Thursday, April 17, 2014

Existential Crisis in Pink

Last Saturday my beau and I woke early and headed out on a carefully planned yard sale expedition. Not normally early risers, we were excited to get an early start and explore the yard sale territory that lies beyond the land of baby toys and Marine Corps paraphernalia that immediately surrounds our house. By ten o'clock we had hit nearly ten sales and had a small collection of goodies to show for our efforts; we had also managed to peep into life in several distinct historic neighborhoods in Wilmington, which is always a satisfying part of yard sale-ing.   

Yard sale finds: Some for the shop, some for me.

My outfit for this beautiful Saturday morning was almost as carefully planned as our yard sale route. It was azalea weekend in Wilmington and, inspired by the season and bursting blooms, I wanted something festive, fun, and topped off with a hat. My collection of spring and summer hats is quite lacking, so much so that I was tempted to break into Fair Sails inventory, when I remembered this pink veiled hat in the striped hat box at the top of my closet; from there, the outfit fell together.

Outfit Details
Hat-- Yard sale find from my aunt Lisa
Gingham dress and matching belt-- Antique market find, also seen here
Shoes- Miz Mooz
Pearl earrings-- gift from my beau, Bracelet-- Fair Sails reject

(I was tempted to wear a pair of white gloves and a crinoline too, but I felt that was a bit too over-the-top)

I love this hat box, a nod to my home in WNY.

By the time we sat down for an early lunch, I had discussed my impossibly pink ensemble with nearly everyone I had come in contact with. Sure, anyone who embraces creative dressing gets the usual questions from time to time, but this was truly a singular experience, so much so that by the time my derrière found its way onto the usual stool at our favorite watering hole downtown, I was pretty much talked out. 
At first the dark and cool bar seemed liked the perfect refuge from the throngs of azalea revelers flooding the streets, but after awhile the rowdy crowd seeped into the bar seeking refreshment and the questions started anew; a girl even asked me to take a picture with her father saying that he "just loves Jackie O!"--- ugh.

When I first started wearing vintage clothing, I had a hard time walking that fine line between costume and outfit. I struggled with feeling like a caricature and feeling genuine in my dressing. It's been a long time since I felt uncertain and inauthentic, and while Saturday's outfit felt genuine to me at first, talking about it over and over, made it feel like a costume. 
When asking their questions, people were expecting an answer that would make me more than just a girl in a dress, they were looking for me to be a part of something bigger (a play, a movie, the azalea festival... another country), and to have an excuse for my outrageous ensemble. Often, when I explained that this was how I dress regularly, and answered that natural next question of "why?" I felt like my answer had been worn thin; "Because I love it" sounded insufficient.

For such a delightful day, Saturday was trying and it was exhausting (an introvert can only take so much social interaction). After the bar, we wandered the crowded streets and I contemplated my motivations for showing up in public dressed like a pink confection. My head still a bit fuzzy from my [delicious] pint of Holy Brother stout, I began to think about giving it all up, imagining my life without vintage clothing.... what would I wear?

 . . . .

So, what keeps you going? What keeps you dressing creatively and steers you from the existential downward spiral? What weird things have strangers asked you, and how do you deal with the  persistent questions?

Happy Sailing

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Short Pants Romance

I have one pair of particularly short pants that were bought, quite on accident, from the petite section of a department store. They're the sort of pants with a little elastic in the waistband that ladies of a certain age prefer (in fact my grandma probably has the same exact pair), but they've slowly become some of my favorite (those old ladies are on to something!).
While I'm terribly self-conscious about my hips and ankles and calves and thighs and...well, my legs in general, and try to avoid such close fitting slacks, with these I just don't care. Perfect with flats, and great for a windy spring walk on the beach, these are the kind of pants I need more of.

Of course, thinking on short pants brings to mind the fabulous mid century wardrobe of many a lovely lady who not only had the perfect pants, but the perfect figure for the pants.

Audrey, of course, in her simple and iconic wardrobe featuring the slim fitting cigarette pants she helped to popularize. Love her flats in this shot as well!!

Mary Tyler Moore frequently sported slim, short pants as Laura Petrie in the Dick Van Dyke Show
(If I watch enough episodes of this show I develop some serious hair and wardrobe while simultaneously being reminded to be a less whiny wife!)

Marilyn wears her short pants with heels! 

Brigette Bardot in slim polka dot pants.... what a figure!

So, on the shopping list more short pants go-- oh how I love this casual style!

Happy Sailing!

Friday, April 04, 2014

Fair Sails Friday: April Showers

In this month's edition of Fair Sails Friday, we're exploring the beautiful blue hues currently in the shop. Blue is a refreshing color for springtime and a fabulous alternative to pastel pinks, yellows and greens that are favored this time of year.

This lovely lady chooses to accessorize her gorgeous frock with a blue clutch, matching shoes and a blue necklace!

When it comes to lovely shades of  light blue, let's imagine an outfit topped with this sweet blue velvet hat! As the temperatures rises, velvet becomes less fashionable, but while there's still a chill in the air this spring, this hat is just the topper to complete our blue ensemble.

The ears have the pleasure of wearing these blue bead cluster earrings. Perfect for non-pierced and pierced ears alike, these clip-on earrings are an early 50s fashion essential.

About the neck we're wearing this beautiful blue nylon scarf which, with its touches of purple, matches our hat perfectly! With its floral pattern and hints of purple, white and green, this scarf is not only suitable for the spring season, it can pick up colors in outfits beyond this blue ensemble. Also, as it is made of nylon, it would be just perfect worn over curlers or a pin curl set!

What's an outfit with a bit of sparkle? With no brooch to dazzle, we're adding a touch of glimmering glamour with this 14k gold blue topaz ring.
Flanked with diamonds, this lively topaz is sure to turn heads!

And, what's a lady without a handbag? While perhaps not the perfect match for our blue ensemble, this little blue purse happens to be one of my favorites in the shop and would be wonderful for evening or glamorous day wear.

While our light blue ensemble was quite lovely, we cannot forget about the always chic shade of navy. From day dress to formal wear, deeper shades of blue are incredibly sophisticated, versatile and stunning in any season.

These navy accessories are some of my favorites in the shop!

The navy blue mesh purse is from the masters of mesh, Whiting & Davis, and has room for the essentials and more. It also has a removable shoulder strap for use as a clutch or shoulder bag.

The crowning jewel of our navy blue collection is this stunning 14k gold and sapphire ring from the 1930s. Featuring deep blue stones and impeccable period construction, this ring is a testament to the charming combination that is navy and gold.

If you're looking for a bit of  blue sparkle that won't break the bank, this sweet rhinestone bracelet is certainly dazzling and under $10! 

Finally, as Fair Sails is brimming with scarves (more to come), let's talk about another. The blue scarf featured above is sheer in the center and trimmed with an opaque border in such a deep royal blue it's nearly purple!

Let us not forget those handsome fellas, we have some blue for him too! Recently added to the shop are these charming Christian Dior cuff links with blue enamel that is just worn enough to remind us that they are from the 1960s.

And with that we conclude this edition of Fair Sails Friday! Remember, all that has been featured above (exculding the images of the lovely ladies, of course) is available in my shop, Fair Sails. And, as a reader of Sailing over a Cardboard Sea, don't forget there is an exclusive coupon at your disposal!

Wishing you a pleasant weekend and, as always,
Happy Sailing!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Mad for Pleated Plaid

My latest thrift store find not only feeds my wool obsession, it solidifies my love for all things pleated and plaid and completes a trio of plaid skirts-- one for each cool weather season. 

A plaid skirt and sweater is such a classic look which was especially popular with the emerging teen culture of the 1940s (according to this great LIFE magazine photo essay). 

Locket, peter pan collar, plaid... total perfection!

I especially love the look of these plaid pretties with loafers and socks but it's a look that (with my less than shapely legs) I just can't pull off. 

Love the cable knit knee socks!

Ah pearls and plaid... and check out that vanity (and the wallpaper!)

The advertisement below is from the 1960s (note the hair) and shows a more grown-up, and equally fabulous, approach to the look. The colors of the twin skirts are listed as turquoise and bright green, or fuchsia and hot pink, with coordinating sweaters! Definitely hoping to add such vibrant pleated plaids to my collection someday. 


And of course, I'm not just perusing pleated plaid on Pinterest, Etsy is chock full of pleat/plaid goodness!

More pleats than plaid but still adorable!
vintage 50s pleated wool skirt @ Bombshells and Babes

This skirt is advertised for fall but since winter just won't go away, it'd be great for spring!
Pink plaid Lombardi pleated skirt @ Pretty Old Goods

With my "new" plaid skirt I chose to highlight the subtle teal blue that runs throughout. While my sweater isn't an exact match, I'm always looking for an excuse to wear it as it is one of my favorites from Mrs. Bolton.

Outfit Details
Sweater-- Mrs. Bolton
White blouse-- TJ Maxx, purchased during college
Belt-- Thrifted
Skirt-- Thrifted
Pale blue tights-- JCPenney 
My usual Capezio character shoes

I wore this outfit this past Saturday for our usual errands and shopping. It was a beautiful spring day (hard to believe now, since we're back to winter) and no jacket was required.

Lately we've been sampling microbrews after our usual Saturday activities, which is incredibly enjoyable, and very convenient since our new favorite bar is two shops down from a wonderful vintage clothing store. Last Saturday my beau enjoyed a brew while I took a browse through some fabulous fashions of the past and managed to pick up a great dress (pictures to come!) for my sister-in-law's upcoming wedding. Nothing like shopping success followed by a delicious stout!

Hard to tell from these photographs, but I've lightened my hair significantly. Not sure how long I can keep it up (I fear maintaining the roots will quickly become too much fuss) but right now it seems so much more suitable for warmer weather!
While normally I have a preference for darker hair and a high contrast between hair color and skin tone, going lighter, and perhaps returning to my childhood copper color, has been something I've wanted to do for some time. 
Even with this subtle change, I'm reconsidering my conclusions on what colors suit me especially concerning make up. With warmer-toned hair, it seems that my slightly blue-red lipsticks are quite out of place...or perhaps they were all along, I just thought I could get away with them!

So, thoughts on pleats, plaid, blue-red lipstick... or anything else? I'd love to hear 'em!

(Fun fact: including this sentence, I've mentioned the words "plaid" and "pleated" 26 times)

Until next time,
Happy Sailing!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Wearing Color

My last post found me a bit confused concerning what colors suit me best and so, looking for a little advice and inspiration, I stumbled on this 1940 edition of Life Magazine featuring an article on embracing a colorful wardrobe.

I just love how this article was done with so many images. It's amazing how different colors can change the look of a person entirely, playing on the warmth of the cheeks and lips or enhancing the tone of one's skin and eyes. My favorite look has to be the pale blue-gray the brunette is wearing, I find it incredibly becoming on her!
I also love that Life has included Madame Gray in this discussion, her hair is so lovely and she looks wonderful in warmer shades.

While my hair has a little more than a "glint" of red to it, it seems that the advice given to chestnut gals might be helpful, especially concerning the cool gray and sallow skin. When it comes to personal preference though, I'm more likely to choose from the color palette provided in the gray hair section than many of those in the chestnut!

So, what colors suit you?

Happy Sailing!