Oh No it's Vintage

Hmmmm, this post has been a long while coming and it's one I've had half drafted for quite a while. I touched on some thoughts I've been having lately on my post about VV Brown when I used the words

''Vintage style is now so main stream and popular. This may have upset some of the vintage diehards/purists but I think it’s fine that people want to experiment and try new trends (even if they’re old ones!) Isn’t that want personal style and fashion is all about? Why not mix it up? New with old, or fifties style make up with the most modern of outfits, vintage hair with……… leggings?........... ''

A times I felt like I've been having a bit of a vintage crisis lately, not because I've fallen out of love with my wardrobe but because I feel that may be I don't fit in so much with some sections of the vintage scene..... may be I'm not die hard enough, not purist enough but........ I don't dress, style my hair or choose my home-wares because I want to be either of those things. I do them because, well I just like them and I'm interested in history.

Do you need to be interested in history to be able to wear vintage style? Of course you don't. If you want to cherry pick the bits you like and combine a beehive with a 1920s style flapper dress, who is anyone to tell you that you shouldn't? I recently wrote on my personal Facebook page the following status: 

''Hmmmm. I don't have the need or desire to police what people should think, do or wear. Nor do I need to be policed. ''

And it's true, I don't . Frankly and this may be controversial, it saddens me that some don't like the fact that vintage style has gone so mainstream, because I feel it's not ours to keep! I think it's wonderful that beehives, victory rolls etc live on! Personally I want to share how these styles can be recreated, I wouldn't mind one bit if I walked in to a room and it was full of victory rolls. But what about individuality? Well I am an individual, you are an individual. Having similar hair or clothing style doesn't stop that. Even if I was dressed head to toe in identical style to the girl next to me, I'd still be me, she'd still be her. Being an individual is who you are, not just what you wear. 

Popular era's in vintage are 40s and 50s, and there's a lot of this in the media. They're my favourite eras, I like the fashions and I like the hair and make up of those decades. And yes, I do wear 40s victory rolls with a 50s style wiggle dress. I like mixing and matching the eras. I think having modern style icons like VV Brown, Paloma Faith and Katie Perry mixing it up is great. For me this is the way forward with vintage style. For me. That doesn't mean I think everyone should do the same, it's their style, it's their choice. As a stylist I'm happy to create a look, or show someone how to do it, if they then want to recreate what I've done or put their own twist on it then either way is fine by me. 

Another thing I'm hearing a lot at the moment - are pin up photo shoots vintage? In my opinion yes. Gil Elvgren for example produced over 500 paintings of women in tongue in cheek poses between the mid thirties and 1972. When we're seeing photographs of women in these pin up poses, this is a nod back to artists like him.

By Gil Elvgren
When I see people knock pin up style shoots, I think it's such a shame. Yes it might not be your cup of tea and there may be a lot of them around BUT these women are brave enough to go in front of the camera and if they're displaying their photos then they are bloody proud! (quite rightly). Whilst I've never had a pin up style shoot myself (this is because I'm not brave enough!) it seems like it would be quite an empowering thing to do. Some women who have had these shoots have told me that it's given them a big confidence boost. So why knock that?

I could talk about this a lot, so really I think this is just part one! But for now I'm off to put on my mass produced Primark skirt and decide how I'm going to do my hair. If I happen to pass someone dressed the same as me? Well.....I'll probably think she looks very cute indeed. Will I feel like I've been cloned? No - because there's only one of me. (Phew I hear you say!)

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Mid Week Link Love

Wowsers! It's Wednesday again, so I thought we'd have another mid week round up!

Vix of Vintage Vixen knows a bargain when she sees it and has been on a mammoth charity shop hunt to prove that there are still bargains out there. Read about Vix's finds here

Over on Betty Bee Towers you'll find what is one of the best posts I've EVER read, it the my whole life. It's funny and very reflective and will make you want to compile your own list! The post is titled 'What I would tell my younger self' You really must go and read it!

Vintage repro seller Lady K Loves has blogged a photo shoot that is not only gorgeous but includes a very cute pink poodle. *awwww* Read it here

Over on Strawberry Koi you can find a delicious, scrummy recipe for a mocha frappe. This blog always has the most beautiful photography, so well worth a browse. Read it here.

A while ago ReeRee Rockette wrote a post about how us ladies feel about our thighs, It's a post I've gone back to read several times now and if you haven't seen it then I urge you to do so! Read it here.

Vintage Seller Your Vintage Life has blogged about their latest toy finds. I always love looking at old toys. Sadly I never did get a Big Yellow Tea Pot, I hope one day to stumble across one that's so cheap I can justify buying it! Take your own trip down memory lane by reading Your Vintage Life's post here

Finally I posted this amazing picture on my Facebook page this week, taken behind the scenes of The Wizard of OZ. The website it's from is called Retronaut, and it really is a brilliant website that's jam packed with interestingness. I'm actually quite smitten with it.

Visit the Retronaut website
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Sunny day accessories

Of course the ultimate sunny day accessory is errmmm.... sun. We're certainly not getting much of that in the UK at the moment, but should we dare to hope for sun over the next few months, yes even in July and August, then I fear we may lose our senses and go marauding around in it like teenagers on their first holiday without the folks. So should we get the chance to frolic, loll, snooze etc in the sunshine it would be wise to keep our heads, and our hats (see what I did there?)

So lets have a look at ways to keep us looking cute. Lobsters are indeed delicious but let's face it they are not cute, so eating them I'm fine with, looking like one? Well...... I'm just not okay with that at all. I haven't always been so aware of sun damage, I could tell you many disgusting tales of being a teenager and peeling like wall paper and sunbeds in my twenties. Oh dear lord, I've had many years of sun worshipping but those days are truly over. So how do you stay cool? 

Do you have a favourite style of hat? Do you prefer a headscarf? I tend to reach for my straw trilby, it doesn't really go with a lot of my wardrobe, and I always think I'll get a dramatic wide brimmed hat, but still haven't, as you know I'm not someone who has to have everything to match or coordinate.  If you do feel like taking a gamble on the sun coming out to play and buying some new accessories then there's a lot of choice for quite a range of budgets. Fancy something quite bold to make a statement like Diana Rigg's? Or do you prefer a floppy wide brim?

John Lewis £45

Gap £18.95

Oasis £7
New Look £11.99

House of Fraser £29

Something I'd love to invest in is a parasol, not the most practical thing if you need to carry bags, picnic baskets etc but they are just so pretty! I've discovered this UK based website that has these gorgeous designs, I just need to decide which one!

Brollies Galore £12.99

Brollies Galore £12.99
If you do fancy a little golden glow then I have to say that the best moisturiser with built in tan I've tried, and I'm fairly sure I've tried them all is... Garnier Summer Body. I'm careful in the sun now, but I still like a little glow of a tan sometimes. I avoid fake tans and just stick to gaining a gentle glow when I desire it, by using this moisturiser a day or two before an event or special occasion etc. The reason I prefer this brand to the others is it smells really really nice even after it's been on a while, it's very moisturising and it doesn't streak - although you do still need to exfoliate prior to application and wash your hands well afterwards - including in between your fingers! I'm including it in this post as I've just discovered it's currently half price in Boots at the moment making it just £2.55 a bottle. A good time to try it or stock up!

Click to visit Boots where this lotion is on offer at half price (currently  £2.55)

If you're still hunting for the perfect piece of retro swimwear then a post I wrote earlier this month may help. You can read it here.  In the meantime if you can all slip on your dancing shoes and shake out some moves, to actually encourage the sun to say hello that would be great. I think this needs team effort!
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Mid Week Link Love

I love a mid week love link, there's just so so so much stuff out there that fascinates me and so so many writers/bloggers/photographers who inspire me. It has crossed my mind that may be I should be more 'me, me, me' and not send my lovely readers off to other sites and blogs, but then I wouldn't be me! I like to share, and if you're reading this then there's a fairly good chance that we probably like a lot of the same things, so why wouldn't I want to show some appreciation and spread the word about what's been interesting me, keeping me amused..........keeping me out of trouble!

I'm not really a competitive person and this may stop me becoming a blogger who almost has blogworld domination, I'm more of a working together, community kind of girl. Anyway, if I'm going to blog then it's going to my way, so I shall carry on regardless! So without further ramblings let's get on with the links of loveliness.

Alison of blog The Dressing Parlour, has written an interesting post about deceased tattoo artist Norman ''Sailor Jerry'' Collins. He may have died in 1973 but his tattoo designs continue to inspire today. Read it here.

If you're as fascinated by wartime propaganda posters as I am, then you must visit the blog Eclectic Ephemera, where there is news of an amazing partnership that means hundreds of posters are going to be all in one place for us to view. Read more about this here.

If you're thinking of your summer reading the Charlie of blog Land Girl 1980 has reviewed a book about the Mitford Sisters. Read it here.

We have a wonderful pub in Norwich that's being given a new lease of life, it's had a loooooooong history and it's makeover is being blogged. Now why have I included something that's so local to me? Because it's such an interesting piece of history that even if you never set foot in it, you can still enjoy the blog, even if you can't enjoy the beer. Sorry.....  Read about this soon to be handsome fella of a pub called The Sir Garnet here.

If you follow me on Twitter or Facebook the you'll know that I'm a little addicted to You Tube, I often refer to it as a thief of time, some would say it's research..... but there is no doubt about it You Tube is a dangerously beautiful thing. I could spend hours watching old fashion footage, hair and beauty tutorials etc. Speaking of which, if you read my post on Monday about VV Brown and you fancy trying a fringe roll then blogger/vlogger Betty Bee did a fab and easy to follow tutorial last month, so if you fancy giving it a go then check it out! See the video tutorial here. 

Finally two shopping links for you! I was recently browsing Etsy and came across a designer called Janine Basil who creates some fun and very clever fascinators, if you love pop art these are great!

Click to visit Janine Basil's Etsy store

One of my most loved shops is Collectif, and starting today they have have, wait for this............ a MASSIVE 40% off full priced items online. You just need to use the code TENXXX. The offer runs Midday (GMT) 20th June 2012 and end midnight (GMT) 22nd June. If you're not familiar with Collectif then you can read my review here.

Visit Collectif

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Modern Style Icons: VV Brown

I recently worked with a beautiful model called Kiki. Tasked with creating a fifties look suitable for her to take part in a catwalk show, in which amongst other things she would model a swimsuit – beautiful and brave I hear you say! Although an experienced model, Kiki hadn’t taken part in a vintage assignment before, but was interested in exploring vintage styles, so as I was doing her hair I began thinking about examples of famous modern women who are influenced by vintage.

Model: Kiki
Styling: Karen of Blue Skies Vintage
Photo: Darhling Photography
Model: Kiki
Styling: Karen of Blue Skies Vintage
Photo: Darhling Photography
I started talking to Kiki about singer (amongst her other talents) VV Brown. The distinctive almost trademark fringe roll screams ‘vintage’.

VV's  no slave to decades and mixes and matches new with old. Her hair is often poker straight with the only vintage part being that fringe roll. Many girls, would at the very least have a wave in their hair for a vintage inspired style. VV proves that you don’t have to conform and it’s okay to do your own thing. I often wear one victory roll and leave my hair straight. I don’t consider that to mean I’m non-vintage, I just consider that to be my style of choice on that day. 

Vintage style is now so main stream and popular. This may have upset some of the vintage diehards/purists but I think it’s fine that people want to experiment and try new trends (even if they’re old ones!) Isn’t that want personal style and fashion is all about? Why not mix it up? New with old, or fifties style make up with the most modern of outfits, vintage hair with……… leggings?........... 

It's okay to cherry pick from the eras, will anyone really care if you're wearing a beehive with a forties dress? Or victory rolls with jeans? If they do care I'd suggest it's their issue not yours...What I like about VV is the way she seems bold and confident. So is VV brave to mix it up or is brave too strong? After all it’s only hair and clothes, right?............

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Summer Lovin Retro Swimwear

Well if this weather in the UK keeps up, we’ll have to turn up the heating, throw a towel on the carpet and sunbathe under the lampshade. Option two is to throw some salt in the bath and pretend we’re floating in the cool water of the sea, away from the heat of the fierce sun. On the off chance that we may see some summer (or perhaps you’re ditching the idea of a staycation and leaving on a jet plane) then you may need some new swimwear.

Now usually, it’s not always easy to find vintage inspired swimwear, but with the fifties being oh so popular right now, it's probably never been easier. If you are going in to salty or chlorinated water then non-vintage really is the way to go. If you fall in love with a 80s swimsuit, it may be able to take that kind of punishment - *maybe* anything older than that and you’re probably heading for heartache and trouble……. 

So if you do hit the shops both 'real'ones and online, here's what you can find to retro up your summer.

George, Asda: £12 This is a bargain!!! It's so 50s I like a bargain but I can't believe this is only £12!

New Look: £14.99 (was £19.99)

New Look: £21.99 

Boux Avenue: £38

Amazon, Red or Dead: £53. 20 (RRP £70)

What Katie Did: £67.50

Kiss Me Deadly: Bikini Bottoms £42. Bikini Top £42 

So go for bold prints, polka dots, nautical stripes, red, white, blue...... the options are endless but fortunately swimwear is one of those summer pieces that you can normally find something to suit your budget. The choices can feel limited at the lower end, but supermarket chic could be your saviour. They've really up the stakes this year in my opinion, so when you're shopping for your sun lotion (or woolly tights if this weather stays) then swing the trolley through the clothes aisles and take a look. If your budget is at the higher end then it's well worth taking a browse through the entire What Katie Did range. The Kiss Me Deadly range , whilst completely out of my budget is just a feast for the eyes!

Above all enjoy releasing your inner pin up girl, glamour goddess or beach diva BUT don't forget your sun protection! Of all the suits we'll ever own, our birthday suits are the most important ones! 
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A vintage and thrifty guide to Fathers Day

We don’t really need an official day to tell us that we should buy a gift, but if you are planning a gift for the dad or even a man in your life then here’s some ideas to help you. I've included the ‘man in your life’ because may be you want to show some gift love to a brother, uncle, your chap or even a friend.....

Check delivery times if you need to order online but if you get a wriggle on then you'll still have time to shop via the web, or you could go the old fashioned route and walk in to a shop! 
John Lewis Hip Flask £10

John Lewis - pack of to handkerchiefs £12 

John Lewis- Taylor of Old Bond Street Shaving set £32
Amazon: Corkscrew £9.18
Amazon: Moustache wax £4.99

Past Times: Spitfire Cufflinks: £10

Past Times: Mug £6

Amazon: Moustache mug £5

Don't forget charity shops, carboots, vintage fairs etc - where you could pick up vintage/retro gifts like vinyl, ties, books etc.

Photos make excellent gifts, if you have some that you'd like to give a vintage touch to, then the free software picmonkey is great. Free and easy to use, just load up your pictures, save them to a memory stick and get yourself to Boots and print!

Run out of time to buy or want to make something home made? Visit the Crunchy Betty website   where you can find recipes for things like ' masculine sugar scrub' along with a gazillion other links to get your creative home made head on! It's probably not too early to start making a notes of ideas for Christmas is it?

 If you're planning to show some love with food, then Sainsbury's have some scrumptious recipe ideas - including a recipe for baby bannoffie pies......... Read those here

Finally, I'm fairly sure blogger Retro Chick helped sales figures of Mars Bars see a spike when she blogged about Mars Bar vodka. As with anything edible that you intend to give as a gift it is VITAL that you taste test before handing it over to the recipient...... Mars Bar vodka recipe.

I apologise to those offended when I dropped the C bomb....... but really Christmas gifts take planning, so how early is too early??

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Guest Post: A Trip to the Races- Vintage Style ASOS Marketplace

If you haven't visited ASOS Marketplace yet, then it's worth a look. If Ebay leaves you fed up when you miss out on that dress you long for, then sites like these can save you the heartache. No bidding, no watching just buy if you love. Here, Laura Clarke gives some vintage tips for a day at the races although there's good tops here for any outdoor event that you might have coming up.

Guest Post by Laura Clarke 

It’s summer time and a trip to the races is always a fabulous day out (and a brilliant reason to get rather dolled up), but what to wear?! The high street is full of identical looking clothes, so if you want to stand out in something different vintage clothing is certainly the way to go. You can pick up many vintage finds from charity shops, vintage boutiques and online at sites such as ASOS Marketplace.

The starting point for most outfits fit for the races is a fabulous dress. Whether it be a maxi, midi or even a mini (if you’re brave enough) there is a style out there that will suit you perfectly. An elegant choice for the races is a 50s prom style dress in a gorgeous feminine floral print and midi length. Stiletto heels will admittedly look great with this look but a grass friendly wedge is probably more appropriate.

To complement the look accessories should be in keeping with the dress and of a similar era, or at least have the look of that time anyway. A tan leather bag will not just look great but also be big enough to carry around all your essentials; well it will be a long day!  

A light summer jacket may be essential when the typical British weather means it is roasting hot one minute and then rather chilly the next. Lace is everywhere this season, so why not incorporate it into your outfit by way of a gorgeous cropped jacket.  

For finishing touches add on some gorgeous accessories, pearls are a great way to carry the 1950s style through your whole outfit and will be something you wear again and again as they look wonderfully sophisticated with almost anything. So next time you are cheering on the horses stand out from the crowd in some fabulous vintage fashion.

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