Wardrobe Wednesday: Thrifty Forties

I love retro brands, but nothing can replace the thrift store.

Thrifting was how I got into vintage when I was a kid. Little did I know that the mid-nineties were vintage-thrift heaven. Nowadays, true vintage usually gets snatched up quickly by vintage sellers, or never winds up in the thrift store in the first place. Gone are the days of finding bunches of 1960s cast-offs for a couple bucks.

Still, it’s possible to create vintage-style looks from the thrift store, even if finding actual vintage pieces is rare. This outfit struck the just the right 1940’s notes without looking too costumey, and is comprised almost entirely of thrift store pieces.

Green and black 1940's style blouse and skirt
Blouse, skirt, knee socks (you can’t see them, they’re just socks), all thrifted.

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#VintageDecemberStyle Outfit 2–Christmassy Cabaret with Aunt Nance

I know some funny people.

Chicago is a comedy town, and I have the good fortune of knowing and loving some truly delightful goofballs.

Take the illustrious Brittny Congleton, and her alter-ego, Aunt Nance.

This is Aunt Nance.

Yes, she has a giant cardboard cut-out of her face. Why wouldn’t she?

Aunt Nance is an aggressively Midwestern, ever-tipsy, brassy, sassy broad, who gets up to all kinds of mischief. This year, she invited my alter-ego to come sing some tunes in her Hot Flash Holiday Cabaret. It was a delight, and all kinds of silly. It was also an opportunity for another #VintageDecemberStyle outfit.

You cannot see how truly giant my beehive was, and that is a shame. Dress–Lindy Bop, Charlotte. Petticoats–two of ’em. Sweater–Pinup Girl, maybe? (I don’t buy from them anymore). Stockings–Frederick’s of Hollywood, seven (?) years ago? Hair scarf–literally a strip of chiffon Shoes–Payless, also about seven (!) years ago.

Things I learned, out and about in this outfit.

  • Why wear one petticoat when you can wear two?
  • If you dress like this, old men in bars will really want to talk to you.
  • The gingham + peppermint stripes almost crosses into lady clown territory, but narrowly escapes by going easy on the accessories

While this might be a little much for a company Christmas party, it was excellent for a visit with Aunt Nance!

Wardrobe Wednesday: Sunday Go to Meeting

I don’t go to church.

There are many reasons for that, none of which I’ll get into at the moment. My readership is full of lovely people of various theological persuasions, and as an essentially private person, I don’t feel a need to explicate my deepest convictions in a post that is really about my stockings.

However, there are a lot of elements of religion that are pleasing, whether they’re attached to any greater meaning or not. Community, singing together, learning something deeper about one’s values, these are nice. So occasionally I’ll make the Sunday morning meeting of the Ethical Humanist Society, or as we call it at our house, “Atheist Church.”

Please note: “Atheist Church” is a pretty inaccurate description of the Ethical Humanist Society. For one, it’s not strictly atheistic–members have a variety of opinions on the God question. You can learn more about what the Ethical Humanist Society of Chicago is about here.

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The Cutest Outfit You Never Saw

It’s spring in Chicago, so that means it’s time for Vintage Garage!

Chicago’s Vintage Garage is a monthly all-vintage flea market, held in a parking garage in the Uptown neighborhood through the warm months. Over a hundred vendors of vintage clothing, appliances, housewares, and various sundries gather, set up their wares, and sell to the vintage loving hordes. And for some reason, I had never gone. I always mean to go, then end up skipping it. Not this year!

Each month has a different theme, and May’s was Mid-Century Modern. Clearly, this requires a mid-century outfit. So I assembled one. It ended up being completely covered by my coat. It was so cold! While 50 degrees certainly isn’t the worst, inside a concrete parking garage it was much colder. I felt bad for the vendors. On the plus side, the people selling coats and sweaters probably had a great day.

This is the outfit I came up with. This is also the first time I got up the gumption to wear cigarette pants out in public. I think the whole thing is rather sweater girl and cute.

photo (2)

Sweater: Vintage, thrifted.
Cigarette pants: Reproduction, from Collectif.
Scarf: Vintage, gift.
Basket purse: undetermined age, thrifted.
Shoes: Super cheap navy blue Keds knock-offs.

Continue reading “The Cutest Outfit You Never Saw”

Vintage Hair for Modern People: Pin Curls

The Internet is full of pin curling tutorials, and I see no reason to add another one.

It’s not secret that heat styling is no good for your hair. Curling irons, blow driers, straighteners, hot rollers–they work really well, but eventually leave you with crispy tresses. Yes, there are heat protectant sprays,  and yes, you can pry my hot rollers out of my cold, dead hands, but for daily styling, I’m trying to avoid heat.

Finally, after The Great Cropping Accident of 2015, in which a hair dresser and I had a very different understanding of “take some of this weight off so the curls will bounce”, I have enough length to do something. It only took a year. I’m not bitter at all. But as my hair has gotten heavier, it has lacked a certain volume and shape, and je ne sais quoi.

Look at me, pretending that was on purpose.
Look at me, pretending that was on purpose.

A hot roller set makes my hair look fantastic, if I do say so. But I am not willing to hot roll every day, because of the aforementioned heat damage potential. Enter the pin curl. Continue reading “Vintage Hair for Modern People: Pin Curls”