December 17, 2014

My holy grail vintage hat as designed by gifted milliner Tanith Rowan

Outfit details

Custom made 1940s style pink and grey felt bird wing tilt hat: Tanith Rowan Designs
Pink glass stone earrings: Claire's (recently - in case you'd like to get a pair for yourself)
1930s black and clear glass bead necklace: Maejean Vintage
Black 1940s style jersey dress: Clothing store in Scarborough, Ontario that closed down years ago
Grey faux patent leather skinny belt: (Possibly) Joe Fresh
Grey 1940s/50s winter coat with embellishments: Sybil Style
1950s pink mesh gloves: Unknown, had for years (possibly eBay)
1950s/60s black clutch purse with chain strap: Gift from a dear vintage loving friend ♥
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Black faux suede 1940s style shoes: Walmart
Lip colour: MAC Diva

Photography by Tony Cangiano

It's a safe bet to say that just about every single one of us who wears vintage has certain holy grail items in mind. Those pieces that seem to go above and beyond mere wants or even wishlist entries and into a near mythical realm where even just thinking about their acquisition is enough to make you tremble with joy. For many, many years one such item for me had been a sophisticated late 1930s or 1940s bird winged adorned tilt hat - and all the better if it included my favourite colour ever, pink.

I looked far and wide, but none that fit the bill and my price range ever crossed my path. Enter my good friend, fellow vintage blogger, new mom, and mind-blowingly talented milliner Tanith Rowan. Earlier this year she asked if I would like to collaborate with her and together we could create my dream vintage style hat, which I would then share with all of you here (of course, she did all of the actual creating, I just discussed my fantasy hat specs with her and let her weave her incredible millinery magic).

Using vintage images and photos of vintage hats that were similar to what I had in mind, along with some lovely back and forth (detailed) discussions to really ensure we both had the same style and design of hat in mind, Tanith set to work to create a 1940s looking bird wing adorned tilt hat that, as you can see in these photos, is gorgeous to the point of leaving me at a loss for words.

Instead of using real feathers or whole bird wings, we both wanted to go for the super ethical route and leave all the little winged critters with their appendages, so instead Tanith crafted the "wings" out of felt, which along with velvet is (save for the netting and sturdy elastic strap to hold it in place) what the rest of this beguilingly beautiful pink and grey topper is made from as well.

There is an incredible sense of honour and joy that comes with having a bespoke garment of accessory made for you. In the course of my blog's life, I've had the great pleasure of experiencing it a small handful of times and can tell you that nothing on the fashion front compares to when a gift seamstress, crafter, jeweler, or in this case, milliner, is able to not only realize your vision for a particular piece, but to create something that is even more sublime and special than you could have ever hoped for. This is precisely what Tanith did in creating this awesome 1940s vintage style felt tilt hat for me and I can’t begin to express my thanks and appreciate to her for doing so enough.

It, like all of her work - which you can see anytime in her online shop, Tanith Rowan Designs, as well as on Facebook and Instagram, where she shares many of her fabulous millinery creations - knocks your socks off instantly. Not only is this hat visually stunning and incredibly vintage looking, but it is also exceptionally well made. In fact, that quality of the materials and the degree of skill involved with its creations eclipses that of many actual mid-century hats that I own.

Tanith's love for what she create shines though in each and every hat, fascinator, and headpiece that she designs. Pulling on old school inspiration and her own vivid imagination alike, Tanith's pieces are nothing short of genuine works of wearable art. I feel incredibly fortunate to now call this magnificently lovely vintage style feathered hat my own. It takes pride-of-place in my hat collection and will remain a treasured part of my wardrobe for as long as I live and indeed, should I ever have children or a niece to pass this along to, I know that it will become a family heirloom because it really is that amazing and beautiful.

Now, a hat this special called for a backdrop against which to shoot it that would fit its old school style perfectly. This meant our usual photography location haunts around town such as the lakes, woods, parks and our yard were all out. We both agreed that a vintage building or house was in order, yet as there are incredibly few of these still left in Penticton (that are accessible to the public, in the case of houses, I mean), we didn't have a lot of options.

Thankfully however, one that was ripe for the picking, if you will, not mention just a few blocks over from our own abode, is an elegant early twentieth century home called The Leir House, after the surname of the family for whom it was originally built. This stately stone house hasn't been used as a private dwelling in a long time, instead it is a cultural hub for the community, hosting arts, culture and creativity themed events and classes for the public to partake of. As such, unless a private function like a wedding is taking place there, you're free to pose with it anytime you'd like.

Knowing how scarce vintage buildings are in Penticton, Tony and I had been saving the Leir House's Chronically Vintage debut for a truly exception outfit and thanks to Tanith's gorgeous vintage style chapeau, we felt that this was just the one to do that with.

In some photos, I'm posing with a stone gazebo that's located near the small parking lot at the front of the house, in others I'm in the back yard/garden, and in one I'm sitting on a flight of stairs that run alongside the side of the house. As it is a large home on a bit of property, the Leir house affords one many lovely locations in which to take photos and on a very chilly afternoon recently in November, Tony and I did just that.

I partnered my bespoke vintage style hat with a beautiful c. 1940s grey winter coat (which is making its blog debut here today as well) that I got about three years ago now (its glamorous pink lining and grey outer hue made it a natural pairing for this hat in the same colour families), a simple black jersey dress (that while modern, does look quite 1940s-ish), and an assortment of accessories that colour coordinated well with the hat, coat and dress. The temperature seemed to plummet by the minute, so I was very thankful to have such a sturdy, warm coat (which as it's wool, when I wasn't in front of the camera with, I tucked a black velvet scarf around my neck with, so as to protect my sensitive skin, which is allergic to wool, with - but I wanted to show off the collar of the coat here, so I didn't sport my scarf on camera that day) and a warm felt hat as well to help keep near winter's chill at bay.

As 2014 nears its end, I feel especially blessed to have been able to find one of my vintage holy grails, not in this case from a second hand seller, yard sale or thrift shop, but instead created with love and unending skill by a friend and gifted milliner on the other side of the world (Tanith lives in Australia). This fact, I promise you, makes my new hat all the more special, important and beautiful to me, for I not only played a roll in its creation, but personally know that talented hands that crafted it for me.

Should you be yearning for a custom made hat of your own now (and I know you are!), you can contact Tanith anytime to chat about how she can make your vintage (or otherwise) hat dreams come true.

December 16, 2014

An IMPORTANT MESSAGE to all Vintage Secret Santa participants

First and foremost, thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking part in Chronically Vintage's first annual Vintage Secret Santa gift exchange. The number of participants that poured in far exceeded my initial expectations, with the final count, landing in the 260s. What an incredible way for so many of us to come together in the spirit of the winter holidays - whichever those may be for you personally - to celebrate not just this festive time of the year, but also our mutual passion for vintage.

I'm penning this quick post this morning to cover a couple of further points as well.

First and foremost, I want to ensure that everyone has opened their Vintage Secret Santa match email at this point. We quadruple checked that everyone was sent an email, so if you signed up and haven't received/seen yours yet, please check through your spam/junk mail, deleted messages, and achieves folders going back to November 25th, which was the first day we started sending VSS match emails out (and by "we", I mean Tony and I; he has been incredibly helpful throughout this whole process, even writing the script that allowed us to quickly assign random VSS partners to one another).

It's integral to the success and spirit of this Secret Santa exchange that if you signed up, you receive/view your email and please send out a gift to the person you were partnered with. If for any reason, especially with Christmas Day so near now, if you aren't able to carry through with sending a VSS gift, please email me immediately. Likewise, if you can and still want to take part but can't seem to find your match email, again, please email me right away.

I know that if you follow Chronically Vintage on Facebook and/or Twitter, I may sound like a bit of a broken record here, but again, I really, really want to make sure that everyone both sends and receives a VSS present.

And on that note...we all know what a three ring circus of (hopefully jolly!) activity and excitement this time of the year is, so I ask one and all who are taking part to please be patient with your Santa (the person who is sending a gift to you). I'm starting to get a flurry of messages from Santas informing me that they are just now sending their gifts out, which is totally okay (I didn't set any hard and fast "mail by" dates, simply suggesting, if possible, that folks do so by December 12th) - the important thing is that they get in the mail.

{The real St. Nick might live at the North Pole, but this year over 260 Vintage Secret Santas from around the world joined together to each make this season an even more joyful another member of our fabulous online circle and the outpouring of support for this fun holiday season project, which I truly plan to make an annual event here on Chronically Vintage, has been nothing short of overwhelmingly positive. Vintage image source.}

If you're taking part in the Vintage Secret Santa and haven't received your gift by Christmas Day, please try not to worry. On top of how early or late your Santa may have sent their gift to you, most postal systems slow to the speed of molasses on ice at this time of the year and there's a very good chance that it will reach you in the last few days of December or early January.

Should you, however, have not received your gift by January 15, 2015, then by all means feel free to contact me and I'll get in touch with your Santa to ensure that they did in fact mail out your gift. Over the years I've had parcels I sent via Air Mail in early December not arrive to international locations until early February, so if you haven't received your VSS gift by then, I wouldn't give up hope entirely.

If, ultimately, your present fails to arrive for whatever reason, and we are working on the honour system here of course, I will do everything in my power to ensure that you are sent a belated gift. A few incredibly kind and generous Vintage Secret Santas have informed me that they can send out a second gift (to a second "match", that is), if need be, and I want to truly thank those folks for this kindhearted offer. Ideally, I won't need to take them up on it, but if needed, I certainly will.

Thanks to the power of social media and the handy-dandy #vintagesecretsanta hashtag, we're already starting to see some people's gifts arrive and be shared on social media (chiefly Instagram and Twitter so far). If you opt to share a photo (or photos) of the gifts you're sending and/or have received, please don't forget to use that hashtag so we can all delight in viewing what we've each received as part of this awesomely fun holiday gift exchange.

Once more and with an endless amount of joy, thank you to each and every person who took part in this first Vintage Secret Santa present swap. I've (very touchingly) had several people tell me that the VSS has been the highlight of their holiday season and I know that for all of who joined in, it is undoubtedly a bright spot in our wintertime festivities this year.

December 15, 2014

Buy more, save more Chronically Vintage Etsy shop holiday season sale

It's the most festive time of the year again and I couldn't be happier!!! As it is for so many of us, Christmas is immensely near and dear to my heart and I love to celebrate it in as many ways as possible (from baking enough holiday treats to feed an army to donating toys, clothes, and food to local families who are in need). I also adore taking advantage of December shopping deals and know that I'm definitely not alone on that front either, so in the spirit of helping you all do so, starting today I'm having a mammoth sale in my Etsy shop.

This sale will run for three weeks (with January 5, 2015 being the last day), so as to encompass Christmas, Hanukkah, Yule, Kwanzaa, Boxing Day, New Years, and all the other fabulous holidays that fall during this festive time of the year. Whether you're shopping for yourself or giving gifts to your friends, family, coworkers, or anyone else in your life, now is the time to save big!!!

{This holiday season, the more you buy, the more you save in Chronically Vintage's Etsy shop. Treat yourself or someone special to the perfect vintage gift this December and save plenty in the process. It's a total win-win for everyone! Image source.}

Unlike the other sales that I've had so far, this one operates on the basis of, the more you buy, the more you save. Please see the following list and use the appropriate coupon code when purchasing anything from my Etsy shop during this three week period.

Spend $1 to $75, save 15% with coupon code Christmas15

Spend $75 to $150, save 25% with coupon code Christmas25

Spend $150 to $300, save 35% with coupon code Christmas35

Spend $300 or more, save 45% with coupon code Christmas45

Coupon codes cannot be combined and do not apply to shipping or taxes (taxes are only applicable to Canadian customers), but you can make multiple purchases of different sizes, say one for $100 today and another for $200 later in the year (or start of January) and take advantage of any and all of these coupon codes on more than occasion.

{Some festively themed and hued items from my Etsy shop, which along with everything else there, you can use the coupon codes in today's post to save 15, 25, 35, or even 45 percent off, depending on your order's total. From top left to bottom right: Kitschy 1950s red and pink plastic poinsettia brooch | 1950s green floral print wiggle dress | Vintage signed Sarah Coventry pink silver flower brooch and earrings set | 1930s dark pine green Bakelite bangle bracelet | Big red and gold vintage disk dangle cha-cha earrings | Beautiful 1950s blue snowflake and flower glass brooch | Vintage red, green, and beige floral and striped Jakymar print scarf | 1950s light blue and emerald green rhinestone crown brooch | Set of three vintage brass and green malachite bangle bracelets | 1940s red plastic bead and brass cha-cha earrings | Vintage Avon Christmas tree and holly berry brooch | Big vintage red lucite and etched silver tone metal belt buckle bangle bracelet (center square item) | Stunning 1950s black and red lace party dress}

The two highest discounts (35% and 45%, respectively) are the largest I've ever offered and I won't likely be having such deep savings again until next December, a full year from now! So if there's an item - or ten! :) - that you've been eyeing from my shop, now is definitely the time to pounce on it!

I truly appreciate all of your business and support of my Etsy shop this year. It's been a little over seven months since it opened now and things have been going great, thanks in no small part to business, encouragement, and sharing (about it) that many of you have blessed me with in 2014. I offer these holiday season savings to all of you (new and returning customers/supporters alike) today as a truly heartfelt token of just how much you and your business all matter to me.

Happy shopping, saving, and holiday season wishes, my dear friends!!!