How to solve a problem like my wardrobe…

It’s a new year and 2016 is a fresh start for some; a time to make changes. I, on the other hand, have never really been one for New Year’s resolutions. I never stick to them, and why should I? 2015 was fabulous so let’s carry on as we are! That said; at the start of each January, I have a yearly ritual: a massive wardrobe clear out. This usually stems from the fact that I need to make way for the dozens of vintage/pinup goodies I have received over the festive period. So at the start of this year… spring cleaning began in the residence of Flo!

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Firstly, let me tell you a little about my home…it is my absolute pride and joy. I bought my two bed place three years ago and I am incredibly proud of how I have put my own stamp on it. The theme running throughout is old school Hollywood! Pictures of the great legends line the walls. The colour theme is very much black, white and red. Damask and polka dot prints also feature heavily. I am a self-confessed tidy-freak, preferring a minimalist look and everything has to be in its place. Over the past three years of developing my pad into the home I love, it is also safe to say that my vintage wardrobe has probably quadrupled in size (quite an achievement). So how, I hear you ask, do I store all of this, yet maintain calm Zen? While completing my annual de-clutter, I thought it would be a great idea to share with you how I solve this problem of my wardrobe!

Fitted wardrobe

I am not going to lie, one of the things that drew me to my property when I first saw it was the floor to ceiling sliding mirrored wardrobes in the master bedroom. Now here was something I could work with. The previous owners shared this space between the two of them. For me, however…this baby is all mine!

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I have three hanging rails, the largest of which houses ALL of my vintage style dresses, circle skirts, pencil skirts and blouses. And when I say this rail is big…I mean it is BIG! Papa Flounce has had to re-enforce it on several occasions for me! I know some people like to store summer dresses away in winter and vice versa. Others may store away more dressier clothing and only get them out for special occasions (Cacao is a big fan of vacuum storage bags for this reason). In my wardrobe, however, everything is together on this rail, regardless of season or style. This is exactly how I like it because I can easily accessorize outfits differently, dressing them up or down for seperate occasions, or taking a summer dress and wrapping up in extra layers for the winter.

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During my recent New Year mission, I decided to reorganise the clothing on this large rail slightly. Up until January this rail was spilt into two sections; work clothes on one side and everything else on the other. I have now put everything together and in colour order. This is for one reason and one reason only: To make the most of my wardrobe! I wanted to stop myself from repeatedly going to the same section day in day out. I am now forced to peruse the rail on a daily basis. I rediscover things I had forgotten were even there! I have even been able to work some of my everyday wardrobe into what I wear as a pharmacist, hence getting even more wear out of some of the things I had barely touched up until this point.

I have a further two smaller hanging rails at the opposite end of my wardrobe; one for large winter coats, the other for smaller blazers and capes. This way I am able to keep outerwear separate from my other clothes.

My wardrobe is also made up of a series of shelving units to separate the rails. These were purchased from B&Q and are a great way to store other items inside your wardrobe. I use mine to store clothing that can be folded such as jumpers, cardigans, vest tops and pyjamas, but also hats, gloves, scarves, underwear, pumps, sandals, hair styling equipment, hair products, and my vintage books and magazines.

Ottoman bed

One of my first investments when I moved in to my pad was a double ottoman bed. This additional storage space has proved highly useful for little extras such as hair scarves, belts, swim suits, handbags, petticoats and costume jewellery. Not only is this completely out of sight but it is also dust free. I opted for one that has an easy open hydraulic mechanism, so all you have to do is simply lightly pull the chord in the open direction and then the bed kicks in and does most of the work for you. Should you have to nip in and out a few times to make a final decision on which hair scarf perfectly matches your outfit…no bother at all! It is just as easy as opening a wardrobe door!

Storage Boxes

Despite all of this organisation, I must be honest, it is a daily struggle to prevent myself from turning my second bedroom into a walk-in wardrobe. Do I continue to play good host and allow my guests their own bedroom when they stay? Or do I give my wardrobe the chance to grow even further? At present I have opted for a slight compromise; my guests shall continue to have their own bedroom as opposed to the couch…however they must share this room with some more sneaky storage solutions. This time not in the form of an ottoman, but narrow plastic storage boxes that slide perfectly under the bed and out of sight. Once again they are dust free and currently house my boots, heels and yet more handbags.

And THAT is how you solve a problem like Flo when it comes to her wardrobe! Everything is out of sight, but still easy to find. And I do promise you, after Christmas I really did get rid of bin liners and bin liners of unwanted clothes on friends and charity shops.

If anybody has any other great storage solutions for vintage hoarders like Cacao and myself, please drop us a line. We would love to hear your ideas!

On another note, I would like to take this opportinity to thank Cacao’s other half for his ninja skills in lifting and removing massive mirrored wardrobe doors to make this post possible! So, thank you Nick!

 

Wardrobe Rediscovery

As many of you know, my wardrobe is ready to burst. Next week, I’m planning on going through it and removing items of clothing I no longer wear. I was inspired by Flo, who cleared out a load of stuff over Christmas and whose wardrobe is extremely well organised. The problem for me is that my clothes are always attached to memories: I find my sentimentality gets in the way of me making an objective decision about keeping pieces in my wardrobe. With a bit of help from my other half, I’ll try to be tougher – wish me luck!

I started doing a little work on my clothing collection last weekend (aka school work procrastination). I found two vintage dresses at the back of my wardrobe – neither had been worn in over a year so out they came!

The first dress is a simple short-sleeved shift dress from a vintage stall in Camden. I fell in love with this piece because of the fabric. The background teal colour is rich and deep. The delicate butterflies in an array of different colours give loads of options for colour-matching and accessorising.

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The second dress is from Vivien of Holloway. It’s not part of their repro range; it was just on a rail with other vintage pieces during a sale. The details of the dress really drew me to it: the trim, the buttons and the thin belt. Pink and black always look good together so the colour combination was definitely a winner. I’ve worn it to work and paired with Converse and a denim jacket for days out.

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Have you made any wardrobe rediscoveries recently? Share your photos – let’s see what you’ve found!

Happy Birthday Sweet Sixteen

Before Christmas I celebrated my birthday. Okay Okay, I admit I wasn’t 16. It wasn’t even what you would call a “big” birthday. However, this is me we are talking about here, and when does Flo ever do things by halves? In my opinion any birthday is an excuse to go completely OTT and celebrate in style. And what better an excuse to tick off a few vintage destinations I had been eyeing up for a while now? I had such a splendid day that it would be a sin if I didn’t tell you all about it!

Vintage Tea Party

I was lucky enough to receive a beautiful Singer Sewing machine for my birthday this year and Mother-Flounce has been teaching me a trick or two. After a few creative days of making some beautiful things for my home (look out for posts on this in the very near future) I decided to start my birthday celebrations off at mine with a vintage tea party. Joining me for the day were the beautiful Cacao Papow and two other friends; Miss Catherine and Miss Sara (who some of you may recognise from my previous posts).

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I decorated my beautiful home with my lovingly hand made pin-up girl print bunting. My dining table was dressed with a matching tablecloth and napkins along with multiple cake stands, tea pots, cups and saucers. “Style me vintage tea parties” by Betty Blythe gave me a great deal of inspiration for the day and I highly recommend this book to anybody who would like to throw a vintage style party. It offers advice on recipe ideas and how to dress your home for a range of vintage occasions, including tea parties, 1920s speakeasy parties, 1930s cocktail parties, 1940s picnics, 1950s street parties and many more. I created a marvellous spread of ham and mustard, cream cheese, cheddar cheese, egg and cress, and chicken finger sandwiches. I spent a great deal of time baking strawberry and vanilla dolly mixture cupcakes and cherry scones to be enjoyed with clotted cream and a range of jams. There was a selection of English breakfast, earl grey, green tea…and even a cheeky bottle of bubbly!

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The girls and I enjoyed lining our stomachs as we pampered and preened ourselves ready for our big day out. We threw on some beautiful Vivien of Holloway, Collectif, and Lindy Bop clothing and jumped on the train to London!

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The Painted Lady

Once we were in London we headed towards our first stop of the day: The Painted Lady. This is an independent Salon in Shoreditch, specialising in vintage colours, cuts and styling for both men and women. You can even pop in for a manicure, pedicure or Shellac nail colour. The salon opens 7 days a week, so vintage lovers; there is really no excuse not to visit! I had emailed in advance to arrange our booking and the staff were so friendly and welcoming. We all decided to go for the 1 hour vintage hair style by a senior stylist (£45 each).

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As two of us were getting our hair styled, the staff made sure the others were thoroughly looked after. We had our glasses regularly topped up with wine, chilled to the sound of The Smiths and even befriended a few of the girls we recognised as having modelled for Vivien of Holloway. Cacao Papow went for one of her signature fierce up-dos, Catherine had some beautiful victory rolls, wheras Sara and I opted for some sultry 1940s waves. We left the salon looking and feeling amazing…ready to continue our day in style!

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All Star Lanes

Our next stop was All Star Lanes in Holborn (via a quick detour to the Collectif store en route because it would have been rude not to). All Star Lanes is an American style diner with a bowling alley along one side. You can pop in for a game, watch others as you eat…or even combine the two!

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Being ladies of leisure for the day, we had worked up quite an appetite by this point and opted for the lazy option. We were there purely for the food! The restaurant serves exactly what you would expect from an American style diner; including ribs, steak and a massive range of burgers and hot dogs. You can even build your own burger exactly how you wish. I defy anybody to not be able to find something they love on the menu. I went for (and strongly recommend) the Popcorn Squid, Chilli Cheese dog with sweet potato fries, and waffles. Throughout our visit we sipped on some delicious Tiki style cocktails. I highly enjoyed this diner, and with a further 4 restaurants in London and Manchester, why not pay one a visit yourselves for a well deserved pit stop during your vintage adventures in the city?

Evans and Peel Detective Agency

Our final stop of the day was the Evans and Peel Detectives Agency in Earls Court. This was my favourite part of my entire birthday! To give you a little idea of what you are in for, take a look at what Evans and Peel say about themselves on their website:

“We are detectives Evans and Peel. We work privately with individuals throughout London and beyond, supporting them with their individual needs. Our specialist areas are blackmail, missing persons and armed personal protection. There is no case too big or too small, from missing pets to alien abductions, we’ve solved them all. Our discreet detectives use their bespoke skills to work out how to give our clients that special unique service, drop us a line and make an appointment. Be safe out there…”

To book your table at this underground hideaway one must visit their website and state your case for the detectives to solve. You will then receive an email informing you whether they are able to help you and the time and date you can come to see them. As we made our way toward the detective agency the apprehension and excitement rose in our tummies, we had read so many reviews about this place but were still unsure of what to expect. Would we be able to locate the discreet entrance? Would we even be allowed in? This, of course, is all part of the experience. Once we found the suspicious looking door, we were buzzed through and descended under ground. We were greeted by a very dapper gentleman, to whom we had to present our case. I have to say, the four of us had put together quite an impressive story which involved the murder of an ex-lover, a love triangle, and a spat between friends. After this little drama, we were allowed through the concealed entrance behind a bookcase and into the dimly lit speakeasy.

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The bar staff are unbelievable friendly, making sure our drinks were brought to our tables and topped up regularly. As if the cocktail list wasn’t large enough already, they made it clear that if there was anything we couldn’t find, all we needed to do was ask and they were happy to oblige. We spent the evening sipping on delicious cocktails, nibbling chilli popcorn and bopping to the music (which was a selection of modern music and recognisable lyrics with a 1920s vibe).

Despite its concealed entrance, the agency is certainly very popular, so I advise planning well in advance if you want to pay them a visit. Also bear in mind, for parties of 5 and over they request a deposit of £5 per person when you book. I, for one, will definitely be returning!

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What a birthday and one very spoilt Flo indeed?! Now…I only have 2 years until my next big birthday milestone. I better get planning now if I am going to outdo this one!

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Badges and Denim

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As many of you already know, I don’t always stick to the same era or style. Sometimes I pull bits and bobs together and, for some reason, it just works. This outfit is a perfect example of that!

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The T-shirt is over ten years old and it’s by Ack Ack (now discontinued). When I first bought it, it was about three sizes too small. Fifteen year old me tried in vain to make it work but it just turned into a heavily stretched crop top, so it ended up buried in the back of my wardrobe. I could never bring myself to throw it away though – I loved the print too much. It was covered in sixties and mod style badges with contrasting lavender sleeves and black piping around the neck. Rediscovering this treasure in my storage boxes put a smile on my face and now, I could finally wear it with pride!

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I teamed this T-shirt with a maroon belt from Hell Bunny, maroon Converse and a denim A-line skirt from Primark (now discontinued). This skirt is such a staple in my wardrobe; it goes with anything and you can accessorise it to suit all seasons. It also has POCKETS!

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I kept my hair and make-up relatively simple for this look. My hair was just wet-set overnight, then I ran my fingers through it. I put a little black eyeliner under my eyes and used Peachy Keen lip paint by Le Keux Cosmetics on my lips.

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I think fifteen year old me would be very happy with how I styled this T-shirt (even though I despised skirts back then).

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Have you got anything lurking in the back of your wardrobe that needs to see the light of day again? Bring it out and let it fulfil its clothing destiny!