December 13, 2012

Trying my luck with tartan




Outfit details

Prescription eyeglasses: (frames) Venus Eye Design V-12
Black hair ribbon: saved from the packaging on something I bought
1940s/50s tartan dress: etsy seller Vanity
Dangle charm kilt pin: eBay
1940s/50s ruched mustard yellow gloves: eBay
Faux pearl stretch bracelets: Real Canadian Superstore
1950s red belt: came with a different dress
Faux leather bow clutch: Bentley
Nude with black seamed stockings: eBay
T-strap suede peep-toe heels: Nine West
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Antonio Cangiano
 













When I think of tartan, aside from its obvious Scottish heritage, two things spring to mind first: a darling little tartan cross body bag I had when I was about five years old (complete with cute tassel), and secondly, the packaging on Scotch Tape. It is the latter that we'll soon be turning to as we wrap Christmas gifts this month, and so this dress seamed especially well suited to the approaching winter season.

No snow in sight on the day when these snapped were grabbed a bit earlier this fall however, in fact it was sunshine aplenty - carrying on the theme of beautiful days that we were often treated to this autumn.

This dress was one of those pieces that I feel in love with at first sight, yet was slightly cautious about, as I know from experience that certain necklines don't always work on me, and high set, close fitting round necks often fall into that category. Thus I kept it sitting in my etsy favourites for a while, looking at each photo and trying to decide if I wanted to take a gamble with the neckline.

I'm very glad that I did, because as it turns out, the eye-catching pattern, double breasted buttons, and slightly offset shape of the neck (it's a tad squared on one side) help, I feel to ensure that it does indeed work on my petite, curvy figure.

Though the seller listed this dress as being from the 1950s, and it could very well be, to me it simply screams 40s - in fact, I'd be so bold as to say you could even style it, convincingly, as a late 30s piece. In fact, I was so surprised by how "unfifties" it looked (save for the single hip pocket) when I wore it for the first time (in these shots), that I just knew I was going to take it in a fairly early 40s direction, with a bit of a nod to the 30s thanks to the classic black t-strap peep-toes.

Gloves (or at least long sleeves) are pretty much a must as fall winds down, and I was delighted to partner a cheerful mustard yellow vintage pair with this tartan patterned frock. I've had the clutch for a few years, but haven't used it that often, so I was glad to bring it out for some fresh air that day (ditto for the shoes).

A dress like this doesn't need a lot of jewelry competing for attention with the vivacious pattern, so a cute kilt pin (how could I resist with so much tartan going on?) and my beloved faux pearl stretch bracelets were all the (subtle) bling this look called for.

While out and about running errands with Tony on the day these photos were snapped, I received some very sweet compliments, was brazenly hit on (with Tony standing right there beside) me by an a guy who was probably about 35 years my senior, and told by a very nice middle aged woman working at Safeway that she "wished she could dress like that, too".

As I'm sure many of you do, I encounter similar comments from “vintage curious” folks quite often when out and about, and always try to encourage the person as best I can, that if they want to, then by all means they should give wearing vintage a spin.

Is there a degree of art and skill that goes into wearing vintage fashions, hair and make-up? Absolutely, but I fully believe that the ability to successfully do so is something that just about anyone with the desire to do so can master - and at any age, I should add.

My take is, if you want to dress a certain way, than - as many a Nike ad has proclaimed over the years - just do it. It's never too early or too late to embrace wearing vintage, and I can't help but hope that maybe some day one of the people who stop and say that they wish they could, will heed my encouragement and embark on their own journey into wearing vintage fashion.

Fashion, after all, is about having fun and taking risks, a bit like I did when I ordered this dress, not quite knowing for sure if it the neckline would work. It did, I love it, and am really happy that my little gamble paid - or should I say "plaid" - off! Smile

61 comments:

  1. You're amazing in this outfit, Jess! Love the color combination and how they match your skin tone <3

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  2. Love it! The pop of yellow with the gloves is fabulous! :)

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  3. You look gorgeous and that dress is simpley wonderful. Tartan is great if styled right and you've got it perfect! Love it
    X

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  4. Very nice. I love plaid. I used to get hit on all the time by older guys. "If only I was 20 years younger..." That was the most common comment I got. Most of them we nice but a few were creepy.

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  5. :::sigh::: Ah, tartan. :) I love it. I definitely want to find a tartan piece someday! Maybe even make it with my own family's tartan...Oooo!!

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  6. Gorgeous! I like the way you have teamed the longer gloves with sleeves this length, giving a perfect look. The kilt pin is an excellent accessory, and I love those shoes.

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  7. Just love your looks... fabulous...!

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  8. I love tartan! And totally agree, this dress is 40s. It really suits youo. Would not have thought the yellow gloves would work, but they highlight and in fact make the outfit. You are most brave sharing your photos and outfits in person, we are much too reserved to do that. But you are an inspiration, and so much fun to see vintage being worn. x

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    1. Thank you very much, my dear. For a very long time I was tremendously shy about posting images of myself online, and completely understand. I vowed to become more confident about my appearance this year though, and started posted outfit snaps on a regular basis early last spring to help in that regard. It's actually worked quite a bit, so I'm very glad I finally took the plunge.

      ♥ Jessica

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  9. Love the outfit, Jessica! Tartan looks awesome on you! The red goes well with your hair.

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  10. Miss Jessica....that dress flatters your wonderful figure. You have so much fun with clothing and appreciate clothing art of the past.
    My dear cousin also loves vintage clothing. I was at her house a couple of days ago...looking at all the pretties; now her closet and jewelry box would really make you swoon!

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  11. Wow, that dress is amazing. I love how you combined it with your yello gloves! It's a good reminder to finsih my tartan pleated skirt soon. It's lying around in my sewing room for months now.

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Anthea. I love tartan skirts - please post snaps of yours when you finish it. I'm sure it will be absolutely lovely (like all of your awesome creations!).

      ♥ Jessica

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  12. This is darling! And I am drooling over those gloves!

    xoxo
    -Janey

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Janey. They're one of my very favourite pairs. They're not the colour that you reach for every day, but that just makes me love them even more because it challenges me to find great vintage pieces to compliment them.

      ♥ Jessica

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  13. This outfit is AMAZING! I love the unexpected color combo and all the little details! Not to mention, you got your outfit to match even your skin tone and hair. Fabulous!

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  14. I love everything plaid!!!!! Every seasons are just perfect to wear plaid... all kind of fabrics are gorgeous plaid: wool, coton, silk..... I'm just crazy about plaid, must have been a scotish woman in a previous life...

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  15. I love it! looks amazing on you, dear Jessica! And those gloves are a great match :)

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  16. I love this outfit! I'm so glad it lived up to your expectations. I'm glad you had a "joyful vintage mail day" when you received this beautiful plaid dress. I think the neckline is just perfect for you. I love how you shared close ups of your accessories too. I agree with you that the dress does seem more 40s than 50s. Such a cute bow clutch! I love bows and I love that they were apart of vintage accessories. I love that you hear comments about how you are dressed in vintage:) I just got a coat in the mail today (yes I know two in one week, I must stop lol) that has some fur trim. It will be my very first fur garment so I am a little nervous about wearing it but it is just so lovely!!! We are going into the city this weekend and I plan to deck out in 30s attire and fur is just so much a part of this period.

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  17. Pretty dress! You look gorgeous in it! Liz

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  18. It fits you very much! Great colors. Yellow gloves add that special look!

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  19. Great outfit! I love the splendid mustard gloves. Mustard is really one of my favourite colours. I like most of the things when they're mustard coloured. Hugs from Miss Maple

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  20. I've said it once and I'll say it again, I don't think you could look bad in anything. Do a post wearing a potato sack like Marilyn Monroe, I dare ya.

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    1. Trina, that is such a wonderfully nice compliment. Awww...awwww...awwww! I'll have to keep my eyes peeled for a big, old potato sack to see if such would really prove to be the case. :)

      ♥ Jessica

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  21. I love how you chose to wear yellow gloves with this incredible outfit, it makes the yellow in your dress pop out!

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  22. That dress is absolutely beautiful on you! I love how the gloves match one of the less prominent colors on the dress and make it pop out a bit more. :) And I agree, it could be very easily styled to fit any one of those three decades.

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  23. Those shoes are to die for! They'll go with anything. As others have said I really like that you've matched mustard gloves to this dress - it's not an obvious choice and it really works. Also, I noticed your little row of earrings - they look so cute!

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  24. I love your attitude, the whole "just do it" thing. Yesterday I went into town, quite dolled up and had reservations, but then I thought, "I shouldn't feel overdressed, I feel great in what I'm wearing, and everyone else is underdressed." ANd I know exactly what you mean about necklines, I'm quite iffy with them too.

    http://meggymoo0.blogspot.com

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    1. It truly warms my heart that you said that, thank you very much. One of my deepest hopes for this blog has always been that it helps inspire others to dress however brings them the most the joy. Life is far too short, if you ask me, to not indulge in your favourite types of fashions (vintage or otherwise) as often as you possibly can.

      ♥ Jessica

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  25. Oh Jess! You look amazing! Omg! I love this pattern on you! And you look so just va va voom! Wowee you hottie you! Seriously! I can tell this dress made you feel amazing! I love it and its now of my faves list of your outfits!!! Ohhh you should do a year of outfits post so we can see them all again on one page...haha oh dear talking out loud now...well typing that is! I owe you an email-its coming soon-I havent forgotten! Muah!

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    1. Thank you very, very much, dear Bunny. Great minds...I thought about doing a post like that, but as I technically started posting outfit snaps here in the spring (for all intents - there had a been a few in previous years, but nothing on a regular basis), I would feel bad in a way calling it a year in review, when I didn't start posting outfit photos until nearly the end of the third month of the year. (That's pretty much how my mind works in a nutshell ;) ).

      Knock wood, next year I'll have outfit posts each month, and will probably do just such a post (review of some of my fave outfits) from throughout 2013 at the end of next December. Thank you very much for suggesting this idea and for wanting to see a recap - that is truly so sweet of you.

      Big hugs!!!
      ♥ Jessica

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  26. Could you look any MORE perfect?! The gloves, the bag...the shoes! The dress actually makes me think a little of something that Peggy Olson might have worn in the earlier seasons of Mad Men, but it's definitely a very decade versatile dress :D

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet dear. I agree, you could style this frock in a late 50s/very early 60s Mad Men-esque way, too (I just need to track down one of Joan's gold pen necklaces and I'll be good to go! :D).

      ♥ Jessica

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  27. Plaid is one of my favorite prints. This is such a cute outfit.

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  28. Beautiful dress, the mustard/yellow gloves give it a real pop x

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  29. Love the Tartan post. It looks great on you. I just wish I could wear Tartans, but they don't work great with asymmetry :)

    Best Wishes,
    Amanda

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Amanda. I'm sorry that tartan isn't the easiest pattern for you to pull off. Perhaps you could find a cute tartan purse, pair of shoes, or hair accessory instead of a dress or skirt, that way you could still enjoy this classic Scottish pattern without worrying how it jives from a symmetrical standpoint.

      ♥ Jessica

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  30. I love this dress on you - it's a good thing that you took the plunge and went for it! The neckline is actually really nice and quite unusual...and the gloves! Love 'em and I love that mustard yellow colour!

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  31. You totally stole my comment...in your last line of the post! I love the yellow gloves back with the tartan, very bold choice and it worked so well.I just adore that kilt pin...always on the look out for unusual ones and I have never seen one like it. Beautiful! xx

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    1. Thank you very much, dear Shauna - both for your comment and for noticing my little pun at the bottom of this post. I couldn't help smiling to myself over it as I wrote it down. :) I picked this pin up on eBay several months ago, and it was the only one the seller had, but if I see another (it's not vintage, so I doubt it's ultra rare), I will zip a message your way on the double! :)

      Thank you again, sweet friend,
      ♥ Jessica

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  32. OMG Jessica! That is one spiffy outfit! I just love this period of time, probably because I was born in the 50's lol! I know, gasp!!! Anyway, I had to pop over to say hi and to give you this link which totally made me think of you... I couldn't believe my eyes when I clicked on the link! This is for you my friend...http://www.shabbyapple.com/
    Hugs and enjoy the eye candy,
    Beth P

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    1. Hi sweet Beth, thank you very much both for your comment and for the Shabby Apple link. Funny story when it comes to Shabby Apple. I've been contacted by their PR team several times over the years to hold a giveaway or do a review of one of their items, but each time once they're realized (yet again) that I'm located in Canada, they're retracted their offer because they only work with US bloggers in that capacity.

      I don't hold this against them in any way though, and would love to buy one or more of their beautiful garments some day.

      Thank you again & have a fabulous Friday!
      ♥ Jessica

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  33. Looking utterly lovely my dear and glad to hear there is plenty of sunshine where you are! :) Reminds me that I've got an old traditional tartan skirt in my closet that should probably come out for a spin soon! We've had frost to rain and cold hailstones the past few days in London.
    Also wanted to let you know that I am passing on the 'One Lovely Blog Award' to you, here's the post link if you want to take a peek:
    http://walkinginmay.blogspot.co.uk/2012/12/happy-blog-birthdayand-one-lovely-blog.html
    Have a fabulous weekend my lovely!
    May x
    walkinginmay.blogspot.co.uk

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  34. Gorgeous!! I love plaid and love that dress on you, what a fantastic find, and such a great piece to "wait" for, as it were. Such a vivacious look with the mustard gloves!

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  35. Lovely! That plaid dress is something else. I often think it must take a good deal of courage to wear that much tartan, but lately I've realized that it isn't as scary as it seems :)

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  36. Lovely dress! I especially love the long mustard gloves with it - they provide a wonderful contrast. And I agree that the dress's style is not too era specific, lending it perfectly to a variety of different looks.

    Xx Charlotte
    Tuppence Ha'penny Vintage

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  37. Gorgeous outfit! Thanks to my mother, I've been mad about plaid since I was a tot. The dress looks absolutely darling on you. Good call :)

    ~ Cerridwyn

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  38. I loved that plaid and the cut of the dress. The neckline brought an extra bit of interest, and the little charm pin was the perfect touch. I also liked the snappy color of those gloves. I am thinking I would be the type of middle aged (if I live to be about 120 years old) women who might have commented I wish I could wear amazing clothes like yours. In my case, I have enough trouble finding any clothes in my size. But vintage vibe jewelry fits everyone. Another thing I do is record movies from the 30's, 40's, and 50's, sometimes for the story, but mostly for the fashions and home decor. The clothes from that period of time just have such a different feeling to them than what is manufactured and sold now.

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  39. You are so beautiful!!! :D I am so glad you got that dress; it looks wonderful on you!! This is probably one of my favourite dresses that you own (I love plaid!!).

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  40. I love tartan too and would one day like to make myself a dress, as I have hankered after a Vivienne Westwood style red tartan dress since I was a teen and saw an article on the telly about designer influenced outfits. It must also have a small decorative bustle.

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  41. Wow! Your tartan dress is fabulous! And so very Christmas-y. I. love. it. I also adore your sweet brooch and those marvelous gloves. I love your glove collection, and envy it a little. (in a good way, of course. None of that catty stuff.) :) Hope your run-up to the beautiful Christmas day is going divinely!

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  42. Love the pin. I agree with you about answering questions - I have come to the conclusion that looking good in a hat is mainly a question of attitude. There is a style of hat for everybody, but if a lady doesn't believe she looks stunning, she'll squirm like a tomboy in a ballgown. Goodness, if most women don't look good in hats, how did all of our great grandmothers manage to wear them?
    Ksthleen

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    1. Excellent point, Kathleen! Hats - and I'd argue that most classic/vintage fashions - look just as wonderful on women today as they did in decades past, and wish that more ladies would take to wearing beautiful hats again - they don't know what they're missing out on (or the extra does of style they could inject into their wardrobe!).

      ♥ Jessica

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  43. I really love those dresses which you take risks on - they might work, they might not! You just have to work your way around it! I love it! This one definitely works well on you. Would never in a million years thought of wearing yellow gloves with it, but hello!! I really need to experiment more with colors! You are sooo beautiful - and so inspiring!!

    Nora
    NoraFinds

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    1. Thank you very much, sweet Nora, your immensely nice words were the perfect, uplifting note to end my Saturday on.

      Oodles of hugs to you, dear gal,
      ♥ Jessica

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  44. Aww, tartan! :) Come on over! ;) I love all your colour choices, you look braw! Yellow is so wonderful! :) And I am such a sucker for T-bar shoes! Ha! Most of my shoes are T-bar shoes! :) x

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