Wednesday, February 29, 2012

a leap day!

I kind of love today. It is so arbitrary, really, that they decided that in order to not get the seasons and the months with which they correspond all messed up they'd add a February, 29th. Why not a June 31st?

Regardless, it is kind of a fun free day - or a day on which you work for free for a lot of people (not for me! Hooray freelancing!). So here are some fun things to do on our free day from one of my favorite blogs, Apartment Therapy

I for one am having a friend over for a long overdue thank you dinner. We'll be eating fresh fettucini and mushroom soufflĂ©. Sound delicious? I hope so!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Oscars red carpet vintage rewind...

So I decided last night while watching the Oscars that this could be done. It turns out it is harder than one might think. The gowns worn on the Oscars red carpet are often made just for the woman attending, just for this night, by a designer who gets to do just what they're dreaming of in that moment. Though last night's looks were undoubtedly old-hollywood inspired -- like the night itself -- the matches in the vintage realm are less than perfect, but in some cases fit the mood of the look quite nicely. So here goes my first attempt at awards night-style. Back in time for a vintage rewind.

*DISCLAIMER: try to imagine the vintage frocks with an otherworldly beauty wearing them, instead of a lifeless mannequin.

Maybe one of the coolest moments of last night's show was the burst of real, unadulterated emotion that came out of Octavia Spencer when she was named Best Supporting Actress for her role in The Help. She has been stunning on the red carpet all season, wearing dresses that flatter her shape more than, arguably, most women in Hollywood. This vintage version of her frock is obviously not exactly the same, but captures the feeling of Spencer's glamorous beaded, face-framing selection

Hollywood's new favorite beauty is Jessica Chastain who was a leading lady in two of last night's nominated films and was up for Best Supporting Actress herself for her role in The Help. She shocked the runway in this daring black dress with gold beading that was a big departure from her recent, more colorful frocks. Luckily gold on black is a huge theme in vintage dresses and this dress from The Frock grabs that star-struck feeling that Chastain embodied last night. 

Mila Jovovich is like a laser beam, you cannot keep your eyes off of her otherworldly features. At her first Oscar appearance last night, attending as a presenter, she did not disappoint in this lovely one shouldered cream-colored number. But then again, how could Jovovich look bad in anything? She's a goddess. This dress from the frock is a bit more romantic than Mila's pick but it has the same type of elegance and age-old, one-shouldered, creamy glamour. 

Okay so Stacy Keibler is totally gorgeous. It is not negotiable. And she gets to walk around with George Clooney on her arm, which makes it all the easier for this leggy lady to look stunning in photos. However, I was not into her dress last night, it was a little too droopy, a little too drippy. I do love her in gold, though and I think she would have done better in something with a little more structure. Her lithe and lovely figure was obstructed by all those folds. 

Oh Rooney, how you've entered our lives in such a flash. Ms. Mara was, as always, stunning on the carpet and her choice of this romantic frock was surprising and elegant. The delicate lace of Rooney's number is matched with this early 1900's gown from The Frock. If you aren't at an awards show -- and you're not a bride -- you should probably stay away from this kind of a dramatic white, so brown might do the mere mortal better than Mara's milky tone. 

So as you can see, red carpet is a bit harder to hit on the head than everyday looks. I'd call the ladies of the Academy Awards the winners in this one but for us real-world starlets, couture gowns are mostly out of reach. So, remember, if you're ever in need of a ball gown, vintage styles are a great option.  Case in point, Natalie Portman on this year's Oscars red carpet in Vintage Christian Dior. Magnifique. 

Friday, February 24, 2012

On the hunt...

A friend of mine asked me this week to help her find a dress to wear to a Prohibition themed party she'll be having in a couple of months. Naturally I took up the challenge and have become way too involved in finding her the perfect dress. 

She's pretty tiny, so her measurements are kind of perfect for most 1920's dresses - ladies were little then and a lot of them don't have zippers or buttons so you have to slip them over your head. But I've come across a couple of wonderful dresses that are too big for her and I thought I'd share with you my favorite. 

A 1920's secretary day dress! How awesome is this neutral-toned frock? I adore it. You should buy it. 

As a side note, day dresses like this from this era are so hard to find. It makes sense when you think about it. A lady would wear this day dress a lot, probably once a week or so, so they didn't really survive because of wear and tear. The fancier frocks were worn less and therefore made it through the years without as much damage. So when you find a really old day dress that fits you, hop on it! They are rare. 

things I'd like to have today....

Can someone slip $7,700 under my door today? I'd much appreciate the gift. 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Old Gold: In which J.Crew is trumped by Etsy

I'll not stand out on my blogging limb and claim I have something against the clean lines and popular designs of the mega-label J.Crew. I'll not do that mostly because I'm a bad lier. I love Jenna Lyons, her army of vintage adoring designers and her passion for quirky accessorizing. Even the trendiest labels are prone to the throw-back and J.Crew is obviously no exception. For those that have regularly skimmed its styles, you'll routinely recognize some not so subtle shades of styles gone past. 

Case in point, this totally spring concert-worthy pink flowered button down -- which is an iteration of J.Crew's Perfect Shirt -- throwing it way back to Farrah and the 1970's post-flower child days. So what does Etsy have to offer? Why a whole lot of genuine post-flower child button downs with enough petals to make your winter blues melt away. 

Did you say you wanted a pink flowered button down that would go perfect with a pair of shorts? Because I found one, straight from the 70's. 

A little more serious, this rosy number brings the fluorescent-factor down a notch and has a dainty color to match its delicate pattern. 

For my friends who just can't do that whole "pink" thing, here's a great option that ups the feminine factor tenfold with its sheer brilliance. 

If you're the dainty type, this is the button down for you. There's nothing more lady-like than a good ruffle. There's also nothing uglier than a bad ruffle but thankfully this 1970's number got it just right.

Now if you're into bluegrass music -- you know, the real country jams -- then this might bring you back to memories of sitting in a grassy field listening to someone get down on the mandolin. A bit more June Carter Cash than Farah Fawcett this is for the line dancing lovers in our midst. 

Well, when you put them together like that. It just makes sense doesn't it? It is almost like they were cut by the same pattern maker. Though the J.Crew version is sweet, the Etsy numbers cut down the wearer's impact by not creating something new and give that vintage fashion-lover a unique wardrobe piece which they'd never see at the mall. 

Etsy wins. Horay!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

things I'd like to have today...

A friend of mine just invited me to the opera! Tonight! So I am going to Rufus Wainwright's Prima Donna at Bam and I oh so desperately wish I had this to wear. 

This is from Mill Crest Vintage, a site with a stunning gown -- at a stunning price -- from every era for every occasion you might have. If you're not into combing Etsy and Ebay for the good looks that can be found, sites like Mill Crest which curate collections are a great option for those with a little more cash to spend and a specific vision. This is my specific vision for this evening but alas, time and cash strapped, it isn't going to happen. 

Monday, February 20, 2012

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Old Gold: Betsey Johnson's Doing it Wrong

There's something about Betsey that makes me love her. She's the ever-playful designer who says to the world, "yes, I am O.L.D. and I love it. I also love this short skirt." She won't turn toward convention but keeps her back towards the trends of the fashion industry. She believes that all ladies secretly -- and not so secretly -- want to be wearing a tulle skirt come the weekend and gosh dernit, she's going to be the blonde goddess that delivers that skirt season after season.  She's also going to live surrounded by pink.

This season -- Fall/Winter 2012 at New York Fashion Week -- is no different and Johnson's line was full of the kind of vigor you'd expect from a girl in her early twenties -- the designer is actually 69 -- and not so quietly hinted towards her favorite era, the 1950's and 1960's. I've chosen this gold sequined number mostly because I think Betsey missed the mark here. It is a little too gold, a little too fluffy and the waistline is about 3 inches too high. It is like a gold-plated cupcake outfit and nobody over the age of 15 could rock this thing. But oh, dear ladies, there are some gorgeous, gold, a-lined party dresses on Etsy that any lady could rock. Get your party on with this Old we go...

This is how you sparkle with class. Truthfully, not everyone could wear this dress. Mostly because YOU have to wear IT and can't let it wear you (which could very easily happen with a lot of these dresses). Gold is a color you wear when you're feeling up to it, not when you're hoping it'll lift you up. The leafy pattern on this lovely piece gives it a softness that is so lacking in Johnson's rendition. 

This piece is obviously just not as sparkly as Johnson's or my first pick but some ladies out there don't want to stand out like a very elegant christmas tree. This is gold for such a gal. The all-over lace-y pattern gives this dress a bit of a neutral feeling without making it boring. 

This dress is just simply sweet. Like the Johnson look, it sparkles on top and is soft on the bottom (Johnson's is tulle, this is chiffon). Remember if you want to get the punch that the modern dress has, just buy a crinoline. I have one and if you wear dresses like this, you should have one too. 

Now, dears. I know that some of you like to go short. This is fine. But what is not fine is the puffy shortness of Johnson's dress. If you want to show off your legs, stay simple on top and this lovely gold brocade number will do that for you without making you look like Shirley Temple. Well, at least not like a five year old Shirley Temple.

If I had a reason. If I only had a reason. This dress is just divine. Yes it is GOLD all over and shiny. But the lines are so classic and simple that the shimmer gives it just the right amount of spunk . This dress would make you glow and the piqued strapless top is very flattering (read it doesn't dig into your not so pretty underarm areas).

This dress is so delicate. I love the color and the softness of the fabrics. One thing that is wonderful about a dress like this is the length and taper of the torso. You'll notice in the Betsey Johnson number, the waistline is a tad too high, the skirt a bit too poofy and the model's waist is lost in translation. A long tapered waist like this one with an accent ribbon makes all the difference in giving you that hourglass figure even if you've got a bunch of chiffon rustling around your knees. 

Yes, I know, this looks nothing like the Betsey Johnson example but how can you pass this up!? Any lady would surely turn heads walking into a cocktail party with this gorgeous dress painted on her. And might I repeat, this is the kind of dress that needs to be painted on you. They call them wiggle dresses for a reason, you must wiggle do to just about anything while wearing them. 

We started this one off poorly with Betsey's swing and miss, so it wasn't really a fair fight. This Old Gold is a reminder that modern fashion can light up a look that only the vintage reserves can complete. Betsey was onto something there but she should have spent a bit more time consulting with her elders before she let that sparkly number walk down the runway in New York this week. 

okay, so this is not old...

But it was created by one of my favorite sustainable designers -- Suzanne Rae. This heavenly, velvet, honey-colored cape took a little turn down her runway yesterday at New York Fashion Week and I just so happened to be on hand to snap this photo -- see the rest of my pics and Yuka Yoneda's story here

I love that Suzanne has no fear taking inspiration from the past, but unlike some designers -- *cough cough* banana republic *cough cough* -- she always adds her own daring twist. In this collection it was all about color, sexy draped backs and a little bit of humor.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

We don't go out on the day of Valentine...

But if the rad husband and I were to grace the town with our presence, this is what I'd wear

I know today is one of those days that some of us -- like me -- often say is "all made up and nonsense" but at least someone thought of a day where we all get to sit back and think about the people we love. 

I love quite a few people. I'm reminded of how great they are today. I'm also reminded of how great red and white can look together. 

Monday, February 13, 2012

Things I'd like to have today...

Not a day goes by where I don't happen to search for something old on the inter-webs at least once.

As I was reaching for a t-shirt this morning I realized I still need to buy six glass pull handles for my dresser, but I can't find the perfect set - why are there only three of these? My dresser has been pull-less since I painted it about six months ago. As my mother says sometimes, I am particular about my aesthetic -- not easily pleased.

Bored as a rock in a cave, I decided to re-visit a site that I stalked while looking for a wedding dress. Anyone have a ball that I must attend - this would be the perfect frock for me.

All I have to say about this is that it is one inch too small, or I wouldn't have posted it because it would have already been packed neatly in a box and on its way to my humble abode.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

All I can say truly is that I am sad. Sad that such an outstanding, unprecedented talent was squandered in such a way. What a beauty she was.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Old Gold: Michael Kors Pre-Fall 2012 vs. Etsy

In this Old Gold we'll explore the world that Michael Kors has created for his Pre-Fall 2012 line inspired by Ann Bonfoey Taylor, the legendary mid-century fashion-icon, pilot, equestrian and ski-wear designer. Ms. Taylor was a true original and Kors' line is flush with the humorous western details and elegantly clean lines that she was known for. I gravitated immediately to this gorgeous ruby red fur-collared coat that I just couldn't wear because the thought of newly slain animals around my neck makes me cringe. 

However, I'm not against old fur -- if it was slain over a half a century ago, you can't be blamed for its untimely end -- because it is out there and, well, someone's got to wear it or it will just go to waste. So here we go, I know there are a load of fur-lined vintage finds on Etsy to match this lovely statement piece.

Are you swooning yet? This coat is simply divine. Can't you see Joan strutting into the office in the morning in this piece of mid-century perfection? This coat calls for the kind of up-do's that that Mad Men beauty is known for, you can't rock a collar like this one without some sass in your locks.

This one is a little less daring than both the stunner above and the Michael Kors number, plus this one is faux fur for the no-fur ladies in our midst. While faux fur is never as luxurious (or warm) as the real thing, it can be a great option for a bit of spunk on an otherwise boring number. 

This demure little number will be a welcome surprise for the larger ladies in the audience, it "fits like a large" according to the seller and we all know that just about never happens when searching the vintage racks. The round shape of the collar is a perfect frame for some smokey eyes and a lush pair of lips. 

We've now arrived at the final ruby specimen which just so happens to be the cutest of the bunch. As we've had to do before, please look past the terrible mannequin and the awful ironing job (Dear Etsy sellers, Please buy a steamer. Thank you - Brit) and into the eyes of the lovingly draped collar affixed with a bow. This coat, like the first, is what we call a "swing coat" -- the fabric is cut in an a-line form from the under arm out to the hem. They are not form fitting and so can accommodate a lot of different shapes and sizes. 

I have to admit that this is a close one. I still love the Michael Kors look but these vintage finds surely rival it for style and class. One thing I'll say is that Ms. Taylor would be pleased with our finds -- I personally think she'd have picked the first Etsy find over Mr. Kors rendition but that can't be proven. The Etsy finds also have the added benefit of not promoting the modern day fur market so I'll have to go with Etsy again on this one. Go vintage! 

Read more Old Gold posts by Your Friend Brit.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

When is my birthday again?

Because all I want ever is this. I mean really, what more is there in life?

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Augustin, can we be friends?

Because I adore your style. Check out this gorgeous house tour over at Apartment Therapy. Le soon. Le sigh, this guy has some serious talent for seriously original decor. I just love it.
This is precisely what I am looking for. I think I'd paint the whole thing the same color as our bookshelf -- which is this color and then stick some beauty-ful CFL's on it. Can you see it? 

It is $180 though and with Brimfield coming up in May, I'm thinking I could find a better deal if I held my horses. 

As a side note: when searching for antique chandeliers one finds quite a few lovely pairs of earrings. Anyone have a ball they must attend? 'Cause I've got the lobe decorations you've been looking for here and here

Monday, February 6, 2012

simply lovely...

I simply love this simply lovely print. It was shot by Eadweard Muybridge in the late 1800's and is on sale on 20x200 (oh! you don't know 20x200? but it is simply wonderful, beautiful, affordable art). I think I might need this on my wall. 

Friday, February 3, 2012

Old Gold: Banana Republic vs. Etsy

Really this one is a little too easy. It is as if Banana Republic decided to make a wardrobe inspired by Lisa from Dirty Dancing. It is a lot a bit 60's and a little bit modern and all together could be bought in much higher quality if sourced from the original decade. So here we go. The yellow wiggle dress from the 2012 Banana Republic show in Paris. I'm pretty sure I know who's going to win and I haven't even started searching yet. 

If you ask me this dress is BETTER than the Banana Republic 60's wiggle dress knockoff. The lines are perfect, the sleeve cut is elegant and the waistline would give any lady the perfect curve. I might just buy it myself. 

This is a perfect replacement for the Banana Republic for a lady with a smaller bustline. Straps + big bosom = bad. Small bosom + straps = larger looking chest. Obviously most of us would have to lose this flower and perhaps replace it with a rockin' scarf, but I love this frock none the less. 

Okay, so as you often have to do on the magical, look past the awful mannequin. This dress is lovely, especially for those that would like a little less form in the midsection. The color and cut are great and this number could be worn to work with a sensible pair of heels. Oh, by the way, this will save you a boatload of cash. 

I love this piece because of its versatility. With a belt, without a belt, with a necklace without a necklace, with heels or flats, to work or to a picnic, it can go with you wherever you want to take it. Plus, the yellow is so soft and flattering. I adore it. 

Okay, so don't buy this one because I want it. How perfect is it? With the sexy see through neckline and the cape-like detail on the skirt. Le sigh, the sixties were so glamorous. 

I mean I swear I didn't fix this one. I swear I just went to and picked an outfit that I liked and I started writing this post before I even searched Etsy and voilá, Etsy wins. 

Etsy always wins. Let's embrace it and keep battling anyway, cause isn't this fun? 

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

I seem to have misplaced my blog...

Oh, there it is!

I'm on a mission - to find a great, inexpensive antique chandelier that I can turn into a great, revamped piece of awesome for my living room. I'm thinking I'll probably find "the one" at Brimfield in May, which is where I find just about everything awesome but I thought I'd start the search now just in case something great popped up. I need some color on my ceiling and my neck and shoulders say don't paint it, so I think this might be the next best thing.