Monday, 22 November 2010

Looking Good While Dressing Practically: The Humble Loafer

Today Adam and I made a trip out to the Sussex coast, and in the car I put two pairs of shoes. The first a pair of 1950s black heels that I’d bought just recently for wearing out and the second a pair of tassle loafers for driving in.

Once we got to Lewes my desire to wear the 1950s heels dissipated upon seeing the cobbled streets and the steep sloped walk up and down the highstreet. I realised that actually I quite liked my loafers and seeing as they were rather comfortable I would rather keep them on.

Wearing loafers with a 1950s outfit isn’t really something I’d thought of before. Normally the flat shoe associated with the 1950s is instead the ballet flat or saddle shoe which in turn were mainly associated with teenagers. As I was talking to Adam however I realised that I’d seen several adverts, photos and film clips in which the women were wearing loafers as a smart alternative to the ballet flat. Personally I think it’s a great shoe for days when you want a smart-casual look without wearing pumps. All too often I fall into the category of smart (suits, circle skirts or high-waisted trousers with heels) or casual (jeans, converse). Never in-between.

Saturday, 20 November 2010

Thanksgiving 2010


Thanksgiving is almost upon us, less than a week to go! Having married an American means that this tradition has been adopted on our little Isle by my family. We have had Thanksgiving for the last 2 years since Adam and I got married, and each year the invite list seems to get bigger. I find Thanksgiving very different to Christmas. Despite being a Turkey based meal, the flavours are very distinct. Not only that, but it's also a much more relaxed affair in our household, with considerably less formality than Christmas.


Friday, 29 October 2010

Long Time No Post!

Well I'll be the first to admit I've been pretty rubbish at updating this thing over the last couple of months. There's probably a little too much to go over in the last 3 months for one post, but we've had 2 birthdays (mine and Adams) as well as our 2 yr wedding anniversary in that time. We've also seen my sister off to Edinburgh university,  Adam took and passed his ILR test (now awaiting his visa in the mail) as well as applying for Post Grad courses and internships. I have also finally finished making a fabulous 1930s suit for a friend. This week I have worked 8 days straight thanks to having no other managers in the shop at the moment, and today is my one and only day off this week. I am celebrating having a day off by doing absolutely nothing, other than the grocery shop and the updating this blog that is!

 In the last few months I have inevitably found time to do some shopping. Not much but a few pieces from Etsy, my favourite place for sourcing vintage clothing.

Wednesday, 8 September 2010

C.W Stoneking at Charlotte Street Blues

Back in May El Nino (of Black Cotton Club and Lady Luck) organised a night at Charlotte Street Blues in London featuring the Australian songwriter C.W. Stoneking. Adam and I were very excited, and perhaps rather naively booked tickets despite knowing he was playing the night before we were due to fly out to America. Needless to say, we didn't make it. Packing took priority and the stress of getting ready to go out did not bode well amongst the stress of getting ready to fly to another continent. Although excited to leave for America we were disappointed to be missing C.W. as being from Australia the visits aren't terribly frequent.

Fastforward to August 30th and hurrah! El Nino has come up trumps again and organised for C.W to play at Charlotte Street on Bank Holiday Monday. This time Adam and I had no excuse, and it being the day after Adams birthday we decided to go as part of the celebrations. C.W. is great live, far exceeding the recordings. He's a great storyteller in the spirit of 30s blues, although he has the strangest Australian accent I've ever heard. I understood about 50% of what he said when he was talking! Anyway, here are some photos from the night. He has a couple of tracks on spotify you can check out too.

Tuesday, 10 August 2010

Polaroids - The Black and Whites

Some of you may have already noticed me mention our Polaroid 100 Land Camera (I included a photo in the last post). Our Land Camera I found in a thrift store while staying with Adam and Detroit some years back, complete in its case with the original bulbs, flash, manual and some out dated film (we didn't attempt to use this!) I had previously been given one by Adam as a present but a later model without all the mod-cons. The 100 series was particularly exciting however because it was the first of the Land Camera models and came with a glass lens and would have retailed for around $165 in '66 when it was released (a lot of money for those days!). The camera takes some beautiful shots, and I'm finally getting around to editing some of the photos we took with it in Michigan during our stay in May. So I thought I'd share them with you bit by bit. First, the black and whites!

Monday, 26 July 2010

My Dads 70th Birthday and the $8 Wonder Suit

Taken with our 1960s Polaroid 100

Yesterday (Sunday) my Dad turned 70! He's a difficult one when it comes to birthday because frankly, he doesn't like them. Or Christmas. And he's a nightmare to buy presents for. That said, we all wanted to do something special for his birthday that he'd both enjoy and remember, for all the right reasons. Originally, my Mum was going to throw him a big party, but we all knew he wouldn't enjoy it. So instead she booked a meal just for the family at the Petersham Hotel on Richmond Hill. A fitting choice, as it was where they went for the first night of their honeymoon after they got married.

My Dad couldn't have enjoyed it more. He loved every minute of the day. We all did. The food was fantastic and the view over Richmond was lovely (the view over Richmond is actually a 'protected view', no one is allowed to build on the land).

My Mum had told me to 'dress posh'. Now when you tell Adam and I to dress posh we get a little confused, as our version of 'posh' is probably not everyone elses. We're over dressed in comparison to everyone else pretty much 90% of the time! In the end I decided to wear my $8 wonder suit. Aptly named by Adam as I found it in the States in May, for $8. Bam! So I thought I should share some photos of what I wore with you.

To add up the cost of the outfit:
Suit: $8
Hat: Free!
Earrings: Gift!
Shoes: £25 from Marks and Sparks.
Bag: $24

So to sum up, Marks and Spencers is clearly over priced.

 Unfortunately not a full shot. But it's cherry red! And the purse I found on the same day in the same part of michigan in a matching red. Insane. I posted photos of it in an earlier post.

Although it's not the most attractive photo of me I've ever seen, (I look like a lump) it does give you a good idea of the amazing detailing on the suit (click on the photo to enlarge).

At this point it had been a long day and my hair (and me) were starting to look a little tired. But I do like this style. It also gives you a good view of the hat I was wearing, which had a big velvet bow in the front. Originally my hair looked a little neater, more like in this photo but without the victory rolls:

Definitely tempted to go back to having short hair.

A woman in the toilets came up to me and said I looked like the queen when she was my age. I wonder if the queen makes attractive faces like this? Somehow I doubt it.

Monday, 12 July 2010

Aurora Borealis - Where's the Love?

I was introduced to Aurora Borealis years ago, when I was given one of my Grandmas necklaces by my mother. Since then, I've noticed it's not a jewel you see being worn very often. I think people often assume that there are limited styles of Aurora Borealis jewellry, or that it's too dressy for most occassions today, as really it's a coated rhinestone, and you don't see those out much either.

Much of the aurora borealis I've seen at vintage fairs or stalls has been the kind of stuff that was given to me by my Grandmother, long strings of different sized aurora borealis rhinestones, or circular clusters of them for earrings. When my Grandmothers necklace broke however I went looking for a replacement, and stumbled across so many different styles of aurora borealis that I hadn't seen before.

Aurora Borealis was introduced in 1955 and seemed to fade out of popularity after the mid 60s, so if you're into the 50s its quite an 'accurate' jewel to be wearing! The coating on the rhinestones means it tends to reflect the colours around it. The other thing I find is that it's not as expensive as a lot of other jewellry I look at, for the simple reason that it's not as popular. You can pick up some really lovely clustered flower burst earrings for $10-$20 on etsy with aurora borealis detailing.

My favourite pieces however are the ones where they've been more creative with how they use the stones. This week I picked up a couple of earrings with some money I made off eBay. I've been watching these earrings for months and they haven't moved. If it were bakelite or celluloid, or even just plain rhinestones we were talking about they'd be long gone (or considerably out of my price range).

I got these gorgeous frosted pink glass earrings from etsy this morning. I love the shape of them and the way the rhinestones are dotted about on them. I've been wanting to get some more pieces of pink jewellry too.

These I've been watching a long time and I was convinced they disappear before I had the money for them. I adore the atomic swirl shape of them and the little faux pearls in the middle. And best of all, only $9, which is why I'm so shocked they didn't go sooner.

The swallow broach and leaf earing are fabulous, and both under $15. Unfortunately for me they sold before I got a chance to nab them.

The set above is two earrings and broach, made by trifari from what I remember. A lovely set in great condition, and for less than $30.

These vintage cuffs with aurora borealis in them tend to go for more money. You're looking at around $50-$80 depending on the style. The reason being more so that they're made with mid century plastic than because they have aurora borealis in them however.

Anyway, I felt Aurora Borealis was a little under appreciated, considering it can be a lot  cheaper to buy than other vintage jewellery options, and doesn't always have to be as formal/dressy as people think. But perhaps I'm wrong, and there's a secret society out there with a sincere love for the AB rhinestone. But it's certainly something I don't see people wearing out that much!

Ximena x

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

And Her Tears Flowed Like Wine

I also want to share with you my favourite track at the moment. Can't stop playing this!

And a fantastic clip of Lauren Bacall singing it in The Big Sleep. The interaction between Bacall and Bogart is great.

Michigan 2010 Part 3 - When it comes to vintage, God Bless America

Now for the final part of my Michigan trip post. It's been a while coming, but there's a good reason for that! Over the last year, I've had a little bit of a vintage 'drought'. I haven't bought very much as I haven't really had the spare cash, and some the things I have bought have ended up being a little bit of a disappointment (or too small, in the case of my favourite pair of shoes :( ) However, when Adam and I went over to America we set aside a small amount of cash each in case we found something we liked. Adam has been having a great time this year with vintage, finding some amazing shirts, suits and jackets, so the expectation was that he would be the one to find all the goodies.

But no! Instead I had a hard time choosing what to buy and what to pass up. But I hope you'll agree that what I did end up with is rather lovely...

This beautiful purse I found in a little vintage store in Holland, MI. We wandered into a jewelery store after admiring their front (very 50s brickwork) and got chatting to the owners about vintage. They thought we were bonkers, but sent us down the road to another shop they said had a vintage clothing section at the back. We walked down, only to be informed by the shop assistant that they no longer stocked vintage, and to try another store on the other side of town. So Adam and I, with my very blistered feet (oww), walked over to the other side of the town in the 30degree heat. But was it worth it! I found this purse with all its original accessories still intact, and beautifully lined in deep blue. I love the shape and the lucite handle.

This skirt I found in a vintage store in Royal Oak, MI. I looked at it and assumed it would be too big (I can never find vintage in shops in my size), but was so in love with the pattern I thought I might as well try it on. And it fit! Perfectly! And it matches the pink sweater I bought a few months back too. My favourite part is the glitter on the stems of the flowers, particularly as it's all in such good condition and hasn't worn off over time.

I found two (5 actually, but only 2 I really liked) vintage 50s hats in a warehouse Adam and I used to go to when we were dating. I had a good rummage around the place (it's HUGE) and found the two hats and a Lisner 50s necklace. When we got outside when we were done and spoke to the old lady who runs the place and asked how much she wanted, she said nothing! She let me have them all as a gift. Amazing. It was the first place we visited on our trip and what an amazing start. I really wish we'd had time to go back but alas, no such thing.

And last but not least the chalkware lamp Adam and I found at the same place we found my purse. Adam saw it and without even looking at the price said 'I want it. Can we have it'. Good thing it was only $49 really! Our favourite part is how they pressed real feathers into the lamp shade and base. The little china man is a bit beat up, but I kinda love him all the more for it.

There is one more thing... but I want to get a decent photo of it, as the photos Adam took didn't do it any justice. But I shall be wearing it on Friday most likely, so hopefully I'll get some better photos then!

Ximena x

Monday, 5 July 2010

Rock 'n' Bowl

On Saturday Adam and I decided it'd be fun to check out Rock 'n' Bowl for the first time. If you haven't heard of it already, it's a 50s themed club held in a bowling alley. But not just any bowling alley, the Bloomsbury Bowling Lanes, where they even went to the effort of importing original 1950s carpeting and above lane ball returns which they sourced from Canada.

It's a fun night simply because it's so unpretentious. You can go and watch a movie in the entrance hall, grab a bite to eat at their diner and then dance a little before bowling a game. There's a lot to do for one venue. I have to say, I sucked at the bowling part. However I did have some input from Keith and Nino on how to improve my game, and it definitely worked! I still managed only half the number of points of Adam and Keith though. Pretty shocking but at least I'm a good loser.

The only part that isn't so much fun is attempting to dance on their dance floor. Which is made with old carpeting squares and is covered in gum. You have to wrench your foot of the floor to do a spin! And I'm not sure my Aris Allen's enjoyed it very much. But I have been informed that this is going to be replaced in due time with wood panelling. Hurrah!