March 31, 2011

This lovely pink vintage cloche will instantly put in you in the mood for spring!

Day 90 of Vintage 365


Last year I was chatting with a dear vintage loving friend of mine and mentioned that if one was able to pick up a new (to them) vintage hat every season, by year's end you'd have expanded your headwear wardrobe considerably, and after a few year's you'd have - as the darling Brits would say - a right proper hat collection.

I'd hoped at the time that I'd be able to carry out that idea myself, but alas it didn't quite happen. Perhaps one day it will though, as I rather adore vintage hats (I wear the few I have all the time!) and there are quite a few good deals to be had on them (especially if you scour etsy). I woke up thinking about beautiful vintage chapeaus today for some reason - perhaps because, with this being the very last day of March, I'm hoping deeply that spring will finally (no more sudden snow flurries, Toronto, you hear me?! ;) ) decide to grace my city with its illustrious presence again.

There is a tremendous amount to be said in favour of wearing vintage hats. They can just as easily define an ensemble as they can subtly accent a star gown, breezy summer skirt, or a lux winter coat. They're available in nearly every shade imaginable, run the gamut from understatedly simple and refined to regal feather and flower adorned, museum-worthy works of art.

Though season after season I reach from my beloved, fail-proof navy blue and black vintage hats, I seem to constantly find myself "favouriting" a veritable rainbow of toppers on etsy, such as this enchantingly pretty, pale dusty pink number.


One might think that tulle and sequins atop a brim-less cloche would have the potential to be rather full-on, but in fact, the whisper soft colour palette makes this hat seem more like a graceful cherry blossom than a field of vibrant tulips. It's timeless shape, sweetly feminine touches, and nearly neutral hues make it a superb choice for a springtime hat.

The seller of this sophisticated vintage cloche pegs it to be a 1940s or 50s piece that was designed to look as though it hailed from the 20s. Though without seeing it in person, it can be tricky to accurately gage, part of me thinks it may be from the 30s. No matter the decade it was born in, there's no question about the fact that it looks gorgeous - and would work with a surprising number of outfits (couldn't you see it pairing wonderfully with everything from a cream blouse to a grey dress?).

Available for $35.00 from etsy seller LyndsieAnna, this playful, frilly, delightful vintage cloche would make for an incredible Easter hat, yet could just as easily see you through anything from a day of window shopping to a garden party, an afternoon wedding to Sunday brunch. For those who may be looking to expand their own hat wardrobes this spring, you'll find that this reasonably priced, delicately blush hued vintage topper is just the ticket!

March 30, 2011

Revamping Wonderful Wednesday Recipe and merging it with Vintage 365

Day 89 of Vintage 365


Lately I've been coming across an even larger array then usual of vintage recipes online that span the spectrum from staggeringly odd to scrumptiously wonderful, which have brought back to the surface a thought that's been bouncing around in my head for a while now.

This year the Vintage 365 project is taking centre stage on Chronically Vintage. While, from time-to-time, other posts (such as Vintage Friday Fashionista or Flickr Favourites) certainly do appear here, by and large, one post per day is all my health is able to contend with at the moment, so I'm pouring the bulk of my blog writing efforts into this delightfully fun daily series.

The downside to that though, is that certain reoccurring posts may not get as much love this year as in past. I see no reason however, why some of those classic ongoing posts can't be woven into the 365 series!

Alongside that thought comes one I've been contemplating for quite a while now, about the idea of turning the Wonderful Wednesday Recipe post into one that focuses around an actual vintage recipe, instead of a tried and true classic from my own recipe book.

Chronically Vintage is all about bringing you an inspiring array of diverse vintage topics, and I feel that sharing interesting old school recipes I find online with all of you will be a very neat (and potentially tasty! :) ) way to liven up the Wonderful Wednesday Recipe posts.

As I don't want the blog post titles to be a mile long, I've decided to drop the words "Wonderful Wednesday Recipe" from the title, and will instead, refer to the name of the recipe itself (i.e., "1950s chocolate icebox cookie recipe"). As well, while a new (by which I mean, naturally, vintage!) recipe might not show up every Wednesday (aka, some Wednesdays the Vintage 365 post maybe about a topic other than a recipe), I'm hoping that most Wednesday editions of Vintage 365 from here on out will indeed feature a cool yesteryear recipe (from the 1920s, 30s, 40s, or 50s) that, for one reason or another, really caught my eye.

In short this means that for the time being we're waving good-bye to the old version of Wonderful Wednesday recipes wherein I shared one of my own recipes with you, and are now ushering in a new recipe post on Wednesday, that will be part of the Vintage 365 series, that will feature an engaging mid-twentieth century recipe I've come across in my internet culinary travels.

To get the ball rolling on this fun new recipe series-within-a-series, here's a cheerfully, beautifully illustrated recipe from 1946 for Sauce Parisienne, which also goes by the name Allemanade sauce (German Sauce). This classically popular French sauce is somewhat similar to velouté, however it gets its density thanks to double (heavy) cream and egg yolks, which are paired with tangy lemon juice.

This luxurious sauce pairs well with poultry, eggs, poached fish, seafood, hors d'oeuvres, steamed vegetables (like asparagus), and foods that are coated in bread crumbs.


I'd love to hear your thoughts on this new recipe post spin - and wouldn't definitely enjoy knowing about what kinds of vintage recipes you'd most enjoying seeing featured here on Wednesdays!


Bon appétit!

March 29, 2011

Do you dress your children in vintage clothes?

Day 88 of Vintage 365


The inspiration behind today's post came from part of a conversation my husband and I shared recently. Like many married couples with dreams of one day starting a family of their own, we often enjoy discussing all manner of topics pertaining to our future brood (from baby names to what we their education to be like). As we were capping off one such chat a few days ago, I tossed in the comment "and of course, I'm going to dress them in only vintage".

Well, this remark raised an quick eyebrow from the mister (though goodness only knows why, when that's nearly all I strive to wear myself!), who replied with something to the extent of,  "Um, no".

Sorry there, sweetums, but, "Um, yes!".  Smile

Ok, chances are that not every single garment my future child/children will wear in their earliest years will be vintage, but ideally, I'd like to try and purchase and/or sew (using vintage baby and children's clothing patterns) a lot of vintage and vintage inspired pieces. In a sense pushing aside my own adoration with vintage clothing, when I look at children's styles from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s I see the most sublime pairing of elegance and carefree youthfulness.

Yesteryear kids clothing was ripe with skilful tailoring, immensely pretty patterns and fabrics, and lots of adorable features that make them leagues more beautiful, in my humble opinion, than the bulk of what's on the market for children today.

I tend to think my husband's raised eyebrow stemmed mostly from thinking (somewhat mistakenly) that vintage baby clothing costs an arm and leg. The wonderful truth is, that it doesn't have to. Thanks to sites like etsy and eBay, you can track down authentic vintage baby clothes for very reasonable prices (sometimes, for even less than what their modern day equivalents will run you at most department and baby goods shops). From Christening gowns to pajamas, dresses to short pants, there's actually quite an extensive array of vintage kids clothing to be found still today, much of it quite economically.

One of the main reasons, I think, for this is because - while kids tend to be harder than on their clothes than adults - children grow so quickly. Kids shot up overnight in the 40s and 50s, just like they do today, and that meant that many times garments become too small long before they'd worn out (yes, some were handed down for sure, but others were tucked lovingly away by sentimental mothers). As a result, it's not hard at all to find baby, toddler and children's vintage clothes (and shoes) these days.

Much as I love vintage fashion, I know that as my kids grow older, their own fashion tastes my differ, and that's totally fine, but while they're still at that delightful age when you can deck them out however you please (the real life "doll years", if you will), you, my husband, and everyone else better gosh darn well believe I'm going to put my little ones in beautiful vintage styles! :D

{How charmingly adorable are these lovely summer dresses? Couldn't just image whipping one up for your darling daughter, granddaughter or niece? Vintage sewing pattern image via patterngate on Flickr.}


I want my kids to look back at photos of their first years of life and admire the timelessly stylish looks their parents dressed them in (who knows, perhaps it will help turn them into vintage clothing lovers themselves, as adults), seeing the class, style, and timeless workmanship that mid-twentieth century kids clothing possessed.

I know all it will take is slipping one teeny-tiny smocked dress onto my daughter or play suit onto my son, for my husband to suddenly see the undeniable appeal - and merit - of kitting out your kids in fantastic old school styles.

This discussion got me thinking though, my dears, about you and your kids. Do you, vintage loving mom that you are, dress (at least some of the time) your kids in vintage clothing?

March 28, 2011

A stellar 1950s example of effectively using grey in home decor

Day 87 of Vintage 365


Grey is having a moment right now (though, to be fair, it's one of those hues that, to my mind, never goes out of style). It's been huge trend for nails, seen splashed across the display windows of shoe stores, and put to work on a myriad of accessories over the past few fashion seasons. Naturally that means it's also permeating the home decor world.

Yet, despite the fact that so often when a certain colour in limelight is treated as if it's only just been discovered for the first time, there is nothing new about grey. The love child of white and black, this colour is elegant and friendly, for it pairs every bit as well as either of those hues with just about any colour under the sun (including the sun itself; grey and yellow can make for a really standout colour combo!).

I think grey is more a exciting home decor option than beige. Though generally a mellow colour, it seems to have the kind of personality that positively comes alive when you match it up with brighter, notice-me shades (like royal blue, kelly green, coral, and marigold). The last time grey really had an interior design moment was the 1980s, but that was no means the first period in which grey captured the attention of home decor fans.

While we often think of houses from the 1950s as being sprinkled with delightfully confectionary-like hues such as soothing turquoise, butter cream yellow, marshmallow white, and taffy pink (and certainly many homes were decked out in these beautiful shades), there are plenty of lovely examples of homes from the fifties that dared to delve into using bolder colours, too.


Take for example, this engaging 1950s kitchen. Though somewhat small in size, its layout manages to effectively squeeze in a lot of different decor elements, from a fully stocked fridge to a utterly delightful writing desk nook (and don't even get me started on how cute that built-in magazine rack is!). Here we see a medium strength grey woven through a room that comes alive thanks to punchy pops of strawberry red and snowy white.

While the designer (or home owner) could have just as easily painted the walls white or cream, they went with grey and the look absolutely works. White and red alone might have made this perky kitchen (the image of which comes via saltycotton on Flickr) too taxing on the eyes, but thanks to the introduction of cool grey, the palette becomes grounded and liveable, but still enjoyably exciting.

If I could, I would snap up the layout and colour scheme of this appealing vintage kitchen in a heartbeat, ensuring that both the colour grey and that seriously awesome magazine rack were part of my kitchen's look. Is grey a colour you're feeling - whether in home decor or fashion - this spring, too?

March 27, 2011

A timelessly lovely 1940s dress that's ideal for spring

Day 86 of Vintage 365

There's a graceful elegance to this vintage dress that makes it so desirably beautiful. It's the kind of classic piece that you could so easily imagine your grandmother or great-grandmother putting on before she headed out to work, the market, to take the kids to school, or perhaps for a bridge game with Doris and Ethel from down the block.

A true treasure from the past, this wonderful deadstock (never worn) vintage dress - made by Fashion Frock of Cincinnati - from the 1940s is sophisticated and chic, while also being wonderfully practical. I could so easily imagine slipping into it for everything from job interview to a day of sightseeing. It's deep brown-married-with-burgundy hue is paired with regal copper embroidery and tiny brass buttons for a palette will never go out of style.

Made of lightweight rayon and featuring three-quarter length sleeves, the tailoring of this lovely frock is fitted - but certainly not skin-tight. It's material and cut make it absolutely perfect for the warmer months of spring and summer that we're finally tumbling into.

Partnered with a great vintage hat (I'm thinking something lively and pretty with a sprig of millinery flowers or perhaps even a small feather plume), soft coloured gloves (cream would be a gorgeous match), and a dainty handbag, this fantastic vintage dress (which fits up to a 38" bust/30" waist, and is available for $98.00 from Buffalo Gal Vintage) is the kind of wonderful wardrobe staple that you'll happily reach for spring after spring after spring :)

March 26, 2011

I'm in the mood for classic Big Band music

Day 85 of Vintage 365


During the wee hours of the morning last Saturday, as I was flipping through the channels, I just happened to land on a PBS special called "The Big Band Years" precisely as it was starting. Naturally I was hooked by the name alone (which promised - and delivered - a trove of vintage swing music history), but that was just the tip of a delightful foray into some of the finest music of the mid-twentieth century (and in my opinion, of all time).

A quick Google search reveals that this PBS special isn't brand new (one source I found says it first aired in 2009), yet it was completely fresh to me and proved to be a thoroughly enjoyable couple of hours.

Bursting with clips from the 1930s, 40s, and 50s (many of which came from classic movies) of big bands legends such as Glenn Miller (complete with Tex Beneke), Benny Goodman, Gene Krupa, and Artie Shaw, this show had me simultaneously tapping my toe and pining for the dresses worn by every single female singer or actress they showed (such as the ever-beautiful Marion Hutton singing "I've got a gal in Kalamazoo").

Aside from just providing some stellar late night entertainment and starting my weekend off a very lovely note (literally!), this great PBS special reminded me of just how much I adore Big Band music - and that I really needed to add more of it to my playlist.

From Cab Callaway's wildly engaging  Minnie the Moocher (see video above for this intensely lively tune) to Glenn Miller's timeless jewel In the Mood (the inspiration behind the title of today's post), this terrific PBS show rekindled a passion I'd never really lost, but hadn't exactly been stoking lately either.

As we coast our way into spring and summer, two seasons that positively explode with energy and the urge to slip one your dancing shoes, I'll be putting an array of stellar Big Band classics into heavy rotation - and definitely recommend doing the same, if this great genre is your musical cup of tea, too! :)

March 25, 2011

Found: The most timelessly perfect vintage style cosmetic train case ever!

Day 84 of Vintage 365


From the outside, this sleek-as-silk and dark-as-the-witching-hour black box might just seem like an fantastically lovely container, but flip open its elegant top - complete with rounded corners - and you're met with an intoxicatingly glamorous leopard print satin interior that positively begs to be filled with your favourite vintage jewelry, cosmetics, accessories or any other treasures you wish to house inside its sinfully alluring lining.


Generously sized at 13"”w x 9.5”d x 6.5”t, this truly Hollywood bombshell worthy make-up case hails from the vintage styling geniuses at Lux de Ville, and is packed with more rockabilly, pin-up, old school sex kitten charm than you can shake a powder puff at!



Sporting a silver hued latch closure and hinges, black plastic feet, and a wonderfully useful black handle on the top, this vegan-friendly (leather-free) vintage inspired Noir Hollywood Train Case (which features a removable multi-compartment tray) is the sort of "buy it now and adore it the rest of your days" piece that exudes a wealth of timeless beauty, while still be marvellously practical.

Should this awesome 1940s startlet style cosmetics container have you going weak in the knees (as it most definitely does me!), then buzz on by Plasticland, where this knock-out gem of a case can be had for $98.00.

While that's a bit of an investment, I'm the first to agree, if you treat this gorgeous train case with the love it so rightfully deserves, I get the feeling it’ll be the sort of piece that will last for eons and very easily morph into an heirloom treasure for your wonderfully stylish offspring to cherish forever.

March 24, 2011

40 wonderful free vintage fonts

Day 83 of Vintage 365


There is something undeniably magical about the subject of typography. A great deal of the material we've read and written - on the most ordinary of things like cereal box packaging to incredibly important documents like marriage certificates - in our lives has been printed, and thus had a typeface of one kind or another. Many fonts are fairly mundane; they're beautiful and handy workhorses, but they're not not exactly the typographic equivalent of Elizabeth Taylor's diamonds.

I'm fascinating by fonts - especially antique and vintage ones, or those modern equivalents that look as if they could have easily appeared on a billboard sixty years ago. Delving in the art of scrapbooking last autumn really stirred up my interest in typography and the world of fonts again, and as one might imagine, I went hunting for a trove of vintage fonts.

Numerous websites provided lists of free fonts that have an old school bent to them, but by far the best list I encountered was one called 40 Free Fonts Ideal For Retro And Vintage Designs on the site bluefaqs.

Don't let the word "retro" potentially put you off of checking this page - which comes complete with a colourful example of each font in use (such as the classically lovely "Diner Regular" below) – out. Though some of the 40 fonts are a bit better suited to the 60s and 70s, many of them truly look as though they really could have been plucked from the rip-roaring 20s, art deco 30s, fast paced 40s, or chicly elegant 50s. (All forty fonts are delightfully free and can be downloaded from various free font websites.)


I look at this collection of vintage fonts and my mind goes into creative overdrive! I'm struck by the urge to suddenly print personal stationery, create cover pages for everything I type right down to my grocery lists, knock out scrapbook page after vintage font adorned scrapbook page, send my pen pals letters in old school fonts, and escape into a typographical haze in which I forget entirely that such commonplace fonts as Times New Roman or Arial even exist.

Swing by this great list, my dears, and treat yourself to a bevy of gorgeous free vintage fonts - I can promise you that you'll come up for tons of wonderfully creative uses for oodles of them.

March 23, 2011

The exciting adventures of Cherry Ames, mystery solving WW2 nurse

Day 82 of Vintage 365


All right vintage lovin' gals, hands up if you read Nancy Drew detective stories as a youngster? (*Enthusiastically thrusts hand in the air*) Now, hands up if you read Cherry Ames stories?

While perhaps not as famous as Nancy Drew, Cherry Ames was another beloved fictional female youth who broke onto the literary scene in the mid-20th century. Written by Helen Wells and Julie Campbell Tatham (each authored different books as opposed to collaborating on a story together),the myriad novels these ladies penned chronicled Cherry’s exciting adventures, and were favourites of mine as a youngster.

Though both Nancy’s and Cherry's tales were ones centered around mysteries, Cherry (whose full name was Charity) was a young nurse (the first two books in the 27 title series cover her time spent in nursing school) who held nursing positions in a variety of places, always ready and able to solve any strange conundrum that befell said medical establishments.

Though Cherry Ames books were written until 1968, they began during the war-torn year of 1943, and thus many of this bright and ambitious young nurse's first escapades deal with the world war that was in full force at the time. While these days few would raise an eyebrow at the idea of a female character in a girls' storybook series being a go-getter of a career woman, back when Cherry burst on the scene such fictional characters were relatively few and far between.

Cherry Ames' stories always struck me as being a bit more mature (though still entirely child-friendly in every sense) than Nancy Drew. It was fun to run around the house pretending to claw through cobweb covered attics and find clues in old clocks alla Nancy, but Cherry was a character I felt more like I wanted to emulate when I grew up. She was as much a role model to me as a girl in the (comparatively progressive) 80s and 90s, as she'd been for those in the 40s, 50s, 60s and 70s.

Whether you spent your youth thumbing through Cherry's tales or are just hearing about her for the first time today, you can quickly add a serious dose of vintage medical mystery charm to your (and/or your child's) bookshelf with the immensely lovely boxed sets of Cherry Ames books that I just discovered this week on Amazon.

Though recently manufactured, these delightfully lovely stories have been packaged with their original vintage cover art, and come housed in elegant boxed set holders that makes it instantly easy to place anywhere you'd like around the house.

A great place to start off your Cherry Ames collection is with the boxed set above, which contains the first four stories in this entertaining series. Comprised of a quartet of hardcover books, this wonderfully old school looking Cherry Ames boxed set is quite a steal at $26.37.

Whether you'd like to help Cherry solve exciting medical detective stories yourself or think you know a budding youngster with their eye towards becoming a nurse or doctor, these absorbing mystery novels are a seriously fun way to lose yourself in a great vintage book.

March 22, 2011

Calling all canucks and fellow history buffs

Day 81 of Vintage 365


There are few topics in the whole universe that I love and devote my time to as much as history. From the earliest of ages, I've been enamoured with the past; insatiably curious to know what happened during the lifetimes of those who walked this earth before me. My love of all things vintage is an extension of the general adoration for history that I have, and indeed writing about historical events and figures is by far one of my favourite elements of creating this blog.

I'm always on the prowl for great sources of historical information and trivia (include who was born and who passed away on a certain date), and recently discovered a super handy Canadian On This Day website that lists numerous interesting historical facts for each day of the year - all of which have a Canadian slant to them.

{Amongst the various events that have taken place in Canadian history on March 22nd, one finds the birth in 1909 of the highly influential, prolific French Canadian author, Gabrielle Roy, whose ground-breaking novel Bonheur d'occasion (published in English as The Tin Flute), set in Montreal, is sometimes credited for laying the foundation for Quebec's Quiet Revolution in the 1960s. So great was Roy's impact on Canadian culture and history, that a quote from her, "Could we ever know each other in the slightest without the arts?", appears (in both English and French) on the back of the Canadian $20 bill, as a wonderful reminder for future generation of this insightful Canadian author.}

While the events that took place some dates may not always be earth-shatteringly interesting, others certainly are, and together they all work together to help weave the rich tapestry that is Canadian history.

If like me you can never get enough of the past and enjoy learning fun facts about Canadian history, than be sure to bop on over On This Day and bookmark it for any time you want to look up what happened on a particular day in this vast, delightful land of ours called Canada.

March 21, 2011

These ultra darling vintage inspired invitations make me want to throw a bridal shower right now!

Day 80 of Vintage 365


While we may only be one day into spring, I know that many of you out there are already deeply immersed in planning your upcoming spring and summer vintage weddings. Though my spin down the aisle happened six and a half years ago and I'm happy as a clam in my marriage, I can't help but be perpetually drawn to beautiful wedding items and imagery.

Given that many couples plan their nuptials for May through August, that means oodles of brides are still in need of a bridal shower at this early spring stage. Fear not bridesmaids, maids-of-honour and other folks in charge of planning a shower, I've found just about the cutest, most delightfully vintage bridal shower initiations of all time.


Loralee Lewis is without a doubt on of my favourite etsy paper goods designers. Her creations are at once exquisitely old school and yet still charming fresh and innovative. Case in point, these mammothly cute bridal shower tea party invites.

Two gleefully smiling teacups - paired with a scrumptiously pretty vintage font - are the stars of these darling invites (Loralee can customize them for other events, too, if you'd like the same design for, say, a birthday party, garden party, or baby shower).

Available at the very reasonable price of $34.00 for twenty custom printed (with your event's details) bridal shower invitations and matching envelopes, from Loralee Lewis on etsy, these sweetly pretty cards are the sort of beautifully charming gems that would definitely set the perfect tone for any vintage themed wedding.

March 20, 2011

Ushering in spring with a gorgeous vintage Dior fashion show

Day 79 of Vintage 365


Spring, you glorious creature, you! Regal and delicate, ardent and bursting with possibility, you've returned in all your wondrous splendour once more!

Whether this, the first day of spring 2011, is scrumptiously warm or still rather frosty in your neck of the woods, they're no denying the fantastic rush of happiness that washes over you as you rejoice in the fact that spring has officially returned (Mother Nature, with all her luggage, may take a smidge longer to reach those in certain areas), and that point has me giddy as a butterfly fluttering between nearly sprouted blooms!

To me spring, though tumultuous and unpredictable at time (think rain storms that appear quicker than you can bat a mascaraed eye), is a radiantly beautiful season that positively teems with grace and profound beauty. It shoos away winter and provides a natural buffer between the frenzied cold of that season and the boiling heat of summer.

To welcome spring back with open arms, I thought it only fitting to find a vintage fashion show clip that was every bit as comely and inviting as the year's second (and some might say, sweetest) season.

I needn't look any further than the grand fashion power Dior for just such a clip. Hailing from the line's spring/summer collection of 1952, this immensely lovely 1.5 minute long video is a testament to the staggering beauty, artistry and elegance that made so rightfully made the Dior brand the sovereign master of upscale glamour during an era with more style than you could shake a million diamond incrusted stick pins at.

Join me, my dears, for a few moments as we let the magnificence of these sublimely lovely vintage spring looks fill our minds with fashion daydreams aplenty, and we merrily celebrate the return of this most ambrosial of seasons.

March 19, 2011

The marvellously black and white and pink all over 1940s bedroom

Day 78 of Vintage 365

Vintage home decor is one of those siren song topics that calls to me routinely, especially when I'm spending time seeking inspiration online. My current abode, while relatively classically furnished (minus, one might point out, the rather modern appearance of a flat screen TV), could certainly do with more vintage touches (oh how I envy those lucky guys and gals who's whole homes are devoted to, and decked out with, marvelous vintage pieces!).

Given that we rent our apartment, certainly don't plan on living here forever (entertaining, as many couples do, steadfast dreams of owning our own home one day), and have next-to-no wiggle room in the current budget for decorating our pad, most of my decor fantasies are lived out vicariously through images of vintage (and modern day vintage inspired) rooms, such as the immensely beautiful white, pink and black bedroom below.


{Gorgeous 1940s bedroom image via}

Teaming with more feminine charm and timelessly allure than you can shake a tube of lipstick at, this 1940s bedroom seems at once deeply classic and yet incredibly of-the-moment. From the engagingly delightful trompe d'oeil bow print rug to the chic black and white damask fabric used judiciously throughout, this natty, beautiful room is the sort of bedchamber I could so easily imagine adorning my home with.

What helps place this wonderful room more squarely in the vintage category though (as it rightly should be, given it’s from the 40s) are the some of the touches - like the pair of tall lamps on the vanity and the alcoved shelving above the bed - that few professional or DIY decorators (aside from us vintage loving folks!) would dare to use nowadays.

They're special, ageless elements that are rich in style and grace, and which definitely provide boundless vintage decor inspiration whether one is planning on redoing their bedroom today, in half a year, or when they finally get a pad all their own. Smile

March 18, 2011

Torrid's darling cherry and anchor print plus size dress

Day 77 of Vintage 365


Ok, let me try this again...You see, I had just finished writing today's post and was moments away from publishing it online when the desktop application (Window's Live Writer) that I use to write Chronically Vintage's posts in suddenly crashed. Despite having saved the draft I was working on a few times during its creation, it seems to have been lost completely! (Computers, can't live with 'em... Winking smile)

As the days tick closer to spring's return, my mind seems to be focusing ever more on the joys of a warm weather vintage wardrobe. Though I wore more of my spring and summer dresses through the colder months this year than ever before (aided by sweaters, blouses, tights, etc to help keep winter's biting chill at bay), certain frocks haven't seen the light of day since early autumn and are eager to breath in the soothing spring air once more.

I know that many of you (and your wardrobes) are equally jazzed about the fact that we'll soon be able to trade in our snow boots for sandals, and are likely looking to add a few new members to your vintage springtime clothing family.

It's scarcely a secret that's really only a small handful (way too few!) of sellers out there that deliver plus size vintage and vintage reproduction fashions, which is utterly nuts, if you ask me, given the gorgeous range of sizes and shapes vintage fashionistas come in!

Fortunately there are a few reliable sources of plus size vintage (and vintage reproduction/inspired) clothing to be found, one of which is (well-known chain) Torrid.

While Torrid's pieces often veer more on the of-the-moment trendy meets rockabilly inspired aesthetic, some of their pieces are more classically vintage inspired - such as today's lovely black and white cherry and anchor print dress.

This marvellously feminine frock features a playful - yet wholly elegant - cut and pattern, in two colours (black and white) that are endlessly easy to dress up or down to your heart's content. This sleeveless, pretty dress features a generously full skirt, fitted bodice, charming cherry and anchor print pattern, and is made from 97% cotton/3% spandex.

Available in Torrid sizes 0 to 4 (size 0 is 10/12; size 1 is 14/16; size 2 is 18/20; size 3 is 20/22; size 4 is 24), this delightful 1950s pin-up inspired dress (which sells for $79.00 on Torrid's website) would be equally amazing on the first day of spring (worn perhaps with a cardigan and stockings) or on the toastiest August afternoon with a pair of vintage sunglasses and an ice cold drink in your hand.

Just think of this wonderful frock as your new, old-fashion inspired LBWD of spring and summer 2011! Smile

March 17, 2011

Happiest St. Patrick's Day wishes, dear friends!

Day 76 of Vintage 365

{Vintage St. Patrick's Day  image Charm & Poise's stellar Flickr stream.}


With this delightfully quirky looking (but, I’d venture to say also rather delicious!) mint pie (adorned with what can only be described as slugs-meets-comma shaped squiggles of lime Jell-O) shinning up from the cover of the March 1958 copy of Household magazine, I wish you each a St. Patrick's Day that is teeming with green vintage fun, oodles of delicious foods, and a lifetime of beautiful luck from this day forward!

March 16, 2011

Stitch of the morning to yah!

Day 75 of Vintage 365


Happiest of St. Patrick's Day Eve greetings, my sweet dears! How are you all as we launch into the second half of March 2011? (Can we really be 3.5 months through this year already - how is that possible? My beloved granny was soooo right, time really does speed up ever faster the older one gets!)

Over on this end, I've readying my verdant wardrobe for tomorrow and planning my St. Patty's day meals (which naturally will include generous quantities of green foods and potatoes), all the while hoping that spring's arrival is just around the corner (come mid-March, snow just doesn't hold the same poetic charm and appeal it did around the 25th of December!).

While St. Pat's Day isn't generally a holiday for which many presents are given, I wanted to share a delightfully adorable little "gift" of sorts with all of you that I discovered on Flickr recently in the stream of a wonderfully talented person there by the name of Jacque Davis.

Knowing that - like myself - many of you fancy a spot of embroidery, I knew the moment I saw this vintage inspired Luck of the Irish stitchery pattern, it was going to make an appearance on Chronically Vintage (and really, what better or more apt week of the year than this?).

This pair of darling, cheerful shamrockettes (my homemade word for female shamrocks) is too cute for words, and would look sweeter-than-sweet stitched onto anything from a tea towel to an apron, a blouse pocket to a quaint little wall hanging. This (fairly) easy Luck of the Irish embroidery pattern was created by Jacque Davis herself, and is entirely free to use (for personal use) however your St. Patrick's Day loving heart so desires.

I'm tucking it away in my crafts-to-create folder and hope to one day adorn a delightful little green (perhaps four-leaf clover shaped) throw pillow with it. What might you do with this wonderful St. Patrick's Day embroidery pattern?

March 15, 2011

Celebrate St. Patrick's Day with these gorgeous vintage inspired peep-toe pumps

Day 74 of Vintage 365


Just because St. Patty's Day is one of those holidays - much like Valentine's Day and Halloween - that we don't get off from work (seriously, why not? We're so starved for statutory holidays over here in North America!), doesn't mean it isn't every bit as worthy of celebrating as say those we do.

Whether you're veins course with Irish blood or you merely embrace the Irish spirit for a day on March 17th, St. Pat's is one of those good times, have a blast, cheer with the best of them holidays that is definitely further enhanced by the wearing of verdant hues that instantly call to mind the pastoral landscape of Ireland (trust me, I lived in Ireland for two years, they really are that green!), meadows blossoming with clover (shamrocks), and the emerald band that appears in the Irish flag.

If however, you're not too keen on kitschy shamrock shaped glasses, comically oversized stovepipe hats, and novelty t-shirts soliciting smooches because you're Irish, fear not, it's still entirely possible to go green on St. Patrick's Day in a way that would make any Irishman's heart swell with pride.

Personally, I stick with my usual vintage style, however I make sure to reach for pieces in hues of green and gold. The thought hit me the other day however, that I don't currently own any green vintage shoes!

Given that we’re just two days away at this point, it may be too late to remedy that issue for this St. Patty's Day. However, I found a pair online that would look ravishing on absolutely any March 17th!

Cut in a sleek, sophisticated style that instantly calls to mind similar shoes from the 1940s and 50s, these classy Nina Culver peep-toe pumps - in a shade called Apple Green - are so gorgeous you'll want to sport them on St. Pat’s Day and all 364 other days of the year, too!

Made of satin, featuring a lovely crossed band section over the toe area, and a 2.25 inch heel, these feminine green pumps cost $79.95 and are available from Zappos in ladies full and half sizes in 5-11.

They would look ravishing paired with shades of brown, ivory, cream, white, rust, teal, navy, denim, black, and peach (to name but a few), and would definitely show your of Irish spirit if you wore them on St. Patrick's Day (and if you ask, me they're worthy of a kiss from a fine Irish gent far more than any t-shirt! Smile).

March 14, 2011

Springtime fashion inspiration care of a beautiful French magazine from 1952

Day 73 of Vintage 365


Spring - if only in name - will be upon us less than a week, my wonderful dears! This year, as it does in most, spring launches on the 20th of March. My mind, however, has already been filled with thoughts of spring and all of the marvelous fashions it entails for many weeks already.

I think it was around the middle of February, when my husband and I were kept awake for yet another night by the horrendously loud, screeching wind that rattles through our metallic balcony doors, that visions of light-as-air spring dresses, Easter candy hued cardigans, peep toe shoes, and dainty white wrist-length gloves began to waft through my head.

It's funny, in a way, there was a time when I preferred cold weather fashions to their warmer season counterparts, however these days I'm all about dressing for spring and summer! (Ok, truth be told there are pros and cons to both warm and cold weather fashion, but it seems that with each harsh-as-sandpaper Canadian winter I get through, the more I want to kick off my snow shoes and run barefoot - in a vintage sundress - through a field of wildflowers!)

Luckily my modest sized wardrobe is comprised of several dresses, skirts and tops that work wonders for spring. Yet that doesn't mean I'm not continually on the prowl for vintage springtime fashion inspiration - and where, when one is seeking such inspiration, is the amongst the best sources to turn to? Why, the French of course!

{Richly pretty vintage Le Petit Echo de la Mode magazine cover via april-mo on Flickr.}

Masters for centuries of all things divinely stylish, the French have long had a certain fashion je ne sais quoi that has been marveled at, adopted and adored the world over. Such was definitely the case when this 1952 copy of Le Petit Echo de la Mode magazine first appeared, sporting a cover adorned with two immensely elegant women in New Look-esque springtime styles.

From the feminine lines of these two womens' outfits to the chic little handbags, black and white polka dot gloves (*swoon*) to the bright red nail polish, everything about this gorgeous French magazine serenades the viewer with a hearty dose of stunning vintage European style and inspiration that is equally worthy of both spring 1952 and spring 2011.

March 13, 2011

Ever wondered about the most popular baby names of the 1930s?

Day 72 of Vintage 365

{Immensely beautiful photo from 1932 of a young mother and her darling little baby. I wonder what 1930s name this adorable tyke was given? Photo via Julie Wilson World on Flickr.}

Names fascinate me. As a child I poured over my mother's spiral bound baby name book until the pages were quite literally falling out (sorry, mom!). I adored that book, with it's soft pink, light blue and crisp white cover that foretold of the fascinating information related to bestowing a name on one's child that it contained within. I read through each name and its original and meaning, soaking up that information with gusto, feeling all the while that perhaps one day it would serve me well.

Indeed, it has. While I haven't had the honour of naming any children of my own yet, I've been grateful many times for the diverse array of information I extracted from that tome of monikers, and even now many years later I'm still intrigued by the diverse array of names that people have bestowed upon their children over the centuries.

Perhaps one of the most interesting elements behind baby names is how particular ones become fades, whereas others are as timeless as the grass is green. My own first name, Jessica, was amongst the most popular of the 1980s (when I was born) and early 90s, yet just a couple of decades earlier it was a relatively uncommon name (not rare, but far from the days of my youth when it seemed there were at least three Jessicas in every elementary school classroom).

Just as certain of-the-moment names are highly popular now in the 2010s (think Jaxon, Mason, Jackson, Riley, Addison, Peyton, McKenzie, Rhys/Reese, Chloe, and Kennedy - to list but a few), so to have various names been widely bestowed upon newborns throughout the years.

In the 1930s, the decade in which my maternal grandma (Bernice) was born, according to the US Social Security Agency, names like Donald, Raymond, Charles, and Thomas were popular for little boys, whereas moms were keen to dub their daughters Betty, Shirley, Dorothy, and Barbara. Other common (but slightly less popular) 1930s baby name options for girls included Mildred, June, Rita, Delores, Gladys, Loretta, Ethel, and Gertrude.

If the topic of names is something that interest you, too, than you may enjoy checking out the lists of top 200 baby names (for both males and females) that the SSA has online for every decade between the 1880s and the 2000s.

These lists provide a fascinating snapshot of what names have come and gone, remained popular and (in some instances) nearly vanished  from use completely over the past several decades.

They're perfect for anyone who has a child, pet, fictional character, beloved car, or other being or item that needs a wonderful name that draws inspiration from a certain point in time - and were they compiled into a book when I was a child, chances are I'd have read them until they were falling apart at the seams, too. Smile

March 12, 2011

Embrace Daylight Saving Time with this elegant Pottery Barn alarm clock

Day 71 of Vintage 365


Remember that sweet little saying we learned in grade school, "Spring forward, fall back", that applies to remembering which direction in which to move your clocks come Daylight Saving Time? Well, given that tomorrow marks the day on which we need to (so the powers that be insist) whirl the hour hands on our clocks ahead by an hour, that expression has been bopping around in my brain all week.

I don't mind DST (also known in the UK as "Summer Time") too much, and certainly get why it's done (more daylight each day during the spring and summer, yay!) - yet there's no denying that at some point in our lives nearly every one of us will forget to move our clocks ahead (in the spring) or backwards (in the autumn; this year on Sunday November 6th) at least once.

Is that the end of the world? Most likely, no, but it can make you late (or early) for work, school, or any other early morning event. As such it helps to employ the use of a handy-dandy alarm clock that you've been certain to adjust accordingly for the time change the evening before (so in case of DTS this spring, that means setting your clocks forward an hour tonight - don't say I didn't remind you :) ).

Believing that nearly everything is better when it's vintage - or looks as though it could be vintage - I went in search of a delightfully old school approved alarm clock to help you, me and everyone else ensure they're fashionably ready for DST. After a spot of online hunting, I unearthed this rather gorgeous, gleamingly silver hued vintage alarm clock from Pottery Barn.


Posh to the point of being stately, this beautifully classic looking alarm clock is made from iron sheeting with a polished nickel finish, features subtle glow-in-the-dark tips on the minute and hour hands, and runs on just one little AA battery.

Called the Charleston Vintage Clock, this sophisticatedly lovely alarm clock (which sells for $39.00) would work exquisitely in an array of vintage and modern decors, and would definitely be one of the most stylish ways you could possibly "spring forward or fall back" come DST ever again!

March 11, 2011

Life Magazine photo collection celebrates New York's Golden Age

Day 70 of Vintage 365



Journalist Meyer Berger once said "Each man reads his own meaning into New York", and indeed whether you've ever set foot in the city that never sleeps or not, there is a sway and an unmistakable power to New York that makes it standout in a way few cities could ever dream of matching.

It's sometimes asserted that New York's heyday took place during the decades of the 1930s, 40s and 50s, and honestly I'm not one to argue with this viewpoint.

Of course the Big Apple shone and suffered, survived and succeeded for many years prior (and for many since), yet there was something almost mystically wonderful about New York during the mid-twentieth century.

If like good ol' Frankie, you're a fan of "New York, New York", than this fascinating Life Magazine collection of 45 different images taken around the city during the 1940s (including the heartwarming photo above of sailor and his gal enjoying a boat ride around Central Park) is sure to capture your imagination.

Comprised of a diverse mix of both black and white and colour everyday life/street scene photos, images of celebrities (spanning the spectrum from FDR to Gene Kelly), and a few shots (such as Alfred Eisenstaed's incredibly famous "V–J Day in Times Square") that have become permanently ingrained in our minds as symbols of both the decade and New York itself.

Beautiful, timeless, insightful and engaging, this wonderful vintage photo slide show is ripe with as many meanings as there were inhabitants of New York during the wild, wonderful, vastly interesting decade that was the 1940s.

March 10, 2011

You'll be singing in the rain with this beautiful vintage inspired umbrella

Day 69 of Vintage 365


For the past few days the weather here in Toronto has been rather confused. One moment it's snowing to the point where I'm tempted to bust out my copy of White Christmas and a Yule log, and the next it's merrily raining, as a hint of soft daffodil yellow sun attempts to squeeze through the curvaceous concrete hued clouds. Really though, the weather is just being a shinning example of March in Canada, as it straddles the two seasons, working valiantly to finally shake off the wrath of winter.

Soon (one can hope) the sting of winter will be gone for good (well, at least for a few months!) and spring will finally bounce back into town, bringing with it plenty more days filled with rain, rain, and...oh what's the word again? Rain! Smile

As such, it's high time to start thinking about umbrellas (especially for those like myself who don't have a car to help protect us from the elements). These days there’s nothing short of a plethora of different umbrella styles on the market, yet my tastes run more to the classic looks that seem as though they could have been plucked from the pages of a vintage fashion magazine.

Recently I spied the most delightful white and mint green umbrella on the site (fittingly enough!) It's timelessly lines, 16 rib construction, and dark green faux leather handle all add up to the sort of understatedly gorgeous umbrella that is as effortlessly chic, and wonderfully timeless as the LBD.

This sophisticated ivory white and green Sonnet Stick Umbrella sells for $85.00, and is the soft of charmingly beautiful number I could easily picture the sophisticated likes of Audrey Hepburn or Grace Kelly covering their perfectly coiffed hair with as they faced the predictably unpredictable nature of spring in all its rainy glory.

Likewise it is just the thing to help see any modern day vintage fashionista (whether she lives in Seattle, London, Vancouver, Dublin, or any other rainy city) through this wet and wild season, too.