Monday, 4 April 2016

Crinoline Robot's vintage week

Crime Scene magazine, In Retrospect magazine, and Bright Young People by DJ Taylor
Gosh, it's a bit quiet round here, isn't it? That makes sense, really. In general, my life is pretty quiet. I'm still happily knitting away on my It Cannot Fail To Please, and enjoying reading Bright Young People. That's a history book all about the fashionable young set who were notorious in the 1920s. I haven't got very far into it, but already I suspect that while it might have been tremendous fun to be a Bright Young Person, they would have been deeply irritating to have around.


On the magazine front, I've new issues of both In Retrospect and Crime Scene to enjoy. (Disclaimer: I sometimes write for the former, and have a couple of reviews in the current issue of the latter.) There are some great features in both; I particularly enjoyed the articles on the Just William books and photographer Richard Avedon in In Retrospect, and Crime Scene has good articles on the forthcoming series of both Ripper Street and Peaky Blinders. Apparently the next series of Peaky Blinders starts with Tommy's wedding, though teasingly they don't say to whom!

I had last Thursday lunchtime to myself – usually I met Mr Robot for a cuppa at lunchtime, but some blanker had arranged for him to have a meeting – so I dropped into the Dorothy House hospice's vintage charity shop on Bridge Street in Bath. It's a really good location, just before Pultney Bridge. I've always worried that the big vintage chazzas leach stock away from smaller towns so it can be deposited in large cities, and I have definitely seen less decent vintage available in my local Dorothy House shop since the big Bath one opened. However, wherever the local vintage donations are going, they're not ending up in that place. The stock was, to be kind, disappointing. Very little of it felt exciting, and some of it definitely wasn't vintage. I know they're dependent on donations for stock, and are only a small regional charity, but I've found decent stuff in the smaller non-vintage branches. Ah well. I'll keep haunting my local regular branch and ignore the 'vintage' one.
Fat lady in a retro dress
This dress is going to Spain

My annual flail about my holiday wardrobe has begun. I need to take time to try all my summer clothes on. I'm pretty sure a fair few things I own, which were tight last year, simply won't fit right now. Erk. I'm also trying to wear more separates, which has led to the horrid realisation that I have no idea how to make an outfit that isn't based around a dress. With a dress, you just have to find accessories. With separates, you need the bits to match before adding accessories, and the textures as well as the colours need to complement each other too. I don't know how other people do it; I was looking in Seasalt and couldn't work out if the skirt I liked (this one) would go with either of the two plain green blouses I already own. I thought, “Well, if I buy the matching top and style my outfit exactly the way they've styled it...” to which a voice in the back of my head added, “...You might as well have bought a dress and saved yourself the extra cost of a garment.”

Now I'm going to digress about matching. At what point do you buy something that doesn't match anything else? I've got a vague shortlist of holiday clothing drawn up, and it's 70% navy, because when you're travelling you need every garment to be able to work with several others. My linen holiday trousers are navy. So most of the tops I'm considering to go with it are white or contain a bit of navy. And I thought I'd pack my navy cardigan, so the dresses that are mainly navy are a logical match. Voila, my holiday packing looks like an expanded version of my high school uniform.

Goody, you need to run outfit-composing classes. Or I need to give in and accept that I belong in dresses.

25 comments :

  1. I've read 'Bright Young People' and its a good read - talk about the 'beautiful people'! They certainly enjoyed dressing up and pranking about. Have you read 'Among the Bohemians' by Virginia Nicholson? It covers the Twenties period.

    I'm so glad you enjoyed the Just William article in In Retrospect - that's one of mine. I've loved the William books since I was a kid and still listen to them as audio books when I can't get off to sleep. I find Martin Jarvis' voice quite soothing!

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    1. I *thought* that was you! I loved the books as a kid too; I'd get them out of the local library and they'd make me cry with laughter.

      I haven't read the Nicholson books. I've got a few vintage thrillers to read next, but I'll be back on the history at some point for sure.

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  2. Hi Mim,
    /You look positively glamourous in that dress that's going to Spain!
    For travel I forego nearly all accessories except for a pashmina to make room in the suitcase for all the treasures I'll find. I stick to black when traveling, it's appropriate everywhere, goes with everything, & looks decent even when worn a 2nd time. I think your choice of navy for your traveling color ais a great idea as it goes so well with your coloring.

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    1. Thank you! That photo was taken in Paris. I tend to take limited accessories too, though if I know I'm sightseeing in religious buildings I'll take a shawl if I'd have bare arms otherwise.

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  3. I'm flattered you think I'd know what to do with that skirt (I don't). I'd probably match to one of the green shades as there's less of it than the pinks. A very tailored short-sleeved white linen blouse could work if you wear some big beads and bangles in colours from the skirt. Big straw bag, a clip-on hair flower or two, and call it a day.

    That is a very tough skirt to match!

    I buy what I like without regard to what I own to match. As a result I end up with a lot of clothing, and because there's so much of it, eventually something goes with it. This is a Very Bad Thing To Do. Don't do this.

    If you wear a navy dress with a navy cardigan you're going to look like a nun. Okay, maybe a cool 60's nun, but still. Do you like scarves? I ask because they take up no space at all when packing, and can add some variety to something like a navy dress.

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    1. Hmm, the husband was raised catholic. Maybe the nun look would have a certain appeal for him...

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  4. You look lovely in the dress, it so pretty and has so many colours it could work with on the cardy and accessories front! I actually think your navy capsule wardrobe is a good idea as navy works well with most colours and really makes them pop, plus is a lot less dull than my colour of choice black! I am hopeless when it comes to matching separates I try really hard to think about what I already own, and buy something according but sometimes I just fall in love with something and have to have it despite it not having anything to go with, this could be a major factor in why most of my clothes never get worn! x

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    1. I love black, I just don't seem to wear it any more. My last daytime LBD wore out late last year, and I deffo need another.

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  5. Holiday packing is one of my least favourite things!! I feel for you. I just peeked back at my honeymoon wardrobe and realised that my separates had either white, navy or pink in. so if you already have white and navy then a nice bright accent colour might be nice. Lime, coral, orange, red, loads of options. Just in a few small things, jewellery, flowers etc and they wouldn't take up much space.

    Good luck!! Xx

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    1. Yeah, I'm toying with lime, coral and/or pink, if I find the right sort of thing. I'm taking cheapo jewellery from Accessorize; still annoyed at losing a favourite silver pendant in Toledo many years back.

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  6. That Seasalt skirt is really cute! I'd personally team it with white or the darker green (not the lime on they've got it with) but I think it would look lovely with a navy top, navy shoes and a navy waist belt. A pink brooch or headscarf to bring out the skirt colours would look fab against the navy. x

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    1. Thankyou!

      I love the fact that Seasalt design their own unique prints in Cornwall - it really sets them apart. And many of their prints have a distinctly deco quality, I think.

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  7. I'd like to read Bright Young People, as it covers an era I am very much interested in. At the moment, I have a thing for the years leading up to the First World War, and I'm reading Juliet Nicolson's The Perfect Summer, covering the summer of 1911. I haven't got any far with it, either, as I always have a novel on the go as well. Oh, the dreaded holiday wardrobe. I am not looking forward to holiday packing at all. Since we will be mainly walking, and in the UK, I usually don't take many dresses, and it's the only time I'm wearing jeans, which I hate. But I can hardly go walking in a vintage summer dress, can I? Reading about Bath makes me want to go there again. It's been far too long. xxx

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    1. Ooh, that book sounds interesting - I've got one on the summer of 1939 which was fascinating, so it'd be interesting to see how The Perfect Summer compares.

      If you're ever in Bath, give me a yell - I get lunch breaks!

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  8. One of my mates has been working as an extra on Peaky Blinders but, try as I might, he won't spill the beans about the plot or bring Cillian Murphy to the pub with him, meanie!
    Gorgeous photo of you, Mim. I wear skirts more than dresses on my travels, I bought two more block printed wraparounds when i was in India last, they should see me though till my 70s!
    The skirt you like is lovely but it does have a lot of white in the print which might get grubby if you're exploring cities.
    Have you read The Rare & The Beautiful? The story of Walsall's wild women, the Garman Sisters. I might be biased as Kathleen bequeathed her art collection to the people of Walsall but it is a cracking read. http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Rare-Beautiful-Lives-Garmans/dp/1841156345 xxx

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    1. Cillian Murphy has the odd quality of striking me simultaneously as incredibly beautiful and incredibly ugly. He often doesn't look quite real.

      Pete took the photo, he's good at it.

      I'd never heard of the Garman Sisters. They sound so fascinating! That's deffo a book to add to my wishlist.

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  9. Oooh, I love the work of Richard Avedon but am yet to find some friendly elephants for *my* blog photos. Oh well. I love that dress on you, the colours are a perfect foil for your flaming hair. Navy will be very smart and practical. Don't know what to recommend for holiday dressing as I always pack the wrong things or too much just remember some good suncream and a hat. Xx

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    1. Elephants can be quite scary. One of our guides in Burma reckons every elephant tries to kill its handler twice a day. Not sure of that was family wisdom or a national saying!

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  10. How exciting that you have a trip on the horizon, dear Mim! I hope that it goes awesomely for you.

    Navy is an incredibly versatile colour to style and a great choice to plan a travel wardrobe around (I've done the same before myself, too). Nearly every other hue can be partnered with it, but some strong "best friends" include red, yellow, kelly green, silver and gold, pink, turquoise, chocolate brown, and chartreuse. Plus it can hide a little dirt usually, too, which never hurts while you're on the road (or plane, etc).

    ♥ Jessica

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    1. Yeah, I'm a terror for getting grubby. Though I don't mind paying for hotel laundry if I have to.

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  11. I was sitting here agreeing wholeheartedly with this. I have a section of skirts in my wardrobe yet I haven't worn one for YEARS! I don't know why I fell out of wearing them but I did and now I just feel I don't know how too anymore.
    Navy is a great travel colour and so versatile though I admit I avoid white like the plague, I'm like Pigpen and it's filthy in minutes, it doesn't really suit me either thankfully.

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    1. I've got a white-and-floral dress that I'm packing, but I won't be taking anything pure white for my bottom half - I'd probably sit on an icecream or something. I'm learning to embrace patterns for travelling as they hide the dirt better.

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  12. My dear Mim,
    I "hear" your words loud and clear. :) Firstly, THAT dress deserves a trip to Spain. :)
    Next.. this one is coming from someone who's life has been changed by dresses.. I had to struggle with "what to wear" every single evening (since I'm one of THOSE people who like to prepare everything in the evening, before work.. nerdy, I know). Once I found a FIRST dress, other dresses just followed her - into my wardrobe. I say: don't give up being "dress-wearing gal", it's a blessing. :)
    ...
    You look lovely in the picture.
    Heck: you ARE lovely.
    I'm sure Mr. Robot will make it out for the "missed" lunch date. I'm sure (but, just in case - let him read this comment and "get the idea") :)

    Huge hug!
    M

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  13. I tend to just not match or to wear lots of jewel tones that sort-of-but-not-really go together (today is an emerald green top with a burgundy cardigan and dark navy jeans). Prints are difficult - I think the Seasalt skirt is really made to go with a solid top in one of the pattern colours and not much else, but agree navy can be worn with anything. I just buy black and white patterns and then I can wear any colour on my top half (such as coral pink or lime green).

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  14. Lovely photo of you :) I haven't been on holiday since a weekend away in 2000! It's long overdue and I'd have no idea how to pack xx

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