Fashion Icon: Judy Garland

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Sunday evening I watched one of my most favorite musicals…Easter Parade.  I always look for it to be on TV around Easter, and was happy to find it once again!  While it does deal loosely with Easter, the majority of it surrounds dancing duo Judy Garland and Fred Astaire as they work to make it big.  Of course the whole film capitulates with the yearly Easter Parade, where women don the most extravagant hats and stroll around town.  Lovely!

So I am clearly still on a Judy Garland high and felt that a special post was in order.  Now there is a large amount of research, articles, and books written on Miss Garland, and this is in no way another one.  Instead, I thought I would find a few photos of the talented actress in a few lovely outfits and share them with all of you!

So here we go!

I adore this blouse and skirt combo.  The skirt appears to consist of several gores that meet at the waist.  Adorable!

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Not only does the fun ooze from this picture, so does the sweetness of the outfit.  From the gloves to the hat, this ensemble is perfect.  I really like how the bottom of the jacket turns up to expose the lining that matches the revers collar.

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This might be my most favorite picture of her ever!  A soft blonde in the most amazing shade of rose I have ever seen!  Whether this has been altered after the fact, or if it truly was the shade she was wearing, it doesn’t matter.  I adore it!

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A unique outfit as it goes all the way to the floor, this dress is only made sweeter by the addition of the scarf around the head.  And of course, Shirley Temple looks adorable too!

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Taken in the late 1950’s, this suit features a long jacket over a skirt.  A very popular look at the time.

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If all this fashion has put you in the mood to watch some Judy Garland movies, may I recommend a few of my favorites:

The Clock

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The Pirate

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The Harvey Girls

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Happy Watching!

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One Dress – Three Ways

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About three weeks ago I was reading an article in which a fashion guru of the 1930’s explained the beauty of purchasing one dress for many functions.  Through the careful selection of accessories, that simple dress can be made up or down to wear at a variety of functions.  The guru explained the process using a simple black dress, and listed out color tones and accessories that I would never have thought to include or use on an outfit.  It was quite refreshing to view a single dress as such a multifaceted item.

I decided to take the challenge myself and took a simple dress (one I have been eyeing online for quite a while) and made it up three different ways.  I decided to give myself three specific locations/ events that would guide my creativity.

  1. Casual/Outdoor – something perfect for meeting friends for lunch or shopping.
  2. Work – on those days when your boss comes in for a meeting, or you are being observed for some report.
  3. An Evening Out – Not necessarily hitting the clubs attire, but something that would be appropriate to wearing to a family dinner, the theater, or a small wedding.
So to start with, let’s take a look at the dress I choose.

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Click here for dress info.

A simple long sleeved navy dress.  Perfect for featuring a lot of accessories.

I decided to start with outfit number one: casual.  I wanted to keep it very simple and went with a colorful scarf and a cute pair of sandals.

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Click here for outfit details.

Outfit number two is a fun one featuring bold yellow accents…a nice contrast for the navy.

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Click here for outfit details.

The last outfit choice for an evening out, is a little out of my comfort zone, however I really love how the whole look turned out!

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Click here for outfit details.

Overall, I had a very fun time creating and putting together these outfits.  I loved the fact that investing in one good piece allows for a plethora of other designs that really makes it a sound financial investment. The only negative?  You have to have a lot of accessories to really complete any of these looks.  Hmmmmm……maybe I should do a post on one accessory – three ways?  🙂

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!  Enjoy the upcoming week my friends!

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An Interview with Vintage Shop Owner Christina McAlpine of PrettyBluEyes Vintage

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A few months ago, as I was scouring the internet for vintage clothes, I delightfully stumbled upon PrettyBluEyesVintage run by the very sweet and talented Christina McAlpine.  I spent some time browsing through her shop and admired the lovely photographs of all the items she had for sell.  Well, after a few weeks, I wanted to learn more about her and went ahead and reached out with the hopes of being able to interview her.  Well, she delightfully said yes, and I couldn’t be happier.  

After your read the thoughtful answers to the interview questions, you can feel the passion Christina has to reintroduce these vintage pieces into one’s everyday wardrobe.  Christina’s energy and drive are palpable in all parts of her business, and she shares some absolutely golden truths about running and owning your own business! 

So get ready to meet and learn more about this fascinating and inspiring woman!

What led you to the world of selling vintage fashion?

PrettyBluEyesVintage was born from my personal love for vintage, a desire to share that love, and to bring new life to these forgotten pieces. My personal love story with vintage clothing started years ago while I was pursuing theatre at school. When I wasn’t acting in a show, I would jump at the chance to do the costumes. I thoroughly enjoyed exploring the thrift and vintage shops in the area, and bit-by-bit, I started acquiring my own vintage stock with the dream that maybe one day I could open my very vintage store.

A few years ago I felt artistically restless and needed something more fulfilling than my current 9-5 job. I began to look at the vintage items I had collected and realized these beautiful pieces were just sitting in storage and that I could not keep all these amazing items hidden away. These items needed to be worn! We live in a society where we are encouraged to throw out old and unwanted belongings. This causes many of us to forget about the beauty of the past and what it can offer today. Fashion is cyclical, so many of the trends today are found in vintage styles. Vintage items and clothing are often timeless because of this. I opened PrettyBluEyesVintage for the lover, the beautiful, the creative soul, the head turner, and that timeless beauty lives within us all.

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The absolutely stunning Christina herself!

Your online shop, PrettyBluEyes Vintage, features a variety of vintage clothes.  Can you share with us the process you go through in finding the perfect items to sell?

Well, I love to visit local stores and markets, especially when I’m traveling, to search for diamonds in the rough and enjoy restoring and bringing life back in to pieces people might overlook. I am continuously on the lookout for vintage and am a hopeless romantic about it too. I do not have it down to an exact science quite yet, but whenever I do find an item that triggers an initial emotional response or connection I know I have found something worth looking at.

When looking at an item for the shop I look for items that are of sound quality, a wearable size, & unique design. I also think about the Who, What, Where, When, and Now. I like to daydream about who originally owned the item and it what they bought it for. Where could a modern woman wear it now? Can this amazing item blend into a modern wardrobe or is it a piece that can stand-alone and make a statement.

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All parts of the fashion wardrobe are included in Christina’s shop…

The photographs you feature on your shop are wonderfully vibrant and full of personality.  How do you plan and organize for a photo shoot?  Do you have any tips for photographing clothing?

I struggled at first when I took photos on my own and did lots of experimenting. I’ve learned that lighting is key in portraying your product. Good lighting is vital to the mood you want to create with your photos. I must give kudos to my photographer, Charles, at Chedma Photography. He helped me capture the beauty of the models, the clothing, and an overall bright and happy feeling that I want my customers to enjoy while shopping.

Each shoot requires a significant amount of planning and scheduling revolving around what items we shoot can and who is available to model. I prefer to approach the whole photo shoot process much like I would do a fitting and opening for theater. I like to make a ton of lists, label everything, and create an inspirational lookbook of images that captures the essence of what I’m trying to assemble.

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A behind the scenes look at a photo shoot.

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And the finished product!

What is your favorite fashion decade and do you have a particular fashion icon from that period you admire most?

There is something I love about each time period, so it is hard to pick just one, but if I had to choose I think it would be between the early 1950’s and early 60’s. I am in love with the dreamy shapes, flattering structures, timeless design and fabric. The classic pin up look is not only fun but also can empower any woman!

As for a fashion icon I’ve always admired the classic beauty of Rita Hayworth. She is a perfect example of a woman who is both adorable and sexy. For example, Hayworth knew how to wear an evening gown but also look amazing in a pair of cute shorts and a top. To me she’s a true pin-up beauty that always pulled off a casual but elegant style that I admire and strive for.

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A rack full of Christina’s beautiful finds….

Do you have any advice to keep in mind when purchasing a vintage clothing item?

Vintage clothing can be a good investment! These wonderful items are pre-loved but are often made better than the clothing we find in stores today. You’re not only buying something unique, but your also helping to fight the continued growth and waste of clothing, which in turn helps our environment.

My biggest advice is to not focus on the size so much, they do not matter as much as you think they do. Vintage sizes are incredibly different than the modern clothing we wear today and items could have been tailored for the previous owner. That’s why it is so important to use your measurements to find an item that will work best for you. I recommend taking your measurements or you bust, waist, hips, underarm to where your natural waist is, and across the shoulders. Comparing your body measurements to the measurements of a garment that you feel fits can help give you a good reference and perspective in making a decision about the right item.

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Love this adorable bathing suit romper?  Click here to purchase before it sells out!

What are the biggest challenges of owning and running your own business?

Honestly, it does not feel like I’m running my own business because I enjoy what I’m doing and it is a truly rewarding experience. That being said, photography and marketing have been steep learning curves. Being the sole curator and marketing person is something I’ve never done. Getting the perfect image out for the shop and then getting the shop found in the massive world of the Internet is always a work in-progress. I do a lot of research and really appreciate that Etsy has plenty of articles and forums that offer helpful suggestions, advice and support.

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Plenty of period appropriate props add style and historical feeling to each of Christina’s photos!

Do you have any words of wisdom for anyone thinking about opening up their own online business?

As Eleanor Roosevelt said, “ The future belongs to those who believe in the beauty of their dreams.” There is truth that you can do anything you want in life if you put your mind to it. Running and owning a business can be daunting, as it requires a lot of self-motivation and passion. That being said, my thought is that if you never try you will never know what it could be.

My advice is that if you’re thinking about opening your own shop online but are still unsure, try starting small or part time. The more love you put into it the more it can bloom. Be transparent about your policies and turn around times. Be upbeat and respond quickly to questions. I think it is also very important to remember your support system, whether that is at home or online! I’m so very thankful for all my talented friends and my supportive family, who have helped me accomplish so much. It’s such a great feeling to own a shop and create something I’m proud of.

 

I don’t know about all of you, but the answer to the last question certainly hits home!!

 Thank you again Christina for taking time out of your busy schedule at PrettyBluEyes Vintage to share your story with all of us!  

Have a wonderful Easter everyone!

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Fun with Vintage Sewing Patterns

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When I was in high school….ehhh…maybe more like in Jr. High, I loved receiving clothing catalogues in the mail.  When I received the catalogues, I would pour over them with an intensity I should have given to my math homework, but of course, one must have one’s priorities in the correct order.  Never being able to afford everything I wanted (which, believe me was a lot), I was quite content with choosing what I would purchase if I had an unlimited amount of funds.  It was a harmless activity that helped me identify my style and the creativity to design outfits out of what I already owned.

As I have become older, and the money pot hasn’t really expanded as much as one would always like, I find myself still searching out the ideal outfits and turning once more to my closet or my sewing machine for an satisfactory alternative.  It was through this train of thought that I began trying this with vintage sewing patterns.  If I was planning a wardrobe during the 1930’s, 40’s, or 50’s, what would I pick to create for myself?  Surprisingly enough, what stuck out to me was a random collection of pieces that I am sure wouldn’t be the most practical….but then again, when did day dreaming ever have to be practical?

The first pattern I chose was this 1940’s day dress with a very flattering front panel.  Much like today’s hourglass color blocking, this dress highlights the best features, tapering in at the waist.  I think I would have made this out of a navy color…

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Next on my dream list is another day dress but from the 1950’s.  Very reminiscent of the bustle era, this dress would be perfect for a dinner out….maybe in a plum color?

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Feeling the need to have an evening gown, I choose this 1930’s pattern with the cropped top.  I adore the length and the ruffled edge, and would love to find the same fabric as the blue floral!

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Completely unpractical and I’m sure would only be worn for one year (like so many things we purchase today) is this 1940’s pattern for palazzo pants.  But, I would want them anyway….the wide leg ones, not the cuffed ones.

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And last but not least, I would choose these pajamas.  Nightgowns are very tricky to sleep in, so I would whip this up in heart beat.  Something in a polka-dot….

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So there you have it.  My dream wardrobe.  Inpractical and wonderful all at the same time!
What would you choose in your dream vintage wardrobe?  I would love to hear from you!

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Easter Eggs and an Easter Cake!

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I haven’t made Easter eggs in years.

You see, before my cat passed away, she viewed each and every egg as her personal toy.  All of this was discovered during her first Easter with us.  As usual, a week before Easter, I boiled a dozen eggs, dyed and decorated them to my heart’s content, and then placed them in a basket on the kitchen table.  A few hours later, as I walked past the table, I notice one egg had rolled out of the basket and onto the floor.  As it was cracked, I threw it away slightly puzzled as to what exactly happened.  For the next three days I discovered one little runaway egg that had somehow made it out of the basket and landed somewhere on the floor.  I was becoming annoyed and began to suspect the furry feline in the house.

Well, day four rolled around and I caught her right in the act.  Paws deep in the basket struggling to get one rather large lime-green egg out.  I scooted her away and placed them on a higher location -so naive -like she would be content to just stare at them after four days of fun!  Well wouldn’t you know it, I caught her atop a shelf on day five digging at an egg with everything she had.   And that was the last year I made Easter eggs.  The only thing I couldn’t figure out was why only one a day?  That cat was more psychological than I thought…..

Anyway!!!!  As it is Easter, and as it comes early this year, I thought I would share a few of my most favorite and unique Easter egg ideas!  So let’s get started:

Floral Decorated Easter Eggs

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Image from Enchanted Home

Moss Covered Eggs

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Image from DIY Joy

Newspaper Eggs

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Image from Home Dzine

Paper Napkin Decorated Eggs

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Image from Le Recata de la Felicidad

And Easter wouldn’t be complete with out a cake.  Check out the link below to see the modern recreation of this vintage cake!

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Image and Recipe found at The Sugary Shrink

I hope you have a wonderful, egg-dropping free, decorating bonanza!

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A Love for “What-Not” Shelves

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I had never heard of the term “what-not” to explain a shelf until I was in my teen years shopping around an antique store.  The shelves that earned this name were usually made of wood and often were painted white.  A few had graduated shelving sizes while others were uniform and made to mount on a wall.  Similar to this style…

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While shelves from the 1880’s-1950’s varied in size, style, and location, their purpose never changed: to display one’s most treasured items!

While the term “what-not” isn’t used as often, the technique is still very much alive, and with even more creative shelving styles!  I have collected several of my favorite examples of shelves featured in a variety of places in the home.

Here we go!

These open shelves in a kitchen, are perfect to display dishes and treasured pottery!

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Image from Adorn Inc.

Suitcases are a great option for an office or above a small desk in a bedroom.

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Available for purchase from PB Teen.

This display is ideal for those true Victorian lovers…look at all those lovely floral patterns!

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Image from Elfnpulver

Fabric can be displayed in this unique arrangement of wooden crates!

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Image from Apartment Therapy

This is perfect for a bathroom, nursery, or sewing room!

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Image from Woman’s Day – link not available.

So get creative and display your treasures on a shelf equally as special and unique!

All the best, 

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On My Inspiration Board: Polka Dots

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Polka dots.  The fashion world’s happiest fabric.  Who would have thought that by placing circles on a piece of cloth, one would instantly be able to brighten up a mood or even a room!   Just like many types of fabric patterns, polka dots had limited appeal in the early 19th century, gradually becoming more common as each decade past.  The wonderful thing about polk dots is it’s ability to transform from casual wear to evening wear, by letting the size of the dot, the lay of the fabric, and the design of the gown dictate it’s level of formality.

Even artists have seen the marvelous appeal of the polka dot.  In my opinion, the most famous painting of a polka dot dress is Albert Bartholomé’s Dans la Serre (1881), a stunning piece of work featuring the artist’s wife.

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The dress itself, has been saved and put on display, not only for it’s artistic value but it’s fashion design as well.

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Over the past 100 years, the appeal of the polka dot has not diminished and graces the clothing of both child and adult.  My favorite modern polka dot piece right now is this sleeveless tunic from ModCloth.  Perfect for spring!

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In finding pictures for this month’s inspiration board, I was delighted to discover so many wonderful versions!!  As always, pop over to my Pinterest Page, to see more gowns bearing the adorable polka dot!

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So no matter your age, or size, there is a dotted piece of clothing out there waiting for you!

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The Art of Shopping

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” You know what you want to buy for your home and you have the money required.  You carefully prepare a list of the articles needed and this seems to you to be all the preparation for your shopping expedition any one could ask.  But the professional decorator will tell you that there are in this ‘game’ certain rules which if followed give the buyer double the value for money spent.  We would give as the first and most important rule for shopping the careful preparation of your lists and as the second rule a conscientious sticking to your list until the articles on it have been bought.  It is by observing this second rules that the expert shopper saves time and money.

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If you are buying cretonnes, chintzes, or brocades for your rooms wear imaginary ‘blinders’ and keep on walking past the counters which show table linen.  First get those things you came for; that is good ‘technique,’ there is something clean cut about this method.  If you still have time lift you can return to the linen counter, or making a note of what you saw in passing, you can add line to the next day’s list.  You may remind us that the lovely things not seized on the spot is lost; that someone else gets is the moment you have left!  This sometimes does happen but on the other hand, stop and think how many times the ‘bargain’ snatch up, the article bought in haste and not on our lists, turn out to be a “white elephant” which goes with nothing else we own.

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If one gets the habit of carefully thought out lists and sticking to them when shopping, it is not long before the mind works this way.  It is then that you can claim to have mastered the art of shopping!  And it is no exaggeration to say that you have doubled the value of your allowance for house decoration or any other needs.

We give as another rule to follow when shopping; that you should concentrate on the purchase of the moment.  By this we do not mean to dawdle over your decisions for this method wastes your time and the time of the salesman or woman.  Any shop encourages the patronage of those who know how to shop because goods sold to them is pretty certain not to be return or exchanged.

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Master the technique of shopping and your room, flat or house will look immeasurably more attractive than the home of the man or woman who buys at random, the attractive but unrelated treasures which beset the path of the one who has time and money to use carelessly.  As you gain in experience you will be able to visualize your rooms (see them in your mind) and soon you will shop with confidence and few mistakes.  That shopping for others has become a profession that the truth of our claim, that this human effort, like all others can become of economic value.

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Source:

Be Your One Decorator by Emily Burbank. 1922