Thursday, 26 November 2015

Outfit: the dress I couldn't forget (+ giveaway reminder)

So, remember how I painstakingly put two outfit choices for a wedding this month together, and got you all to tell me which was your favourite? It was all going so well, until this dress...

ASOS is hardly the retailer of choice if you want to pick up a floor-length 30s style dress - and yet, that's exactly where I found one. And not only did I find one, I found it in the petite range, meaning it actually had a chance of fitting without some serious alterations! I first spotted the dress a couple of months ago and hadn't been able to stop thinking about it since. I planned both of my other wedding outfit choices and tried to forget it. I couldn't stop thinking about this being my only chance to get a dress like this that would fit, though. And then, of course, it started to sell out, as every other short woman out there was clearly thinking the same thing.

The final straw for me, though, was the beautiful sparkly green necklace that Jessica sent me as part of the wonderful gift package to feature for our giveaway post. This dress and that necklace - although from different eras - would be a match made in heaven. I knew it, the necklace knew it, the dress certainly knew it and finally forced its way into my shopping basket the week of the wedding. I like to think that if nothing else, the outfit I nearly wore was the predecessor to this one - as it also featured green, gold and black... but that is probably just me trying to justify spending a silly amount of money on a dress I didn't actually need ;)

Oh well, there's a reason I started fashion blogging, and it wasn't because I made sensible clothing purchases...

ASOS 30s style green maxi dress with fur stole

ASOS 30s style green maxi dress

ASOS 30s style green maxi dress

Chronically Vintage 50s floral necklace

ASOS 30s style green maxi dress with fur stole and Vendula London New York clutch

ASOS 30s style green maxi dress

ASOS 30s style green maxi dress with fur stole

ASOS 30s style green maxi dress with fur stole

Side bun with hair feather

ASOS 30s style green maxi dress with fur stole
Hair feather: Miss Selfridge (very old)
Dress: ASOS Petite (still available in standard)
Bag: c/o Vendula London

In fact, even though petite, I really could have done with it being about an inch or two shorter (the irony!), but didn't have time to fix it before the wedding... so yes, I did spend the entire night holding it up. And despite this, yes, people still managed to spill things on it, which you can see a little of in one of these photos. I had meant to take these shots pre-potential alcohol spillage, but someone had a bad hair day and spent nearly an hour fixing it, meaning we ran out of time for photos before we left. No, it actually wasn't me, it was B!

Anyway, back to the necklace and the giveaway Jessica and I are hosting here! You've got 15 hours to enter if you haven't already. I will pick and notify the winner by email tomorrow, so a final good luck from me!

Oh and a very Happy Thanksgiving to my American readers :)

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Thursday, 19 November 2015

Adorable accessories with Chronically Vintage + WIN your own collection

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - packaging close-up

I am so excited to share today's post because not only do I get to support a very dear friend, I'm also bringing you my first giveaway - and I might be biased, but I think the prize is fab. (You all know I'm now going to waffle for a while, so skip to the end if you want to go straight to how to enter.)

I was so thrilled when Jessica of Chronically Vintage - who so many of you will already know and love - suggested we work together on this post in aid of her Etsy shop, ChronicallyVintage. This lady is so tireless in her support of others in the vintage community generally and she's been such a caring friend of mine in particular, I leapt at the chance to feature her awesome shop here.

It surprised me to learn that Jessica suspects many of her readers aren't aware that she has a shop, or come to learn about it after some time of reading her blog. I can only think this is due to her mindfulness of never 'sales-pitching' her readers, which is incredibly admirable as it comes from a sincere place of wanting to provide the best content at all times. I, however, have no such qualms - Jessica works tirelessly to source and list cute vintage pieces with particularly fab ranges of jewellery and scarves and everything is very reasonably priced too. Incredibly, she's got well over 1,000 items listed currently - a huge range for any vintage shop, but all the more impressive for a one-woman operation! Her shop specialises in accessories as that's largely what's available in her part of the world - you will find the odd piece of clothing and certainly bags too though. But anyway, I don't need to tell you about how much is on offer, as much as I'm enjoying myself (what can I say, I'm a marketer by day), when I can show you a snapshot!

This is what a good mail day looks like from Jessica's shop:

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - a bundle of packages

All beautifully wrapped and securely packaged, as you can see. I'd like to add that Jessica had told me she'd send some things and asked for some of my preferences to pick them out - but I had no idea that she'd be this generous! It was one of the best mail days of my life, let me tell you! This picture above neatly demonstrates the immense care she puts into everything, even wrapping the smallest gift box - and you can't even see how secure everything was padded on the inside, but believe me it was. And we all want that from a vintage seller, right?

Anyway, you all want to know what treasures she picked out for me now, don't you! Here they are in all their glory...

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - a range of goodies

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - beautiful brooches

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - earrings, bracelets and a necklace

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - 50s style floral sparkly necklace

Now let me be frank, I am an abysmal accessory wearer. By abysmal, I mean incredibly lazy. Ok, I've got a few bags and hats now, but I don't really buy jewellery and don't wear what I do have enough - although I've been slightly changing my bad attitude starting with brooches this year (hence the odd one or two have been popping up here lately). Two years ago, I didn't own a single brooch! The worst sin, though, is that I have 9 holes pierced in my ears and yet I wear the same 9 earrings all the time. I know, why did I even bother?

The good news is that since this package of joy arrived I am changing my bad ways! And the biggest change has been with earrings - Jessica sent me so many cute pairs that I had to up my ear decor game rapidly. And I have to say, I am really enjoying it so far - and so much more than I thought I would!

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - red diamond earrings and a matching headscarf

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - red diamond earrings and a matching headscarf

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - yellow earrings and bangles

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - yellow earrings and bangles

I find it very hard to pick a favourite piece from all she sent to me, but I have to pick out this stunning necklace. The photos haven't captured how sparkly and intricate it is. I immediately started plotting what I could wear to show it off for its proper debut and this may or may not have provoked a winter wedding outfit c choice (remember a and b?). Unprecedented, but such is my love for this necklace! (The wedding is tomorrow actually and the dress I may or may not have bought for this unexpected third option is about to be delivered today, so we shall see...)

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - 1950s style floral necklace

ChronicallyVintage Etsy shop - 1950s style floral necklace

Anyway, you'll be seeing lots more of these pieces in the near future in upcoming outfit posts, so meanwhile what you all want to know is how you can have your own mini collection from Jessica's shop too, right? I might just be able to help you with that, as Jessica has kindly offered to giveaway $75 (USD) store credit - roundabout £50 - to one lucky winner, which could buy you very many treats (this credit can be used to pay shipping and taxes incurred at checkout, the latter only applying if you're in Canada). Enter using the Rafflecopter widget below and I'll pick a winner at random in a week's time (and all the terms of the prize are found via the widget).

a Rafflecopter giveaway

And if you don't win, or don't want to take your chances, or really want to snap up something you've got your eye on before the winner snaffles it, Jessica has kindly also offered my readers 25% off all items in her shop via the discount code CiCi25 valid until 10 December 2015. This code will apply to the total before shipping (and taxes if you're in Canada), there's no minimum order value and Jessica's determination to offer low combined shipping costs means that should Etsy's calculations overcharge for this, she will refund differences of over $1.00 post-purchase.

Finally, if you haven't already, do enter Jessica's Vintage Secret Santa - if you buy your gift from her shop (use the code, use the code!) and drop her a note she will even gift wrap it and throw in a holiday gift card for your lucky giftee.

Good luck everyone!

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Sunday, 15 November 2015

Outfit: burgundy heartbreaker

I think it's about time for an autumnal outfit, don't you? Particularly as there's probably more leaves on the ground than on the trees over here right now, so I think that means Winter is Coming (and I don't really like Game of Thrones, but I echo the characters' sentiments as far as that's concerned). I generally find it a pain in the neck to dress for autumn, though, as our weather is basically just winter, but with more foliage on the ground... But this year it's been... ok!

We've actually had some gorgeous, crisp sunny days - in fact we've had whole weeks that were better summer weather than summer itself could offer. Of course, we've had the usual weeks of wind and rain too (like today), but for once I've actually managed to wear some 'transitional' outfits. I don't think I've ever used that word on this blog before because I don't recall this country ever transitioning rather than leaping headfirst into winter since I've been writing here! I've really enjoyed stopping to cook up a few autumn looks, from which comes this one.

This is a simple enough outfit but I haven't put burgundy and mustard together like this before and I have to say I quite like it. This dress, like the Tara Starlet blouse I featured before, is one of my oldest 'vintage repro' buys. It followed quite closely on the heels of said blouse many years ago and also, like the blouse, I tend to forget I have it. Then I put it on and remember how flattering it is and how much I love it as it's so easy to pair with other things. I bought this when Heart of Haute were still Heartbreaker, but amazingly they still sell the style... 

Also, I know you've seen this brooch very recently, but I'm amazed by how many of my outfits it seems to go with. I wasn't expecting it to pair with any really, as it's such a mix of colours, which is the polar opposite of what happened with my Goldie brooch... It's made me think maybe I should get more 'random' accessories just because I like them and see what happens. 

And yep, I did manage to take these pictures a) before the leaves really started turning and b) in front of a tonne of what I suspect are evergreens. Autumn, what autumn?!

Heart of Haute Super Spy dress with mustard and polka dots

Heart of Haute Super Spy dress

Erstwilder Lip Service brooch

Heart of Haute Super Spy dress with mustard and polka dots.

Clarks 'Cognac' boots in mustard

Autumn foliage

Heart of Haute Super Spy dress with mustard and polka dots.

Heart of Haute Super Spy dress with Erstwilder Lip Service brooch

Autumn trees

Heart of Haute Super Spy dress with mustard and polka dots.

Heart of Haute Super Spy dress with mustard and polka dots.

Heart of Haute Super Spy dress with mustard and polka dots.
Beret: Primark (similar)
Dress: Heart of Haute 'Super Spy' (available in black)
Brooch: Erstwilder
Belt: free with dress (similar)
Tights: New Look (similar)
Boots: Clarks 'Cognac' (check eBay)
Bag: Warehouse (similar)

And that just leaves me to say that I've got something very exciting coming later this week - check back on Thursday for my very first giveaway :)

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Tuesday, 10 November 2015

The Pinup Girl Clothing canvas underskirt review

Pinup Girl Clothing canvas underskirt review

I only got my first petticoat last year - I thought it was going to become a staple part of my wardrobe, but in reality I've probably only worn it a handful of times. For one, I couldn't really justify spending the money on a truly quality one a la Vivien of Holloway, and I feel the repercussions in the form of the horrible scratchiness of the netting. The other problem is that a lot of petticoats are available in similar standard lengths and it turns out my 25" petticoat, at the same length or an inch shorter than a lot of my skirts, has a habit of peeping. I don't really like my petticoats to show. And of course, there's the more knee-length skirts that are shorter than 25" which just don't work at all.

There's also just something a bit fussy about wearing a big ol' net petticoat going about your daily business for me, personally. I'm quite happy to put it on for an occasion, but getting in and out of cars to go to the shops bundled in fluff isn't my thing. That's why when I first got wind of Pinup Girl Clothing's canvas underskirt, I got a bit overexcited. No netting, a short length and promising to add fullness without the fuss, based on the underpinnings Dior designed in the 40s and 50s - it was definitely worth a go. And then I read a review that said it quite literally fell a bit flat. I'd already ordered it by this point so it was a bit late to change my mind, but it made me think that sharing my opinion on how it measures up as a petticoat could be useful.

So, here is my cotton circle skirt, looking limp and forlorn with no puffery beneath it.

Pinup Girl Clothing canvas underskirt review - before

Now, let me get something out of the way. I hate ironing but I DID iron this skirt. It's one of those pieces of clothing that wrinkles as soon as you look at it and all of the wrinkles show up marvellously clearly in photos. There was something about the lighting on this day that captured them particularly perfectly. So there.

Anyway, that's what it looks like on its own. And below is what it looks like with my scratchy 25" net petticoat underneath vs with the canvas underskirt.

Pinup Girl Clothing canvas underskirt review - regular petticoat vs underskirt
Left: Banned 25" petticoat | Right: Pinup Girl Clothing canvas underskirt

I think we can agree that there is virtually no difference in volume here, right? When I was going through the photos I had a hard time working out where the first batch ended and the second batch began, but what gave it away was the slight differences in the shape of the volume. You can just about see on the right that the underskirt gives a bit more volume at the top of the skirt, whereas the petticoat is more of the regular upside-down triangle kind of volume we're used to seeing from a regular petticoat.

This is probably personal preference, but I prefer fullness that starts on the hips - I think it's just a bit more feminine somehow and makes my waist look smaller. Apart from the slightly different shape though, here are the other things I love about the underskirt:

  1. It is short (see below for an idea), so it fits under most of my skirts, but the unique shape of it means the volume rolls off the top 'tier' of the fabric, meaning that that tell-tale 'ledge' you can get if your petticoat is too short for your skirt doesn't manifest unless your material is so thin you'll see both layers anyway (serves me right for buying ludicrously cheap ASOS skirts in the sale)
  2. The shape and the fact it's only two layers of canvas means that it doesn't make contact with you legs in the same way that net petticoats do - this makes it great for hot weather (ha!) and for generally wearing it and forgetting it's there
  3. I really like how the snap closure means you don't have to step in and out of it - it's a simple thing, but I get in a tangle with my net petticoat trying to get it on 9/10 times

So if any of that sounds like the answer to your skirt problems, it might be worth getting your hands on one. They come in a huge range of sizes, which I also appreciate a lot more than the petticoat 'one size fits all' approach. The only word of caution I would say is that it's never going to give you the fullness a decent quality net petticoat would - and I think the images on PUG's own website are a little bit optimistic. Above is realistic - and as you can see it's not really adding a huge amount more volume than without for this particular skirt, but for others it's much more noticeable.

I'll leave you with an idea of how short it looks on me - and bear in mind I'm 5'1" so I'd expect it'd be a bit more above the knee on taller ladies.

Pinup Girl Clothing canvas underskirt review

In terms of sizing, by the way, if you fall in-between two sizes like I did, you'll probably fit into both. Choose the size based on where you want the waistband to sit - if that's at the waist, you'll want the smaller size. If you don't mind it being more towards your hips and a looser, more comfortable fit, you'll be good with the bigger one. I do find mine snug, but worth it to get volume from the waist.

And if you want to see this skirt and the canvas underskirt in further action (albeit with the wind severely knocking them out of shape), check them out in this outfit post. Guess what? The skirt still looks really creased.

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Thursday, 5 November 2015

Outfit: howdy partner (quite literally)

So, 'couple' posts are like buses - you wait a year and then two come along at once. Actually, I thought it was only fair to show you B as he normally appears now, as you've just seen him dressed as Fred (clearly, he's not remotely blonde) and before that as... I think we'll call this 1950s farmer? Believe it or not, most of the time he's not in fancy-dress. I know, crazy huh? (That doesn't mean he wouldn't like to be - this is the boy who went to school with a Spiderman costume on underneath his uniform, after all.)

Anyway, three things happened to bring the idea for this post together: 1) B found the perfect western-style shirt, after hunting for one forever, 2) around the same time, I picked up a denim swing skirt, which had been on my hitlist for a long time too and 3) I remembered my very small, but much-loved collection of cowboy boots.

Plaid, denim, cowboy boots... this was only going to go in one direction... west! Yep, I'm full of puns today. Themeing an outfit like this kind of brings the ridiculous side out of me, I guess. I'm generally a fairly serious person, but I hope those that really know me would also add a 'but' there. And that but is the side of me that wants to wear novelty print and dress like a cowgirl for the day. It's also probably the side that has one-sided conversations with dogs in public (something B just can't get his head around) and wins games of Cards Against Humanity by a mile. It's probably also to blame for why I love cowboy boots so much in the first place - I can't resist the quirk, particularly as they're pretty much out of fashion right now (I love an underdog).

Anyway, my silliness aside, seeing as B's shirt (and how nice it looked on him) partly triggered the idea for this outfit post, I thought it only fair to include him! He wasn't as enthusiastic about this as I was, but after a while he got into the swing of being my side of the camera lens for a change. I have to say, it was quite fun for me to direct him and use some of what I've picked up about posture and poses to help get some great pictures. But see what you think of my efforts!

Checked shirt, denim swing skirt and cowboy boots

Checked skirt and plait

Checked shirt, denim swing skirt and cowboy boots

Checked skirt, denim skirt and plait

Checked shirt, denim swing skirt and cowboy boots

Checked skirt, denim skirt and plait

Denim skirt and tan cowboy boots

Checked shirt, denim swing skirt and cowboy boots
Dress worn as shirt: Boohoo (last year's)
Skirt: Forever 21 (almost identical)
Belt: New Look (similar)
Boots: Shoe Zone (similar)

Checked shirt, skinny jeans and suede shoes

Ray-Bans, checked shirt, skinny jeans and suede shoes

Ray-Bans, checked shirt, skinny jeans and suede shoes
Shirt: Levi's (available colours)
Jeans: Topman (old)
Shoes: River Island (similar)

Don't worry, I wouldn't leave you without a picture of us together. This post was asking for cheese factor.

CiCi and B together

Corniness aside (one of my friends said it looked like it was from an engagement shoot, ha!), this is one of my favourite locations we've been to for a while. Completely remote, in the middle of lots of farmland was this little bridge that B remembered from his childhood (I didn't grow up around where we now live). Overgrown on one side, a huge corn field on the other, we climbed over stinging nettles to get these shots and even though I got stung (of course, what a surprise), it was totally worth it, wasn't it??

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