June 30, 2014

Vintage Link Love: June 2014

After several years of blogging experience, I can tell you with complete certainty that there are two times of the year in particular, more than any other, when the internet turns into a bit of a ghost town. One is Christmas (as discussed in this 2012 post), the other is the start of summer, with a general reduction in the amount of activity seen on the blogging front throughout the duration of the season.

My online availability most often boils down to the state of my health, not the weather, so I wouldn't say that I go MIA quite as much as some folks come June, but even I've been known to spend more time offline when the mercury is skyrocketing well past 30C, there's an absolute abundance of things to do outside, and my sandals seem to be all but beckoning me to slip them on and hit the warm pavement.

{Glam and glorious, summer is a time for getting outdoors, shaking off the last vestiges of winter's heavy mood, and painting the town red, as they say! Image source.}

It's extremely important, perhaps in ways that with the internet and its impacts on peoples' lives still being so relatively new (in the grander scheme of human history, I mean) we haven't even fully realized or acknowledged yet, to spend time offline, doing all the sorts of wonderful things our ancestors, as well as most of us ourselves in our younger days, did before the web came along, and rarely does that ring more true than when summer is here in all its sun drenched glory.

That said however, most of us still spend some time, perhaps even a lot of time, online during the roasty-toasty months, myself included, and while we're here, it's wonderful to have some engaging stories and blog posts to fill our time with. To cap off June, I've wrangled up twelve diverse, enjoyable, and informative links that I hope you'll enjoy whether you're reading them on a tablet at the beach, your laptop in the backyard, your desktop at work, your phone on the go, or anywhere else you happen to find yourself as we dig our heels into the hot sand at the beach and gear up for what promises to be another awesome summer!

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Quick Tutorial: Do you do the moon? (Half moon manicure): In recent years, amongst both vintage and contemporary fashionistas alike, the half moon manicure has seen a steady rise in popularity once again. Most instructions for creating this elegant look yourself call for the use of binder ring circle stickers, nail tape, or similar products, but not this easy-as-pie, flat out fabulous how-to that Bex shared recently. One read and, if you're like me (I find the adhesive in most stickers and nail tape gives my sensitive skin a rash), you'll never go back to doing your half moon manis any other way again.

What If Famous Paintings Were Photoshopped to Look Like Fashion Models? (*Warning may not be safe for work*): In a post that does a superb visual job of illuminating just how much our general perceptions of beauty and body size have changed over the decades, this piece highlights several immensely famous paintings and alters the women in them to have figures that are more akin to those of today's super models. While I do adamantly believe that beauty comes in all shapes and sizes, I for one much prefer the original versions of these pieces and wish that our culture would keep a more open mind when it comes to the unbeatable loveliness of a womanly figure like those in the original versions of these timeless masterpieces.

Cecil Beaton: costume balls and country house decadence from the 1920s to the 1970s: Unquestionably one of the most successful fashion photographs of the twentieth century, Cecil Beaton shot for the likes of Vogue and Vanity Fair and produced thousands upon thousands of incredible, beautiful, and strikingly appealing images during the span of his lengthy career, including several especially swanky and glamorous ones that are highlighted in this photo filled piece from British newspaper, The Telegraph.

Don't believe everything you see: It's not everyday I read something online that I would, no joke, rise to my feet and wholeheartedly applaud, so when this stellar, spot on post from Daffny over at A Vintage Nerd elicited that very response in me, I knew that I'd be sharing in come the end of this month. Delving into a topic that doesn't get a fraction of the blogging press coverage that it should, this fantastic post is an important reminder of why we should curb our negative feelings, envy very much included, of other people that we see and interact with on the web.

How the Cold War Shaped the Design of American Malls: Ever wonder how and why many American (and, I'd venture to guess, by extension, Canadian) malls of the last century came to look and be laid out the way they are? Well, whether you have or haven't, if you're a history buff, I'd venture to guess that you'll get an informative kick out of reading this cool post on the subject from Curbed (which I discovered via my dear friend Janey, aka the Atomic Redhead, who posted it on Facebook recently).

Deadly Victorian Fashions: This article, from acclaimed Canadian news magazine Maclean’s, takes an engrossing and educational - gander at some of the frighteningly dangerous fashions that our Victorian foremothers subjected themselves to all in the name of looking chic and trendy.

Vanity Unfair -- What's Up With Modern Sizing?: By way of the blog over at fantastic vintage clothing seller Better Dresses Vintage's site comes a thought provoking, well written, and highly engaging piece that focuses on the absurdity of vanity sizes and how it relates to the modern woman today. Anyone who has ever wondered why you're closet has three to five different 21st century sizes in it is sure to appreciate and find themselves nodding along the whole time in agreement with this terrific post.

Career advice from Linkedin's founder Reid Hoffman: Though he wrote it with college and university graduates in mind, the extremely helpful and encouraging advice laid out in this PowerPoint style slide presentation from Linkedin's founder Reid Hoffman is amongst the best I've ever read on the topic. By the end of the 113 slides in this presentation, it was all I could do to hold back the tears, because I truly felt like so much of what this wise man said resonated deeply with me, a new business owner, as I navigate the ups and downs and many exciting new challenges of running my Etsy shop. Regardless of where you're at in your educational and/or professional life, this is a must read for one and all.

7 Iconic Hairstyles That Endure Time: From Twiggy's famous pixie to Jane Birkin's bangs, Harper's Bazaar rounds up and takes a quick peak at seven hairstyles that are both beautiful unto themselves and for their timelessly lovely staying (and styling!) power.

Why You Should Make An Effort To Look Your Best Every Day: Recently Lottie Ryan, a fellow vintage lover and chronic illness fighter, launched an important new website called Who’s That Lady?, the aim of which is to encourage, support, and help women from the around the world continue to feel good about themselves and their appearance, even when battling serious health problems of all sorts. Though geared towards this demographic, Lottie's writing is detailed, fluid and upbeat, and is sure to find favour with those who are blessed to have good health as well.

I've lapped up and very much enjoyed each caring, thoughtful post Lottie has written so far and found that this one about the importance of trying to look your best every day jumped out at me in particular, as its core message is one that I've tried my best to put into practise as often as possible every day of my life, but even more so since becoming chronically ill twelve years ago. If you or a loved one is a chronic illness and/or disability warrior, I can't encourage you strongly enough to checkout and share Lottie's excellent new site.

How to make ric-rac rose jewelry: I, like many people, adore a great craft that doesn't take oodles of supplies or advanced skills to make and which can help bolster our wardrobe once its complete. The immensely beautiful, timelessly stylish, and just plain fun ric-rac rose jewelry in this post from Australian blogger Bonita of Lavender and Twill delivers on all those fronts and will have you making a made dash for your sewing notion stash on the double!

In Living Color: The Forgotten 19th-Century Photo Technology that Romanticized America: From the fine folks at Collector's Weekly, one of my favourite sites on the web, bar none, comes a detailed, educational, and highly appealing look at some of the earliest forms of colour photographs (such as Photochroms and Phostints), which will have you feeling almost as though you've stepped back in time and are really experiencing the world as it really was in colour back during the nineteenth century.

{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.}

♥ ♥ ♥

Tomorrow is Canada Day, the birthday of my nation's confederation (all the way back in 1867), and a grand celebration from coast to shining coast. Four days later, my lovely neighbours south of the 49th celebrate their country's founding anniversary as well, and then just six days after that, my own birthday rolls around on July 10th. On top of these three important and fun filled events, this is a month that's teeming with excitement, activity, and enjoyment, both online and off, and one that would be my very favourite for the year, were it not for October, which holds that grand title.

There are scads of simple pleasures that are not to be overlooked during the seventh month of the year as well, from chasing down the ice cream truck to sitting outside on a sublimely warm night and counting the stars to the pulsating energy that fills this season, baked in golden light and the scent of sunscreen. I'm extremely happy that July is here and look forward to delighting in countless wonderful elements of this time of the year with you here in the weeks to come.

Here’s wishing you each an amazing, beautiful, and endlessly fun filled July, my dear friends!!!



Have you heard? To celebrate Canada Day, the 4th of July and my own birthday (on July 10th) everything in my Etsy shop is currently on sale for 25% off! All prices have been marked down already to reflect this discount, so there's no need to worry about coupon codes. Happy vintage shopping!!

June 28, 2014

Big Canada Day Etsy shop sale, July's call for sponsors, and less than two weeks to my birthday!

Phew-y, now how's that for an action packed title for yah! :)

Only two more days beyond this one still linger in June. It's hard at times, even when the mercury bubbles up to near dizzying heights, to believe that we're really into summer. I yearned, nearly desperately at times, for this season to return all winter long and am elated that it is here at long last. I want to savour each minute, ray of sunshine, sip of ice cold lemonade, and walk on the toasty sand covered beach like there's no tomorrow.

As we gear up for the seventh month of the year, I cordially invite one and all who happen to have a relevant shop, blog, or other type of website and would like to sponsor Chronically Vintage to do just that. I love welcoming new sponsors, shinning the spotlight on your offerings (or writing, DIY creations, outfit posts, etc), and introducing you to the tens of thousands of readers from around the world who visit my blog every month.

If sponsoring Chronically Vintage is something you're keen on doing, please check out my sponsor page for further information and by all means feel free to email me any ol' time your heart desires. I look forward to working with you this summer!

And speaking of time flying by faster than Annie when she's rushing after a tennis ball, in less than two weeks, on July 10th to be exact, I'll be hitting the big 3-0, a point which excited and delights me, as much as aging objectively can. It's not, at this point in my life, that I really want to get older, but as the old expression goes, it sure beats the alternative! And as I truly like the changes that have been happening both in my personal and professional life, as well as some of the ways I've grown and evolved in recent months and years, I'm eager and excited to see what the next decade - one that is often totted to be the best in person's life - has in store for me.

In celebration of both Canada's birthday on July 1st and my own a few days later, starting today and running until two weeks from now (the last day will be Saturday July 12th), all items in my Etsy shop are on sale at 25% off their regular price (there's no coupon code involved with this sale, all the prices that you see now reflect this discount).

In the past couple of weeks I've added over three dozen new vintage jewelry and accessory listings to the shop, so there's even more to fall in love with and add to your own vintage collection there these days.

This will be the only sale of the summer, so if there's something you've been eyeing in my shop, be sure to snap it up now before for at a wonderfully discounted price before someone else beats you to it!

Have an awesome last weekend of June and start of summer, everyone! I'm off to hit the garage sale scene, take one of those aforementioned walks on the beach, and load up on groceries for Monday's festive Canada Day bbq celebration!

June 27, 2014

The land of the midnight sun

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{Come the dog days of summer that will soon be upon us, one of my favourite ways to help, if only slightly, beat the heat, it so wear my hair tucked up under a scarf or turban and off my neck and shoulders. If you feel the same way or simply in the market for a great, very vintage appropriate turban, be sure to check of this silver-grey hued gem, which is a modern creation (that's also available in other colours such) that looks the yesteryear part through and through. $13.00 from Viva Dulce Marina.}

{The older I get (and at 30 in just a couple of week's time, I'm not exactly the youngest of spring chickens any more), the more I madly adore handmade, artisanal beauty products that are chalked full of healthy, natural ingredients and wonderfully devoid of harsh chemicals and other nasties that are sure to trouble my sensitive skin. Though I haven't tried it yet, this lovely bar of Alaskan Mineral Mud soap looks and sounds like it would leave my skin in good spirits and smelling, ever-so-appealing, like the serene wilds of the 49th state. $10.00 for a 4.5 - 5 ounce bar of soap from Rocky Top Soap Shop.}

{Add a sophisticated, cooling hit of arctic glamour to any ensemble with this stunning, good sized circa 1960s/1970s pave set polar bear brooch featuring silver tone metal and oodles of charming little white rhinestones. $25.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.}

{A mere whisper of pink resides in this fun scallop adorned cotton 1950s blouse, which is equal parts lightweight and adorable. Fits up to a 40" bust/33" waist. $26.00 from Happy Valley Avenue.}

{Cool, elegant metal hues combine in this strikingly beautiful mid-century gold toned metal and hematite oak leaf clamper bracelet. Relatively lightweight, but visually substantial, this is the kind of piece that suits summer's airy ensembles, whether for day or night, so perfectly. $40.00 from Chronically Vintage on Etsy.}

{Sporting muted colours that call to mind everything from a melted dish of Neapolitan ice cream to a hazy summer sunset, this classic 1950s Ellen Tracey skirt would make for a relaxing and rather beautiful addition to any vintage lover's warm weather wardrobe. Fits up to a 28" waist. $69.00 from Flora Child.}

{Gold seed beads on one side, silver on the other, a simple snap closure, intact lining - what's not to love about this versatile, understatedly chic - and wonderfully sparkly - vintage handbag? Measures 7 inches wide x 7 inches tall. $32.00 from Futura Vintage.}

{Chic, sweet, and more than a little bit beguilingly beautiful, these elegant 1940s Tweedies pink and grey leather peep toe sandal heels would be the perfect pair of shoes for everything from a summer wedding to lounging, markedly glamorously, beside the pool. They fit a vintage size 7 1/2 B foot. $124.00 from Fab Gabs.}

A grandly vast nation, Canada comes in at 9,984,670 square kilometres (3,855,100 square miles) and encompasses a truly amazing number of geographic landscapes, terrains, and types of natural wonders, one of which you may encounter if you venture up to the arctic circle, far above where all but a relatively small number of very hearty souls reside, during the summer months.

The phenomenon known as the midnight sun - when the sun is still visible even at midnight due to the axial tilt of the earth during the summer months, thus creating days comprised of 24 hours periods with some degree of visible sunlight present at all times - is not exclusive to Canada. It also occurs in regions around the world north or south, restively, of the Arctic and Antarctic Circles, but it is something that I think many Canadians, even those who have never experienced it firsthand (a camp that I, unlike many of relatives and ancestors who hail(ed) from the Yukon, have not yet had the pleasure to be a member of), can't help but feel a certain powerful affinity for.

{A wonderful capture of the midnight sun out in full force in Canada's northerly Yukon territory. Image via Travel Yukon.}

Though I don't doubt that it may potentially cause a degree of havoc with one's internal clock and is probably a much more romanticized occurrence for those who have never experienced it, there is something powerfully, almost magically alluring about the notion of the midnight sun. There one finds days that never see total darkness and hours of light that hug - or strangle, again, depending on how you view things - you around the (no doubt sleepy) clock. In a given year, midnight sun is typically visible in the Arctic Circle from about June 12th to July 1st (interestingly and coincidentally enough, that date just happens to be Canada Day), which means that it will soon be coming to an end.

Before it does though, I thought it would be a fitting tribute to devote this month's edition of Vintage Fashionista Friday to this most enchanting, fascinating and gorgeous of natural wonders. As such, the items featured here today all call to mind the pale sun and/or the great white north of the arctic. They are not filled with the blazing hues of a Vancouver Island sunset, the scorching colours of the sun over the Okanagan in the summer, or even the shades of dusk as it falls on the Great Lakes, instead they are subtly warm, twinklingly metallic, and appealingly gentle, like a soothing late June breeze. A wearable, fittingly summertime perfect colour palette that lends itself well to everything from camping to dancing the night away, even if that means doing so in one of the country's lower latitudes where the moon makes its usual evening appearance all season long.

One of my biggest dreams in life, present since early childhood, is to visit the Yukon some day and when I do, there's a very realistic chance it may happen during the late spring or summer, which means there's a decent likelihood that I might get to experience the majestic midnight sun firsthand. Until then however, I'll bolster my desire to do so further by sporting vintage fashions that celebrate and call to mind the land of the midnight sun and encourage you to join me in doing the same thing this summer. After all, who wouldn't like at least a few days of 24 hour sunshine during the most alluring and beautiful season of the year?

June 26, 2014

The softest top ever from Grace, a fab 1950s novelty print skirt, and the return of summer weather

Outfit details

Sparkly gold plastic sunglasses: Canadian Tire (bought the very same day these snaps were taken - perfect timing or what!!!)
1950s aqua nylon (chiffon) scarf: Gift from a dear online friend ♥
Pink sparkly bow earrings: Payless
Grey top with grey lace collar: Grace
Wide pink belt: Clothing store in Scarborough, Ontario that shut down years ago
1950s Middle Eastern scene novelty print skirt: Gift from a dear online friend ♥
White lace trimmed crinoline: Pettiskirt Style
Vintage bangle bracelets: Assorted sources
Vintage Saks Fifth Avenue black patent purse: etsy seller MK Retro
Black eyelet slingback sandal flats: Payless
Lip colour: Clinique Raspberry Glace

Photography by Tony Cangiano

What is Grace? How do you personally define it? If we turn to Webster's, we find that even there it has quite a multitude of meanings and possible uses in the context of applying it to a human trait and that each one fits the bill and yet feels like it still needs more. I think that grace is a certain sense of ingrained strength and composure. It is loveliness in the face of adversity and a gentle spirit when the world is mean and ugly. Grace is patient and sweet, loving and emblematic of many women over the centuries who we continue to look up to this very day.

Often the notion of grace goes hand-in-hand with a gentle demure and a quiet strength, as well as being something that a great many of us aspire to, and a percentage already embody. Grace can be amassed or lost, but never forgotten and it is an important characteristic which I personally feel the world would benefit from significantly if more people, women and men alike, strove to embody it to a greater degree.

In addition to being one of the loveliest traits a person can posses, Grace is also the name of an absolutely charming clothing brand from the UK that specializes in women's tops, camisoles, skirts and dresses in sizes ranging from 6 to 24, as well as scarves and collars. Earlier this year I was contacted by a representative from Grace and asked if I'd like to receive and review one of their beautiful offerings.

After educating myself more on the brand, I was happy to say yes and shortly thereafter, I received the strikingly lovely grey PP Jersey & Lace Shirt, which retails for £79.00. I sincerely appreciate this review gift from Grace and am delighted to share more about it all of you here today.

It is made of some of the softest, most skin friendly fabric (I have very sensitive and highly reactive skin, and therefore there's no such thing as too soft a fabric for me), which is a blend of ultra gentle organic cotton and bamboo. As well as being the gentlest feeling fabric I've ever slipped into, this long sleeved shirt has the versatility of being worn as either a top or a cardigan, thanks to the fact that it buttons all the way up the front.

This is a quality top through and through. The lace is detailed and very good quality, the garment forms well to the body, and it has the ability to be dressed up or down to your heart's content. I own relatively few blouses with none-pointy collars, so this top was also a very welcome breath of fresh air in my wardrobe. On the recent day when these photos were taken at Manitou Beach in Naramata, I opted to dress the top up a fair bit, thanks to this awesome 1950s Middle Eastern novelty print skirt (a gift from one of my dearest friends in the world), but you could just as easily partner it with jeans, shorts, overalls, or on the even more formal side of things, under a suit jacket or blazer.

I've also worn (but not yet photographed) it with my 1950s navy blue pencil skirt and that combination - to borrow, fittingly, an expression from the fine folks in the UK - works a treat in creating a very, very office/professional looking ensemble, especially when you add in stockings, pumps, and a classic, ladylike handbag.

It was at least 30 degrees out when we took these photos, but even though this Grace top has long sleeves, I wasn't swelteringly warm in it all. In addition to its fabulous qualities mentioned above, it is also gorgeously breathable and light as a feather. I would have no qualms packing this top with me if I was headed to the Sahara Desert. The fabric is supple and relatively thin, but not in a negative way at all. It's thin and sturdy at the same time, which is becoming an increasingly rare combination to find in clothing these days.

In addition, though Grace Clothing is not a dedicated vintage reproduction brand, this top, as well as some of their other offerings, has an alluringly lovely vintage appropriate look to it that would make it at home in any mid-century fashion fan's closet. When I wear it with a pencil skirt, it takes on more of a 1940s feel, whereas hear with my Aladdin worthy vintage circle skirt, it's fifties through and through. I suspect it could easily be styled in 1930s and 60s directions as well, in addition to obviously working wonderfully with more contemporary styles, too.

Grace's products are made with organic and fair trade fabrics, attention to detail, ethical manifesting processes, and an awareness of their impact on the environment. The company believes that "one happy day design integrity will become mainstream", a statement which, on top of hoping really does return to being true once more, seems to embody the word "grace" itself rather fittingly.

At £79.00, this top, especially for those like myself who do not live in the UK, is a bit of an investment piece for sure, I readily acknowledge that, but I can say with 100% sincerely that I feel its more than worth it. I've never worn a softer or more comfortable button front cotton shirt before and sense that this garment will last me for many, many years to come. I sincerely hope so, as it's a cinch to style up or down, timelessly pretty, and truly does have a certain unmistakable air of grace to it that suits the nature of my wardrobe to a tee.

June 24, 2014

Where to source great vintage appropriate clothing in Canada

If you've been following this blog for any amount of time, chances are you already know that I'm devoted fan of vintage appropriate fashions. The term “vintage appropriate” is one that I coined (though, it's entirely possible others used it before I did) a few years ago, and first really dove into explaining in this post, to describe those examples of modern fashions that while not necessarily intentionally designed to replicate yesteryear styles (aka, they're not specifically vintage reproductions), have such a classic or vintage inspired look to them that they're typically easy to weave into a period based outfit.

In December 2012 I wrote a very detailed and wonderfully handy beginner’s guide to buying and wearing vintage appropriate clothes, which if you haven't taken a peak at before, I highly recommend checking out. In that post I listed numerous terrific sources for vintage appropriate garments and accessories, the bulk of which US based.

Much like myself, not everyone in North America lives in the States however, and today, as per a request from a lovely reader named Kim in the comment section of this vintage outfit post back in January of this year, I'm going to share some of my favourite sources for Canadian vintage appropriate fashions.

Kim's query specifically touched on Canadian sources that were/are good bargains, which by default, most of the retail settings I shop in are. Would I love to pop into Holt Renrew with an American Express Centurion Card and head straight to the Dior, Channel and Dolce & Gabbana racks to see if they've got any high end vintage appropriate pieces in their lines this season? Sure, what red blooded vintage fashionista wouldn't?

That however, is not the life I - or most of us, for that matter - live and in the real world, my bargain loving soul is more than content to find the best deals that I can at a multiple of stores that this fine nation has to offer.

Like many of us, my wardrobe is a blend of genuine vintage, vintage reproduction, 1980s does 1940s and 50s, and vintage appropriate pieces, all of which work in splendid harmony to help create the forties and fifties looks that I hold so wonderfully dear to my heart.

Regardless (honestly, flat out regardless - whether you're mad for all things Edwardian or flip for the swinging sixties, or anything in between - of your favourite decades) there are vintage appropriate pieces in stores across Canada right now that will work well for the timeframe that your closest is currently (or perpetually, as the case may be) focused on.

Very few stores, especially in Canada, however push their pieces that are vintage appropriate in any kind of a way that would indicate that they are in fact just that. The majority of modern retail shops, especially those on the discount, outlet, and mall end of the spectrum are extremely trend focused and introduce vintage appropriate pieces as par the course for the styles that are "in" this season, not because they're smashingly old-fashioned or perpetually classic looking.

Never let that point deter you, no matter where in the world you may reside or find yourself shopping. As outlined in the beginner’s guide to buying and wearing vintage appropriate clothes, there are scores of timeless garments and accessories that you can keep your eyes peeled for when doing the rounds of your favourite shops and which can very easily help pad out your existing wardrobe and give you even more styling choices when getting dressed in the morning.

I've been buying and wearing vintage appropriate fashions for as long as, if not longer come to think of it (as I always gravitated towards anything 1940s or 50s looking in my closet when I was a little girl), as I've been wearing genuine vintage items (which has been for about half my life now at this point), and in that time I've lived in various cities and towns alike across three different Canadian provinces (in addition, in my younger days, to working fashion retail for a while, which gave me a very good insider's view into the world of mass produced modern clothing).

Though, as in many countries (especially larger ones), there are certain chains that are not to be found from coast to shining coast here in Canada, the bulk of the stores listed below are found in numerous provinces and/or have an online shop that allows Canadians (and in some cases, international buyers as well) to purchase items from their offerings wherever they may reside in our extensively vast nation.

It should be noted that some of the Canadian sources of vintage appropriate fashions listed herein are US based in the sense that their respective chains started south of the 49th and were mentioned in the beginner's guide as well. We do not have a massive number of purely Canadian clothing chains here, and it would be shortchanging my fellow canucks to leave the Canadian outposts of US retailers off this list. They are, after all, on Canadian soil and may, sometimes, even have offerings that can't be found at their sister stores in America (though, unfortunately, as most Canadians know, far more often, the opposite is true and its our US friends who have scads more options at the very same chains than we have here in Canada).

With Canada Day precisely one week away on July 1st, now seemed like a fantastic time to share with you a selection of many of my favourite Canadian sources of vintage appropriate fashions, each of which I've accompanied with a current item from their offerings that falls into this important fashion category.

 photo WheretosourcegreatvintageappropriateclothinginCanadaChronicallyVintageblogpostheader_zps2be8f822.png

-Addition-Elle: One of, sadly, given how many gorgeous ladies fall into this size camp that there are in today's world, only a teeny, tiny handful of Canadian plus size ladies wear chain, Addition Elle and its sister store Penningtons (where the cute polka dot top pictured above hails from) which tends be geared more towards a younger crowd, can be a good place to turn to for piece with a bit of a rock and roll or rockabilly vibe to them sometimes, as well as boho and various modern styles that can sometimes be worn into your yesteryear centered wardrobe. Worth noting is the fact that Penningtons and Addition-Elle both offer $7.50 flat rate shipping, plus free returns, across Canada.

-American Eagle Outfitters: Chalked full of young, modern pieces that sometimes have a bit of a classic (think vaguely Tommy Hilfiger or Ralph Lauren) vibe to them, this US chain has been a mall mainstay across Canada for many years now and can be a great place to find, in particular plaid and solid coloured striped tops, as well as sporty shoes (including Keds Original Sneakers) and plenty, most 21st century style, denim.

-Anthropologie: A wildly popular US chain that has set up shop in select larger Canadian cities across the country, Anthro (as it often lovingly referred to be devoted fans) is a mid-priced source for beautiful, dreamily romantic hispter meets vintage inspired meets trendy fashions (and home decor) that frequently work well for a wide range of vintage eras (including in from time-to-time, the 1920s and 30s).

-Ardene: Source of the bulk of my hair flowers, solid coloured tights, and several other accessories in my wardrobe (from bracelets to headbands), this popular Canadian chain, though teaming with no shortage of teenage flash-in-the-pan trendy pieces, is a fantastic source of budget friendly fashion and hair accessories, handbags, jewelry, shoes, clothing, and even makeup (including nail polish), that is frequently added to each season. Lacking an Ardene location here in Penticton, I make sure to hit up the one in Kelowna at least a couple of times a year to pick up a basket full of affordable hair accessories, costume jewelry, and hosiery.

-Banana Republic: Well known, and much adored, across North America for its smartly tailored modern meets classic pieces, Banana Republic (who offers a petite range that's perfect for those like myself who are on the short side of the height spectrum) is a great place to turn if you're look for dressier, office appropriate vintage inspired pieces, as well as items that can easily pull stylish double off the clock as well. In particular, some of their cardigans, thin knits, sheath dresses and skirts can work wonderfully for those who really enjoy a 1950s/early 60s aestetic.

-Claire's: Widespread and much adored by most youngsters and plenty of us who are still young at heart, Claire's offers up a tantalizing array of fashion and hair accessories, as well as beauty products, small gifts and bedroom decor pieces, as well an ear piercing service (the first and second of my four sets of holes in each ear came from Claire's when I was a teenager), all of which are usually fairly reasonably priced. As one of only a tiny handful of mainstream sources of nickel-free earrings in Canada, I've purchased many pairs that I could safely wear there over the years, in addition to numerous hair accessories and other products.

-Cleo: Serving up well-rounded mix of modern classic fashions (including jewelry, purses and other accessories), Cleo has become one of the first places (in part because we actually have a location here in Penticton) I turn to for vintage appropriate thin knits and cardigans over the past couple of years (especially because some of their offerings are available in petite sizes).

-Dress 911: The ever-increasingly popular online shop of a much beloved London, Ontario retailer who prides themselves, and rightfully so, on having "Canada's Cutest Dresses", this charming site is a dress lover's paradise and, unlike almost all the other entries on this list, specifically carries certain vintage reproduction, vintage appropriate and rockabilly styles and brands (such as Hell Bunny). I've been eyeing Dress 911's offering for quite some time now and really hope that 2014 will be the year I'm finally able to add one (or more) of them to my wardrobe.

-Eddie Bauer: Rightfully famous for their longstanding history of selling rugged outdoor wear, Eddie Bauer can also be a surprisingly good source for classically tailored crisp button downs, plaid shirts, classic knits, boots, moccasins, leather belts, quilted jackets, and capri pants.

-Fairweather: An other routine must-visit for me at least a couple of times a year when we're in Kelowna or another city that houses one, Fairweather has long been one of my top modern go-to sources for cardigans, knit shrugs, cute tops, tank tops and camisoles, and less frequently pants, skirts and outerwear. At present, they do not however have an online shop, so instead I'll share a photo (from this post last year) of me sporting one of my many thin knits, in this case a zesty red shrug, from this chain's offerings.

-Forever 21: I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Forever 21 gets a bum rap. Yes, I know, it's swarming with countless "uber of the moment" pieces geared towards the under 25 crowd, and sometimes the quality of their garments does leave something to be desired, but with a bit of patience and plenty of trying on (if shopping in person) one can typically find multiple vintage appropriate garments (and sometimes accessories, too) at this massively popular chain. I really miss living anywhere near one of their locations (the closest is over four hours away) and am glad that some their offerings can be purchased from their Canadian website for when I need my XXI Forever fix.

-H&M: Vastly popular the world over, this trend driven chain (who often partners with well known designers to launch much totted capsule collections) which originated in Sweden all the way back in 1947 (at the time it was known as Hennes), can offer up a selection of classic pieces, many of which won't break the bank, such a button front shirts, Peter Pan collar and pussy bow blouses, shirtwaist dresses (which occasionally hit below the knee), hosiery, scarves, and shoes that can be woven into various vintage looks.

-Jacob: A go-to source for many Canadian career gals, this chain, which launched in Quebec a few decades ago, offers shoppers pieces that are fittingly, often professional, smart, and fairly classic looking.

-Joe Fresh: Initially available only at select grocery stores (run by Loblaw Companies Limited, such as Real Canadian Superstore) across the country, Joe Fresh has emerged in recent years as a runaway hit of a clothing line and even expanded into stand alone stores in both Canada and the US, as well as an online shop (which offers free shipping within Canada on orders over $50.00). Their pieces are often modern, but many do have a fun, classic feel to them as well, and I've sourced numerous shirts, spaghetti strap camisole tanks, and skinny belts in particular from this often well priced line over the years.

-Laura: Boasting offerings for petite and plus sized ladies (including plus size petites), in addition to their average sized range, Laura's mid-priced offerings (by Canadian mall standards at least) are typically elegant, feminine, business world appropriate, well made and beautiful. I have both a skirt and cardigan from them that I purchased nearly five years ago now and they're each still in tip-top shape after many wears.

-Le Chateau: Long seen as one of having some of the hippest and most covetable offerings from amongst those of Canada's various fashion retailers, Le Chateau's range is rarely bargain basement inexpensive, but it's ability to deliver on trends and classic, sometimes vintage appropriate pieces alike (such as the charming little brown purse I wore here) makes it well worth scooping out at least once a season.

-Melanie Lyne: Ripe with immensely elegant fashions for those who want to look especially polished on the job or off, Melanie Lyne is where I would shop is I was quite well to do and didn't wear vintage. That isn't to say, of course, that one can't find vintage appropriate fashions amongst their stock, because you usually can, I just mean that I adore their general aesthetic so much that I'd happily wear their fashions all the time if I didn't adore vintage clothing so very much. Surprisingly, given the fact that I suspect one would do very well, Melanine Lyne does not yet have an online shop, but their site does show a few of their current offerings, some of which appear in the photo I've posted here today.

-Nine West: One of the country's most popular shoe store chains (others include, but are not limited to Aldo, Browns, Clarks, and Little Burgundy), Nine West has been known to deliver some surprisingly classic looking shoes, amongst the trendier options, over the years and is worth scooping out if you're after some new footwear.

-Old Navy: A fabulously popular chain that needs little to no introduction, Old Navy is loved by shoppers all across North America and is a great place to find (typically) wallet-friendly prices on pieces that run the gauntlet from intentionally retro to blazingly modern and everything in between. Much like Forever 21, this is another shop I sincerely miss living anywhere nearby and which I've found numerous great vintage appropriate pieces (especially cardigans and button front shirts) at over the years.

-Payless: For the past several years, I've purchased more pairs of new (as opposed to thrifted) shoes from Payless than from any other Canadian footwear retailer. From classic pumps to oxfords to sling back summer sandals, it's rare that I can't find at least one classic/vintage appropriate pair that takes my breath away and/or fills a gap in my shoe wardrobe each time I visit (which I'm especially fond of doing during their BOGO sales). Unlike in the State, Payless Canada does not yet have an online shop unfortunately, so the image above comes by way of the US one. As I bought these exact shoes in Kelowna earlier this year however, I know that they are indeed available in Canada.

-Reitmans: One of Canada's best known and most popular ladies wear chains from coast to coast, Reitman's has long made it onto my personal top ten list of mall fashion sources. Mixing off-the-moment pieces with others that are more classic and vintage appropriate (fitted blazers, thin knits, pencil skirts, trouser socks, etc), Reitmans' range, which includes garments for petites, plus sizes, petite plus sizes and average sized women is an affordable, reliable source of lovely offerings the whole year through.

-Ricki's: Especially popular amongst young business professionals, Ricki's fresh, yet often classic, offerings also find favour with stylish ladies from all walks of life across the country. I quite like Ricki's for their fitted button front shirts (such as the charming polka dot example above) in particular.

-RW & Co.: Known for its understatedly elegant ladies and mens fashions, RW & Co. isn't the least expensive store in the mall, but their elegant offerings, which often channel a classic, preppy, or polished hipster vibe, can be a great place to turn for blouses, skirts, sweaters, and fashion jewelry in particular which you may be able to integrate into various vintage looks.

-Sears: One of North America's longest continually operation and most popular department store chains, Sears has been providing customers with a wide range of affordable fashions, as well as countless other items, for generations now. They're well stock clothing and accessories departments as well as their online and catalog offerings, are a fantastic place to check for all manner of vintage appropriate items, including undergarments (Sears stocks plenty of so-called "Granny" style bras, panties, and shapewear items that can work wonders in a modern vintage loving lady's wardrobe), sweaters, cardigans, skirts, scarves, leather gloves, hosiery, shoes, handbags, and winter coats.

-Simons: Another of Canada's oldest department store chains, Simon's began life in Quebec in the 19th century where it has flourished for decades, and has just started to spread out to other parts of the country with recent opening of their first Edmonton location. I've not yet had the pleasure of shopping at one of their stores myself, but their reasonably priced online offering can be shipped nationwide, so I may become a customer via that route one of these days.

-Smart Set: Widespread at malls from coast to coast, Smart Set's stylish, youthful, appealing offerings aren't overly retro most of the time, but every now and then a great vintage appropriate piece can be sourced from this popular Canadian chain.

-Suzy Shier: In my top five favourite mall fashion choices ever since I was a young teenager, and the only one of the shops mentioned in today's post aside from Claire's that we actually have here in Penticton, Suzy Shier's racks burst forth with feminine pieces that can range from subtly retro to cutting edge. Typically good quality, figure flattering, and well priced, I turn to this shop time and time again for all manner of cute, classic cardigans, tops, and blouses in particular.

-The Bay: By far Canada's most famous department store, thanks to its rich history as one of the nation's earliest and most successful fur trading companies (The Hudson Bay Company), these days The Bay is a thriving nationwide department store chain that, much like Sears, offers up wide spectrum of fashions that can sometimes include numerous classic and/or vintage appropriate pieces, such as sweaters, skirts, coats, shoes, lingerie, hosiery, sleepwear, purses, and jewelry.

-The Gap: The last of the three to round out the trio of massively successful stores all owned by the same parent company that is Banana Republic, Old Navy and The Gap, this is another entry that all but speaks for itself thanks to its phenomenal success. Beloved for its denim, causal classics, and cool-without-trying-too-hard vibe, The Gap (much as its two sister chains) can sometimes produce vintage appropriate pieces, especially knits, that are typically well made and easy to partner with a range of different looks.

-Winners: This popular chain of off-price departments, which is akin to T.J. Maxx in the States and does not at present have an online store (so hence the lack of fashion photo for this entry), adds fresh inventory to its shelves and racks every day, and though the prices aren't always as rock bottom as the advertising might have your believe (at least not, IMO, when it comes to clothing, shoes and accessories), Winners can be a great place to check in on often if you're hunting for vintage appropriate wardrobe basics like button front shirts, cardigans, pencil skirts, and pumps (court shoes) to help fill out or further top up your closet.

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-Zellers: Though unable to make this list in the same respect as the other shops included herein, it just doesn't feel right to me to not mention Zellers, a longstanding and once highly popular Canadian department store chain that, sadly, folded in the last couple of years across the country. For much of my life, Zellers' offerings had been a wallet-friendly go to for me, and I'd purchased numerous tops, cardigans and shoes there in particular that had been very vintage appropriate. Though one can no longer shop from Zellers' stores, you can still easily find pieces from this once mighty retailer, which has been a branch of the Hudson Bay Company family of stores, in thrift and consignment shops across the country.

{All images shown throughout this list come by way of the respective website of the chain that they appear above. Please click on an image to be taken to its original source and product listing.}

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Wow, eh?! I don't know about you, but after taking a gander through the inventories of all these fabulous Canadian shops, most of which are, generally speaking, fairly budget friendly (especially if you wait to shop while sales are underway - something that is an absolute given with any of today’s entries at least a couple of times a year), it's all I can do to refrain from running to check the couch cushions for any loonies and twoonies that may have gotten wedged in between and go a wee bit of a shopping spree - all in the name of Canada day and supporting Canadian economy, of course. :)

Tempting as that may be, with my birthday just a couple of weeks away, I'll hold off for now to see what comes my way as I turn 30 years old before investing in my wardrobe further this year.

With just a small handful of exceptions, I have purchased at least one (and often many) items from the sources listed above over the years. Generally speaking, I've found the quality of those pieces to be in the fair to excellent range, with most lasting for at least a couple of years or longer. Case in point, I have a lovely summer top from Suzy Shier that I've had since I was 18 and it still looks as a great as the day I brought it home. On the flip side though, I've had a couple of cardigans and tops from H&M and The Gap both bite the dust after just a year or two of being worn on a relatively frequent basis.

Most of us understand and accept that this kind of spectrum is an inevitable likelihood when purchasing mass produced bargain and mid-range fashions (be they clothing, shoes, jewelry, or other kinds of accessories) and typically factor this point in when we budget for them. Speaking of which, if, like myself, you keep a close watch on every fashion dollar that you spend, then it's wise to keep in mind that it often makes more sense to invest in quality, very well made vintage pieces that will likely last you for years or even decades (such as a skillfully tailored vintage skirt suits and winter coats) and spend a bit less on those that may only see you through a few seasons.

That said, typically in life, you get what you pay for, so there are times when investing in a higher end vintage appropriate piece may pay off handsomely when it comes to durability and cost per wear in the long run. As well, if you live in area (such as I do) that is devoid of mid-century vintage clothing shops and you either have to buy everything online and/or shop for vintage appropriate offerings locally, you may naturally find that you spend a bigger chunk of your budget on vintage appropriate pieces than someone who lives in, for example, a vintage fashion filled city like Portland, LA, or London, England.

It should be noted that this post intentionally focused on vintage appropriate, not vintage reproduction, heavily vintage inspired, or rockabilly clothing resources (such as Blame Betty and Glam Retro) of which, despite Canada's population of nearly 35 million, there are surprisingly few online (and only a handful more off line) in this country. That said, there are indeed some and I plan to shine the spotlight on them in a post of their own down the road.

One thing to keep in mind when it comes to all of the stores listed here is that, in most cases, the stock that's available online is no where near as extensive as that which you'll encounter in store. Frequently, I see many more vintage appropriate pieces in stores such as Old Navy, Smart Set, H&M, Banana Republic, Suzy Shier, Ardene, Claire's, and The Bay, to name but a few, than what one will find online, so be sure to check both the web and real world versions of your favourite Canadian clothing retails while on the prowl for vintage style fashions.

Remember, too, that in addition to the sources listed above, there are still other Canadian and US chains (such as Walmart - I've gotten a couple of really charming knit shrugs and numerous vintage inspired accessories from Walmart in recent years) that have set up shop here, as well as independent retailers, boutiques, and pop up shops across the country, all of which are potential sources of great vintage appropriate pieces. Much, it should be mentioned, as are just about all thrift and consignment stores. In fact, living in a town with a mall that's about the size of a matchbox, I get most of my vintage appropriate pieces from second hand stores these days - a point that typically makes both my wallet and I very happy Canadian campers.

I hope that this post helps give you some new ideas for where to source vintage appropriate fashions, my dear fellow Canadians, whether you're out on the sunny Pacific coast side of the country like me, enjoying the refreshing breeze blowing off the Atlantic in Newfoundland, gearing up for the the midnight sun in the Yukon this summer or anywhere else in between in this gorgeous country of ours.

Remember, regardless of if you live in Canada or not, no matter where you go, if a store or vendor sells clothing, there's always the potential that your yesteryear looking piece is just waiting, amongst all the "off the moment" items, for you to come along and give it the awesome vintage loving home that is deserves. So keep your eyes peeled, fashion radar flicked on, and keen sense of observation about you at all times. You truly never know where the net vintage appropriate treasure is waiting for you!