Author Archives: ViVa Vintage
I’m hanging a great dress – another VoH, but this is my circle dress which I intend to be wearing on my birthday – as a motivator on my wardrobe door.
Anyone who knows me knows I take my accessories very seriously 🙂 My shoe collection which I’ve blogged about here is legendary, my fabulous Freddies jeans have been reviewed in depth and for some time I’ve been updating my bag collection – and quite frankly I have just got to share my latest finds with you 🙂
Once again – I’m not affiliated to anyone I blog/review – so you can rest assured that you get nothing but my honest opinion! I came across the lovely Debbie and her collection, Bags by DKJ, at the vintage event outside John Lewis, in Milton Keynes earlier this year. Like a bear to a honeypot I was drawn to her display of beautiful bags. Since I failed miserably to take any pics of her stall I have shamelessly filched her pics from her Facebook site where she shows her items, to display here and this is (obviously!) one from an outdoor event.
Each handmade by her, the styles vary from crossover body, to Messenger, to handbag to weekender. My eyes were drawn to a handbag in what I like to think of as a sofa cushion cover style and also a tweed Messenger bag. Yep within five minutes I was driving the poor woman batty going back and forth between the two!!
Fortunately for me my beloved stepped in and bought the green one enabling me to feel thrifty with my pennies – and treat myself to the Messenger bag as well 😛 You can see me wearing it on a day out – and please note how I’ve paired it with my favourite jacket and fave Freddies jeans (remember remember accessories maketh the outfit ladeees!)
I love this bag as not only has it got bags of style, it is very well constructed with a rigid base, pockets inside which are handy for me to be able to find my phone and mirror immediately. On the outside the beige fauz suede is not just cosmetic but is also a useful pocket for train passes and timetables. I had been worried about getting that dirty but having accidentally swiped it down the side of my very wet and dirty Mondeo I was relieved to see it dry off and brush up a treat 🙂
With an adjustable strap I often switch from across the body to wearing it over the shoulder depending on what outfit I am wearing. After quite heavy usage I am delighted to find it has kept its shape, no handles have come apart and the stitching is still impeccable.
The green sofa/upholstery handbag also gets a fair share of outings as I love its shape, its colour and how well it goes with my summerwear. You can see it here from one of Debbie’s pics. I often get compliments when using these bags as their style and make up is unique. All Debbie’s items are hand made and for me that makes them pretty special and well worth an investment. Although with each being £25.00 or under I do feel I have truly got a bargain and already have my eye on the blue Harris tweed versions….
The range of bags available in such lovely shapes, colours and sizes and at such great prices is, I think, quite staggering and I am constantly thinking of ones I want, no make that NEED, to own!! –
Debbie also makes corsages. I am now the proud owner of not one but three (the red, pink AND blue) after I spotted them on a shelf at Crafty Buzzards, a lovely craft shop in Leighton Buzzard where her goods are sold.
These are so well made I have been able to pin them to head bands to accompany several of my dresses – how’s that for versatility!
As if that’s not enough her range includes laptop covers, glasses cases and purses – again all beautifully made and just so different to what you can find in the usual suppliers of ipad covers!
So there you have it – my handbag collection is on the increase and I can safely say that in the not too distant future it will have several more additions from Bags by DKJ. Particularly as she has introduced a vintage-look range – how splendid are these faux suede clutch bags 🙂
Apart from the shop, Debbie can be found at many craft and vintage fairs – best bet is to either message her on Facebook or take a look at her events page there.
Now then – I have a birthday coming up soon so I wonder if my beloved will take the hint 😉
‘Tis the season to be jolly – well let’s face it Spring has finally sprung and if that doesn’t make you feel like you’re a winner then you must be six feet under!
I am indeed an award winner as earlier this year received I a Liebster award from Adele of My Last Dollar Dress. You can check out her blog here. As I understand it, a Liebster award encourages people to share information about themselves and promote other bloggers who have less than 200 followers. You answer 11 things about yourself, then set up another 11 questions and choose up to 11 candidates.Go to their pages/Twitter to let them know and hey presto, it’s their turn.
Well so far so good – I think I can manage that and it certainly made me think for a minute or two 🙂
Here are my responses to Adele’s questions.
1) What is your favourite flower?
I must be the only girl in the world who doesn’t like getting flowers! I’m so lazy I really can’t be bothered with that cutting of stalks, feeding food and refreshing the water. Can I say I like flowers in my jewellery? I have loads of earrings and brooches in different flower shapes – and they don’t fade or die off!
2) Who is your favourite designer?
Haven’t got one – I always think dressing well is about knowing your personal style and body shape rather than a slave to any one designer. Well cut skirts and dresses including evening wear, fitted tops, high waisted trousers and fitted jackets from just about anywhere are my thing. I will say that for vintage repro I do tend to get my tops and shoes from Rocket Originals and all my jeans are from Freddies of Pinewood as no one does anything half so well as them!
3) Who was your favourite teacher at school?
I actually have three who made a major impact on me. The first was the new headteacher in my last year of primary school, Lionel Riches (yes that really was his name!). He was the first authority figure in my life who ever actually asked me on any of the occasions WHY I did something that had got me into trouble rather than just punishing me. The others were my English teacher Lorraine Kelleher and head of House Fran Long, at my secondary school. Lorraine fed my love of English with so many extra books and worked my socks off to get me thinking and end my boredom and Fran taught me how to get a handle on my temper. Can honestly say that those three, rather than my parents set my feet on the path to being a reasonable and useful member of society 😉
4) Do you have any inspirational quotes that you love?
I’m always seeing quotes all over the place that inspire me and tend to copy them onto the covers of my notepads. Just recently there was one for Jack Daniels Whiskey that said “No one ever built a monument to a committee” – that really made me stop, think and chuckle. But two of my favourites are Jenny Lauren who said “Love your body – it’s the home you live in” and my own personal mantra is “If you go through life without making choices and allow life to make them for you, then you deserve everything that happens to you. Life is for living so choose to live.”
5) If you could be granted 3 wishes, what would you wish for?
Great health 100% of the time – Generally I’m in pretty good shape but I could definitely do without the migraines i sometimes get. And Time – I never seem to have enough so that would be wonderful. I’m not greedy so those two wishes would be good enough for me 🙂 although world peace wouldn’t be a bad choice for number three!
6) If you had to choose only one pair of shoes to wear for the rest of your life, and throw away the rest, which pair would you save?
Only one pair! For a woman who owns more than 70 pairs I think that’s an impossible choice. Different shoes are needed for different occasions! I just don’t think I could get it down to one choice. But if I was walking around the countryside for the rest of my life I’d want my rugged boots whereas if I was dancing and sharing an evening with family and friends I’d take my metallic red kitten heeled ribbon bow tied ones!
7) Do you have a favourite store on etsy – vintage or otherwise?
Nope! But my favourite vintage store is Ollie Vees in Leighton Buzzard – everything from records to buttons and zips and recently they added a coffee bar. Every time I even peek through the window on my way home after they’re shut I see something I must have and find myself phoning up to reserve it!!
8) Describe your perfect day.
Waking up without an alarm, then spending time walking outdoors with my guy before dressing up for cinema and dinner at the Rex and the Gatsby in Berkhamsted – a 1930s refurbished cinema and restaurant.
9) How long do you think you’ll continue to blog?
For as long as I can find the time! and interesting things to share. I started the blog to reach out to others with the same interests since no family or friends are remotely interested in the 1940s and 1950s.
10) Recommend a musician/band that I should listen to.
Si Cranstoun – anything he sings just makes you want to start jiving.
11) What is your favourite thing about yourself?
My capacity to adapt. I’m quite a girly girl and love dressing up but I can just as easily deal with a blocked washing machine or get covered in grease tackling the broken side stand of my motorbike rather than wait for my bloke to rescue me. Although if I truly am at risk of breaking a nail I’m pleased that my guy is happy to step up and be my hero 🙂
Now I will admit that I got nominated in February and meant to respond straightaway but as you can see time did indeed march on without me and we’re almost at the end of April. So I won’t take it personally if any of my nominees do the same or fail to respond 😛
And I nominate:
I’ve added links where I can so you can also go straight to their blogs.
- How or where did your love of vintage begin?
- If there was one person, dead or alive, whom you could style, who would it be and why?
- Why did you start your blog?
- Recommend a good book to me whether it’s instructional, factual or fictional?
- Who do you credit with having the biggest impact on you?
- What do you like best about yourself?
- Recommend a great cafe and say why?
- Chocolate or alcohol?
- Flats or high heels?
- What three things can’t you live without (apart from immediate family, partner or pet)?
- If I gave you £100 what would you spend it on?
I look forward to reading your answers, and my thanks to Adele for nominating me for my first Liebster award!
Anyone who knows me knows I love to dress up – it’s a joy to create and co-ordinate even the simplest outfit so that it looks effortless yet has my personal style. Make no mistake – being casual takes just as much effort as formal wear – and when it comes to jeans like many women finding the right pair can be a hunt on a par with looking for the end of a rainbow. Until the day I discovered Freddies of Pinewood. Now that I own a total of four pairs AND the dungarees I thought I’d review them for those not sure whether they really are all they’re cracked up to be 😉
First and foremost I can tell you that I am not affiliated to Freddies in any way – I’m simply a girl who really likes their jeans and this is my view of the trying and buying experience, how I wear them and even what they are like after a hot wash!
I first encountered Freddies at Twinwood about four years ago when I practically stalked a women who was wearing a rolled up pair matched with red wedges and a red and white checked gypsy top. I was blown away by how well they fitted and once she pointed me in the direction of the clothes stalls I was like a hound on the trail of a fox!
On finding their stall I was like a kid in a Candy store. The sellers of Freddies know their stuff which is important as the styles are fitted in a completely different way to modern jeans as they are worn very high on the natural waist line. The leg measurements vary from quite slim across the bottom, stomach and legs such as the Jeanies to the wider (and darker denim) Texsuns and of course they do many of their jeans in black and some in grey as well.
With so much choice I was pretty bewildered but I was impressed that there was no hard sell – I was even told categorically that I should hold off to get the right size if I preferred the lighter stitching of the Classics as opposed to the orange of the Texsuns otherwise I’d regret it. When it comes to sizing the team has a good chart on its website and you really need to look at this and how you want your jeans to fit – or if you meet them in person they can help you choose.
I am roughly a size 12 but with a big bottom. The last two pairs of high street jeans I bought were about six years ago and one was a size 12 and the other 14. With Freddies you are measuring higher up the body and should also think about leg size (I also have chunky thighs!). Most of my jeans are 30 and the Classic and Texsuns are not as hugging as the Jeanies, which fitted better at 32. I love Freddies because that high waist line is flattering, it covers my bum but nips back in to a fitted waist and having the zip and buttons at the side means a flat front and no bulge to add to my tummy from excess material. The thighs are covered without that tight fit which some women can carry off but which can make my thighs look like two badly stuffed sausages, and most essentially wherever I go I feel great in them 😉
Over the last four years I have to admit that I have actually owned another three pairs of Freddies but that’s because when I had a dramatic weight loss two years ago I was heartbroken that nothing fitted. I ended up trading them in and using the cash to finance some of the latest new pairs. That is the beauty of Freddies – everyone wants them even vintage shops!
So why do I need so many different pairs? Whilst I am sure I could probably get by with just one pair I am a fan of jeans and want ones which fit. Indeed at one point in my life I owned more than 16 pairs of high street and “designer” jeans in my bid to find the perfect pair. Freddies may not be the cheapest but I think they are no more expensive than a really good quality pair of jeans. And as I haven’t bought any other brands since my first pair I think an average of five pairs in four years is pretty restrained shopping for me!
My choice depends on what I am wearing. My Jeanies with the slimmer legs are perfect for rolling up and wearing with wedged sandals, my classics are wider and team brilliantly with brogues, saddle shoes or my old-fashioned converse type trainers. My Texsuns are the widest and best with boots. It also depends on the tops I am wearing. I have a lot of reproduction knits mainly from Rocket Originals and the Texsuns with their bright orange stitching and darker denim are better with the warmer colours whilst the Classics with the more traditional lighter yellow stitch compliment the navy’s and blacks.
The Dungaree Dolls were my first purchase and I love them because aside from a vintage event so few women are wearing dungarees. They are also incredibly comfortable. I prefer belt hooks on my jeans which my Utility’s don’t have so I don’t wear them as often as the others but I understand that the latest ones do have them. My favourite touch are the double buttons on almost all the waistlines – which are perfect for those fat days 🙂
The denim is very sturdy – but do heed their warning about the dye! I once spent an afternoon on my guy’s cream fabric sofa in a new pair. Fortunately he’s very understanding and a quick whizz over with upholstery cleaner sorted it. I wash my jeans inside out on a 30 or 40 degree wash depending on what else is in the load and every time they have come out well. I line dry them rather than tumble dry and when they are almost done I use a steamer on them (right side out) to get out any creases. After all these years they still look great and I get a lot of compliments when wearing them.
And where do I wear them? Friday’s are dress down at work so out they come, every weekend they get pulled on and they are perfect for holiday flights where you need to be comfortable and relaxed. I wear them to events and gigs and to my jive classes which are pretty energetic yet am happy jiving the night away in them. And of course a pair always go in the case for weekends away – I was in Prague recently and my Texsuns looked great and were comfy with thin leggings on underneath to beat the cold and when teamed with a smart top were great for dinner. As the weather improves and I start wearing them with sandals and wedges I shall add some pics here.
Freddies has an easy to use website and I have bought tops and cardigans online and know women who buy the jeans online too. Personally I prefer to buy my jeans in person and since there are plenty of venues they tend to go to, such as Twinwood or the Rhythm Riot, I have had no difficulty getting my hands on their stock. Incidentally I got my latest Dungaree Dolls at Black Rose London in Camden Town – to replace the very first pair I got at Twinwood all those years ago and then regretted trading in!
Below is a quote that could have been made specifically for Freddies I think!:
“When women wear denim it (the derriere) must look elegant. It’s the second thing every woman looks at in the mirror, but it’s the first thing she cares about. She does that half twirl, her back arched and her head craned around. If the jeans are right, the experience is transforming, like putting on a magic cloak.” ~ Ritu Kumar
These jeans may not be for everyone but I have yet to meet the woman who doesn’t look – and more importantly, feel fab in them. So there you have it, if you want jeans there’s only one place to go in my opinion, Freddies of Pinewood rocks 😛
Being poverty-stricken when it comes to time I very rarely get dragged into watching television let alone a series. I made an exception for Mr Selfridge (well it is Jeremy Priven) but after accidentally catching the first few minutes of The Great British Sewing Bee I am totally and utterly hooked – and I assure you it has nothing to do with the oh so dapper judge Mr Patrick Grant 😉
As a child I attended an all girls school where sewing and cookery classes were the norm – and hated every moment of it. My mother and sister are prolific sewers – indeed my mother made my wedding dress such is her level of skill and my childhood is filled with memories of pretty dresses and pattern cutting on the living room floor. It was not until I bought my first home and developed a severe case of house pride that I picked up a needle and my love affair with soft furnishings began.
I can create swags and tails, triple pleat headed curtains, duvet covers and piped cushions with ease, yet two or three pieces of fabric to make a simple skirt seem beyond me. Broken needles and bedraggled fabric make it look like I’ve been using it to clean the floor and yet this hasn’t stopped me collecting a veritable mountain of patterns and fabric though! I am comforted by the fact that my mother, whilst a whizz at dresswear is equally hopeless with soft furnishings 🙂
Watching the GBSB last night I was so impressed by the passion and determination of the sewers who are just ordinary people who love to sew. I found myself rooting for our dignified Ann who keeps it simple yet refined, and the underdog Martin who prefers to make costumes yet pulls it out of the hat with his contrast ladies dress. I love the fact that he’s this bloke working with trucks etc whose passion is sewing.
Then there’s Sandra – reminds me of my mum when she describes how she continually alters clothing for her daughters. Tilly stands out because she has this passion to add her own style and is overly keen to show the judges what she can do. You get the impression that if she just got her head down and stuck to the exact task then she’d be streets ahead – But where’s the fun in that? Tilly’s style is what gives her her enthusiasm and passion and makes her one to watch. She certainly interests me enough to read her blog now although a bit worried looking at tutorials when she couldn’t spot where some extra darts were needed in that dress!
The show has your stomach in knots as you share the tension of the contestants – the rush to beat the clock puts a terrible pressure on people – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve done a Sandra and sewed something on back to front! It was hard to watch them pick one to exit but I agreed with the choice of Michelle. If only because they had each been given the opportunity to try out their patterns (and supposedly their fabrics) at home and she hadn’t cottoned on to the issues with silk – why give yourself that handicap!! (although it’s not for everyone personally I use soft fusible on all silk edges to give them something to stick to).
The judges, May Martin and Patrick Grant, give you something to think about too regarding attention to detail. May is the epitome of that stern school teacher judging your work – and she has indeed spent years teaching at adult education courses. Patrick is an inhabitant of Savile Row – and it shows. He epitomises old-fashioned style for the modern-day man.
As for me I’m going to take a break from my latest haberdashery project and see if I can get this little project off the ground – the short version of the cape. If that goes well then it’s the long version to go over my circle dresses – Fingers crossed 🙂
And of course I’ll be tuned into next week’s GBSB – and keeping up with Twitter throughout the show – Hi to my 12 new followers who joined throughout the debate.
Forget everything you know about Lola Lamour – when she performs with The Lamours it’s a whole new experience – and a great one at that 🙂
I’ve been a fan of Lola’s since I first saw her at Twinwood several years ago – it’s like she stepped out of the 1940s, with perfect vintage hairdos and outfits, and a wonderful singing style. This being my only experience of her when I heard she’d formed a 13-piece band last year I thought it would be a night out in her usual style.
Well that will teach me to actually read the blurb 😉 – the website is quite clear that her “youthful and energetic young band has an eclectic mix of music genres spanning seven decades done in their own unique style. Contrasting styles and tempos combining fabulous melodies with hypnotic rhythms. Swing, Soul, Tango, Blues, Samba, and Rockabilly all amazingly but effortlessly follow each other and are connected beautifully.”