Friday 27 February 2015

In neutral

I've been waiting all winter for my annual cold of epic proportions to hit, and it's finally arrived. So be gentle with me, I feel fragile. 

Nah, not really - I'm tough as old boots, but currently with added phelgm. Mmmm.
I am feeling the need to apologise to my darling friend Vix for these outfits; she'll be most disappointed with my lack of colour (see her post on the subject here). 
Between Monday's denim and leopard print and today's denim and lurex, I did wear plenty of green, red, purple and orange, honest; I just didn't take any photos.

Denim dress, top, belt, beret and leather patchwork bag - charity shopped
1970s Wallis cropped faux fur jacket - Kinky Melon's Retro Boutique
Boots - retail

This outfit reminded me of Natalia's Girl Next Door look here; she wondered whether neutral colours and casual clothes are necessarily predictable and boring. 

Well, denim and leopard print are neutrals, aren't they? And this is about as casual as I get. You'll have to decide whether it's boring or not!

I'll link my blue beret with added flare (if not flair) to Judith's Hat Attack.  

There is a Seventies vibe going on, though neither dress nor top are vintage. Both items cost just a £1 each from charity shop sale rails.

1970s Alexon lurex maxi skirt, Levi's denim jacket, top, suede waistcoat, scarf, bangles and boots - all charity shopped
1960s tapestry bag - gift from Gisela
The gloomy light is making everything look grey... And that really is a neutral too far for me. 

In reality, the waistcoat is more of a petrol blue, and the skirt is sparkly black/silver lurex. 

That's better!

I was pleased to find the Levi's denim jacket for a fiver yesterday; I bought it for Claudia really, since she has purloined permanently borrowed one of mine, but I might keep it. In all likelihood, we'll share.

The Alexon maxi skirt was in a bag of donations given to the charity shop on Wednesday...

along with several other 1970s treasures; a lurex blouse/jacket hailing from Leicester, two slinky and glamorous maxi dresses (sadly too tiny for me), a Louis Feraud skirt, and a 1960-70s wooden beaded bag.

My fellow volunteers laughed at me for squealing ooh, lurex! as I pulled the skirt and blouse out of the bag. I know they think I'm bonkers, but the bonkers lady has raised over £1000 for the hospice, and has been mentioned in dispatches. 
Well, in the shop's weekly bulletin from the manager anyway. Oh yes, they took the piss out of me about that as well; we've reached that stage of a friendship where some gentle leg-pulling is permitted, and I love it.

Thank heavens (or rather Kirsty) for a haircut yesterday, it was much needed and very therapeutic. And I'm relieved to be approaching the weekend too; Chinese food and folk music are on my agenda, what about you?

Hope you have a good one!


Sunday 22 February 2015

Let the sunshine in

I was going to do a post about Spring being around the corner, all sunshine-y and full of crocuses. 

But today it's trying to snow and it's so cold, I need to put my faux fur back on. 

But never mind, here are some photos from a couple of days ago, when I mistakenly felt as though winter was over.

1960s Admyra jacket, 1970s St Michael cotton maxi skirt, 1960s acetate scarf, white blouse and most of the bangles - charity shopped
Striped bangle - gift from Fiona

I love the details and thought that went into clothing before cheap mass production took over; this little jacket has matching fabric-covered buttons, flattering seaming and decorative stitching, and those lovely little elbow darts to shape the sleeves, so typical of the Fifties and Sixties.

I wouldn't be able to afford such quality in modern clothing; another reason to track down vintage pieces in charity shops, you get the workmanship without the out-of-reach price tag.

I found this little lot in various charity shops this week too, all destined for Ebay; a handmade 1950s cocktail dress with the decorative corded/frogging detail, a 1960-70s Scottish-made tartan skirt, and a 1950-60s flocked evening dress. 

I did try the skirt...

but decided I didn't love it enough to keep it. I just can't seem to get on with tartan.

The 1970s St Michael pussy bow top is a keeper, and I spotted the 1970s Lee Bender-designed pattern on Ebay.

If anything is going to revive my sewing mojo, surely it is this beauty, although I am a bit scared that it's too complicated for me. 

Half term has been quiet, but none the worse for that. There have been sniffles and coughs circulating round the house, and I think we were all tired and in need of some down time.

There have been trips out to coffee shops and charity shops, of course, and another lamentable performance by The Ladies' Purse at our local pub's fiendishly difficult quiz. And I was given chocolates, flowers and a bottle of Surf by the manager of the charity shop as a thank you for the Ebaying I have done for them. We chuckled over the Surf; she wondered if I would rather have had a bottle of wine, but hey, washing has to be done, right?

Back to the routine tomorrow. I think that's OK.

I'll take my Spring colours over to Patti's for Visible Monday.

Hope you have all had a great weekend!


Tuesday 17 February 2015

Modelling Mod

It's been something of a relief that most of the magnificent haul of vintage clothing recently donated to the charity shop has been too small for me. 
Disappointing in some respects, yes, but the fact that most of the pieces didn't fit me made it easy to part with them without a backward glance, and of course they have made very good money for the hospice.

But I confess to a little yearning for a couple of them...

these two 1960s beauties, for instance.

They've got that cool Mod vibe going on, and I was tempted. Enough to give them a bit of a road test this week.

1960s Courtaulds dress, bracelets and tights - charity shopped
Boots - retail (sale)
Black'n'white grooviness, including Mary Quant and Diana Rigg. 

1960s Tricoville suit, shoes, tights and beret - charity shopped

More fab Mod frocks.

I look like a Sixties air stewardess, which of course is a good thing, as my favourite ex-hosties Fiona and Connie know!

Charlie reckons I should get my own colour scheme and stop being a copy cat...

and Min agrees.

Despite the fact that I do love the style of both dresses, I don't actually adore them on me. Blame the period bloat, or my overflowing wardrobe, or my general arsiness, but I'm just not feeling either of these outfits. The high necklines bother me, and I feel less like me in them than I should.

So away to Ebay with them (after a wash, obviously!) 
And while I'm in a dissatisfied mood, here's another thing.

What is the deal with charity shops and new goods? Why do so many of them insist on flogging bought-in stock, usually of poor quality but with inflated prices? I can understand selling Christmas cards, maybe diaries or calendars; and I can even forgive Oxfam its range of fair trade gifts and toys. 

But isn't the USP of charity shops the fact that they are all different, with a unique and ever-changing (secondhand) stock; and don't their customers understand that it always worth a look because they never know what they might find? When charity shops fill their precious display space with new bags, hats, scarves and gloves, customers are seeing the same goods in every branch. And I would hazard a guess that anyone wanting a trapper hat or pair of earmuffs has already bought them by mid-February.
To me, it feels like a fundamental misunderstanding of why customers choose to go to charity shops, but I'm interested to know what do you think.
(I'm hormonally grumpy, so it's probably best to agree with me. Today, I heard Claudia hissing don't make her angry! at Nina, when she thought I was out of earshot. Just saying.)

Saturday 14 February 2015

Can things get any better in the tunnel of love?

For a while, I've been trying to spend wisely and not accumulate for the sake of it. And for the most part, I've managed to obey my self-imposed diktat.

Alongside my Ebaying, I feel the decks are ever so slightly clearer around here. 

But of course, if something catches my eye and it's a bargain, what's a girl to do?

Three 1960s acetate scarves, £1 each
 red dolly shoes, £3.99
 an Artigiano tote bag, from which wafts a very pleasing smell of expensive leather when I dive into it, £1.49 (their larger bags retail at around £150)
and a 1960s cotton pinny which had such a great print, I couldn't resist, £1.

I do so love wild 1970s prints...

and I'd wear these beauties any day of the week.

1960s faux fur and scarf, cardigan and bangles - charity shopped
1970s C&A maxi dress - Ebay
Boots - retail

What else have I found lately?

A chrome folding cake stand, hammered stainless steel (partial) tea set, and 1950s frosted glasses.

I'm not sure about a date for the cake stand; I've seen them described on Ebay as Art Deco, but it looks a bit too frou-frou for that period. The tea set pre-dates 1959, since it has an Olde Hall stamp and they dropped that olde worlde "e" in 1959.

I'm such a bric-a-brac nerd!

The glasses were a complete set of 6, but I discovered them packed at the bottom of a box while I was sorting donations at the charity shop, and one was broken. Sad.

 As a nod to Valentine's Day, I'll leave you with this jaundiced take on romance from 1983.

You're welcome!



Monday 9 February 2015

Oh! You Pretty Things

I am interested in why people choose the clothes they do. 

We all have to get dressed, so even those who profess no interest in clothing, fashion or style make decisions about their wardrobe.

I have long suspected that my penchant for early 1970s styles might be due to the influence of my eldest sister on my childhood.

Belinda is nine years older than me, and I have clear memories of many of her outfits from her late teenage years; the maxi dresses, floppy hats and chokers, the lurex and platform shoes, lace-up knee-high boots, cheesecloth wraparound maxis and floral print mini skirts, and an infamously pungent afghan coat.

 She was very fashionable, she went up to London on the train to shop in Biba and Kensington market, and I longed to be old enough to do the same.

She was also quite bolshie and challenging, the rebel of the family, which gave her added cachet. (I think we were all a bit scared of her.)

Fur and lurex; I was too young for them in the early Seventies, but now I can wear what I like.

And forty years on, I like to wear this.

1970s Emreco lurex sweater, bangles, Pierre Cardin silk scarf and ankle boots - charity shopped
1970s Atlantic lurex maxi skirt - Ebay
Faux fur jacket - gift

I've been brewing a post about all this for a while, but a couple of things have shifted the subject to the front of my mind.

My darling friend Connie and I had an entertaining e-conversation about our early fashion influences (her babysitters, my sister).

And I found this 1970s gold lurex sweater in a charity shop last week...

on the same rail as this...

with a label which made me a little misty-eyed;

Lee Bender's designs for her Bus Stop label are much sought-after these days; the brand existed from 1969-79, and provided cheap fast fashion for trendy young women who didn't want to shop in the same stores as their mothers.

Fab Seventies knitwear.

Oddly enough, in a different charity shop but on the same day, I also found this;

so quintessentially early 70s, it hurts!

(It hurts even more that neither the Bus Stop skinny lurex cardigan nor the blouse fit me, but hopefully some slimline 1970s-loving chick will snap them up on Ebay.)

 In the small country town where I was born and grew up, there were two shops selling clothes.

One was also a old-fashioned haberdashers, and sold clothing my mum would have worn, had she ever bought anything from a real shop and not from jumble sales. She had absolutely no interest in clothes, and was rather scathing about any woman done up like a fashion plate, believing that a concern for dressing well was a sign of being dim-witted and superficial.

The other shop was the wonderfully named Peekaboutique. It appeared to my 7 or 8 year old self, nose pressed longingly to the window, a treasure trove of everything I couldn't have (and my big sister could); velvet, chiffon, sparkle, fur, dramatic sleeves, flares, high heels, fabulous prints and rich colours.

Fashion. Cool.

Oh to be a Sarah Moon doe-eyed darling, all Deco-inspired chic and soft decadence.

Yeah, that never happened...

So when you see me wafting about in a 1970s maxi, sighing over a great print or squeaking at lurex...

or acquiring yet another faux fur...

just blame my childhood.

You can take the girl out of the Seventies, but...

 I'm joining Patti's Visible Monday, fashionably late (rather like my style choices).

(PS. I'm far too idle to link to all the sources of the photos I've used, but I am indebted to Miss Peelpants' blog, a treasure trove of wonderful vintage photos and style.)


Friday 6 February 2015

Earning my stripes

Although I only started last October, I feel as though I am well-established in my charity shop volunteer role, and love it so much it really doesn't feel like work.

There are perks, of course.

This late 1960s/early 1970s zip-front wool dress has suffered moth damage, so I didn't try to sell it.

We're none of us left unscathed by the passing years, are we? I suppose I could have a go at darning the little holes, but I suspect they'll stay as they are for the foreseeable future.

1960-70s St Michael dress, wool coat, beret and brooch - charity shopped
1970s bag - local vintage shop
Boots and gloves - retail

As you can see, I am ignoring any "rules" about horizontal stripes for curvy women. 

This piece of nonsense is courtesy of a 1977 Jackie annual. Heaven forbid we draw attention to a large frame.

I may not have Twiggy's proportions, but I'm happy with those I do have.

The house-clearing couple donated one final wardrobe's worth of clothes to the charity shop this week.

Suits from the early-mid 1960s...

Such wonderful illustrations - find them here.

More Sixties dresses and jackets. 

Here come the girls!

Vintage Label Love.

These two early 1960s dress and jacket sets are beautifully made and so stylish...

and very Jackie, don't you think?

I can just about squeeze into the Aubrey Segal suit of the left, but I'm not sure I'd ever wear it, and it should sell well, so on to Ebay it goes.

I couldn't find out much about the label, but it was mentioned in a 1963 fashion article in Country Living alongside the likes of Hardy Amies and Aquascutum, so it would have been a very expensive suit.

I've been utterly fascinated by this lady's huge collection of clothing, following her choices and the changing styles from the late 1950s to the 1970s. She clearly appreciated classic and elegant pieces of high quality, and I bet she looked fantastic. 

 My house looks like a vintage shop at the moment; the pieces I daren't wash are hanging up while I spray them regularly with a vodka/water mix and let them air. It works wonders on the musty smell of old clothes.

So the weekend's almost here; for me, it includes a meal out with the girls, and lovely lie-ins and reading. If I could stir myself, I might even start some sewing.

What will you be up to? Mischief, I hope!