Monday, 27 April 2015

Can you believe I'm wearing brown? No me neither, but it is a beautiful late 1950s St Michael dress...

Around 12 years ago there was a phase in fashion where brown was really, really in. I remember it vividly because I had this brown and blue skirt from Next that was the only concession I would make to the brown trend. About 10 years ago I decided I hated said skirt not only because of the colour, but also the stupid asymmetric hem. Ew.

So imagine my surprise when I came across a vintage dress that was most certainly brown, and I really, really liked it. WHAT?! I think the saviour of this dress was that it was not a chocolate brown, but also that it had a print design to it. I can best liken it to a cross between animal print and tree bark. Miaow.

The dress is 1950s St. Michael or Marks and Spencer as it's known now and still has the satin label that was used at the time. I love the fact that M&S changed their labels so frequently allowing their clothes to be dated so easily.

With the dress I wore a modern M&S cardigan, vintage beads and a vintage belt (that is dropping to bits and desperately needs replacing!).

My freshly trimmed hair was tucked into a nylon scarf bow that I tied around my head. I am so much happier with my hair now that I have had all the perm damage cut off. It is in so much better condition and I think I suit the darker colour so much more than the red.

And the back of my hair showing how I tucked it all in the nylon scarf.

The back drop for these photos was a super glamourous back alley in Alnwick, Northumberland. I felt the colours made a lovely combination to go with the dress.

Last think to mention is something else pretty cool. In Alnwick there is a huge second hand book store where the famous/infamous Keep Calm and Carry On poster was originally found. Since the keep calm thing is a huge now it was pretty nifty to see the original.

Outfit details:
Dress: Vintage St. Michaels
Cardigan: Modern M&S
Necklace and Belt: Vintage
Hair Scarf: From Natalie Vintageous
Shoes: Clarks

 How do you find brown clothes? Yey or Ney? 

Sunday, 26 April 2015

Its Spring! So I'm going to take one last chance to celebrate the winter coat...

So I've been away for a few weeks and the weather has changed and so has my wardrobe. In the few weeks that I have been away from the blog I have put all my coats away, stored my super thick black tights and swapped my winter boots over for more dainty shoes. I am loving spring!

But I wanted to take one last minute to celebrate the winter coat.

Boy oh boy was the Collectif sale good this year, so good in fact that I bought 3 coats! But when they are around £35 each over 3 months it really doesn't seem like such a naughty thing... Maybe.

I though it was worthwhile mentioning this coat too as even though it is out of stock right now Collectif are really great at tweaking popular designs and releasing improved versions in new and exciting fabrics and colours. I for one hope a version of this coat comes back, in a navy blue!

So this coat is the Annabelle. It came in two colours; mint green and pink. I decided to get the green as I thought it was a simply gorgeous colour. 

It has a lovely sumptuous fur collar and cuffs too and a silky floral lining that makes it really comfortable. It is generally a warm coat but it is not quite as warm as the Rachel coat I showcased in this post and because of this I think it is the perfect coat for transitioning from winter to spring.

As always the Annabelle features a full skirted design which is great for fitting over full skirts like the Mary which I am wearing underneath ;)

One thing I will say is that this coat is small fitting. I was able to buy the Rachel in a size 12 and this size 14 Annabelle only just fits me so if they do re-release a similar style to this be wary when choosing your size.

Did I mention how much I am loving spring?

Outfit Details
Coat: Collectif
Jumper: Collectif
Skirt: Collectif
Shoes: Clarks

Have you made the wardrobe transition yet? What do you do to switch to spring? Do you do anything at all?!

Sunday, 29 March 2015

You can always trust Cath Kidston to brighten up a spring day!

 Is it spring yet? Spring and Autumn are my favourite times of year as you don't get the extremes of weather and you can really work on layering. The only problem is that sometimes in those months fashion can get a bit dingy and boring.

With the dregs of my Christmas money I ventured into the Cath Kidston sale and I found this amazing bright floral tea dress and lovely red cardigan. I simply couldn't help my self. Especially when I discovered that the dress had pockets!

I have a couple of Cath Kidston cardigans now and I have to say that I find them to be one of the better fitting styles of cardigans. I find that the yarn is high quality and it doesn't stretch horribly when I inevitably roll the sleeves up and it also is able to be buttoned up fully while also having enough stretch to not hang limp when its open. YEY! Living the cardigan dream!

I continued with the colour theme with some burgundy tights and my vintage moreland boots (that have been so well worn the sole on one of them fell off recently!!).

I decided to wear my vintage camel coat with the dress and cardigan. I think the camel colour is a lovely contrast for the red

What do you think? What brands do you trust for a splash of colour?

Outfit details
Dress: Cath Kidston
Cardigan: Cath Kidston
Shoes: Vintage Morelands
Coat: Vintage
Hat: Accessorize

Sunday, 22 March 2015

Casual Cosplay: Harley Quinn meets Vivien of Holloway

Some time ago I entered a costume competition run on the Vivien of Holloway facebook page. I didn't win it, but I had a lot of fun putting together this little casual cosplay.

The challenge was to create a costume using a Vivien of Holloway dress so I decided to use my Peggy Lee dress. The red colour and the white collar really reminded me of Harley Quinn so I decided to throw together a vintage inspired Harley look.

I made this look by tacking the diamonds on to the dress. I tacked them on very badly because it was just for a one off but I would applique then neatly if I was going to do this again.

I also wore two pairs of tights, in this instance I didn't cut the tights, but I would have cut them and re sewn them if I wanted to wear this costume again.

It was also a great opportunity to break out the Worbla mask again and the blonde wig.

I also decided to have a little fun with some prop signs...

Have you ever thrown a costume together in a rush? Did it work?

Saturday, 14 March 2015

A post about one of my best charity shop finds to date!!! EEK! A vintage early 60s Harrods dress!

I've been very much neglecting my charity shop duties of late as I've been trying to cut back a little bit and save some money. However I missed my train home a few weeks ago so I decided to have a peek in the local charity shop Hospice in the Weald. This is one of the better charity shops in my area as they have a really good mix of items.

Anywho, I was drawn immediately to a blue sleeve on the dress rail and absolutely delighted to to pull out this 1960s shirt waister dress - in my size!!

Things got better still when I checked inside for labels and found the label saying Harrods. EEP! A lovely dress, true vintage and from Harrods? How could it get any better?!?!

Price tag: £6.

Well how could I not get it...

(On a side note I used Vintage Fashion Guild for label checking - they are an amazingly useful resource for the vintage gal/chap)

The only downside was that it was unlined, however I wore it with a vintage slip and I don't think you would ever know the difference.

All in all I thought it was a delightful find. It is also worth noting that this post was one of the earliest with my freshly coloured hair. I think it goes rather well with the dress and belt!

And one last one with my vintage Laura Ashley coat:

What is your best charity shop find?

Outfit Details:
Dress: Vintage Harrods
Belt: Vintage (from my Nanna)
Scarf: Gift
Coat: Vintage Laura Ashley

Thursday, 12 March 2015

The day I saw a random vintage 1950s caravan...

I visited my parents in Durham not long ago and while I was wandering around the city centre I came across this delight!

The folks at Beamish were out promoting their new development a 1950s area!! For those of you that don't know Beamish it is huge interactive museum that allows its visitors to experience living history. So far most of the developments have been areas based on the late 1890s and earlier 1900s. Which is brilliant in itself, but the fact they want to open a 1950s area is soooo exciting!

I also got to nip in and have a look inside the caravan and while I loved some of the decor...

I wouldn't say I was enamoured with the facilities - just look at that sink!

A question vintage enthusiasts are often asked is whether they would rather live now, or in one of their chosen decades. I can certainly say I would rather live now than in the 1950s... I've watched enough Call the Midwife to know that!

What is also really cool about the whole development is that Beamish are running a competition for your house to be built in the area if it is a post-war semi. Because the North East was so damaged by bombing in WWII there are a lot of these types of houses in the area so I think it is a great chance to get involved. Here are the details.

If you haven't been to Beamish and you visit the North East I would highly recommend it. I've had a great time whenever I've been (I went for Halloween last year, you can read about that here).

The ladies that were promoting the new development were really nice, when I walked up to them one of them even said 'oh, you look like you should come work with us.'
Not exactly true but I appreciated the comment.

Here is what I was wearing:

Oh boy did the Collectif sale ruin me this month! I know I go on and on about this brand, but when you're a bigger lass it is sometimes really hard to find true vintage in your size. Both the jumper and skirt are from Collectif and this jumper is becoming a fast favourite of mine!

I also adore how swishy this skirt is!

Do you think you could spend a week in a vintage caravan?

Outfit details:
Jumper: Collectif
Skirt: Collectif
Hat: Accessorize
Shoes: Clarks

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Review: A Rapunzel dress for World Book Day (even if it is the Disney version...)

I have always been a big fan of fair tales, whether that come in the form of a Disney Movie, or the original word of mouth tales recorded by the Brothers Grimm. Something about those fantasy worlds always thrilled and excited me. The adventures of unfortunate Princesses were always the ones that really got me particularly excited. I think fairytales have an important place in European literature as they are often a gateway for many children into the world of reading and (feminism issues aside) the value of these stories cannot be underestimated.

I think that's why I am drawn to these characters for World Book Day (March 5th in case you were wondering) and I don't think there is anything wrong with using the Disney versions of these characters for fancy dress as they are far more recognisable. This year my work is having a 'Girl Power' theme for World Book Day and I have been thoroughly exploring costume options.

The costume website All Fancy Dress very kindly offered to help me out and sent me a Disney's Tangled Rapunzel costume to check out. The costume is made by costume manufacturer Rubies and is officially licensed by Disney so I had high expectations. In the interest of fairness in this review all pictures are taken with the dress completely unaltered - this is literally how it came out of the packet.

The costume arrived in a packet that was similar to most other fancy dress costumes (it also arrived the next day after it was ordered so I can highly recommend their quick service) and it consisted of the dress only. All other accessories such as the wig, hair flowers and frying pan are my own.

As far as the overall look the dress has the right colour and style to match Rapunzels dress, I appreciated little details like the netting on the sleeves and the lace decoration on the waistline and neck. There is a mix of fabrics used, most of the dress is made form that light weight satin-type fabric that so many costumes are made from. It is cheap fabric, but to get a princess dress made in anything else would cost a lot of money so I don't mind, I think the shiny-ness works as an advantage on a gown like this anyway as it makes it appear more full.

Surprisingly I found this dress very comfortable to wear and I thought it fit quite well. I ordered the medium or 12-14 as I had read reviews saying that the bust was ample and the dress was quite a large fit. I found that the front of the bodice fit very well and there was a stretchy panel on the back to accommodate larger sizes. I found that this bunched up around the waist a little bit but it was a fairly minimal problem. In an ideal world I would like something much more sturdy in the bodice and waist, but without having a costume specially made you will probably never find that in a fancy dress costume. 

I would have liked to see the waist lace going all the way around the back too...
In side the dress and attached to the waist is a mini petticoat that is about 8 inches long. It has a lining inside with a netting overlay to give the dress a bit of fullness on the hips. I am not entirely sure what this added to the dress as Rapunzel isn't especially noted for curvaceous figure and her dress is one of the more slim line of the Disney Princesses (not counting Elsa of course!). I am also a woman with a very ample set of hips so I really didn't need any additional full ness so I am considering taking this out for future use of this dress but it really is a minimal issue and could be done very easily.

That grass was COLD!!!!!
 Overall I am pleased with the general look of the dress and for a fancy dress costume you can get away with wearing straight out of the bag £35.99 isn't too bad a price.

I did notice that the official picture of the costume the bodice looks a lot longer and I found the bodice to be quite short in real life. This is something that isn't a problem for me as I have quite a short torso but perhaps it is something to bear in mind if you are longer in the body.

 I used the blonde wig form my Princess Zelda costume and applied some hair flowers of my own. I know that this wig is no-where near long enough to be like Rapunzel's, but I think it is long enough to give mostly the desired effect... I hope at least!

At the time of publishing All Fancy Dress had sold out of Rapunzel costumes, but did have several other Disney Princess, like Snow White and Cinderella. They also have a dedicated World Book Day section with plenty of suggestions for both adults and children - and their quick delivery means that you still have time to get a costume before World Book Day on the 5th of March (you know you want to!!!)

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