Rome and Tuscany outfits review

Rome Italy sightseeing fontana Di Trevi

Sorry for the long delay to write this review. I had a wedding to plan, my wedding dress to make and moving house! (Which also means I’ll be writing a post on my dress.)

While the weather is still cold it’s rather nice to think about holidays abroad in the sun. Maybe you’re about to go on a winter break somewhere sunny or need packing inspiration for your summer holiday. Here I review my holiday outfits from my 2018 summer holiday in Rome and Tuscany.

The weather was hot and we even had a couple of stormy days, which while in Rome wasn’t the best experience because of the mosquitos coming out to play and not so glamorously getting drenched in a downpour while at the Trevi fountain. Long sleeves and long baggy trousers would be ideal to protect yourself against the blighters.

As usual, getting full length photos of good quality was non-existent, as the group of us was fairly big, and by the time we’re all in a photo, we look quite far away!

I wore the striped cotton blouse I made based on a photo of Marilyn Monroe ( in a striped shirt dress) with a reproduction of a favourite linen skirt I owned that fell apart. I co-ordinated a true vintage square scarf. This outfit was my Roman Holiday homage. It was light and cool except for the belt because of the extreme heat in the colleseum.

A vintage outfit with comfortable footwear is always a good idea if you are going to do a fair amount of walking. I added gel soles to my flat sandals which made them really comfortable.

Leaning tower of Pisa cream Palazzo pants thirties repro striped blouse
Taking inspiration from Phryne Fisher

On our trip to Pisa I wore cream high waisted Palazzo pants from La Reroute, which I altered to fit. These were cool and easy, with no apparent creasing, unlike the linen. The blouse, made from the same remnant of fabric as the other blouse, was made using an original Thirties pattern. It wraps t the back and ties at the front. The shaping works well with What Katie Did bras. In this case, it’s the CC09 1940’s bra. I wore comfortable wedge sandals to keep my cream trousers off the floor!

I packed a cotton shirt dress which I could button over swimwear or shorts and was a flattering shape without a belt, although I did wear one to smarten it up.

Apart from a couple of days sightseeing, I spent time by the pool in swimwear and high waisted shorts. I didn’t stay vintage all the time, but there’s a good selection of vintage style and retro swimwear around. It all repeats eventually! For example, do a good selection, some similar to styles worn by Marilyn Monroe.

There’s no reason why vintage can’t be comfortable if you keep your destination needs in mind, like weather, walking and activities you have planned.

London trip – Winter 2017

Theatre and Fashioning a Reign exhibition plans

This January, I went to London to see the exhibition of some of the Queen’s dresses – Fashioning a Reign, at Windsor Castle. For a night out we went to see the comedy The Play That Goes Wrong. I love packing for a weekend away, and the British weather certainly adds to the challenge!

We travelled up on the train to Waterloo Station on the Friday, in the afternoon. I wanted to wear something comfortable, but nice enough to wear out to dinner, as there might not be time to change.

I wore my taupe or mushroom coloured fit and flare dress by Peter May. I bought this on a previous trip to London, along Portobello Road. I saw it in the window, and thought it looked like a dress that could have easily been worn in a Hitchcock film, like Marnie. This is a perfect winter dress as it is fairly thick Jersey, and the skirt is lined with a soft Jersey. My brother calls this my Jedi dress because of the colour and the wrap effect. The sash is really long and you can wrap it for different looks. I can pull it really tight as it has some stretch.

I accessorized with classic pearl jewellery – the earrings were modern, the three strand necklace and brooch are both vintage. I wore my brooch on the belt, under the gathers of the knot. I always loved how Jane Russell uses the brooch from the hip of her showgirl dress, on the pocket of her jacket in Gentleman Prefer Blondes. This was a popular outfit refresher in the Fifties.

The vintage feathered hat and vintage hatpin stayed put really well, and apart from worrying about the feathers in the wind to start with, I got used to wearing it, and stopped thinking about it. This is the best way to wear hats, so I’m definitely going to try out some more. I love the Fifties fitted style hats, so I’ll be looking to increase my collection.

With the face framing feathers, I wore this hat with my hair twisted up at the back. This is the hair I stuck my hatpin through to secure the hat.

On Saturday, we took the train to Windsor Castle to see the exhibition Fashioning a Reign. My photographer, my friend Gina Walbridge took some photos of me in the grounds. Unfortunately, no photography was permitted in the castle or of the dresses we saw. My favourite outfits were the few from the Fifties, including a beautiful full length full skirted dark teal velvet skirt with a fitted ivory silk bodice. The other dresses by Norman Hartnell and Hardy Armies were beautiful in their craftsmanship, structure and detail.

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The coat, vintage bag and sensible heels were pretty much my uniform while we were out and about.

When we stopped for afternoon tea in Windsor (which had to be seen to be believed, it was so massive!) I was able to show off my vintage teal velvet pleated dress. This is a Seventies vintage dress, but the style and fit work well with Forties and Fifties styling. I wore it with a butterfly brooch and huge turquoise vintage clip-on earrings.

On Saturday night, we went to see The Play That Goes Wrong, just before it went on tour. I would highly recommend going to see it. We laughed so much, I could hardly breathe!

I went for a Twenties look, in a Nineties velvet devore bias slip dress.

Diamanté wing hair combs

On Sunday morning we travelled home. This was my standby outfit for day or night, so it was slightly wasted on the train, but I like to dress up, like I’ve walked off a Fifites film set!

Four outfits for one weekend in one small suitcase was pretty good packing, and I only took two pairs of shoes. To save space, I didn’t pack rollers, but pincurled my hair each night which worked pretty well, having washed and set it before I went away.

My next trip away will be in late Spring, to Portugal, so I’ll hopefully be able to pack some lighter clothes! In the meantime, I’m still enjoying the tartan, velvet, knits and thick weave fabrics of winter.

London Trip 2016

So, this is a post from the beginning of last year, that I didn’t post because of the lack of photos. Now I’m packing for another weekend in London, this is a good reminder for me to start this year’s blogging and Instagram posts how intend to carry on – better quality photos and keep it regular.

In aid of that, I have enlisted the help of a few friends, one being a budding photographer, so I hope to do her justice this year. She is coming to London, so I’ll have my own personal photographer out in the field!


Vogue to read on the train. Underground ticket to get around London. Crime exhibition at the Museum of London on Friday, theatre on Saturday night and Vogue 100 at the National Portrait Gallery on Sunday morning.

Basically I had such a good time, there aren’t many pictures! Here are a few.

Advertising for Charlie & the Chocolate Factory in the West End.

Friday night dinner out. The mandatory telephone box photo.

Sunday light lunch in Soho, at Foxcroft & Ginger. Mum wearing a vintage look blouse with high-waisted wide leg trousers.

Goodies from the exhibitions

The books are always the best souvenirs, as the exhibits can be pored over at leisure and in greater detail. This is especially true as most exhibitions have a ‘no photos’ rule.

I hope I can share some of the looks from Vogue100 over the coming year. Mugshots may not be so glamorous, but it’s interesting to see how certain trends were emulated on the street. A case in point is Ruth Ellis. A glamorous, wronged woman, with a tragic story. How much did her image play in the Presses coverage of her story, and the publics reaction, I wonder?

Back to blogging and London trips, hang in there, and I will post my 2017 trip with more and better photos!

Vintage wedding dresses

In England, Queen Victoria wore the first white wedding dress, and due to her celebrity status, they became popular. Before that, brides would wear their Sunday best. White has remained popular ever since.

Queen Victoria’s wedding dress

Here are two true vintage wedding dresses I have on loan from a friend. They are roughly from the Thirties. The What Katie Did CC09 bra is perfect for creating the right shape for the cut of the dresses. Both dresses look home-made from the finishing on the inside.

The lace dress has a square, slightly sweetheart neckline and fits close to the body, with a sweeping train. There is piping on the bodice to add shape. The mutton sleeves have ruching and piping with stuffed shoulder pads stitched into the shoulder seams to hold the lace up and out. The lower part of the sleeves have a row of buttons and a point over the back of the hand. The fastening is under the arm, so the waist is fitted. There is a row of metal poppers (snap fastening) and a hook and eye under the sash.

There is no lining, so I assume, like many dresses of the era, it was made to wear over a slip already owned by the wearer. I am wearing a vintage, probably Fifties midi- length slip. The lace bodice and wide pleated border of lace blend well with the lace of the dress.

The back has a row of decorative covered buttons down the spine, to where the satin sash ties. The lace has only a few holes that need mending, mostly on the fitted part of the sleeves. The hem has suffered some wear and tear and the buttons have discoloured in places. I think this adds to the charm of finding vintage clothes that others have loved and treasured.

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The satin wedding dress has the same fluid shaped skirt and mutton sleeves with pointed cuffs. The V-neck and gathers from the shoulders to under the bust. The seamstress has inserted a modesty panel in the deep V. This dress has no fastening on the body except the sash and poppers in the front panel. The cuffs also have a popper each, with slight wear around one of them.

The front seam was unpicked when I was given this dress. It was only tacked and looked like there were some threads through the front. This makes me think there were buttons that were used again on another dress. I used some satin covered buttons to finish the dress.

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Wallis Simpson sports the high neck, buttons and gathers, with the body skimming skirt. The neckline, shoulders and gathers on the dress worn by Ginger Rogers are heading into the Forties, but are echoed in the vintage dresses I have shared with you.

For Fifties and Sixties inspiration, search Marilyn Monroe, Grace Kelly, Audrey Hepburn and Elizabeth Taylor. White wasn’t always the choice, and the styles vary dramatically. Some have stood the test of time, while others are of their time.


Japanese dress

The dress I was given in Japan is made from floral and stripe cotton, with an empire line band and A-line skirt. I love the V-neck front contrasting with the square neckline at the back. I think the shape is flattering and it is really comfortable.

Cotton dress from Japan

Although this dress isn’t vintage, I think it can be styled as Twenties and Thirties. Inspiration would be films Paper Moon and O Brother, Where Art Thou? There are lots more out there, and some great original photos online. I’ve collected some on Pinterest.


Japan – Part 4

My last week before returning to a wardrobe full of clothes, so outfits were repeated, but I tried to accessorise differently. The weather finally cooled down, and an umbrella was a key accessory.

For our last week we drove up to the North of Japan to stay in a traditional Japanese inn, a Ryokan. We got to see a bit more of the countryside, with roadsigns of monkeys and wolves! The Ryokan was built over water, and we got to try out the onsen, hot spring baths.

While we were at the Ryokan, we wore traditional yakata, and our shoes were kept put away in the lobby, until we wanted to go out, and they would magically appear. For one of our trips out, we visited Fox Village.

I finally found good light and somewhere to stand the camera!
Another peek at the new dress

On our return to Saitama, it was time to say goodbye to our new friends and pack for an early flight. One of the lovely gifts I received was this dress which, now I’m back home, is on the ironing pile. I want to do a proper photo of it, so I’ll post it soon.

Want to ask any questions about packing a capsule wardrobe, feel free to comment or e-mail.

Japan – Part 3

This week we went to Nara, Kyoto and Osaka. Beautiful parks and castles, as well as old Buddhist temples and Shinto shrines.

Jasmine Guinness dress and headscarf

One of my favourite things was feeding the deer in Nara Park.

Great little B&B in Nara with yukata (robe) and slippers, drinking green tea in a traditional Japanese cup.
Giant button brooch with orange slash neck top tucked in

Next, I’m going north, to Yamagata, so I’ll pack a couple of outfits from my capsule wardrobe to take with me. Part of the journey is by train, on the Shinkansen (bullet train), so packing light makes the travelling easier.

I’ll post the last leg of my trip once I’ve returned to England. Subscribe to be notified when I’ve posted it.

Japan – Part 2

In advance, I apologise for the poor quality photos. The lights where I’m staying are no good for photos, and my travelling companion is not enthusiastic about taking photos on our travels, unless it’s food.

So, I wore this Wednesday night to London, ready for an early start on aThursday. Two flights and about 16 hours later, I arrived in Japan on Friday morning.

The weather is unusually hot this September, so I’ve spent most of the week with my hair up, and wearing this hat. The ladies seem to keep a flannel with them, to ‘mop their brows’, so I have bought a flannel too, because the temperature is in the 30’s, and I’m melting.

Ready for a cycle around Saitama

The Japanese leave their shoes at the front door, so that’s why I’m not wearing shoes in some of these photos. I wore the cream Mary Jane’s for cycling. It’s fairly flat here, so it’s great for cycling.

I still have a few things I haven’t worn, so they’ll feature next week, while other things will be worn again.

Japan – Part 1

Japan travel preparations

Tomorrow I’m off to Japan for 3 weeks with my brother! So, sorry for the lack of posting lately, I have had clothes spread across my floor as I planned a co-ordinating wardrobe and comfy shoes. I wish I could wear high heel s all the time, but being realistic, there will be plenty of walking.


I’ve gone for a set group of colours and started with a basic set of dress, skirt, cardi and trousers + 7 blouses, 1 pair of heels and 2 pairs of flats. Can you pick out my colour theme?

After this, I did add a few extra things, as I had space. Plus, climbing Mouth Fuji meant packing some walking gear too.

Although we have a washing machine at our airbnb flat in Saitama, I don’t want to be stuck inside doing laundry too often!

I’ve chosen a few groups of accessories I can mix and match. It’s a shame, but I don’t think I’ll pack any hats (I’m scared to squash them).


What I’ll take on the plane

We’ll have 2 flights to get to Japan, so I wanted to be comfortable for the long flight. as well as flight socks, I’ll take a few other things to make the journey more pleasant and keep a basic beauty routine.

In flight handbag and what I’ll wear
  • Moisturiser, pore minimizer, concealer, powder & lipstick
  • Face cleansing wipes & deodorant wipes, toothpaste, eye drops & hand sanitiser
  • Micro perfume (tester size), gold eyeshadow
  • Pashmina, iPod and some puzzles

A few things plan ahead before you go to Japan

  • Japan Rail Pass – Check which type of pass and dates required, which lines you’ll need and if this will cover them. It doesn’t include the Shinkansen (bullet train). However, if you will travel around Japan, it is great value and may still save you money, even if you have to buy a ticket  for the odd trip not included on JR lines.
  • Currency – Even with the recently fluctuating exchange rates for the £, shop around for a good deal and buy Yen before you go.
  • Currency card- Japan is a cash society, so you may need to exchange more currency once there, but don’t rely on withdrawing cash, as many ATM’s only work with Japanese cards. Locate a Post Office or 7/11 for Western cards. A currency card that can be topped-up via an app is the most useful.
  • Check the expiry on your passport!

The more I read about Japan, the more excited I am about visiting. I don’t think 3 weeks is enough now, but it’s going to be an amazing taster of another (very beautiful) world.

I’m lucky to have a brilliant travel and events organiser (my brother), so I hope to post what we’re up to. If i don’t have a chance, I’ll write it up on my return. Follow me on Instagram (@thegirllovesvintage) and subscribe to my blog to stay up-to-date.

Choosing outfits for a weekend in London

I’ll be in London for three days, so want to plan 3 day outfits and 2 evening outfits.  My shoes need to be comfortable for walking and getting around the Underground. Heels beware gratings!

Day 1 will be travelling by train and carrying my luggage (so 1 handbag & 1 weekend bag). Also, museum. Out for dinner in the evening.

Day 2 is wandering, possibly a market (Portobello Road?) with dinner and theatre in the evening.

Day 3 will be at a gallery, and travelling home.

Pyjamas need to be sensible and matching (if there’s a fire drill at the hotel I want to be happy to be seen in public!)

Above are 2 evening outfits. I’ll probably wear the lilac dress to the theatre.

My travelling and Museum outfit with option of cardi or denim jacket. Mid-height heeled Mary Jane’s that I regularly wear because they are comfortable.

The dress will probably be Saturday, and I can put my flats in my handbag (with shoulder strap). I’ve co-ordinated my daytime pieces so I still have some choice.

I have managed to stick with 1 coat, 1 handbag and 3 pairs of shoes. I only have this to carry!


I hope to post some snaps from out in the field in the next week or two. Need any advice on packing or have any questions, let me know, and I’ll try to answer.