December/January haul

Oh dear, oh dear, she’s back again. In my previous post I said I would post more from then on, but then stuff happened. Exams, big assignments, things like that. That’s university for you. Anyway, I’m back now and hopefully I can actually keep this up.
So, despite being gone for a while, I still did some thinking about this blog and, of course, I’ve done some shopping. And that’s what my first post of 2017 is going to be about.

The first thing I wanted to show you guys is this necklace I bought from the money I earned as a guest lecturer. When I said I’d do it, I didn’t know they would be paying me. But I’m not complaining. It was definitely a nice bonus.

So, I don’t know if you can tell, but it’s a dream catcher. The brand is also called Dreamcatcher. But the funny thing is, I can’t seem to find it anywhere but the website of the store I bought this necklace at. I don’t know if it’s a brand they own or if it’s just a very new brand, but I couldn’t find anything about it. Nonetheless, it’s a nice necklace of pretty high quality. It’s all made out of metal, so it’s pretty sturdy. Overall, I’m very happy with it.

I also bought two dresses during the Christmas break. Both are vintage-inspired, which is definitely one of my soft spots when it comes to fashion.

How these dresses were made is also a bit different from what you would usually find in stores. The dress with the houndstooth pattern is from Mademoiselle YéYé. This is a clothing brand that “is designing unique clothing with the fascinating chic of the sixties for retro loving girls”. What also stood out to me about this dress is that it’s 100% vegan. According to their website, their whole brand is built upon that concept. Another thing that I feel the need to mention is that this dress illustrates why you should try things on because it looks very much different on from what it looks on the hanger. I have to admit that I wasn’t too impressed by it when I saw it on the hanger in the store but I still decided to try it on. No regrets here, I can assure you guys that much.
The other dress is from Skunkfunk. Skunkfunk is built upon the concept of sustainability. This dress is made out of the recycled polyester from plastic bottles. They also support a lot of artists, so that’s also pretty cool. I think their own website explains it best. One funny thing I noticed is that the pattern appears to be a very dark shade of blue, especially up close.

I mean, it does look very blue. But it’s not. I found out that it’s actually black. The blue sheen comes from the kind of dye they used. I’ve been told that this kind of dye is supposedly soot-based dye. This, if true, also could be traced back to the idea that their brand is built around the concept of sustainability.
However, dresses like these come at a cost. Literally. Brands like these are often more expensive than their mass-produced counterparts. I definitely don’t mind that. For that price, I get clothes that are of amazing quality and I support things like the environment, local artists, and so on. And I consider that to be a win-win.

Another thing I bought were new shoes. I’ve wanted a pair of Doc Martens for as long as I can remember. And now I could finally buy them.

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These are of the classic collection, which is undergoing a revival as we speak. At first, I wanted a pair with a nice design but the store we went to didn’t have anything like that in my size. Then, the same day but in another city, we came across this really nice store (where I also bought the dresses) that happened to sell Doc Martens. But only in black, red, and this colour. In the end, I think that not going for a design was the smartest move. These shoes will probably last longer than my love for a crazy design. But why do I wear my jeans like this?

Well, I’ve seen people tuck them in or wear them over the shoes and I have to say, I found that to just be really uncomfortable. And it didn’t feel very good for my shoes and/or clothes when I wore them like that. But the actual reason I wear them like that is because I, when trying them on, wanted to see them without my jeans getting in the way. So I just decided roll them up for a bit. And that ended up becoming a habit because I like the way it looks.

Lastly, I also bought two new lipsticks from Revlon. These are Gladiolus and Iris from the Ultra HD line. Me finding out about them had absolutely nothing to do with Final Fantasy XV or anything (but honestly, I really do like these two shades).

Now, the first thing I noticed was the container. It looks pretty neat actually, it has an aesthetic I can get behind. However, the combination of the clear lid and the lipstick not swiveling down completely is not a very good one. If you’re in a hurry, chances are that you will take of a chunk of lipstick with the not-so-clear-now lid. And that’s a shame.

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The lipstick itself isn’t too bad. The shades look nice and it stays on pretty okay. It also feels really nice, almost moisturising (too bad it isn’t). However, I would recommend using lip liner and a primer. It’s a smart move in general, but especially if you want to wear one of these. The first thing I noticed when I used it for the first time, was that it has a rather strong, very sweet smell. Some people might like (or not mind) this, but if you are sensitive to that kind of thing I definitely wouldn’t recommend these. All things considered, it’s not a bad lipstick. But it’s not very good either. I have yet to decide if I would buy them again, but I’m kind of leaning towards not at the moment.

Anyway, that concludes the shopping done by me during the Christmas break. I hope you also had a nice holiday season and I wish you all a (belated) very happy new year! ❤

Until next time,

Maran

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30 day drawing challenge: Fashion edition

This might not come as a big surprise, but I love fashion. I also love to draw. So, when it was time to try and think of something to do for my blog I wanted to do a 30 day challenge that combined those two things. Sadly, I couldn’t find anything. I found 30 day drawing challenges and 30 day fashion challenges but nothing that combined those two things the way I wanted. Solution: make one myself! So that’s what I set out to do. 

I tried to make this an interesting challenge, not only for me, but for other people as well. But mainly for me, as I am kinda bored and I just wanted to draw things again. I also tried to make it as unisex as possible, which actually turned out to be quite the challenge. What follows now is the final product of some thinking and brainstorming with friends.

  1. Yourself
  2. Head
  3. Formal
  4. Blue
  5. Winter
  6. Lazy Day
  7. Futuristic
  8. Headwear
  9. Animals
  10. Plaid
  11. Spring
  12. National Costume
  13. Sneakers
  14. Throwback
  15. Contrast
  16. Red
  17. Fabulous
  18. Christmas Sweater
  19. OOTD
  20. Monochrome
  21. Autumn
  22. Vintage
  23. Jacket
  24. Sports
  25. Art
  26. Stripes
  27. Summer
  28. Basics
  29. Outerwear
  30. Freestyle

So these are the 30 prompts I thought up (with some help). This marks the start of my attempting this challenge I set out to make and do, so wish me luck!

Until next time,

Maran

Outfit of the day: 28/10/2016

I’m seriously procrastinating over here. What I should be doing is studying for the exams coming up, but instead I’m writing for my blog. Oh well, knowing when to relax is important too.

What you also might’ve noticed is that my fringe is styled a bit differently. Well, I had this done just yesterday. It used to be more blunt and straighter, but not anymore. I’ve gotten a couple of compliments with it (while others, who see me every single day, didn’t notice at all), but I’m still getting used to it myself. It just feels kinda strange, you know, after years of having things look a certain way. But I’m pretty sure I’ll like it when it doesn’t look so strange in the mirror anymore.

And of course, more importantly, I switched from my summer clothes to my winter clothes. It was getting a bit too cold outside to keep walking around in light fabrics. But that’s when I rediscovered this dress again. My mom and I found it while shopping together and it reminded her of something she used to own when she was younger. I also really liked it, so it came home with us. What I personally really like is the 60s vibes I’m getting from it. And as you already know, I’m a sucker for vintage and vintage-inspired stuff. The reason I combine it with a black turtleneck sweater and black tights is so that it will stand out more, while the boots complement the vintage vibe. Keeping the accessories simple will also help with keeping the dress as the focal point of the outfit. I wore my glasses because I feel that they just work really well with this outfit. And because I didn’t feel like wearing my contacts today. Mainly the latter to be honest. But it all worked out in the end.

What I’m wearing:

Pinafore dress – Supertrash
Turtleneck sweater – Just B.
Tights – H&M
Boots – Shellys London

Until next time,

Maran

Fashion Exhibition: pictures & more

More than six months after going there on a day off, and after a bit of a hiatus, she finally posts the pictures she took at the Rijksmuseum back in April. I already talked about it a bit in this post, but those weren’t all the pictures I took that day. So here they are, including commentary. This ranges from facts to just my thoughts to a tad bit of waffling at times. So enjoy! I know I did when I went there.

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Honestly, the little amount of comment I could get away with in the slideshow doesn’t do justice to all these amazing pieces. So my recommendation is to check out the collections on the Rijksmuseum website. You can get there by clicking on this link. You should then see an “Inspiration” section on the right side of the screen and click on the hyperlinks with the names in them. In addition I also used this collection, a little bit of Google, and my own memory. One more thing, some the flavour texts about the pieces are in Dutch but I did find the English version for some of them, so they should exist.

Until next time,

Maran

Shopping for vintage: Guidelines

I’ve got one teeny tiny announcement before I start: I moved to another place like a week ago. So I kind of need to experiment again to discover what the best way to take pictures is. I’m sorry if they aren’t as bright or clear or whatever as before. It can’t be avoided. Now, on to my post.

The people who have been following this blog for a little while already know that I do love me some vintage. And it’s not like I’m trying to keep it a secret or anything. Only a week ago I scored some nice vintage outfits that can even be mixed and matched between the two of them (above). But that got me thinking. How do you shop for vintage? After some research, I found some tips and tricks that I want to share with you. This posts combines that research and some knowledge that I already had. Enjoy.

Buying old vs. buying new

There are several ways to get those vintages clothes you always wanted. You can buy them new, which means that those garments are fabricated in this time period. There are plenty of shops, e.g. TopVintage, and brands that make and sell these kinds of clothes. Problem is, they are often pretty expensive and not everyone can afford those prices. On the plus side, they often have a wide selection of clothes. So if you want something specific and are not afraid to spend some money, then checking those shops and/or brands out is definitely worth it.

But if you can’t afford those often high prices, or just don’t want to buy something new, then you can always go for actual vintage. These clothes are old and most of the time second-hand, but, in my opinion, also often of high quality and durability. Yes, I know it probably sounds boring, but these are pretty important factors when buying vintage you actually want to be able to wear. The prices may vary from “pretty cheap” to “Oh crap, that’s expensive”, which I consider to be a good thing. Even if you don’t have a lot to spend, you can still succeed, and if you want to spend some more, then that’s okay too.

Some tips

So these are some tips that are a combination of the research I did and my own experiences. Some of them might sound familiar because you might’ve read them somehwere else or something, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Anyway, I hope that these tips will help you on your quest for buying vintage.

Know your stuff

Don’t be afraid to do some research beforehand. How else are you going to know if that piece you’re aching to buy is actually vintage? Another important thing you might want to brush up on are your knowledge of the eras. Different decades have different shapes. Some decades suit certain body types better than others. Other than that, things like fabrics and patterns might also tell you which era a piece came from. However, it is, for example, not uncommon to see a 30s print on a 40s dress. There are always exceptions. Here are some tips to get you started:

1950s and earlier:

  • Poppers, hooks and eyes as the sole fastener are a nice indicator of early 20th century pieces. Zips are also okay, but they should be metal.
  • Labels are usually embroidered or in a swirly font and the corners are folded down where it has been sewn on.
  • Shoulder pads should be small, neat and kind of rigid.
  • A bra strap holder, a small ribbon to keep your bra in place between the shoulder and the fabric, is a sign of quality.
  • The hem should be hand-stitched and a good length of material should be folded over.
  • Check if it feels old. If it doesn’t, then it probably isn’t.

Post-1950s:

  • For these garments, the zip should be made of plastic.
  • You should also be able to find care and/or washing instructions on the label.
  • Shoulder pads should be large, spongy and generally not incorporated.
  • A size label is also a good indicator of a post-1950s piece.
  • As is the garment being elasticated.
  • Overlocked inner seams only became common after the 196os.

Those are some general indicators that I found and that I consider pretty helpful when it comes to estimating the era. You might also find it to be helpful to research the labels that defined the different eras.

Be prepared

So now you know your way around the different eras. This means that it’s time to prepare! Do yourself a favour and wear minimal make-up. Many vintage clothes have to go over your head, rather than over your hips, so there is a high risk of smearing make-up all over the piece. And I probably don’t need to tell you that that’s definitely something to avoid.

I also found the tip that you should bring a tape measure. Because with this and the knowledge of your own measurements, you will save yourself a lot of stress squeezing into and out of items that are simply too small.

Check the garment

Holding the garment up to the light can help you spot any holes or repairs and patches where the fabric has become too thin or delicate. Check the elbows on clothing made of wool to make sure that there is not excessive wear.

Another spot that you should definitely check are the armpits. I mean, who wants to buy a piece that has huge sweat marks. Not me! If they are really bad, expect to find them to have a yellowy-green tinge. These sweat marks might also damage the fabric, causing it to shred, or cause a pattern to fade. Some garments contain built-in sweat pads. These can easily be removed without influencing the shape.

When it comes to shoes, always check the bottom. The heel tip is something that’s missing quite often. Also check the material around possible buckles and straps for any signs of wear and tear. In the case of leather, if it looks cracked, chances are that it may break off pretty easily. And do make sure that the shoe itself is not too bendy and can carry your weight.

Lastly, always check the fastenings. Check that none of the buttons are missing and that the zips are working properly. Key areas to check are around the neck line (small buttons hidden under a collar) and around the cuffs. Also check for belt loops. Belt loops means that there should also be a belt. If there is no belt, go check if there ever was one (it might be in the store) and don’t be afraid to ask for a small discount if they don’t have it. Afterall, no belt means that the garment is not complete.

Ask for advice

I do realise that I told you to do some research, but there should be sales assistants and there is a probability that they know a bit more about vintage fashion than you do, especially if you’re a beginner. So don’t be afraid to ask for a piece of advice. You might even learn a thing or two. Besides, they will know their stock better than you do. And don’t be like me and stand there for 15 minutes going “Should I? Should I not?”, because the answer is obvious… You should. My personal experience is that the people who work there are very friendly and passionate about their work.

About sizes & body types

This is not something exclusive to shopping for vintage but still very important: Shop for your body! Buy stuff that fits, that you can move in and never, ever, ever buy something that’s too small. It’s just not flattering and you might even damage the garment by simply wearing it. So if it doesn’t fit well, no matter how amazing, just don’t buy it. As I mentioned before, certain decades just fit certain kinds of body types better than others.

Something you shouldn’t pay attention to are the sizes on the labels. I can already tell you that sizing is completely different nowadays from back then. If there is a size label, your best option is to ignore it. For example, the navy shorts I’m wearing in the right picture are, I believe, 3 sizes up compared to what size I normally wear. If you really want to look at the sizes I recommend going about 2 to 4 sizes up from what you’re used to, depending on what era the garment originated from. There are multiple possible reasons as to why the sizing is so different. Maybe women were smaller, or maybe sizes were changed to make us feel better about ourselves, or possibly a combination of those reasons. Who knows? One last tip, being aware of your exact measurements will definitely be of great help.

General don’ts

Don’t buy anything that needs a lot of fixing done. Yes, it might be an amazing piece and yes, you have the skills to fix it. But realistically speaking, most of the time you will never get around to fix them. And you can’t really ‘rescue’ everything anyway. So save that money for those truly amazing pieces.

Again, because repetition is key to learning, DON’T buy something that is too small or doesn’t fit well.

It’s never a smart move to buy something that needs a lot of altering done. Try to stick to something like a simple strap shortening or a dropped hem as a maximum amount of altering.

Do yourself a favour and avoid buying items that are ‘on trend’. Unless you want to pay more than it’s word of course. Buy something you like, not what trends tell you to buy.

And that’s just about all of the tips that I have for you right now. Except for one last and very important tip. Don’t be afraid to try anything on. If you want to know what it looks like or how if it fits then trying it on is the only way to truly find out. And keep your mind open.

If you have any tips, tricks or experiences that you want people to know about, then I would love for you to share them in the comment section. I would definitely like to learn a thing or two from you guys!

Until next time,

Maran

My fashion ABC: A-H

A: A-line

 

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Drawing of an A-line dress by me

Style line for apparel in which the dress fits at the shoulder or the skirt at the waist and gradually flares out to a wider hemline, causing it to resemble the letter A. Why this is part of my fashion ABCs is because I feel that the A-line is a shape that looks good on me and it fits me well, which is in part due to my body shape. That’s why I love A-lines so much.

Fun fact: the earliest A-line designs were created by Christian Dior in the 1950s.

B: Bowler hat

 

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My bowler hat

I love me some hats. I was even known as “Hat girl” at some point (the other thing I was known as was “Shoe girl”) because I was one of the few people who actually wore them. Now that I’m going to college, which means being around even more different kinds of people, this isn’t the case anymore. A lot more women, and men as well, wear hats. Maybe because we’re all older, more mature (in most cases) and we have a better grasp of who we are, of ourselves because of that. So being yourself, a.k.a. an individual, isn’t as big of a deal anymore. But there still not a lot of people who rock a bowler hat.

Fun fact: while it is widely known that the bowler hat is a british invention, it was also one of the most popular hat in the American West due to it not blowing off easily in strong wind.

C: Clothes

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Some of the many clothes I own

Well, duh. When most people think about fashion, the first thing that pops into their minds is clothing. Fashion includes clothing, footwear, accessoiries, makeup, body, or furniture. However, the term “fashion”does generally mean clothing, including the study of it. Clothes, to me, are fascinating because they can tell you a lot about the time period, (sub)culture or layer of society someone belongs to, what kind of job they have and many more things. Clothes are also a way of self expression that is used by a lot of people. One of the easiest ways to show the world who you are.

Fun fact: it is still unclear when people started wearing clothes. This is mainly because the early clothing materials (highly likely to be fur, leather, leaves or grass) deteriorate quickly compared to stone, bone, shell and metal artefacts.

D: DIY

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My Bernina, an important tool for DIYing

I’m a big fan of DIY, especially when combined with fashion. I’m such a big fan that I even wrote a post about it. DIY is a great way to turn something that’s not that amazing, or that you don’t really like anymore into something great that you absolutely love without having to buy a bunch of new clothes, shoes or accessoiries. You might not necessarily save a lot of money depending on the amount of customisation done, but you’ll definitely save quite a bit of space in your closet. And don’t forget that there’s also the bragging about making an awesome piece of clothing. All in all, DIY-ing doesn’t sound too shabby to me.

Fun fact: DIY is also considered a subculture, one which is said to have begun with the punk movement of the 1970s.

E: Experiment

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These aren’t really used in fashion or anything… Although…

You cannot have fashion without experimenting. This might not be an opinion everyone shares, but let me explain why I feel that way. The reason I feel that experimenting is an important part of fashion is that you cannot discover your own style without experimenting at least a little bit. You have to find out what works for you, and you need to try out different things in order to do that. In other words, experimentation is a key aspect to fashion.

Fun fact: experimental fashion has gotten so big that there are now several different big events devoted to it. There even exist courses that teach the student on several different aspects of this subject.

F: Fedora

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Drawing of a fedora by me

Surprise, surprise, another type of hat. This is not a hat with a positive image on the internet. Not at all. But I like them and I won’t stop wearing them because of the opinion of the majority of people. There are multiple styles of fedoras. There are ones with narrow brims and ones with fairly wide brims, and so on. So take your pick!

Fun fact: the fedora actually started off as a fashionable hat for women, with the women’s rights movement even adopting it as a symbol.

G: Glasses

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My glasses

Glasses are a well known accessory, be they sunglasses or regular ones. They are typically used for vision correction, but sometimes they are worn simply for aesthetic or fashion purposes. I own a pair because of the first reason. But I also have contacts and I definitely prefer those, especially when it’s sunny. Prescriptioned sunglasses aren’t nearly as nice as regular ones most of the time. And that’s just one of the reasons why I prefer contacts. But I feel like I can get away with either, so it doesn’t really matter that much.

Fun fact: while glasses were, for most of their history, seen as unfashionable, even going as far as stigmatizing individuals who wore them. This stigma began to fall away in the early 1900s when several famous and popular individuals were regularly photographed and seen wearing them.

H: (High) heels

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Drawing of a pair of high heels by me

For people who know me, this might not be a surprise at all. I mean, most of the shoes I own have heels. Even the shoes I wore when I went horsebackriding had heels. But that’s actually a safety precaution, it prevents your feet slipping completely through the stirrups.

Fun fact: high heels can be traced back to male horse-riding warriors in the Middle East, who used them for the same reason I described just now. The earliest high heel depicted can be found on a 9th-century AD ceramic bowl from Persia.

Part 2: to be posted soon | Part 3: to be posted soon

Until next time,

Maran

 

 

Birthday “haul”

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Some of you might already know this, but I turned 21 on the 15th of july. It’s not really an important number over here in the Netherlands, nothing really changes from when you were 20. However, despite 21 being not very special, I got a lot of amazing gifts. And some of those were fashion-related. So I want to share those things with you guys as a kind of”haul”. So let’s start!

The first thing I wanted to show you is this amazing ring.

My mom and I went to the jeweler to pick it out, and after pondering for a long time I still didn’t know which ring to pick. They were all lovely, but none spoke to me. Then, the jeweler remembered that there were some new designs had just arrived. So she went to get them and when she returned, I was immediately drawn to this one. The first thing I said was “wow…”. It was the first time I had a visible reaction to one of the rings, so I decided to go with that feeling. That I liked this one best because it was the only one I had a reaction to. And I can tell you that that was the right decision, for sure.

Oh, and don’t mind my pinky finger. I don’t know why it’s this small and this crooked. My left one is also like that. I do think it’s rather funny though.

The second fashion-related gift were these earrings. Now, I’ve known these earrings my entire life and it was love at first sight for me. Sadly, one of them wasn’t in one piece anymore. So, as a birtday present, these absolutely gorgeous earrings were going to be fixed. They have been in the family for a very long time, we expect them to be around 100 or 120 years old. And they are made from real gold and are very delicate, and that makes them pretty fragile. Nonetheless, I’m very happy with them and the fact that I can actually wear them now.

And there were some other gifts as well that I absolutely loved that have nothing to do with fashion but are too amazing not to share.

A chocolate dog that looks like one of our dogs. I can’t get over the resemblance, it’s too funny.

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For those of you who aren’t into programming, you start counting at 0. So it’s a “world’s #1” mug with a programming joke. It’s kind of ironic in my case because, to me, subjects on programming are a bit more of a struggle than most other subjects are.

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And a computer, so that I can finally clean up the pictures I use for my blog. And because I wanted to start drawing digitally again. This one was a huge surprise, because I was actually planning to buy one myself. Just one more reason to be extra grateful to my amazing family for all of these amazing presents. I’m definitely a lucky young woman.

So this was my birtday “haul”. I just wanted to share this with you guys because I’m extremely grateful for what I’ve got and also because I’m very enthusiastic about it.

Until next time,

Maran