Easy breezy style

 

Welcome back to East Van Kiitten! Isn’t crazy how sometimes life gets totally in the way of doing fun things you love?! Here I am once again with an item that I have owned for a year or two, that I have worn perhaps once-this lovely, flowy cardigan, picked up at, you guessed it, a local thrift store.

I’ll often come across random pieces that for some reason or other I just love, even though they don’t really seem to be “me”. These things I guess take longer for me to figure out what to do with.

I ended up wearing this lovely cardigan with my favourite comfy, stretchy black pants. The seemingly dull t-shirt is made of linen, from J. Crew. Now I would not normally wear a t-shirt in taupe, but it is made of the most lovely linen, sheer and soft. It makes for a cool, sexy, summer top. And I love the look of a v-neck as opposed to a crew neck- I find it slimming.

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Buddha and owl necklaces

The long owl necklace I also find slimming, as does anything that draws the eye down. And because more is always better, I threw in the Buddha necklace on a leather thong. Buddha and the owl, together at last! I don’t generally wear much brown, but in the warmer months I find I gravitate to more natural, and earthy materials. Hence all the brown leather.

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Tooled leather and huaraches

This beautiful tooled leather bag I was lucky enough to acquire in Catalonia.  A few summers ago I got to join my husband and his band on tour in Europe. Once we got into Spain, I was pretty determined to get myself a leather bag. I really lucked out on this one, only 20 euros in a kiosk! I use this more than any other bag I own, and that’s saying something! Last winter I had the pleasure of going to Melaque, Mexico. Again, I was determined to purchase myself a local, quality product. I’d been wanting to get some traditional huaraches ever since I first learned about them, from a friend, probably 20 years ago. These are the most comfortable sandals, even from the very first wearing. I had wondered if all the straps would chafe, especially on a hot day, before being broken in. Not at all! These are just like walking barefoot, except the soles of your feet are protected. No wonder these shoes have been around since pre-Columbian times! The craftsmanship is amazing, and the price is right too- I think I paid around $20 CAD.

Now that I’ve finally gotten my head around this flowy cardigan, I’ve worn it many times. I think it will also do double-duty as a beach cover-up! Happy thrifting y’all! And never be afraid to try new things.

Yikes! What to Wear to a Job Interview

Here’s the situation- I’m going in for a job interview, at-you guessed it!- a vintage boutique! This lovely store is looking for a manager, and it is so much more than just vintage. They offer high-end, mid-range, as well as vintage. So what would be appropriate to wear?

I wanted to look professional, of course, as well as stylish.  I didn’t think that going for a full-on vintage look would be suitable, so I opted for a blend of new and old. This adorable polka-dot dress I found at Value Village for a few bucks, a couple of months back. I admit that I bought it mostly  for it’s 50s vibe, but also because it’s bloody comfortable, and skims over the lumpy bits in a flattering way.

Matching is fun! My 1950s cashmere cardigan, a wonderful find that I’ve had for many years, matches perfectly with the red stiletto contemporary pumps, acquired from a local thrift store.

**A side note on cashmere- if you come across a vintage cashmere cardigan or sweater- buy it! In my experience, the quality far exceeds anything new, unless you are willing to pay hundreds of dollars for one sweater. I have owned some new, pricey cashmere, and they unfortunately all start to pill after just a few wears. My vintage sweaters, some of them probably almost 60 years old, are still wonderful.**

The bag with the lucite handle I have owned for probably 20 years. It is very special and unique-it converts 3 ways. You can change the outside of the bag from black patent to the other side, which has a funky print. Or leave the cover off entirely, and have the bag be navy crepe.  In all of my years of collecting, I have only ever seen one other one of these bags.

A few well-selected accessories complete the look- a black patent skinny belt, and a cameo brooch with matching earrings. And let’s not forget the real-deal charm bracelet. Smart, comfortable, and chic.

 

Spotty Girl

This contemporary outfit has a fun, vintage vibe to it. Every item has been sourced from a thirft store. I’m mixing prints here, but it works. The common theme is of course black and white, and the two different animal prints work just fine with classic polka dots.

I pretty much always wear accessories. I feel naked going out of the house without them. And frankly, this outfit would be quite dull otherwise. Hence this adorable wool and angora beret, originally from Atmosphere, and the cotton short-sleeve cardigan, from Jacob. The silk scarf is  Anne Klein, and it gets plenty of use. I’ve been wearing hats a lot lately, berets in particular. I guess I just really like the French thing, and obviously is great for days when I can’t be bothered to do anything with my hair.  The simplest, plainest outfit can be brought to life with some fun accessories.  I could easily see this same combo brightened up with a red hat and scarf, or some red shoes.

I love wide-legged trousers. They look so chic, and are oh-so 1930s Hollywood. These ones are rather high-waisted, with a flattering front panel, and a zip up the back. They are just an inexpensive mall brand, but I think they are pretty cute. Of course they look much better pressed!

The charm bracelet is a hoot. This is the real deal, an old lady charm bracelet, inherited from an (ahem) old lady. It even has a charm that says Granny; my favourite is by far the teapot, with a lid that actually opens. And it makes such a fun, musical sound when it is being worn. The tooled leather bag, absolutely becoming a staple of my wardrobe.  And finally, the trench coat. I sure have been wearing it a lot lately, but hey, I live in Raincouver, it goes with so many things, it’s classic, and I love it. I can look like a greasy punker another day. Because hey, I like to mix it up. Always keep folks guessing, I say.

 

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London Fog trench and vintage bag

 

 

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The Timeless Appeal of Stripes

I love to wear stripes. I have at least half a dozen striped t-shirts, 2 striped skirts, 2 striped dresses, and 2 striped sweaters. What is it about stripes? Certainly they have been trendy for awhile, and according to the March edition of Vogue, continue to be so. Just a quick flip through this venerable fashion tome,  and you can see stripes being shown in campaigns by Dior, Ralph Lauren, Target , and Givenchy. No, I think my love of stripes goes far beyond any trend. Stripes are classic, and there is history behind them. And history is something that speaks to any lover of vintage.

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The popularity of the striped shirt can be traced back to Coco Chanel. She fell in love with the Breton shirt on a trip to the French coast around 1913. This shirt started being worn as part of the French Navy’s uniform in 1858. After doing a wee bit of research, I learned that the original shirt incorporated 21 stripes, one for each one of Napoleon’s victories. This style was originally worn by the fishermen and merchant sailors of Brittany. The Russians liked it so well, that the Imperial Russian Navy adopted it as well in the 19th century. The Telnyashka can be sleeveless like a tank top, but I think the most gorgeous one I’ve seen is the one given to my husband during a tour in Russia with his band The Real McKenzies. It is long sleeved in a quadruple knit, heavy enough to wear in cold weather. Beautifully made, and built to last. Hopefully someone will give him another one soon, because his shirt is disintegrating from years of sweaty touring!

In more recent times, the striped sailor shirt has been made iconic by everyone from Pablo Picasso, Audrey Hepburn, Jean Paul Gaultier, and Brigitte Bardot, to name a few. Doing a quick search on the internet, it is easy to see that several companies specialize in just the French marinière, several of them claiming to be the original.  And I love that striped shirts always make me think of pirates too. Nothing wrong a bit of pirate action to liven up your day. My verdict is that as long as there are sailors, pirates, and rock ‘n rollers, stripes will be here to stay. Ahoy!

 

 

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