Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Stylaholic Premier: Dressformation

I've seen a number of very stylish ladies do this on their fashion blogs, so I've decided to give it a try: I'm going to show you a vintage dress I've transformed using only a sewing machine, a gum wrapper, and a case of vegan bratwurst.

Just joking about the bratwurst.

This is a late 1960s hawaiian hostess dress I purchased for about $40. As you can see, it's extremely "maxi" (I added the plastic cocktail glass for comic effect...too bad I'm too shaky to take a straight photo). Although I'm nearly 6 feet tall and am supposed to be able to carry off maxi-length dresses, to be totally honest, I don't really like them. Anything below the ankle just feels silly.

The thing I really love about this dress is the weird cape-like pleat detail on the back (on the far left in this photo...I know it's hard to tell my front from my back...sigh). I thought "maybe I can shorten it and wear it as a babydoll!" And so it began...

(Here's the back...pretty the way it comes down and floats from the neckline, no?)

This was a home-made jobby in the first place, so I was dealing with "interesting" seaming and fitting. The dress is supposed to hug your curves in front, sheath-style, flowing from an empire waist complete with adorable centre florettes, whilst billowing out dramatically in back.

Althought it's a small size, I wondered why it wasn't fitted more tightly to the ribcage in front to emphasize the bust like most dresses of the era do. It was only after scratching for the umpteenth time at the itchy little doodad brushing my ribs that I took the dress off to discover a built-in bra! It had been lost in all that fabric. Very nice little detail that saved me having to take the dress in on the sides...(it's that white thing hiding amid all the fabric).

I carefully measured and cut the length, shortened the bra band, which had become stretched out over the ages, and tried it on.

Cute, but (and I know...I'm crap at standing still enough to photograph myself clearly, so I don't have a good photo of this)...the billow in the back is still a little too big.

I'll have to figure out a way to reduce the pleats; in the meantime, I've created an obi-style belt from the fabric I cut off the bottom of the dress and am using that to give it a sheath fit with a slightly tulip-style skirt. I love it with my beige and yellow pumps...

And next time I do this I'll be sure to clean my mirror first!

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Keep a lid on it

Here in the city in (near) which I live, I'm seeing an interesting trend: men sporting cool lids. You'd have to live here to get the full impact of that statement, but let's just say it's nice to see the boys embracing head-coverings other than baseball caps with beer logos on them. And variety? You have your newsboys, your fedoras, your military caps, the occasional well-intentioned cowboy hat...they're really mixing it up.

Yep, the local lads are metrosexualizing nicely.

Surprisingly, though, I haven't really noticed a corresponding rise in millinery for the ladies. At least not in this town. You'd think that the blistering heat of global warming and threat of skin cancer would fuel the fire, so to speak.

Maybe it's because while hats conceal, they also reveal. There's something about a girl in a jaunty hat that says "Look at me. I am not afraid to stand out." Not everyone is comfortable with that.

Ladies, take a page from chic gals like Audrey and cover your cranium in style. Let's go for it. I admit, some of these vintage hats are a little over the top, but then again...they were all the rage once, so can't they be again? In a world that gets much too heavy, a little roof-top levity might be just what we need:

From Vintage Vixen:

A fabulous straw hat like this absolutely gorgeous one will keep the UV rays at bay while shooting your coolness quotient into the stratosphere.

Straw and ribbon for your girlier moments...

Purple feathers! Purple FEATHERS! PURPLE feathers!

What more is there to say?

This is called a portrait hat. Although this one's from the 40s, there's something very 70s about it. The raspberry colour...divine.

A 1950s flowerpot hat. Your pretty little face is the flower.

From Posh Girl:

It takes a special girl to sport a 1970s pimp-style fedora. If you can handle faux fur, long feathers, and extreme over-the-eye jauntiness, this may be for you. You cheeky little thing.

For the rest of us, there are standard fedoras (fedorai?) or the lovely oversized model to the left. I'm a little bored with standard fedoras, to be honest...(Damn celebrities! They ruin everything!) But this hep number captured my interest.

From Unique Vintage:

Isn't this the coolest? I wonder how it would look over red hair...Might be interesting. So over the top 60s cool...