24 November, 2011

A vintage purple prom dress . . . and lots of lucite

My hubby and I went out last weekend to a lovely French restaurant in Melbourne called 'Bergerac'. It is a very traditional French restaurant, so we had snails for entree, a lovely Seafood platter and a Bombe Alaska for dessert, with a Grande Marnier flambe. We then went for cocktails to the Vue de Monde bar (great view but ordinary cocktails). It was a great night.

We were celebrating the news that we are moving to France for 2 years next March. My hubby is from Europe (Ireland) so it is great news for us - we can be near his family instead of 10,000 miles away.Of course, that means that I will be 10,000 miles away from my family, but that is the price you pay for marrying a handsome Irish man I guess (I blame it on my 80's crush on Bono).

I wore this purple 50's prom dress which I got at a vintage store in Melbourne yonks ago, but haven't worn until now (I had to get it taken in a bit, then I had to wait for it to be warm enough to wear it).

I absolutely love this colour. I would love to get a royal blue version of this dress actually.

I wore it with my favourite vintage Lucite shoes. . .

And my very favourite Lucite bag . . .

Outfit details
Vintage 50s purple dress Top Hat Vintage, Northcote, Melbourne
Shawl ebay
lucite shoes ebay
lucite bag ebay/etsy (can't remember!)
brooch thrifted/op shop
earrings Callie Whelan, Camberwell Markets and the Vintage Garage

18 November, 2011

Channelling Joanie - A curvy red dress

I know I don't come anywhere near looking like the amazing Joan from Mad Men . . . but we can all dream can't we?

This is a dress by the fabulous US designed Hattie Carnegie. She is not as well known as Suzy Perette, Lilli Ann and the like, but the suits and dresses are very nice. I personally do not think the quality of the design and fabric is the same as Lilli Ann, but as I said, they are very nice all the same (and quite a bit cheaper as they are not as sought after!).

Everyone should own a curvy red dress like this. It really does make you feel fabulous, particularly if it hugs in all the 'right places'! 
 I am a latecomer to the colour red. Because I am so pale and freckly I have been very scared of it. The right shade red can look great though (although I have learnt to stay away from the orangey type reds). I
am also a late arrival to the advantages of figure-hugging dresses. I have fairly 'generous' hips and for many years tried to hide them from view. It is only in recent years (and with a little help from shapewear!) that I have discovered it is actually better to celebrate your hips in dresses like this! (Thanks Joanie!)

Outfit details:
Vintage red dress (mid 60's?) Hattie Carnegie ebay USA
vintage needlepoint bag etsy

PS Sorry for the absence from the blogging world. I have been seriously busy at work, but hope to be a better blogger!

13 October, 2011

A brown velvet Handmacher Suit

I have been a bad blogger of late . . .  apologies! There is the little matter of my Phd and my work getting in the way of my blogging. These past few months have been very stressful one way or another. But one thing that keeps me sane is my vintage!!

I am sure my law colleagues think I am an air head - one of my colleagues was talking to me the other day and said "I had some important info to pass onto you, and now I can't think of it". And I said (quite seriously) 'Was it about fashion or law?'. She gave me rather an odd look when I said that and said, in a very deadpan voice: 'Law . . .'.(Oops!)

Anyway, onto much more interesting things (!). This is number 2 in my (small!) collection of Handmacher suits (the collection being only made up of 2 suits!).

I got this suit for an absolutely bargain price of US$30 from etsy because the jacket has some fading on the sides of the sleeves and under the arms. But it is still very wearable. The nature of the fabric makes the fading not so noticeable.

The only thing I would say is that (as you can probably see!) the skirt is a little 'snug' on me. I need to lose a few pounds there I think (don't we all!). On that point, I have been doing cycle classes on my gym - if you need to lose a few pounds those classes are the way to go. My gosh they are intense!

The Handmacher suits are nice in that the shoulders are quite soft and feminine. Some of the Lilli Ann 40s jackets, whilst beautiful, are a little too wide on my shoulders. If you are short like me (I am 5 foot and a half!) you have to be careful of jackets with wide shoulders (they make you look like a gridiron player!)

If you want some more information on Handmacher suits, the lovely Couture Allure has a great blog post on it. http://coutureallure.blogspot.com/2010/10/history-of-handmacher-suits.html

Happy Handmaching hunting!

VS x

10 September, 2011

Hats off to the High Tea - Melbourne Spring Fashion Week

Yesterday I attended a lovely event - the 'Hats Off to the High Tea' at the Block Arcade in Melbourne. The event is organised by the Collins Street Precinct and is part of the hat exhibition run in Melbourne Spring Fashion Week.  I also went to this tea last year (see this link). I absolutely love this high tea. The people are fantastic (the guests are usually all local milliners) and the high tea, which is catered by the Hopetoun Tea Rooms, is beautiful. There was a great mixture of savoury and sweet things and the salmon sandwiches are particularly nice.

I wore a 'Dior style' hat and dress to the event and managed to win 'Best dressed'. That was quite the compliment given how well dressed the other ladies were. The picture below shows myself (on right) with Sandy Aslett, the winner of the best hat competition (there were prizes for the best exhibition of hats during the week). She is a milliner from Buderim, Queensland and a lovely lady (for her online shop please see this link). All the milliners are very friendly and inspirational ladies. I greatly admire them for their creativity. They are all so talented and I like the fact that they run their own businesses in what is a very competitive market.
My outfit details:
1950s 'New Look' hat  etsy (http://www.etsy.com/shop/melmacparadise)
Marie Phillips 1950s dress ebay
This dress is actually a pink and grey version of the dress I wore to the High tea last year. I love this Dior style with the nipped in waist and soft shoulders. I had in expertly taken in by my fabulous tailors, St Kilda Tailors, highly recommended for altering vintage clothing.
I have also loaded some close ups of my hat at the end of this post if you'd like more details about that.

Now onto the gorgeous hats at the High Tea.

Look at this fabulous red creation . . .

Look at this beautiful lady, how happy does she look? Do you know why? She is wearing a hat!

This lady was sitting next to me at the High Tea. Her name is Zuzana Vranovska and she was also very lovely and friendly. She is also a local milliner and sells vintage as well (see below near end of post for her contact details). I love the cherries in her hat.

Another gorgeous red creation - a close up of Sandy Aslett, talented Australian milliner . . . 

And lastly, this beautiful girl was wearing a hat from the Hat shop at Flinder's Street Station (where she works). But she added some magnificent decorations to it. I love the feathers and art deco look to it. Divine.
So there you go, a' hat heavy' post, but I hope you liked it!

Many of the milliners pictured above sell their hats in Collins Street and online so if you are interested, please look them up. Some of these include: 
- Marea Bright Exclusive Milliner Level 1, Suite 107 Centreway Arcade 259 Collins Street. 
Zuzana Vranovska, Couture & Vintage Millinery, shop 8 , 974 High Street Armadale - Kings Arcade
Online - see Serena Lindeman and, as mentioned above, Sandy Aslett

Also, for those who are interested, please see below of close ups of the hat I wore to the High Tea. I might give you a good idea as to how to date and buy hats online. The style, along with the label (see photo 3) dates it as vintage. On that issue, I have found that anything with the label 'New York' is going to be top quality. The only thing to note with buying hats online is the sizing. You need to measure your head and then make sure it marries up with the measurements given by the seller. You also must ask the seller to package the hat well so it does not get damaged in the post. That is why, when possible, I like to buy my hats in a 'real life' bricks and mortar store!
Happy hat shopping!

08 August, 2011

A beautiful 'Lilli Annette' Diminuitive Suit

As regular readers will know, I love the US vintage designer 'Lilli Ann'. I was very lucky to buy a beautiful 'petite' blue and red suit on etsy from the lovely Catbooks1940s a few months ago. It is probably one of the nicest suits I have ever bought.  The quality of the fabric and tailoring is really quite breathtaking.

 I should note that the skirt I am wearing with the jacket is not actually Lilli Ann, but one that Catbooks1940s had originally listed with the jacket on etsy. She had misplaced the matching Lilli Ann skirt, but then later found it and threw that in for free so I got two skirts for the price of one (what a nice seller!). This is great for mixing and matching and makes the suit really versatile.
Unfortunately I can't wear the matching (navy) skirt at the moment because I have put on a little bit of weight over winter (cough!) and it is too tight on me now. Fortunately I think the red skirt works well with this jacket (I do have to cut down on the sweets though, I just ate homemade apple sponge pudding and icecream - yowzers!).

 I love the red cuffs on the jacket - totally adorable.

These are some photos of the suit from Catbooks1940s listing of the item on etsy which will show you better detail of the jacket. You can see (from her far superior photography!) the beauty of the trim on the suit. . .

And finally, one of my favourite parts of vintage items - the label! This one says 'Lilli Annette - Diminuitive. Ahhh, isn't that cute? (I am only 5 1/2 feet tall)(I count that half!) so it is accurate, and rather nice, to say I am 'Diminuitive'!
I hope you enjoyed that little look at my little Lilli Annette suit!

Outfit details
Lilli Ann jacket and vintage skirt  Catbooks1940s on etsy
bag etsy
earrings  etsy

23 July, 2011

A handy green Handmacher suit

Hello again, I am finally back! Thanks to everyone for being so patient during my 'computer crash' hiatus from blogging. My new computer is still on its way, but in the meantime I actually figured out how to upload and edit photos on a laptop without Canon software (answer: irfanview - free software from the internet, in case you were wondering!)

Anyway, enough about boring computers, lets talk vintage now . . .

Regular readers will know I love Lilli Ann suits, but I have recently bought a few 'Handmacher' suits, which were also made in the 40s and 50s and have excellent tailoring. I have to say I don't think they are equal with 50s Lilli Ann in terms of the workmanship and complexity of the tailoring, but they are beautiful in their own right. I particularly like the close cut of the jackets  . . .

The cut of the suits are also very feminine and hug in 'all the right places'. I particularly like the rounded colours and the pocket detail which is a signature feature of Handmacher suits.

This is not actually a colour I would normally buy for myself as I am a little scared of pastel type colours with my fair skin. I tend to go for deeper greens, like emeralds. However, the hue of this particular acqua green is OK on me.

It also looks nice with the jacket open and a nice white pussy bow blouse underneath (that is also a little more comfortable too!)

This is perfect work wear, although I had to darn a number of holes in the skirt (6-7 in total, some of them quite large!) so I probably wouldn't wear it to an important meeting or in a lecture. It is OK for in the office though and like me, I guess many flaws are what makes it!

Lastly, I thought this photo might give you a laugh - I have to take most of my photos with a tripod and timer. So I try and line up where I will stand, centre the camera, press the auto button, it beeps for 10 seconds and in that time I have to run around to the front, look composed, smile and off it goes. Naturally it takes me about 20 goes to get 2 decent photos and I have a tendency to go off centre all the time. Exhibit 1 - little ol' me in the very corner of this photo - after I cut all the unwanted background out, all I was left with was this  .  . . 

 dear me, enough said!

Outfit details
1950s Handmacher suit etsy
white pussy bow blouse ebay
earrings vintage Lisner - etsy  

03 July, 2011

A momentary service interruption to my blog

Dear Readers
Apologies for my delay in posting these past 2 weeks. My computer hardrive decided to crash and we have to get a new computer (something to do with the 'motherboard'!). Unfortunately all my camera/photo programs are on that computer so I will have to reinstall everything (when I can find the CD's in which to do this!). I will be back to 'normal' in a few weeks. Thanks for your understanding! Maria (Vintage Suburbia)

17 June, 2011

A little more Lilli Ann . . . Suit up!

I love a good suit (as the fabulous Barney in How I Met your Mother would say 'Suit up!').
I justify my rather large collection of vintage suits on the basis that I have to wear suits to work. Well, actually I don't have to. I just choose to. But I find it far better to stand in front of 200 students wearing a nice suit than jeans.
This jacket is one my favourite vintage designers, Lilli Ann.
I got it for an absolute song on etsy for $45 (plus $16 postage, so $61 in total). I do find if you are prepared to buy a jacket separately rather than a full suit than Lilli Ann can be reasonable (you just need to look around). This jacket had some very minor issues - just a couple of small holes in the back of the velvet collar which were easily mended and it needed a good dry-clean. It is also missing the top button, but I don't particularly want to wear it with the top button done up anyway, so that is not a problem (all these issues were revealed in the etsy listing by the way, which is always good, thank you etsy seller!).
The fit of the jacket is fairly snug - I prefer my suits to fit like that. Although I did notice that when I actually wore this to work and had to do a lot of typing and mousing it was a bit too snug!
You will notice that in any of the 50s suit ads, the suit is always super fitted. See for instance this ad . . .
Now, I'm sorry, but there is no way this woman could do a day's work in a suit that was that tight!
(but it does look absolutely fantastic!)

One of my absolutely favourite aspects of buying vintage, especially from the US, is the labels.
And these labels are some of the best I have seen. It is always a bonus to not only get the designer label (eg Lilli Ann) but also where it was sold in the US.
How I wish I could be transported back in time and visit Arthur's in Wilmington, Delaware!

When I can control myself and stop spending all my money on vintage (!) I would love to do a road trip around America and visit all the towns featured on my labels - Portland, Delaware, Ohio . . . Of course, all the old shops are probably gone, but the places sound great anyway.

Just to end this post, a photo of one of the best things you can ever see on a vintage suit . . . 

This Lilli Ann label dates my suit to the 1940s (see
The suit also had a union label on it (which was too hard to photograph - sorry!) but which also obviously ads to its authenticity. There are some great tips on dating garments using union labels at this link.

Thanks for reading about Lilli Ann and good luck with finding your own Lilli Ann treasures!

Outfit details
Lilli Ann 40s jacket etsy (seller was 'errolflynn')
skirt also a Lilli Ann, but from another suit
shoes vintage Armani from Salvos op shop Oakleigh (a rare find believe you me!)
vintage black bag one of my most beloved items - my grandmother's handbag. My grandmother died before I was born so I treasure this and love to wear it.

05 June, 2011

A winter afternoon outfit - cream, beads and pale blue

Yesterday I went to an exhibition of my friend's art work at her house in Melbourne. Having an exhibition at home is a great idea. My friend is very talented and her art work was lovely (including watercolours of her parent's farm - I love a well-done rural landscape).  As it was a fairly casual at-home affair, I kept my outfit low key. I find beaded cardigans are great for these sorts of occasions. Actually beaded cardigans are a staple of my wardrobe - you can wear them to work, out to lunch, to dinner - anywhere really! I would really recommend buying a few of them in different colours. By the way, I am wearing one of my recent purchases from Montreal in the photo above - a lovely light blue handbag from 'Memento' Vintage shop. The photo makes it look like the colour of the bag clashes with the colour of the skirt but it seems to look OK in person - not sure what is going on there!

This is a close up of the sleeve of the cardigan. Isn't that beading gorgeous! I got this cardigan very cheaply off ebay USA a few years ago as it needed a few little repairs and a wash. But it fits perfectly and is in great shape for its age.

This is a close up of the pale blue (do some people call it 'egg shell blue'?) bag from Montreal. Again, got this for a steal, for something like $35-40 (the prices quoted in Montreal are before sales tax, so not sure what the final price was with tax!). I love the shape and colour of the clasp/snap closure thingy (!). Its a nice big size too - I always need a fairly large bag to carry all my bits and bobs.

Hope all is well with you all and hope I can  bring you some interesting posts over winter! I do LOVE winter!

Outfit details
blouse ebay USA
cardigan ebay USA
skirt Timeless Vixen Vintage, etsy USA (doesn't she have great stuff?!)
earrings Vintage Weiss, ebay USA
shoes Dianna Ferrari
bag Memento Vintage Store, Montreal

20 May, 2011

My Quebec Holiday - Art Deco gems

I have just spent a lovely holiday in the French speaking part of Canada - Montreal and Quebec City (so yes, sorry for the 3 week absence of posts!). I was there mainly for work, but managed to squeeze in some sight-seeing along the way. Montreal is a great city - particularly the neighbourhoods around the CBD, such as 'Mile End' and 'The Plateau' - lots of second-hand bookstores, cafes and . . .. yes . . . vintage stores! My vintage shopping haul will be the subject of next week's post, but for now I just wanted to talk about the architecture of Quebec. Of course, the most famous building in Quebec is the Hotel Frontenac  . . . 

'Old Town' (Vieux Ville), Quebec City, showing Hotel Frontenac at the top of the hill

Hotel Frontenac is absolutely gorgeous. It is very expensive to stay the night (around $500-600 a night - out of my price range me hearties!) but it is possible to do a tour of the hotel (very worthwhile) and go to the bar and restaurants. The atmosphere in the hotel is very old-world class. I absolutely loved it. You can sit in the bar and look out on the harbour sipping an Apple Martini (highly recommended!)

But some other lesser- known buildings in Quebec City are its art deco gems. Now, I don't know about you, but I love art deco buildings. We have some great ones in Melbourne, see my post on the Manchester Unity building here and I always like to track down art deco buildings when I am overseas.

The most famous one in Quebec City is the Price Building, or 'Edifice Price' as it is known in Quebec . . .

Price Building is on right; Hotel Clarendon on left

The Price Building was built in 1930-31 and was a little controversial at the time because two historic houses were demolished in order for it to be built. It is called the Price Building because it was originally built by Price Brothers Ltd - a family company that unfortunately went bankrupt in the Great Depression.

I love the floral motif on this part of the facade. I am sure there is a proper architectural name for it!

Magnificient doors . . .

The inside of the building is beautiful too . . . 

The next door building, Hotel Clarendon, is also a lovely old art deco building.

The hotel was undergoing some restoration work when I was there,
hence use of the temporary cover over the doors.

I particularly loved the detailing at the sides and top of the Hotel Clarendon, it sort of looks like black stitching . . .

The Hotel Clarendon is still a working hotel and the rates are actually very reasonable. Look at their website for more information.

I hope you liked this little insight into art deco in Quebec. Stay tuned for my take on vintage in Montreal next week! 

26 April, 2011

A dark blue wiggle dress

I wore this outfit last weekend to a friend's play at Lambassa House, an historic mansion in Caulfield, Melbourne. The play was a real hoot and the performances very good. I always like amateur theatre productions - they are great fun.
The dress I wore is a lovely dark blue, which is one of my favourite colours. But it is very much a 'wiggle dress' - it was very tight around the hips so some shapewear was very much called for (I love a good strong girdle!)

I was able to take a bit more time to get ready than I normally do as my hubby stayed at home to look after the children (one of which you can see running around with his wheely toy to the left - he is a 3 year old terror!). Normally we get a babysitter in if we have a night out and I have to be a crazy multi-tasker - not only getting myself ready, but making the children's dinner, getting the house in order etc.

I love beaded bags and this is a very intricate beautiful piece. The photo probably does not do justice to it. A few months ago I bought a floral designed beaded bag, which I have been wanting to get for ages (the ones that are sort of a cross between a needlepoint and a beaded bag). I can't wait to wear it out soon.

Outfit details:
dress ebay
bag Williamstown Vintage Fair
gloves op shop (a rare find!)
diamonte necklace (I have always wanted one of these after seeing Carrie wear it on SATC) ebay
diamonte earrings Callie Whelan, Camberwell Markets (she also has a great stall in the Vintage Garage, Smith St Collingwood)

24 April, 2011

An Easter Sunday outfit

Happy Easter to you all! I have had a restful Easter doing very little except read books, drink red wine and eat (bliss!). This morning I went to Easter mass which was very nice. I don't go to church as much as I should. But with everything these days geared towards materialism and consumerism it is always refreshing to go to a community-based event like mass. This is my Easter Sunday mass outfit . . .
I bought this Victorian style lace blouse ages ago on ebay. It is very pretty but it buttons up at the back so need a hubby close at hand to help put in on (I need a 'Lady in Waiting'!)
And of course, no outfit would be complete without a vintage needlepoint bag.
(by the way, consumerism doesn't apply to vintage items - one can never have enough vintage needlepoint bags!)

oops, I have just noticed a slight bulge at the top of my skirt where I was not able to fully close the zipper (!). I need to do a few more sessions at the gym and cut down on those glasses of read wine if I am going to be able to fit into this skirt again!
  Because its getting a bit chilly here in Melbourne, I wore this cream vintage beaded cardigan over my blouse. I love beaded cardigans, but find it hard to get any colours apart from black and cream. I would love a blue one like the one Molly Ringwald wears in 'Pretty in Pink' (80s nuts will know what I mean by this!)

Hope you all have a lovely Easter and don't overdose on chocolate!