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Posts Tagged ‘vintage style’

Jane Birkin Lights Up Christmas Tree

… when I first went to Paris as a teenager, I could always spot other English girls because we put everything together so badly. French women start with the same ingredients, but they make better use of them. They were always so beautifully turned out with their velvet headbands and clip-on pearls, a scarf casually tossed over their shoulder. But after the counterculture swept through Europe, it became chic to wear whatever you liked, and it was our chance to laugh at the French girls. You’d see photos of Julie Christie coming down her front steps wearing a raincoat  over her pajamas with gum boots, spectacles perched at the end of her nose. It was so unpretentious – and so very English. It’s impossible to be stylish without confidence, you see. 

Jane Birkin – British actress and model.

I’d love to see an example of a British woman back in the day who styled herself so badly and a French woman who did it so perfectly.

Ms. Birkin is known for her effortless style. She sported a basket as a handbag back in the 1960s, which eventually inspired the Hermes Birkin Bag and she has made “borrowing from the boys” look tres chic for the ladies.

Speaking of European style, lately several women have complimented me by saying, “Your style is very European.” I think what they meant is that I have a put together look – my outfits are intentional and cohesive. That’s not at all American but perhaps it is European.

What American fashion strives for is more like Ms. Birkin’s effortless sporty look. I love that, when it works. Making it work, like she says, takes confidence and some instinct for fashion.

My style is vintage inspired with a modern twist here and there. Whatever I’m sporting for the day, a simple a-line dress or a pair of cords, I usually top it with a hat of some kind and that gives any outfit a vintage feel. I often tie a scarf around my neck, which adds interest, and my jewelry ranges from Victorian to Art Deco to 1950s kitsch. To make the look a little more modern, I’ll add a trendy item such as a hoodie.

Effortless is it not. I put a fair amount of thought into what I wear but that’s what makes fashion fun for me.

 

 

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That’s me sporting my custom-made shirtwaist dress by Theresa LaQuey. Photo: James Young

Throwback Thursday. Originally posted on June 23, 2011.

Last October I had a brilliant idea while strolling Fabric Row in Philadelphia. Why not buy some fabric to take home and have a couple of dresses made? What a perfect memento of my visit to Philly.

So that’s what I did. I perused the family run shop Maxie’s Daughter on South 4th Street and chose two cotton fabrics – one with a violet color print and the other a brown/orange print. I knew I wanted shirtwaist dresses I could wear with sandals in the spring/summer and with tights in the autumn.

The middle-aged salesladies with frosted updos and South Philly accents seemed more serious about the upcoming baseball playoffs than fabric. “We’re gonna beat you,” they teased. “OK,” I said. “I have no problem with that.”  Heck, I was a San Francisco visitor with absolutely no attachment to ballgames, I wasn’t going to argue with Phillies fans.

When I returned home, designer Theresa LaQuey sketched a retro shirtwaist dress with buttons down the front and a knee-length hem (very vintage nurses uniform). A few months later, voila … I had dresses that are well made and fit to a T.

Every time I wear them I think of my visit to Philly and those serious Phillies fans. Now, those are dresses with a story.

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This is a suede coat in maroon from 1970. Suede was really popular back then, used for coats, vests, and handbags.

I love the color and the trim fit makes it super chic. The details are sharp – note the tucked shoulders and wide lapels in a contracting neutral color.

The coat is paired with what was called at the time, decorated denim. It was the done thing to piece together various denim swatches creating a new look. Beads, patches, and embroidery were also used. The pant leg hems are left raw, which is a trend happening today, as is decorated denim but we’re calling it embellished.

One of the aspects of fashion that I’m attracted to in this era is the use of vintage. There was a mixing up of styles from past decades including the 1920s, as we see here with the cloche hat. I like the creativity and uniqueness of combining modern with vintage.

Come back tomorrow for another favorite look from The Summer of Love Experience: Art, Fashion, and Rock & Roll.

 

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Miss Rosie Lea. Photo: David Morley.

Vintage style is timeless, feminine and completely open to your own interpretation. It celebrates women of all ages, shapes and sizes in a way that fashion houses just don’t.

– Miss Rosie Lea, British vintage model.

This quote is from an article by Miss Lea in Vintage Life magazine, October 2016.

Well put! But I would add that it’s a good idea to mix vintage up a bit. By combining eras and even adding a touch of modern we create more interest and keep it fresh for a truly timeless look.

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Ms. Ross is the daughter of singer and style icon Diana Ross.

I’ve been a shopper and vintage collector for years. I’m big on wearing clothes multiple times. I was taught as a young girl that you work hard for your money and there’s nothing wrong with spending it on beautiful things if you’re going to cherish them, take care of them and wear them lots.

– Tracee Ellis Ross, former fashion model and current actress on the television show Black-ish.

In 2016 Ms. Ross was the first African-American woman in 30 years to be nominated for an Emmy award in the category of best leading actress in a comedy. She didn’t win but I think we’ll see her again in the award lineup.

 

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