Hello, friends! My sincere apologies for dropping off the face of the internet, but things just got too hectic around here. (I seem to say that a lot anymore, don’t I? lol. Since moving, life seems to keep going through these spurts of intense activity and packed schedules!) Namely: little Maverick had surgery, we had family visiting over the Fourth of July holiday, and SH took a few days of leave that both of us desperately needed. Thanks for sticking around through these little, impromptu breaks I take occasionally!

Now on to a little Monday morning inspiration! I’ve got some lovely images from the mid 1940s that I scrounged up; a few might look familiar to long-time readers (but I think were worth resharing!). For the past couple weeks I keep going between obsessing over 1940s style (sailor style shorts and plaid tops, scarves around my head and bright red lipstick!) and early 60s looks (bouffant hairstyles and bouncy sundresses). I have precious little inspiration pieces from the early 60s, which is probably why I keep returning to the 40s (it happens to be my favorite anyway!). hehe! Enjoy!

Aside from this being a really cut dress (stripes! pinafore style!), I also love that it was sold at Hecht’s. Anyone who grew up in the mid-Atlantic region probably remembers the Hecht department stores.

Aren’t those shoulders crazy?! hehe! Not so keen on the shoulder (or the ruffled hip yoke…), but I love the print. Those loopy, abstract florals were quite popular in the 40s, though a bit difficult to find today. I love how informal and not overly-sweet these sort of floral prints tend to be.

Aren’t these two dresses just too cute (and perfect for afternoon tea)? I love the windowpane plaid dress on the left; though the scooped neckline and self-fabric sash on the right dress is pretty too!

I think I may have posted this one ages ago, but it’s honestly a favorite of mine! I love the piped sleeves–I’m sure it’d be quite fussy to do, but is such a neat detail…

Funtogs! (Don’t you just love those terms they came up with in the 40s?) I do love me a good, 1940s trousers outfit–and these light colored ones (I’m assuming white?) on the left are drool-worthy! I’m also intrigued by the skirt that supposedly “repleats itself” when folded… Must have been some permanent press technique?

With temperatures soring near or above 100°F lately, stylish mesh shoes sound like a good idea to me! I’ll take a pair in each color. The $5.50 price tag from the mid 1940s translates to just under $68 in today’s dollars–not too bad! If only one could find shoes like this now… (The only modern mesh shoes I’ve seen are pretty icky, imho!)

Any details inspiring you in these pictures?

July 9, 2012 · 16 lovely thoughts
posted in inspiration · tags: ,

Remember the Cherished Collections series I occasionally posted last year (along with the week-long group series we did)? I’m dusting things off and bringing it back, since it seemed everyone really enjoyed these posts! Perhaps too, I might host another of the blog-tour Cherished Collections event in the spring too…

02.15.12 | cherished collections

I have an bit of an accidental vintage handkerchief collection. While I’ve always loved looking at the beautiful florals and bright colors of women’s vintage hankies, I never thought of acquiring any until several years ago when a lovely treasure box arrived at my doorstep from one of my aunts. Inside was a lovely array of goodies leftover from my grandfather’s old antique business stock, including some hankies. This, my friends, started my tiny collection! Since then, I’ve added one or two over time that I’ve found for mere pennies in thrift shops and estate sales. It’s one of those “pretty to look at” collections, rather than practical–or so I thought!

02.15.12 | cherished collections

02.15.12 | cherished collections

The beautiful lacework and embroidery on many of these is eye catching and worthy of showing off. But displaying handkerchiefs can be a bit tricky when you’re trying to strike a balance between vintage-girliness and a more masculine style in a space. So I’ve mostly kept them packed away in a box of vintage linens I’m saving for our “one day house” (e.g. when we own a house and are staying put in one area for more than a few years! It’s just one thing less to pack when the Navy moves us…). But I’ve lately been seeing a lot of fantastic ideas floating around on Pinterest for using old hankies in fun ways: as curtains, framed and hung in a grouping, fun bunting, a beautiful quilt, and even a one-of-a-kind table runner!

02.15.12 | cherished collections

This is my little homage to using a vintage handkerchief in decor, inspired by much of what I’ve seen. I remembered I had this vintage Florida souvenir hankie, and pulled it out to use in the powder room (which has managed to take on a very “Florida” theme, with a lot of our silly knick-knacks we acquired during our stay). It adds some color to the dull wall, and also brings in my favorite color: red. I’m really quite smitten with this display at the moment, I must admit! (Apologies for the odd photo angles, but we have quite possibly the world’s smallest powder room, which makes jamming myself in there to take photos a real challenge!)

Do you collect vintage handkerchiefs? What are some of the fun ways you display them?

February 15, 2012 · 34 lovely thoughts
posted in inspiration · tags: ,

I get asked a lot about where to find vintage-styles shoes when you’re on a budget. Believe me, I can sympathize with this plight! Although I love and adore reproduction brands like Remix (Aris Allen is another, though those are dance shoes and soled accordingly), they rarely fit into my shoe budget. So I’ve learned a few tricks along the way to unearth pieces that look vintage, but aren’t expensive. Note: this is not a post about specifically where you can find shoes that fit the vintage aesthetic, but rather on training your eye to find vintage-compatible footwear.

I say this to everyone who has ever asked me about “how do I find [insert garment here] that looks vintage?”: educate your eye. Even if you shop at a “vintage” themed store, you need to understand trends, silhouettes, popular styles of the era you’re looking to emulate. For me, this has involved lots of reading over the years as well as looking at fashion plates, vintage magazines and photographs of people sporting everyday fashions. I have a fairly good handle, if I do say so, of silhouette variations from the 1910s through the late 60s, as well as construction details that are appropriate to the era. It’s all because I studied. Boring (not really), but will save you a lot of time and money in the long run if you’re serious about integrating a vintage look into your daily wardrobe.

08.06.10 {1950s fashion inspiration}

Once you have the silhouette down (for in the case shoes), it’s going to take some sleuthing on your part. Until there is a manufacturer that produces lower-priced vintage reproduction shoes (though I do like the quality of the high-end ones; they last for years), you’ll have to learn to pounce when you see something. Right now there is a heavy 70s influence in the fashion footwear world, and the 70s saw a revival of the 40s platform. So knowing this, you can keep an eye out for 70s-does-40s style platforms (I’ve seen more than a few that would skew to either decade). The 60s is also experiencing a continued comeback, and kitten heel shoes are showing back up in the stores (but didn’t we just do this trend at the beginning of the last decade???). Sweet, pointed toe pumps with dimunitive heels have been popular. So another trend to jump on if the early 60s look is your thing. For the 50s, the classic pump with a round or almond toe, moderate heel (both in height and width) and leather never goes out of style. A stiletto also works for later 50s looks, although be mindful of the heel height and whether there is a platform under the toe area; a super high heel and chunky platform are wrong for the 50s.

04.14.11 | 30x30: day twelve 12.07.10 | polka dot swing dress 11.15.10 {november pretty}

examples of vintage-inspired outfits paired with modern footwear.

Realize I’m saying all this from an authenticity standpoint. Don’t feel like you have to have your shoes perfectly matched to the era of your outfit? Great (me too)!!! In which case your options open up quite a bit. While I wouldn’t advocate pairing a super-modern, studded wedge bootie with your chiffon 20s dress, I find that contemporary shoes with a more femenine flair work beautifully with vintage styles. I love shoes from all eras, and especially have a weakness for modern platforms, so knowing how to choose classic, feminine styles has proved useful when blending my footwear with my closet.

If, in case you’re wondering what some of my favorite places or brands for vintage-inspired (or vintage-compatible) footwear, here’s a few to keep an eye out for. Not all are completely “budget priced”, but keeping an eye out for sales or hunting your local department store discount shop is worth it! Many are “trend” brands as well, so it’s worth noting what “vintage trend” is in each season and hunting accordingly. (Please note I am in no way affiliated with any of these companies or totally advocate the quality–they’re just ones I’ve found as good options for me.)

I’d love to know: what is your favorite budget-friendly shoe brand?

January 16, 2012 · 41 lovely thoughts
posted in inspiration · tags:

Welcome, friends, to the Cirlce Skirt Sew-Along Party! I am so excited by the turn-out and the array of beautiful skirts is truly stunning (there are over twenty-five beautiful skirts in the party!). This post ended up being quite a big one, so be sure to settle in with a cup of tea (or beverage of choice) and spend some time looking through all these delightful creations. I know I’ve picked up so many ideas just looking at these and reading the descriptions sent along with the photos!

I also want to say that putting together this sew-along party was extremely humbling in a way. To have so many other sewers join in a group project like this is more than a little awe-inspiring. Thank you for continually coming back to read my ramblings and join in my little projects such as this one. I love the sense of community blogging brings and am so excited we can be scattered all over the globe, yet be brought together in one spot learning and sharing ideas. I can’t wait to host another sew-along (probably after the new year)!

So without further ado, I present to you the Circle Skirt Sew-Along Party:

{ click here to continue reading this post }

October 10, 2011 · 43 lovely thoughts
posted in inspiration · tags:

09.21.11 | vintage gloves

Gloves always conjure up images of elegantly clad women in 40s fashion photographs sporting eccentric gauntlet gloves in some eye-catching hue. Or of the more demure sort we often associate with the 1950s and floral afternoon dresses. I somehow have managed to amass a little stack of these vintage lovelies, usually for less than $1 at thrift shops. I am oddly drawn to these little bits of fashion history, and am always justifying their inclusion in my collection by thinking I’ll find some genius way to use them! But so far, the only gloves I wear are the sort that are meant for cold weather (or my opera length kid gloves—a rummage sale find—that have found use occasionally). So they sit in the pretty case I have for them, and are taken out for the occasional photoshoot prop or just to admire.

09.21.11 | vintage gloves

09.21.11 | vintage gloves

09.21.11 | vintage gloves

Esoteric by most modern standards, as I have not seen (in person) anyone outside of a tea room sporting these elegant treasures. Yet, sometimes I’ll run across an image of a beautifully dressed young lady (usually head to toe vintage or some mix of that nature), and it inspires me. Yet, unlike hats, I cannot seem to muster the courage to go about wearing gloves (other than when it’s cold). So tell me: are day gloves completely passé? Would you wear them (if so—how)? Best kept for pretty displays and summer weddings?

September 21, 2011 · 41 lovely thoughts
posted in inspiration · tags: ,