreds of dollars on their (boring) black dresses.

Both of these dresses are so pretty, and very flattering to your curves. Black needs a bit of bright to keep it from looking too sombre so Pfffttt to Trinny and Susannah.

You NEVER look cheap, but always cheerful. XO

Porcelina said...

Rules are made to be broken, of course! You look classy, nothing cheap about it.

I've been feeling a bit frustrated with 'This Old Thing', starting with the first episode when Dawn claimed that in the 1960s, girls could "dress differently from their mothers, for the first time". Um, so what about teens wearing jeans in the 50s? Or flappers in the 20s?

And why does she have to completely redesign each piece of vintage she picks out to make it 'wearable'. Surely there would be some original pieces that would work fine without being overhauled?!

P x

Emma Kate at Paint and Style said...

You look a million dollars so there. Trinny and Susanah, while mostly misguided and rude, did get me to stop wearing mens clothing! Hmm, moving on, my favourite moment was when Jo Brand said Trinny looked like a worm. And my favourite put down from T&S? ''You look like a german lesbian.'' Politically correct, they weren't.
I'm quite liking the Dawn O Porter show. Has she had a makeover? I don't remember her looking quite so glam. Or is that just the power of vintage? xxxx

Diane said...

I think those frocks look way classy! And I bet the fabrics are nicer than ones from Primark too. I did used to like the Trinny and Suzzana program, but really I just used to laugh at their poshness! xxxxxxx

peaches mcginty said...

Back in the day I bought into the whole T&S shite, because I thought I couldn't dress myself - my boobs were bad, my belly was bad and I needed to dress properly - it didn't work because it stripped me of my personality - anyhoo that's why blogs will always be so dear to me, put me on the straight and narrow and I still find a v neck jumper worrying - the wearing colour with black advice of course is a load of toss and you always look flaming splendid! we all should have a black and colour day and celebrate our 'cheapness' together..... and rock the shit out of it x x x

Kezzie said...

Trinny and Suzannah always chose minging clothes! You are the epitomy of style, a style I would aspire to! x

Jean at said...

The whole idea of looking "cheap" is hilarious. Sounds like my 91 year old mother. You look perfect and I love your dresses. You wear that silhouette to perfection.

Love you!!

Vintage Bird Girl said...

Aren't you just gloriarse in the black with colour combos. I do love you in these frocks. I always find it takes some getting used to seeing you UK bloggers in summer gear! And you my dear never look cheap. Even if we know you are cheap! As am I. Xx

Fiona said...

Personally I would question the advice on taste of someone who is shagging Saatchi (allegedly!)
Must admit I did watch T&S but often thought their outfits were frumpy, their advice about magic knickers was helpful though. Have watched one and a half episodes of TOT, won't be bothering again, the women they featured irritated me immensely. You could never look cheap Curtise, you have far too much class. xxxxxxxxx

Ladan Ladanu said...

To be honest I can't think of any colours I won't wear together.... erm trying hard here... nothing is coming. Colour clash is a great thing I think. I probably like it because it horrifies my beige wearing dad! ha ha never too old to rebel. And where would I be if I couldn't mix black with other colours, well I just wouldn't be able to wear black at all. I don't like monochrome, if I wear grey I wear it with other colours too. Those dresses are beauties, I particularly love the one with the big print.

PinkCheetahVintage said...

I just really love that 70s dress your friend gave you. I completely agree about vintage being so different it's almost impossible to categorise and is therefore ageless, or whatever.

Secret Squirrel said...

Ah, trinny and susannah... What happened to them after they promoted instant coffee? Ah yes, Trinny met a very rich misogynist... Miaow!

They particularly didn't like black trousers and a bright top, I remember. Which I wear a lot. Black skinnies and a print? Yes, thank you.

I particularly like your looks, however! Xx

Linda said...

Couldn't agree more Curtise, the thing that used to really annoy be about Trinny and Suzanna is that they needed fashion help more than the women that came to them for help. The best thing about This old thing is Dawn O'Porters wardrobe for the show,the show its self could have been so much better, think they could have featured real people, like your good self, who actually love and wear vintage rather than trying to convert people who ohterwise think vintage stinks and refer to it as dead people clothes! xxx

Pull Your Socks Up! said...

I recall T&S having the effect on me of a train wreck ... horrifying, yet I couldn't look away, until I couldn't bear it any longer. Black with black? What the hell were they on?! Indeed it looks wonderful with colour and you prove it here Curtise. Yes, vintage is indeed a leveller. xox

Mrs Bertimus said...

You really should write a book on vintage fashion and show em all how it's done!
Your wit and style are the epitome of chic my dear x

Veshoevius said...

So glad Trinny and Susannah have done us all a favour and stopped producing their awful elitist series and books. What a pair of harpies.
I LOVE that black striped and floral dress - love me some stripes mixed with florals as you know - and I think the combination is knock em dead elegant. So there to looking cheap combining black and brights. You are so right about vintage being a leveller - these dresses are timeless.

Trees said...

Black and colour look cheap together? I guess we couldn't possibly understand such things down here in the colonies. I do remeber on episode of the show where they tried to tone down this lady who was this totally rock n roll hairdresser all bustier tops and big blonde hair. She took the money she was meant to spend on her 'new' look and just bought more bustier tops and leather skirts! Awesome! I love both your outfits here, but then I always wear black and colours together:-)

Trees said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Shawna McComber said...

Trinny and Susannah tend to be a dual menace. You definitely do not look cheap. You looks smart both because your clothes look great on you and because you buy them at charity shop prices. Smart, not cheap.
I am not personally a fan of the black trousers bright coloured blouse formula but if I say it is common I mean it is ubiquitous not trashy.
Now, I'm off to search through my wardrobe for some black and bright colours to wear together just so I can thumb my nose at T and S.

Lizzi said...

I have just found your blog. Very readable and entertaining!

I think your dresses look lovely. Fashions may come and go but quality never goes out of style - or is it the other way round?

This Old Thing was a major disappointment to me. The presenter was highly irritating and it is easy to alter/remake a garment if you have a team of professionals to do it for you.

And like you, I wanted to like it.

Vix said...

We know you're a cheap date - a plate of chips and a Wetherspoon's pitcher of Porn Star but you definitely don't look it! Those dresses are fabulous, fit like a dream and stand out from the crowd.
You're spot on, wearing vintage is a great leveller - no-one knows if its designer, handmade or ancient - the print, cut and fabric are totally different to the dross on offer in the shops and you can keep the masses guessing.
I was full of loathing for that show - who is Dawn O'Porter? I hate that affected way she talks but do love some of her clothes (bet they aren't hers). Did you notice that they slipped a few of Lily Allen's offerings in there?
I am warming to it a bit though, I lost count of the number of customers who called in over the weekend after seeing This Old Thing wanting to buy a vintage dress - just wish the makeovers would stop and we'd see more gorgeous frocks.
Love you! xxxxxxx

Helga said...

Trinny and Susannah are a pair of nasty, clueless TROLLS!
You look feckign gorgeous, and I want to look as gloriarsely cheap as YOU! Black with a pop of colour is magic, end of story.
Haven't heard of This Old Thing; likely we don;t get it......pray do tell?!

Melanie said...

Those fashion show experts can go be their boring selves. Yawn. Besides, who says I don't want to look cheap? I'd rather be cheap-looking than look like a stuck-up cow.
You look fabulous in your black with colour. Definitely NOT common or cheap. Great raspberry cardigan too.
You are so right about vintage. It's hard for people to put their finger on. Elusive, mysterious.

Sarah Jane said...

I think Trinny & Susannah were created in a government lab tasked to create the most vile and obnoxious intolerable and insufferable snobs they possibly could. They really are just too awful to be real! I love bright colours with black and I think vintage is a great leveller. As you rightly point out, anyone can wear it without a thought for current trends or age appropriateness. Not that those things would bother us anyway of course. As for Dawn Porter, I've never been able to take to her, and I'm always wary of self styled "vintage experts" xxx

Cordelia Earle said...

I guess when you have unlimited resources you can pick and choose where and how you clothes and when you have a really good body shape you can pretty much wear what you want anyway!
I hated Trinny and Susannah with a passion, I found they were most patronising and they bigger one of the two, sorry don't know which one is which, generally looked like a 'bag of shit tied up in the middle as my dad used to say. For a couple of people who supposedly knew about dressing themselves they really did look like a couple of tits.
I think you dress wonderfully and to be able to wear vintage without looking like a bag of shit tied up in the middle takes some skill, which you clearly have in droves.

Bollocks to them, do what you want.


CityScape Skybaby said...

Damnation, the computer switched off as I was ranting about Dawn O' Porter, yes, I do think that programme is annoying and I agree with Ivy that even her hair is annoying, won't start my rant again. I actually like a trashy look, red and black, messed up hair, chipped nail varnish and big boots will always be a good look as far as I'm concerned, so maybe I'm the wrong person to give an opinion, but you look far from cheap Curtise, you're a classy bit of stuff! xx

Citizen Rosebud said...

Two dishes here: the vintage 60s one in yellow circles got me drooling- I love a good bowl! And the other vintage 60s one is rocking the hell out of her yellow print circle skirt. TASTY!

Rachel said...

You wear these dresses so well and you have such a fabulous figure! xx