March 15, 2018

Garden Gate

I will never understand why skirt suits have fallen out of favor with most modern women. I guess all the over exaggeration of the 1980's suits, and questionable boxy silhouettes and bad polyester of the 1990's just scarred everyone into avoiding them, but mid-century skirt suits are such a wardrobe staple for me now that the fact no one is making similar styles today (except for very high fashion designers out of most price ranges of course) baffles me. 1940's and 1950's suits always make me feel like a chic Hitchcock heroine, or a film noir fatale, and who doesn't want to feel powerfully feminine like that? I suppose it doesn't appeal to all, but if you have to suit up, you might as well feel a bit like Lauren Bacall if possible no?

This particular suit has the most wonderful beading on the jacket and a really pretty flecked black fabric speckled with light blue and dark burgundy. If I could find a dozen such suits out there in other color combinations I would try my best to snap them up! While this ensemble wasn't the easiest to photograph in the harsh winter light, it was very nice to wear for a wander about the botanical gardens down in Denver. Even in winter there are parts of the gardens to enjoy, like the indoor jungle like conservatory, and of course the Japanese gardens which are both beautiful and tranquil at any time of the year.

I hope all of you have had a lovely week. Time still seems to be speeding by this year for me so far, I wish I had more of it but it seems to be rushing away! Halfway through March already!!! So crazy, must make time to slow down soon ;)

Suit, Gloves, Clutch, & Jewelry: Vintage
Fishnets: TJ Maxx
Shoes: Bait Footwear

March 14, 2018

Cataloging Catalogs: Ward's Fall/Winter 1947-1948, Dresses!

My favorite pages in Ward's catalogs are the still the pages and pages of dresses. I find them so inspiring for dreaming up future sewing projects! Even if sewing has been on the back burner for me so far this year, as soon as I'm done with my current writing project I can't wait to dive back in, so some inspiration is always helpful!

These dresses I have to share with you today from the 1947/1948 Fall/Winter Montgomery Wards catalog are truly swoon worthy. Whether featuring sequin embellishments for a sparking cocktail hour, or made from sturdier fabrics in simpler silhouettes for versatile day wear, I'd certainly love to have one of each of these in my closet! Looking at these pages I can't help but think "forties fashion is just the best!!!" on repeat in my head. I hope all of you enjoy these images too, as usual fee free to pin and share them to your hearts desire ;)

March 12, 2018

Novelty Noir

Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world... Sometimes you've just got to give into the novelty of noir. All right, to be fair Casablanca may not totally be a noir film I'll grant you, but a great trench coat is half the genre isn't it?

So when I found my wardrobe was lacking a truly perfect trench, to my favorite Etsy I went a' browsing. I ended up with this lovely number which ticked off all the boxes I was looking for: longer length, well spaced horn buttons, an oversize fit I could cinch, and that classic khaki color that works with everything. Now of course I would like a black trench coat one day too, but one coat at a time right? This particular coat may be "vintage", but only of the late 80's or even early 90's variety (the same vintage as me, I'm a '91...!). As for what I wore underneath, everything is thoroughly modern! I bought the grey sweater years ago from Forever 21. The skirt I'm wearing is from H&M, and was a Christmas present I had picked it out myself, so that was perhaps cheating a bit. One of the last two items I plan on ever picking up from a fast fashion brand really, as I have pledged to myself I will stop shopping from them any longer. Which is a bummer, because H&M and Zara do such awesome pretty things sometimes, but I just don't like not knowing who was hurt so that I could have a pretty skirt for only $19...Ever feel like you live in the capitol of the Hunger Games universe? I do. How's that for noir...

On a lighter note, I managed to get some more of the 1947 Montgomery Wards catalog scanned to share with you all this week! I know I have been slacking on...well everything but writing, as you all know. Which reminds me, I've got to go finish a scene set in a jungle now. Sadly none of my characters have a trench coat to wear, but I'll try and inject some film noir flavor despite that disadvantage ;)

Trench Coat, Handbag, Gloves, Belt, & Jewelry: Vintage
Sweater: Forever 21
Skirt: H&M
Shoes: Banana Republic
Fishnets: Amazon

March 8, 2018

Pairing Neutrals Together

I used to be a real stickler for these things, no black and brown together or black and navy blue, but the key to making it work is intention. If you merely have one item out of sync, it can look like a mistake, but if you are obviously pairing the two neutural shades together I think it can work. Today we're breaking the rule...because in fashion, there are no rules!

I also have really anachronistic eye make-up going on here in these photos too. I knew I would be changing into a more 50's dress for a dinner party so I had some shimmery eyeshadow and cat eye wings drawn on despite wearing this more 1940's ensemble during the day. These are the perks of living in 2018 everyone, modern painkillers, the internet, and wearing cat eye eyeliner with everything. This hat I have on here is my favorite in fall and winter. I really need to find more similar hats in other colors for the colder season when all my straw hats are packed away! Now that it is March already (are you kidding me?) I suppose I can start pulling out my straw hats again for "spring". It's not nearing spring here in Colorado I can tell you!

I pulled out my damascene jewelry to wear with this outfit as well, since I love any chance to sport these dark oxidized metal pieces. There is just something about the bright gold against the matte black metal that sings. I kept all of my other accessories black, it's easy to wear all neutral shades when you've got bright hair going on! I need a hair cut desperately though, so some of my purple ends are about to be sacrificed in the pursuit of bobbed hair. I was going to try and grow out my hair in order to do some longer hair tutorials for YouTube, but I just do noooot like longer hair on myself anymore so it's got to go!

And yes, I do remember that I have a YouTube channel, even if it has been very neglected recently! I'm writing all the time and neglecting nearly everything else...I promise I'll dedicate some time to videos soon as I do miss making them! Too many passions, too little time...

Dress: Made by me
Fishnets: TJ Maxx
Shoes: Remix
Handbag, Belt, Gloves, Hat, & Jewelry: Vintage

March 5, 2018

Haute Couture Haori

If you have been visiting this blog for a while you may already know that I love Japanese haori jackets. These traditional Japanese garments are cut very similar to kimono and are designed to be worn atop full length kimono, but are often worn in their own right both in Japan and abroad. I have discussed wearing haori and the possible cultural appropriation encountered in doing so a little bit before here on the blog, see here, and as usual I want to say that it is never my intention to wear anything in an offensive or costumey way. I genuinely love studying and handling vintage clothing from all over the world, and especially from Japan as kimono are truly gorgeous. Here I am wearing a haori a little differently than I have before here on the blog because this jacket I have on is actually a men's haori jacket!

Mens and women's haori (and kimono) are cut/designed a bit differently from one another, with the most noticeable difference being the width and way the sleeves are attached to the main part of the garment. The sleeves on this men's style haori for example are completely set into the main body of the garment, as opposed to women's haori which have the bottom inside of the sleeves open. There were many cocoon style or oversized coats in 1950's women's fashion which borrowed a lot from the shape of a kimono jacket like the men's haori, and I find the way the sleeves drape is just so elegant. A mix of vintage styles from two different cultures, can it ever really be done respectfully? I know that is my intent, but I am also aware that some people may find my wearing a haori at all incorrect. I am interesed in the descussion around the topic for sure, so feel free to discuss it further in the comments!

Here I am wearing this vintage Showa (1926-1989) period silk haori jacket with a modern knit dress and various vintage accessories including 1960's nylon gloves and my 1940's plastiflex clutch. This dress is an odd one in my wardrobe, being a thin jersey fabric and totally modern item. It clings where I am not often comfortable having things cling, and is virtually sleeveless when I don't usually like showing my arms, but somehow despite my insecurities, I love this dress? I don't love it in photos (ah insecurities...why are you still here? go away) but I do love wearing it. It's odd, I know. I have sadly misplaced the long tie belt that came with the dress so I wore a thin patent leather belt from my days working at Banana Republic instead with a cute elephant buckle. I kept my jewelry simple with just a bracelet of black glass beads and long lantern shaped gold earrings. 

How do you all feel about wearing items of clothing, be they modern or vintage, from another culture outside your own? Have some items and designs been exchanged for so long that they are no longer at risk of being offensive? Or is erring on the side of caution always just safer? Let me know what you think!

Haori, Gloves, & Clutch: Vintage
Dress: Old Navy
Fishnets: TJ Maxx
Shoes: Remix
Earrings & Bracelet: Made by me
Belt: Banana Republic Factory Store

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