Feminist In A Fifties Dress!

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Two rants in two days, I’m not even gonna apologise because sometimes you need to get stuff off your chest right? Oh and if you don’t like swears, you might want to skip out now because there are a few and I was being restrained! Normal boring blogging will resume next week.

‘Old fashioned values’ is a term that quite frankly I despise because half the time it refers to a way of life that was actually quite repressive. Before you go on about manners and courtesy and whatnot, personally I don’t see these as old-fashioned values, they are just values that people should aspire to anyway, regardless of what times we live. This constant harking back to the ‘good old days’ and ‘old fashioned values’ because most people cannot relate as they did not live these time, they are other people’s experiences handed down to us in trust and sometimes you just can;t trust other people’s judgments on things,

Let me explain as to what kicked off this latest rant, so someone shared a video into my facebook feed (yes I know I’m supposed to have quit arsebook but we’ll go into that another time) about a girl who dresses vintage and why. Now as a person who dresses vintage, I found this video highly problematic because it was about dressing for respect and behaving like a lady, so that people, mainly men would treat you like a lady and that if women were more modest than people would respect them more. So basically cover your skin so people don’t think you’re trash! Excuse me, fuck you and the proverbial high horse you rode in on!

Firstly this states that you have to dress a certain way so that men behave themselves, forget that the sexual harassment was just as rife in the 50s as it is today. The fact is you’re saying that women have to take responsibility to curb the actions of others. We are taught from such a young that it’s our fault and that we must behave a certain way because it’s not the responsibility of predators to control themselves. Seriously sister, you could cover yourself from head to toe in the ugliest outfit ever but if someone wants to sexually harass you even just disrespect and judge you, they’re gonna!

It’s snobbery! Making yourself out to be superior because you behave a certain way is just snobbery. You are not better than everyone just because you choose to be more ‘modest’, your friends are not beneath you because their skirt is shorter than yours, you’re just stuck up!

Clothes should be worn because you like them and feel comfortable in them, not because you think people are going to respect you. You can wear the prettiest dress in the world but if you’re a complete arsehole, then the dress is not going to change that fact!

What the fuck is ladylike, not this language for a start but who do you get to dictate what is ladylike. So you want a world where men fall over to hold the doors open for you, carry your shopping, whilst you giggly coyly and sip tea with one picky in the air, go fucking you! But you know also thanks for undoing years of work on trying to eradicate repressive stereotyping like this!

The old days weren’t better, they were different and with far fewer choices. Remember when women couldn’t show leg because it was deemed unacceptable for a lady to do such a thing, as was voting. Or that we couldn’t have our own bank account when we got married and it was automatically transferred to our husbands, or we could get fired for being pregnant, or the fact that to be married you had to be heterosexual because being gay was illegal? Need I go with this, no I don’t think we do?

I also get extremely annoyed when I hear the phrase it’s a generational thing especially when it comes to excusing things like sexism and racism. Firstly no, it’s just ignorant! As long as you are alive in this planet you never not have an excuse to educate and better yourself! Secondly it’s insulting to people of that generation who are not ignorant, racist, sexist and whatever else was shit back in the day. Thirdly I’m sorry being politically correct is such a chore for you, how terrible it must be for you taking into consideration other people’s feeling by not being a total prick!

This is pretty much why I stay away from specific scenes in the vintage world (and just people in general). I have quite a few friends into vintage style and they go to all the rave and riots, I go to Viva Las Vegas but that doesn’t mean we immerse ourselves in a reenactment of they way things were. Dressing in the clothes and dancing to the music doesn’t mean we catapult ourselves back to the past and relieve them authentically, though I have read of some that do and you know what that is fine because choices!

Just so you know, just because I dress like a lady doesn’t mean I act like one, I believe in progression, I believe that people should have choices, I believe that people are born equal and should be treated so, I believe that you shouldn’t be judged by standards from a long time ago, I will stand up for myself, I will say what I feel if I think it needs to be said no matter how becoming of me it is! Be yourself, be true to yourself, don’t be a slave to the patriarchal bullshit! You can still be a feminist in a fiftiess dress you know, they’re not mutually exclusive!

 

The Problem With Vintage?

the problem with vintage

If you’re seasoned vintage seller, buyer, wearer etc, you are no doubt aware that there can be problems with any kind of vintage, preloved, secondhand items and clothing but if you’re not I’m going to list a few and the way you can deal with these.

That Vintage Smell

Recently I purchased a bag and it had that ‘smell’ that is regularly associated with old neglected things that have been stored badly.

Most items with natural fibres tend to pick up and absorb their local environment smells, so it could be stale cigarette smoke, cooking smells, perfume but mostly it is a stale and musty smell from being stored in box or closet with a bunch of other stuff. Sometimes it just needs a good airing. I once soaked and washed a cardigan and it still smelt, Four days hanging on the washing line to air out and the smell was gone. I’ll be doing another post on the products and process for cleaning and repairing.

This particular bag was made from rope and after three soakings not only had the smell gone but it was also a different colour! the dirt that some items, especially bags and shoes can accumulate can be a little gross. Drawback was soaking it caused some of the wooden beads to swell and split and I need to glue them back together when putting the on the bag but this leads nicely onto…

Repairs

Doesn’t matter how you dress it up vintage clothes are mostly used clothes, they been worn, carted around, been through many washes, stored for long periods of time, sometimes badly and so seams come undone, hems drop, zips break, buttons need replacing and so forth.

Most can be easily be dealt with yourself if you’re handy with a needle and some spot cleaner, some you might need to take to a dry cleaners that have alterations and repairs service.

On a side note I went into a big vintage shop once and they were selling damaged items at high prices just because and I quote ‘it’s vintage!’ I guess people are free to sell stuff at whatever price they want but check garments over thoroughly before buying in a shop, it’s all too easy to pick up and item, go this is pretty, buy it and get home to find something is wrong with it. Some repairs are easier than others.

Moths

If something comes with moth holes stick it in the freezer for a few days just to be on the safe side. The last thing you want is a moth infestation, they love natural fibres and will work their way through your collection and getting in a professional pest controller can be very expensive. many smaller moth holes can be darned, bigger ones may need to be taken to a specialist or tailor.

Lavender sachets and moth balls are a good repellent. You can get rentokill tear off sheets to put in pockets or drawers which is what I use. if you recieve an item with moth holes you can always put it in the freezer for a few days just to be sure and kill off any stray eggs.

Items are not described properly.

These days this not as bad as it used to be because sellers are way more protected than buyers, in that online sites tend to side with the buyer, so sellers tend to be overly cautious and provide lots of info and photos. Plus everyone wants good feedback because it helps their reputation as a seller and the competition is fierce.  In the UK buyers are covered under the distant sellers clause and have 14 days to send back any item they have bought online, this gives buyers a chance to physically see the item. Not sure what’s going to happen when we leave the EU but I guess that’s a thought for another day.

If an item you buy isn’t as described, contact the seller first to resolve the issue. Many sellers are pretty decent and will help as much as they can.

Damaged/Lost in Transit

I’ve had my fair share of crappy courier companies leaving parcels in random places. However, with vintage if it gets lost or broken there isn’t a whole lot you can do to get a replacement. You’ll more than likely get your money back but sometimes you have your heart set on an a particular thing and nevertheless it’s still disappointing.

I recently purchased a lot of vintage brooches, the seller didn’t make a whole lot of effort to pack them properly so one ended up bent and another snapped but don’t be afraid to let sellers know, so they can improve their packing techniques.

Can’t find anything in your size.

As far as problems go there is not much anyone can do about this, there is no vintage fountain of clothes and apparel for all sizes, it really does just depend on what has been allowed to circulate. Sometimes you come across larger sizes, sometimes a lot of small sizes, sometimes it’s very hit and miss. The average size has changed over the decades but worry ye not because there are a lot of good repro companies out there. I know sometimes it can feel like all it is polka dots and cherry but there some good that specialise in all decades. 50s was quite hot for a while so you will find a lot of that about.

Alternatively you can sew it yourself as there are lots of vintage sewing patterns in circulation and a lot of sewing pattern companies have caught onto the vintage bug and have been re-releasing their older patterns from certain eras. Don’t be put off if you can’t find a pattern in your size, sewing isn’t as daunting as it looks or if it is, you could probably find a tailor or dressmaker who could make the item for you. It might be as bit pricey but you’d have a made to measure outfit.

So that’s just a few of the problems I find with vintage, let me know if you have you’ve come across.

 

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Seventies Summer Style

When it comes to vintage I don’t necessarily stick to one era. I know a lot of people who prefer the 40s or 50s, others like the 60s, some only designer vintage, everyone has their likes. These days I tend to switch between decades depending on my mood and have been buying things based on likes rather than decade.

I do love the forties and fifties style and it’s what got me into vintage in the first place but the more I research the more I find I like styles from other decades. With the 60s I love the cut of their suits and for the 70s I love the laid back casual vibes. All decades are on rotation and come and go in and out of style. They say you should never relive a fashion trend twice but personally I think that’s bollocks! The 90s has come back very much in fashion and I was definitely into the whole gen-x, grunge, riot grrl movement, to be honest I still am, saying that trends have a quicker turn around time these days and if you blink you can miss them.

But I love the 70s and not just because I was born in the 70s. ’77 to be precise, yes I hit the big four O in the summer. I’m particularly fond of rock and disco, that is definitely a parental influence, having access to a good music collection from a young age is always beneficial. But recently I’ve been finding myself drawn to the fashion and style of the 70s and wanted to share some recent and not so recent finds and how I style them. I haven’t gone for a full on 70s look, more of a 70s vibe.

yellow and blue 70s dress

Okay so admittedly this is not a recent find but decided to include it anyway because you know I love a good shirt dress and bonus points for the cool geometric dot print! It’s a little loose, so I added a belt, I probably should add some more belts to my accessories range, it’s something I woefully lack in the accessories department but find a good belt vintage belt is hard especially as I can be so fussy over the most irrelevant of things.

yellow and blue geometric dress

If my memory serves me correctly, then this dress was from Beyond retro in Soho.

70s boho blouse

Next up is the cute boho embroidered blouse which I got pretty cheap in a TRAID sale. Will be perfect if spring, let alone summer decides to make an appearance this year!

70s boho blouse back

Next up is one of my San Francisco finds. I got this blouse at a giant Goodwills and chatted briefly about it here is my SF vintage haul post. I think is cost me a couple of dollars so yay to thrifty vintage finds.

70s black and pink blouse

I like this blouse as you can dress it either for a work look or pair it up with jeans or capri pants for a more casual outfit.

70s black with flowers blouse

I do love a good 70s collar.

70s floral blouse back

70s floral blouse

This shirt is a lesson in why you should try stock on! Though the advantage of being a vintage seller is that you get first dibs on any stock you find that fits!

70s western shirt

I’ve been lusting after a western shirt for a while, to the point where I bought a pattern just so i could make my own (I still will) because these bad boys can be pretty expensive.

70s western mens shirt

I found this with a bunch of other stuff on a little pre Goldfrapp gig spree at TRAID in Camden. It might be a men’s shirt but as you can see I’m not one for caring about gendered clothing. It if fits, it goes in the wardrobe.

70s western short with cacti

This wasn’t as pricey as some of the others I’ve seen knocking about, around £20 but I like it even though it’s a little snug! The joys of having slim hips means I can wear men’s jeans and shirts, though these women’s jeans I got in Gap last year in the Jan sale for £7! Currently I can only wear them standing up but hopefully they’ll be a little less restrictive before the Summer comes!

I have a few more vintage posts I’m going to do of recent finds and how I styled them, I bought some lovely dresses recently and an amazing art nouveau inspired 70s Sears blouse, so be on the look out for more style posts soon.

So before you go, let me know what your vintage styling for summer is.

 

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Work Update

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I wasn’t really planning on doing many work updates on here at the moment as you if you follow me on Twitter or Instagram you’re probably bored of me bleating on about photography and listing all the time but I figure I should do an update anyway, as I haven’t had much time for blogging at the moment trying to keep up with work.

My new shop is a little delayed because I don’t want to start any new projects because I didn’t want to start any new projects whilst trying to finish old ones for the main shop and end up overwhelmed with work again. I’ve pretty much loaded up all old handmade stock except for a few bits that need finishing or photographing but the number is quite small so that can wait whilst I work on uploading all the vintage stock piling up and also it appears that it is doing rather well and I should probably concede and just concentrate on setting that up first before dedicating time to anything else.I hope I haven’t jinxed myself by saying that but it finally seems I’ve made a good business decision for once.

When that’s pretty much down to a minimum, I’ll be able to dedicate some time to work on new designs properly, rather than half starting things and then not get round to finishing them. So it real terms I’m probably not likely to start on the new shop until probably June or July, which is okay because it’s for a good cause. I’ve also pretty much given up all my challenges so I can concentrate on work, yes I’m back to workaholic mode, I’m even writing this whilst poorly because there is no rest for the wicked or sick when you’re self-employed! But on the plus side I am enjoying my work even if it does leave me a little worn out at times.

So that’s it really on the work front, concentrating on building up Natasha de Vil Vintage, I love vintage as you know, I have learnt that everything sells eventually because there is something for everyone out there, you just need to be patient and it’s paying off. I’ve sold in the past but only personal stuff but I’m really enjoying hunting out stuff for shop and sending things off to new homes around the world. Who knew that my talent involved shopping!

Anyway So thanks for bearing with me and I’m planning on getting back to a regular blogging schedule in May!

Natasha x

 

A Vintage Pledge

“#VintagePledge

I took part in last years Vintage Pledge and much to my surprise I came in as a runner-up in one of the categories. Although it wasn’t for certain if the pledge would be running this year, Marie from A Stitch Odyssey still set up a pledge board on Pinterest for those who wanted to share this year’s makes, and I asked to join as an incentive to keep up with sewing pledges this year.

I got off to a good start this year but the last month thanks to a myriad of reasons I’ve slacked off the making part a bit, mainly because of work but I’m determined to get my sewing mojo back (as soon as I find my sewing table this mound of work). So when Marie posted that the Vintage Pledge was back I started to think about what I could pledge to make this year.

So I decided to split my pledge into two parts.

Part one is to finish all unfinished vintage makes from last year, this includes a few dresses, some shirts and a pair of Capri pants in the most amazing vintage daisy print denim I scored at VLV19 last year.

Part two I had to think about a little more. I bought some patterns last years from Wearing History and so definitely want to make those up this includes a 1930s jacket, a pair of 1940s work overalls (dungarees) and some 1930s sports togs which are a pair of trousers and a blouse. Not sure about the 1940 playsuit set that I also got.

I also want to work from patterns that I haven’t used yet to add a bit of variety to my wardrobe but I think that will be a decision to make which ones as I go along. I’ve also been on a bit of a fabric spree and bought some lovely retro style print fabrics, mostly a tropical theme.

So that’s my pledge, I haven’t set a specific number but it’s also good to know knitted items are included as I have two volumes of A Stitch in Time to choose from as well. Let me know if you are joining in the pledge, so I can keep up with your makes on your blog or Instagram.

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