Outfit: Such A Betty

Have you heard of Joanie Clothing? They're a new, retro fashion line that comes in extended sizes and is pretty darn cute. My dress is by them, but I'm already coveting their gorgeous library book print pieces! That skirt has my name all over it. This dress is called the Betty and combined with the brand name I have Mad Men on the mind. As someone who loves to wear vintage clothing that show was such a visual treat; the amount of detail that went into the costumes and seeing real world vintage looks (as opposed to glossy films or ads from the era) was really inspiring. As almost always when I talk about my love of vintage I feel it is necessary to put a disclaimer that I have no interest in actually returning to the past or applying the values or lifestyle of that era to my life. I mean, I really like that style of clothes--I even enjoy the kitschy aprons, frou frou nightie sets, and super matchy accessories--but that is where my interest ends: the visuals. That's another reason to like Mad Men; it doesn't sugarcoat that time period and make life back then seem more ideal and appealing than life now (for women anyway!). So visually, I've been in the mood to wear more literal vintage looks lately and channel some retro hairstyles (pin curls here I come!), a re-watch of the show might be necessary...

Outfit: Flapper Girl

One of my favorite fashion eras to channel around Halloween is the 1920s. While I love wearing vintage on a regular basis, the 1920s always feels a bit fancy and costume-y to me for most "everyday" outfits, but when you have an excuse to dress up it's one of the most fun eras to channel. Flapper looks are so theatrical and their lives seem so exhilarating; it was this new period of liberation for so many women. They cut off their hair, burned their corsets, postponed marriage, and danced on table tops. Of course history is more complicated than that and many of the women who did these things were considered scandalous, but it's hard not to be charmed by the glamorous sort of life flappers seemed to have. In many ways we can have the best of that world now with none of the consquences (like your family sending you away to an asylum for doing almost anything), because now we can channel the fashion anytime we want, but we still get to own property and vote and probably dance on a table if we really want. Win-win-win. To me the look always starts with the dress. Lately I get all of mine from Gatsbylady; I've been working with them for months and still every time I look at their site there's some new and interesting style. I like how many options there are; so many different colors, maxi dresses, sleeved dresses (so rare to find when you're looking at flapper styles!), unique beading styles, capelets, etc. For my Halloween look I immediately honed in on this elegant black and silver dress--I already knew I had the perfect accessories to complete my costume in my closet! If you're looking to get the most period accurate flapper look, check out my quick list of style "dos and don'ts" below. It would also be wise to watch some films made in the 1920s, like Clara Bow's "It" or even one of the early talkies like Broadway Melody or The Jazz Singer which will help you channel the look and attitude of the era. A modern film that does a wonderful job of channeling this era accurately is The Artist.

Period accurate dos and don'ts for the perfect flapper look: 
-Do wear a lot of makeup with dark, rounded eyeshadow and strong cupid's bow style lipstick.
-Don't contour or highlight, but instead try a very pale matte base with some intense blush.
-Do wear t-strap and other dance inspired shoes with a moderate, thick heel.
-Don't wear any platform or stiletto heels.
-Do carry a small clutch or purse, you can even get adventurous with a small novelty bag which became popular in this era.
-Don't carry anything big or bulky or overly plain; every accessory should work with evening attire and be lightweight or small enough to be convenient for dancing.
-Do wear stockings in nude or matching color to your outfit.
-Don't wear stockings with a backseam.
-Do throw on a faux fur (or fur trimmed) in a loose boxy shape for an added layer or warmth.
-Don't wear a trench or coat that ties at your natural waist.

Gatsbylady dressheadband, old cardigan & shoes, perfume inspired purse (similar)
*pictures by Thomas*

Outfit: Orange You Glad...

Here's a color you almost never see me in--orange! I had a lot of favorite colors over the years. When I was little I liked yellow best because it was my mother's favorite color and hearing her explain why she liked it made me like it too. Other days I was in love with red because someone complimented me on my red purse--the first purse I ever owned--and everything red made me feel special for awhile. I think I might have even briefly liked pink at some point before I got a bit older and decided I didn't want anything to do with pink (eventually I got a bit older again and made my peace with the color). But through all of my color infactuations there was always one color I never liked that much: orange. Even though I frequently dye my hair red, which some people refer to as orange, I've never been drawn to orange clothes in my wardrobe. I love wearing nearly every shade of red and deep warm mustard-y yellows, and even a few borderline rusty browns, but there's a noticeable gap in my closet between those two shades that never quite gets filled in. Until this year perhaps. This year I've actually be drawn to a few orange pieces that aren't pumpkins! Like this color-blocked dress by Wolf and Whistle. Boldly, unapologetically as orange as a traffic cone, and yet I like it. It had Thomas and I humming "This Is Halloween" all afternoon and the color actually works quite well with my ginger hair. P.S. This dress will also look chic and less Halloween-y other months minus the cat ears and batty necklace! 
jacket, Wolf & Whistle dress, Tatty Devine necklace, old belt, stockings, flats, old purse
*pictures by Thomas*

Outfit: Conkers

If you've never heard of conkers before, you're in good company. Until recently I had no idea what a "conker" was and had certainly never played it! Conkers are another term for chestnuts, or rather a local, traditional children's game played with chestnuts. It's a pretty simple game between two people. Each person has a conker threaded on a string (or more commonly an old shoelace, my shoelaces were sacrificed this year) and they take turns whacking one another's conker. The first conker to break loses. But the real strategy in conkers comes earlier, in the collection of the best chestnuts and then the special preparation you take to make your chosen conker the hardest and toughest to beat. Some trees will produce bigger nuts and you collect a lot before you make your final selection of which looks the biggest and best. Then, there are different techniques to toughen your conker--Thomas told me when he was younger he would hoard some for a whole year in a hot press waiting until the next autumn to make their fighting debut, while other people would soak their conkers in vinegar in attempt to make them harder. It's an old game that dates back to the 1800s and still played today, although some schools have banned it (and you can imagine why it might not be wise to have children swinging hardened conkers on strings in each other's faces!).

This is how "conkers" or chestnuts look on the branch; they have an outer protective prickly shell you break off to get to the nut in the center. An old wives tale says having fresh chestnuts in your house will keep spiders away.

I had a lot of fun collecting conkers and learning to play the game a bit this autumn. I'm quite a newbie so it's hard for me to even swing my conker correctly to hit my opponent's! But it's fun to learn a little bit about Thomas's childhood and highly entertaining to watch him play against his father (they're tied with equal wins and losses right now)! I might have to bring this game back to America and teach my family to play on our next visit.

Remix: Emily & Fin Knitwear Remix

Emily & Fin is one of my favorite local, UK brands to work with. Their pieces are usually retro-meets-classic in unique prints and now they're adding knitwear to the mix. The aethestic and quality is consistent with their staple pieces, with added coziness factor. I received the Lois jumper and immediately thought of so many outfits it can be styled with. A medium weight, sparkly navy sweater it works both dressed up or down; layered over skirts and dresses, or styled with jeans. I love versatility in my clothes and couldn't resist shooting a little remix around this lovely knit. The first look is probably the most cliche "me" of the three styles. I do enjoy a little skater skirt (I've probably worn this one a dozen times on the blog) and always feel an outfit isn't complete without a few quirky accessories, this time in the form of crocheted tights, a floral headband, and tiny vintage mouse brooch that might be easily overlooked, but is probably my favorite detail!

The sparkles in the metallic yarn of the jumper make it a perfect piece to dress up for those autumn evenings when you want to feel fancy, but could do without bare shoulders and goosebumps. Whenever I remix a piece I always try to think about how you can make it look different from the last outfit--there's the big obvious changes in statement jewelry and day skirt to in-your-face-tulle, but there's also subtle changes you can make like I did with this look by rolling the sleeves. P.S. Although this top is sweetly sparkly, I should add that it isn't itchy at all! I've tried some metallic knits in the past and usually they're a bit itchy or uncomfortable, but that is definitely not the case with this jumper.

**old headband, Emily & Fin sweater, old tulle skirt (similar), old heels** 

This casual style is the least stereotypically "me" of the three, but the most sensible for someone like myself recovering from the flu! It was warm enough when we took these pictures, but I was most comfortable bundled up in my giant scarf and cheery coat. The jumper disappears under the layers of this look, but it's a great little piece to dress up a basic pair of jeans for when you do head indoors after a blustery day and start shedding your cocoon in favor of a hot mug!