Wednesday, 22 October 2014

I blame Dawn O'Porter...

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... but I guess it started long before then.

If you read my last blog post you may have discovered that I love a bit of almost everything, as a result I have a wardrobe, and more, full of clothes but nothing to wear. I go through phases of wearing the same type of clothing for a while then take a strop, decide nothing suits me and rethink 'my style' although I actually don't think it exists in a singular sense! I think my style incorporates many different looks depending on how lazy I am being. School runs and baking/decorating don't lend themselves to being stylish as you can imagine and I spend most of my days in jeans, casual tops and sensible footwear. When we get the chance to go out of an evening I do love to dress up, but it really doesn't happen very often and although I adore dresses it's difficult not to feel overdressed when you compare it to what you wear on a day-to-day basis. We are bombarded with fashion advice everywhere we look and it is tempting to follow trends but who has the money or the time? Even when researching design ideas for cakes, it is difficult to avoid the myriad of fashion blogs and whilst many don't feel applicable to me, as a working mum, and one usually covered in icing sugar at that, it's nice to dream. This is by no means a fashion blog, or a vintage blog, just me writing about me!

One thing I do love though are clothes with history, which is partly why I have items which I no longer wear, or could wear, but I can't bring myself to throw out. I still fondly remember many items of clothing I wore proudly and my earliest memory has to be a dress and jacket combo that my mum bought for me to take on my first major school holiday when I was about 9yrs old, a week spent in York. The dress was a striped monochrome print with red roses and the jacket was a black bolero with a little red ribbon rose. Other stand out pieces included, a Lichtenstein inspired bomber jacket, a navy polka dot shirt, rust coloured trousers, multiple pairs of combat trousers, navy dungarees and the widest flared jeans ever, all before the age of 20! I hasten to add I haven't kept any of these, no wait... yes the widest flared jeans ever are still in my wardrobe! These days I tend to play it safe, or is that boring?

By far the oldest and loveliest item of clothing I have is a little dress I wore in my baby portrait when I was a year old, yes, that makes the dress 33yrs old! We did take photos of our first daughter in the dress too, although we can't find them! I also still have my wedding dress, like I could ever get rid of that! I do have romantic notions about my daughters perhaps using it in some way, but only time will tell if they share my sentimentality.

I often think about trying to define myself more in terms of my style, if nothing else, to make getting dressed of a morning much easier but I fear getting my head round that may be a long journey. I am an impulsive clothes shopper, I follow my heart, certainly not my head. I have ideas of more feminine dressing but many thoughts perpetuate the little voice in my head that tells me to wise up!

When my husband and I celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary in July this year, we booked a little weekend away to London. I decided I would spend the weekend dressed how I would like to dress all the time and so, over a number of weeks, I planned my outfits. Throughout this time I developed an obsession over vintage clothing. 'This Old Thing' was on tv, I loved the idea of vintage but it was only ever the idea that I loved, suddenly I started browsing Ebay and Asos Marketplace and I looked for vintage inspired pieces in high street shops. Admittedly I felt a bit of a fraud playing 'dress-up' infront of my mirror at home but I figured it was a start, but would I actually commit to buying and even wearing anything truly vintage? I had read that there can be a little bit of snobbery when it comes to deciding what actually constitutes vintage, but hey, if it existed before I was of an age to wear it, then it is vintage to me. You can find the most amazing array of vintage clothing on Ebay and my first three vintage purchases were all dresses, incidently they all came from Ebay seller Tups Vintage. Katie has the most amazing collections of vintage dressses and skirts almost every week and her auctions end on Sunday evenings, go take a look.

This beautiful dress was my first true vintage purchase, I was so excited when it arrived in the post. I loved the pleats and the print. It came with a navy rope style belt but I have been looking for a belt to update a little and whilst I still haven't found a belt I am truly happy, this little waist belt gives it a better shape on me and my navy wedges finish it off. I don't often let anyone take photos of me, the trauma of seeing the end result is too much! On this occassion however, I had to bite the bullet, isn't my husband, the photographer, lucky to have such a co-operative wife, so please look at the clothes, not my face!

My next vintage purchase came little over a week after the first, again from Tups Vintage. A little 80s dress with black bodice and a lovely floral print on the skirt. A big bonus, the skirt has pockets, quite why this excites me so much, I don't know!!! I found this cute little jacket in a high street sale, I love it and it goes with so many things. Black tights and my favourite black shoes finish it off.

Finally this red dress really stood out to me, moreso because of the back detail (which you can't see because we didn't take a pic of it!) and because it is so easy to wear. Oh and did I mention, it also has pockets!!! I can't wait for next summer to actually wear it out and it gives me a bit of time to find some accessories!

I think if I hadn't had such a successful vintage shopping experience the first time round I might have given up as sizing can be tricky, especially when purchasing over the internet, but since then I have discovered the most amazing little shop in Newry, Blackbird Vintage, check out their Facebook page! I'm just sad it's not on my doorstep, I might feel obliged to visit everyday.

Kathryn xxx

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