Tag Archives: clothing

Wearing Animals 2 – Horses!

This is the second of my series on wearing animal prints.  As I mentioned in my last post, butterflies and horses are the this season’s darlings.  Last time I  talked about wearing butterflies so next up: horses!

Wearing horse prints is a little trickier.  If you want to hit upon the real trend of today you will want to wear patterns that feature horses for horses sake alone.  What do I mean by this?  Avoid all themes that have to do with people using horses for the most part.  I.e. cowboy related prints, equestrian prints , carriages, and also those where horses are intertwined with leather belts, gold chains and jewels… you know what I’m talking about! While these are fun looks in their own right, this is not what we are going for here. As well, unicorns don’t count, although they are obviously awesome in other ways ;).  I’ve done a little searching and this is not easy to do in vintage but here are few fun options available on Etsy, mostly from the 70s and 80s:

Skirts & dresses:

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Sweaters:

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Shirts:

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Accessories are a great way to get the vibe too, and there are lots of lovely pieces that you can find on Etsy particularly scarves, purses, pins and belt buckles!

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If you like to be a little different from the rest… go for donkeys!  They are rarely featured I found out… so you might want to grab this amazing skirt!

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And finally… in the end, I could not resist a few unicorns… wear these as you ride off into the sunset over spring time rainbows!

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Wearing Animals 1 – Butterflies!

One of my favorite trends these days is animal motifs which takes “animal print” to a whole new and delightful level.  This of course appeals to me as a biologist and serious animal lover!  I find it sort of funny the way different animals seem to be in style each season or year, because to me, they are all pretty awesome.  Previously birds and cats were all the rage (both of which appear to maintain some appeal), and for this season butterflies and horses seem to be the latest thing.

This post is the first in a series and I’ll start with butterflies for those of you who want to be at the forefront of the latest trends 😉  plus it puts me in the mood for spring!

Butterflies

Butterflies are easy.  They are actually a recurrent staple though most of the last few decades and it is a snap to find gorgeous vintage prints.  The best thing about going vintage for the butterfly trend is that you can get very unique pieces made from high quality and artistic patterned fabric.  You can get skirts, dresses and tops quite easily.

Here are a few beautiful options on Etsy:

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For something a little different but so beautiful and organic, look for butterfly wing prints:

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& try going for large butterflies for a truly striking look:

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* get 10% off this dress ⬆ or any other items at jdbok with this code: JDBOK10  !!

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Finally, there is always the quintessential sequined butterfly top of the 70s to 80s.  There are so many of these available on Etsy, you can find them in any colour!  These things are all the rage and have been selling like hotcakes these days at La Gaillard.  Be sure to get a vintage one… there are many newer versions out there and the quality does not compare.  Look for ones made of silk and in India. Here are a couple to show you what I am talking about:

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I have listed a few more clohing finds in an Etsy Treasury: Butterfly prints!

Last but never least, butterfly accessories are also tons of fun.  Pins for example allow you to go butterfly with anything that you already have… I suggest wearing a couple at once for an instant flock!

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And etcetera!  I coud go on forever but I’ll stop after these 🙂

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The Ultimate Princes Coat – Historical Pieces

For my last post, I had searched far and wide to locate the perfect quintessential princess coat with fur trim all around, but I had a lot of trouble finding one.  I figured it was because they had recently been in high demand for Christmas and winter, but it is true that they are somewhat rare as well.  I forgot, though, to look at the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s collection, silly me!  I stumbled upon this piece of theirs on Pinterest, and thought I would post it here so that we could all revel in it’s beauty. It is perhaps unwearable but still worth adoring!

Circa 1968, i.e. approaching the decade of the princess coat and was designed by Shannon Rodgers.

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They also have a few other princess coats in their collection that are  lot of fun to look at as well.  Voila:

Circa 1955, Traina-Norell

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Circa 1970, George Caplan

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Circa 1970, Norman Norell

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Circa 1967, Oscar de la Renta

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Circa 1970, Arnold Scaasi

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Circa 1972

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Circa 1970s, Yves Saint Laurent

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Circa 1968-69

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Filed under Fashion History, How to wear vintage, Trends

The Princess Coat

We just got 43 centimeters of glorious fluffy snow here in Montreal.  This in itself is a vintage experience and reminds me of the snowfalls we used to get around here back when I was a kid and of those my parents described playing in when they were young too.  This kind of scenery puts me in the mood to talk about vintage winter fashion and the first thing that comes to mind is the princess coat!

Princess coat?  What is a princess coat you ask?  Well, you won’t find a definition of such a thing anywhere, but in the vintage scene, it is well understood.  The first characteristic that defines a princess coat is that it is flared at the waist.  Next is fur trim; this can come in many variations with the most quintessential pieces having trim along all the edges of the coat.  They come most commonly in wool, leather, suede or shearling with fur of various kinds.  The most glorious pieces are of course the ones from the 40s to 70s. Here are some available on Etsy:

Unadorned:

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Fur trimmed:

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There are many shearling princess coats available from the 1970s, the decade that really embraced this style.  My favourites are the little short ones with fur trim all around but there are several variations and they are all fashionable and cozy!

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Another popular version is the Russian princess  coat.   These are more a-line in cut and are double breasted like a pea coat or some variation on that theme.  They usually have fur trim on the collar and/or cuffs.  The red and black versions of these are truly classic Russian style, but all of these coats are amazing and are great timeless investments.  Keep in mind too that you could add trim yourself to a coat that you already have.  Faux fur is available in any fabric store, and you can always find real fur cuffs & collars in vintage shops.

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If you prefer not to wear real fur you are not out of luck, and you will be far less out-of-pocket (usually ;)).

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What is the perfect companion to a princess coat?  Clearly a fur muff and hat set!

Happy winter & HAPPY NEW YEAR!!!

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Filed under Fashion History, How to wear vintage, Vintage trends

How to Wear a Vintage Peplum

Many designers are doing peplums today, and now it’s not hard to find a peplum top or dress in a fast fashion shop.  However, it is always more fun to wear an original!  Have a look at my last post, The Peplum Through History to see how they have developed in modern times. After this journey back through time, you are probably now wondering how in the world you can pull off a vintage peplum piece for this trend? But, it’s easy!

First, a few notes about cut.  Indeed you will probably want to try a few types of peplums to figure out what looks best on your shape.  For example, a short (~1 foot) very ruffled peplum would look better on narrower hips1, while a flatter uneven or gathered peplum may highlight curvier ladies. What is fun about the peplum is that, if you have hips and a waist it accentuates them, and if you don’t, it gives you them!  Some people say that not everyone can pull off a peplum, but to them I say pshaw. A little trial and error may simply be required to find the perfect one for you.  Or, to heck with that in general and wear whatever you like!

In choosing pieces from the 30s and 40s, avoid those with the longer peplums, these are pretty frumpy. This piece from the Metropolitan Museum of Art collection, beautiful as it is, is a perfect case in point:

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Uneven or gathered peplums are especially lovely. Below are few examples of highly wearable and beautiful pieces from the 30s and 40s that you can get on Etsy, and I have a few more posted in my treasury, Wearable Peplums From the 30s and 40s.

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Though I mentioned in my last post that the peplum largely disappeared between the 40a and 80s, it did pop up now and again.  If you dig the prairie style dresses from the 60s, which are really poplular these days, my absolute favorite versions are the ones with peplums!  Here are a couple lovely examples on Etsy:

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One must tread carefully if one plans to wear an 80s peplum since some of them are just too far out.  But that said, there are many awesome examples, mainly in party dresses.  Here are a few from Etsy that I really love and check my treasure Wearable Peplums of the 80s for more.

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Simple peplum jackets are amazingly beautiful too, particularly those made of wool or pared with a matching skirt.  The more subtle versions have in fact been around rather constantly throughout time.  Buying one of these is a great investment because it is classic, and you would likely wear it for the rest of your life. These are good examples of what I am talking about.  They aren’t easy to find, so if you do see one, and it fits, go for it!

Photos from blog pics

There is another quick way to get the instant peplum look… with a detachable peplum!  Have a look at my next post to see how.

 

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References:

1. Sewing Made Easy; New Revised Edition.  By Marie Lynch & Dorothy Sara. Garden City Books, ~1955. USA.

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The Peplum Through History

I have so much to say about peplums that this is going to be a two part post.  This first one introduces the peplum and its journey through time.

Peplum is a word that, along with the fashion has gone  largely underground for 70 years with only a brief resurfacing in the 1980s.  However, it has been slowly making a comeback on the runways over the last few years, and this season it is really here with a vengeance.

First off, if you have never heard of it, you’ll be wanting a definition.  A peplum is basically an over skirt, that is usually attached to another garment such as a jacket, blouse, skirt or dress.   Its main purpose was essentially to highlight the mini waist by accentuating the hips.

These types of adornments stem from the embellished dresses of the 1800s and beyond. There are many examples at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York (p.s. their website is simply amazing!).

The next big break for the peplum was in the 30s and 40s where it was a staple attached to dresses and jackets.  There were many variations from long to short, even and uneven and a look at old pattern designs can give you a nice idea of their range.  You can also see where todays inspirations come from out of this fashion era.

In reality these designs translate into pieces such as the ones just below, which are also part of the collection at The Met.

In the 50s, the peplum was done to a degree as it faded out, but not in any major way, which is made obvious by the fact that it is hard to find 50s dresses with them nowadays. Most true peplums of this time were similar to those in the 40s so there is no reason to search out 50s peplum dresses.  However there were also several peplum inspired embellishments  to one side or in the back, and several gathered versions which are really unique and very fashionable. It was a time for out with the old and in with the new!  Here are some examples that you can get on Etsy:

And again, here are some absolutely gorgeous examples from The Met (the one on the left is Dior and the other two are by Charles James):

The peplum resurfaced with force in the 1980s, particularly for party dresses and suits, with variations from your wildest dreams. Here are a few amazing examples on Etsy.  By the way, you can own these, and I recommend it!

For a few more crazy pieces have a look at my Etsy treasury: Wild Peplums of the 80s .

As I mentioned, peplums are everywhere now.  Just open a fashion magazine or do a google search to see how these are being done today!  What I love about taking a look back at them through time is that you can see where the inspirations come from, but also see what is new.  These days, the peplum, as in the 80s, is important for party dresses, but similar to the 40s, it is also being done for day wear. I love how designers have taken it to a new complex level  of geometrical, structured or floufy. Here are a few particularly spectacular examples:

Burberry

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Zac Posen

Givenchy

Giorgio Armani

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Two of my next posts detail how to go vintage for this trend, both for beautiful peplum jackets and dresses as well as detachable peplum belts!

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References:

1. Sewing Made Easy; New Revised Edition.  By Marie Lynch & Dorothy Sara. Garden City Books, ~1955. USA. Pgs. 360

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The Detachable Collar Demystified

Most trends these days are recycled.  The fun thing about that is that you can look for vintage pieces that fit right in. Of course, you will also then be more unique and the quality will be incomparable.  It is true though, that sometimes the original pieces are downright weird… you must be selective (but never be shy to select hilarity if you love it!).

There are a few of these trends out there right now and the one that I am going to write about today is the detachable collar.  You have probably seen these by now, they seem to have hit the mainstream this season.

Though you  may never have heard of such a thing, these are also borrowed from times past.  Originally, the purpose of detachable collars, was versatility.  Add a fancy crochet or lace collar to a day dress or sweater, and you can wear it for an evening out, and appear as though you have put on a whole other outfit!  This was useful when times were tough, and appearances mattered.

In fact, many patterns were designed with detachable pieces, and you could make several versions of them to alter the look of your outfit with less fabric. Of course, it was not recommended to wear matching collar and cuffs at the same time, because they would “divide the interest” and make your outfit appear “spotty”1.  You could make all kinds of these out of a wide range of fabrics such fancier ones like piqué, organdie and eyelet embroidered1.  Otherwise solid coloured or printed silk, rayon crepe, taffeta or linen may also have been used; gingham and plaids being favorites for the patterns1.  In every case, the collar was made to fit the neckline perfectly, so that it appeared to be part of the top1.  Another way to achieve the same idea was to wear a dickey1, but sorry folks, that will never be in style again!

Today, the detachable collar has a different use.  Really, it is worn as a necklace of sorts, and has become an accessory rather than a necessity.  And so, the wearer need not worry about its fitting perfectly around the collar of their shirt, but may revel in its stark detachability!

How to go vintage for this trend?  I recommend the gorgeous beaded pieces from mid last century.  These can be found in vintage shops if you are lucky, but there are loads available on Etsy for very reasonable prices ranging from 15-45$.  The fun thing about these beaded collars is that they hit another current trend, the small rounded vintage-style collar.  To be quite precise, these are known as “peter pan” collars1.  To get the look, use your detachable collar in a more traditional fashion; you’ll need a high crew-neck shirt.

Here are some of my favourites from Etsy:

Crochet collars can also be really beautiful.  Here though, you’ve got to be extra careful not to make it look granny.  I suggest wearing it as a necklace again, with a low cut shirt so that it doesn’t overlap.  Here are some lovely vintage ones on Etsy:

There are loads of hand made ones on Etsy too, often in more wearable styles with a  wider variety of colours. Just search “crochet collar”! They may not be recycled, but they are hand made, and thats also good for the environment.  I’m sure you could find some made from recycled wool too if you’re looking to be die hard, or, make one yourself if you know how.

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References:

1. Sewing Made Easy; New Revised Edition.  By Marie Lynch & Dorothy Sara. Garden City Books, ~1955. USA. Pgs. 349-351.

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Next week’s topic?  The peplum.

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