July 2, 2015

You asked: Do you wear vintage clothing all the time?

If you sport vintage fashions out in public, you're bound to find yourself frequently being asked a number of the same kinds of questions. Hopefully, much as my own experiences have typically been, these questions will be friendly and not overly nosy (though you may find some a bit, how shall we say, off the wall, such as the ones I discussed last year in this post). 

In fact, you'll likely quickly discover that the same handful of queries pops up time and time again, one of the most frequent of which I receive is, "Do you dress like that (aka, wear vintage clothing) all the time?"

I have on occasion also received this comment online, including from some of my lovely readers, one of whom (Jennifer from the blog thistlebear) asked just that on one of my vintage outfit posts (this one) a while back. 

The short answer - and the one I almost always give to those curious strangers who ask me such when I'm out and about - is, yes, I do wear vintage very nearly all the time (note that I put genuine vintage, vintage reproduction, vintage appropriate, and 1980s does 1940s and 1950s garments under, for the sake of simplicity, the banner heading of vintage; as well as, though I don't wear nearly as many of them rockabilly and gothabilly styles, too).

{A selection of my usual vintage attire (all from previous outfit posts here), which blissfully mixes vintage, repro, vintage appropriate, and 1980s does 1940s/50s items together to create the kind of mid-century looks that bring my heart tremendous joy.}

That said, there is the odd occasion where I may want, or need, to don modern attire outside of the house. It doesn't happen often, and usually relates to medical appointments/hospital trips or taking Annie to the dog park, though every once in a blue moon, I will wear a wholly current look just because I'm in the mood to do so.

I do not, by any stretch of the imagination, hate modern clothing (as I touched on recently in this post). Granted, I might not be a hurry to hop into neon skinny jeans or wedge sneakers anytime soon, but as a lover of fashion - not just vintage fashion - I certainly don't have anything against twenty-first century wardrobe offerings. They're just, typically, not the kind of styles that I feel the greatest amount of love for, nor any sort of magnetic pull towards wearing.

Those who have followed my blog for some time now may have heard me share this story before, but in case you haven't, I'll recount it here once again today...

For as far back in time as I have memories, I have loved anything relating to history, vintage (mid-century) clothing very much included. As a little girl, though I had no idea at the time that some people actually did so, I knew in my deepest heart of hearts that when I grew up, I wanted to wear the styles of the 1940s and 50s. The moment my folks started letting me buy my own clothing as a young teenager, I'd sprint down Main Street on my school lunch hour to hit the local thrift stores, where at the time, 1930s-50s garb was still readily available and often for what we'd now call today, mind blowingly inexpensive prices, too boot.

From my first true vintage garment onward, I was hooked and have been ever since. Over time, my wardrobe has become a fabulous blend predominately vintage, repro and vintage appropriate pieces. I can go months, if not longer, between when I buy an item of clothing or an accessory that would be genuinely hard to style in a 1940s or 50s direction. I have a small assortment of such (modern) pieces, yes, but they see very little wear and are definitely the visible minority in my closet, stocked and stacked as it is with 1940s house dresses, 50s circle skirts, vintage babbles, repro denim, timeless cardigans, and myriad other old school or vintage inspired items.

My wardrobe, much like the way that I dress, brings me an indescribable amount contentment and happiness. I feel more confident, less self-conscious, and a million times more like myself when I wear mid-century vintage fashions than when I do 99% of modern clothing. Many of these garments also fit my (short, curvy) body better than their present day counterparts.

I adore the hunt involved with finding them, the memories attached to when they came to live with me, the knowledge that I'm preserving tangible pieces of the past through my wardrobe choices, the fact that I own a closet full of pieces that I'm guaranteed no one else in town has, and that I get to be time traveler, of sorts, every morning when I select my outfit for the day.

Even, on those very rare occasions, when I do slip into something modern, it frequently has a vintage vibe to it, and even less common than me not wearing my beloved vintage attire, is for me to go without my usual mid-century style make-up and hairstyles.

Vintage fashion is one of my greatest passions in life. It is an integral part of who I am, how I see myself, and how I present my appearance to the world. I don't wear vintage attire to intentionally standout from the crowd, though naturally, such cannot help but be the case (especially when you live in a small Canadian town that lacks a vintage scene). 

Instead I sport it so that I feel more like I fit in with myself, by which I mean, I am true to my inner sartorial desires and my unending passion for the past.

I'm not saying you might never, ever, in a million years see me on the street in boot leg jeans, a modern blouse, and a pair of twenty-first century earrings, but if you do, there's a very good chance, I'll be thinking about, and missing, my usual old school garb the whole time.

June 30, 2015

Vintage Link Love for June 2015

Nope, no way, no how, we can't seriously have reached the halfway point in the year already. That seems borderline impossible, does it not? And yet, hard as it may to wrap our lovely minds around, that we have.

I generally like to save my summaries of the year and how it played out until the end - or at least a fair bit closer to it, so I'll refrain from such for now. But I will say that the first half of the year has been truly mixed bag of highs and lows, good and bad, stresses and points of joy.

It hasn't, for the most part, played out how I foresaw in the slightest (for example, we had no idea going into it or late -spring, for that matter, that Tony would be headed to the States for work all summer long). Sometimes that's a good thing, others not so much. It is what it is though and ultimately I okay with where the year is at so far.

I may be singing a different tune come six months from now, though I certainly hope not. I often find the second half of the year to better than the first and really do have my fingers crossed that such will be the case this time around.

Right now though, summer is out in full force (yippee!), there's more sunshine than you shake a beach umbrella at, and my birthday is less than two weeks away - plus I've been listing up a huge storm in my Etsy shop this month, with over 180 new vintage items landing on the virtual shelves there in June alone - so I'm a happy, very productive camper at the moment.

Today on Canada Day Eve (yes, that's a thing - in my books at least! :D), let's take a moment before we launch into July and enjoy some of the fascinating, informative, inspiring and just plain fun stories that have caught my eye in recent weeks. I hope that you guys find them to be every bit as engaging as I did!

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How to turn a t-shirt into a Bardot top: Gemma shows us a dead simple, no-sewing required way to take a run of the mill t-shirt and transform it into an alluring, arguably far lovelier, off-the-shoulder Bardot inspired top. Believe me, you'll never look at a ho-hum tee the same way again!

Your Life On Earth So Far: Tony recently shared this interactive BBC website with me and suffice it to say, history and cool fact lover that I am, I was more than a little captivated by it. You impute your date of birth and then, presto, a whole slew of fascinating information regarding what has happened on earth so far in your life pops up. Love it!!!

How the last American Civil War veterans lived, loved and died: Though I am a Canadian and have no strong family connections (that I'm aware of) to the Civil War, its multi-faceted history, widespread brutality, horrible loss of life, and the nation that emerged in its wake have always fascinated me, as have images like those in this great Mashable/Retronaut post highlighting the lives of some of the longest living veterans from this bloody US conflict.

How a Makeup Mogul Liberated Women by Putting Them in a Pretty New Cage: This in-depth, rivetingly engaging post from Collector's Weekly delves into the life and work, social impact and lasting impressions of beauty industry pioneer, Helena Rubinstein, and will have you transfixed and fascinated from start to finish.

20 truths about being a full-time blogger: My neck practically hurt by the end of this spot on post from The Travel Hack from all the vigorous nodding in agreement I was doing (though I do differ from the author in some areas, such as that a far greater amount of my working time is taken up with writing posts than she says she spends on that area). Whether you're a professional or hobbyist blogger, if you're doing it on a full time level (and perhaps even a dedicated part-time one as well), chances are you'll be able to relate and nod alone, too - big time.

I was given just 15 months to live: One of the most rewarding elements for me of blogging is the fact that it causes my path to cross with such a vast array of people around the world. Many are vintage lovers themselves, but not all are. Some discover my blog due to other topics that I've covered here before, such as places I've traveled to, genealogy research, or medical related posts.

In the case of the latter, I recently had the great pleasure and honour of getting to know a truly inspiring cancer survivor named Heather Von St. James (pictured below with her husband and daughter), who developed pleural mesothelioma and was given just a few months to live. Truly thankfully, Heather beat the odds (and they were stacked against here, big time) and is not only still with us a decade later, but going strong and helping others who affected by mesothelioma and cancer in general. I encourage you to visit her site, read her story, and be every bit as inspired as I was by this courageous woman and her indomitable spirit.

The #1 reason why you never have anything to wear: From the popular mainstream fashion site Grit & Glamour comes this interesting look at what the author thinks in the top reason so many of stand in full of our bulging closets and bemoan that we have nothing to wear. Do you agree with this take on things?

Pinup: The Movie: We're I a documentarian (a job that I would actually love to do beyond measure), I would definitely create a doc about the vintage world. I am not however, but thankfully Kathleen Ryan is and she's currently creating a film all about the history of pinup culture and its roll to this day in American society. Check out the exciting trailer for "Pinup: The Movie" (click on the link at the start of this entry) and then buzz on over to their Kickstarter page, if so desired, to help it become a full-on reality thanks to crowd sourced funding.

How To DIY Your Own Vintage Hair Tie: From Bonita's beautiful blog Lavender & Twill comes this terrific, super easy tutorial for making your own (awesome!) vintage style hair ties, like the gem that she created that’s  pictured below.

10 Tips to Buy Vintage Online: This is a topic that I get a lot of questions about and which I've certainly chatted about before, but I haven't compiled my best tips in one super handy post yet, so I was thrilled when I saw that the always lovely Nora had done just that in this great entry. Her "in the know" post is a must for vintage newcomers and veterans alike.

The 20 most influential fashion bloggers of 2015: Though, as touched on above, I wouldn't be one to sum things up quite yet for this year, plenty of blogs and websites already making lists lauding the best of the best for this year. This article from Fashionista.com does just that with mainstream fashion bloggers, and especially since I'm a vintage fashion blogger myself, I found it very interesting to see who made their cut and who was surprisingly absent from this roundup of wildly influential big names in the style blogging world.

The Boyer Sister's New Album Has Dropped: Many of you may be familiar with the sweet, lovely, talented trio of young women called the Boyer Sisters (pictured below) who together run a great vintage lifestyle blog, but did you know that all three of them happen to be hugely talented and very accomplished musicians as well, whose brand new album - a toe tapping, gorgeously sung selection of classic, highly popular mid-century swing tunes - was just released this month? Now you do and now you can download it for yourself. Believe me, you'll want to - it's sensational!

{All images throughout the list of links above come by way of the post that they are displayed directly beneath the write up of here. Please follow the links provided to learn more about these images.}

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July promises, as this month usually is for me, to be a busy, exciting, action packed one, with plenty of work, but no shortage of fun as well.

Coming in as my second favourite month of the year, topped only by October (Canadian Thanksgiving! Our wedding anniversary! Halloween!), July is a glorious time of the year. It's awesomely warm - which I adore - and almost surreally beautiful. Sandwiched squarely in the middle of summer, it's a merry, blissful time that could happily last forever - or at least nearly so - if such were possible.

{Three massive cheers for July and all the beauty, radiance, and leisurely loveliness it houses. Vintage Vogue magazine cover image source.}

It is not however, so instead, let's all get out there and try to enjoy it to the very fully while it's still here. For as quickly as we have reached the halfway point of 2015, we'll be at the end of the year and up to our perfectly groomed eyebrows in snow and Christmas decorations again, which, I don't know about you, but I'm in no hurry to rush into (at all!).

To all my fellow Canucks, have a truly joyful Canada Day celebration tomorrow - and to one and all, I wish you a sun-kissed, sensationally lovely July from start to finish!

June 29, 2015

Ten fabulous assorted vintage treasures from Buy R Vintage Junk

Yard sales around these parts lately have left much to be desired a lot of the time. In fact, I haven't bought a single thing at any of the ones I've visited so far year and that's saying a great deal right there. Granted, I'm on the prowl for mid-century (and early) vintage and antiques first and foremost, but for the right price, I'll buy newer items, if I need them, too. Nothing has swayed me to dip into my pocket of jangling coins quite yet though and this is definitely the furthest into the season that this has happened before.

Chances are, I will find a few vintage goodies on the yard sale (and flea market) front before the season wraps up in early autumn, but for now, as it so often has been for me over the years, the web is my #1 source of vintage items - not that I'm complaining there, I'm certainly not. It's really, really handy to have such a vast marketplace at our fingertips 24/7!

Sometimes when the yard sales gods are forgetting to smile on me, I turn to my favourite Etsy shops that house a wide range of old school products at reasonable prices. I love shops like this - they're a bit like a mini flea market - or certainly a very well stocked yard sale - in one handy-dandy spot and can be a great place to unearth a treasure (or ten) that you didn't know you needed, but suddenly can't imagine leaving behind.

This month I had the great pleasure of welcoming the charmingly named Etsy shop Buy R Vintage Junk as a brand new blog sponsor and goodness, does their delightful array of offerings fall into the fabulously yard sale-esque camp in terms of the diversity that they stock.

Helmed by a lovely third generation treasure hunter named Denise, who is located in Indiana, Buy R Vintage Junk, is chalk-a-block with - to quote the shop's welcome message itself - "Primitive farm finds, burlap feed sacks, vintage lingerie, rusty & salvaged metal, creepy dolls, vintage jewelry, cottage decor, retro kitchen items, old tools and more". Tell me that doesn't sound enthralling!

As a way of introducing all of you to Buy R Vintage Junk, I thought it would be fun to shine the spotlight on ten of their current offerings that really caught my eye. These are the kinds of items that I would always gravitate towards, online or off, and which I hope you'll really enjoy as well.

This gorgeous Victorian silk and straw drawstring handbag is truly gorgeous and still in very decent shape for its age. I could see this looking stunning with all kinds of 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s outfits alike and can't help but think how sensational it would be for the annual Jazz Age Lawn Party in New York state.

There is something about old flour and feedbags that speaks to my inner farm girl (I've never lived on a farm, but I have an inner country lass all the same) so very much, and this great old early 20th century Purina Steers Chow bag is no exception. It would make for such a cool pillow or framed piece of wall art.

I will never fully get why galoshes, by and large, went the way of the dinosaur (save for amongst some of us vintage wearers). They're beyond practical and they look seriously cute, too. Though this pair, at a petit size 5.5, is much too small for my feet, these are just the sort of fit-over-a-pair-of-heels vintage rain galoshes that I would love to add to my wardrobe one day.

If you ask me, most bed linens these days are far too lackluster or run of the mill. I miss the days when each piece was imbued with handmade charm, and love that we can still get that either from creating our own pieces or turning to vintage offerings, such as these splendidly pretty mid-century vintage embroidered pillow cases, both of which feature peach and green butterflies and flowers. So darling!

This vintage kitty cat coin bank is too cute for words!!! Who wouldn't want to stash their pennies away in something this smile inducingly fun? I know that I certainly would!

Perfect for use as a display piece in your vintage kitchen or dining room, this charming mid-century PY-O-MY vintage metal pie pan is sure to be a bit hit with all the vintage and pie fans in your life alike!

Look closely at this immensely lovely circa 1950s cream straw hat, for there on the band, what do you see but a row of matching coloured buttons. How fabulously fun, creative, and cute is that?

Whether you start an instant collection, or bolster your existing one with them, your winter decor will be enhanced by this selection of five elegant, timelessly pretty sparkly vintage rose shaped Christmas ornaments.

Perhaps its my family ties to gold mining, maybe it's because I adore camping, or it could just be because they're so timelessly beautiful looking, but I have always felt drawn to classic vintage metal lanterns like this age worn charmer that was used by the Chicago Bureau of Sanitation.

Long before the widespread vintage crafting scene as we know it today came into being, various books and magazines were produced that celebrated and shared old school patterns with those who were already looking to the pas for creative inspiration, including this wonderful edition of Olde Time Needlework Patterns and Designs magazine from 1973. I can just imagine that awesome designs it must house!

(All images via Buy R Vintage Junk. Please click on the photo of an item of the link in the text below it to find out more it, including that piece's price.) 

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Which of these delightful vintage finds appeals to you most of us? I'm especially smitten with the Victorian hat, kitty cat coin bank, and beautiful straw hat myself.

Buy R Vintage Junk is a relatively newcomer to Etsy, having opened their online doors in August 2014. Their inventory continues to expand and you just never know what yesteryear gem you might discover amongst their digital shelves. If you haven't done so already, be sure to heart/favourite them on Etsy so that you can stay abreast of all the great new (old!) items that Denise continues to stock in her shop.

Though I'm not calling this year's yard sale season a total wash yet, whether things pick up on that front or not, as I've done for nearly twelve years now, I will turn to the web and shops like Buy R Vintage Junk not only during the spring and summer, but all season long.

It's so important that we support small business owners online and as I'm one myself on Etsy as well, I can't help but have an especially soft spot in my heart for my fellow sellers and their awesome vintage wears there.

And on that note, Buy R Vintage Junk has very kindly created an exclusive coupon code just for CV's readers. Between today and July 31, 2015, you can save 20% off on everything in their shop when you use the coupon code VGT20 at the checkout. Sweet!!!