27 January, 2010

My favourite 50's dress

I wore my favourite 50's dress today. It is a lovely pink white and grey dress (I love those colours together!). Perfect for a summer's day. I think it is made of what they call 'polished cotton' - it is very cool and breezy and does not make me feel sweaty like some of the 60's synthetic dresses I have. As you can see, it comes with a matching bolero - very cute!

 1950's dress: 'Top Hat' Vintage, 873 High St, Thornbury, Melbourne.
White beaded necklace: Fancy Pants Vintage, Barkly St, St Kilda ($22 - not bad)
White bow shoes (kept from my debutante ball 20 years ago - I am SUCH a hoarder!)

It is very rare to find a genuine 1950's dress with a matching bolero so I was really happy to find this one. I may have paid a little too much for it ($175) but I really love it. I bought it at a lovely store called 'Top Hat' (873 High Street, Thornbury). It is owned by a real character called Michelle and the shop is full of vintage treasures. I purchased four other dresses on the day I bought this one, and the others were quite a bit cheaper (eg $75 for a 60's dress). I normally buy my vintage from etsy and ebay but I occasionally like to buy locally - there is nothing like being able to try dresses on and also I like to patronise these small shops, which are often owned by a woman who really loves vintage herself. I love meeting these people, chatting and hearing their stories.

I have also found if I find something I really love I will wear it and wear it and get good value out of it. It is funny, when I originally saw this dress I thought it was too much and put it back on the rack, but I started to dream about it in my sleep, rueing my decision, so I drove all the way back to Thornbury the next week, thinking 'If its still there I will buy it' and obviously I did (along with four other dresses!). This is actually a versatile dress as I also wear it with a white cardigan when it is a bit cooler.

I hope you also find something you love!

A close up of the lovely design on my favourite 50's dress

Vintage Suburbia's Debutante shoes from 1989! Never throw anything out!

Photos: taken by my 6 year old daughter - she is a classic!

14 January, 2010

Vintage afternoon tea

I love getting out my vintage tea set but don't get a chance to do it very often. My daughter had a 'play date' at our house this afternoon so I took the chance to set up a little afternoon tea for myself and the friend's mother. We had a little fruit platter, a home-made dip and home-made banana cake - it was very nice. I love drinking out of china cups - the tea tastes so much nicer. I decided against the more formal 'high tea' with the tiered plates as (a) I didn't have time and (b) I didn't want to go too over the top. My friend really enjoyed it so that was great.

Teapot and milk jug - Royal Albert 'Val D'or' - wedding gift from my mother (from whom I also inherited my taste in 'nanna chic!), cup and saucer sets - Queen Anne - 21st presents (back in the day when people had big 21st's); vase - wedding gift; centre plates and bone-handled knife - op shop find - from St Vinnie's in Pinewood, Melbourne; tablecloth - gift from Portugal; white roses - from my garden.

Vintage Suburbia demonstrating the correct placement of one's little finger when drinking tea! Dress: from USA ebay - only around $35 from memory (bought it a few mths ago)

Hope this inspires you to spoil yourself with a nice afternoon tea - it really is lovely! (by the way, if anyone can recommend a really nice place to have 'high tea' in Melbourne I would really appreciate it. I have heard the one at The Windsor is very nice but it is $45 or something - a lot for sandwiches and cakes!!).

09 January, 2010

A fabulous (and flattering) 1950's Vintage swimsuit

Like many women, I find buying a swimsuit to be a difficult, despondent experience. Although I am only a size 10 I am very curvy, which does not help matters!

However, I was inspired by a recent episode of ABC series The Collectors featuring the lovely Nicole from Circa Vintage Clothing in Fitzroy (Melbourne) to buy a vintage swimsuit. I was a bit hesitant at first as I wasn't sure about the sizing. I also found some of the ones on sale on etsy and ebay quite expensive. But after extensive searches I found a great suit from ebay in the USA- blue which I love, and a very flattering cut (love the little skirt bit, great a hiding generous thighs!)(also means not having to worry as much about whether one has done her bikini line recently, but we won't go there!).

Vintage 50s swimsuit tagged 'Coles of California'
                                                          purchased from Ebay USA for $US 35, size 12

This is a vintage size 12, but I am a modern size 10 to give you an idea of difference in sizing. It is a little big around the bust area but otherwise fits really well. I should mention that there is a 'bullet point' bra
type insert (I think that's what you call it?) in the bust area which makes the wearer's bosom looks more generous and perkier than it actually is - absolutely fabulous!!

I also bought a 1950's swimming cap from USA ebay which I thought might be too much vintage, but actually looks quite cute, especially with a bit of red lippy.

My photos are all taken by my 6 year old daughter(!) so you must excuse the dramatic pose I have adopted here - we had lots of fun doing these photos.

Happy shopping for your perfect vintage swimsuit!

07 January, 2010

How to get a 21 inch waist - my quest to fit into an Audrey Hepburn dress!

Recently, an auction was held in the UK to sell off items from the wardrobe of the exquisite Audrey Hepburn. 

As would be expected, the dresses I liked were completely out of my price range ($20,000 for one) but I dream nonetheless.

A beautiful Vintage Givenchy dress from a Collection of Audrey Hepburn dresses

However, as I perused longingly through the collection I noticed the measurements given for one of the dresses - a 21 inch waist!

I knew Audrey Hepburn was petite, but oh my gosh.
I also recently read that, with the help of corsets, Dita von Teese can make her waist 18 inches (?!)

Although I can never hope to attain these tiny measurements it did remind me of a number of dresses in my wardrobe which don't fit me because the waist is just that too small (they are around 25-26 inches). Unfortunately as you would all know, this is the downside of wearing vintage - the waists are often impossibly small. So my quest for the new year is to lose one inch from my waist. Can I do it??

With the help of my pilates instructor who is an ex-ballet dancer (and believes pilates is a synonym for torture) I think I can. I have found a pilates exercise involving twisting your torso with a medicine ball gets some results. Does anyone else have any tips for me?

I will keep you posted on my progress over the next few months - hopefully I will be waisting away! (get it?)

Vintage Suburbia x