Thursday, November 29, 2012

Modern/Vintage


I think perhaps one of the biggest misconceptions about vintage enthusiasts is that we wear all vintage, all the time. People who see me in "vintage drag" are often surprised to hear that I own (and wear) jeans and (gasp!) sweatpants. It's certainly fun to give off a public image of total glamour, but it's also a bit of a pitfall: you can start to feel like you aren't allowed to wear jeans or sweatpants.

Not true! When I'm home, I live for comfort. When I walk through the door, I go straight to the bedroom to change into my "comfies." These include jeans, tank tops, wool socks, flannel jammies . . .  you get the point. One of my favorite "modern gal" outfits is jeans and a black tank top. It's my "sexy tough girl" drag.


When I have an event or a day in Manhattan, I generally go all out vintage glamour. Dresses, jewelry, foundation garments, stockings, heels. Lately I've been enjoying wearing the "wintertime jumper" from my book as a sheath dress. It's made in turquoise baby wale corduroy with a matching belt. Add polka dot stockings, heels, gloves, and earrings and it's a dressed-up look.



I'm curious what you all do (if anything) to maintain a modern/vintage balance. Is it something you think about? 

P.S. Can we talk about my hair just a little bit more? I wanted to thank you all for your lovely supportive comments in my last post! After one wash, my Atomic Pink hair has mellowed to a fruity pink that I love. The whole thing makes me feel girly and confident. So glad I took the leap!

67 comments:

  1. Cardigans and high waisted jeans are my easy lazy vintage go-to. Embellish with a bit of jewelry or a head scarf. For me, makeup is where I get the most lazy and sometimes don't wear it at all if I don't feel 100%.

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  2. I love your hair! I have a couple of tattoos, and like you, I am scared to death to color the tips. I'm a natural red-head, and I'd LOVE to throw a purple/pink on the bottom 1/3 of my hair. :)

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  3. This bring up a really big debate in my head. I'm like you, when I get home I want to be comfy. Jeans (albeit repro usually), slippers, and often a t-shirt/tank top (though when it's cold a sweater), no makeup. 50/50 chance my hair has been set. I like being comfy, but for me I don't really like what I see when I dress like this. Why do I think this is so much more comfy than at least throwing on a blouse and cardigan, or a plain skirt? I have no idea. Even in casual vintage I feel so better about myself, yet I still can't seem to bring myself to dress a little nicer on my days at home. Which is terrible as I work from home at least 3 days a week!

    I'd love to resolve to be a little cuter and vintage but still comfy at home... something I've been thinking about a lot over the last few months!

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    1. I was just thinking of this yesterday. I love to wear vintage and I even have some cutesy nightgowns, but the inbetween time from when I get home from work until I get a nightgown/robe on, I have nothing. I want to be comfortable, but cute and I have chores to do (cooking, cleaning, etc). I would hate to get my nicer things dirty and vintage aprons are so thin. I also like to sit in non skirt friendly ways on the couch snuggled watching movies or whatnot. So Tasha, if you come up with some cute comfy alternatives, I'd be interested

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    2. You guys, the answer is the humble housecoat! There are some awesome vintage pattern styles out there. Real 50s people had to relax without sweatpants, so the wasitless housecoat (that can be belted for a trip to the corner store) was the answer. I love mine!

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    3. Pearl, I have had a few house coat patterns on my favorites list! And may have to figure out a way to make one cute but winter-appropriate for my cold winter climate... can one wear a cardigan over a house coat? Hmm. ;)

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  4. I feel like my inability (erm unwillingness) to wear heels for long always moderns up my look since I end up wearing flat knee high boots or vintage brogues with everything. It toughens the girly,and lets me walk without whining. But I'd say mostly my silhouette is vintage inspired, my fabrics are usually more whimsy or kitsch-based which is what it is.

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  5. I do vintage, mostly at work. Sheath dresses, pencil skirts and cardigans, color-blocked 60's retro dresses and polka dots are my staples. Most are RTW clothing that I bought because of their vintage appeal and some are clothing I made. Unfortunately, my workplace doesn't allow things that, for me, would complete my desired look, IE dyed hair, piercings, tattoos, jeans and the likes. I do modernize the look with flats, booties and other modern shoes.

    When I am at home, I don't walk, I RUN to put on my jammies or, my favorite at-home oufit: a pair of jeans with my grandpa's oversized sky-blue wool cardigan. In my head, vintage aesthetics don't go with "comfort" and casual. It's all about dressing up! That's why I do it at work.

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  6. For the record, I think the hair color is both flattering and fun.

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  7. I love how the colour of your hair pops out your tattoos

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  8. The turquoise..or acquamarine... or.. the dress is gorgeous!!!!
    and look great with the hair !

    I know the post is about "normal" outfit, but the colours are so beautiful togeter

    Laura

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  9. I can't stand the feel of jeans and 'sweatpants' so I don't wear them ever. For my 'vintage' casual I get inspiration from old images of ordinary people at leisure (not the glamourous stars). Basically casual shirts, A line skirts, high waisted trousers and cardigans. Oh and a beret to cover up those bad hair days. Vintage for me isn't a 'costume' or something for best. Its just the way I dress that has suddenly got a label. I've always dressed vintage, it used to be called secondhand. lol!
    p.s. Am I the only person who doesn't change when I get home from work?

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    1. You are not!! I rarely change (and can't stand sweatpants either.) My work is business casual, and we can wear nice jeans. I've made a personal rule to not wear tshirts alone or sneakers. A good quality fabric t, with a jacket/cardi/3rd-piece-of-some-kind with upscale jeans and a slip on leather shoe + accessories is a nice look. I prefer a more elegant trouser, and skirts, but this time of year the skirts are COLD, and really nice wool trousers get muddy. (I walk about a mile to work.)

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    2. When its cold I take a nod from history. Wooly tights, boots heavy chord skirt down to my ankles. The colder it is the more 'petticoats' I add under the skirt.

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    3. I don't change clothes when i get home either. I like what I pick out in the morning and I hate changing clothes so an apron comes on to cook dinner in and sometimes slippers or Keds replace my shoes but that's it.

      When I dress "comfy" I feel sloppy and lazy so comfort for me has to be stylish (my version of stylish, that is).

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  10. Your hair is very cute!

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  11. Gertie, I thought your hair was gorgeous with the pink ends, but your hair is FABULOUS all pink! I love it! I used to dye my hair all kinds of different colors, and I had such a good time doing it. Now I'm a mom, and I have long hair, and I feel like I can't do it anymore because I'm old (I'm actually not even remotely close to being old; I just feel that way because I have three kids). Uh oh, I feel some hair dying compulsion stirring. I really need to do something with this hair. :)

    I have something I want to ask you ladies who wear a lot of vintage or vintage style clothing. How did it feel when you started wearing it? Like, did it just fit easily into your style? I love love love vintage clothes, but I just feel like I look silly wearing them. I've never thought someone wearing vintage clothes looked silly. They always look glamorous. But I feel like I look like a poser. It sounds ridiculous, but I have a hard time getting over it. I really want to feel confident and gorgeous when wearing the clothes I make. Anyone else have this problem, or am I just a weirdo?

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    1. see my comment below. ;) k.

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    2. I used to feel that way at first. There are a lot of Rockabilly-girls in the town where I live, and I felt the same way at first. I felt like I hadn't put enough effort into my styling compared to these people with their perfect hairdos and make-up. But I don't really want to do that kind of retro clothing, I like the day wear of normal people more than I like the glamorous hollywood-girls. That style is not what I am after, and I find that nobody compares me with rockabillys either. I always get a lot of compliments when I go all the way with circle skirt dresses, nylons and red lipstick, and after trying it out for a while, wearing modern clothing makes me feel more dorky.

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    3. This. There's so many styles/era's I just LOVE and would wear in a heartbeat, but they just seem to feel like a costume---not the look or feel I'm going for. Why? Because I'm pretty active/messy at my non-office job, so no fit there and at home I'm ready to kick of my boots and relax.

      I finally realized that I wasn't going to look like an elegant 30's star, 40's swing-time girl, 50s rockabilly Queen, MadMen's Joanie or a 70's Boho goddess... so I re-assessed what I thought about what I could really live in: dressing like Laverne DiFazio!! Late 50's to mid 60's shirtwaisters, pencil skirt/blouse/sweater, some pegged capris for summer... all minus the "L"! And jeans are Okay. Yeah, they're modern (I'll make some someday), but I wear basic styles (nothing flashy, no gitter or 'whiskers') and can mix up hi-waist or cuff them or whatever, toss on a cute shirt and plenty of wool (hat, sweater, sox) this time of year and GO. I'm not a make up kind of woman, but I try to be sure to add some bijoux to compliment the duds.

      This ties into previous conversations about sewing frosting vs cake, and I LIVE in cake (and old black punk shirts--I swear I'm the 17th Ramone!). Try adding vintage a bit at a time if you're super intimidated; you don't need to go full on all at once. Let your style evolve and it will Become You!

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  12. I like to wear my vintage collection, usually as an event. As a mom, I mostly hang out in jeans and Ts. In the summer I made a concerted effort to wear more skirts and found that, like anything else, the more you do it the easier it gets. (Sadly, with the cooler weather I am back to jeans and a sweater as I can NOT tolerate being the least bit cold.) Beckah (above) you don't look like a poser, you look glamorous like the other vintage gals, so tell your inner voice to back off, on this she is simply dead wrong. ;) k.

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  13. On workdays in the office when it's cold or on Mondays :), I usually wear a little vintage cardigan or a plaid campshirt and high waisted (Freddie's of Pinewood) jeans. This makes me at least feel warm, laid back and still vintage-girly. I have to admit, on lazy at home days,(weekends) I now wear 40's or 50's cotton dusters (I know I'm getting grandma-ish here, but hopefully in a good way. This solves my personal dilemma about not feeling quite myself as when I wear PJ pants or sweats that are "newer" garments.
    Ps. You look absolutely darling with pink hair! I've been reading about it all week,inspired you took the leap!

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    1. OMG! I absolutely LOVE those little 'grandma' dusters. I have a pretty good collection (tho' sadly, not all my size) and they are just darling. I've been finding loads at the local thrifts and they're so comfy, vintage and interesting.

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  14. I love your hair. I have a co-worker who just went from bright pink to blue, and apparently one of the guys waited just about two days to ask her "why so blue?". He was just giddy with excitement to ask her that in front of a group of people. She's one of the happiest people I know, and takes all of that kind of teasing fabulously. She's also hit on by every six year old girl in her vicinity because she's working on a tatoo sleeve that's all Hello Kitty. It's hilarious.

    I dress up in mostly handmade dressses or dress pants and handmade blouses with a cardigan (I'm Canadian, we HAVE to layer) for work, but when I get home, it's usually pj pants or yoga pants for me nowdays. Part of that is because I've gained some weight and none of my jeans are as comfy as they should be. Must work on that. My big complaint with yoga pants/sweats nowadays is that none of them have any elastic in the waistband anymore and they're constantly sliding off my behind if I'm doing anything remotely related to exercise - including vacuuming the house. But I can't buy them any smaller either.

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  15. I was going to write something but Laura up top there wrote basically EXACTLY what I was about to write. After you did your tips pink, I actually posted on fb that I was considering doing the same, but with black. (You know, more subtle.) And I got bunches of comments about how I should just keep my natural red color. Even one comment about enjoying natural now and going crazy when my "beautiful" natural color color is gone and I'm old and gray, which was fun. =) Also, I love the vintage look but have often hesitated in terms of finding a more "cohesive" wardrobe, because I also love me some jeans! It's like you can read my mind. )

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  16. Speaking of your hair...I had been deliberating whether to dye mine pink--more of a dark rose pink, but pink nonetheless. And then I saw your previous post...so I did it. It's not quite where I want it (yet), but you did inspire me to just do it.

    And I love Atomic Pink on you!

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  17. Another fab post! I so agree sometimes I feel the pressure to maintain my look but I spend a lot of time at home in a hoodie - I have so enjoyed reading your last 2 posts - you go girl :o)

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  18. Gertie! use a bit of your dye with your conditioner when you wash, about 1/2 and 1/2 mixed inside your conndtion bottle to prevent fading :) Love the colour, suits you! <3 xxx

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  19. I love, love, LOOOOVE your hair!! I have made it a year (almost!) without touching my natural blonde but you've got me thinking I should do a pastel "Strawberry Milk" pink!

    As far as Vintage dressing goes, I adore wearing all vintage (or repro) for special events, but on a day to day basis, I like to mix the looks together! I have found that my punk/rockabilly tees look smashing with a sweet little circle skirt, and wearing jeans with a little cardigan & head scarf adds a "vintage" feel without losing the comfy/casual feel. P.S, if you ever get back to thinking about that swimsuit pattern, I am all up on it, girl!

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  20. I haven't owned a pair of jeans since I left Texas back in the 90s! Daywear is bias-cut skirts (seriously forgiving) plus boots at this time of year, and if I'm not dealing with clients then I'll layer up with a hoodie stolen from my son. Otherwise, a vintage-trimmed cashmere cardigan.

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  21. I tend to do vintage style at work too...more the glam look like you do, it just suits me and they to me are forever classic clothes...I do casual by wearing skinny leg jeans or the high rise with a cute blouse and cardigan...
    I could imagine that you get that pressure though to have to look the part while out in the public eye. I guess that could be good and bad for you..but just think of the empire you are building for yourself!

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  22. What a great post! This is something that has really been bothering me, thinking about all the good-looking gals out there, do they have time everyday to set the hair and do the makeup before work? When I wake up, all I want to do is get to work, but always with mascara... I dress up for concerts and such, but I would love to wear a more vintage-inspired (self-made) wardrobe on a daily basis. However, I'm still perfecting my skirts and haven't started on trousers, and working as a PhD Candidate in a biochemistry lab doesn't really appeal for the best dresses. Also, I would probably get a strange look. I love to wear dresses, normally with a cardigan, but it's difficult to feel dressed-down enough and matching it with lab-friendly shoes.

    So I guess the conclusion is that I normally wear clothes that have a retro touch, but I have a lot of basics from H&M...

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    1. The trick with the hair is to put tonnes of hairspray on and sleep with a scarf on to protect it. I managed to make my victory rolls last 5 days that way.

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  23. I just got a vintage hairdo, set with curlers and everything! Love it!!!! And I am a little bit of everything...I try not to let labels define me. And I practically live in jeans and a black tank top at home - all from Walmart, no less!

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  24. Most days I am of the 'mixing' persuasion than either straight vintage or a modern look. Jeans and me fell out, and after wearing virtually nothing but jeans or trousers for years I am glad to be free of them. I have found a new love in the humble skirt - I am currently to be found wearing either a boiled wool pencil skirt in a bright shade, or a jersey pleated number or a floaty plise. Plus wool tights, shorty cardigans and a warm over coat it's fine for winter. My true vintage dresses etc are worn to parties or in summer. Hope to run up something warm and lovely like this turquoise number Gertie. At home I favour mostly winciette, what else!

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  25. Gertie. We need to talk. Do you *not* know that I have put your book on my Christmas/birthday list? Why do you feel the need to tease me with pictures of patterns that I clearly need *right now*?

    Printing a picture of a *turquoise courderoy jumper* when I have a stack of *turquoise courderoy* in my stash - and have had, for over a year, specifically intended to be sewn up into a jumper...

    This is getting unfair.

    But seriously - you look amazing and never fail to inspire me!!! Thank you. :)

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  26. Holy Mackeral, I love the hair even more than I did yesterday.

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  27. I love the hair! It looks amazing! I think you've always been a pink hair kind of girl. Somehow it goes with all the 50s outfits....

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  28. Thanks for this post, Gertie!
    I have been thinking about it a lot lately. I feel people around get me spoiled easily. Most people here, whether coworkers or other people I meet, don't make much of an effort. At the same time, because I do, they've come to expect fabulousness from me every day. Personally, I like to rock different looks in my everyday life; I love wearing dresses and skirts, but I also like my high waisted pants, and, occasionally, denim pants (usually high waisted too). I always style my hair one way or another and do my make up, wear a nice top + maybe some accessories and heels. But if I wear denim I often get negative remarks! Mostly this is comical, as it will come from a person (male or female) who wears the same jeans and fleece jacket every day. I must admit I find it a little annoying too, plus that it makes me wonder "can I go out dressed like this?", as I can predict the responses. But, I try to think that it's because they really enjoy my style and appreciate the effort so much, even if I think they should keep their disappointment to themselves. :)

    Anyways, I absolutely love you hair!

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    1. Hi Margete, Wow. You said exactly what I feel. People hold me to a different standard than they hold themselves...I try to take it as a compliment. But it can irk me too.

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  29. Vintage Drag is officially my new favorite phrase! I'm a jeans and t-shirt kind of girl, so I use lots of vintage accessories and do up my hair. If the occassion calls for it I'll wear a vintage dress from time to time.

    PS Love the hair!

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  30. In my own house I live in Yoga pants and tight fitting tank tops. On the weekends for casual slumming around I'll wear jeans and knee high boots with sweaters and funky hair accessories. But when I go out, that's when my glam vintage girl comes out. I wear the full pinup ensemble, funky dresses is off-the-wall prints (that I make too!), high heeled pumps, back seam stockings and pin up red lipstick!

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  31. Our weather is hot and steamy in summer, so at home my dag outfit is a cotton kaftan. In winter it is leggings. I love a combination of vintage glam and tough rock chic for my outside the house wear.

    Your hair colour looks amazing.

    http://iliska-dreams.blogspot.com.au/

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  32. THANK YOU! I do sometimes feel like if I want to be one of "those" vintage gals that I have to dress vintage all the time... but I love leather jackets.... and skinny jeans.... and ridiculously tall platform pumps..... Not to mention I'm a college student on not-so-friendly-to-buying-vintage budget and I just started wearing these sorts of things this summer.
    So I've decided..... I just wear what I want. Some days I want to do the whole deal, hat, gloves, dress, etc. Other days I wake up late and have a test, and I just can't deal with all of it and throw on a blouse and skinnies.
    I've just decided to be who I be, even though that doesn't fit a "niche".

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  33. Man That dress looks rad with the pink hair!

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  34. I love your hair, it looks kick arse! I'm slowly transitioning my wardrobe from modern to more vintage but I find that went I do go "full vintage pin up" its more attention grabbing. When I dress in what's considered "normal/modern" I'm looked at strangely like, "Well why aren't you wearing you vintage stuff today?" Eh rock whatever rocks your socks off I say. I'm finding my tastes don't really completely go with vintage or modern definitions anyways hehe. --Side note I just got your book in the mail and I'm completely floored at how awesome you are and terrified! I'm a complete sewing newbie but lets hope by this time next year I'll be at least a pinch as good as you are.

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  35. Your hair is super awesome and I'm super jealous!!! I've always wanted to dye my hair wild and crazy colors, but I come from a super conservative household. (Super bummer!) I think your hair matches wonderfully with your bright pink personality. You really are brave and courageous, and I really look up to you for those specific reasons. I would LOVE to be able to dye my hair electric blue, but societal constraints say NO especially because I'm trying to pursue a career in health professions...which is a SUPER NO! Its like those people have zero souls and creativity...

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  36. I think about it too much. While I might throw on a pair of jeans to rush across to the shops I just don't feel *right*. When I am in vintage I feel myself. If that makes any sense at all.

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  37. The pink hair looks very cute on you!

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  38. Reading through the comments, I feel like I might be in the serious minority here, but I don't have any problem whatsoever mixing it up -- I love a pair of modern, RTW skinny jeans with an awesome vintage top and jewelry. I frequently clean the house or just sit around in modern straight-leg jeans and a plaid shirt with roll-up sleeves that my gramma wore when she cleaned the house 40 years ago (she had an apron on, of course). One of my very most favorite work-appropriate outfits consists of a great high-waisted wool skirt from the 40s that was my grammas with seamed stockings, adorable repro shoes (http://www.remixvintageshoes.com/twinstrap.html) and a bateau-neck top from J.Crew. My go-to comfy cold-weather "vintage mix" outfit is a pair of deadstock WWII navy pants and a J.Peterman Nantucket sweater, hair in combs, bright red lipstick.
    If I'm doin' it wrong, I don't wanna be right.

    I have been dressing like that for probably a decade now and never really thought that much about it until today... it's not unlike the house we're renovating now, which we keep using the mnatra "modern convenience but keeping with the original/vintage sensibilities." As in, save the original woodwork but for God's sake, don't make me cook in a 1928 kitchen. I guess I feel the same way about my clothes. I love vintage clothes and vintage styling, but please don't take away my petite's section at Nordstrom...

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    1. I've always mixed it up, too. Pre-kids, I wore a lot of real vintage with contemporary ready to wear. I often went out in '40s rayon dresses and '50s sundresses. I had a bunch of fabulous '50s skirts circle skirts - a Mexican skirt with sequins; a navy velveteen circle skirt with gold appliqu├ęd paisleys, and a black "raffia" skirt were my particular favorites - which I wore with modern tops and sweaters. I'd throw a beaded cardigan over a contemporary LBD, and I have a couple of early '60s opera coats that go beautifully over any number of dresses, vintage and modern. And I have a collection of great vintage bags looked good with anything.

      With two littles, I'm more cautious about wearing the real deal, but I still love mixing it up.

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  39. I love vintage, and I mix vintage and modern for work(I'm a teacher) and dress, but I wear jeans and sweatpants at home during the fall and winter, and shorts and tees in the summer. Vintage clothing is so elegant and classy.I have had housecoats and my mom still calls bathrobes housecoats, and they are great around the house. I love your dress! It fits you so well, and looks great with your hair. I love your hair, but I can't pull something like that off as a high school teacher.

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  40. You look so fabulous! Once upon a time I rocked the pink hair and found that mixing some of the dye with a deep conditioner once a week helped keep the color vibrant.
    If you decide to go back to brunette anytime soon - I like the henna dyes from Lush. They aren't filled with chemicals so you can give your hair a chance to relax a bit.

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  41. I feel like you need a satin "Pink Ladies" jacket to go with your jeans and tank, and you'd be vintage all over again!
    Love the pink hair. And jealous of the pink hair. The tips were very punk rock, but the allover shows a deep commitment.

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  42. I really like your hair. Play around and have fun with it! I had mine hot pink for a few months and changed it now to be more subtle (ahem).

    My hair is now cotton-candy-coloured on top, then changes to magenta, and then to being almost purple at the tips.

    My point is … candy-coloured hair can be a lot of fun. And as the colour is only semi-permanent there is a lot of room for playing :)



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  43. I try to always dress "put together" whether it's in a smashing dress or jeans and a tee because it makes me feel like me life is also "put together"

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  44. Gertie glad to hear that you dres modern too! Lol I bought a button down shirt pattern from McCalls but once it actually came in the mail and I looked at it I felt like it was too hard. Help me! What do you think? I am intermediate sewer

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  45. your hair is uh. maz. ing. I am plus size so I usually have to wear "vintage inspired" but I like to mix and match. I especially like to wear a vintage brooch on a vintage cardigan with a modern button up and skirt. I also have a few outfits that fit the 70s punk look too. I suppose I just dress to my mood!

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  46. Hair color is just another accessory! It can be changed and changed again to match a mood, a season or even an outfit. Your pink looks fantastic on you!

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  47. Real 50s people had to relax without sweatpants, so the wasitless housecoat (that can be belted for a trip to the corner store) was the answer. I love mine!

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  48. A few weeks ago, I went to the fabric store I frequent in a hoodie and jeans..yesterday I returned in my typical vintage wear, and the sales girl announced "PHEW! You look like you again! I almost didn't recognize you last time you were in." Guess that means I can go incognito so long as I dress in sweats ;)

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  49. Very pretty...I like the blue frock which is so cute and neatly presented...

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  50. Hi,
    I'm normally not into pink, but I have to say that it looks awesome on you. Love it!

    Katharina

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  51. I change clothes after work becuase I'm usually about to tacle a sewing project and want to be able to do my work with relative ease. My true vintage pieces are treasured and are taken care of with a very delicate hand, so getting out of them when returning home from work is more about preservation than anything else. A typical outfit to sew or knock about in is capris or high waisted jeans and a vintage cardigan or a cute cotton blouse paired with Keds or flats. Serious lounging at home calls for yoga clothes! Hot summer days you will always catch me in a cotton dress no matter what becuase it is SCORCHING here in Texas. I found a super cute vintage pattern for a 40's summertime dress that included pieces to make a little bolero to go over your dress which is perfect for the office. It's cool and comfy and covers all the tatts nicely - a win-win in my book. All I do when leaving the office to meet friends (or just to go home a veg) is ditch the bolero and voila - instant casual cuteness!

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Thanks for your comments; I read each and every one! xo Gertie

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