Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Japanese Retro

中原淳一 Junichi Nakahara
I started digging out an old favorite of mine from my closet this week. Tsumami kanzashi. These are pretty widely known these days, but back when I first got started with them there used to be only around 3 pages of google images if you searched in English. In fact, after I taught myself how to make them back in 2002, they were actually the first things I sold, and how my entire clothing label got it's start!

For those who don't know much about them, tsumami kanzashi are a traditional Japanese style of hair ornament made from folded silk. Some big, some small, all lovely! I actually have a pretty big collection of these pins, and found that vintage hair styles work really well with the them (especially 1940's hair)  these silk flowers are also a wonderful alternative to the regular flower clip we all love so much!

Even if you're faithful in your love of regular pin up flowers clips, you can bring in a little of that tsumami magic by matching your hair flowers to the ones you see blooming in the current season. Apprentice geisha pick theirs based on a calender of appropriate motifs for each month. Coordinating with the environment like this makes you look as fresh and precious as the flowers themselves.

Although I haven't sold kanzashi in a good few years, it's still possible to hunt them down, I especially love the ones made with fine silks and rice starch over the sewn ones a lot of crafters make these days. They are labor intensive to make, and certainly not cheap to buy, but certainly another option for true hair flower enthusiasts!

My kanzashi collection site Kanzashi❤core (in need of updating) has a ton of photos of this type of hair ornament, as well as a tutorial on how to make your own! I'm looking to get back into making them again and finishing off my seasonal kanzashi collection/calender. Dusting off these pretty old pins is giving me just the inspiration to do that!

Sunday, May 27, 2012

Sunday Best: Summer Belle

Yesterday was my birthday, and what a birthday! We went out to an incredible restaurant which had the most lavish food, but a relaxed and modern environment. I went with my usual dolled up look for a sunny evening and had a wonderful time! 
Outfit Rundown:

Dress: Watercolor Whisper from Vivcore
Pearls: My lovely set of lilac freshwater pearls
Belt: Up coming "Pretty You" accessory
Shoes: Kandee
Bag: Vintage Lucite
Hair: My big bouffant hair piece with a vintage feather design pearl brooch

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Pretty in Pumps

Roger Vivier 1950's
If you're dressing mid-century, think mid heel when it comes to shoes!
One thing I really love and lust over in mid century shoes is the pastel candy colors that were all the rage back then. I also love the relatively comfortable elegance of a mid century mid heel. Not too flat, not too high, and surprisingly flattering, the shape of the shoe seems to elongate the leg. Around 3" in height, with pointy toes they are so girly, pretty and not half bad for walking around in.

For me when I think about 50's and early 60's shoes, I think of the amazing glitzy pumps Roger Vivier made for Dior back then.

My silver Annas
Vintage Vivier's are pretty much out of my reach, and I'm not always super comfortable with vintage shoes, which is why I ewas  thrilled lis past week to find the brand I get more than half my shoes from in the UK Kurt Geiger is now in the US along with their pastel 50's shoe collection!

The jewel in the crown is probably Anna, a mid heel pump with perfect mid century styling, in either Cadillac pastels or Vivier glitter. Me? I went with the silver glitter for right now. They are eye worryingly sparkly (which is a good thing), a breeze to walk in and the perfect accompaniment to any vintage style dresses or cigarette pant. I love them so much that there may be a pair in lilac or yellow for me in the future.

Candy Colors in 1965

Sunday, May 20, 2012

Sunday Best: Grass is Greener

Staring trying to wear gloves again since they played such an important part in vintage fashions.

They do take a little getting used to. kind of like when I first started wearing crinolines. Once you get the rhythms right though they feel  second nature, and really are a great way to retro up an outfit!

Outfit Rundown:
Dress: Button and Bow swing dress
Pearls: Society double strand pearl set (currently on sale)
Gloves: Long cocktial gloves worn ruffled down for day wear
Shoes: Irregular Choice
Bag: Vivienne Westwood
Cardgan: Vintage  Darlene cardigan (I need to collect more of these)
Hat: Pretty You Whimsy
Hair: Thrown together after a shower, just my hand made clip in Betty bangs (tutorial on the way) and a lazy ponytail.

Friday, May 11, 2012

Old Timey

For Xmas last year I got a beautiful vintage 50s watch as a gift. white gold with tiny diamonds and a super girly bow design it's the perfect watch for a girl like me! Still in the box with the manufacturers booklet and not a single scratch on it, looks like it had never been worn. From the engraving on the back it was given as a gift in 1952 to Hazel L Blow, before it was given again nearly 60 years later to me!

The delicate original workings lasted a short while, but then gave up as a 60 year old watch can often do. A little bit of TLC though and she's up and running once again! After resorting this watch and a few others I thought my little bit of experience might be helpful to other time travelers
 out there interested in adding an authentic vintage watch to their retro wardrobe...

 Vintage Watches
 Buying a vintage watch is kind of like buying a vintage car, once you find a model that's right, you may need to take some time and money to get the mechanics purring again. Here are a few things to consider when taking the plunge on a classic watch.
Replacing the Band
It seems ladies back then had tiny wrists, I have tiny wrists for a modern girl and still have trouble with the sizes of vintage watches. There are still vintage watch straps out there, and old designs made recently. Brands like Speidel and Hadley Roma do a wide range of vintage style watch bands and are fairly easy to find.

Things to look for on a watch band are the right type of connector for your watch, a good style to compliment the watch, and a good color match. Look for bands that are gold/white gold filled. These have a heavy plate on them, and will be a better match if you happen to have a gold/white gold watch.

Suitable replacement bands tend to run around $8-30 on average
Replacement Watchbands 1963
Getting It Ticking
Time can be cruel the the workings of a watch. More expensive watches will often have been checked over or serviced by a professional and be working in a manner you can trust (ask for a guarantee on the movement if you're spending a lot on a watch). Cheaper watches will usually be sold not working, or currently working with no service or guarantees (which means that they may be running right now despite age, but could stop at any moment or go on for a many more years to come, it can be a bit of a gamble)

It is of course possible to get a stopped watch to run again! Many good jewelry and watch repair shops can bring your old watch back to life. I've had a few vintage and antique watches fixed over the years the the rates seem to be around $80 (small repair) to $200 (complete new insides), so that is something to maybe think about when budgeting your purchase.

I always look for a nice clear crystal (glass on the watch face), it is possible to have them replaced, but obviously with older watches that can be a little tricky, there are services out there that specialize in vintage watch crystals, but at the moment I don't have any experience with the costs or difficulties of replacing an old style crystal.

I really love old watches, especially the tiny all metal bracelet ones, they are such a pretty feminine way to keep track of time!

Monday, May 7, 2012

Brooch Bouffant

If you collect vintage jewelry, you probably have more than a few vintage brooches constantly on hand> Now sure, the obvious place to put them is on a nice  frock, jacket or cardigan, but why not get a little more exciting and use them to decorate your vintage hairstyle too! A popular early 60's look, just perch it front of your bouffant or up do to add a little extra glitter a la Betty Draper in Rome.

The sparkle of a tiara and keeping retro without having to go all out princess!

You can just pin the brooch to the ponytail elastic, or you can follow this basic tutorial and turn your brooch into a hair ornament in it's own right!

(If you lack brooches there are some in the Vivcore shop)


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