Cocoa brown 1950s nylon (chiffon) scarf: eBay
Brown and white cameo earrings: Handmade by me
Mint green 1980s does 1940s dress: Veronica Vintage
Vintage (c. 1960s) metal and brown glass brooch: likely thrifted or from a yard sale (had for years)
1950s white gloves: Gift from a dear vintage loving friend ♥
Brown faux leather handbag: eBay
Nude seamed nude stockings: eBay
Brown 1940s style pumps: Consignment store
Lip colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace
Photography by Tony Cangiano
♥ ♥ ♥
Though I wear vintage and vintage appropriate styles far more often than not, I've always adored fashion general and it might surprise some to know that I read a number of modern fashion magazines and follow current trends relatively closely (though not since my early high school years have I felt the slightest inclination to keep up with them when it came to my own wardrobe). As such, last autumn, when design houses from Dior to Sonia Rykiel sent a bevy of pastels down the runway for fall 2013, I sat back, entirely unswayed, made a few "hmmm" noises to myself, and felt a bit like someone had tried to pull the wool over my eyes and convince me that Halloween was in fact Easter.
While a palette as soft and appealing a newly hatched chick's feathers might work well for those who celebrate fall south of the equator, where our autumn is their spring, for those above it, the idea of pastels for this dark, subtly brooding, wildly majestic season felt woefully out of place, and to my mind at least, quite frankly contrived.
There are certainly times when a whisper of a pastel shade can work well for fall - say a cream, flax, or pale peach alongside darker hues of the season such as rust, saffron or eggplant, but in general pastels are in their true element not when the leaves are tumbling to the ground, but when they're springing to life again, the weather is finally heating up, and the prospect of summer looms on the horizon.
Pastels are to the colour world as candy is the culinary one, and just as a bowl full of saltwater taffy would be a rather strange meal to have for dinner, instead of the usual savoury entree you were expecting, so too did it feel like someone had served us up a big, fat sartorial helping of something that was best left until after the heavy, filling players had their natural turn.
I didn't even contemplate busting out my vintage pastels last autumn, as cocoon coats in shades of fairy floss pink and pants suit in what suddenly felt like almost cloying shades of lilac and lavender parading across the pages of Elle, Vogue, In Style, and no doubt myriad other fashion publications. No, my soft and gentle hues, colours that are to the eyes what a a kitten's paw pad is to the touch, remained firmly entrenched in the warm weather half of my closet and thus they remained until April hit.
Then, like the world itself springing back to life, they rubbed the proverbial sleep from their eyes and little by little, bit by bit, began to appear in my wardrobe once more until they reached their zenith in the form of this sweetly fun chocolate mint inspired ensemble.
I purchased this dress in early 2013 from the Etsy shop of fellow vintage gal Holly, who many of you may know from her great blog (of the same moniker as her shop), Veronica Vintage, and it is making its blog debut here nearly a year and a half later. Though I'd worn it before, it wasn't until I partnered it with hints of dark, warm brown via my accessories that I felt like I'd really hit upon the outfit I wanted to photograph it as part of.
Large doses of pastel colours, regardless of the season, can be tricky to pull off, especially after the age of about ten years old. I love them in principle, but find I usually need to temper their mild mannered nature with undertones of darker, moodier - one might say - hues, in this case shades of brown so yummy they look as though they might have been plucked straight from a chocolate factory.
I've worn this exact outfit three times lately, including once to an antiques auction and again on the day when these photos were taken at Gyro Park here in Penticton, and love it more each time it's sported. Perhaps that’s because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that this not the kind of outfit I would bust out, unless circumstances (for whatever reason) strongly dictated doing so, after Labour Day. White? Yes, that old wardrobe rule chestnut I'll happily disobey, but pastels are to go into hibernation the moment the first pumpkins hit the farmers market stands.
Just as one wouldn't (likely!) wear a snowsuit to the beach in June, or eat Christmas dinner on a random Thursday in August, so too are there certain colours that are best left in their respective seasons - at least in generous helpings. Much as this outfit would raise many an eyebrow if worn in April, so too should we as a collective whole embrace the fact that pastels are for spring first and foremost, with their wearing continuing on into summer, but fading out of our daily attire like the chlorophyll in the leaves come the first whisper of fall.
Some hues are universal, great from the first to the last day of the year, but others suit specific times of the year best and no matter how much the fashion tribes and powers that be may try to convince the general public otherwise, there's absolutely nothing wrong with that. I love knowing that I have the wearing of pastels to look forward to as soon as the last mighty snowman of winter has helped the grass turn verdant once more. This is a natural order to the seasons and to the wearing of colours, and sometimes its wisest to leave well enough alone and savour the best of each one's palette in the moment.