December 31, 2013

Looking back at December 2013

What a month! As much as this post is about reflecting back on the past thirty-one days, and that we will indeed do, like so many people the world over as the very last day of 2013 kicks off, I am exceedingly exciting about what lies ahead - so much so, in fact, that I debated calling this post "looking ahead to January 2014" instead! I feel the winds of change afoot in many areas of my life, and I absolutely love this.

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{Can you believe it? Another circle of seasons, block of 364 - nearly 365 - days is behind us once more. This year has been a million and one things, not all of them perfect or fun, but many of which ultimately I'm very grateful for and which I feel helped shape and propel my vision for 2014 onward. Image via Betters Homes and Gardens on Facebook.}

No year will ever be an unending bed of roses where lollipops grow on trees and unicorns frolic in perfect early June sunlight day in and day out, and I certainly don't expect 2014 to deliver as much, but I have a heady dose of optimism coupled with concrete plans to change and better various elements of my life in place that makes me feel more confident and excited about the upcoming year than I have about any other in a long time.

First though, as much as I'm champing at the bit to say hello to January 1st, let's take a quick gander back at what the exciting, action filled month of December held in store here on the blogging front.

After my trusty old laptop that had been with me for some four years decided to give up the ghost at long last, I was left 'puter-less for part of November. Thankfully however, my snazzy (and wonderfully powerful) new Lenovo arrived at the start of the month, ensure that all was able to get back on track as the year wound down. That was wonderful, because it ensured that I was able to write and get this year's exciting travel themed Vintage Holiday Gift Guide, inspired by our adventures in Calgary earlier in the year, out well in advance of the 25th (after all, a holiday gift guide isn't nearly as helpful if don't have time to actually shop, or garner inspiration, from it before the big day arrives!).

As winter weather came barreling into town, a powerfully chilly force to be reckoned with, we took at gander at Ten Cold Weather Wardrobe Staples, then enjoyed the first new edition of Saturday Snapshots since last spring. Mid-month, one of the best and most exciting things to ever happen to me as a vintage blogger (or vintage lover, for that matter) occurred when Queens of Vintage honoured me with the title of being their 136th Queen of Vintage, an accolade that I'd been daydreaming about receiving ever since the series launched a few years ago. Hands down, this was one of the biggest highlights of 2013 for me!

On the vintage outfit front, summer's glorious weather was briefly revived when I shared what I wore for, and bought during, a lovely day of antique shopping in Vernon last August, though winter fashions very quickly came back into sight in Fear Not The Poodle Skirt, which featured a look at the history of poodle skirts, offered tips for vintage gals on how to wear them without looking overtly costume-y, and highlighted a fabulous royal blue poodle skirt that I received as a review gift from Hip Hop 50s Style.

This month I had a profoundly awesome experience when I was offered a modeling job from a local vintage jewelry seller named Anja, whose breathtaking offerings made for one of the most enjoyable and unique photo shoots I've ever done. For those who may have missed the addendum that was added a couple of days after the post went live, I wanted to mention again here that Anja is happy to sell any of the pieces shown in those photos, that are still available, to readers worldwide (contact her via email or phone, both of which appear towards the bottom of that post, for prices and further details).

Another marvelously fun, though exceedingly more chilly, vintage outfit post, called Baby, it's cold - and festively fashionable, took place as the Christmas season rounded the bend, featuring a thoroughly gorgeous red and white 1950s style halter dress from Blue Velvet Vintage (pictured again below). Without a doubt, this is one of my favourite outfit shoots we've ever done, not only for the wonderful holiday season backdrop and fabulous frock it featured, but also because it's the first we've ever done outside at night in the pitch black darkness (something I eagerly look forward to trying our hand at again when the warmer weather returns).

Also on the festive attire front, we celebrated the holidays with a special Christmas edition of Vintage Fashionista Friday, got our baking grove on with 12 timelessly lovely Christmas cookie recipes, and a Heartfelt holiday wish for one and I all.

In the final week of the year, we enjoyed the latest (holiday themed) edition of Flickr Favourites, I spoke candidly about how I'm actively Learning to delight in opening up about myself, and two days ago, in the last outfit post of 2013, I posed like a pool player and gave you a peak at my parent's basement while sporting a beloved mustard cardigan and vintage Austrian glass fruit brooch. A fun, cozy sartorial note to wrap up a year of wonderful vintage outfit posts on.

Outside of the blogging realm, the past couple of weeks, especially from December 24th onward, have been immensely busy ones for me - as I know they were for many of you as well. Unintentionally, between the hecticness of the holiday season and some personal issues (including that our dear 11 month old puppy, Annie, needed to have surgery last Saturday), I haven't been online for the past few days and just wanted to take a moment to say thank you very much to all those who have left recent blog comments here during the time. Once the new year is underway, I hope that life will return to a calmer pace and my usual online activities will get back on their usual track.

I've been giving it a great deal of though over the past couple of weeks, and I've decided that in 2014, I won't be doing a month-in-review post any longer. I wholeheartedly enjoyed capping off each month of 2013 with one, and though I may bring them back at some point down the line, right now I feel so charged about the future, that (as much as someone who wears, loves, dreams about and can never get enough of decades past can) I just want to look forward.

As such, coupled with a desire to more frequently feature things that truly catch my eye and inspire my life, my wardrobe choices, my passions, some of my blog posts, and other areas of my life, I've decided that starting from the end of January onward, throughout 2014, I'm going to aim for a post at the end of each month that will be filled with various things, including posts written by fellow bloggers the world over, that are inspiring, educating, delighting or otherwise impacting me in the moment (they'll be a bit like a cross between Vintage This and That, which is long overdue for a new post, and a much older reoccurring post series that appeared here super early on in this site's life called Pretty Link Roundup).

I'm really psyched about this new series (the precise name of which I'm still brainstorming - suggestions are totally welcome, if you have any), which will help celebrate each month of the coming year with a look at some of the most influential and inspiring things that have crossed my radar recently.

Today though, let's begin by celebrating this year that has just been. No matter where it fell on the good vs bad scale for you, I'm certain that there were at least a few silver linings, favourite purchases, joyful experiences, new adventures, and other awesome, worthwhile, important events and moments that you're keen to cherish the memory of as we welcome 2014 with open arms.

{It's time to toast the best of what has been this year and the thrilling prospect of what what lies ahead in 2014! Image source.}

So pop that champagne (or sparkling cider) cork, bust out your absolute sparkliest or shimmery (gold lamé, anyone?) vintage attire and tell 2013 you loved it, no matter what it dished out. You wouldn't be here right now without it - none of us would - and for that point alone, if nothing else, it's worth remembering and being grateful for.

Have a fun filled, safe, rockingly awesome New Year's Eve and incredible start of 2014, everyone. I'm excited beyond words to experience another exciting vintage filled year with all of you!!!

December 29, 2013

In which I pose like a pool player, sport a lovely mustard cardigan, and show you my parents' rec room

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Outfit details

Red and navy blue mini hair bows: (Probably) Claire’s
Red plastic rose stud earrings: Claire's
1950s/early 60s plaid short sleeve skirt:
Divine Vintage
Mustard yellow cardigan: Loft by Ann Taylor (bought on eBay)
Vintage (c. 1950s) Austrian glass plum fruit brooch: eBay
1950s corduroy bucket purse: etsy seller
Rue 23 Vintage Clothing
Vintage button front denim skirt (c. 1980s): etsy seller
Sempre Vintage
1950s blue gloves: eBay
Brown round toe pumps:
Pipsqueaks and Damsel's Consignment Store
Nude seamed stockings: eBay
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by
Antonio Cangiano


Five handy ways in which to tell that I'm not, even if you exclude the fact that from a health standpoint, I'd have a very challenging time shooting an actual game if I wanted to, a real pool player:

1. I'm wearing vintage gloves, indoors, while holding a pool cue.

2. I had to ask my mom to show me how to position my fingers properly (or roughly so) to hold said cue.

3. One of my beloved Austrian glass fruit brooches is pinned to my cardigan, where in theory, it could risk getting damaged if I was actually shooting a game.

4. I haven't chalked the the tip of the cue.

5. See number one again, it really tells you everything you need to know.  :)

I highly doubt I'll ever do much, if any, in the way of more pin-up/cheesecake/glamour girl style photo shoots, it's just not something I personally feel comfortable with taking part in (zero qualms with the genre, I just don't feel pulled towards being a part of it), but every now and then it is fun to take some pictures, even impromptu ones in my parents' basement, with a prop or two that evokes a super subtle pin-up vibe.

As winter bares down ever harder, and more and more days (and nights) are spent indoors, wrapped snugly in multiple layers, steaming mugs of cocoa or hot apple cider never far from hand, it only seems natural that a post in which the photos were taken in this particular location sprang to life. Living mere minutes apart, Tony and I frequently spend time at my folk's house (and vice versa), and when the mercury plummets, we often make a beeline for their lovely (finished) basement, which boasts a terrific wood burning stove.

For those who do more than just hold a pool cue and smile for the camera, there's a table to enjoy, and that my parents and Tony (who really developed a love for the game last year, and is quite the natural at it) regularly do, as I happily watch from the sofa, stocking the fire blazing in the stove (which we hadn't turned on yet that day) every now and then and listening to the icy wind hum, wail and sing outside.

These are the kinds of get togethers that call for casual attire, often in the form of separates, and a heavier weight skirt + a shirt or blouse + a cardigan or sweater is one of my very favourites for just such an evening.

In this case, I partnered my favourite cardigan buy of the year (a lovely mustard yellow Loft number that I bought, new with tags, on eBay for less than half its retail price), with a great 50s/very early 60s plaid short-sleeved shirt that I bought on our recent travels to Calgary, button front denim skirt, wide red belt, gorgeous vintage plum shaped Austrian crystal brooch (interestingly, and entirely coincidentally, the last time I wore one of these kinds of brooches on camera, it was here, at my parents' place as well), those dead-giveaway-that-I'm-not-a-real-pool-player blue 1950s gloves (a gal should never be glove-less anywhere in the winter!), and classic brown pumps.

Easy as pie to put together and just as comfy as comfy can be to wear, whether one is decking the tree, baking festive cookies, playing cards, getting ready to ring in the new year, or pretending to shoot a game of pool just for the good, old-fashioned fun of it. :)

December 27, 2013

Learning to delight in opening up about myself

The Roman philosopher and statesman Seneca once said, "There is no delight in owning anything unshared". Throughout the course of 2013, this line and the truth behind it has floated into my mind often.

At the end of last December, three days shy of a full year ago, I chatted about how instead of goals for the coming year, I was planning to try and live by a set of adjectives instead. As January rolled on however, I began to realize that on top of those adjectives, I wanted to strive toward a certain verb as well: share.

In this case though, I'm not talking so much about actually physically dividing up anything I own, instead the type of sharing that I've been trying to do is to open up about certain areas of my life and who I am with all of you here.

I am the first to admit that I've never been terribly good at sharing in this regard. I know perfectly well that this largely stems from the fact that growing up, there was a lot about my family that I was either told to point blank, or opted to of my own free will, hide from those around me. Secrets, shames, and skeletons aplenty sat like the weight of the world on my young shoulders.

As I grew up, I then hide a lot about the horrible relationship (touched upon in this post) that I was involved with in my early and mid teen years. Very shortly after that period in my life, I became severely chronically ill with a multitude of - by their very nature - private medical conditions (though I have spoken at various times and in various places at length about some of my health issues), which one cannot help but desire to keep under wraps and to themselves as much as possible a lot of the time.

I don't see myself as a victim however of any of these things, and have striven to put either put them behind me or to face them head on and survive as best I can in spite of them. Add to this mix the fact that I am, and have always been, an incredibly shy and private person, and you can see why I've never been accused by anyone of over sharing.

That said, I believe that it can be good for the mind, body and soul to share. There's a fine line between being private and keeping tight lipped about things that 99.9% of the rest of the population would have no qualms talking about.

I was raised in a house where one didn't talk publicly about private things or really even about most anything else that happened to us, where we were often told to never boast or brag or rarely even discuss our accomplishments, and so I grew up keeping things - even wonderful things that I so dearly wanted to share with others - to myself most of the time. Old habits die very hard, and to this day, I still get nervous even just posting a photo of some little treat I bought myself on Instagram, for example. Part of my brain says that I shouldn't, that I must keep every action to myself. This is absurd quite frankly though, and I know it well.

I am not that little girl any more, not by a long shot. I have grown and matured, changed and let ago of lot of the fears that governed my upbringing in the time since then. I will always work at being a more open person, and to that extent have been trying to share more about myself here on my this year (and in the final days of 2012; for example, in the my post about 12 things that I did to make my life better in 2012). This year, for example, you've been here with me as I talked about my years of hair loss, revealed my wig, joined Facebook, hopped on the Instagram bandwagon, shared some of my poetry, and was humbled beyond words by an unexpected gift that helped me to better view my own beauty, as well as a very personal reflection on seeing Calgary again.

Vintage 1950s woman talking on the telephone

{This year, and from now on, I’ll making a conscious effort to reach out and share more about myself with those around me. It’s high time I stopped being afraid of letting the world see who I am, what I love, my thoughts, and my dreams. Image source.}

It (humbly) took courage on my part to talk about all of these things, and I'm truly glad that I was able to muster the amount required to discuss all of these things in a public setting. With each previously unknown (or nearly unknown) side of myself that I've shared with you, I feel like I've grown and also gotten to know many of you better through the experiences you've shared with me in your comments here and various social media sites.

I never set out to be, and no longer have a desire to be, a completely closed book. I know that I'll always be a fairly private person, and that's totally okay, but sometimes it's wonderful, healthy, helpful, and exciting to share, whether we're talking about something major like needing to wear a wig full time or something as seemingly everyday as a new bottle of nail polish that I bought.

I've been writing this blog for over four and a half years now, and in that time I have certainly shared many things about myself, my life, my thoughts and my experiences with all of you, but I want to share more and to feel a greater degree of confidence (in myself) when I do.

The support and encouragement that has come in from all of you when I have posted intimate things here, especially this year, has truly bolstered my confidence and helped me to find a greater sense of inner peace about sharing, and I really want that to continue throughout this year and for the rest of my life.

Our dear old friend Seneca may have been talking more about possessions and wealth when he said what he did all those years ago, but I like to believe that the same sentiment can be extended to life itself. After all, where is the joy in the very life that we live each day if it is not shared, at least in part, with those we love and choice to surround ourselves with?

December 26, 2013

Flickr Favourites: December 26, 2013

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{Ready for winter ~ Lucy_Fan}

{Merry Christmas ~ Amelea Ng}

{Alice's Adventures in Philcoland ~ Paul Malon}

{Dr. Lyon's Tooth Powder (1946) ~ Paul Malon}

{Winter at The Farm ~ June}

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{Modes Royale Winter 52-53 ~ carbonated}

{Cushiony Snow ~ vastphotography}

{Free Kix (1939) ~ Paul Malon}

{The Fresh Face of Royal Crown ~ Paul Malon}

{Blue Deer ~ Calsidyrose}

{All images above are from Flickr. To learn more about a specific image, please click on its title to be taken to its respective Flickr page.}

♥ ♥ ♥

The crinkling of wrapping paper scraps underfoot, the intoxicating aroma of oven roasted turkey, tart cranberry sauce and hearty mashed potatoes in the air, and the desire to both relax and be wildly active (Boxing Day sales!) in the same go, permeate this first post-Christmas day. I for one fall into the camp that prefers to stay at home and avoid the risk of being trampled as throngs of shoppers clamber for a great deal, much as I do see both the allure and bargain filled practicality of the latter.

For me, though Christmas proper falls of course on the 25th, Christmas is no less than three solid days long, spanning the 24th to the 26th, with its resplendently special, gorgeous spirit carrying on well into the first few days of the New Year.

Life calls for celebrations, for moments of joy and merriment filled with snowmen, steaming mugs of hot chocolate, glistening ornaments on the tree, laughter shared with loved ones, and a nearly nonstop soundtrack of festive tunes wafting through the air in the background, and that is precisely what next little while aims to deliver.

To me, Boxing Day, perhaps more than any other date in December embodies the spirit of all of these magnificent things and so many more. The (often) frantic rush up to Christmas and the whirlwind going-ons of the big day itself are now behind us. Yet all of the grand points about them linger on, to be enjoyed in each bite of a turkey sandwich, every swirling snowflake, and the pleasure that comes from celebrating so much of what is good, right and beautiful in life.

I hope deeply that you each had an excellent Christmas and that, whether you're on the march for the mall, relaxing at home, or doing anything else you desire, the serenity, loveliness and joys of the season continue to fill your heart and hours as we enjoy each moment of Boxing Day.

December 24, 2013

A heartfelt Christmas wish for one and all

This is a joyous day, the last before Ol' Saint Nick comes bounding down the chimney, the turkey slides into the oven, stockings are unpacked, squeals of bliss are heard echoing throughout the neighbourhood as the paper coming flying of of long wished for gifts, and a spirit of wonder fills the hearts of one old and young alike. It is also one on which I know the overwhelming majority of us are up to our eyebrows in ribbon and bows, sugar cookies and perhaps even a beloved holiday sweater.

This is neither the time nor the place for lengthy posts, and I certainly won't be sending one your way, my dears. Instead a wish as simple as a candy cane's stripes, as pure as the new fallen snow, and as lively as a team of reindeers taking flight, that this day and the next, and each beautiful moment of the holiday season is nothing but incredible for each and every one of you, is coming your way straight from my heart.

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With much love and bliss, cheer and good tidying, sweet friends, I - as well as Tony, Annie and Stella (depicted in vintage form in the charming card above) - truly wish you the best Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, and holiday season ever!

We're off to sip warm cider, sing vintage Christms songs, and strain our ears to see if we can hear the sound of Santa and his team far off in the icy artic air that's blowing through town on this fine, festive morn.

Merriest Christmas wishes to one and all!

December 22, 2013

12 timelessly lovely vintage Christmas cookie recipes

'Twas three mornings before Christmas and all through the house, every creature was actually stirring - a mixing bowl, that is. That's right, my lovelies, Christmas is just half a week away and I'm happily up to my eyebrows in holiday feast preparations. I don't mind in the least. Yes, it's taxing on me from a health standpoint, but this whole chunk of the year is, and it's a small price to pay to get to enjoy the magic, wonder and togetherness of Christmastime with my darling husband and our loved ones.

Like many families, cookies and bars have always been an integral part of our holiday season feast. Growing up, my mom often baked upwards of ten or more different types of Christmas cookies, bars and similar goodies for our family, as well as to take some of to when we went places such as my grandparent's house or to give as gifts to treasured neighbours.

Of course our family isn't alone in this delicious tradition by any means. Christmas baking has been a part of the season since pretty much the very get-go, and most of us who celebrate on December 25th enjoy indulging in at least one special treat on the big day - which often means reaching for the plate of cookies.

Over the years here, I've posted a handful of terrific vintage Christmas cookie recipes, some of which hail from my own family's recipe book, whereas others were online finds that really caught my eye. These include:

-Cherry Nut Shortbread Cookies

Cherry Snowball Cookies

Christmas Trees

Chocolate Mint Brownies

Gingerbread Men

Swedish Crisps

Today - always a day devoted largely to Christmas baking at my house - I wanted to share 12 more really charming looking vintage Christmas cookie recipes from the 1940s and 50s (one each to represent the twelve days of Christmas), all of which I've tucked away over the past year as I've come across them.

Any one of the following recipes could be altered a bit here or there, as desired, but I'll leave it up to you and your imagination, if you feel inclined to alter them. I think they each sound mighty yummy just as they are right now! :)



{To learn more about a specific image, or in some cases to find a larger version of it, please click on it to be taken to its respective source.}

All of my holiday baking is gluten and egg-free (as well as devoid of other ingredients that I'm not able to eat due to medical reasons), and this has meant the rejigging of most of my favourite recipes, as well as those I've found online, over the years. Happily however, about 90% of my experiments have turned out well (Ener-G egg replacer is a huge help you also need to forgo the real deal in any kind of baking), and my repertoire of tasty holiday desserts continues to grow with each passing Christmas season.

My very favourites from my family's classic recipes will always be the Mint Chocolate Brownies and Cherry Snowballs mentioned above, but I whip up several others most years as well, and am always game to try any new recipe that I can safely eat.

There's a reason why we leave cookies and milk out for Santa. These homemade, fantastic little treats are an integral part of the holiday season for most people and it's hard to image December without them ready and waiting, whenever the craving for something sugary hits, to give as gifts, and to sneak down and enjoy late at night in the beautiful glow of the Christmas tree. Each one is a special gift for your taste buds, a nostalgic reminder of holidays past, traditions handed down in the kitchen, and a symbol of the inherent sweetness of this amazing season.

I hope that you find a new vintage Christmas cookie recipe or two (or 12!) to try amongst those listed here today that sparks your interest, and who knows, perhaps becomes an instant classic at your house. Have fun baking and enjoying these awesome early winter days that lead up to the 25th, Christmas cookies never far from hand throughout the whole majestic season.

December 20, 2013

Special Christmas 2013 edition of Vintage Fashionista Friday

Vintage Fashionista Friday blog graphic for Chronically Vintage photo VintagefashionistaChronicallyVintag.png 
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{Bows are a must at this time of the year, not only on parcels and packages, but in your festive seasonal attire as well. Slip this charming little vintage rhodium plated rhinestone bow barrette into your locks for an instant dose of stylish cheer all through the holiday season. $22.00 from etsy seller Ready Made Jewelry.}

{Help keep your lips looking picture perfect smooth and pretty while also enjoying one of the best, and most iconic, scents of the season thanks to this lovely little tube of handmade peppermint lip balm. $4.00 (for a 4.44g/0.15oz tube), from etsy seller Peculiar Potions.}

{Whether indoors or out, keep fight off some of winter's rough chill with this sophisticated, timelessly gorgeous white faux mink fur scrunch stole. It's perfect for everything from tossing over a coat on a sleigh ride in the snow to wearing atop a ladylike cocktail dress at the company Christmas party. Available in modern ladies sizes small/medium and large/extra large, $89.00, from Blue Velvet Vintage.}

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{As it is for many people the world over, the classic holiday song Silver Bells has long been one of mine and my mother's favourites, so when I saw this immensely lovely vintage sterling silver bell dangle brooch recently, I knew it just had to appear in today's post. $32.00 from etsy seller Boudoir Barbie.}

{Hit two big holiday notes in one go, with this fantastic 1950s red Carole King holiday dress featuring red ribbed faille with velvet bow detailing, velvet cummerbund buttons at the back, and a wonderfully full skirt. Fits up to a 36" bust, 26" waist, $140.00 from etsy seller Dalena Vintage.}

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{No need for doorways, just dangle your hand adorned with these whimsical, sweetly pretty mistletoe decals above your holiday honey and a smooch is sure to ensue! Set of 40 water slide mistletoe nail decals, $3.95 from etsy seller Nail Pretties.}

{Let these beautiful ruby red NOS 1950s kid gloves do double duty this season: warding off winter's icy wrath and helping you look fabulously stylish in any setting. Fits size 6.5 hand, $85.00, from etsy seller Road Less Traveled Vintage.}

{If ever there is a time of the year for glittery handbags, this is most definitely it! Add some tinsel approved sheen to favourite holidays looks with this classic mid-century silver sparkle evening clutch with chain strap. $8.00 from etsy seller C Style Vintage.}

{If you're on the hunt festively hued shoes that will see you through this Christmas season and all others for as long as they last, this timelessly pretty 1940s red leather pair is your answer! Fits approximately a modern size 8/8.5, $98.00, from etsy seller Bloomers & Frocks.}


Five more days, just five more magical, snowflake and sugar cookie filled days until Christmas arrives! Isn't it amazing how, no matter how long the year up until this point may have seemed, December 25th always seems to get here faster than Santa's sleigh zooming across the frosty night sky?

What still seemed so far off to most as we tucked away the Halloween decor less than two months ago, is now barreling down on us at the speed of light and all the world is aglow with its beauty and excitement.

I love dressing up all year round, but few times suit it better or call for it more fittingly than during the holiday season. There's parties, dinners, functions, plays, pageants, services, photo shoots, and of course the big day itself all in need of our most festive finery.

This is a time of the year when glitz isn't just good, it's grand! When more is often better, sparkle no knows bounds, lux is the name of the game, and everyone suddenly seems to remember just how much red and green they really do have in their closet.

Our stylish gal today is named Noel, the French word for Christmas itself, and she comes sporting the sartorial spirit of the season in full force. Much like myself, she rarely goes for an understated approach this time of year, preferring instead to take a cue from the nearest Christmas tree and deck herself out in holiday loveliness from head to stylish toe.

Follow her lead as you continue to dress up during these last few wonderful days of 2013. Before we know it, the twinkling lights, bubbly music piped over loudspeakers near and far, and the season of sequins will be behind us again. Revel in the chance to go big or go home, as they say, whether you interpret that literally, or just see it as a way of giving yourself permission to sport those kinds of special garments and accessories you rarely, if ever, bring out of your closet during the other eleven months of the year. 

This season is one of profound and meaningful beauty, just as your outfit choices should be. Celebrate December 24th and 25th, Boxing Day and New Years with what you wear, and it will be next to impossible not to have a holly, jolly Christmas. It is after all, as the classic song says, the best time of the year! 

December 19, 2013

Baby, it's cold - and festively fashionable - outside!

Outfit details

Red and green hair flowers: Both from Arden
Silver tone metal and crystal earrings: Claire's
Black 1950s velvet stole wrap: etsy seller A Better Time
Vintage reproduction 1950s style red & white halter dress: Classy Dames from Blue Velvet Vintage 
White lace trimmed crinoline: Pettiskirt Style
1940s/50s white faux suede gloves: (probably) eBay
Faux leather bow clutch: Bentley
Black seamed nude stockings: eBay
Black faux suede round toe pumps: Wal-Mart
Lip colour: MAC Russian Red

Photography by Antonio Cangiano

As a maple-leaf-red blooded Canadian, I like to think that I have a rather strong constitution when it comes to icy weather, and should I be dressed accordingly for such, I typically do. However, even I admit to being as chilly as a snowman in arctic on the evening a few days ago when we shot today's holiday ensemble photos. It was more than worth the Rudolph worthy rosy red nose, goose bumps, and chattering teeth though to find the perfect backdrop for an equally perfect holiday dress.

Blue Velvet Vintage, a top-notch online vintage, reproduction and vintage appropriate clothing and accessories shop, which I profiled in this post last July, has been - and continues to be - an absolutely awesome blog sponsor, and it is their resplendently lovely house line, Classic Dame, of vintage reproduction dresses that includes the knockout red and white 1950s style halter dress that you see here today.

Though this stylish frock wasn't designed specifically for the Christmas holiday season, it suits it marvelously, and I was elated to receive it as a review gift from Blue Velvet Vintage recently. I knew before it even arrived, that a dress of this caliber deserved an extra special location to shoot it against, but where, I wondered, would that be? After much brainstorming, Tony and I hit upon the idea of taking snaps in front a large Christmas tree made of out shimmering lights that greets visitors and locals alike in Kelowna shortly after they come into town.

As it's only lit during the evenings, when Christmas lights look their best anyhow, we buzzed up there after dinner one night and found a location (on the concrete ramp pathway leading to a foot traffic bridge across the always busy thoroughfare that is Harvey Avenue) from which we could safely shoot in this bustling urban area (and from which you could get a sense of what the background was).

Though I'd been thinking about what I might partner this beautiful red and white polka dot dress with for some time now, when the moment to do actually came, I ended up styling it pretty much on the fly, taking things in a different direction than I'd first had in mind (initially I'd thought we might shoot inside, but as such wasn't ultimately the case, I needed too add a couple of accessories to help fend off at least a little bit of the -7C chill that evening).

While this is a frock that you could wear any single day of the year, its colour palette is inherently Christmassy and as this was going to be my holiday shoot for 2013, I didn't hold back on adding to its seasonal feel. Rand green hair flowers, icicle hued crystal dangle earrings, classic white cloves, and touches of timeless black in the form of a velvet wrap and bow adorned faux suede heels all helped me feel as festive as jolly Old St. Nicolas himself.

This dress is a dream. Not only does it fit excellently (something that is not always the case with me and halter dresses), but it's made of thick, great quality 100% satin finish cotton, features a pleated sweetheart bodice with darling polka dot cotton pique fold over collar, lined bodice, sturdy metal zipper up the back, and a full skirt (measuring 27" long) that just begs to be twirled in (which I did to try and keep warm between a few photos).

Though I don't own as much repro as some folks, I have bought and also received a lovely selection of such pieces from various brands over the years and I honestly say, with complete impartialness (to the fact that I was sent this dress as review gift), that this delightful 1950s style halter dress is one of the best made pieces I've ever owned. There's quality workmanship at play here, as well as excellent materials, classic tailoring and an overall sense of quality that can't be beat.

In addition to the Christmas season, I know that thanks to the colours at work here, this is a dress I'll reach for often come both Valentine's Day and Canada Day as well, while also enjoying it on many a non-holiday day the whole year round (I'm thinking it would be a perfect choice to wear to next year's Peach City Peach Cruise in June).

I won't lie to you, it was mighty nippy out there that evening, but it was also incredibly lovely, serene in so as much as be had in such a high traffic environment, and rather magical. I've never done a shoot outdoors at night, let alone one set against a towering tree made of holiday lights. I will remember this night always, not simply because the weather was so invigorating, but because I felt positively alive with the Christmas spirit and was having a blast, even if my fingers, toes and shoulders were turning into Popsicles.

Nights like this, much like the holiday season itself, don't come along everyday - nor do stellar fifties style dresses like this one from Blue Velvet Vintage, and it was a rare and wonderful experience to get immortalize one on camera to look back on and always have as a beautiful memory of Christmas 2013 season.