Monday, January 23, 2017

Through the Trees

Any bird enthusiasts know what kind of nest this is? It was so small!

Winter without snow seems almost more devoid of color than when it is shrouded in white. The crispy beige twigs and leaves seem drained of life, where as snow creates a crystalline beauty striking enough it doesn't need color. Which is a floral way of saying I am bummed the snow keeps melting before I can capture it on camera.

This suit jacket has the biggest shoulders I have yet encountered in vintage 1940s suiting! It's also quite long on me, which proportionally would look better with a matching skirt, but time separated this jacket from its skirt long before I picket it up during the wonderful FabGab's Black Friday sale. Still, the pinstripes and sharp shoulders make me feel like a bit Hildy Johnson (aka Rosalind Russel) in His Girl Friday, so all's well. I paired the sober grey jacket with the skirt from my black suit and brighter orange accessories for some needed color. Once upon a time I said I would never collect gloves, they just weren't for me, but oh how I have changed my tune! Gloves are one of my most favorite accessories now, they provide such a great opportunity for getting some nice color and harmony into an ensemble. The orange pair I have on here will be so great for next fall!

I hope all of you had a great weekend despite Friday being, lets face it, one of the stupidest days in the history of the USA (and that's saying something). It was only the women's marches on Saturday that gave me hope again, and for that it was well worth waking up very early on the weekend to go for a walk with a few tens of thousands of other women!

Suit Jacket: Vintage, Fab Gabs (Etsy)
Skirt: Vintage (from my black suit)
Shoes: Nine West (Amazon)
Fishnets: Amazon
Handbag, Gloves, Earrings, Hat, & Scarf: Vintage

Sunday, January 22, 2017

Sunday Spotlight: Hidden Figures

Now this is a super hero movie. Each one of the three lead women in Hidden Figures is a hero in her own right, overcoming obstacle after obstacle in a quest not only to exist in a space which insists they don't belong, but thrive there. This film is everything everyone should be watching right now, it's what I dream of seeing on the screen more. If you haven't gone to see it yet you should, and if you have gone to see it maybe you should go again. Tell Hollywood this is the kind of film you want to see, tell them by buying another ticket.

Each layer in this film is awesome; women in STEM careers, women dealing with a male dominated workplace (and world), race relations in the early 1960's, the tension between the USA and Russia during the space race, becoming obsolescent in the face of new technology, it's all there. As a millennial who learned about segregation in history class, how important it is to see that reality portrayed, that level of injustice made visual, on screen. Reading about something that happened thirty years before you were born and seeing it represented on film are somehow different, that's why film is important. Reading about segregation as a child in school I felt it was ridiculous and horrible, seeing it portrayed on screen Thursday night brought tears of anger to my eyes. The violence of two separate water fountains, the absurd stupidity of it, is still somehow mind blowing. How was this allowed to happen? How was anyone blind to the fact that the world around them was so tremendously wrong? How does this continue today? We shouldn't need a reminder that we are indeed stronger together and that diversity (of gender, race, and also everything else) is what has (and will, despite horrible old white guys and the ignorant who vote for them) made America great, but Hidden Figures does a beautiful job doing just that.

One of the best moments, out of many, for me was when Kirsten Dunst's character Vivian Mitchell tells Octavia Spencer's Dorothy Vaughan that "Despite what you may think, I have nothing against y'all" and Dorothy responds "I know you probably believe that". It reminded me of a photo of one of the signs from this weekend's Women's Marches: "I'll see all you nice white ladies at the next #BlackLivesMatter march, right?". Feminism without intersectionality is not progress (or real feminism really). You can believe yourself progressive all you want, but if you don't show up it says it all (I'll note I am reprimanding myself too in this statement). I saw this film on Thursday, I marched in Denver on Saturday. I walked alongside thousands of women, most of whom (and myself included) have never bothered to show up for other demonstrations or protests. I do not intend to regret my inaction in the future, silence is unacceptable. (I do understand some people cannot attend physical events due to anxiety or for other reasons, which is totally fair, but we all have a responsibility to try and help in some way, be it donating to the causes, speaking up when we should, or educating others.)

Back to the film. Women supporting other women, building each other up, paving the way for their daughters. Just--yes. YES.

All of this would be wonderful even if the film was missing something else, even if the script, or production design, or costumes didn't match up. Instead they do, and the combination makes for one of the best films I've seen in a long while. Just look at the screencaps below; These women are literally color in a grey world. They are feminine in a boxy grey landscape of opposition.

 As a vintage fashion lover Hidden Figures has an extra layer of eye candy layered on top of an already great film. The plaid dress Janelle Monáe wears as Mary Jackson seen above was my favorite ensemble in the film, because it is glorious, but the costumes were super throughout. Great work wear , hip casual clothes for the weekends, pretty outfits for the church scene, and the costumes serve to further underline the themes in a visual way without drawing too much attention to what they are doing. A+!

Have you seen Hidden Figures yet? How did you like it?

Images credit : IMBD

Friday, January 20, 2017

Hair Tutorial! My Everyday Retro Hairstyle

Unless I am going for a very eras specific look, I usually just curl my hair and mold it into a basic retro curled style. Today I have my first video hair tutorial for you all, showing just how I do my hair in most of the photos that end up here on the blog! I hope you all enjoy it and have a great weekend :)

PS : To all those marching, whether in DC or closer to home, thank you! All of us must remember now to lift up other women and people of color, members of the LGBT community, and members of other at risk communities more than ever before. We are entering a very hostile and negative world today, it it our job to thrive and do good works as best we can facing such times. Make a point to shop small from women, make it a priority to see films directed and produced by women, encourage and help out other women! For too long the world has told us ladies to compete and tear each other down, we just can't afford to do so.

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Suiting Season

I promise this isn't another navy suit, its really black, but since its got flecks of burgundy and teal running through the fabric it reads almost navy in photos!

Though it is another new suit...see why I am trying to shop less this month! I picked up this beautiful color flecked fabric, just my size, and beaded details too! suit over Christmas. I think I actually bought it (online) on boxing day, so there is that...I snuck in one last suit purchase before January! Well winter is suit season after all, and this one was much too good to pass up. It was one of those cases of not really many measurements and less than stellar photos for the listing, so I was so pleased when the suit arrived and was in great condition and fit perfectly! It does look like once upon a time someone put some tiny double ended darts in the front and they have since been let out, but it's not too noticeable and with a good steaming (though I am currently without a steamer) I think the remnants of the folds would disappear. Or I may put the darts back in as the front is a tiny bit big so I'll think on it.

For its first wearing I decided to highlight the burgundy flecks in the weave of the suit and pair it with burgundy gloves and accessories. I wore these same accessories with my navy and ivory Lilli Ann suit back in the fall so this outfit almost feels like cheating since it is so similar!

I hope you have all had a great week so far, it's nearly the weekend again! I am going to see Hidden Figures with my parents tonight so that should be super fun as I have really been looking forward to
seeing it. I'm sure I'll have a mini review of the costumes up soon :)

Suit: Vintage (Etsy)
Faux Fur: Made by me
Shoes: Royal Vintage Shoes
Tights: Hanes (Amazon)
Gloves, Handbag, Hat, and Jewelry: Vintage

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

A Fashion Fast : On Buying Less in January

That little thrill when you hit the button 'buy now'. What if instead of wanting the thing you're purchasing, you really just want that thrill? What if it was the mini endorphin rush, not securing the item, that you began to seek out? What if your savings account isn't looking quite as full as you'd like it to?

Well then you'd be me, I fear. Well, it's not that bad yet, this isn't the story of a real honest to goodness shopaholic, at least not yet. I don't have a single credit card, I don't have debt beyond my student loans (darn student loans!), I pay my bills, and I have savings that I add to regularly. Still, I also have a lot of stuff, I love my stuff, and I love buying more. So I decided to tell myself that I was not allowed to buy anything on Etsy for the month of January. Nor could I purchase any jewelry, hats, vintage clothing--anything in the accessories/clothing category for the whole month. Well that shouldn't be too hard you are thinking, most people don't shop for things that often anyways, a month isn't so very long at all to go without making a non-essential purchase. Well no, dear reader, it isn't, except that for me- it would be.

I was doing so well too until a pair of chocolate brown gloves in my size, a larger and rarer size 8, popped up on my radar. Okay so I made it two weeks, which still is pretty good for me, and I intend now to make it another two before I give into Etsy's siren song. Collecting vintage makes a shopping ban harder, when things are likely to be snatched up by another collector and only appear once in a blue moon. Excuses, excuses....anyways.

Oh by the way, yes I am going to be taboo today and talk about money.

You see, ever since I started working after college, I allowed myself a treat every payday. At first it was a vintage brooch or something similar for under $10 dollars. Then it was better investment pieces for a bit more. Then I started working full time and allotted myself a budget each week for frivolities. I was building my collection of vintage accessories, stocking up on fabrics for my sewing projects, and snatching up rarer finds before someone else got to them while I dithered. All the while I still paid my (really few, I'm a very very lucky girl) bills each month, and put the majority of my check into my savings, but still I wonder now: how much more could I have saved if I hadn't allowed myself so much fun on Etsy?

And I worry too, about that little thrill. I started to wonder if the actual act of hitting 'buy now' gave me more of a boost than actually receiving the item in the mail a week later. That's concerning isn't it? Well it's a tiny red flag at least, telling me I may be using shopping to make myself feel better which is a bit of a slippery slope right?

I think I take #treatyoself a little too much to heart sometimes.

And buying a great vintage hat or a really fun brooch does make me feel better. Better than what though? I am pretty content already, why do I crave the boost shopping can give me? I think perhaps, like a little kid, I like knowing I can get a little reward for doing the things I must, but I should be able to adult without expecting to be rewarded, even if only by myself. A stressful work week? A new pair of earrings can fix that. But costume jewelry and vintage scarves are not supposed to serve as adult versions of stickers on an imaginary chores chart. I don't get a brooch for going to work, like I once used to get a sticker for eating my vegetables (or not in my case, I still don't really like vegetables). I let myself invent this rewards reality a long time ago: I went to work all week, I woke up super early like a real adult all week, I did my laundry, I paid my student loan bill, and now I get to buy some stuff on Etsy as my reward. Umm no girl, that's not how it will always work.

But it has worked that way, and it has been fine for a long while now, and if I (or anyone) has the flexibility in their income to collect brooches and buy new sweaters I don't begrudge that. I just began to notice a pattern in my own behavior, and it made me question my unconscious motivations and also the very real money I could have saved if I had bought less.

And goodness knows having a blog gives me a good excuse to shop. I can tell myself my readers want to see new things, that people don't like seeing the same outfits/shoes/hats over and over again. Everyone follows a few blogs where it seems the blogger never repeats items and must either have the largest closet or the largest income in the world. I may be a blogger, but I'm also just a regular gal, I repeat my outfits, I wear the same dress on the blog again and again. In reality, the excuse of showing my readers something new (so go ahead and buy the shoes), is just that-- an excuse. An excuse so that I can buy something else...and here we are back at the thrill of 'buy now'. (also, I really like seeing bloggers style the same things in new and creative ways, and it's something I perhaps need to do more of here on my own little blog)

"Compulsive buying disorder (CBD), or oniomania (from Greek ὤνιος ṓnios "for sale" and μανία manía "insanity"[1]), is characterized by an obsession with shopping and buying behavior that causes adverse consequences...Shopping as a mood lifter may be an adaptive behavior if no compulsion is involved; it has jokingly been called retail therapy. But like opioid use, it can be either a therapy or an addiction, depending on whether it is adaptive or maladaptive."

-Wikipedia entry for Shopaholic

I never want shopping to be an addiction for me, retail therapy is fine, dependency is not. I suppose in writing this post I just wanted to parse out (for myself really) why I decided to try and have a fashion fast this month. I needed a shopping reset, and taking the time to write this post makes me feel I have at least done my due diligence to work through why I quite like to shop. More moderation is needed, and recognizing the patterns in my own behavior helps me feel like I am at least aware of how something as seemingly innocent as shopping could become a problem if I don't check in with myself now and again. Shopping as an activity or even a hobby is strange anyway isn't it when you really think about it? I mean nearly everyone does it, but where is the line between healthy shopping and not?

So it may not have made my list of goals for 2017, but this year I want to focus on saving more and shopping less. There will always be more "holes" in my vintage collection I could fill, always be great bargains on Etsy that someone will scoop up before I can strike, and always be something I feel I need when I really don't. Better to put a system in place now than end up having an actual real problem later. I am a collector, I do enjoy vintage and the joy of finally finding that one color of gloves I'd been searching for (*ahem* like chocolate brown...), I don't think I need to cut shopping out of my life entirely, but I do need to cut back, and I do want to make more instead of buying.

I really, really, want to hear your thoughts about this topic! Please comment and let me know how you balance shopping in your own life. I think vintage lovers have it a bit harder, knowing full well when we find something great we may never see another like it again! 

More on shopping and money? :

Buying is not Making - A great video by one of my most favorite YouTubers Rosianna Halse Rojas

"...this feeling that purchasing something was the same as doing something..."

Bad With Money with Gabby Dunn - A most excellent podcast with writer/comedian/YouTuber Gabby Dunn about how she is bad with money and is trying to learn. My favorite takeaway so far has been learning about rich people thinking (save, save, save) vs. poor people thinking (don't got much might as well spend it).

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