07 November, 2010

A little 'holiday'

You may (or may not!) have noticed that my posts have been a little far and few between of late. The demands of my two 'full time' jobs (mother and uni lecturer). Unfortunately due to some looming deadlines at work I am going to have to take a little 'holiday' from blogging for a while and will be back to 'normal' (as normal as I will ever be!) in January.

I have some great posts planned for next year, including a little homage to my very first (and favourite) vintage icon - Molly Ringwald (remember those great outfits she wore in Pretty in Pink? Fab!).

I hope you all have a lovely Christmas and I will see you in the New Year.

Lots of vintage love
Vintage Suburbia x

01 November, 2010

Decorating Vintage Style

Like many of you, I not only collect vintage clothes, but love to collect other vintage treasures like old paintings, crockery and old books. So for this week's post I thought I would share some of my favourite pieces with you. I love this painting, mostly because I love books and it shows a very beautiful girl reading a lovely old book, but also because I got it for only $15 at my local St Vinnies op shop - yaay!

As you can see, I love a good doily. This Carltonware bowl was also purchased from my local St Vinnies. It has a slight chip at the back so I got it for a bargain. Carltonware in good condition is very collectable and worth quite a bit of money. I don't mind the odd chip in things like this though.

Next, is part of my fairly large collection of vintage children's books. I LOVE Enid Blyton - I grew up on The Famous Five and The Secret Seven. She writes so well too. My daughter has just started reading The Secret Seven series which is great. 

 This is another one of my favourite pieces of chinaware - a vintage cake/slice plate, again bought from my local St Vinnies op shop. It was a bit pricier, at $25, but it is gorgeous and the money goes to a very good cause, so its win-win for everyone! I bake a lot of cakes and slices at home, so this has gotten quite a bit of use. I love the handle, a little bit art-deco . . .

For a little bit of fun, I have a few 80's albums scattered around the house. I LOVE 80s music, like New Order, Pet Shop Boys, Depeche Mode etc and this Simple Minds album is just great - very unusual style (a little bit Russian)

Sometimes you can pick up old stockings and other lingerie at op shops for only $1 or $2. Even if you cannot wear the actual stockings, sometimes the boxes themselves are worth buying. I got this lingerie box for free at my local St Vinnies!

Vintage lingerie box (op shop) pictured with wooden jewellery case (homeware shop in St Kilda)

Last but not least, these are some of my vintage books. I love books and have hundreds of them around the house. I buy most of them from book sales and fetes that they have occasionally around Melbourne. They are usually only $1-3 so are a great, cheap way to decorate a home.

(the photo on the right is of myself on Graduation day and my lovely Mum)

I hope you enjoyed that look at some of my vintage bits and bobs around my house!

21 October, 2010

A French inspired Lilli Ann outfit

Recently I went to the annual French Festival at Como house and thought I would wear the French colours to fit in with the theme of the day. C'est magnifique as the French say! 

I love red and navy blue, such a great combination.
Lilli Ann suit ebay
Hat etsy
earrings ebay
top op shop

In between drinking lots of red wine and eating fabulous Brie cheese and crackers, I went on a little tour of Como House. It is sooooo me - lots of old furniture and bits and bobs. It is well worth a visit . . .

Look at this - the most beautiful pair of gloves and a real live box from Georges Department Store! (formerly the best department store on Collins Street, Melbourne) - everyone talks about how wonderful this store was . . .

And my personal favourite - vintage canisters!


And last but not least, a cute little tea cosy in the dining room of the 'servant's quarters'

Como House, Toorak: see http://www.comohouse.com/

07 October, 2010

A Vintage Geoffrey Beene dress

I wore this lovely pink and black checked dress by the American designer Geoffrey Beene out to dinner last week. I hadn't really heard about this designer before - I really just stumbled across the dress during one of my (many) browsing sessions on etsy.

Geoffrey Beene seems to have been rather an interesting character - he studied medicine, but after a few years, left to pursue an artistic career, eventually becoming a fashion designer (much to the angst of his parents as you can imagine, who were counting on having a doctor in the family!). There is some really interesting information about he and his designs at The Vintage Fashion Guild website.

From the look of the label on my dress and consulting the Vintage Fashion Guild information, I would put it as being made in the 1970's, which is interesting as the cut is quite 1950's.
The material in the dress is quite interesting - the label does not say what it is made of but it is an unusual cross between satin and taffeta (if that makes sense!). It is very soft to the feel but also quite stiff, which gives the skirt great structure. I actually usually wear the dress with a patent black belt which draws in the waist and sets off the checked pattern, but in a mad rush to get two children and one husband fed before rushing out the door I seem to have forgotten to wear it!

Those buttons down the front are sort of 'false' in that there is actually a zipper right up the front so the buttons are just for show.

The whole piece is of magificient quality and I love wearing it, it is very flattering and just beautiful to wear. I would really recommend his vintage pieces if you can find them.

Outfit details: Vintage Geoffrey Beene dress etsy USA
earrings ebay I think!
Shoes Myer, years ago

29 September, 2010

A vintage Snakes and Ladders game - A lesson in morality

I had to share this great vintage snakes and ladders game with you that I purchased from an op shop recently . . .

It is a real lesson in morality - you go up for honesty and kindness and down for bad temper and pride. . .

Although I was wondering just how many of the 'Snakes and Ladders sins' I was guilty of - pride, greed, gluttony, lust (does lusting after Don Draper count if he is fictional?!) The list goes on and on!

Wouldn't it be great if this applied in real life?

28 September, 2010

A waspish waistish Dior(ish) dress

Last Thursday night I attended the premiere of a lovely independent film about the history of Collins Street (the most prestigious shopping street in Melbourne) called 'Boutique Magnifique' by Lesley Rosenthal. The invitation called for vintage dress, so I pulled out all the stops and squeezed into a Dior(ish) New Look dress . . .
Dior(ish) vintage black dress etsy - Shop: SybilStyle
New look black hat etsy
black gloves ebay
vintage brooch and earrings Callie Whelan, Melbourne and online (see below for her shop details)

This is a dress I bought on etsy a month or so ago and to be honest, I had to go to extra pilates sessions to fit into it (!)(the waist is only about 24 inches in my defence!). Before I got into the dress on Thursday evening, I had wait for my husband to get home so he could put on my waist cincher - on the second rung no less! (I have never usually gotten the cincher past the first set of rungs!). It was rather comical, me yelling at him 'go to the second rung, the second rung!" and he replied 'you're not that skinny!" (not a good thing to say to a woman who has had two children!)

Melbourne is known for its penchant for wearing black, so I thought this colour scheme would fit the theme of Melbourne shopping history.

You may notice that the netting on my hat is a bit frayed and broken,
I could take it off I guess but I sort of like it like that!

 The film itself was really interesting - a collection of interviews with various people who had operated shops in Collins Street - the former owners of The House of Merivale, a model who had worked for the designer Hall Ludlow, various couturiers and milliiners from the Block Arcade and, of course, the famous Georges department store. The lady who made the film, Lesley Rosenthal, is a real character and very passionate about her work. I did not grow up in Melbourne so it was really fascinating for me. There was a big crowd at the premiere (around 400 people apparently) and I met a lovely lady there, Lesley Phillips, who had also made the effort to dress up in vintage. She makes 1950's reproduction dresses (look out for her at the various vintage markets) . . .
 Finally, a close up of the lovely brooch I wore with my frock, it is my favourite . .

Vintage brooch: purchased from Callie Whelan, Vintage Jewellery expert and seller, Melbourne
You can buy her jewellery from Camberwell markets, at the Vintage Garage Fitzroy and online at http://www.huntedandcollected.com.au/.

 I know I have mentioned Callie before on my blog, but I would like to recommend her again, she is very knowledgeable and helpful and her jewellery is very reasonably priced. She also sells vintage men's cufflinks! I bought a beautiful 50's pair of cufflinks for my hubby at Callie's Vintage Garage stall and they cost me the princely sum of $15 - a bargain (and my husband loved them). I really like to support local people (not just  etsy USA!) so please, as Molly would say, do yourself a favour and take a look at her stuff.

17 September, 2010

A Vintage suitcase tower - A gift from Hard Rubbish

Last weekend they had what is called 'Hard Rubbish day' in my neighborhood. The theory is that you are supposed to put out anything unsellable or not able to be given away to op shops and which cannot go into normal rubbish and the council picks it up. Popular items for hard rubbish include broken TV's and the like. But of course, for vintage bounty hunters like myself there is also some treasures to be found amongst the trash!
So here is my bounty from hard rubbish - three beautiful vintage suitcases (well in my eyes at least, my hubby begs to differ - I did have to smuggle these into my house while he wasn't looking!). Now I do have to admit, I gave these cases a good clean so they didn't look quite as good as this when I picked them up, but all they really needed was a little clean with soapy water and then some scrubbing of the aluminium to remove some of the rust and ta-da!
As you can see, there are still rusty bits on the aluminium but I think that just adds to their character. By the way, to remove rust I found the best thing to be lemon juice and salt (I think I got that tip from a book called 'Speedyclean'). Of course, you just have to be careful to wash all the salt off afterwards so it doesn't corrode the case. Can you see the little ticket stub on the suitcase above by the way, it shows an old Qantas logo. See, that is why I love vintage!

I love the logos on these cases 'futura' and 'bon voyage' - such character!

I still haven't quite decided how I am going to arrange and decorate my vintage suitcase collection - I thought I might add a hat and put on my vintage beauty case . . . not sure yet . . .

Vintage beauty case - op shop/thrifted ($5!)
Hat - op shop/thrifted

Speaking of hats, vintage suitcases are a great way to store your hats. I lined my cases with tissue paper, put a ball of tissue paper in the skull part of the hat to keep its shape and there you go - a great storage idea for hats (dust is the big enemy for hats so I tend to store my best ones away).
You will notice that the inside of the suitcase above is water-damaged. That is because, unfortunately, it rained very heavily the weekend of the 'hard rubbish' day. However, it is a testament to the quality of these cases that they are still very beautiful and show very little damage to the outside despite the rain (by the way this photo probably shows the damage a little worse then it looks in real life).
The only sad thing is that the water made the name of the person unreadable and I love to have that sort of thing written in my cases - again it adds such character and gives the case even more history.

I hope this has inspired you to fossack away during your next hard rubbish day - all the best of vintage luck!

04 September, 2010

The Hats off to the Races High Tea . . and a little Dior

Today I attended a 'Hats Off to the Races' High Tea as part of Melbourne Spring Fashion Week. It was a really lovely afternoon spent with fabulously-talented milliners and hat lovers. I splashed out and bought a Dior-style black wide-rimmed hat from Clara Fox Vintage in Fitzroy for the occasion . .

New look hat - Frankin Simon Saks 5th Avenue
Clara Fox Vintage Clothing, 479 Brunswick Street, Fitzroy North

I teamed with a Dior-style (I sense a theme here!) red and black striped dress from etsy (where else?). . .

A late 1940's red and black dress from a very nice seller on etsy Bird and Flower Vintage
Dress is worn with a waist cincher as the waist on this dress is tiny!

The high tea was hosted by the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, which has lovely old fahioned tea place in the Block Arcade, Melbourne city. Because we were such a large group, the tea was not held in the tea rooms itself, but right in the centre of the Block Arcade so there were a lot of Melbournites and tourists bepuzzled by the sight of all these fabulous hatted ladies having tea!
The milliners (from all over Australia) had exhibited their hats through different buildings on Collins Street during the week and prizes were given out for the best exhibit and best hat at tea. The milliners were all such a lovely bunch of ladies, very warm and friendly and they seemed to be very supportive of one another's work which was lovely (as people involved in fashion can sometimes be . . . well, not so supportive of one another!).  The judging was done by one of Australia's best milliners, Peter Jago, and the Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne Susan Riley.

Peter Jago on the right - a real character, warm, charming and very very fabulous!! On the left, a lovely milliner who also teaches millinery at RMIT - Serena Lindeman (please click on that link to access her blog and etsy shop - she has some absolutely beautiful hats available for purchase)!

Deputy Lord Mayor of Melbourne, Susan Riley, very elegant and also very friendly 

Now a close up of those wonderful hats  . . .
Look at these two fabulous creations!

I'm sorry this photo is a bit blurry, it does not really do the hat justice, but I wanted to give you an idea of the how beautiful it was from the back and how much work was involved in making it.

If any of you are interested in meeting these milliners or buying some of their hats, many of them run stalls as part of the Melbourne Spring Racing Carnival, so keep your eye on the Melbourne Horse Racing website for information on those hat days.

I think Collins Precinct which organised the High Tea is planning to have one next year for Spring Fashion Week too, so I would urge you to come along, it was a beautiful afternoon and it was lovely meeting all those fabulous milliners.

In any case, you should take yourself off to Hopetoun Tea Rooms for High Tea as the food was absolutely beautiful. Sometimes I find high tea at big hotels a bit 'commercial' - bulk made and a bit tasteless - but the food at Hoptoun was super fresh and really tasty, and the cakes appeared to be homemade. I am very fussy about my cakes and these really were nice. The cake stand we got had, amongst other things, smoked salmon finger sandwiches, maccaroons, lemon tarts and fruit. I could have eaten the whole lot by myself! Highly recommended!

24 August, 2010

A Fabulous 'New Look' Lilli Ann coat - a nipped in waist to die for!

Regular readers would know that I absolutely love Lilli Ann (see previous posts) and was so pleased to find this 'New Look' nipped waist Lilli Ann coat on ebay. Finally here are the photos of me wearing said coat!

This coat is an absolute pleasure to wear, it is so well-tailored and drapes beautifully (it is quite heavy actually, I think Lilli Ann coats are often weighted around the bottom to enhance the shape). The only thing I would say is that it is quite 'snug' to I have to wear it with a waist cincher!

Gotta do a spin !

Do you think I look anywhere near as good as the model? (perhaps not!)

By the way, I wore the coat out to a friend's play (Adelphi Players) at Labassa House. It was a set of short Chekhov plays and they were absolutely fabulous. I find some of Chekhov's plays a little hard to take (very intense and a little of their time), but these ones were great (the best one: 'The Bet' - google it, a fabulous one).

Labassa House is a National Trust house located in Caulfield North. I think it is open to the public occasionally so please take a visit: see Labassa House.

17 August, 2010

A Vintage Pendleton Houndstooth skirt suit

As regular readers would know, I absolutely love houndstooth - the classic black and white pattern that has been used for eons in fashion. Although houndstooth skirts are fairly easy to get online, I have always found it a difficult to find a houndstooth skirt suit (they are very sought after and often go for quite a lot on ebay and etsy). So I was very happy when I found this lovely 1960's Pendleton suit on etsy a few months ago.

I bought the suit from 'Dear Golden Vintage' who is a very good seller on etsy (see here for a link to her etsy shop). She has very good quality items at reasonable prices - highly recommended.

It was such a good investment because I have absolutely worn it to death this winter (and of course being vintage it doesn't look worn to death at all!). Look at this close up of the wonderful fabric, what a classic design . . .

The 'Pendleton' label

I must say I had never really heard of 'Pendleton' before, but it seems to quite a famous US woollen company. It is so-called because the mill and company are situated in Pendleton, a town in Oregon.

This woollen company started up in 1909 with the manufacture of blankets and over time has diversified into other areas, including the creation of mens and women's clothing. It began to manufacture women's clothes in 1949 with the release of a woollen jacket that became so popular it is known as the '49er jacket'. The 49er jacket was developed over the years into different incarnations and colours, as can be seen from this 1957 ad . . .

I have to say I am not a fan of plaid and you should be warned that a lot of the Pendleton suits online do seem to be plaid, but if you keep on looking, you should find something a little less, well . . .  plaidish (!)

I was also interested to see, from their website, that Pendleton is what they call a 'vertically integrated company', which means they basically perform each step in the manufacturing process - they dye, spin and weave the wool and then manufacture that wool into suits. That control over the whole process is probably why their clothes are of such good quality.

The Pendleton Mill and Company still functions today and from the look of their website it looks as if they make beautiful clothes (although nothing contemporary can be as good as vintage in my book!).

I hope you enjoyed that insight into one of America's very interesting clothing companies and good luck with buying your very own houndstooth suit!