Monday 29 February 2016

Chickens and parrots

Last month, my lovely and funny blog friend Connie asked her readers to recall their Very First Personal Fashion Moment.

I left a comment about my Chicken Dress...

...and here it is.

This photo was taken in 1967; I was 3, and singing into my skipping rope.*

The dress was a hand-me-down, it had been worn by both of my older sisters and dated from the 1950s.

Bright colours, a great print, secondhand - a pattern was established with this dress.


Parrot print, plus a peacock.

1980s Hawaiian dress, cardigan, bangles and tights - charity shopped
Peacock necklace - vintage market
Boots - retail (sale)

 I had an interesting exchange with a couple of customers in the shop last week. I heard a man telling his wife how much he liked 1970s styles, and we got chatting. I was wearing a 1970s maxi which the couple admired, but the man said that he could never wear a Seventies suit (he had been trying on jackets and browsing the suits).

Why? I asked. He spoke at length about living in a small village, and speculated about what his friends, neighbours and colleagues might think if he wore something unusual and different. I listened, then suggested that maybe he was overthinking things. If he liked a certain style of clothes, perhaps he should just wear them without worrying about anyone else's opinion.

His wife clapped her hands, and said she met you 5 minutes ago and she's got you pegged. You overthink everything!

Sadly he didn't buy a jacket, but I'm hoping a seed was planted. What's the worst thing that can happen if you wear what you love? The couple were visiting their son who is a student in Sheffield, and maybe next time they're here, they will call back into the shop and make a purchase.

What sort of a vintage seller would I be if I didn't wear it myself, and passionately advocate for the beauty and value of old clothes? What I wear is proving a talking point, and I love having a job where my eclectic wardrobe is a positive benefit.

I'll take my parrot dress over to Patti's for Visible Monday.

 This outtake is the real me rather than the posed me - a bit gawky and inelegant, but friendly, fond of laughing, and usually talking. I'd spotted a friend working in a nearby garden and we were shouting across to each other while the camera snapped away on the timer.

*Perhaps that skipping rope prefigures my penchant for karaoke just as much as the chicken dress sets the scene for my style preferences? My mum helpfully wrote on the back of that photo that I was belting out Puppet on a string, the UK's Eurovision entry in 1967. I still know every word.



Tuesday 23 February 2016

What a way to make a living

What do Cary Grant, the Visible Man and I have in common?

We can all be found in St Luke's new charity shop specialising in vintage, of course!

I am loving my time in this shop - it's just right for me. 

I'm working full time, we're still building up our team of volunteers, and there are lots of things to tweak and adjust and develop. I'm waking up in the small hours of the morning with ideas and plans and Things To Do. I'm knackered, but I'm so happy to be there. 

1960s black/metallic dress (shortened by me accompanied by much swearing, it was tricky to preserve the shape and the pattern at the hem while sorting out a previous poorly-sewn remake) - charity shopped
Boots - retail
Gotta love a job where wearing flamboyant vintage clothes is not only acceptable, it's positively de rigeur. 
I'm being a terrible blogger at the moment - parachuting in with a me me me post, having failed to leave any comments on your blogs for days on end. I will rectify that soon, I promise, but right now I need my bed and I have yet another list to write for tomorrow...
(I'll just pop over to Patti's to join the Visible Monday gathering before I go.) 

See you all soon!


Sunday 14 February 2016

Half Term History

Half term has been restful and relaxing, which was just what we all needed. And waking up naturally without the warning shriek of an alarm was the biggest treat of all.

We went to Eyam on Thursday, a lovely little village in Derbyshire (pronounced Eem, by the way) made famous by the villagers' actions in 1665. 

The bubonic plague arrived, carried by fleas in a bolt of cloth sent from London. The villagers, led by the Reverend William Mompesson, agreed to a self-imposed quarantine to prevent the spread of the disease to other areas, and in the ensuing year, over 260 people died. 

(Tania visited the village last year and wrote this post about it.)

The church dates back to the 13th century, although the late Saxon font and Celtic cross in the graveyard suggest an earlier church existed on the same site. 

The wall paintings are from the 18th century. 

The modern stained glass window tells the story of the plague in Eyam. William's wife Catherine is the only plague victim to be buried in the churchyard; others were buried quickly and without ceremony in gardens and on nearby farmland.

The cross is 8th Century, and the sundial on the side of the church is dated 1775.

The village is pretty, with plenty of stone cottages, a village green complete with stocks, and a late 17th century hall.

They enjoyed it, honestly - take no notice of the face-pulling... 

Before we left, we took a walk out of the village to the so-called Riley graves. The land was owned by a farmer named Riley, but the people buried here are John Hancock and 6 of his children. They all died within a week of each other in August 1666, and it fell to John's wife Elizabeth to bury them. 

It's a beautiful spot, but such a sad story.

Some colour was needed to counteract the gloom;

1970s dress - Ebay
Vintage scarf, cardigan and bangles - charity shopped
Boots - retail, sale. 

I'll join Patti and co for Visible Monday, and catch up with your posts before I launch myself into a busy week at work in my new shop - wish me luck!


Sunday 7 February 2016

A tale of two skirts

If my blogging form of late were to be graded, it would probably score a poor D- (and that would be generous). The dog didn't eat my homework, I've just found it hard to summon up time, energy or inclination. 

Must Do Better, and I intend to try.

I'm in a skirt phase at the moment, and these two have been on high rotation, especially for work.

1950s wool jacket, Hobbs wool skirt, jumper and scarf - charity shopped
Boots - retail (sale)
1950s brooch - flea market

 1970-80s St Michael skirt, top, cardigan and scarf - charity shopped 
Boots - retail (sale)
Vintage Windsmoor faux fur coat - vintage fair

Despite the fact that tartan isn't my favourite print, I do like the colours and the different shapes of these two skirts. 

 I've worked some extra hours lately, covering at other shops and doing some sorting and pricing of stock for the vintage shop. It opens on February 15th, but I have next week off for half term, so yesterday was my final day at my old shop. 

Doors close, doors open.

We've had plenty of rain and howling winds, but the sun does occasionally shines; Owen and I took advantage of a break in the clouds to head to town. He needed a haircut as badly as I do.

 And because I like nothing better than a busman's holiday, I've managed to find time to peruse the charity shops and nab myself some vintage treasures.

1960-70s enamel pan
1970s maxi dress
1960s vinyl bag
1960s sewing pattern
1950-60s Franpear lurex sweater
1960s Petite Francaise silk duster coat

That last one was the real bargain of the bunch - an immaculate vintage slub silk coat for £2.50? Now that's why I go scouring the rails of charity shops on my days off. 

The ever-useful Vintage Fashion Guild's label resource informs me that Petite Francaise was probably a British label, started in the mid-1960s, producing beautifully tailored dresses and matching jackets.

My old tan boots have started to let the rain in, so I was pleased to find these Hush Puppies at half price as a replacement. The old boots will still be fine when the weather allows. 

I'll link to the lovely Patti and her Visible Monday gathering, and I'll be round to see what everyone has been up to as well. 

It's been a sad week. George's funeral was a highly emotional occasion for everyone, but a warm, personal and beautifully thoughtful tribute to a lovely young man. And I'm sorry to be leaving my little team of staff and volunteers at Nether Edge.

Onwards, upwards...