Wednesday, 13 April 2011

A trip to the 1970s

So a few weeks ago I spent a weekend in a country house with some friends pretending it was 1971. We had a huge amount of fun - 70's music, 70's food, lava lamps and lots of fun dressing up in vintage seventies outfits!

I took a lot of photo's, but sadly didn't get many of myself, but I've finally had time to go through all the photos and edit them so that I can share them. Sadly I didn't get photos of every outfit I wore over the weekend, as there were quite a few...

This one was my favourite outfit of the weekend, consisting of a maxi dress passed down from my mum and my favourite little seventies suede jacket;

I just love the colour, pattern and sheer volume of the dress. You can't quite see due to the suede jacket, but the arms are absolutely ENORMOUS when not tucked in like this. I've found this to be a common feature of original seventies maxi-dresses, and can make them difficult wear in a more contemporary context. Modern versions don't tend to go all the way on the sleeves! But this is one of the reasons why the little suede jacket is one of my favourites. I've had it many years and have found that it can transform even the most over the top seventies item (whether it be enormous dresses, sack like Kafkans or brightly coloured shirts) and make it look cool and funky.

Oddly, I once saw it's twin in a shop in Camden, and there it was being sold with matching suede hotpants. I now regret not buying it, so that I had a spare, plus those amazing hotpants! What's the chances I'll ever come across the same item a third time?

This picture shows a gorgeous midi I just love.

it's cotton and has a wonderfully 'typical' ppattern to it. It has big round shaped collars that make me think it is probably actually late 1960s. It buttons up through the front, so here I was wearing it in a manner I've heard was popular in he 1970's - long layers over much shorter skirts or shorts (in this case denim hotpants). I really do love this look. On me the dress is rather short - very much a midi length, especially once I put high wedges on! However, on a shorter lady it looks even better, I think, as a full maxi, as shown here on my more petite friend Faye back at a party last year;

I tried mixing lengths in a similar way with this outfit too, although I have to say I wasn't as pleased with the look of this one when I saw the photo's - I suspect I look like some kind of weird pixie! Too much brown, I think... Involves original seventies shirt and leather waistcoat/dress, worn with a long brown cardi recently bought at H&M. This is my favourite picture of it - dancing in the middle of the day to Led Zepplin!:

I also just love a big wide-brimmed hat - so right for the era! I got this one on a beach in Sri Lanka many years ago:

Meanwhile, my friend Faye and I had planned a little photoshoot over the weekend so I could share a few more of my outfits on here. Unfortunately we were too busy having lots of fun to ver get round to doing it, so we only got a few 'test shots' when she was trying them on in her bedroom the first night.

This dress I just adore - another of my mothers. Like she says, you feel like a princess when you wear it, it's so floaty. It's a 1970s dress but feels like wearing a 1950s ball dress. It also has this floaty little jacket to go with it;

Meanwhile, this is one of my very first vitage finds when I was a teenager, one of my fist steps into the world of vintage and old clothes. Admittedly that was 15 years ago, so would hardly have been described as vintage back then. I have worn it many times, but it was nice to get Faye into it. My mum made the stole to go with it for me, and the jewelry Faye is wearing is my mum's vintage 1970s diamante.

Tuesday, 12 April 2011

Birthday Afternoon Tea at the Soho Secret Tea Room

So my hubby had been rather smug for the last week about some surprise he had in store for me to celebrate my birthday. I hadn't made any plans myself, as life has been so busy lately that I've barely had time to think about impending age increases.

Saturday dawned beautifully sunny, I went and did a charity shop round in the morning (picking up a 1950s vanity case and a pair of tap shoes, needed for next week), then set about pampering and preening myself for the afternoon. He encouraged me to wear one of my favourite 1950s day dresses (with lovely matching bolero) which gave me an inkling of what was in store;


I ws a bit confused as he led me through Soho and then pulled me into a pub - the Coach and Horses - but it turns out this place has a tea room upstairs - the 'Soho Secret Tea Room': And there waiting for me was a bunch of my friends and afternoon tea, all part of a surprise party actually arranged by one of my best mates!

I've never actually had a suprise party done for me, so this was all rather exciting. The decor, cakes and tea were all gorgeous, and I just loved these bobbly knitted tea cosies;

I was also given a Twenties fashion cut out and dress u dolls book - and my mate had photo-shopped my face  onto the dolls, so now I can dress myself up in all sorts of twenties designer clothes I could never afford in real life!:

Rather sugar dazed, we all headed out to the pub afterwards, and then to Twickenham to another friends party also happening that evening. All in all, for what I expected to be a rather low key birthday celebrations this year, the whole day was full of win!

Monday, 11 April 2011

quick outfit post

Another experiment with wearing vintage to work: a little dark brown velvet 1970s dress. As usual velvet doesn't show up too well on camera, but the cutest part of the dress is the gathers on the shoulders.

Also rather liked wearing it with this little jacket - a Topshop find in a charity shop a few years ago;

Sunday, 3 April 2011

1920s tap dancing outfit

So a friend of mine is running a twenties themed evening in a couple of weeks - based around a talent show! Now, I don't have many talents, but  I did do quite a bit of dancing as a child, so I'm going to dig out the tap shoes and see what I can remember.

Naturally this means I need a tap outfit. Despite ordinary twenties outfits actually still being pretty conservative by modern standards, show biz was, of course, a bit more risque and revealing. You only need to watch 42nd street to see that tap dancers were comfortable in often tiny little tap pants. A little searching on the web also found me this photo of a rather lovely, but pretty revealing, original outfit:

So I'm pretty happy to reveal a little leg this time. I'm thinking of adapting this showgirl outfit I put together for a new year party a couple of years ago:

They don't glitter much in the photos, but I just love my sequin tap pants (snapped up when they were briefly in fashion 18 months ago). Pictures of Ginger Rogers suggests the fish net tights are viable, as tights were used by dancers long before they replaced stockings for the average women in the 1960s. I'm considering seamed ballet tights with frilly anckle socks as a more authentic period touch though. I'm also considering whether to use my dinner jacket as in these pictures, or a very tacky gold glittery jacket I've had kicking round for years.

Saturday, 2 April 2011

Vintage glasses

I have an opticians appointment tomorrow, so today I popped into specsavers to have a quick browse. Like any vintage obsessed specs wearer, I'm always looking for vintage styled, but flattering, eyewear. But for me, as I have to wear my glasses all the time, they can't be too OTT as I want my look to be flexible.

In addition, I have the complication of, because I like to play with lots of different era's, it's quite hard to pick just one pair of vintage styled glasses as, for example, a 1950s styled pair may look out of place worn with a full 1920s outfit. Not that anyone else would notice, but I would know. There are of course lots of '2 for 1' offers out there, but unfortunately my eyesight is so bad that the main cost for me is in the lenses, so this is not a cheap option for me.

There are a few specialist providers of vintage frames out there. For example, Dead Men's Spex lists their original vintage frames by period: (I've not used this company myself so this is not a recommendation, but I do enjoy browsing their website!).

I am lazy though and just want something convenient on the high street.

So, browsing in Specsavers today (since that's my usual opticians), it was nice to see quite a few vintage styled frames. Even in their cheapo £25 range, there were a few interesting wire framed and slightly 1950s/60s style looks.

What got me more excited though was the Gok Wan range:

These are the ones that really caught my attention - dramatically geeky 1920's style round frames: I just love them, but I tried tham on and - they're just not flattering! It would take a very brave person to pull these off. Maybe if I only wore them for reading, I might give them a go, but sadly they're not something to wear all the time.

These are a slightly more accessible 'geek chic' pair, I think:

However, I think I'm more tempted by these rather funky 1950s style ones:

Admittedly, at a starting price of £99 for the frames, buying original vintage frames may be a far cheaper option, although I'm not keen on buying glasses I can't try on first. Specs are too big and important an investment for me not to try before I buy. I will update on what I choose after my appointment tomorrow!


Meanwhile my blogging is somewhat limited at the moment by the fact that I've filled my computer with too many photographs and family films!! I literally don't have enough memory left to load up or edit any more pictures, which is making it rather hard to get my backlog of blog entries posted.

Luckily, I think my hubbies picked up on my rather heavy hints that I'd like some extra storage for my birthday, so this should all be resolved in the next couple of weeks, but in the mean time, it may be a little quiet round here...