Thursday, 20 October 2016

20 for up to £20 - the best of autumn's vintage style bargain buys

First up, slight post hijack. Many of you already know that pillar of the vintage blogging community and my lovely friend Jessica, of Chronically Vintage, has suffered a horrendous loss as her house and its contents burned down last week (her blog has the story). Jessica, her husband and dog escaped but their cat is presumed gone. I can't imagine what that must feel like and what trying to rebuild an entire life and impressive vintage collection must feel like, but I do know that it's going to be a horribly difficult time for the forseeable for them. Just in case someone reading this didn't know and wants to help, then please do visit their donation page (which makes me want to cry with gratitude every time I see it at the good there still is in the world). Some things are more important than clothes, despite what this post is about!!

So (and please excuse the abrupt and seemingly insensitive direction change!), who would have thought that buying (and fixing up) a house and paying for a wedding would put a squeeze on my finances in the latter half of this year? I mean, lovely problems to have of course, but it has rather knocked my good intentions to invest in quality pieces on the head. For a few months, though, I managed it... But now I'm back on the hunt for bargains.

Ok, ok. I did buy another pair of Hasbeens. What can I say, I'm only human and when they're in the sale there's nothing I can do to resist. But apart from that, I'm living more within my means lately. Autumn/winter is a tricky time of year to have a clothes budget though - coats, boots and knitwear that doesn't make you want to scratch your skin off don't come cheap. For the most part, I'm going to be getting by with what I've got (and whatever I'm fortunate enough to review), and top that up with inexpensive bits and pieces. 

I have to say, though, I'm actually surprised at what £20 or less can get you this season. In fact, there's so much that I've found that I can write this whole post about it! I apologise in advance for the items that don't ship outside of the UK, by the way (I didn't check, but I would guess that Tesco and Sainsbury's might have such policies).

10 bargain clothes pieces for autumn 2016
T-B, L-R:

If you love Collectif's AW range this year and particularly like their new black Olive dress and all the pleather they have going on, you might be pleased to see the Boohoo Effie dress and the Tesco skirt which look, well, remarkably similar to these pieces. I actually snapped up the Boohoo dress (warning, I've linked to a petite version) because I've wanted the Olive dress for ages, but I already know it will be a stupidly long length on me. Not a problem with this dress - it's nicely below the knee, but not excessively. It's not of a knit material like the Collectif dress and not going to feel the same on therefore, but the overall look is really pretty similar so if it's the style you want it's a good bargain option. While I don't own the Tesco pleather skirt, I can vouch for the quality and cut of Tesco's pencil skirts as having worked for me in the past. I quite want to try the whole leather look, so I think this one is going to be for next pay day!

I can also vouch for the Voodoo Vixen cardigan! It's so soft and snuggly, and it makes every outfit look great because faux fur. You can see a picture of me wearing it recently on my Instagram (@ciciandmarie). I also snapped up the denim pencil skirt here, which for the price is really very good. It's a proper pin-up pencil skirt fit with just the right amount of stretch (order your usual size). And no, it's not thick cotton for that price, but that's what tights are for. I also own the Banned top in another colour and while it annoys the heck out of me that they don't make these tops in a size 8, they're so comfortable to wear that I forgive them once I've tucked them in!

The Boohoo embroidered skirt is super pretty - I can picture it looking cute with the New Look velvet bardot top. I'm really impressed to see that amount of detail on a skirt costing only £20 - hopefully the 'catch' is not the scratchiest tulle in the world!! Perhaps the pinafore dress is more of a modern style, but with a turtleneck underneath it'll be great for the office, while having something a bit 60s about it. I think that one is going to have to join my wardrobe too.

10 bargain shoes & accessories for autumn 2016
T-B, L-R:

Can we all take a moment to marvel that leather touch screen gloves this cute are available for £12 these days (and, er, not worry about how they got to be that cheap)? I'd like these in all colours, really, because who wants to wear nasty looking gloves and/or take them off every time you try to put something on Instagram? But then again, if they're elbow length pleather gloves like this Collectif pair... for £12 I might put up with the lack of phone contact!

So, from this collection, I own two of the items featured. If you do follow me on Instagram you've seen these shoes already - they are incredibly good value for money because they're very padded under foot, as well as looking darn cute. And for me, added bonus of the tie keeping the shoes actually on my foot and not somewhere in my wake. I also snapped up those boots - they are timeless and the design again keeps my foot in, while still not boxing my feet in so they could definitely be worn with midi skirts. Not as comfy as the Tesco pair, but for £20 I'll suck it up.

A cloche hat for £9?! I mean, I don't really do 20s style that much, but for that price, why not? Twice the money but still a snip will get you that lovely Collectif hat, that I have no idea when I'd wear but it wouldn't stop me trying (and it comes in so many colours, including mustard!). I also want to give a shout out for that obi style belt, because I've wanted one since I saw one of Marilyn's outfits in Gentlemen Prefer Blondes where she had similar and it just looked so chic. I hope I manage to get my hands on one of these before they sell out.

So, what do you think of my choices? Any bargains you've spotted lately I should know about? Stay tuned to find out if I buy all 20...

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Thursday, 13 October 2016

Outfit: posing on the pier

This set of photos is extra special to me partly because I'd been picturing it for so long. We visit this pier every year, often several times a year, as it's local to where we stay in the summer in the caravan by the coast. And every time I was on it, I'd take in the amazing scenery and think to myself... if there just weren't so many damn people around, what an awesome photo location this would be. Because I see my surroundings in blog backdrops - what, don't you?

This year, however, I finally did something about it. I got up early and dragged my trusty photographer out at 7am on a chilly early autumnal morning. It was so worth it (well, for me it was, B might say otherwise!). There wasn't another soul on the pier, the wind was at a minimum as forecasted (unheard of) and while nippy, I've had a lot worse. We got there as the sun was still rising and it created such a beautiful hazy low light together with all the clouds. Of course, my outfit had to have a nautical vibe for such a location. I think it was finished off perfectly by this little pinwheel brooch - I don't know about everywhere else in the world, but you find a lot of these in seaside towns over here (er, pinwheels that is, although if any shops at the seaside want to start selling Erstwilder brooches...).

But really, the star of this show is the pier itself. What is there not to love about a living, breathing part of Victorian history? It markets itself as 'unspoilt' and I think that's pretty accurate. It's not full of coin machines and endless junk food stalls, it's just a big ol' pier with a fish and chips restaurant one end and a theatre the other. Yes, that's right, a theatre! It still has an end-of-pier show all these years later. The other great thing about it is that the local dog-walking community love strolling along it, so by the time I've walked to the end I've probably seen about 20 dogs! And that's quite alright with me.

Nautical 50s inspired outfit on the pier

Collectif striped t-shirt

Seaside pin-up posing on the pier

The Red or Dead London Pier bag

Nautical vintage inspired outfit with lifering novelty bag

Old style viewfinder on the pier

Walking on a Victorian pier Cromer

Pin-up style nautical outfit on a pier

Erstwilder pinwheel party brooch

Nautical 50s pin-up style outfit on a pier

Nautical 50s pin-up style outfit on a pier

Nautical 50s pin-up style outfit on a pier

Nautical 50s pin-up style outfit on a pier
Top: Collectif (old)
Skirt: Collectif (sold out)
Shoes: B.A.I.T. Footwear via Zulily

Our visits to the pier are probably done for this year, but we'll be back very soon. Maybe not at 7am in the morning next time...

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Sunday, 9 October 2016

Outfit: golden

Autumn outfits are most definitely here! It's not too cold yet though (especially on the days the sun comes out), so I'm actually, for what feels like the first time in all history, doing the whole 'transitional' clothes thing. Which basically means as far as this outfit goes that I'm wearing my winter clothes, just without tights :D 

So there's a few new things to show you in this post. First up, this cute skirt. SheIn sent this to me for review and I wasn't sure I was going to like it. I knew nothing about the brand and the prices seemed too good to be true. Ultimately, I thought worst case scenario I could send it back, so what's the harm... I followed the guide on the site to choose my size and a couple of weeks later it turned up (presumably from China). My first pleasant surprise was that it was exactly the size the guide had indicated - all measurements were spot on. This meant it was exactly the size I wanted it to be for both waist and length - it's partly why I chose this skirt in fact and you can see from the photos it looks like it was custom made for me as a result. The second pleasant surprise was that the quality was actually pretty good and it looked nicer than the picture. I mean, it's not a luxury item, but I've got a lot worse from British companies charging a lot more. It has a neat straight hem, which is more than I can say for some of my clothes. Furthermore, the pleats really work to make this skirt hang nicely without any need for a petticoat etc - I don't have one on here. So all in all, I'm really quite pleased with it and think I'll get a lot of wear out of it because the different colours in the checks will lend themselves to different combinations.

The golden tones in the skirt led me to crack out my new beret and bargain Vivienne Westwood shoes I snagged off eBay for just such an outfit occasion. I don't wear gold all that often, but when I do I remember that it actually works quite well with my colouring. Something about the yellow in my skin and slight redness of my hair I guess. Talking of hair, I'm starting to really nail my waving tong now - this day I managed to get all the waves to go in the same direction on both sides. Or it was a total fluke and next time I use it I'll be back to a mess - probably the more likely scenario if I'm honest as I don't know what I did differently...

Oh and yes, you did just see this bag. What's so great about it is take the charms off and it's a fab neutral day bag - in fact it's the one I'm currently using for work :)

Autumnal vintage style outfit with check skirt, gold bardot top and Vivienne Westwood globe heels

Autumnal vintage style outfit with check skirt, gold bardot top and beret

Collectif bardot top, Bow and Crossbones hoop earrings and beret

Autumnal vintage style outfit with check skirt, gold bardot top and Vivienne Westwood globe heels

SheIn check skirt

Collectif bardot top, Bow and Crossbones hoop earrings, SheIn skirt and beret

Autumnal vintage style outfit with check skirt, gold bardot top and Vivienne Westwood globe heels

Vivienne Westwood globe shoes in grey and gold, Vendula London charm bag

Collectif bardot top, Bow and Crossbones hoop earrings, SheIn skirt and beret

Autumnal vintage style outfit with check skirt, gold bardot top and Vivienne Westwood globe heels
Beret: ASOS
Jumper: Collectif (new silver colourway)
Skirt: c/o Shein
Bag: c/o Vendula London
Shoes: Melissa x Vivienne Westwood (via eBay)

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Tuesday, 4 October 2016

8 amazing vintage style jewellery makers

8 of the best vintage retro style indie jewelry jewellery makers 40s 50s 60s

After many years of pretty much ignoring jewellery, the part of me that finally appreciates what a perfect finishing touch it can be to an outfit has awakened! I think it was always there, but it took finding the makers in this post to realise there were many pieces I love and could afford to buy without sacrificing too much of my clothes-buying budget. Now that I feel like I've browsed most of Etsy (no, really), I wanted to share my favourites with all of you and encourage you to go check them out if you haven't already.

As far as I'm aware, all of them are independent manufacturers, and many are run by just one or two people. So not only will you be acquiring pretties if you buy from them, you'll also be supporting small indie designers, which is just rather nice, don't you think? (Note I'm not being endorsed to write this post, I genuinely love all of these shops!)

And finally, I am quite aware that true vintage jewellery abounds on Etsy and elsewhere too (like the wonderful Chronically Vintage shop of course!), but for this post I wanted to focus on those making new pieces to show them some love and hope that they'll keep on producing their fabulous, affordable designs with our support!

8 vintage retro style indie jewelry jewellery makers 40s 50s 60s

I credit this shop with being one of the reasons I've developed this new-found love for jewellery. Designed by Cam (who is lovely), this shop offers a humungous range of pieces, from fakelite bangles to tiki bamboo hoops. Their reproduction hoop earrings in a rainbow of different colours (including metals) is particularly impressive and I tend to turn to this shop first when I'm trying to colour match something specifically as most styles are available in more than one shade. There's also a wide range of novelty styles and deadstock vintage pieces to boot and prices for all are very reasonable indeed. Cam has recently moved to the Netherlands, so I've found shipping now takes a little longer than it did when she was in the UK too, but most items arrive within a week. Items can be shipped internationally.

8 vintage retro style indie jewelry jewellery makers 40s 50s 60s

L-R: Duck earrings (similar brooches), brooch, spider brooch

Another UK based shop that sells through Etsy and is designed and made by Katy, this is a great shop for fakelite brooches and earrings in particular, with a particularly large array of the 1940s imitation brooches with dangling 'cherries', like the above middle design. Katy is a genius with novelty, as you can see from the adorable duck earrings and spider brooch here, but there's so much more I could have featured, like a brooch with a goldfish in a bag! Luxulite designs are fun, colourful and lovely quality. I'd say of the designers here the pieces are on the pricier end of the scale, but not by much and they do reflect the attention to detail and care that goes into making them. Most are one-offs or have very small quantities, so you can be sure you're getting something pretty unique when you buy a Luxulite piece. Again, items can be shipped internationally via Etsy.

8 vintage retro style indie jewelry jewellery makers 40s 50s 60s

Reasons I want to shop from Splendette can largely be summarised in two words: glitter bangles! The pretty on the left here comes in many different colours and I just can't resist them. I think the reason I particularly like them is I was a child of the 90s when the rubber bangles with the liquid glitter inside them were all the rage and the option to upgrade to a more adult, vintage version is a bit too good to pass up. The only reason I haven't ordered any yet is I just can't choose the darn colours I want - and by the time I've decided they've gone out of stock. It's not all glitter though, there's some marvellous other fakelite style options (love all the carved stuff) in a tonne of colours, particularly for bracelets and earrings. If you like your accessories bright and/or sparkly, Splendette is a great option.

8 vintage retro style indie jewelry jewellery makers 40s 50s 60s
L-R: XL gold hoops, confetti heart (sold out), lucite hoops (similar)

This shop is becoming well known in the Instagram world for being makers of these fab gold hoops, which they do in a variety of sizes, including some giant ones I love but my short neck could never pull off! As you can see though, this French shop also makes some very pretty confetti style pieces too, so if metal hoops or glittery lucite are your thing I suggest checking them out.

8 vintage retro style indie jewelry jewellery makers 40s 50s 60s
L-R: starburst brooch, harlequin brooch (sold out), flamingo brooch

If you like Luxulite, there's a good chance you're going to love Viva La Lux's offerings too, which are on the whole along the same wavelength. You'll find colourful and novelty brooches and accessories galore, including cherry jubilee necklaces in all sorts of colours. If you're looking for the ideal piece to tie in different colours in your outfit, chances are you're going to find something marvellously mid-century inspired in this shop and the prices are very reasonable for handmade items too.

8 vintage retro style indie jewelry jewellery makers 40s 50s 60s

Something a bit different now, with the cheerful offerings from Lorelai. There's definitely something more than a little bit 60s in the big pastel hoops and bright flower power necklaces. I do particularly love the necklaces - and that the maker takes custom requests for colourways. What a great statement piece they'd be for any outfit and at around £14 each they're an affordable alternative to similar styles from brands like Erstwilder.
8 vintage retro style indie jewelry jewellery makers 40s 50s 60s

I originally came across Loretta Lou when I was searching for a necklace made out of plastic Eiffel Tower charms for my birthday, as you do... Turns out, a little while ago this was one of the things this shop sold. While I missed the boat on that, there's still a huge number of cute fakelite style pieces on offer from them, including a really cute heart necklace I haven't featured here. Another dabbler with novelty, I can't resist a bit of plastic fruit and they have much more too, from flamingo necklaces to horsey brooches.

8 vintage retro style indie jewelry jewellery makers 40s 50s 60s

Revere Folie are offering something a bit different to most of the others here, as along with the more commonly found 40s/50s style hoops you see here, they also make some very pretty art deco inspired pieces like these pairs of earrings. I can't dislike a company that uses as much glitter in their pieces as they do too (see Splendette comments above!). So if 20s/30s style is more your thing or you're looking for the finishing touch to glam evening wear, do take a look at what this Australia-based shop has to offer.

Hopefully I've helped to raise awareness for these great indie makers - and do share any of your own favourites that I've missed off here below. Oh and apologies if any of these links go to dead pages now - the one thing to bear in mind with indies is that stock can turn around very quickly!

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Friday, 30 September 2016

Outfit: London charm

You wait four years for a post involving a phonebox and then two come along at once! However, whereas before I was modelling the most common K6 design which is still seen all over the country, today I'm posing with its later cousin, the K8, designed in the mid 60s but most of which were installed in the 70s. The most fascinating fact about this design is that only 54 of the original 11,000 installed are thought to still remain - which is likely at least partly because their large glass panels made them much more vulnerable to damage. So what you're seeing here folks is a rare part of British heritage - that I imagine survived for so long because of where it's located. You see, this particular phonebox resides on the caravan park where B's parents' mobile home lives, where you really wouldn't go unless you were a resident yourself. And in fact, I've never seen another box like this one outside of this park (there are in fact two of these there) in my travels round the country (UK readers if you have, tell me where they are, I'm intrigued and apparently now obsessed with vintage phoneboxes!).

But why am I banging on about phoneboxes again? Because it's a red phonebox, of course - the kind that are still heavily associated with London, which made it rather perfect as the backdrop for this new Vendula London bag I'm sporting. The first thing you'll notice about this bag, apart from its awesome shape and handy size (Vendula are so good at making practical bags for the likes of me who carry everything they own around), is the pretty, dangling, London-themed charms hanging from it. Including one of a woman with a handbag who everyone who sees it says 'is that you?' like I specifically requested it (and don't believe me when I say I didn't)... And of course, a red phonebox (which is actually a K6, not a K8, but I know no one else is at all interested in that apart from me :D). And this is all before you get to the uber-cute London-themed lining.

I have a confession to make though - I am not by nature a London lover. I lived in London for a number of years in my mid 20s, but it wasn't for me. I just didn't love being surrounded by people at all times and I've never really been one for nightlife. I also frankly couldn't afford to live anywhere half decent, which didn't help (and I still couldn't years and several promotions later). So, I moved away, but that wasn't the end of my London story, as I eventually ended up working there again and I still do to this day. My job is pretty ideal for me and I work in a pretty nice area of London in an amazing building that looks like it's been lifted straight from a tv programme, so I can't say I don't have a little bit of love for London after all. And rather a lot more for this bag (what, I have my priorities straight)!

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag with an autumnal outfit

A rare K8 phonebook

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag review

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag with an autumnal outfit

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag with an autumnal outfit

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag in a red phonebox

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag with an autumnal outfit

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag in a red phonebox

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag with an autumnal outfit

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag review

Vendula London Charm Doctor Bag review

PUG stripey jailbird top and beret

PUG stripe jailbird top, beret and red swing skirt
Hat: Joy (old)
Skirt: Tara Starlet via eBay
Belt: free with another skirt
Boots: B.A.I.T. Footwear (still available in black)

A quick word about those charms! They're part of a new range of Vendula's that will see you be able to buy other sets of charms to swap around as you please. There's something that tickles my love of novelty so well with that. I've seen a Frieda Kahlo set on Instagram, and a seaside one that I will definitely want to get my hands on assuming it makes production! As you can see from my pictures, you literally clip the chain/s on and then the charms however you please, it's pretty simple, but a really cute idea.

What do you think, do you like the idea of these charm-bracelet-esque bags?

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