April 30, 2015

Vintage Link Love for April 2015

Paradoxical though it may seem, this month was at once both incredibly long and immensely quick at the same time. A jam packed, nearly non-stop schedule of events (the biggest positive highlights of which were my mom's birthday, Easter, and a one day local classic car swap meet in the middle of the month at which I set up a good sized stall and peddled some of my vintage wares), along with some major points of stress, such as my grandma's breast cancer surgery (for which I cannot begin to thank all of you who sent caring words and prayers my family's way deeply enough for), worked to create an April that was a strange mix of highs and lows.

My dear friend Cherry from the blog She Knits in Purls recently pointed out that despite all of the newness, rebirth and beauty of spring, it can often be a trying season for many and I think she's spot on. The moment I read her words to that extent, I was struck, almost overwhelmingly, by how many challenging springs I've had in my life. In fact, I'd almost go so far as to say that if I made a pie chart of all the seasons and assigned slices to those that have been the most difficult over the years, spring would get the biggest piece by far.

I'm not bemoaning this season though, not in the slightest. Nor am I feeling sorry for myself (that's something I try never, ever to do - it serves zero purpose!), I just like to look at things objectively and I really do think that Cherry nailed it when she said that spring can be a hard time of the year in some ways, despite its gloriously pretty appearance. Proof positive that one can never judge a book, or a season, by its cover.

Fortunately, my grandma is slowly starting down the path to recovery following her recent cancer surgery (though it is far too soon to assess her long term prognosis), our schedule has slowed down a little in May, and despite all the ups and downs of this month, my health didn't take a massive nosedive, as it frequently would have in these circumstances (yippee!). For the most part actually, I'm not sure what's on the agenda for May, save for a couple of exciting events and the Victoria Day long weekend, which serves me just fine.

I've got oodles of new items - from mid-century scarves to Victorian greeting cards, tons of vintage jewelry and some great new (old) clothes - to photograph and add to my Etsy shop's ever-expanding inventory (which saw over 120 new additions in April), and I know that will be keeping me on my toes big time in May.

Before then though, whether your April was hard as nails or as easygoing as a lamb frolicking in a green meadow, let's all take a well deserved breather, sit back for a few minutes and delve into a selection of some of the most engaging, enjoyable, and inspiring online stories and posts I've encountered throughout April in this month's new edition of Vintage Link Love.

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11 Things Women Who Wear Vintage Clothing Might Be Tired Of Hearing: Oh, how I was smiling and nodding my way through this recent Bustle post, as I'm sure you're apt to as well. You might not encounter each of these eleven comments yourself, but chances are, if you wear vintage on a regular basis, you can certainly relate to the spirit behind each of them.

DIY cherry print gloves: My love of vintage gloves is anything but a state secret, yet I must admit, being the sort who is very leery of altering vintage garments, I've never jazzed up any of the pairs I own. This wonderful guest entry on The Vintage Post from Va Voom Vintage's own Brittany Sherman has me seriously contemplating doing so though, as her cherry print gloves are some of the cutest "handware" I've ever seen!

Be Lovely In The Audrey Hepburn Way: This Lifehack post shines the spotlight on number quotes, packed full of smart advice that we can all be served well by, from the perpetually lovely Ms. Hepburn and partners them with beautiful photographs of this most iconic of actresses.

Inside the house that was trapped in time: Electric fires, retro food tins and snaps of friends lost in the war give a glimpse into lives of unmarried sisters who shared a bedroom for 27 years: A hefty title for this Daily Mail article, yes, but an accurate one that instantly pulls the reader in. Like many vintage lovers, I am always in awe of "time warp" homes, especially those from the mid-twentieth century like the one featured in this photo filled piece that helps give us a glimpse into the lives of two British sisters.

Baby, it's cold outside! A brief history of winter fashion in Edmonton: If you know me, then you're likely aware of the fact that there are few things I love more than my beautiful country of Canada. Partner anything Canadian with an element of the past and I'm beyond enamored, which exactly why I adored my good friend Laurie, from the blog Retro Reporter's, terrific recent piece for the Edmonton City as a Museum Project on the history of winter fashion in her fair city (that anyone from, or who has lived in, a snowy climate will be able to relate to).

The Edwardian Sartorialist: One of neatest things about having a large audience is that my lovely readers, often folks whom I've never interacted with before, will sometimes see a link that they think I'd be apt to enjoy and then email it to me. This great piece from Mashable/Retronaut recently came my way via just that manner and I really want to thank the sender again, because these awesome Edwardian street (fashion) photos from photographer Edward Linley Sambourne were to inspiring and beautiful to risk going unshared here with all of you.

DIY: Retro Felt Leaf Half-Hat: Not only is the beautiful Bianca from The Closet Historian an accomplished sewer, highly knowledgeable fashion historian, talented nail artist, stylish dresser, and super lovely person, but she also rocks it out with her millinery skills, too, some of which she shares with all of us in this fantastic post that guides you how to make a 1950s style felt leaf hat yourself. Even if you've never so much as debated creating a hat from scratch before, this post will make you feel like you not only want to, but that you'd be able to pull it off swimmingly.

Shopping repro: Collectif - how it fits / what to buy / when to buy: CiCi from the splendid blog CiCi Marie recently launched a new post series in which she thoroughly guides readers through the ins and outs of a particular repro/vintage inspired brand's offerings (brilliant!). This first addition shines the limelight on Collectif, a UK based company I've not yet tried myself, but which I've been swooning over for years and hope to be able to add - with a far greater degree of confidence now thanks to CiCi's post - to my closet one of these days.

  How to Do a Burn Test for Fiber Content: Whether you wear, collect, sew, and/or sell vintage clothing and other fabric items, chances are that at some point, you're going to encounter a piece for which you can only hazard a guess at the fabric content. Knowing what an item is really comprised of can be extremely important in terms of cleaning, caring for, wearing, and listing (if selling) it, so trying to determine the true fabric content is very helpful. This handy post from Craftsy guides you through the steps of doing so with a burn test and leave you feeling more informed and ready to determine just what that latest thrift store find or hand-me-down from great-aunt Gladys is really made of.

Search for Blogging Men: Jessie Diamond from the great blog Lonely Hepcat recently delved into a topic that I've thought about before myself, but haven't really chatted about too much here over the years: how the vintage and rockabilly blogging world is predominately a female domain. Thankfully though there are some chaps in our online realm, much as there offline, too, and in this post Jessie rounds up some of her favourite rockabilly and vintage related blogging gentleman, all of whom would make great additions to your blogroll or daily feeds.

Making (Vintage Style) Belts: If you've ever wanted to whip up vintage style belts to match your sewing projects or compliment an existing garment, than this fantastic how-to post from Esther is definitely for you. It's chalked full of photos and beautiful examples, along with easy to follow instructions, that are bound to leave you in the mood to whip up a whole bundle of new (old school looking) belts yourself.

Four 1940s Wardrobes: From the marvelous blog The Boyer Family Singers comes this delightful post featuring an article that first appeared in a 1946 edition of Seventeen magazine. It takes readers through a look at the pieces needed to create four different wardrobes and even tells you (in 1940s dollars, which the sisters have kindly computed into 2015 dollars as well) how much they would cost today. It's a fun, lovely read for any and all vintage fashion fans!

{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.}

♥ ♥ ♥

May, the fifth month of the year is arguably amongst the most beautiful. The weather is usually that perfect Goldilocks temperature of being neither too hot nor too cold, the birds are putting on a veritable opera, the world is awash with colour again, and one has the peace of mind that comes from knowing we've got ages to go (in the Western Hemisphere) before snow returns. I could happily experience May all year round, if such were possible - though, I would miss my beloved autumn a fair bit, if I did.

Here's to the hope that it proves to be a fun filled, exciting, beautiful month for all of us. I've got a lot of great things planned for the blog and shop (which hits its first birthday in a week) lined up and can hardly wait to share them with each of you.

{Enchantingly sweet May 1st vintage Mary Blare illustration via Amor de Columbina.}

And last, but certainly not least, let me wrap up this post, by wishing everyone a truly fantastic, fun filled Beltane/May Day tomorrow.

Let's all get out, enjoy the sun, forget our worries for a little while, and celebrate everything that makes spring a terrific season, no matter if it's sometimes a bit hard on us or not. The year just would not be the the same without it and that’s worth dancing around a maypole for any day of the week!

April 28, 2015

GIVEAWAY: $50.00 gift certificate from The Best Vintage Clothing (plus three generous coupon codes for CV's readers)

Here at Chronically Vintage, it's scarcely a secret that I'm a big fan of The Best Vintage Clothing. They've a thriving vintage online empire and have been a longtime blog sponsor and giveaway partner. Today I'm pleased as punch to bring you another opportunity for your chance to win a $50.00 gift certificate for The Best Vintage Clothing's stand alone e-shop.

If you aren't familiar with The Best Vintage Clothing, I encourage you read this sponsor spotlight post from November 2013 all about them for oodles of details on this world famous vintage clothing seller.

In addition to TBVC's main website, they've also been selling on eBay for many years now and considerably more recently launched an Etsy shop as well (which is chock-a-block with stellar antique and vintage clothing of the sort that frequently makes me go weak in the knees!).

On top of offering my readers the chance to win a $50.00 gift certificate, The Best Vintage Clothing (which is also known by its alternative name, The Cat's Pajamas), has very kindly provided me with three coupon codes that you use to save 20 - 25% off on each of their websites:

To save 25% on The Best Vintage Clothing's main website, use coupon code Vintage25 at checkout.

To save 20% off on The Best Vintage Clothing on Etsy, use coupon code Catsmeow at checkout.

To save 20% off on purchases of $100.00 or more at the The Best Vintage Clothing's eBay shop, follow this link.

All coupon codes are valid until May 15, 2015.

Best Vintage Clothing stocks all kinds of fabulous yesteryear offerings, from ladies wear to clothing for gents, accessories, jewelry, handbags, shoes, even vintage a selection of assorted vintage collectibles and there's absolutely no shortage of items on their main website to chose from, should you happen to be the lucky winner of this $50.00 gift certificate giveaway.

{Four of the hundreds upon hundreds of terrific vintage offerings of the sort that you could put your $50.00 gift certificate towards, should you happen to be the lucky winner of this exciting giveaway. From top left to bottom right: 1940s mustard yellow cotton blouse with gold buckles | 1950s novelty print sleeveless summer dress | 1950s Catalina one-piece swimsuit | 1940s blue rose print rayon blouse}

How to enter

There are ten possible ways for you to enter this giveaway, the more of them that you do, the greater your odds of winning will be. Please make sure to leave a separate comment specifying each of the ways in which you entered this giveaway, so as to increase your odds of winning.

1. Swing by The Best Vintage Clothing site to check out their terrific offerings, then come back here and tell me about an item that you might like to put the $50.00 gift certificate towards if you win.

2. Post about this giveaway in on your own blog, including a link to The Best Vintage Clothing, as well as one to this post, then leave a comment here with a link to your post.

3. Like The Best Vintage Clothing on Twitter.

4. Tweet about this giveaway on Twitter, including a link back to this post in your tweet.

5. Like The Best Vintage Clothing on Facebook.

6. Post about this giveaway on Facebook, including a link to this Chronically Vintage post.

7. Follow The Best Vintage Clothing on Tumblr.

8. Follow The Best Vintage Clothing on Pinterest.

9. Pin any item you like from The Best Vintage Clothing's site to any Pinterest board of your choosing (limit of one Pinterest entry per person).

10. Sign up for The Best Vintage Clothing's newsletter (scroll down near the bottom of the page to do so).

Giveaway details

This giveaway will run from today's date until Friday May 15, 2015 at 11:59 PST, and is open to readers from around the whole world. The winner will be drawn using a random number generator and contacted via email (if an email address is available publicly), as well as being announced on Facebook and/or Twitter, shortly thereafter.

The winner will receive one $50.00 US gift certificate from The Best Vintage Clothing, which the company will provide them with. Please don't hesitate to email me if you have any questions about this giveaway.

Please note, the deadline for this giveaway has been extended (from the 5th to the 15th) at the request of the sponsor, so that means more time for an even larger number of folks to take part in it. 

♥ ♥ ♥

Whether you want to add something new to your spring/summer wardrobe, shop for a loved one, pick up an item you've been trying to add to your wardrobe for ages, or just want to treat yourself, The Best Vintage Clothing has you covered and for a limited time only, you can save big while doing so thanks to the trio of coupon codes above.

Best of luck and many sincere thanks to everyone who enters this giveaway, as well as to The Best Vintage Clothing for being such an outstanding blog sponsor and company to work with. You really live up to the "best" in your name! :)

April 26, 2015

20 things I (really!) want to do this spring and summer!

The birds are chirping up their orchestral tunes, the daffodils are out in full force, and I have officially worn open toed shoes for the first time this year! We're a month into spring already and suddenly, exquisitely, majestically, and so very beautifully, there is an almost hyper-abundance of things to do and see and savour again for the first time in many, many months.

If our plans aren't already set in motion beforehand, as the weekend draws nears, Tony or I will usually ask the other person what we might want to do on Saturday and Sunday. The answers can range from yard saling to fishing, thifting to the farmer's market, just depending on which one of is doing the replying. Fortunately we're both great at splitting our free time amongst each other's passions, while also sharing in many of the same ones (say for example, attending auctions or sitting on the beach in our camping chairs and watching the onion skin hued sun be swallowed up for the evening by the sagebrush covered Okanagan hillside) and that ensures that our weekend are usually a blast.

This time around when Tony posed the question to me on Friday, my mind didn't just stop at the coming two days, instead it shot off into a rapid fire Hollywood movie worthy montage of many of the fabulous things that I want to do, not just right here and now, but throughout the coming weeks and months that will fill the sublimely warm seasons of spring and summer.

This flip book of activities that these two can house is as good as endless, especially if you happen to live near water or other highly inviting landscape features. It can have a thousand pages, or just a few that you revisit time and time again, taking to heart like the lyrics of your favourite summer songs. The following are twenty that are topping my list this year and that I sincerely hope are able to come to fruition!

20 awesome things I really
want to do this spring and summer 

1. Test drive all of the great vintage, repro and vintage appropriate warm weather clothing I picked up over the course of the fall and winter and feature oodles of it here in future outfit posts.

2. Watch the stars shine like a hundred billion sparkling fireflies from atop Apex Mountain on a hypnotically warm night.

3. Get so lost in the enchantingly loveliness of the season that I forget not only what time it is, but what day of the week it is, too!

4. Barbeque a lot. I mean risk wearing out the grill levels of barbequing.

5. Watch the twinkling, gorgeous Canada Day fireworks that are shot off over Okanagan Lake down at the beach.

6. Try to spend at least a few minutes, but ideally an hour or more, outside every single day.

7. Think of my Halloween costume well in advance October and then start making and/or buying the necessary elements.

8. Go fishing with my honey. He fishes, I lounge on the dock and converse with him, and delight in each and ever dragonfly that lands for the quickest of pulses, on my bare, suntanned skin.

9. Get said suntan without burning to a crisp first. Easier said than done when you scorch faster than a piece of toast, even after being slathered with industrial grade SPF!

10. Fly a kite! I was probably 12 or 13 the last time I did so.

11. Have a bonfire, complete with marshmallows (and thus naturally, s'mores) at the beach (own town allows you do so in some areas).

12. Visit the traveling carnival (midway/fair) when it's in town (it's almost a running joke how often, despite madly wanting to do so, I end up missing it, usually due to my health).

13. Go on at least one road trip, even if it's just a weekend long getaway. My immense sense of wanderlust is usually strongest during these sublimely lovely months of the year, thanks in no small part, I'm sure to the fact it was when my parent took us on holidays around the province when I was a youngster.

14. Picnic like it's going out of style!

15. Buy some coloured chalk and let my inner five year sidewalk artist run free.

16. Come the early days of August, watch the Peach Festival Parade on Main Street (I haven't been in over half my lifetime!).

17. Put the frozen yogurt maker we bought at the end of last summer though its paces!

18. Take a houseboat cruise ride on Okanagan Lake for the first time (how I've gone 30 years without doing so before is beyond me!).

19. Attend our town's toe-tappingly fun annual square dance festival.

20. Camp!!! (After all, it is an in-tents experience! :D)

{To learn more about a specific image, please click on it to be taken to its respective source.}

♥ ♥ ♥

I know that there's a very real chance I won't get to everything on my list, modest sized though it may be, this spring and summer, but even just having these desires down on virtual paper makes the possibility of them turning into something tangible seem all the more likely.

Chances are, for every one that does happen, ten marvelous unplanned or very last minute activities, invitations, feasts, and trips (even if that word is simply used to describe a five minute drive somewhere) will occur and come the last days of summer, when summer gets ready to hand the torch over to autumn, I'll look back on these months and smile ear-to-ear.

Spring and summer never disappoint (see 2012's post 25 reasons to love summer for some of my personal favourite reasons why that rings true for me). Even when the going gets tough in my daily life, something about sunlight until nearly 10 pm, the ability to walk barefoot in warm-as-oatmeal sand, the wearing of sundresses and strappy sandals, the consuming of light, fresh fair for nearly every meal, and the treasure trove of memories that this time of the year houses all ensure that it's worth jumping out of bed in a happy-go-lucky mood, no matter what you might have planned - or not – for the day.

So tell me, my dears, what's calling your name this spring and summer? Will you be mapping your every move, taking it nice and easy, or - as I tend to do - balancing the two to create a generous stretch of months so lovely they make every last icicle, snow bank, and extra woolen layer of winter worth it a thousand times over.

Here's to the prospect of all that this half of the year holds in store for each of us - may it be a spring and summer to delight in and cherish the memory of forever!

April 23, 2015

My signature colour is red. What's yours?

In the world of fashion advice, there is plenty of good, no shortage of bad, and an abundance that makes little to no sense. In the case of the latter camp, I've always placed the supposed rule that redhead shouldn't wear the colour red.

Granted, if you have extremely pink undertones to your skin, red can sometimes bring them to the surface all the more, but even then a cool red with strong blue notes to it should be safe as safe can be for you to wear.

I'm not a natural redhead (and I don't just mean because I'm a wig wearer). As a child my hair was Scandinavian blonde and rather pretty, however by puberty it had morphed into the most dull, unattractive shade of mousy light brown you'd ever seen and by the age of 16, I'd begun to colour my locks. The first box of hair dye I ever bought was a vibrant red from Clairol's budget-friendly Herbal Essences line. Though the shade was a touch loud, I admit, I knew instantly once I saw the results in the mirror that I'd found my hair colour and that longings that I'd had to be a redhead my whole life were not in vain!

Though I did dabble in other hair colours over the years, and may very well again (last year I was in a blonde mood, this year - much to Tony's delight I'm sure, as he rather fancies brunettes - I'm feeling a warm, vibrant shade of brown), but more often than not for the past (nearly) 15 years of my life, I've had either red or auburn hair and I've worn red fashions on regular basis that whole time.

In fact, as person after person kept mentioning to me in their comments here last in year in particular, it seems as though red has become my unofficial signature colour over the years and I rather love that fact.

A powerful, bold, romantic, strong, classic, regal and even alluring hue, red can be gentle or wild, sophisticated or sexy, luscious (like a strawberry) or understated (think a cool burgundy). It goes with so very many other colours that it more than earns itself the title of being a quasi-neutral. I wear red with navy, green, black, mustard, teal, turquoise, pink, brown, white, grey, denim blue, cream, purple - really, come to think if it, there are rather few colours that I don't partner it with.

{A small selection of some of the many, many outfits featuring or including red that I've worn here on my blog in recent years. Though I do tend to gravitate most towards red during the icy winter months and then again come the sizzling hot days of summer, I truly wear red all year around and have no qualms with calling it my signature colour at this point in my life.}

I have red shoes, red bags, red jewelry, red scarves, red hair accessories, a red snood, and all kinds of red cosmetics (with red lipstick being my go-to shade all year round). Red is kind to my pale skin with its subtle pink notes, as well as to my green eyes which seem to pop all the more when in its prescience. Red makes me feel alive and elegant, feminine and stylish.

Interestingly, and I don't think that this is a coincidence, red is also the "parent" form of my all-time favourite colour: pink. It is, in many respects, the more "grown up", if you will, version of pink so the fact that I gravitate towards it so much does not surprise me in the slightest. I didn't intentionally set out to make red my signature colour, but over the years, perhaps because of the positive feedback that I often received when I wore it, I've done just that and suspect that it will always be one the most frequently worn hues in my wardrobe - no matter what shade my hair is.

Last September I chatted about the importance of colour in your wardrobe (vintage or contemporary), as it's a subject that has resonated deeply with me on the fashion front. Even when I'm in the mood for dark, goth-like fashions, I don't eschew colour. I just let it hang out in my closet until the next time I wake up and feel like I'm in the mood to sport a rainbow again.

Though one certainly does not have to by any means, I think there's a lot of merit to uncovering and then proudly wearing your own signature colour (or two). Some good hints to follow when determining your own signature colour(s) is as follows:

-Do you like and look good in more shades of a given colour than not?

-Do you receive a lot of compliments when you wear this colour?

-Do people often stop and ask you where you got that (insert name of garment or accessory) when you're wearing it in a certain colour?

-Does this colour compliment and highlight your skin, hair and eye tones?

-Do you feel self-conscious or right at home in this colour?

-If for some utterly bizarre reason you could only wear two or three colours again for the rest of your life, would you be happy to select this colour as one of your choices?

-Do you already own a lot of this colour or would need to go on a shopping spree in order to fill your wardrobe with it?

-Do you enjoy wearing both clothing and accessories in this colour?

-Does this colour have any strong significance to you on personal level?

-Is this colour associated with anything positive or negative in your culture and/or faith?

-If you wear vintage styles, does this colour tend to call to mind the decade(s) that you sport most often?

-Do you feel like you can easily mix and match this colour with others that you enjoy wearing?

-If you asked your best friend/significant other/mother/etc what they thought your signature colour was, is there a good chance that they'd say this one?

{Legendary fashion editor - and highly opinionated stylista if ever there were - Diana Vreeland was very well known for making red her signature colour. As seen in this photo, she even decked out her entire living room in shads or ruby, crimson, vermilion, cherry, and poppy - to name but a few. You certainly don't have to take your signature colour to that level, but you're more than welcome to, if your heart so desires. Image source.}

If the answer to most or all of these questions in "yes", than chances are, my dear, that you have struck upon at least one of your signature colours and that it embracing it further will only stand to serve you well on the sartorial front.

Though this might seem rather obvious, I do want to state for the record that a signature colour is not a uniform and that you do not have to wear it every day by any stretch of the imagination. By the same token, your signature colour does not even have to be your favourite colour (in this order, my favourite colours are pink, burgundy, turquoise/aqua, teal, and pine green). In fact, you may find that you use it more as accent hue as part of a larger signature colour palette or simply your wardrobe as a whole.

Your signature colour can change over time or you can put it on a shelf, so to speak, and pick it up here and there as you please. What sets it (or them) apart is that you know, boom!, that's my colour. I love it and it loves me. I know that even on those days when I stand in my closet and feel like I have nothing to wear, I'm not happy with some element of my appearance, I'm in a foul mood, I'm sick, I'm tired, I'm in between personal styles at the moment, whatever it may be, this colour is going to be a beckon of fashion hope to me in an otherwise (temporarily) dark moment.

Embrace your signature colour. Make it your own and be known for it. Out of all the shades and hues, tones and variants in the rainbow, this is the one that you've carved out a special place for in your heart and outfits alike. Rock your signature colour, find new and exciting ways to weave it into your wardrobe, and always remember that it's there for you when you need to ensure that you look like a million stylish dollars.

April 21, 2015

My new Rosadior floral hair piece is a breath of happiness in the midst of a challenging month

Outfit details

Vintage style floral hair piece: Rosadior
White plastic rose earrings: Claire's
Pearl necklace: Birthday gift from Tony ♥
1980s does 1940s/50s pink and white leaf print dress: eBay
Faux pearl stretch bracelets: Real Canadian Superstore
Pink beaded stretch bracelet: Forever 21
1950s blue gloves: (probably) eBay
1950s/1960s pink handbag: Unknown (had for quite some time)
Nude seamed nude stockings: eBay
White pumps: Payless
Lip colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace

Photography by Tony Cangiano

Going into it (as touched on here), I knew that this April was going to be mind-blowingly busy, but I wasn't fully aware then that certain stressful situations would turn out to be as harried/worrisome as they have been.

One of the biggest things in my life right now is the fact that a very close elderly relative was recently diagnosed with breast cancer and will be having extensive surgery for it this week. She has never had cancer before and it's actually quite rare on that side of the family tree, so it came as a big shock to everyone, most of all to her, that she was hit with it in her eighties. She's a true fighter and resilient soul to her core, so I know that if anyone has a chance in the face of this vicious disease it's definitely her.

Before I delve any further into today's post, I would like to take a moment to extend my very deepest of heartfelt thanks to everyone who has comment on my last three posts, including Thursday's one which was all about my blog turning six years old. With everything going on lately, it hasn't been possible to thank and/or return comments on all of your posts, as I generally try my very hardest to, but I wanted to let you all know right here and now how much I appreciate and treasure your comments and happy blogging birthday wishes!

Though this will be a very, very hectic week (and rest of the month), too, I am trying to slip into more of my usual routine again for the time being. Thus, today I'm pleased as punch to bring you a new vintage outfit post featuring a beguilingly gorgeous, vintage appropriate floral hair piece that I received as a complimentary review gift from the UK based brand Rosadior.

I was contacted earlier this year by a rep from the brand and asked if I'd like to give one of their handmade, old school inspired creations a spin. Naturally, I was game and after some back and forth about my favourite colours, flowers, and styles, the stunning creation that you see me sporting in these photos was the end result.

This lovely piece is made of fabric and plastic faux blooms that are attached to a felt piece and held onto one's head (or hat brim, belt, purses strap - wherever you'd like to place it) by a good sized, sturdy metal alligator clip. The whole thing, while very substantial looking, is light as a feather. I don't find that I'm conscious of the fact that I'm sporting it when I wear it, which I've been doing frequently all month long, from April right on up until this past Sunday, which is when these snaps were taken on a small dock in the charming little nearby community of Peachland (in the midst of another jam-packed day).

Like many of Rosadior designer Sam Freeman's creations, this particular hair accessory was a one-off, but on the company's site, you can find oodles of similar floral pieces and flower crowns that work splendidly for all kinds of different looks (from boho to vintage to rockabilly) and events (think weddings, festivals, garden parties, holidays, photo shoots, look book styling, birthdays, baby showers, the list goes on and on!).

They've very well made and absolutely gorgeous! On Sunday alone, I got no less than ten compliments (I was keeping track just out of curiosity) on it, including one that was a first: on Main Street here in Penticton a lady driving a car in the lane beside us motioned to get my attention and then mouthed a very nice compliment about my floral hair piece to me and luckily I was able to say "thank you" in the same way before the light changed and we both drove off in different directions.

I have no doubt that every single piece from Rosadior's frequently updated line will garner similar kind words and quickly become one of your favourite go-to accessories, just as this stunning, endlessly springtime perfect floral topper has from me. I sincerely appreciate that Rosadior sent this gift my way and encourage you to check out their wonderful offerings. If you're in the market for such a hair accessory, but don't see what you're looking for, shot Sam a line and she may be able to create a custom piece for you, as that is a very handy service that Rosadior offers its customers.

Life is full of ups and downs, storms we whether ourselves and others we watch those we treasure struggle with, while trying to help them through the bleakness in every way that we possibly can. In the midst of darker moments, flowers have been a symbol of hope, positive health, and happiness for thousands of years and these elegant, fashionable blooms perched atop my head have been just that for me this month, as I'm certain they will continue to for a very long time to come.

April 19, 2015

A big top's worth of vintage circus themed fashion fun

Before we delve into today's post, I wanted to let you all know that decided to start either putting the graphic headers for reoccurring posts like this further down in the posts themselves or removing them all together. The reason for this is that I have things set up so as to automatically post an update on Facebook and Twitter when a new blog post appears here and the app that does that takes the first image that it sees on the page for the image it then displays on Facebook.

As such, my FB followers just see the same post header time and time again whenever a new post in a series like Vintage Fashionista Friday (or Saturday Snapshots, 25 Vintage Deals Under $100, Flickr Favourites, etc) appears, not an image specific to the topic at the post of the heart itself. I want folks to see that kind of image, so again, I'll be scaling back or just getting rid of, in some cases, such post headers from here on out in most cases.

Now, on with the show! :)

{Inject a serious hit of colour and lively movement into your look with this delightful pair of big vintage beaded cha-cha clip-on earrings in a rainbow of punchy hues, that instantly make me think of bunches of balloons being sold at a circus or carnival. $18.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.}

{Whether you call it cotton candy, fairy floss, or candy floss, there's no denying that this sublimely saccharine treat goes hand-in-hand with the circus. Enjoy the scent of this sweet treat sans calories anytime when you pamper your lips with this charmingly lovely handmade cotton candy lip balm. $4.00 for a 0.15 oz tube from Crimson Hill.}

{Between the swirling pattern and juggler's balls worthy shape of the round glass beads in this marvelously lovely mid-century vintage necklace, it's easy to see why it would suit a circus themed outfit or day spent with The Greatest Show On Earth especially well. $25.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.}

{You would be thoroughly hard pressed to find a more perfect garment to wear to the circus, a circus themed party or any kind of fun event (birthdays very much included) than this awesome 1950s short sleeve balloon and clown print short sleeve novelty print dress. Fits up to a 38.5" bust/33.5" waist. $95.00 from By Cin, By Hand.}

{When one thinks of animals and the circus, seals are often amongst the first that spring to mind. With their adorable faces and penchant for doing tricks, they suit the big top well, just as they do all kinds of delightful vintage and modern outfits alike. Why not let a trained seal of the jewelry variety steal the show with any outfit care of this darling faux pearl and gold tone mid-century vintage novelty brooch? $10.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.}

{What would a circus be without a magician and where would that magician be without their darling white bunny tucked away in a top hat? Celebrate one of the circus's most iconic critters with this beautiful, vintage-y looking handmade brass and and shrink plastic bracelet. $45.00 from Mama's Little Babies.}

{Use it as a clutch, a makeup page, a storage pouch, a small toiletries bag when you travel, to stash receipts in - you name it, just make sure you put this cuter than cute fabric pouch, with its vintage-esque looking circus print fabric, to work. It's too adorable not to see tons of use! $10.00 from Ashley Rose EGL.}

{Though they may have originally been intended for children, there's no reason circus fans of all ages couldn't use these wonderfully whimsical, absolutely darling vintage hankies. $18.00 for a three-piece set in its original box from Oliver's Forest.}

{From their jubilant colour palette to their charming polka dots to their beautiful red rose - which can't help but remind one, in a circus context, of the water squirting faux blooms that clowns are keen on wearing on their lapels, this gorgeous pair of vintage inspired peep toe platform heels is sure to turn more heads than a fast flying trapeze artist! Available in modern ladies sizes 7 to 9 (at the time of writing) from Blue Velvet Vintage.}

Vintage Fashionista Friday blog graphic for Chronically Vintage photo VintagefashionistaChronicallyVintag.png

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You know, I can't help but feel like there's a three ring circus joke or pun that could have worked for today's title, I but I couldn't think of one that had a positive connotation to this commonly used expression, so I skipped it and went for something more descriptive instead.

As the weather continues to warm up and the last vestiges of winter melt away, my mind turns instantly to both plans for this season and to memories of past springs and summers alike. In the case of the later, vivid recollections of afternoons spent under the big top as a youngster instantly come rushing back.

Though I must state for the record that I do not as an adult usually support circuses involving animals (their handing and care often being a million miles away from as ethical or human as I'm personally comfortable with), and haven't attended one in nearly two decades, as a child when the annual traveling circus came to town - usually around this time of the year - I did certainly watch the acts with the same wide-eyed wonder that millions other children have for hundreds of years now.

No matter your stance on circuses involving animals, I think that we can all agree that the iconic images and scenes that they present and can lend to vintage clothing is well worth cheering about. From elephants to trained seals, clowns (okay, not everyone's favourite, but cute smiling ones usually aren't very menacing unless you have coulrophobia) to top hat adorned ring masters, circus themed items and fashions are fun and nostalgic at the same time - always a winning combo for vintage lovers like us.

Circus related outfits, parties, and dinners can all be a blast and though they are especially well suited to the younger crowd, there's no reason why us "kids at heart" can't get in on the merriment as well (and to that end, I've seen a few circus themed weddings that have been shared online before and they're always a blast, too). I can't say as though I own a ton of circus themed fashions or accessories, but one can easily appropriate various items to have them fit this bill.

From the aforementioned top hats (and tails) to feathers, assorted animal themed items (think horses, dogs, seals, elephants, monkeys, rabbits, lions, and tigers in particular), sequins and ruffles like a trapeze artist or acrobat might wear, and of course, red and white stripes like the famous big top tents themselves, it may be easy to raid your closet right now for numerous pieces that channel a fun circus theme.

Spring is a lighthearted, feel good season that calls for more fun than you can shake a magician's wand at, so why not make like this week's stylish Vintage Fashionista and put together a circus inspired ensemble this year, no matter if you're headed down to the big top or not. It's a happy theme for any outfit that is sure to make you, and all who see your look, smile wider than a chipper clown! :)

April 16, 2015

Looking back to move forward on the eve of Chronically Vintage's sixth birthday

Do you ever stop and think about when your blog was brand new? When you were a novice blogger and everything felt exciting and challenging and like you couldn't soak up knowledge fast enough? There was joy and trepidation, rocky starts and times when you felt as though you’d hit the ground running so quickly you could have broken the sound barrier.

Your blog might have been your first adventure in online writing (Chronically Vintage wasn't mine; I'd been running various websites since 2004, a full five years before this site sprang to life), but chances are it quickly became one of your very favourites and a place where, understandably, you devoted a substantial amount of your time, attention, drive, and perhaps even resources.

Though I don't view them through (vintage) rose coloured glasses, I often look back on the early days of this site with great fondness and appreciation for the plethora of lessons it taught me (very much including the 10 harsh truths that will make you a better blogger). The blogging landscape was a vastly different place at the time in many ways (for example, social media didn't have quite the massive foot hold in this world that it does today and the notion of microblogging though sites like Facebook, Tumblr and Instragram was scarcely a concept yet). Though I do get nostalgic and yearn for those "simpler times" some days, I also very much enjoy seeing how the web continues to expand, grow and change.

Tomorrow Chronically Vintage will turn six years old. I have run and drawn joy from this website for a full 1/5th of my life now. That is not a small amount of time by any measure and as my blog jumps into its sixth year of life, I find myself thinking about those early days a lot. There was a different sort of joy and wide-eyed wonder back then. It was a honeymoon period of sorts, of course, or like the flush and rush that come from a great new relationship, where everything thing seems new, colours are more vibrant, the littlest things take on deeper meaning, and all we want to do is share about our newfound love with anyone who will listen.

I haven't grown jaded about blogging or vintage over the years, but naturally that initial thrill and awe has rubbed off a bit. I'm more realistic and the longer I stay at 'er, the more I realize that returning to my blogging roots, simplifying things (we don't all need to devote ourselves like slaves to social media day in and day out in order to succeed online, for example), and remembering to adhere to a piece of advice I've been slinging here since day one - to only blog if doing so has both a purpose and brings you joy - rings all the more true for me as another blogging anniversary rolls around.

{Image via a sold listing from Amelia Bedelia Vintage}

The past six years have been unlike any other I've know. I never dreamed when I began Chronically Vintage that it would grow into the popular site and (more recently) accompanying Etsy shop, that it is today. I didn't know it would turn into my full-time career, bring some of the best friends I've ever had into my life, give me the opportunity to work with some of the top companies in our field, open up many doors for me, land me in the pages of numerous magazines, and perhaps most poignantly, help me to grow and develop as a person on countless levels.

That has been the greatest gift of blogging and one that, along with my online friendships and desire to share my knowledge and life with all of you, keeps me blogging even when things get rough. I'm a billion miles away from being super human. I have days when the last thing on earth I want to do is even think about blogging, when my energy levels are so nonexistent that I can't even pick up the computer, and spans when my health is so poor, I think that I should stop blogging and spare myself the work, stress, and even physical challenges that it (and my Etsy shop) bring into my life.

But so far at least, I haven't. That day may come, one never know what life holds in store, but I shudder to think of it and have learned along this long blogging road that usually the answer - as with so much in life - doesn't come from throwing in the proverbial towel, but from getting back to your roots, remembering why you started blogging in the first place, enjoying the experience, doing more (or less, as the case may be) of those things that truly matter, and cutting yourself some serious slack if your plans don't always go as you'd hoped they might.

None of us is perfect and neither are our blogs, but for many who have been blogging for any real amount of time now, we deserve a massive pat on the back and to be reminded of just how awesome we're doing. Success has many faces and takes on many forms, and chances are, you've reached more of those than you realize.

I cherish you, my dear readers and online friends, and want you to know that you help ensure I keep on keeping on, as the old saying goes. When things get tough, when they're fabulous, when I'm uncertain, when I have a crystal clear vision, when I'm especially sick, on my rare good days, when tomorrow seems like a question mark, and when I have it mapped out down to the last detail, you've been there and have helped to spur me on in my life as a blogger in so many, many ways.

With all my heart, thank you for that and the countless other positives you've brought into my life. So here, sweet dears, is to the prospect of Chronically Vintage's sixth year of life and all the good, grand, exciting and, yes, even (hopefully momentary) stressful things it will bring my way. Blogging, like life itself, is never perfect, but it sure can be fun and worth every second of the ride.

April 14, 2015

Meet a fellow vintage blogger: Helen Mae Green from the UK

In March we launched Chronically Vintage's exciting new blogger interview series when I chatted with CiCi's interview from CiCi Marie and the response to it was fabulous. This month I had the pleasure of (proverbially) sitting down with another marvelous lady from the UK, Helen Mae Green from the blog Love Birds Vintage.

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Helen is a sweet, lovely woman with a wide array of interests, a personal style filled with great mid-century fashions, a passion for etymology, and a flare for historical reenactments. Join me as we get to know Helen and her wonderful blog better today. I'm sure you'll feel, as I did, by the end, that you've just spent a wonderful afternoon sharing tea and gabbing with a dear fellow vintage loving friend.

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Can you please tell us a bit about your blog, Love Birds Vintage?

I started writing Lovebirds Vintage in 2012, a while after I got into dressing in a vintage style, as a way of connecting with other vintage lovers and documenting my personal style. I like to blog about vintage fashion, style and beauty, as well as occasional other posts about cooking, knitting, sewing, shopping and more.

Inquiring minds want to know, what inspired your blog's name?

Unfortunately there really isn’t an interesting story behind it! When I decided I wanted to try writing a blog, I brainstormed a list of potential names and Lovebirds Vintage was the one that felt like it fit me best at the time.

Have you been interested in vintage for a long time?

I've been dressing in a vintage style since around late 2011, but my interest in vintage in general began with music. My parents always played old music around the house when I was growing up, and I played clarinet and saxophone in two swing bands (amongst various other musical groups) for a lot of years. We also went to watch the Glenn Miller Orchestra for my dad’s birthday one year. The music of the 1940s-70s made a big impression on me, especially rock and roll. Eventually I realized there was a whole community of people who don’t just listen to the music but also wear the clothes, drive the cars and decorate their houses in the styles from past decades – I’m so glad I decided to be a part of it.

What do you cite as some of the key inspirations that lead you to start wearing vintage? Do they apply to your decision to blog on the subject as well?

Apart from the music having an early influence on me, I think the thing that really kick started my interest in wearing vintage was when I started university and was suddenly exposed to a much wider variety of people than I had been at school. There was no pressure to look the same as everyone else so there was really nothing stopping me changing up my style a bit and building up a vintage wardrobe like I’d seen other girls wearing online.

You're a big fan of 1940s fashion, do you dabble much in styles from other decades?

I often say that the fashions of the 1940s are my favourite – something about the shapes and detail of the clothing – but I am a huge fan of mixing things up. My wardrobe covers styles from approximately the 1920s to 1960s, and I just dress in a style which fits how I feel on any given day. Sometimes I like to dress top-to-toe in clothes from the same decade, other days I mix and match. I don’t like to feel too restricted because I feel like you should just dress however makes you happy. I usually describe my style as ‘vintage’ rather than citing a specific decade.

{Image © Steve Bond Images, hair by Jac at Tip Top Hair Design}

Five words that often/always spring to mind when you think about your vintage wardrobe?

Tough question! I'll go with: feminine, classic, blue, simple, and textured.

Aside from vintage, what are some of your biggest interests in life?

Of course like most people, my interests are many and varied! I love to bake, I often go walking, I love visiting museums, historic houses, beauty spots – I really enjoy photography as well so I always have my camera with me when I go.

You live in the UK and are fortunate to be able to take part in some historical reenactment events. How did you get into this exciting area? Are you taking part in many such events these days?

I started attending re-enactment because my area is pretty lacking when it comes to vintage events and I was keen to have something to go to where I might find other people with similar interests to me. Sadly I didn’t make it to any events last year as I was too busy working (I work weekends which unfortunately clashes with many events) or studying towards my Masters degree. I have plans to get to more events this year though, including some events that I haven’t been to before.

You've done some vintage modeling in recent years. Do you have any tips based on your own experience for those who may be starting out on this front themselves?

Make sure you’re safe at all times and don’t let anyone push you into doing anything you feel uncomfortable with. You will learn everything you need to know on the job, so make sure you pay attention to any tips that you get from photographers so you can use them in the future. You can also practise posing in front of a mirror to figure out how to pose in the most flattering way.

{Image © Steve Bond Images, hair by Jac at Tip Top Hair Design}

Do you feel that living in the UK, a country with one of the largest and most thriving vintage communities in the world, has helped you in your own vintage journey?

Personally I’d say it hasn't really made much difference. Although the UK does have a pretty decent vintage community, I live outside a small town and my area doesn't really have any alternative community. I actually don’t have any friends who dress vintage so I rely heavily on online resources for my research and inspiration.

Are you able to find much in the way of vintage fashion locally?

I used to be able to go vintage shopping regularly at a couple of big vintage fairs as well as two vintage shops which were in the town. Last year the venue that was being used to hold the vintage fairs suffered a fire and closed down, and then I found out that both of the vintage shops were closing their doors as well.

Fortunately I've recently discovered two other vintage shops nearby which I haven’t had the chance to visit yet, as well as an absolute goldmine of vintage and antique shops about an hour away. A lot of the shops locally tend to sell newer vintage items (think Doc Martin’s, ugly sweaters and shellsuits) which have their place but aren't my style, but these other shops I've discovered have an amazing range of clothing from the turn of the century onward. When I have some free time I plan to visit all of them and write some blog posts like I've done for other vintage shops I've visited.

In some of your posts, you've touched on the fact that you're keen on entomology. That's really fascinating! What lead you to develop an interest in the study of insects?

My undergraduate degree is in forensic science (the application of science to law). When I had to choose a topic for my final year project and thesis, I considered a few things but settled on forensic entomology, which is studying insects for use in legal cases. I also did some volunteering in the summer between my second and third years at a butterfly farm and at the Oxford University Museum of Natural History which were both great experiences.

I was lucky to have a very inspirational lecturer for entomology classes in my final year and I continued on to study entomology again for my Masters degree and to do some more volunteering at another museum. It’s funny because I used to be the sort of person who was squeamish of insects but they are so amazing and interesting once you start to study them. I can talk about insects for hours!

Have you found ways to translate this passion into the vintage side of your life?

I have a few pieces of jewellery in the shapes of insects and also have a growing collection of butterflies which I display at home. I’ll definitely continue to add to both those collections, and I’d like to include some more insect-themed things in my wardrobe. Perhaps an insect-themed novelty print skirt?

Are you also an animal lover? Do you have any pets at the moment?

I've actually never been able to keep pets in the traditional sense because anything furry causes my eczema to go haywire. I do like to appreciate animals from a distance though. I kept a praying mantis for some time last year which was very cute but of course not really the same thing as being able to cuddle a cat or dog.

What are some things you'd like to focus (even) more on when it comes to your vintage wardrobe?

Right now I’m in need of a lot more separates, mainly trousers and tops, and I could do with some more knitwear and clothing that’s warm enough for the winter. Something a bit more frivolous that I’d like to work on is my hat collection – I used to wear hats quite a bit but I've got out of the habit of wearing them often. I think a hat can really finish an outfit off nicely and add that extra level of style.

Are you a fan of vintage reproduction/vintage inspired clothing or do you generally prefer to stick with genuine yesteryear pieces?

While genuine vintage pieces are usually my favourite, I make full use of repro and modern vintage-appropriate clothing. I don’t live the sort of lifestyle where I am able to wear genuine vintage all the time – I do too many things where I’m worried about staining or tearing delicate items, so I love to have newer items that I can wear without having to be too careful and which I know I can throw in the washing machine at the end of the day. I also have a very small clothing budget and supplementing my vintage wardrobe with cheaper modern vintage-appropriate clothing really helps make my money go further.

Do you make any of your own clothing?

Yes, a small amount. I can knit and crochet, and I like to knit my own cardigans from time to time. I can also sew at a very basic level, but I’m working on improving my skills so hopefully I can sew more of my own clothing in the future.

Do you have any vintage fashion icons (famous folks from the past, fellow vintage bloggers, relatives, etc)?

I draw most of my inspiration from other bloggers and from old photos of ordinary people. Pictures of film stars and people like Dita Von Teese are always fun to look at, but they don’t really inspire my outfits in the same way because I’m just not that glamorous. I feel much more of a connection with everyday fashions and street style – fellow vintage bloggers are always a great inspiration because I love to see how vintage items are being worn by modern women.

If you could travel the world for a year, what are some of the places you'd most want to visit?

I always say I'm not much of a traveler – I've never been on a plane and I hate train travel, although I'm gradually getting more used to it. When I go on holiday I usually like to go to places with lots of history so I think it would be fun to visit places like Rome, Egypt or Peru where I could visit the ruins and remains of previous civilizations. I don't travel light though so I won’t be going backpacking anywhere!

And what vintage items would you make sure you packed in your suitcase for your adventure?

Visiting some warmer places would give me the perfect opportunity to get some more wear out of my vintage summer dresses. I have a vintage powder compact that belonged to my granddad's late first wife that I use on a daily basis so that would come with me as well.

Last, but not least, do you have any exciting plans in the works for Love Birds Vintage that's you'd care to share with us?

Over the last few months I've been focusing on trying to improve the quality of my photos and blog posts for Lovebirds Vintage – I’m not a professional photographer so it’s all a learning process. While I don’t have any specific plans at the moment, I’m looking forward to the summer so I can fit in a few more outfit posts without freezing or being rained on! Hopefully I’m managing to create content that people really enjoy.

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Thank you very much for the fantastic interview, Helen, I adored getting to know you better, as I'm sure my reader have as well.

This series - which I've decided to currently call "Meet a fellow vintage blogger" - is off to a roaring start thank to CiCi and Helen's interviews. Next up in the beautiful month of May, I'll chat with a talented vintage and historical loving sewer, piano player, and home skills fan who will knock your socks off with her amazing creations and passion for the past.

Until then, my lovelies, there are oodles of fun fashion, recipe, seasonal, and outfit posts like usual coming down the pipeline as we celebrate each wonderful day of April.