Saturday, 13 August 2016

A darker autumn look

Young Mim would have approved. (No, I can't
remember what the cow was for, but I still have it.)
For the first time in a very long time, I'm actually excited by what's hitting the High Street this coming season. I was looking at a press shot site earlier this week and was really chuffed to see so much stuff that Younger Mim would have adored: shedloads of Victorian-style blouses, including plenty in black, Biba-esque dresses in dark floral fabrics (Laura Ashley and Monsoon have some particularly good ones coming – that strikes me as quite funny as I'd put 1970s Laura Ashley at the opposite end of the fashion spectrum to Biba), and velvet suits. Yes, it warms what remains of my gothic heart.
I love velvet. It's soft. It's cosy. You don't iron it. Honestly, what's not to love about it? Okay, the real thing, which you can't wash, is a faff, but a bit of washable velour never did anyone any harm.

Part of me really, really wants a velvet suit, only with my rotund figure I worry that the effect will be less alluringly decadent, more 'lost my teddybear mask on my way to a Furry convention'. Maybe I should just stick to jackets. The two velvet jackets I currently own, one teal and one black, are both very battered. I've had them for at least five years, and they were passed on to me by a friend who'd bought them secondhand anyway. This could be the year when I replace them with new ones. (They don't often turn up in charity shops, and the amount of wear I've had out of my others convinces me that velvet jackets are worth the outlay. Though I could wail till next year, when this year's fashions will be making their way into the chazzas.) Victorian shirts are a no-no on me. I've got an awful lot up top, and adding extra volume in the form of frills will be a mistake. That look probably needs to be filed under 'for the petite and perky of torso'. Still, I reckon the 70s-style dresses, voluminous cuffed sleeves, pussybows and all, might work for me.

There's scope for vintage lovers to pick bits off the high street. Shops seem to be taking their main cues from the 1970s (which, as we all know, took a lot from the 1930s and 1940s anyhow), but there are pieces that have the shapes typical of other decades. The wide-legged trousers have 1930s hostess pyjama appeal, and the pussybow blouses (for those not so keen on Victoriana) hark back to the 1940s. I've also spotted some knee-length, squarish coats with big collars, ideal for the 20s-at-heart. Monsoon have some flapperish eveningwear too, but then they always have flapperish eveningwear. Boden seem to be bucking the trend, sticking to their standard 60s-ish style, though even they've got a pussybow dress and blouse in their lineup.

At any rate, I'm glad to see a bit of darkness in fashion. Perhaps it's because I'm a lapsed goth, perhaps it's an age thing, it could be the general state of the world or just the approach of autumn, but I'm becoming rather tired of the cutesy candyland that is most mainstream vintage. It suits some people, but not all and, let's face it, I'm unlikely to win a cute-off any time soon. (Olympic standard at frumping, but hopeless at cute.) I quite fancy cosying up in some wide-legged velvet trousers this autumn.

Do you love a bit of velvet in the autumn? Will you welcome a bit of darkness, or be keeping calm and pastelling on?

20 comments :

  1. I was excited to see all the velvet and brocades too (not that I ever stopped wearing them).

    I like "Younger Mim's" haircut.

    I go ahead and wear frilly tops (big boobs be damned)but I pair them with a waistcoat. Sometimes, I get sexy, sometimes I get Mrs. Slocombe-it is a fine line.

    Wear the velvet suit and to hell with anyone that doesn't like it. Just promise me-no go faster stripes down the side of the velvet trousers (what IS wrong with these kids today?!).

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    1. The haircut was a result of seeing Betty Blue; I wanted a Beatrice Dalle look mut my hair is the wrong texture.

      Oooh, Mrs Slocombe. Yeah. Bit of an icon, Mrs S. I don't know if the news has filtered to the US, but the BBC are doing a one-off remake of Are You Being Served (plus Up Pompeii! and Porridge) as part of a season on classic sitcoms. Not so sure whether it's a good idea, and like Emma Peel, only one actress can ever really be Mrs Slocombe...

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  2. I say go for it, and buy a velvet suit!! You look smashing in that navy trouser suit you recently bought, so something similar in style but in velvet could really work. I know you worry about it dating quickly, but you could continue to wear the jacket every Autumn (luxe fabrics come back every single year) and the trousers with a simple silk top would also continue to work. I don't have much velvet myself; a pair of black faux velvet wide leg trousers that I was just wearing as glam lounge wear at home, and I think a sort of devore kimono jacket, likewise just for home lounging. Somewhere I've got a black 1940s velvet house dress with a big zip up the front, I think that might get an outing this year. I do want a velvet jacket too, as the one I used to have became too snug and I had to get rid of it. Bring on all the velvet!! xx

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    1. I've still got a couple of bits left over from my goth days, too small for me to fit into but with too many memories attached for me to part with.

      I like a good suit. I think suiting is a friend to most figures, but especially wobbly ones like mine! It gives a streamlined edge.

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  3. Young Mim looks so very beautiful with her dark hair and smokey eyes. Rather Phyrne Fisher I reckon. Velvet is definitely on the list of approved fabrics, particularly for winter. Please could you show us how you wear your jackets as I have a fitted brown one which never looks quite right, so any inspiration would be gratefully received. A velvet trouser suit would be lovely. Very Bianca Jagger or Julie Christie. I'm with you on the round tummy and nothing fussy up top when you've been given a generous serving (thanks Boob Gods, I'd have settled for a C cup). Pastels? No, thanks. Xxx

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    1. Hmm, I usually just bung my jackets on over my dresses! I guess it helps that my basic 'look' is fairly minimal/smart and I tend to wear shift dresses and plain shoes, so the smartness of the jacket isn't battling with more bohemian stylings. I will try to do a shoot!

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  4. I love the darker Biba-esque colours for autumn; I certainly don't suit pastels at all. It was great in the early 90s when there was a 70s revival in the high street whilst the real thing cost far less then. I still regret not buying a Biba dress for about £20 because the boobs didn't fit into it.

    The cutesy mainstream vintage thing doesn't appeal to me either as I certainly don't do cute and never have done (bleuch!).

    I do like a bit of velvet and have a gorgeous 1930s evening coat that comes out on special occasions, but its starting to get really fragile and the sound of seams tearing makes me wince!

    I was thinking about dying my hair darker for autumn though. Its currently got blond streaks through, but I'm toying with going mahogany brown all over and getting a fringe cut in, which I often do for autumn and let it grow out over winter/spring.

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    1. I really like cute on the right people - one of the new workmates I'll be getting in October is in her early 20s and like a living manga character - but it's not for everyone, and it does seem to be overwhelming in vintage repro circles. I like a little bit of horror-cute (Sourpuss has a dress with vintage Halloween kittens that I've been eyeing up) but ponies and unicorns and mermaids really aren't my bag.

      Oooh, the hair sounds GOOD!

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  5. Young Mim's a bit of a hottie, isn't she?
    I do love a bit of velvet, I was wearing a psychedelic velvet maxi when I first met you! Just about the only good thing about Autumn arriving will be the opportunity to dig out my 1960s velvet jacket with the ginormous sleeves.
    I'm with Tania on the velvet trouser suit, that would suit you wonderfully. In the mean time I'll keep my eyes peeled for vintage velvet blazers. I do find them quite regularly - usually St Michael - made to last! xxx

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    1. Young Mim would be truly horrified if she knew what she'd end up like.

      Heheheh, I knew you'd love a bit of velvet. A couple of dresses that I spotted reminded me of your 1970s Indian cotton ones (Phool etc.). I think I've worked out what has got me hankering after a velvet suit; it's the outfit Louise Brooks is wearing in one of my favourite photos of her (https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/201747258279444330/) though the trousers look more like satin. That shot and this one of Colleen Moore (https://uk.pinterest.com/pin/201747258276898369/) are two of my all-time favourite looks.

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    2. Those images are equally stunning and you could definitely carry both off with your sleek & glossy locks. Yes, they do look like satin pants, I bet they wouldn't be too much of a challenge to make a pair yourself. xxx

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  6. It sounds like my younger self would like the upcoming high street styles too! I used to be very much the 90s goth/dandy with ruffle shirts and velvet suits, dresses and leggings. I still have my 1970s M&S velvet jacket I bought in the 90s from a vintage shop. Although I never wear it I'll never let it go for sentimental reasons. I also just bought a very gothic 1930s silk velvet shoulder cape. I have no idea when or where I'll wear it but I just couldn't resist it! xx

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    1. Oooh, the cape sounds lush! You have the knack of finding great events, I bet you'll find somewhere to wear it.

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  7. Thanks Mim for all the info on what is hitting the High Street. I really never bother with them much these days as they are too depressing for words but the velvet suits sound right up my sartorial alleyway. I don't know if you are interested but I have a burgundy, a blue and a couple of black velvet vintage jackets that I bought for Sprogzilla and she won't even look at them. I can email you the sizes is you fancy one? Xx

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    1. Oh yes, the burgundy definitely. I'm a UK 18, if that helps.

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  8. I love that photo of you, Mim! I can't say I'm actually following what's in fashion on the high street, but I definitely like the look of the autumn/winter collection. Fashion-wise, I am more in my element in autumn/winter anyway ... I do think you should give a velvet trouser suit a try, you might be pleasantly surprised. I like the look of velvet, although the only velvet item I currently have in my wardrobe is a gorgeous black vintage cape. I'll definitely check out what's on the high street and then see if I can find some vintage versions ... xxx

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    1. There aren't many photos of me from back then, I was always quite camera-shy as I thought I was ugly. Nowadays I don't care!

      I really am leaning towards the velvet suit. I may well spoil myself.

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  9. I've been seeing snippets of what's hitting the 21st fashion world in Europe this fall/winter and going complete wild for it. Sooo, sooo hoping that some of that romantic, sweet, feminine Victorian goodness crosses the shores and lands around these small town Canadian parts, too.

    Many hugs & happy mid-August wishes,
    ♥ Jessica

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    1. I bet you really rock a touch of Victoriana - I can picture you in plenty of the Victorian-inspired 1940s styles, big hats and high-necked blouses.

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  10. Love that photo of you!

    I've noticed a lot of austere necklines creeping in on telly presenters, I thought it was all looking somewhat Victorian xx

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