How to Wear Vintage Hats – Part 1

I love hats, but often feel overdressed or a spectacle in public because so few people wear hats now. It’s a shame not to wear them when they’re so pretty, or sometimes just fun.

Here, I’ll feature some of my hats styled through the decades. In Part 1 we can look at my inspiration and take on Edwardian, Twenties hats.

 

My favourite Edwardian inspiration comes filtered through the Sixties in The Assassination Bureau. Miss Winter, played by Diana Rigg, wears some stylish outfits, topped off with tilt, or perch, hats. Look at my post for more about this hat. This style is best with updo’s, as you’ll need hair to pin the hat to secure it. Think of it like wearing a fascinator and don’t take it off indoors. It won’t be in anyone’s way!

 

There are lots of modern takes in the Twenties, most recently Phryne Fisher. Wide brimmed to brimless, including the classic beret, all require some hair showing at the front to frame the face more softly. Phryne’s Bob is perfection if you have straight hair like Louise Brooks, the original bob trendsetter. If your hair is long, tie most of it up inside the hat, and style the front. Marcel waves or pin curls will scream Twenties starlet. If you can’t tame your hair, channel It girl Clara Bow and embrace the wild curls. A bit of rouge and dangly earrings look great with a cloche hat. Of course, matching a hat to your outfit or accessories pulls a look together.

 

The beret will take you through any era, but for the Twenties look pull it down to create a bigger shape, like in the photo of Miss Fisher.

 

Another favourite of mine is Some Like it Hot. Marilyn’s hat in her opening scene as Sugar is beautiful in the style and fit. The feather is perfectly proportioned to the close fit of the cloche hat.

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Marilyn Monroe as Sugar

In Part 2, I’ll show you my Thirties and Forties style hats.

 

 

Thoroughly Modern Millie Loungewear

The current underwear as outerwear fad has a more wearable sister – Loungewear as daywear. Even if you’re not brave enough to wear silk pyjama’s as an evening suit or a flowing dressing gown as a duster coat, don’t miss out on the better high street collection of feminine daywear to create some pretty vintage style loungewear sets.

Miss Fisher has some good examples of Twenties loungewear and the film Thoroughly Modern Millie has some wonderful pyjamas. I especially like the set Julie Andrews wears while wafting down a grandiose corridor.

Matching tops and bottoms is key for a fluid look. Lace or embroidery are beautiful details to look for. Silk is wonderful, but satin is an easy care option. Look for wide leg, floaty trousers and long blouses or tunics that match the bottoms.

Here is my interpretation, styling a dress and trousers from H&M.

The kimono jacket and satin mules are also from H&M, while the black peep toe slippers are Fifties vintage.

There are lots of pretty mules like vintage slippers at the moment, so now is the time to stock up!

Have you found a good place to buy pretty loungewear? How do you mix and match?

 

Vintage and Retro Sunglasses

Vintage dressing always  looks best finished with accessories. Generally, I plan jewellery with my clothes, but with sunny weather here, sunglasses are picked up as I rush out the door. I try to make it simple by having a few pairs (not too many!) that cover the decades I like.

For the Twenties, Thirties and Forties small round glasses were popular. There are some fun frame designs from the Forties, like petals around the eyes to create flowers! Watch Agatha Christie’s Evil Under the Sun (film or ITV) for some great Thirties summer outfits and sunglasses. I love the colourised photo of a young blonde Bette Davis with an icecream.

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Round Thirties sunglasses

Cat eye glasses epitomised the Fifties, from bookish to pin-up. Marilyn Monroe wore a thinner black design that won’t flatter everyone, but I like the wider frames that go to the edge of the face, and up to the eyebrow. Classic black or tortoiseshell goes with everything, but there is plenty of scope for fun. Coloured frames to match lipstick, dresses or accessories were popular, as were diamante details and shapes on the upper edge. Ray-Ban wayferers were worn by Marilyn too, and these are a classic style that’s still popular.

Going into the Sixties, sunglasses got bigger and any shape and design imaginable show up. Generally, bug-eye and soft edged square shapes were popular. Grace Kelly had a huge selection of sunglasses, and that might be a good place to start if you want to have a reference to shapes and styles before you shop round.

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My dream pair of sunglasses are the pair Audrey Hepburn wears as Holly Golighty in the film Breakfast at Tiffany’s. They have a tortoiseshell framework greenish lenses. These were designed by Oliver Goldsmith. It’s worth checking out some of his other designs too. There are lots of similar designs out there, but if you want the real thing, Oliver Goldsmith reissued a line!

Breakfast at Tiffany's - Oliver Goldsmith sunglasses

This style covers the Seventies owl eyes and modern styles currently popular.

They are well worth it, they met all my expectations. Now I’m scared of scratching them, so I am learning to be glasses conscious, not wearing them on top of my head and always putting them in a hard case when I’m not wearing them.

Here’s my line-up of necessary styles to have a pair for any outfit from the Twenties to the Sixties.

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All these eras are covered by modern styles available to buy on the high street. Now you know what to look for, I hope you find a style you like.

 

London trip – Winter 2017

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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 accessorised 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’s 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.

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Diamante wing haircombs

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!

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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.

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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 bedroom decor

It’s been a very slow project, but I’m happy with how my bedroom has turned out. (No decorator employed.)

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Vintage dressing table and jewellery box with Art Deco style lamp

The house is Thirties, and when I took the carpet up, I found the inset hearth tiles were still intact. I’d love to have a little fire place, but at the moment I need the floor space for furniture. Having good floorboards, I had them treated and tidied up, and I can get a big rug if I get cold feet!

Luckily, the original doors were left, but the handles were replaced, so I’M m still searching for reasonably priced bakelite replicas.

Originally, the room had a picture rail, so I had that put back up by Grant Whyman & Sons Ltd. They are excellent with period house renovations and keeping the houses character. I have got some hooks to hang my picture frames, but not all of them work, as modern frames don’t always have rings/ loops to attach a chain or ribbon.

I need a better way to store or display my hats. I like how Dita von Teese has a hat stand by her dressing table, and hangs lots on the wall around the mirror. At the moment I love my wallpaper too much to drill any holes.

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Dita von Teese hat storage

My pride and joy is my walnut and marble dressing table. The details are Art Nouveau, but the large round mirror low table are typical of Thirties designs. The draw and cupboard wrap round on side of the mirror, providing storage.

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Art Nouveau dressing table

I’ve mixed lots of eras together, but how many people in the Thirties really had all new Art Deco furnishings? Most of us accumulate, recycle and re-use just like the average person from the past.

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Feather wings decoration

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!

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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.

Original 1910’s dress (Downton Abbey style)

This beautiful, delicate dress was entrusted to me by one of my friends. It belonged to a relative who wore it during the period, probably, 1910’s – notice the looser fit, the belt at the natural waist, shin length.

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Made from silk, tortoiseshell belt buckle, which has possibly been replaced. Embroidery of flowers, pin tuck pleats, peter pan collar and front detail.

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Embroidery on skirt
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Pin tucks on back
Collar, back
Collar, back
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Front panel
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Belt
Sleeve cuff
Sleeve cuff

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