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Posts Tagged ‘travel’

IMG_20180602_104927702_HDRMeet Lizzie! I spotted her sitting outside of Cake Cafe on Chartres Street in the Marigny neighborhood of NOLA. She looked effortlessly-chic while quietly enjoying the sunny afternoon under an umbrella.

Lizzie’s shirtwaist dress is feminine and flattering and yet also comfortable, making it ideal for hot weather. Note the vintage details: polka dot fabric print, ruched elbow-length sleeves, sweetheart neckline, and full skirt. All the styling is achieved with just the dress. Nothing else is needed – how easy is that?  (Added bonus are pockets. We do like our pockets.)

Lizzie is wearing some slightly oversized shades in a color that goes well with the red/cream colors of the dress. Her flats are an excellent choice with the hemline and keep the look casual but still fashionable.

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One more thing – chatting with Lizzie I mentioned her vintage vibe and it turns out that she works at Trashy Diva and naturally, this is a TD dress.

Thanks a bunch, Lizzie. You are a NOLA star.

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Bette-Nash4In the old days, we saw a lot of mink coats. Today, we see a lot of flip-flops.

Bette Nash, American Airlines flight attendant.

Ms. Nash, 81, just celebrated her 60th anniversary working as a flight attendant.

I chose this quote (from an article by Lori Aratani for The Washington Post) because it’s sadly funny and pretty much says it all about how far we’ve descended into sartorial sloppiness.

I know flying is hard. It’s crowded, long, and unpleasant. But what if at least some of us made the effort to look nice? Maybe not a fur coat but a blazer? A pair of slacks instead of yoga pants or jeans. Add a scarf and a cap. Perhaps our experience would be more positive and we just might inspire other travelers to up their game.

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Question: What’s the difference between a well-dressed bicyclist and a poorly dressed unicyclist?

Answer: Attire.

 

Haha. As a bicyclist myself I admit I have not brought my fashionable best to the handlebars. I usually cycle for exercise around my neighborhood in the mornings and well, my hoodie, cropped sweat pants, and a pair of Pumas go on so easy.

But I often think of the San Francisco Tweed Ride (or London Tweed Run), which gathers a dapper biking crowd to cycle together on vintage bikes and in vintage attire – such as tweed jackets, jodhpurs, caps, and argyle socks. En masse all around the city they go creating quite a picture. I ran into them once in Civic Center and it’s super fun to see all the different outfits, early 1900s to the 1930s and lots of mixing it up.

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But the Tower Bridge steals the show in this photo.

I may be casual at home but last October in London I stepped it up for a bicycle tour of the city with Tally Ho! Cycle Tours. I sported wide-leg wool slacks paired with a Pendleton jacket, and a cloche hat. It was a challenging ride thanks to all the city traffic, but I was lookin’ spiffy and after three hours tooling around, I made it back to tell the tale.

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IMG_0292One more London story! On my visit last October, I set out to find the Beau Brummell statue. Erected in 2002 the statue stands just outside Piccadilly Arcade on Jermyn Street.

It’s not easy to find. But we did and much to my surprise we also found a couple of bums hanging at the feet of Mr. Brummell. I suspect they were not not there to pay homage. Ha! I doubt they had any idea who this man was or his importance in fashion history.

George Bryan “Beau” Brummell (1778-1840) was London born and a general man-about-town with royal connections. He was known for gambling and unusual sartorial choices. In the British Regency period (1811-1820) the trends for aristocratic gentlemen were embroidered coats and waistcoats (Brit speak for vests), knee breeches, white stockings and shoes with gem encrusted buckles. They sported tall wigs, white powder makeup with red stain in their lips and fragrance.

It was too much for Mr. Brummell who pushed back with a simply tailored “suit” the first of its kind – a white linen shirt underneath a tan waistcoat, black coat with tails, fitted pantaloons paired with tall boots, a cravat (predecessor to the tie), and top hat. No wigs, no makeup and most of all no scent! He believed in bathing everyday, which was not the done thing at the time.

The story goes that it took him several hours to dress each morning and men would line up outside his flat in Mayfair hoping to secure a place inside to watch how he did it. Among the admirers was the Prince Regent, later to become King George IV.

He had quite a lasting influence on men’s attire.

I’m a fan of Mr. Brummell’s for his contribution to fashion but also, he was an interesting character with high style standards and a quick wit. I was more than a little annoyed by these two men just sitting with no intent to leave, even after noticing my photo taking. But I after awhile I began to enjoy the irony and humor of the dapper dandy standing confident and tall over a couple of shoddy fellas. I imagined him poking his walking stick at one guy and offering a nice swift kick to the other. Indeed, at the feet of Mr. Brummell is exactly where these two belong.

Have I piqued your interest in Brummell? I recommend the biopic called Beau Brummell: The Charming Man (2006).

And/or the biography by Ian Kelly, Beau Brummell: The Ultimate Dandy (Hodder & Stoughton).

 

 

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amelia-earhartWhen I’m flying in my little plane, I usually wear a sports costume with a rather full skirt and a close-fitting hat. Sometimes I slip a leather windbreaker on under my coat, for the temperature drops as one ascends.  … Usually on a solo flight, I wear low-heeled shoes, because with low heels it is easier to keep my feet braced on the rubber bar … On the Friendship flight … the trip was pioneering one, and comforts were not thought of. For instance, there was no step from the pontoons to the door, and I couldn’t have jumped into the plane in a skirt. Further … we had dumped everything to sit on, to save weight. Squatting on a rolled flying suit, or kneeling on one knee, or sliding between the large gas tanks wouldn’t have left much of ladylike ensemble.

Amelia Earhart (1897-disappeared 1937), pilot and first women to fly solo across the Atlantic. This quote is from an essay Ms. Earhart wrote for Harper’s Bazaar in 1929.

Ha! And we think we have it hard flying these days.

Ms. Earhart created her own style for flying, which often included trousers, button down shirt topped with a leather jacket and a scarf. Looking at photos it seemed she felt more comfortable in sporty attire than the more traditional feminine frocks of her era.

Speaking of flying and attire, as I get ready for traveling this week I’m pondering what to wear in flight. It is tough in these days of overcrowded airplanes balancing comfort with looking presentable. Anything tailored is too restricting, skirts are impractical for sitting, and who wants to risk our really nice pieces of clothing to the grit and grim of airline seats?

I usually go simple in corduroy pants and a long-sleeved cotton t-shirt. I add a scarf and my trusty beret for a little chic factor – accessories can upgrade any outfit. Outerwear might be my tweed coat or this time of year I think I’ll go with a puffer vest. Oxfords rather than sneakers also keep the look sharp. (Although, sneakers are looking pretty darn fashionable lately.)

How about you, my fashionable readers? How you do manage to look nice and stay comfortable while flying? Vintage-loving readers, how do you keep vintage while traveling?

Please share your thoughts by leaving a comment.

 

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IMG_20170325_143802082As many regular ODFL readers know, last year I embarked on a journey learning to sew. I took four classes and made a pair of pants, a knit dress, an a-line skirt and … ta da … a cape!

It’s not a superhero cape but, I am a superhero for finishing it!

Yikes what a challenge. I started the project in November and just now finished. Full disclosure – I had my seamstress do the buttonholes. But I cut and stitched (by machine and by hand) every inch of the rest of it and let me just say, it was a challenge.

There were some starts and stops, thanks to the holidays and winter maladies. As well as me just not wanting to work on it. I do think this project was cursed. Right from the start I had problems – cutting the fabric took me twice as long. (I like to blame Trump because I was so upset and distracted by his presidential win, I found it hard to concentrate.)

IMG_20161103_084014163The cape came about in the first place from my visit to the UK last fall. At  Cordings in London, I saw some lovely capes in tweed and got inspired. Convinced I could make my own, once I arrived home I found a Vogue pattern and brownish tweed in a lightweight wool.

IMG_20161209_133847477_HDRThe project offered several new tasks for me: lining, a collar, and buttonholes. Undaunted was I!

Turns out the collar was the easiest. The lining was a pain because I bought traditional lining fabric, which is nice now that it’s in, however, it slipped and slid and made sewing tricky.

What frightened me beyond reason was the buttonholes. I practiced over and over, getting the hang of it but also realizing that these holes had to be spot on or the cape would be ruined. Also, as my friend pointed out, home sewing machines don’t make very nice buttonholes. After many weeks of avoidance and lots of guilt-tripping myself I decided to let it go and contacted my seamstress.

She did the buttonholes (so nicely), I sewed on the buttons (vintage glass, BTW) and the cape made its debut on a Saturday evening out.

This was the hardest project so far and it feels like a big accomplishment, even though I outsourced the buttonholes.

Sometimes the lesson is: Call the seamstress!

 

 

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An ad for Vogue in the 1960s, when people made an effort to dress well.

Over the course of the 20th century, social dress codes evolved from staunchly formal to informal and fluid and now, to virtually nonexistent, victims of a confluence of cultural factors including the ever-increasing casualization of everyday life. It’s unlikely that United’s zealot gate agent gives a hoot about the woeful state of the fashion industry. But his/her strict enforcement of the employee pass rule provided a reminder that in some rare occurrences, leggings just won’t do. In other words, there are reasons to go out and buy some clothes.

Bridget Foley – editor and columnist for Women’s Wear Daily.

This is a quote from Ms. Foley’s editorial on the recent leggings incident on United Airlines. Do you know the story? Well, briefly – two teenage girls were pulled aside before boarding a United Airlines flight and were told they would have to change out of their leggings. A nearby women witnessed this and went mad taking photos and posting on Instagram, yelling “outrage.”

Turns out the airline had a reason for their position as the girls were traveling on a company pass and there’s a dress code that applies. United considers that anyone traveling on a pass is a representative of the airline and therefore, they are required to present professionally. From what I’ve read, no one else on that flight was confronted about their leggings and I’m sure there were plenty of other travelers sporting the ultra casual look.

Of course I’m with Ms. Foley and United Airlines. Keeping to high standards is always a good thing. I tip my hat to the gate agent who enforced the (reasonable) policy and Ms. Foley who always eloquently says it like it is.

 

 

 

 

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