February 26, 2015

25 fabulous vintage dresses to buy right now for spring!

With spring's official return less than a month away, I can't help but feel like I'm standing on a runner's mark, just waiting for the starter pistol to fire and for me in turn to make a mad dash to my closet racks and dresser drawers to delve into everything light and airy and sublimely well suited to sunny weather.

I must cool my (snow boot clad) heels a little longer though, as we haven't reached that point quite yet, but thankfully will in the near future and when we do, I know that I'm not alone in the slightest in my desire to shed off my winter togs like a crab parting ways with an old shell.

It's often wisest to shop for a season before said time of the year strikes. So while there's still a soupcon of time left before spring barrels into town again, for a fun change of pace, I opted to forgo this month's usual edition of 25 Vintage Deals under $100 and instead share with you some of the loveliest, most spring and summer appropriate genuine 1930s - early 1960s dresses that have crossed my path recently.

In keeping with the spirit of that series though, most of these are still fairly (if not "very") well priced, with none of them coming in over $200, and several hitting under $100. I've tried to represent a range of different styles and sizes, as well as time periods, and really hope that one or more of the following frocks calls your name and might even be able to land in your own closet this year.

Here's to celebrating spring - and marvelous mid-century dress that suit it to a perfect tee - right here and now!

1. A unique and rather wonderful combination of different types of both fruit and brick or stone shapes combine in this sweetly pretty 1940s lightweight cotton novelty print dress, making for one seriously cool, very warm weather appropriate garment (that comes complete with matching belt). Fits up to a 37" bust/25" waist. $85.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.

2. For those early days of spring or nippier nights of summer when long sleeves are a must, reach for this romantically beautiful 1960s light blue and white Jonathan Logan brand toile print dress and stay nice and toasty while looking supremely stylish at the same time. Fits up to a 39" bust/27" waist. $62.00 from Hollie Point Vintage.

3. Two of the very most spring + summer perfect hues of all time - coral pink and periwinkle blue - team up this arrestingly elegant 1940s rayon blend swing dress to create the kind of breathtaking mid-century piece that will turn heads for all-time. Fits up to a 36" bust/26" waist. $70.00 from The Mermaid Tattoo.

4. Not only is this strikingly elegant 1950s/early 1960s blue floral watercolor-esque Kerrybrooke brand shirtwaist dress timelessly gorgeous, it's so affordable, I did a double take when I saw listing price. Fits up to a 36-38" bust/28" waist. $32.00 from Jane's Vintage.

5. The combination of vivid, vibrant teal green and soft, romantic cream lace in this stunning c. 1950s sleeveless dress is nothing short of swoon inducing. I would wear this to a garden party, summer wedding, birthday bash - or anytime during the warmer months when I really wanted to look spectacular. Fits up to a (snug) 36" bust/ 27" waist. $155.00 from Blue Velvet Vintage.

6. The scrapbooker in me remembers when terrific grey + yellow + white were the hot colour combo de jour three to four years ago. Thankfully, unlike trends in crafting that may come and go, this fabulous 1960s floral print short sleeved dress featuring the very same chic, fun trio of colours is bound to always be in style. Fits up to a 37.5 - 38" bust/28.5" waist. $56.00 from Hollie Point Vintage.

7. Butterflies, bows, star burst flowers, and dragonflies, oh my - and pretty please!!! This enchantingly cute, completely lovely 1950s sleeveless novelty print dress includes all of those seasonally fitting motifs and is so sweet you might not need any Easter candy this year! :) Fits up to a 32" bust/24" waist. $85.00 from Swing Kat's Vintage.

8. A garden's worth of gorgeous blue and brown blooms call this crisp white cotton 1950s short sleeve dress home. A classic shape, full skirt, and flattering round neckline only serve to heighten this fifties frock's appeal and wearability. Fits up to a 34" bust/29" waist. $75.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.

9. Looking at the citrusy colours of this fabulously fun 1960s striped dress with its punchy orange hued buttons, I'm reminded of everything from lime sherbet to freshly cut cantaloupe, and suddenly, once again, summer can't possibly get here quickly enough for me. Fits up to 36" bust/28" waist. $46.00 from Sticky Lip Gloss.

10. There are few dresses into post that I wouldn't sport in the speediest of heartbeats, but this fantastic carnation pink patio style 1950s dress with its jaunty, darling rickrack trim is turning my knees to Jell-o and tempting me something fierce in the process. Fits up to a 40" bust/30" waist. $112.00 from Simplicity Bliss.

11. Pastel gingham? Check! Splendidly fun floral spring flower print? Check! Classic 1950s wrap style? Check! This vintage Swirl brand dress nails it on so many covetable spring and summer fashion fronts and looks like it would seriously comfortable to boot. Fits up to a 36" bust/28" waist. $110.00 from Blue Velvet Vintage.

12. Gorgeously eye-catching shades of serene blue, purple and white leap out at you from this party perfect 1950s floral print dress that boasts dolman sleeves, a becoming v-neck, and a lovely fitted bodice that gives away to a twirl perfect full skirt. Fits up to a 37" bust/30" waist. $115 from Miss Farfalla Vintage Clothing.

13. Fresh, lovely candy-like hues team up with crisp white in this terrific 1930s zipper front house dress (with fun front pockets) to present the sort of spring and summer frock that will see you through picnics, days of chores, flea market shopping adventures, road trips and scores of other events that we all love to flock to as the mercury starts to climb again. Fits up to 36" bust/28" waist. $108.00 from When Decades Collide.

14. Paisley can often come across and commandingly bold and very vibrant (not that that is a bad thing, it certainly isn't and I'm personally a massive paisley fan), but when it's done up in soft shades that look as though they could have been plucked from a mermaid's seashell collection, as this enchanting 1950s cotton dress is, they take on a decidedly romantic and incredibly pretty quality that makes me want to fill my whole world with this same warm weather perfect palette. Fits up to a 36" bust/26" waist. $105.00 from Dalena Vintage.

15. From the beautiful colour palette of robin's egg blue, olive green and white to the charming detailing on the neckline and the warm weather perfect floral print, this awesome 1940s day dress is the kind of vintage springtime frock that you'll reach for time and time again. Fits up to a 37" bust/28.5" waist. $104.00 from Minx VTG.

16. My very first impression when I saw this wonderfully pretty 1950s light pink seersucker dress is how marvelous it would be as the starting point for casual (by vintage standards) Easter ensemble - add white gloves, a flower bedecked bonnet, and pastel hued jewelry for a look that rivals that of any egg filled basket. Fits up to a 43" bust/33" waist. $72.00 from Stutterin Mama.

17. I would sport this charmingly fun 1950s blue and white gingham dress with daisies (real or artificial) tucked in my hair, a pale wicker handbag, and open toed shoes for a fabulously charming, subtly country farm inspired sunny weather look that would be as cute as the day is long. Fits up to a 36-37" bust/28-29" waist. $65.00 from Geronimo Vintage.

18. Serene shades of green, blue and tan combine in this airy, sweetly lovely 1950s short sleeve summer dress - complete with matching bow detail - to create a palette that suits the return of sizzling hot days so bewitchingly well. Fits up to a 48" bust/36" waist. $58.00 from Old Faithful Vintage.

19. Seriously, I can't even handle the fabulousness of this 1950s Bettina of Miami dusty rose, jet black, and cream short sleeve dress. From the tiers of feminine lace to the full skirt to the bracingly mid-century silhouette, I absolutely, positively adore it all. Fits up to a 40" bust/30" waist. $69.00 from Little Star Vintage.

20. Pale blue and spring got together like Easter and eggs, and this strikingly lovely 1950s short sleeve light blue dress with bow detail and matching belt would be the perfect vintage garment for almost any kind of casual to semi-formal (add gloves, a hat and a great vintage bag to up the formal factor) event or daily errand you can think of. Fits up to a 40" bust/32" waist. $135.00 from Blue Velvet Vintage.

21. If, like me, you can't get enough of plaid all year round (I swear, some years I wear it more in the summer than in the winter!), than this thoroughly lovely 1950s pink plaid dress might be just the ticket to breathe some new life into your warm weather vintage wardrobe for 2015. Fits up to a 48" bust/38" waist. $68.00 from Simplicity is Bliss.

22. A sweet peter pan collar feels like it's the icing on the understatedly beautiful cake that is this tropical sea hued 1930s turquoise summer dress. Fits up to a 37" bust/29" waist. $165.00 from Stop The Clock.

23. The colour of chicks, daffodils, freshly churned butter, and spring sunshine itself, this gorgeous pale lemon yellow hued 1950s eyelet dress is a breath of cheerful fashion fresh air if ever there ways! Fits up to a 38" bust/27" hips. $112.00 from Simplicaity is Bliss.

24. There's something so lighthearted and yet powerfully chic at the same time about the blending of vertical and horizontal stripes, as seen here in this happy-go-lucky 1960s deadstock (aka, NOS) turquoise/green and white striped summer dress. Fits up to a 47" bust/50" waist. On sale at the time of writing for $30.00 from Mintage.

25. I intentionally saved this whimsically magnificent 1940s nude coloured sleeveless dress with its uber cute bubble bee and flower embroidery for last because I wanted to wrap up today's list with the most springtime appropriate vintage dress under $200.00 that I could find and this charmer nailed it sublimely! Fits up to a 34" bust/26-27" waist. $164.00 from Stutterin' Mama.

{Please click on the photo of a specific item, or the link in the description below it, to be taken to its respective listing.}

Before we know it, spring will be here and in preparation for it, I've already added a couple of new short sleeve, warm weather perfect dresses to my wardrobe this year. I love shopping in advance of a season, as touched on above, and highly recommend doing so. It can save you time and money and often offer up a much larger selection of seasonally appropriate clothing.

In fact, throughout the course the current season that we're in, the saying, "In winter we shop!" sprang into my head many a time, for it really is true that I try to inject new life into my spring/summer wardrobe during the winter and then, when the dog days are upon us, vice versa (maybe this summer will finally be the one that delivers my long sought after matching two-piece vintage snow suit).

As we shake the snowflakes from our hair and retire our toques for another season, what kinds of things are on your springtime fashion wishlist? Are any of these dresses calling your name? I must say, a couple are not just whispering to me, they're practically shouting and I might just have to heed their call, if my budget permits.

Whether you splash out on one, two, five or more new (old!) garments or simply enjoy and get the most out of the ones that you already have, I hope that this season brings plenty of great fashion inspiration and ideas your way and that the weather is cooperate enough to always let you get in outfit shoots, when desired, of your gorgeous springtime looks.

February 24, 2015

Spring cleaning 2015 style

A few days ago, no doubt spurred on by the (possibly temporary - this being Canada after all!) of slightly above freezing temperatures - I began my spring cleaning for this year. I'd been fortunate, our big cross country move in early 2012, which involved some serious purging of household possessions, thorough organizing once we were in our our new digs, and a clean house to begin with, meant that for the most part, I was spared this hefty job for a while.

Three years to be exact - especially since our yard sale last year really helped with things on the organizing front for 2014. I, humbly, keep a very clean and tidy house no matter the time of the year (an unkempt house - or really any setting actually - genuinely fills me with anxiety and doesn't allow my mind the degree of peace and calm that a well ordered home would), so my spring cleaning is not usually a massive affair, but it is still work for sure.

I learned many years ago not to try and and do it all in one mad rush. That massacres my health and often leaves me unable to get out and enjoy the start of spring (which I definitely want to do). Instead I draw up a list of chores and projects and gradually work my way through them over the course of a few weeks (or however long it takes to get the job done).

While beginning this year's list last week, I was struck by how different some of the tasks on it were from those our foremothers knew. Of course there were the age old things like washing the windows, pruning the rose bushes for the new season, scrubbing the walls and the like, but - in part because I tend to use the term spring cleaning rather liberally to encompass all the organizing tasks I want to get done at home - it also had things like "Scan all store points/member ship cards to Stoard on my iPhone" (Tony introduced me to this app and I absolutely love it – my wallet is so streamlined now), "Create a list to save coupon codes from online sellers" (those save 10, 15, 20%, etc discounts that many sellers offer when you purchase online; this is something I've been meaning to do for years, but it kept slipping my mind until this month), "Upload latest photos from my phone to my computer" (I need to do more often; it has been several months since my last cell phone photo upload), and "Scan all 2014 business paperwork to send to my accountant in order to file taxes".

{Spring cleaning today is a fabulous mix of old and new - much, come to think of it, like vintage blogging itself. We carry forward some decades and even centuries old traditions and marry them with the world that we inhabit today. No matter how modern or old school your approach to cleaning is, there's no better time than spring to roll up your sleeves and restore order to your dwelling after a long winter of indoor hibernation. Image source.}

Times may change, the tasks we need to do may differ, and for more traditional cleaning and organizing, the tools and products (Green Works! Swiffer! Mr. Clean Magic Eraser!) may vary, but the fact remains that late winter/early spring is still a truly fantastic and practical time of the year to set your home, computer, cell phone, car, office, you name it, in order again.

On top of the usual elbow grease tasks and more digitally minded ones of the sort mentioned above, I'll also be tidying up my matchbox sized closest (which is nearly impossible to find anything in if it becomes cluttered), organizing some crafting supplies I've purchased in the last few months, culling old paperwork to shred and recycle those things that are truly no longer needed, rejigging my (very full) bookshelves once again to accommodate about 15 new books I picked up this winter, and checking to see which categories of greetings cards (birthday, anniversary, get well, holidays, etc) I'm currently low on (and then making + buying as needed).

I'm lucky in the sense that in so much as my health can handle it, I love organizing and honestly rarely mind most types of cleaning either. This helps make the task of spring cleaning far more enjoyable for sure, but even if it wasn't my favourite thing, I'm sure I'd still throw myself into with the same kind of gusto. The feeling you get when you know that every last hanger, towel, and photo album is in place and that there isn't a smudge or spec of dirt to be found on any mirror, window, or drinking glass is unparallel in my books.

So before the gloriously sunny weather finally returns and the last thing anyone wants to do is be inside more than they have to, why not join me in taking a 21st century spin on the classic tradition of spring cleaning your home, your phone, your computer - anything you fancy. You'll find the serenity and sense of order that it brings to your life is worth its weight in gold or Bitcoins, depending on how modern you want to get! :)

February 22, 2015

Flickr Favourites: February 22, 2015

{Vogue August 1942 ~ Amara}

{Sparkling Silver ~ Joy Russell}

{1954 winter fashion-skirt suit 2 ~ Mo}

{February 1940, Jeanette MacDonald ~ Amy Jeanne}

{Avondale Fabrics, February 1949 ~ The Bees Knees Daily}

{Vintage winter ~ Svenia Schreiner}

{Miss Marzie Brown - 2 ~ LLF archives2}

{Our Siberian Husky Mishka, loving the snow! ~ Sheila Bobeldijk}

{1951 ~ File Photo}

{Coeds Enjoy Winter ~ University of Wisconsin-Madison Archives}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on its title to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

Does serenity have a colour? A season? A language all its own? I think that the answer to each of those questions is a resounding “yes!”. However, what classifies as such for me, may not be the same for you. The experiences you've lived, the part of the world you call home, the things that bring you peace, and myriad other elements will all factor in there.

I believe that serenity can be found in every season, though some, such as winter, do lend themselves more so to this powerful state of mind and being. February often gets a rather bad rap. Though the shortest month of the year, it can at times feel like the longest, and for many it's the last full month of winter weather, which makes us yearn for it to just be done and over with all the more.

Here in Canada, we're apt to experience wintry weather and temperatures until April (and for some, especially in more northerly locations, until May), but nevertheless, that almost palpable sense of longing for energetic new blooms, citrine hued sunshine, and open toed shoes start to kick in right about now all the same.

This is perfectly normal and okay, of course, but if even you're feeling “so done with winter” already, I encourage to stop and savour the ingrained serenity that February delivers all the same. There is a peaceful beauty to the way the world looks, smells and feels on a bracingly chilly winter's eve, just as there is to its colour palette of steely greys, powerful whites, gentle blues, and weathered browns.

As much as you may pine for spring and summer, take a moment and think about the last time you were melting faster than a crayon on hot pavement in July, when the whole world felt dizzyingly alive, pulsating with sticky electricity, and tell me you wouldn't have happily swapped at least one night of sleeping in front of the fan, in little more than your birthday suit, covers long kicked to the floor, for the chance to take a quiet walk in the snow on a frosting February morn?

It is human nature to want what we can't have and to long for the idyllic elements of life, but as we must take the seasons as they are dished out to us (save, of course, for hopping on a plan and embarking on a holiday somewhere warm, or conversely, chilly) and serve our spirits well by enjoying the best that each has to offer. Even if doing so can, admittedly, be a bit tricky when you're shoveling the driveway for the seventy-ninth consecutive day in a row or piling on so many layers you could practically stand on a street corner, undress, and have your own pop up clothing shop.

Do I miss summer? You better believe it, but I also long for certain aspects of winter, when June, July and August are here, so for now I'm content to put up with snow chains, steep heating bills, and short hours of daylight in order to enjoy and savour those elements of the season that I know I'll yearn for when I'm practically boiling on the beach in a sundress in half a year's time. Chief amongst which will always be, the immensely lovely serenity and stillness of winter.