style inspiration

I thought today I’d veer off the usual Monday-scans-path a bit and instead talk about one of my other favorite sources of style inspiration: classic film stars. During our trip back from Virginia, we made a quick stop at the Ava Gardner Museum in Smithfield, NC. I’d been dying to stop there for ages, and was delighted that we were able to this time. The museum is very small, but well done, and had quite a nice collection of Ava memorabilia, clothes, personal possessions and photos on display. I’m kicking myself for not asking if photos were allowed inside the museum–but I was a little starstruck! After seeing so many images of Ava in the museum I was inspired to do this post since she had a really fantastic sense of style (and was utterly gorgeous). There is a mix of studio portraits, film stills and candids in this post–hope you enjoy!

l: cute summertime style with printed shorts! | r: this dress was on display at the museum–it’s a breathtaking coral-orange silk.

l: I love the pouch hanging from her belt. | r: those cat-eye sunglasses are so glamorous!

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January 10, 2011 · 27 lovely thoughts
posted in vintage inspiration · tags: , , ,

My apologies that I didn’t get the usual inspiration week post up yesterday… This weekend I decided to take a bit of a break from my computer, both to rest and enjoy the little taste of fall weather we’re having! I’m sure you’re all wondering who won the giveaway, right? First I want to say a big thank you to everyone who entered–and left comments. I definitely want to try and do another giveaway before the holidays start, but if not, right after the New Year. These are just too much fun! Now for the winner (selected by the Random Number Generator)…

Congratulations, Taylor! I’ll be contacting you a bit later today so I can get your package sent off!

This week’s inspiration scans are largely jackets from 1950. Partly because I am utterly obsessed with jackets, and also because the cool weather this weekend meant I had to take one if I went out! I love the short, boxy jackets from the early 1950s; they always look so cozy and perfect for fitting over a slim dress or chunky sweater. I especially love the checkered jacket that is a bit further down–be still my beating heart! Of course, now all I want to do is work on my Lady Grey jacket today… alas, if only I didn’t have a scarily-long to-do list! I hope you enjoy this mish-mash of random scans from 1950; a lot of things caught my eye while I was picking out images for this week and it was hard to whittle them down to a handful!

Not a jacket proper, but equally fetching: a short little cape! I love the idea of a matching cape and skirt, as opposed to the usual jacket and skirt combination.

The shaped seam detail along the front is a great way to liven up an otherwise plain style.

I love this double breasted coat in a tailored plaid with the patch pockets!

More short, swingy jackets in various shapes and silhouettes. The one at the center with the plaid lining is my favorite!

This is the checked jacket that I mentioned above; I especially love the use of the leather belt rather than self-fabric. Would be a pretty springtime topper!

For something a bit different: loafers! I’ve been searching for a pair of this style shoe for the winter and dreaming how nice they’d look with some late 40s style jeans…

The bolero suit on the left with the checked blouse is so pretty!

Any details or looks catching your eye today? Have a lovely Monday, friends!

November 8, 2010 · 16 lovely thoughts
posted in vintage inspiration · tags: , ,

I’ve talked about my love of Gene Tierney before, and since I haven’t highlighted any 1940s fashion films, I thought this would be a good time to gush more over Gene and one of my favorite films: Laura. Bonnie Cashin designed the costumes for this 1944 film, and her sense of easy-going style is reflected in Gene’s outfits. Rather than overly glamorize the star (who was quite stunning and didn’t really need glitzy costumes!) as many films of the era had a tendency towards, the designer stayed within the limits of what could have plausibly been worn by any well-heeled, fashionable young woman of the era. Looking at these outfits, you can see the sportswear influence that Cashin became increasingly known for, while still keeping within the silhouette acceptable at the time. This is one of those films that I’ve idolized for years and continue to scheme from time to time about recreating various dresses or outfits! I hope you’ll enjoy looking through these… (As always, click images for a larger view!)

[ Check out the impeccable bias trim on this suit--it's subtle, but adds a higher end feel to the garment because it's such a fiddly detail to execute perfectly! ]


[ The skirt and knit top that is worn with the suit jacket above. I love the fitted jersey with buttons up the back--and the bias trim is echoed here on the shoulders and neckline. Wouldn't this be a neat variation on the plain ol' tee? ]


[ An array of beautiful knits that Gene wears at the beginning montage. The first outfit is a matched cardigan and skirt set, while the second is a chunkier cardigan and pony skin (!) skirt. Talk about wild fashion on the latter one... I love the chunky bracelet and belt though. ]


[ A glamorous, Grecian inspired evening gown. It's deceptively simple, in that it lacks a lot of surface decoration, but the genius is in the intricate draping. Note the large sparkly brooch on the left shoulder; that's a great way to add some sparkle to an otherwise simple neckline! ]


[ I love this floppy hat that Gene sports! Somewhat unusual to the period (structured hats tended to be more popular), but it frames Gene's face well and would be an easy style to reproduce today. ]


[ I love this striped jacket to bits--look at all the different directions the stripes are cut to create a rather dynamic jacket. Gene's pageboy inspired hairstyle is very nice too! ]


[ Another floppy brimmed hat, this time with a classic trench coat. Note the stitching on the brim of the hat. ]


[ A sporty pants ensemble: this is probably the outfit that is tempting me most right now to try and make! Again, the patterned fabric is cut in various directions to show off bias piecing on the blouse. I love the waist tie detail too! ]


[ Another striped jacket that goes with lounging pants. The hairstyle is so lovely! ]


[ An unstructured skirt and blouse set; another unusual look for the period (although other designers certainly were playing with the idea of less structure, it just wasn't as mainstream). The long scarf-wrap drapes around the neckline to make it suitable for streetwear. ]


[ One of my favorite dresses; a back buttoned street length garment with pleats at the shoulder, extended shoulders forming sleeves, and a shaped belt. The belt has some sort of embellishment too; simple but fitting with the elegance of the piece. Note the bracelet Gene is wearing--it's a floral cuff design that is very similar to a lot of bracelets I've seen in shops recently. ]


[ A gorgeous, draped front dressing gown worn in the final scene. I love the floral applique on the left front--very pretty! ]


August 4, 2010 · 24 lovely thoughts
posted in vintage inspiration · tags: , ,

05.07.10 {pretty little things}

The romantic mood that has been haunting me for the past couple months hasn’t waned. I’m still very much into lacy little blouses, bows, scallops (eying all the fantastic scallop shorts that have been popping up!), delicate jewelry… basically anything that is pretty and feminine. Still couched very much within my adoration of the 40s, but branching out back to my love of the Edwardian period (one of the “original” eras that got me into vintage styles) and making things all the more whimsical (something I’m always drawn to). I thought I’d show you some of the things that have been hanging around my closet (or the vintage boxes)–pieces that have been inspiring me and making me daydream about romantic summertime outfits…

05.07.10 {pretty little things}

05.07.10 {pretty little things}

05.07.10 {pretty little things}

What is it about warm weather that always makes me indulge in my adoration of lace and especially pretty things? I tend towards a much more tailored, classic look in the colder months (partially because I hate layering, and would much rather wear as few layers as possible, providing they are thick and warm!), but come spring all bets are off! I think the return towards romanticism in some fashion lines hasn’t been helping, nor has watching movies like Pretty Baby and Picnic at Hanging Rock lately… I think what I’d really love this summer is to find an Edwardian white dress that fits and is in decent condition (or only needs minor mends) within my minuscule budget. Or maybe I should make one (eventually). After all, I do have a pile of antique lace

What particular styles are catching your fancy for summertime wear?

05.07.10 {pretty little things}

05.07.10 {pretty little things}

05.07.10 {pretty little things}

05.07.10 {pretty little things}

05.07.10 {pretty little things}

May 7, 2010 · 21 lovely thoughts
posted in thrifting + vintage · tags: ,

I’ll be the first to admit I am not the most consistent person when it comes to utilizing my stash of scarves. More often than not, like a lot of women, I’m at a bit of a loss to figure out more artistic ways to show one off! Some of these ideas from 1944 are quite dramatic and would be fun to try even in a modern context. Plus a scarf is a great way to add a little pick-me-up to your winter wardrobe right about now!

02.09.10 {scarf tricks c. 1944}

[ as usual, be sure to click for the enlarged view! ]

02.09.10 {scarf tricks c. 1944}

[ as usual, be sure to click for the enlarged view! ]

So I’m curious: would you try any of these scarf tricks? What is your favorite way to sport a pretty scarf?

February 9, 2010 · 22 lovely thoughts
posted in tutorials,vintage inspiration · tags: , , ,